Everything you need to know about building a showcase website as a merchant
What is a showcase site?
The showcase site is a choice increasingly favored by artisans and merchants. And for good reason! Today, it is a real communication tool that is essential to make yourself known on the Internet.
In general, in the jargon of the web, there are two types of websites :
the showcase site
the e-commerce site or merchant site
As you can imagine, the showcase represents you and your company. It is like an online business card that can be viewed at any time of the day.
The showcase site must be designed to highlight :
Your activities and specialties as a merchant: your products or services
All the key facts about your business
Your story as an entrepreneur, your values
Practical information about your business: location, telephone, opening hours, contact information and contact form
In a nutshell, the website must contain all the important information you want to communicate to your prospects and customers.
If you want examples of showcase sites, you can type the name of your city and a keyword like "bakery" or "hairdresser".
The e-commerce site has a very different purpose. It should, of course, display the same information as your storefront site (location of the company, history, etc.). However, the difference is that visitors can also buy products or book services on this site. The final goal of the e-commerce site is to make sales.
Why create a showcase site?
Most consumers do an online search before they make a purchase.
If you are not appearing in search results when people try to find your products online, you are missing out on a large audience. Of course you can have your community on social networks... But a branded homepage brings something extra.
Especially because it allows you to display your business as you want, with your colors, your words, your identity. It is ideal to highlight your products or your best achievements.
Moreover, a website allows you to collect very precise information about your visitors thanks to analysis tools like Google Analytics. It is a gold mine to carry out more advanced advertising campaigns for example!
Finally, a well referenced and optimized website allows you to be better positioned on search engines than your competitors... A perfect opportunity to boost your reputation and even your revenue through the web.
Creating a showcase site: make or buy?
In order for your website to be user-friendly and to "work for you" on a daily basis by bringing you new prospects and customers, it has to be properly designed. There are many design and accessibility standards to follow. It is not easy to master them when you are not an expert. Here are some questions to ask yourself to decide if you should create your website yourself or delegate it to someone else:
What is your budget? Once the website is online, will you have the resources to update it regularly?
Do you have skills and knowledge in the use of web technologies? Are you willing to educate yourself?
What are your deadlines before the website goes online?
What information and features would you like to see on your site?
Do you already have a domain name?
💡 In the case of a showcase site, if you have time and the desire to learn, it can be worth doing it by yourself.
Many tools allow you to create a site without advanced knowledge. This is why we built Qart: it is particularly designed to create a quality web presence without the need for technical or design skills!
Tips to make an attractive showcase site as a merchant
A clear design and a well thought out structure of your website
Have you ever found yourself browsing an "old school" website? You know, bright colors, information everywhere... And a very difficult navigation because it is not adapted to your screen size.
Nowadays, these kinds of websites don't stand a chance anymore.
Internet users are used to minimalist interfaces that can be navigated perfectly from a cell phone, a tablet or a desktop computer. A modern design is therefore a prerequisite for the success of your website.
Here are also other elements to take into account in the design of your website:
Colors, but sparingly so as not to create an look that is too messy or too aggressive. Bright or pastel colors are very trendy, and can be combined with neutral colors like white. Feel free to customize your store's graphic style on your website. Have fun!
Highlighting certain parts of a text by using bold text
A logical website structure: for example, for a classic showcase website, you should have at least the following pages: About (presentation of the service provider or merchant), Our products or services (make sure it presents your activity with precise descriptions and provide customer testimonials to make people want to try your products) and finally a Contact page (on which you also state your opening hours)
A very fast loading time: this is a very important trend on the web because Google algorithms are very picky about the loading time of a page. Clearly, if your website is not fast to display, your users will get impatient! So be sure to take care of this point
A good natural referencing
Even if your website is well designed, it will still have to be ranked in the Google search results when someone searches for your site.
To achieve this, do not forget about natural referencing, also called SEO for Search Engine Optimization.
There are a large number of different options for your website, divided into three types:
The content of your website: think about creating content that your prospects will search for. For example, if you are a construction broker in Bordeaux, don't hesitate to write articles on this subject so that a person who types in the Google search bar "construction broker Bordeaux" can find your article!
Also, it is important to create links between each page of your site, this is called "internal linking".
We also recommend talking about your website on other sites related to your field: the more links point to your website, the more popular it will be and the higher Google will value your website!
SEO is a complex field, do not hesitate to work with professionals. Or, use a web-platform that facilitates your referencing like Qart!
A website that leaves people wanting more!
We have discussed it earlier: a showcase website is a real asset for the development of your business. It is intended to promote your brand identity. It must therefore make your customers and prospects want to know more about you and your brand.
To do this, here are our tips to create a website that leaves your visitors "wanting more":
To make your website really unique, don't hesitate to talk about yourself. People love stories: they will certainly want to know yours. Don't hesitate to present your team members (in a photo, text or video!)
All the information about your services and products must be clear and must answer the questions your customers have. Pay close attention to the usual questions you are asked in store: they are often a clue to the content you will have to create on your website!
Every website has to comply with the necessary legal regulations. Thus, be sure to respect the rules of the GDPR (cookies, imprint page, terms and conditions, etc). You can't take these issues lightly these days!
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Frequently asked questions : creating a showcase site
Why create a showcase site ?
The showcase site is by definition, a site that represents a business online. It is accessible at any time of the day and is therefore very practical for any person who would like to have information on your company or your products!
How do I create a showcase website for my business?
There are many tools on the web to create a website. You can be supported by a web agency that will build the site from A to Z. Otherwise, you can also create a website yourself with easy-to-use tools, such as our tool Qart. Specifically designed for small merchants!
How much does it cost to create a showcase site?
This question depends a lot on the solution you will choose to create your website: using an external provider, doing it alone, using a website platform, etc. It is therefore almost impossible to give you an idea of the price. However, be sure to take into account that building a showcase website also brings other potential costs: annual updates and maintenance, paid advertising, etc.