How to Create an Online Extension of Your Brick-and-Mortar Retail Store March 29, 2017April 19, 2017 Raj SrivastavRetail App DevelopmentLeave a Comment on How to Create an Online Extension of Your Brick-and-Mortar Retail Store The hard truth of the internet is that if you plan on opening a retail business, you must have a vibrant digital presence, including (but absolutely not limited to) an online retail store. For proof of this, you have to look no further than former retail giants like The Good Guys and Circuit City. Both were nationwide chains that failed to update to the digital world quickly enough – somewhat ironic considering both were tech retailers! Not only is a website necessary for success, but it also provides access to a global market numbering in the billions. It can exponentially increase your revenue stream for a fraction of the cost it takes with Brick and Mortar stores. A single website provides more access to more markets than thousands of stores – who can say no to that? But launching a website doesn’t mean you have to become just another Amazon clone; the website design of an already established brand or retailer should incorporate elements of that business. Take Target as an example: an established retailer worth billions. Their Red Bullseye is legendary; correctly their website not only utilize this image. It also utilizes red themes throughout, another signature brand element. A brand is the face by which already loyal customers recognize a brand. Presumably, they are loyal because they enjoy the service or produced by said brand. It’s also a way to tell potential consumers a little bit about the organization. Web Design is the online extension of this. SDI follows a design method known as User Centered Design (UCD). User Centered Design The guiding principal behind User Centered Design is that you should design from the perspective of the end User. A legendary story in the Human-Computer Interaction Sciences involves a certain Fax machine in the early 90s designed entirely by engineers, design included. The result? An excellent machine that was essentially inoperable by anyone who wasn’t an engineer. As stated above, however, a good design should be an extension of a recognized brand. Startups face a similar issue, in that the design needs to convey a little bit about the business. A good designer will sit down with a client to talk about the company’s psychology: is a flirty, vivacious feel appropriate? Something a little more somber, or traditionally professional? The user is also of consideration here, as your design should also fit in with the end users expectations. For instance, if you’re a business offering retirement planning, perhaps a periwinkle blue design with flowers and baby ducks is not the best choice. Tongue and cheek aside, all of this really does matter. A simple choice in color can make or break your website. The Power of Mobile Mobile devices are taking over the world, one step at a time. Currently, most developed nations have 85% or more of their population online. For the most part, these people came online in the era of the Desktop or Laptop, and are now segueing into mobile devices. It is expected that most internet access in developed nations will be from mobile devices. Now, the majority of the world’s population live in developing nations that are only just starting to come online. Importantly, the data indicates that most of these new users are bypassing the desktop stage entirely, going straight to the mobile device. The last bits of important information here are that these populations are coming online very rapidly – and that they number in the billions of potential users. We’re looking at two converging potential user markets, both of which are going mobile. This is why there is such a push by the so-called Mobile First movement. This basically means that an organization should design their website with the idea that most people will be visiting from a mobile device. This last retail year was a great example of why any retailer looking to get started in the online sphere needs to be mobile. Even traditional brick and mortar stores like Walmart sold record amounts online – and had higher traffic from mobile devices, than desktop. Amazon itself was the big winner, capturing a full third of all money spent online on Black Friday 2016. Social Media and Brand Awareness Marketing is a necessary element to the success of any business, including websites. Modern Digital Marketing practices include leveraging Social Media to build a Brand Awareness campaign. This includes creating Twitter handles (plus tweets using trending relevant hashtags) and creating Facebook pages. These are necessary elements to getting your brand out there; plus they’re cost-effective ways to reach millions of potential users. There are other ways to raise brand awareness, including live and/or streamed events. One of the most effective ways to raise brand awareness is to target gatekeepers and social influencers. These are people on Social Media who are well regarded in your industry, or have tons of loyal followers. We talked about this more detail recently, so please feel free to check out our post in order to learn more! Got a brick and mortar business that you want to put online? Give us a call at 408.802.2885/408.621.8481 (or click to contact us) to discuss more.