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Your 2014-friendly website

Katie Stocking is the owner of Happy Medium LLC.

For the 2013 holiday season, it was estimated that 33 percent of sales would be through online shopping. Post holidays it’s estimated a total of 40 percent of retail sales were made online (source: The Seattle Times). That is a 33 percent increase from 2012! If you are a retail business you can absolutely no longer ignore online sales if you want to stay relevant (or in business). 

This amount of online purchasing statistic should also be interesting even if your business is not retail or business to consumer. Hands down, if you take nothing else from it, realize people are looking more towards the online world for everything it has to offer. Convenience, price shopping, and reviews – does your website meet these standards? It’s the new year, make sure you don’t miss out on business in 2014.

Convenience – what is the status of your website? If you visit the site from your desktop – how does it look? Do the graphics look up to date, is the content up to date? If there are pixelated images and out-of-date content, your company is more than likely going to be judged in the same way. Your website is your storefront, keep it in shape. Once you view the site on a desktop – view it on a smart phone, a tablet, and any other devices you have. If the site doesn’t look nice or doesn’t stay user friendly on all platforms, it’s time for an upgrade. Currently 16% of all web traffic is through a mobile device (source: Mashable).  That number has continually doubled year to year; don’t miss out.

Price Shopping – This one is simple. we as consumers obviously want to pay the least amount possible for the products we want. Online shopping makes this possible. If your business doesn’t sell products online – would you consider price matching? Personally, I would shop locally if the local shop would price match (in the same way most retail giants do), what I found online. If you offer that service, the only place to tell people who are shopping online about it is on your website. Make sure your website is optimized to show up in consumer searches.

Reviews – One word: Amazon – the entire reason I personally started shopping on Amazon is because of the reviews. I don’t have to buy things and try them out myself and possibly mess with returning them. I can find the product on Amazon, read the thousands of reviews on it and then make a much more educated purchasing decision. In the same way whether you are retail or business to business - however I am doing business with you – I am more than likely going to search you online first. Make sure your reviews online are a true reflection of you. The best place to start is on your website, where you have full control.

Don’t wait until the end of this year to get your online storefront – your website – shining bright. Do it now – and you’ll be glad you did when the numbers come in next year that over half of all shopping is done online! 

Tweet me your thoughts @interactivekate!

--Katie

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