When Ross and I started Jana Reinhardt in 2006, we were both experienced goldsmiths, but had never run our own business before. Like many first time business owners, we had to learn on our feet, working out everything from the online shop platform that was best for us, to how to market our brand. All the while making sure we were keeping up the very important day-to-day work of designing and making jewellery - my favourite bit!
12 years later and our website looks exactly how I’d always imagined. We don’t have a physical shop, but I really feel when you browse our site you take a step into our world. It’s taken a while to get here, with a lot of learning along the way, so I wanted to share some of the things we’ve picked up. I meet so many people who have amazing schemes for their own businesses, hopefully some of these tips could help make those ideas a reality:
Be super responsive
An obvious one, but replying to enquiries, as soon as you receive them is key, whether they are email, web-based or on the telephone. Customers don’t have the option of asking a shop assistant the burning questions they may have about their purchase. If your response is slow, they can easily go to a competitor website, meaning you miss out on a sale.
It’s always tricky juggling the demands of your own business, but the needs of the customer always need to come first in the queue, if you want to ensure their custom stays with you. Even if it’s a quick note to say we’ll respond in depth later on (when we have more time), we try to respond to all
enquiries within 5 minutes.
Chat to your customers in realtime
Adding a live ‘chat with us’ function to your website is really important. A 2013 study on online versus traditional shopping conducted by retail strategy firm WD Partners, showed nearly 75 percent of respondents said the experience of human connection was the reason they bought in store rather than the internet.
Adding a chat function to your site gives it a more human touch. If a customer needs to talk with you, they can do so immediately and you can build a rapport. It’s also a great option for those customers who don’t like using the phone, something becoming increasingly common in our digital age.
There are a huge range of live chat add-ons available, so do some research and take advantage of the free trials that most companies offer to find the one that fits with your website.