You're ready to launch the website for your new boutique, or perhaps you've been in business for a while and are looking to revamp your existing site. Redesigning your website can bring new life to your brand, as well as add new features that can boost your marketing efforts, improve customer service, and enhance the bottom line.
Pay Attention to Layout and Branding
The layout of a boutique website should be founded on the store's visual branding. Use the same colors, fonts, and feel as the boutique's other marketing materials, adapting them to the web. Make sure the layout is clean, straightforward, and intuitive—you want your customers to use your website, not be confused by fancy effects. A simple layout built without Flash technology (a technology for animation and interactive effects), and with clear, descriptive headings can also make a site easier for searchers to find on the web.
Update Basic Information
Building a website starts with including basic information. Retail store sites should have all important information in a clear location on the homepage, including hours of operation, location, types of products offered and specials and sales.
Invest in Good Photography
Attractive photography is the foundation of retail promotions. Investing in professional photos of the store and of the products is usually needed; amateur photos can mar an otherwise professional-looking site. A few photos of the store should be shot for the homepage, as well as photos of any products to be sold online or promoted in an email newsletter.
Even if you sell most of your products in-store, adding some e-commerce can boost profits and increase customer satisfaction by allowing the convenience of shopping online. E-commerce packages, including everything from technical platforms to credit card processing, are available from a multitude of suppliers, with a wide range of pricing and features. You can find one that's easy for staff to use and has reasonable costs with a little comparison-shopping. More important than what specific platform you use is your product strategy. Experiment with a small range of products online at first, and see what types of items sell. Perhaps your customers like to purchase accessories online, while preferring to buy dresses in-store. Find the right product mix for your audience. Make sure that product descriptions are well-written, with an emphasis on the benefits and usefulness of each product.
Add Social Media Features
Adding a blog is the simplest way to incorporate Web 2.0 technology, and make a boutique's site more friendly and personal. Allowing not only the owner and management but also staff and longtime customers to blog on the boutique's behalf adds a variety of voices to a blog and makes the blog more authentic. Allowing comments from readers is important; if comments are frequent, a full-fledged online community, with user-generated content, can be integrated with the site. A feed of the store's or owner's tweets can also add more immediate social content to a site.