We’ll call her Jeanine, and she’s had a terribly long day. After hours of walking up and down the paved streets of her city’s crowded central shopping district and not seeing a single shopfront that has what she needs, frustration has given way to boredom.
Jeanine has been looking for a particular style of dress, but in all the shops she is shown only the cuts she definitely doesn’t want.
Until, that is, she finally stumbles upon a store she’s never bought from. The shop’s name tells her little, but she’s willing to try anything at this point.
The store assistant brings out dress after dress until finally Jeanine’s eyes light up and she’s so relieved that she claps her hands together and exclaims, ‘yes! That’s it!’
Jeanine can go home, kick off her shoes, rest those tired dogs, and plan her weekend tearing up the dance floors in her new frock.
It’s a great ending for Jeanine, but how can she have wasted so much time looking in stores that didn’t have what she wanted? Aside from the truism that it takes longer to not find something than to find it, Jeanine is hamstrung by one other fact:
Jeanine is shopping a little over 100 years ago.
she’d been looking only a few years later? Odds are good that she would have spent far less time in the wrong shops!
Your man, Selfridge, that’s what changed. Frustrated by not finding what he wanted when searching for a gift for his wife, he began to play with the way in which things are displayed in stores, to give customers an idea of what the store had and – almost more importantly for Jeanine, and likely your clients as well – didn’t have.
The millionaire’s well-meaning quest (apocryphal or not) led to a revolution in the shopping experience. It also led to our personal favourite pastime: window shopping.
Aside from seasonal changes in mannequin attire, store owners have used their front windows to (among other things) show solidarity with troops, highlight town events, and absolutely delight thousands of children and adults alike who look forward every year to increasingly complicated and magical holiday displays.
People loved them, and suspect indeed became the store that didn’t keep a clean and updated window display.
Apply the window display mentality to your business
People still love window displays.
Your website is your shopfront. It needs to tell your potential clients everything they should know about your brand, to entice them to ‘step through the front door.’
The aesthetic needs to be in line with your brand’s philosophy, images painstakingly chosen, and – most crucial of all – the content needs to be on-point.
Consumers today spend shockingly little time deciding whether or not to buy from a site, often after only visiting one page. If they don’t like what they see, they leave immediately. When it happens a lot, you see your bounce rate (pardon me) bounce sky-high.
And, unlike the high street, your digital store will not be something they pass by again on their way back home, meaning you only get one chance with them.
Get on the digital main drag
Another difference between a digital store and a traditional brick-and-mortar: your shopfront may not be easy to find. That means that on top of writing for your customers, you need to be paying close attention to whether your site ranks well.
The copy on your website needs to hit hard. It also needs to be effective for both your potential clients and an unfeeling algorithm that can make or break your success.
There are a host of things to keep in mind, and many of them change all the time. Text length, loading time, image size, keywords… I bet none of these was front of mind when you decided to start your own business.
If it’s been easy to manage an online presence and a tangible inventory, congratulations! You are one of the lucky few. For the rest of you, you’re in luck: there are a host of professionals who are creative and experienced with these parameters.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help with your site’s content
– and remember that paying for a good first impression is always worth the investment.
The same way you’d pay a shop assistant help keep the store tidy, inventory updated, and the window displays evolving with the changing trends, you can pay a content creator to keep your look fresh and up to date, while also consistently staying on top of search algorithm tweaks.
The best money you can spend as a business is money that helps your customers (your Jeanines) find your digital storefront and know that they’ve found the right place, right away.
You can get in touch with me here to discuss how I can help you, but it’s ok if you go somewhere else. What’s most important is that you find someone you trust who can help you. And whether or not we collaborate together on your business—I’m rooting for you!