Why a Beautiful Website is More Important than your Shop Window

Creative Why a Beautiful Website is More Important than your Shop Window

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The high street has been in slow decline since around 2013, and store sales have been dropping by 15% each subsequent year. Once bustling retail parks now stand deserted, and it seems that people would rather shop online and drink tea on a Saturday morning than march through town, seeking out a bargain. But the public hasn’t lost their love for shopping (far from it, in fact, we’re buying more than ever, they’re just doing it someplace else. It’s estimated that around 2.7 billion people use the internet every single day, and of those, 90% made a web purchase within the last 12 months, In other words, if you’re looking for your customer – they’re online.

Under these circumstances, the world has become smaller, and it’s not uncommon for a retailer in, say, Arizona, to have a purchase made from Staffordshire. Often, your customer may never actually see your bricks-and-mortar store, and so with this in mind, it’s more important than ever to get your online presence right. But if you still need persuading, here are four reasons why it’s your website – and not your shop window – that it’s vital to get right.

Your website is often your first impression
It’s estimated that people make their first impression about a brand within two seconds. And with online shopping becoming so prevalent, the first-time people who see your brand will often be via a web link. So, you could have the world’s most beautiful logo, but if it’s hidden amongst a page of Curlz MT Font and blurred pictures of your product, then you may wish to rethink your approach. The good news is that it’s far easier to make a good impression with a website than it is with a physical store. Online, you don’t have to worry about whether your sales assistants have tucked in their regulation shirts, or whether a wayward child has toppled your product display. But you do need to ensure smooth navigation, crisp graphics, and a clean interface.

It provides 24/7 customer service
Gone are the days when you needed a dedicated help desk or phone line to stave off customer enquires. Once you’ve moved your business online, you can answer these concerns via email, using templated responses, and in whatever time zone suits you. It’s also a good idea to pop an ‘FAQ page’ on your website – often, the most common answers can be summed up in a few sentences, saving both you and your customer precious time and energy.

It’s psychologically easier to pay online than it is to part with cold, hard cash
You heard it here first: customers are more likely to part with their money through a Paypal transaction than they are in person, which means that you are much more likely to sell things online than you are in ‘real life’. Known as the ‘pain of paying’, psychologists argue that the more transparent the cash output (i.e. paying with notes and coins as oppose to a few clicks), the more reluctant a customer is to part with their money. When you remove the process of entering a PIN number, or even referencing a physical card (Paypal retains card information, meaning that customers complete their purchase using only a password), the ‘pain of paying’ becomes smaller, and your company gets to profit.

It’s cheaper than physical marketing
Remember catalogues? If you don’t (really? are you that millennial?), they were huge, chunky things that got shipped out to prospective customers every quarter or so. They weighed approximately as much as a small elephant, contained every single item that the brand sold, and would lie around in customers’ houses for decades afterward, gathering dust in some opaque corner of the garage. Not only were they a colossal pain, but they were also a colossal cost, and it wasn’t unusual for a large business to spend millions of pounds on their distribution. Websites, thankfully, are a different matter. Sure, you have to pay for the original design, but from there on in it’s just a case of maintaining subscription costs to your host, a fee which is often as low as £95 a year from SO Marketing.

And at SO Marketing, we provide crucial after-sales training and support, empowering you to keep your website up to date long after we’ve finished the initial design.

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