For every website visitor you receive, your shop has approximately two seconds to capture and keep their attention. After two seconds, your potential customer is either going to click to browse within your shop or click away altogether. This is the sequence of events that feed into the customer’s overall first impression:
The first key element customers notice: Can I immediately make sense of what I’m seeing? (Cohesion)
The second key element customers notice: Are the photographs mouth-watering delicious, leaving me hungry to click? (Presentation)
The third key element customers notice: Is it a strong brand? Is this a professional business? If I were to make a purchase, can I trust this shop to deliver what I expect? (Branding)
I want you to read over the above sequence of events and realize that, if ever the answer is “no”, the next subsequent event will not occur. A winning first impression is vital to your creative business’ success.
The Ingredients of Good Shop Cohesion
When visitors come to your shop, can they immediately make sense of what they are seeing? You’ll need good product photography, a uniform look (matching backdrops, style, and theme), and professional branding to create strong shop cohesion.
I prefer to leave an online storefront with a clear understanding of the seller’s style, and to become a paying customer, I have to feel that the shop’s style matches my own. When I’m hired to help clients perfect their shop’s cohesion, I start our session by asking:
If you created a Pinterest board of images that realize or remind you of what your shop represents, what would it be composed of?
If you don’t already have a shop-related board, please start this exercise right away! It will not only help you clarify your brand identity, it will also attract like-minded people. Follow the link to my Energy Shop Pinspiration as an example. Everything on that board is magical, true, or Energy Shop-related. And since I’m already hanging out on Pinterest, it takes no extra effort on my part.
Strong shop cohesion creates a warm and inviting atmosphere for your storefront. The customer can more easily admire your wares, and the ambience you create helps build trust and admiration of your brand. Here are five ways to create a more solid look for your shop:
- Pick a style and stick to it. By that I mean, if you’re selling kitschy, country-cute items, don’t try to sell mod decor in the same shop. Go with your favorite style, and stick to it. Like-minded customers will appreciate your passion and authenticity.
- Show products as a collection. On occasion, make the collective shot the main listing picture. I often feature armfuls of bracelets when I’m only selling just one in the listing. Not only are collective images more share-friendly and pin-able, many customers like to see what a collection of your products would look like. When I buy artwork, for example, I fear that it’s going to be floating alone in the room, mismatched and unnatural-like. A picture of a collective gallery of artwork above a dining room table helps me understand the character the paintings would add to my own home, and invites me to purchase more than one!
- Create helpful categories. Don’t get too clever with listing titles, and be sure customers can navigate through the shop without becoming confused.
- Be sure the products you list compliment each other. Boutiques can be done, but they’re not easy to pull off because everything has to match. Make sure every product you list matches your overall theme: Are you a cozy knitted goods store, or a flashy jewelry store? Do you sell vintage books or felt supplies? Pick your favorite type of product and go strong.
- Pull the customer in by creating an atmosphere. Make sure your profile matches the storefront, the banner matches the listings, and the listings compliment each other. For example, if you sell pillows of all different sizes and fabrics, use one uniform background for every listing – the fabrics are already adding the variety. If you sell dainty jewelry, use a few different backgrounds that match.