You can do some things in a physical store that you simply can’t do with an online store. However, while you can’t touch or try on a product online, there are lots of things retailers can do to break down the many barriers between their customers and the product. Here’s a look at how you can make an e-commerce website feel more like shopping at a local store.
Find a way to start a conversation
When you walk around a traditional store, you’re highly likely to bump into a sales assistant. You might think that this is a coincidence, as they’re just there to either restock the shelves or make sure the store is looking as tidy as possible. However, what they’re there to do is to help make more sales happen. Sales assistants are trained to walk around the store and spot when a customer looks unsure about whether or not to buy a product. The shop assistant can then ask them whether they need any help and offer them advice on any product they’re looking at and make them feel more confident that they’re making a good impression. If those sales assistants weren’t there to intervene, the potential customer could likely talk themselves out of the purchase and walk away from the store without the sale being made. This is a hugely important selling tactic for any physical store. That’s why you’ll often find lots of these workers around the high-priced items, like TVs, computers, and kitchen appliances, in big department stores.
Unfortunately, when you run an online store, you can’t see exactly what the potential customer is doing while looking at your products. You have no idea whether they’re spending a long time on a page because they’re trying to absorb all of the information to make sure they’re making the best decision possible, or whether they’ve simply gone to go make a cup of tea. You might even think there’s no possible way of asking that customer whether they need any help. While you might put an email address or a phone number on your site to call if a customer needs assistance, they might be worried that they’ll have to wait hours or even days to get a response.
Luckily, there is a more instant way of speaking to your potential customers even if you’re not in the same room as them. By installing an instant chat window into your website, you can automatically send a message to anybody looking at your website, asking them whether they need any help. If they choose to respond, you’ll immediately be notified if you have the live chat app for Windows installed onto your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Then you can quickly answer any questions they may have and help secure that sale in the same way a sales assistant would in a physical store. This simple device could rapidly increase the number of sales that you make from your website through very little effort other than answering some very simple questions.
Make sure you take high-quality photos from every angle
Another important difference between a physical store and an online store is that the customer cannot see the product up close and in person. If the customer was in the store, they’d be able to clearly see every image that’s on the product’s packaging. If there’s a product out on display on one of the store’s shelves, they’d even be able to see every single little detail of the product. They’d be able to tell the exact color of the product, the quality of the paintwork and even get a good idea about how well-built and durable the product is. On the website, the customer can simply only see exactly what you take a photo of. With that in mind, it’s important to make sure you have high-quality photos of your products from all of the best possible angles. If you’re selling a higher quality product than one of your rivals, make sure there are photos that make clear that what they’re looking at is a superior product, whether that’s down to the materials it’s made out of or simply the style of its design.
Include those all-important dimensions and weights
When you pick up a product in a store, you can pretty much instantly imagine exactly how big and how heavy it will be even without seeing the product in the flesh. That’s because the size of the box and the weight of the box it’s packed in gives you a good idea of exactly how big the product will be, even if it’s wrapped in lots of packaging. However, when you buy online, you have no idea exactly how big the product will be. That’s because you don’t know exactly how zoomed in or zoomed out the camera was when it took the photo of the product. There have been stories online of people buying what they thought was normal-sized furniture and only finding out that they’ve bought dollhouse furniture instead. That’s why it’s so important to include the exact height, width, depth, and weight of any product, so the customer knows exactly what they’re buying before it gets delivered. If the size is particularly important, you could even take a photo of something that comes in a standard size, like a coin, so the customer can quickly visualize the size by just looking at the photo.
Film a demonstration video
Of course, not every aspect of every product can be demonstrated by a still photograph. Most products will have lots of different moving parts that potential customers will want to see in action before they commit to buying them. That’s why so many physical stores have assistants dedicated to demonstrating products in front of you while you’re in the store. Luckily, you can still demonstrate any product by filming someone similarly using the product. Think about the best aspects of any product and film a short video of someone using all of these features.