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How to bring a friendly community feel to your online shop

The current worldwide circumstance of people working from home, social distancing and many businesses adapting to running online, has certainly had an effect on many aspects of our lives.

However, if you run a small local business and are making the decision to get your business selling online, you may be concerned about keeping the atmosphere of your business alive whilst selling online. We’re going to be talking through a few ways you can keep the local friendly community feel continuing through to your online shop.


The Right Theme

Once you’ve set up your online shop the first thing you’ll need to think about is the theme you’re going to choose. Your theme can help set the tone for your website and if you’re looking to reflect a certain feel of your brick and mortar shop, making sure you choose the right theme for your business is crucial.

Features of the right theme for you could include anything from an image-heavy theme to a specific font or colour scheme. If you sell clothing or food items and you’ll also want to think about the layout of your chosen theme.



The theme you choose and your branding go hand in hand when moving your business operations to sell online. Branding is an important factor as you’ll now have more competition online than you have simply selling in your local area. You more than likely already have your own branding that you’ll want to bring over to your new online shop. But there are a few things you may want to consider before doing so.

Firstly, if your logo or brand are outdated you may want to think about giving them a slight refresh for your online shop. You can keep the same colour scheme for example but may want to update your logo from a design perspective. Doing this will help you to not alienate your current customer base when shopping online with you but will also help you to attract new customers.

You may also need to think about developing your logo further with a white and black version so you have more flexibility on your website. For example, you may need to use a white version in your website’s footer if it has a black background. You can always reach out to a designer for help with this on sites like Fiverr, Freelancer and Upwork.


Keeping In Touch (with customers)

Whilst you’re making the transition to selling online it’s important to stay in touch with your customers. Make sure to let them know about important updates about your business including that you’re going to be selling your items online and where they can find you.

Other important things you’ll want to relay to your customers may include your opening times and where they can contact you whether that be live chat on your website, by phone or email. You may also want to consider posting updates to your social media channels as a quick and easy way to keep in touch with your followers.

Another method of keeping in contact with your customers is through email marketing. Once you’ve got a list of your customers’ contact information, including their email, and they’ve opted in to receive emails from you, you can then send out monthly newsletters to your customer base. You may even want to consider offering them an exclusive discount the next time they shop with you to encourage loyalty.


Building Trust

When you’re happy keeping in touch with your current customers but you now want to attract new customers to your new online shop, the best way to do it is to start building trust.

You can do this by signing up to sites like Trustpilot and and ask your current customer base to leave reviews of their experience with your business. These reviews can then be shared on your social channels and even across your online shop to act as social proof.

Social proof is a concept that people are more likely to buy from you if they can see that other people have had genuine good experiences when buying from your online shop. It helps people to feel at ease when entering their card information and personal data when purchasing from you.

You can then invite new customers into your friendly community and treat them as if they had been there since day 1 which should help with customer retention and repeat purchases.


Find more advice about selling online from EKM, Bira’s recommended ecommerce platform. Plus, get your first three months free as a Bira member! Click the button below to find out more.


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