Web Design for Retail Businesses

Web Design For Retail

Here's what you need to get started.

Web Design for Retail Businesses

If you’re a needing a new web design for retail business (and perhaps a whole new website), here are a couple things you should be thinking about in the beginning stages. By taking care of the details up front, you will make for much smoother sailing when it comes to marketing and fine tuning later.

The Right Web Design for Retail Business: Branding & Image

First I want you to think about your very best customer, the one that loves to walk into your store and take it all in. The customer who is just gaga about what you offer and leaves with a smile. There might be a couple of different patrons that come to mind who are very different — this is good, pick the most “typey” of each broad category. Briefly write down who they are and what makes them unique.

For example here are our best customers at “Fancy Ladies Boutique”:

Create a Broad or Specific Appeal with Your Web Design for Retail?

The next question is, which of your customer types are the most valuable to your business? Who is the bread and butter – the tourist and Saturday-shopping walk-in crowd? In Scottsdale, it’s quite likely. Or maybe your bottom line is actually made up of primarily return shoppers, or those who purchase your goods as part of their own business.

You’ll notice there are a couple of crowds that are definitely missing from our list above for this hypothetical “Fancy Ladies Boutique.” We’re not talking about men looking for gifts to give their wives, although they certainly would come in the store. We’re also specifically not mentioning young ladies here, because while they certainly can shop at our fancy store, they tend to have less discretionary income. (This is my fake store, so roll with me here.)

What I really want you to get away from is the desire to appeal to everybody, broadly.

We’re looking at four fictional women, whom I am sure you are picturing in your minds eye, and I think you can agree that they don’t accurately represent “the general population.” When we have your best customers down on paper, we can be really clear about who we will be catering to.

As a retail business you do need to be attractive and professional to your target audiences. I would encourage you to create something broad enough to touch your core customer types, but specific enough to properly impress them.

You have a couple of seconds to make that first impression, so let’s not weak-sauce it. I want your web design to clearly and enticingly communicate who you are to those people you’ve written down, and for everyone else let the chips fall where they may.

Decide What Calls to Action Your Web Design For Retail Needs to Convey

Now that you have an idea of who your website is talking to, it’s time to hook that into some real marketing action. What do you want them to do?

Here are a couple of ideas for our fantastic, fancy, and fake store:

The important part is that all of these are measurable actions. Yes, of course I want to you read the Fancy Ladies’ website, but at the end of the day we can also track how many phone calls, how many downloads, how many new likes and fans.

Choose a call to action that is easy, promotable, and measurable. That last one is the marketing secret, because you’ll want your quantifiable data to make future decisions. It’ll answer the question “which of these streams is actually returning for us?”

Give Your Web Designer All Your Branding Materials

You’ll want a sharp and competent web designer on your team, and ideally early on you’ll want to provide them with everything you are currently using for branding and marketing. Do you have brochures, flyers, signage, an existing website, or even just business cards?

It’s important that your brand (which is a bit like your company personality) stays intact or is improved during the course of the web design process. You don’t want your retail business to look like it has multiple personality disorder, so don’t withhold or get lazy on collecting those assets. Let your web designer see who your company is right now, so you can all make a deliberate choice on the website.

Make double sure your web design pro has your calls to action and customer profiles that we’ve been talking about. Actually they will probably be doing cartwheels and jumping for joy to get this information from you unprompted. We’ll tell all our colleagues about “the most prepared client we ever had” for years to come, ha!

Together, Evaluate the New Web Design For Retail With Your Customers In Mind

The most important idea that I want to leave you on is to look at the new web design for retail businesses through the eyes of your customers.

Let’s say Fancy Lady Boutique is owned by a man, but a very savvy one. That’s probably an unusual choice of businesses he could have started, but let’s say he owned the building and the area is simply prime for a fine retail catering to women, and he’s no dummy. I’ll call him Paul.

Now Paul is wildly smart, because when he was presented with a mockup for his new website, he realized that his own opinion of the subject matter was a moot point.

Between you and me Paul would rather be playing golf and watching sports. But he knows his customers aren’t much into those things, or at least not when it comes to looking their best every day.

Paul is going to look for his web design to be:

And if the artwork hits all those points, it’s by all means a success. Develop and ship it!

I want to impress upon you that you SHOULD enjoy your website’s design, but if you are not the target customer, take your own opinion with a grain of salt. I know, I know, that hurts a little.

Actually before you swallow your own feelings for the site design, talk with your web designer and see if you can’t come to a consensus. Why are certain elements on the page? Why are they styled in this certain way? Perhaps there is some thing real and valid that you are picking up on that could be changed.

One of the riskier things you can do is what I call “ask the audience” on such an important matter. Yes, feedback is good. But more important is that your business is completely focused, like a laser. You must only ask for pointed, objective feedback. Do not let your business decisions get derailed by “white noise” feedback.

For instance, Paul might show his new web design for retail to several women that he knows who closely match the four profiles we talked about above. He would ask targeted questions, such as:

But Paul would likely refrain from getting feedback from his golf buddies, his out of state family, and business owner friends in other industries. These are nice people, sure, but they are unlikely to resonate with something called Fancy Ladies Boutique in Scottsdale Arizona. The importance of their feedback is greatly diminished, but as personal friends it could cause great distress to hear that they “aren’t feeling it”. So Paul only polls the most relevant sources for feedback.

I’ve Got a Great Web Design, Now What?

With your amazing design in hand, it’s time to hand it off to your web development team (or give your design & development pro the green light), and let them do their magic.

This is a time you can be working on your copywriting, social media, marketing plan, upcoming promotions, and general business strategy. Congratulations on a dynamite new site!

Need web design for retail? You’re looking at one cool cat who can definitely help your business out. Say hello and tell me about your project.

Lauren Grey is a Scottsdale Web Design and Development professional who enjoys setting the bar high and then soaring right over it.

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