By Heather Legg
Some people just love their retail therapy… wandering the malls and boutiques, handling a great pair of shoes, smelling the leather of a spectacular purse… how can a website compete with that?
The good news is that plenty of people enjoy online retail therapy, too. They can store items in a virtual basket, think on their lovely items, and hit “BUY” at a later time—no running around, wasting time and gas. But it just might not be enough for some shoppers.
Luckily, there are some things online retailers can do to jazz up their websites and make them more fun to shop.
Fun is Key
If shopping is for fun, the website needs to be fun. Put a sense of humor in your site, or a sense of whimsy. No matter if shopping is a pastime or a necessity, when people can find fun in things, they’re more apt to do them.
Once things become too difficult, they lose their fun. So keep it easy. Make your site clear to navigate. Make the shopping basket accessible and the “Buy” button obvious. Some sites do “one click” to make it easier on the shopper, and another feature that makes things easy is when visitors are able to bypass the sign-in page and buy as a guest. Keep it easy!
Extra the Ordinary
Some things just have to be on the site, and they may not be the most fun. If you have a page about your company, make it shine—don’t just spew information. Instead, use the personality of the company to make the company have personality. Shoppers like to know whom they’re buying from, so put a little extra into the ordinary parts of the site.
Interactive sites are, well… fun. If you can incorporate a little experience into the site, your customers will enjoy it. Maybe they can “try on” clothes or put an outfit together. Maybe you use a flow chart to find their perfect style. Anything to connect the customer to the site will make it more fun to shop and browse.
Video and Photos
The reason people love stores is they can handle the merchandise. Nothing beats that gentle hold, turning the item in your hands to feel the fabrics…and no, you can’t do that via website. But you can add a video of someone doing the very same thing. Include photos from different angles, with and without models.
Make Sure the Site’s Style Matches the Product
Oftentimes shoppers’ moods dictate where they shop. Make sure your site’s mood conveys the product. If you have a whimsical site of household items and linens, don’t do an urban contemporary spin on your site—keep it whimsical. If you’re selling biker boots, keep it rough and tough.
A Clear FAQs Page
Online shoppers need to know how to buy, how to return, shipping costs, size guidelines, etc. Make sure information is accessible on your site. An FAQs page with good questions and good answers is an amazing asset. Anything your customer needs or wants to know should be here.
People are busier these days; they may have less time to get to the stores. Who’s to say that a little retail therapy browsing and buying online can’t match up to shopping in a physical store? Plus, who doesn’t love getting a box in the mail?!
Heather Legg is an author who writes about Atlanta style, financial tips, and Business.com.