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How to create a digital shelf experience

How to create a digital shelf experience

Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, one of the largest free WordPress resource sites that help small businesses start their websites.

Many business owners have a tough time recreating the same tactile, engaging experience of browsing store shelves and displays online.

E-commerce offers convenience for customers, but the lack of familiar physical elements like lighting, music, and other factors often results in lower conversion rates.

However, you can save your conversion rates by better understanding the concept of digital shelf. A digital shelf enhances the e-commerce experience by replicating the immersive in-store shopping feel. It's essentially any digital touchpoint where your customer can buy a product. Digital shelves include e-commerce stores, Amazon, Facebook marketplace, mobile apps, and other places that enable buying and selling. 

Designing an impactful digital shelf can lead to higher sales and greater success for your business. Based on my expertise in selling SaaS marketing products, I'm here to share my best ideas on creating a powerful digital shelf for your business. Let's dive in. 

1. Choose the Right Platform

There are many e-commerce platforms available today and choosing the right one is key to creating a great digital shelf for your business.

My best advice is always to use WordPress because of the tremendous flexibility and support this marketplace holds.

However, if you want a simple and straightforward online store, you could easily choose done-for-you options that allow you to edit an existing store template where you simply add your branding and upload product details.  

What should you look for when choosing the right platform? Consider the following factors and let them guide your choices: 

  • Whether you offer a limited number of products or sell in the hundreds and thousands, you should use a dedicated e-commerce store if you're going for scale. 
  • Security. No matter what your goal is, you cannot neglect security, as people need to enter their financial details on your platform to make a purchase. Always look for platforms with great security features. 
  • Speed. People need a website to load in seconds or they're gone. Make sure you choose a platform that's integrated with the best hosting, and this will impact how fast your store loads. 

Other factors like budget, design options, and customer support are also important. But keep these key factors in mind and choose a reputable platform. 

2. Focus on UX/UI Design

Once you have your platform in place, it's time to focus on the design of your digital shelf. UX/UI design is crucial as it directly impacts how customers navigate and interact with your online store.

Here are some tips for creating a great user experience:

  • Keep it simple: Don't overwhelm customers with too many options or cluttered designs. Keep things clean and easy to navigate.
  • Use high-quality images: Invest in professional product photography to showcase your products in the best light possible. High-resolution images can also help customers make informed purchasing decisions.
  • Mobile optimization: With more and more people shopping on their phones, it's important to ensure that your digital shelf is optimized for mobile devices. This includes having a responsive design and easy-to-use navigation on smaller screens.
  • Consistency: Make sure your branding and design elements are consistent across all digital shelves, including your website, social media pages, and third-party marketplaces. This helps to build a strong brand identity and makes it easier for customers to recognize your products.

Many e-Commerce platforms include good UX/UI in their features. However, you should work with professional designers specializing in this area to ensure that your digital shelf experience is clean, functional, and conversion-oriented. 

3. Add Customer Reviews and Social Proof

One of the biggest challenges with online shopping is the inability to physically touch or try on products. This is where customer reviews and social proof come in handy.

Including customer reviews and ratings on your digital shelf can help build trust with potential customers, as they can see what other people have to say about your products. You can also leverage social media by displaying user-generated content, such as photos and testimonials, on your digital shelf. This adds a personal touch and can help customers feel more confident about making a purchase.

4. Drive Personalization

One advantage of digital shelves over physical stores is the ability to personalize customers' shopping experiences. By leveraging data from previous purchases and customer behavior, you can create targeted product recommendations and personalized marketing messages.

This not only makes the shopping experience more convenient for customers but also increases the chances of making a sale. Make sure to use this feature wisely and not overwhelm customers with too many personalized options. One example of effective personalization is Amazon's 'Recommended for You' section, which suggests products based on a customer's browsing and purchasing history.

5. Constantly Monitor and Improve 

Finally, it's important to constantly monitor and improve your digital shelf to ensure it meets your customers' needs and drives sales. Use analytics tools to track website traffic, conversion rates, and other metrics to understand how your digital shelf is performing.

Google Analytics, Tag Manager, your chosen platform's analytics dashboards, Semrush, Kissmetrics, and others are some tools you should consider using. 

Track your data over time and make necessary changes to improve the user experience and drive sales. For example, if you see a drop in a particular product, this could be a sign of a downtrend or a need to market more. By optimizing your digital shelf, you'll bring people back to your site again and again. 

Create a Powerful Digital Shelf Experience

Creating a powerful digital shelf for your business takes time and effort, but the end result is worth it. By following the tips I shared here, you can create an online store that stands out from the competition and drives sales. So take action today and win customers with great digital shelves!

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