Getting your store online could be one of the most impactful decisions you’ll ever make for your business. Showcasing your products to others is just the beginning. Through intentional work, marketing, and strategy, an online store increases your foot traffic, in-store sales, and elevates your business to a level that many of your local competitors may never get to.
There are dozens of options available to you to get your store online. Whether it’s through a popular platform like Shopify or BigCommerce, the benefits to your store could be monumental. Once you have your inventory listed on the web, you’ll be able to share links to your products directly on your social media pages, email your customers, and respond to your consignors in a much more efficient manner.
For Ricochet users, the best way to begin selling online is directly through Ricochet’s integrated web store.
With Ricochet’s web store your products are updated in real-time, your auto-discounts are synchronized, and you save incredible amounts of time having all of your sales, records, customers, consignors, and data managed through a single platform.
You’ll never need to export anything, import data into a third-party platform, or any other tedious task. That isn’t to say that the web store is going to magically unlock revenue for your store. The way we internally discuss opening an online store is to imagine it like opening a second physical location.
An online store takes time, resources, and effort to be successful. This means actively promoting your page, writing posts to increase your SEO, taking great product photos, updating your information with online databases like Google Maps and Apple Maps, and other digital marketing strategies.
If this all sounds intimidating, don’t worry. We’re here to help you along the way.
Before you get started building an online store, take care of a few important elements first. This includes things like designing a logo, taking great product photos, and getting a domain.
Start with getting a domain.
A domain is the cornerstone of your online store. If you aren’t sure what that means, it is quite literally the name of your website. For example, “ww.ricoconsign.com” is our domain. Domains are registered online and have a governing body that manages them. We strongly recommend registering a domain through a platform like GoDaddy. They do an excellent job taking care of all the back end details and technical and legal components for you.
Picking a domain can be kind of challenging. It’s extremely likely that the name of your store could be already taken by somebody else, and they likely won’t sell it to you without a serious price attached.
Most consignment stores have awesome goals of growth within their city or local community. If this is your case, it’s appropriate to add your city name somewhere in the domain. We could call it ricoconsignboise.com.
If you have ambitions to grow beyond your city, perhaps it’s best to choose a more available domain extension. What this means is that instead of choosing something that ends in .com, you can select a more relevant extension like .shopping or .store.
If that sounds a little strange, don’t worry. It doesn’t impact your web traffic or domain score in any serious way. Unique domain extensions are becoming rapidly more common as the internet grows beyond the .com phase.
If you’ve already registered a domain through GoDaddy or from an old website built on Wix or Squarespace, knowing that information will definitely help our team. Once we know where your domain is hosted, we basically point it to your new website.
Make sure you have integrated processing with Gravity Payments and Ricochet.
Because the Ricochet web store is a direct component of Ricochet, we process all online transactions through our payments partner Gravity Payments. If you haven’t set up integrated processing yet, now would be a great time! A lot of businesses start out on something like Square and then upgrade once established. With Gravity, there’s a good chance you’ll save on your processing rates and get more capable hardware for secure and mobile credit card transactions.
If you’re already processing payments with Gravity Payments, you’re all set. You can skip this step.
Organize your categories into a user-friendly format for online organization.
If you’ve never set up an online store before, your store categories might need a bit of tuning. It’s very common for stores to create categories as they grow and then lost direction a little bit.
For example, maybe when you started out, you were only selling women’s clothing. Perhaps your categories were dresses, formal wear, shoes, casual wear, and accessories. Then as you grew, you started carrying men’s clothing. So what do you do? Just add men’s shoes to your overall shoes category? Or do you create a new men’s category and a shoes subcategory within that?
This is super common! So, don’t worry. We just have to reorganize things a little bit.
Take a quick look at how other successful stores, either small business or corporate, are organizing their products. Try to mimic what they are doing. The point is to create a seamless user experience for your customers. It would be really confusing is your products weren’t organized correctly.
Fortunately, categories can be bulk updated now in Ricochet.
If you are going to reorganize your categories, it helps to use pen and paper or just a spreadsheet to get your thoughts out. You’ll find that many products could be in multiple categories, so you might end up with multiple drafts of how you want to organize your store.
Once you have a solid grasp on how you want to organize your products, go ahead and do so in the Ricochet product preferences tab. Remember that you can get 3 tiers deep with categories; parent, child, and tier three.
Additionally, you can choose to show or hide certain categories. If there are certain items you don’t want to ship, showcase online, or have some other reason to not sell online, that’s the easiest way to hide an entire category.
Your parent categories will be displayed on your website in the main menu, and then the categories nested within those will show as dropdowns when you hover over them.
Now that your categories are organized, the next step is to begin taking great photos of your products and updating their inventory details.
Products are obviously the most important part of your online store. Fortunately, it’s super easy to get products listed online with Ricochet!
First is to switch the “Available Online” toggle on within the product details screen. Once this is on, you’ll see a few new fields appear. Write in a good, compelling description of the product in the online description field. It helps to include things like the brand, condition, fabric, and style into this field. You want to give enough details to build confidence in the buyer, but not too much where it’s annoying to read.
You’ll also see two new toggles for featured and shippable. Featured items will appear on your homepage on a featured section. This is awesome for those inventory items that will have high demand or are a particularly good deal!
If you want to sell items but not ship anything (local pickup only) turn the shippable toggle off. Otherwise, leave it on and add a listed weight to the product. This will allow it to automatically calculate shipping rates for you.
The most important element to your website is great product photos.
If you’ve been using Ricochet for a while, you may already have photos of your products in the system. Taking great product photos is an art, and it takes lots of practice. We have some tips on how to take great product photos with just an iPhone on a previous blog post.
With the web store, all products need to be in a 1:1 aspect ratio. Simply put, they need to be square. Your camera or phone will take a wider aspect ratio by default, so you can either crop photos after the fact on your computer or phone, or you can set up your device to take photos in a square format from the start.
Both Android and iOS devices can do this natively. This is what we generally recommend. Just go to your camera settings when taking photos and change the aspect ratio to square. Try to take 3-4 photos of each product. The first photo should be your hero shot; the best photo you can take that shows the entire product. Then your additional photos can show details, blemishes, or different angles.
Finally, get a logo designed, pick your color palette, and take showcase or slideshow photos to fill your page
The final stages are filling in the details of your website and making it more unique. This includes things like your company logo, color palette, and hero photos.
If you already have a logo, that’s awesome! We just need it in a PNG or JPEG format. If you don’t, or just want to improve it, there are lots of great logo builder tools out there. One of our favorites is Canva. They have a free version that’s easy to use too!
Once you have your logo, make sure you have your colors decided too. This will impact things like the background color of your website header and footer, navigation, and text. What we typically recommend is just pick one or two primary colors, and then a contrasting color for your text. If you want some inspiration, you can get it from the world’s greatest artists for free at Color Lisa.
Lastly is your hero photo or slideshow photos. These are the absolute best photos you can get of your store. Maybe it’s of your storefront during some nice lighting, or maybe it’s of your most organized clothing rack. You can also stage some photos with models to give a good sense of style to your store as well. It’s totally up to you. The only rule is that they must be a 16:9 aspect ratio. Similar to how we crop product photos to 1:1. If you don’t know how to do this, Croppola is a great free tool to help.
Book a demo with our team sooner than later!
We have been getting swamped with demos lately, and it’s only getting busier. If you’re interested in starting an online store with Ricochet, reach out to our team as soon as you can.