Starting your own online store is really fun. It’s an opportunity for you to stake your claim on your corner of the internet. Make it your own and tell everyone about who you are, what your awesome products do and how they will benefit your customer.

Sometimes we get a bit caught up in the fun stuff (ahem, guilty as charged) and forget some of the more important elements that can actually really help customers when they are thinking of buying your product.

So, file this week’s post under “boring but important” and have a look at the 3 pages all online stores should have below. Have you got all of these bases covered or do you need to do a bit of work around creating a better online communication strategy?

Help & FAQ’s Page

This is where your customers will go to find information on how to contact you and possibly even information on how to order products and services.

The HELP/FAQ page can contain valuable information that will enable the customer to make an informed purchasing decision, making them feel more confident and happy about their purchase. If your product has specific instructions you may wish to include them on the product pages also (if space allows) however the FAQs is a great way to share this information without having to deal with lots of customer emails.

Not sure what types of FAQ’s to add to your online store? Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and approach it from their perspective, think about the questions that might come up for them when making a purchase. Another great way of finding out what your customers need to know is to take a look at your Google Analytics and see what the search/keywords are. If you still aren’t sure, ask a friend or a potential customer where the gaps are in your info and work on plugging the holes. Your FAQ/help page will grow as your online store grows, use customer emails and feedback as inspiration for content.

Shipping & Returns Page

This is where your customers will go to find out how much the shipping will cost, who the carrier is and how long it will take to arrive. Whilst you cannot guarantee the shipping company will deliver on time try to give the customer as accurate information as possible. If you only ship on specific days, put that in here too, so your customers will know that the item might take a few days to dispatch. If you are using the same shipping company for all orders, including a link to their tracking area on their website (open in new browser) so customers can easily click through and enter the tracking number.

If you are using multiple shipping companies, make sure you clarify in the shipping confirmation email who will be delivering the order. If you have lots of prices and shipping options, display them in a table for ease of use for your customers. Being upfront and transparent about shipping costs is a must for all online stores. If customers get stung with high shipping rates in the checkout they will leave the site and not come back (unless they absolutely love your product) so try and be as open and honest about it from the beginning.

Blog

It always amazes me how so few online stores have their own blogs.

I feel like there is a stigma that blogging is really hard, or you have to be an excellent writer to have a blog. Whatta load of BS.

Think of the blog on your online store as a newsletter to people who haven’t signed up for your newsletter yet. Come up with a schedule that works for you and start jotting down some topics that interest your customers (go back to your customer profile bingo sheet to help you discover what might be of interest) Start creating regular content around these topics. Blog posts don’t need to be epic, start with around 250-300 words and see how you go.
Once you get used to blogging for your online store, ideas will come flying at you for new content.