Do All Retailers Need Good Websites?

by John and Jake Fell

AsktheExpertsQ. I own a brick-and-mortar specialty store. Since we don’t sell online, is it necessary to have a good website?

John Fell: A good website is important because it enables your store to be found by prospective and existing customers via search engines. Additionally, a prospective customer will almost always vet your store by checking out your website prior to physically visiting it even if they first learn about it through word of mouth, walking by or any of your marketing efforts.

Therefore, it is essential that a brick-and-mortar retailer has a website that impresses prospects and conveys their store’s unique brand and value proposition. A good website will make you seem modern and easy to do business with.

In addition to great design and branding, here is a checklist of key elements every retail store website should have:

  • Clearly state your location, hours and contact information.
  • List the brands and products you sell. Listing your brands enables you to be found by local consumers searching for the brands you sell.
  • Think of your website as a window and display professional photographs of your store that brand you favorably.
  • Have a call to action that invites the visitor to opt in to your e-mail program and automatically send an offer to everyone who signs up to nurture prospects.
  • Provide links to your social media channels.
  • Make sure your site looks great on all screens, especially mobile devices (site visits from mobile devices now account for 28% of all web traffic).
  • Have a blog and update its content regularly.
  • Consider posting your key inventory as an online catalog. This allows you to be found by local consumers searching the web with the intent to buy online from a web merchant and provides them with the alternative to buy locally from you.