Is a gorgeous website more important than a gorgeous store?

So I had this experience over Christmas. I hate hate hate heading out into the city to go Christmas shopping. You’ve got to battle the crowds, become overwhelmed and ultimately end up with presents that don’t even suit the person you’re buying for. Then, if you’re loved one isn’t in the same town as you and you won’t be seeing them on Christmas day you’ve got to go the post office and snail mail the package to them. I avoid the post office at all costs. Call me young and naïve but I missed the whole sending letters thing. I used to look at my parents receiving letters and be so envious. Now I’m not because letters = boring mail/bills and maybe if I’m lucky an online shopping present to myself.

My solution? Order gifts online and have them gift wrapped. There’s a small boutique French soap company I adore and they make an appearance around Christmas time every year. I decided this would be perfect for my grandma. And then I jumped on their website. Now in person, this store is GORGEOUS. Rustic, French, minimalistic and just all around luxurious. The type of store you enter for one item and walk out with ten. Unfortunately this is not the case for the online store. It looked shonky, cluttered and down right ugly. The worst part? It was so un-user friendly that you had to manually calculate and add your own shipping for orders – Circa 1999.

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I really really felt for this business. It was started by a women (go girlboss!) and it’s grown significantly in the past three years. Because I’m aware o f the physical store and have become familiar with it over the past five years, I was more than happy to go through the process of an unpleasant shopping experience online. But what if someone who didn’t know the business stumbled across it? I don’t mean to get all preachy on you, but here are some lessons you can learn from this:

1) Having a beautiful online store = trust

Think about it. The better an online store looks and the more user friendly, the more professional it seems and the more willing people are to put payment details. Would you be willing to part with your money when the website seems like it was created by someone conning you for your bank details in Nigeria?

2) Usability is SO important
I see so many stores that look great but their functionality is crappy. Think about how many hours this store owner would have had to have spent chasing people down for shipping costs on online orders. Time = money. Automate as much as possible!

People buy from beautiful looking websites because they want to be a part of something. It’s not enough anymore just to have an online presence. It’s got to be a good looking one too!

 

Motto of the story is make sure your website looks great and is functional!