9 essential pages every indie retail website needs

05 Aug 2019

If you’re a small business owner, you know how important it is to have a professionally-designed website in order to compete and succeed. Despite the fact that each business is different and needs to display their own unique content, customers have certain expectations when it comes to visiting a website, and it’s up to retailers to offer an easy way for users to navigate the site.

The best way to do this is by implementing commonly accepted pages that users have come to expect from any successful site. So what are these pages? The list below includes the essentials that every small business website should have.

1. Homepage

It’s obvious, but the homepage is the first thing that people see and arguably the most important page on your site. Its job is to communicate what your business is, grab users’ attention and quickly tell them who you are, what you do, and how you can help them. To do that, your homepage should include:

  • Your unique value proposition (UVP)​ — In a simple sentence or two, your UVP should tell visitors what your business does, how it benefits your audience, and how you’re different from your competitors. By defining your UVP, it will help guide how you design and organise the rest of your site and marketing strategy.
  • A main menu with links to the main pages or categories on your site ​— People want easy navigation, so include a main menu along the top of the screen that displays the main categories of the website. Every one of your website’s pages should actually include this main menu, so once you figure out the most important links to include, keep it a consistent part of our design throughout the entire website.
  • A clear call-to-action (CTA)​ — You don’t want visitors to simply browse and then click away. Figure out what you want them to do next, and make it clear by using a standout colour and straightforward language to tell them what next step to take. Your main CTA for the page may change over time — maybe it’s a short-term promotion or highlighting a new product — so feel free to experiment and see what works.
  • Social proof​ — Why should your visitors trust you? That question needs to be answered front and centre, and that can be done by including third-party sources to prove to your audience you’re legitimate. In fact, as many as ​76% of consumers believe content from others is more honest than a brand’s advertising, so including a couple of testimonials from past customers can go a long way in securing new ones.

2. About

The homepage gives visitors a general summary of what you’re about and what you offer, but your About page is the chance to let your personality shine through. Here’s where you can include information about your background, company history, your mission, and what inspires you. It’s a chance to humanise your brand and put a face to the business — literally — if you choose to include employee bios and pictures.

When writing your About page, think about what your customers would like to know about your company, what will make them trust you the most, and why they should work with you over the competition.

3. Products and Services

This is your chance to offer details about the products and services that you offer, and it will vary depending on the products and services that you sell. Be sure to include an outline of products and services available along with a short description.

If possible, give each service and product its own page with information and details. Not only does this let the customer know what they can expect by purchasing those products, and why what you offer is better than the competition, but having individual pages also can help improve your SEO since now every page has a chance of being optimised.

4. FAQ

One easy way to cut down on people contacting you asking the same questions over and over again is to create a FAQ page that can answer the most common questions about your services or products. A thorough FAQ page is necessary for a couple of important reasons:

  • Customer Satisfaction ​— This provides an obvious place for customers to go when they have a question about your business. When they can find what they’re looking for quickly and easily, that positive experience most often makes them more likely to buy your product.
  • Employee Satisfaction​ — Having a place that provides answers to common problems means that your support team and employees can spend less time answering the same questions over and over, which frees them up for more important tasks.
  • SEO Satisfaction​ — Since they include questions, keywords, and phrases people are using to find answers, this is great for your site’s ​SEO​, since a big part of SEO is figuring out what topics your customers care about.

When creating the page, think about all the questions you’ve heard from your customers and ask your team what they’re most frequently asked. Be sure to update this frequently as more questions are asked.

5. Contact

If you’ve ever had a question about a product or service you’ve purchased and couldn’t find the contact information, you know how frustrating that is. The company probably lost you as a customer, and it’s such an easy problem to fix. A thorough Contact page should include the various ways customers can get in touch, including phone number, physical address, email, chat, social media, and even business hours and an embedded Google map.

Make the Contact page easy to find by putting it right in your main menu so customers can choose how to reach you.

6. Testimonials and Reviews

Remember social proof? This is your chance to show off the positive reviews that your business has received, and to convince potential customers that they should give their business to you. People like to deal with businesses they trust, and testimonials are a great way to win them over.
To add authenticity to each testimonial, include photos and a link to the author’s social media account, when available and appropriate. Anyone can write a review, but it helps source credibility and establishes trust when photos of real people are added.

7. Privacy Policy

According ​to a survey​, 71% of consumers say they worry about trusting their data to businesses, which means that businesses have a greater responsibility than ever to ensure they’re handling data responsibly and with transparency. That’s where the Privacy Policy comes in, and it’s a critical part of every ecommerce business.

Your Privacy Policy should include what data you collect, how it is collected, how visitors can obtain a copy of the information you collect, whether or not the content will be shared, and if so, with whom. It’s advisable to work with a lawyer in crafting your Privacy Policy, but there are also ​online generators​ that can be used.

Once complete, be sure that it’s located somewhere easy to find on your website — it’s typically found at the bottom in the footer — and written in a clear and concise manner.

8. Terms of Conditions

A ​Terms of Conditions​ page is a must for most websites, as you want to cover all your legal bases. Here you should include the rules and guidelines and how your website functions, included but not limited to disclaimer of liability, intellectual property/trademarks, payment terms, data protection, delivery terms, product information and warranties, right to cancel, and website terms of use.  Much like the Privacy Policy, this should be located somewhere that is easy to find on your website.

9. Return Policy

Customers take a risk every time they buy something online. Maybe the picture didn’t accurately represent the item, or the size just doesn’t fit. If they can’t easily return the product, you’re going to lose out on business. The way ecommerce retailers can minimise this risk is by clearing stating their return policy on their website. In fact, ​49% of consumers check an online store’s return policy before making a purchase.

It’s necessary to include a return policy that clearly states what customers can expect from the return experience and that promises a seamless return process, which can be a competitive advantage that helps you earn more sales in the future.

Pro tip: integrate your website with your bricks and mortar shop

Already have a website up and running? Be sure to connect it to your physical retail store. Integrate your EPOS system with your online shopping cart​, so that sales and inventory are synced across the two channels.
In doing so, you can make sure that you have complete visibility over all your stores and you can give your shoppers a better retail experience!

Every retailer will have different needs and different things they want to communicate with their website, but one thing is for sure — when users come to your website, they need to be able to quickly learn about who you are and what you do. By including the information above, you’re providing them with the information they need to not only get to know your business a bit better, but to give you their business, as well.

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