What first comes to mind when you think of designing your Company Store? Captivating images? Catchy slogans? Great product copy?
As a marketer, those are some of the things that come to my mind as well, but there is so much more to designing your store than just images and text. Those make up the look of your store, but good design also involves creating the feel of the store or store navigation. In other words, the experience the store creates for the user. This aspect of the design includes:
- – store layout: pages, categories, etc.
- – store functionality
- – website navigation and intuitiveness
All of these things make up the look and feel of your store and ultimately help determine, at least in some sense, how successful your store will be. If your Company Store is intuitive to use and shoppers have an enjoyable, easy experience they will be much more likely to make repeat purchases. However, if your store makes it harder for customers to order products from you, then you might be in trouble.
We’ve all visited those websites, swearing never to return. It happened to me just last week. I was trying to use Groupon’s new feature. The only issue? The website user experience was the opposite of intuitive. It took me 30 minutes to place a simple order, and if it hadn’t been for the Groupon I had already bought, I would have been off the site much more quickly. My point, user experience can make or break your website. Be sure to think through and test your site as if you were a first-time shopper.
Is it hard to design your first Company Store? No, not at all. As you might have read in Part 1, my expectations matched the reality when it came to the design of the Company Store. It’s very easy to do. You just need to put some thought into it.
Tip #1 – Define the Purpose of Your Store
The purpose of your Company Store is for shoppers to purchase products right? Correct but we need to know the what, why, where and how as well.
- What are people going to be using the store to shop for? (Ex: Rewards and Recognition – personalized products, Marketing Events – company branded products, etc.)
- Why are they using your Company Store to order these items?
- Where will they be using the Company Store?
- How will they be using the store?
Think of the design of your store as a map. It should have a clear purpose. The store should be easy to use and navigate, with or without instructions. Categories should be used to help lead the shopper to the exact place they want to be. And most importantly ordering products should be a breeze.
Tip #2 – Choose Your Theme Wisely
Think ahead before choosing a theme. If you are going to have a lot of categories, it might be ideal to choose a theme with left category navigation to look less crowded. If your client prefers more text and less visual, then be sure to pick a theme that utilizes a variety of text boxes. I went with a slideshow theme because I wanted to stay on trend by featuring large images on the homepage.
Tip #3 – Customize Your Store
You can customize to your heart’s content. Customizing your theme is very easy, but you have to put in some thought to make the website not only look professional but cohesive. Having the company color codes, logos, and images ready to go help this process go smoothly.
Tip #4 – Pages
There are three default pages: Home, About Us, and Contact Us. I decided to keep the Homepage and Contact Us but change the About Us page to New Hire Instructions. It was more pertinent to include a New Hire Instructions Page since one of the primary purposes of my store was for new employees to easily order everything needed to start their job (uniforms, badge, bag, water bottle, USB, etc.). As a store administrator, I made sure that New Hire Accounts had the exact number of points the shopper would need to purchase the required items. Utilizing points as a payment and budget control method and choosing predetermined shipping options make checkout, shipping, and ordering effortless. This is where Tip #1 will come in handy.
Tip #5 – Setting Up Your Categories
I never realized how big of a decision this is. You are ultimately creating the entire layout and organization of your store by creating categories. Some may choose to categorize by the types of products (tech, apparel, gear, etc.) while others might categorize it by purpose. The possibilities are endless.
If you are looking for more design tips be sure to check out the blog “My First Company Store Part 3: Design Elements”.