Sale Detractors: 3 Website Lessons from a Brick & Mortar Retail

Just like staging a home for selling property, there are key aspect of store design related to clutter, color, space and more that can create or kill sales – whether online or brick and mortar.

During some window-shopping today, I entered a store out of curiosity- I compared it immediately upon entry to how a poorly designed website can kill your business.

I’d be willing to bet that if this store owner hired a solid retail design consultant, her story might end differently. Instead- she is selling everything off at a 65% discount in a desperate attempt to recoup funds before closing the doors. An all too common, sad story, that can be prevented!

If your website meets the downfalls of this store, it may just be why you aren’t selling product. In the online world, these same factors may be why you aren’t seeing ROI on product sales.

1. Overdone, excess color: As I entered, I feared a mega box of crayons had recently puked. It prevented me from focusing on any one item to find what may have appealed to me as a customer. It was distracting, and I didn’t know where to begin. There was no sense of organization, branding or intention with respect to color scheme.

2. Lack of consistency: Oh look, a dress, and there are some pants, next to a tank, next to a T-shirt, or no, maybe another dress? Is that for a child? Bounce rate just increased again… If your customer is confused, they will go elsewhere. Time is money. Don’t make them waste it. Make it easy for them, and they are more likely to share some of it with you.

3. Don’t hide your products: If it isn’t in front of your customer’s face, it won’t get sold. A dividing line of clothing created a barrier to the back 20% of retail space in this store. If not for my curiosity on this very point, I never would have ventured into this space. Beyond the divide, there hung several $1000’s worth of clothing, that typical human nature (aversion to crossing a perceived line) would prevent most from ever viewing. Feature your top products, and create a clear path to the others.

This is an example of why I don’t appreciate blanket stats like “90% of businesses fail in the first 3 years”… This doesn’t explain why, and thus, many avoid exploring a dream.

They fail because the business owner doesn’t take steps to identify what they don’t know, and then learn from someone who does. They fail because they stay in a comfort zone and don’t make changes. They fail because they don’t ask for help.

What can you do differently TODAY so you have a better story? Where can you ask for help, and invest wisely to improve your ROI?