Build the Perfect Decorated-Apparel E-commerce Site: Part 1
With about 2 billion people shopping online, there’s never been a better time to set up or revamp your e-commerce site. And it’s good timing, since nearly half of decorators view online companies like Custom Ink and Amazon as their biggest source of competition.
Surprisingly though, according to ASI’s most recent State of the Decorated-Apparel Industry, only 73% of decorators report having a business website. However, that’s a noted improvement over 2018, when only 61% said they had a site. But now it’s time to up the ante and build in that e-commerce capability today’s customers expect.
Buyers count on that ‘Amazon’ shopping experience—to e-browse, gather information and shop whenever it’s convenient for them. In fact, a recent survey of 700 B2B sellers found that 84% believe that failing to meet rising customer e-commerce expectations is a top threat their businesses face now, according to Episerver.
Three Truths About a Killer Website
That’s why you need a professional business website that makes you look great and delivers the buying experiences your customers insist upon when they’re shopping. Let’s take a look at the basics of creating a stand-out e-commerce site shoppers will love—and return to again and again.
1. If you don’t make a good first impression, it’s on to the next.
Literally, it takes about 50 milliseconds (that’s a lightning fast 0.05 seconds) for people to get an impression about your website that determines whether they stay or go. Simply put, if your website isn’t current, professionally designed and compelling, it doesn’t matter how amazing your customer service is or that your decorated apparel is second to none. Plan to invest time and resources in a well-designed site. Plus, make sure your site holds its own on mobile. In fact, 57% of shoppers won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile website.
2. Your website’s the absolute hub of your marketing efforts.
Most buyers first “meet” you on your website, so it’s an all-important, 24/7-accessible point of first contact. Plus, your digital marketing efforts like social media posts and e-blasts usually all point people to your site. This is another powerful reason why your site needs to be well designed, brand recognizable and easy to navigate, so that your browsers can quickly become buyers.
3. If you’re going e-commerce, you must embrace sales automation.
For print shops and decorators, offering an e-commerce site is a must to compete with online retailers, and even local shops that let shoppers buy online. The top reason people buy in cyberspace? They can shop 24/7, when it’s convenient for them.
Real talk: It’s not enough anymore to just have an informational business site. If you’re selling decorated apparel, it’s got to be e-commerce enabled. That means customers should be able to select products on your site, customize them and complete their purchase without any other intervention from your staff. Then, you receive the paid-for orders automatically (you can stop financing your clients projects and chasing receivables), and your team fulfills the orders and ships them out. It’s a total streamlined win-win.