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Optimize Your Website: Part Two

Website design

Last week we established website goals—including informing your customers and increasing revenue—as well as where to start. During part two of “Optimize Your Website” we’ll cover how to accomplish those two goals.

Inform your Customers

Customers come to your website for information. Feature what makes your business unique and what you do best. Further, on each page, ask yourself “What do I want my customer to do after visiting this page?”

That’s when your call-to-action comes in. Each page on your site should include a clear and concise call to action to encourage your customers to stay engaged. This can be as simple as: Shop Now, View All, or Sign Up.

Increase Revenue with Website Design

There are multiple ways your website can help you increase revenue. The first is through your website’s design.

The first piece of advice is to keep it simple. First, this makes information easier to find. Second, a simple website is easier to maintain. If a customer has to click on your site more than three times to find information they need, your design needs to be simpler.

Another way to have simple design is through maintaining branding. Colors should be similar to your brand, and images should be clear and clutter-free as well.

Other design pieces to keep in mind is your navigation. Navigation tabs should be organized from most-to-least important.

Another way to increase revenue is through conversation. Integrated communication tools help you answer Frequently Asked Questions at any time of the day.

And of course, your website should be responsive, meaning it should accommodate every device including phones, tablets, and computers.

Last but not least, include a search bar so information is even easier for the end user to access.

Inspiration for this post came from “Increase Your Website’s Value” by Brad Tanner of Rain Retail Software and was published in the April 2022 issue of American Quilt Retailer.

AQR Academy

One last thing before we go! The May AQR Academy workshop is right around the corner on Wednesday, May 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. CST. The event will be hosted by Beth Montpas, Lifestyle Coach, and the topic is Goal Setting – Setting Yourself Up for Success where she’ll cover how to both set your goals up and make them happen.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Optimize Your Website

websites

Businesses should leave an impression. These days, most first-impressions are made by websites. Read on to discover how you can optimize this essential online-tool.

Websites: Where to start

Making a website is just like making a quilt — it can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.

The first place to start is by choosing a partner that understands your business. For example, some software providers have solutions for assembling kits, fractional yards and fat quarters that can integrate into inventory management processes.

These same software providers can also add other tools including classes and block of the month subscriptions.

Website goals

The next step is to decide what sort of goals you have for your website.

From the above, increasing productivity is an obvious goal. You can go one-step further and tie in back-end business systems to your site as well. Further, you can make changes in one place and it will automatically update your website and in-store system.

It goes without saying, but your website should also help in two large ways: increase sales and drive foot traffic. To accomplish both of these, you’ll need to inform customers of your products and services, as well as determine how each section of your website will increase revenue. We’ll touch on both of those next week.

Inspiration for this post came from “Increase Your Website’s Value” by Brad Tanner of Rain Retail Software and was published in the April 2022 issue of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Using an Avatar for Customer Service

avatar and customer service

Creating an avatar can be a huge time-savings piece for your business. Not only does it allow more flexibility in who responds, but customers can do the self-service they’re looking for. Below are tips and tricks to get an avatar started on your website.

Your Avatar’s Personality

An avatar is a digital representative or persona. When creating this persona, there are a couple things to keep in mind. Will you avatar be a male or female? What is your avatar’s name? What sort of personality will they have? (Note, you don’t have to create an entire character design). Below are a few examples:

  • Suzy Q is the avatar for Suzi Q Quilting. She is polite and friendly. Suzi will validate a customer’s feelings, but hold firm to a store’s policies. She is cheerful and ends every interaction with “Best wishes on your quilting adventures!”
  • Todd is the avatar for another quilt shop. He is firm, but happy, and interacts with humor (often communicating with jokes and emojis). He doesn’t apologize for not bending policies but he does seek solutions to make the customer happy within company protocols.

Avatar Logisitics

Now that you know what sort of avatar you want for your business, there are a few other pieces to work out.

First, determine what employees you’ll dedicate to responding to customer service requests.

Next, create a standardized email that the decided-upon employees can have access to.

Finally, to streamline even further, track responses in a document and create email templates of common responses to frequently asked questions.

Inspiration for this post came from “Consistent Customer Service” by Gwen Bortner published in the October 2021 issue of American Quilt Retailer.

Wait, There’s More!

Interested in a FREE AQR Meetup? Well you’re in luck!

Next Thursday, December 16 at noon CST you can find out what’s on the radar for AQR and AQR Academy in 2022. You’ll also get tips on how to finish 2021 off strong.

Register for the Zoom event here prior to attending. All are welcome (and we’re interested in hearing what you want next year as well)!


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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It’s Time for a Website Overhaul

Website Overhaul

It seems like 2019 is the year of the website; almost everyone I know is working on or trying to update theirs.

The best advice I’ve heard this this: your website should reflect you.

Think about what you want – and what you want to evoke. Use these guidelines to help set a goal for your site before you start the project.

Website Content

What should a website include? I think the best answer is whatever you want your company’s webpage to do. No two sites are the same, which can be the best and worst part about the process.

Also think about how much maintenance you want to put into your website; if you want to include a weekly or bi-monthly blog, then by all means go for it! Be realistic when you consider how much time you really have though, if you already feel stretched too thin have your webpage include more evergreen features.

Your site should address the who, what, and where immediately on your homepage, and all information should not be more than three clicks away. When it comes to copy, less is more.

Funding the Project

And the part nobody likes to talk about – price. Remember you get what you pay for, so if you don’t currently have a website budget, start one.

While you wait for the site savings to grow, do some research with local businesses (with webpages you like) to see who built their website and how much they spent. Also while you’re waiting for more funds, keep up to date with what you like, don’t like, and want for your website so you’re ready when design begins.

Planning Ahead

In today’s social media-driven society, plan on addressing your site again in five years. Whenever changes happen within your business, your website should reflect that, too.

Find your annual checklist and add a site review to that list. The more work we do in the meantime means less work when it comes time for another website overhaul.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.

 

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Create your online presence

Now that Black Friday, Small-Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday have all come to a close, you can take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for surviving the busiest week for retail stores every where.

And as you prepare for the continuing busy holiday schedule, one thing to keep in mind is your online presence.

coding

Developing an online presence can be intimidating; especially if your business has never had one. But one sure way to ensure you are getting the most success during the holiday season is ensuring your website and social media are as on-point as your store.

Here are some tips to get started:

  • Plan ahead. Have a goal and outline for what you want your website to look like. Think of it as how you plan your store; your business’s website should be clean, welcoming, and easy to manage. Try to follow the three-click rule, meaning you shouldn’t have to click more than three times for customers to find the information they need.
  • Write. Write your own message but keep it short and simple. Feel free to use calls to action and advertise what sales you have going on. Make sure you tell customers what you can do for them even if you don’t have an online shopping option.
  • Seek help. Designing a website isn’t easy, but it is so important in today’s industry, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. The most cost effective way to build a website is through a website builder rather than hiring a designer. Check out this article for an in-depth review on which website hosts are the best for you.
  • Keep it professional. Make sure your website is heavy on visual content; but most importantly, make sure you’re happy with the product! Take your time building the website and try to keep your online brand as consistent as the physical store.

platforms
Another important tip is to test your website on a variety of platforms. Ideally, your website should be transferable to all three. 

I realize the holiday season isn’t the best time to make a website, but with the new year comes new goals. If you already have a website, now is the perfect time to freshen it up! Creatives love to create, think of working on your website as another outlet for your creativity.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.