I have recently launched my toy store website. I want to compete with the only toy shop on my island whilst having a strong presence in the UK too.
I would love if people could look at my site and provide feedback and make any suggestions on how to improve my website and grow in a tough industry.
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You are off to a nice start! Here are my comments and thoughts as I went through your site:
=> Top Navigation: We only have Home and Shop. You will want to add:
=> What are your shipping fees and how do you ship? Went through the cart as far as I could and no indication of those costs. You want to be upfront about shipping fees so folks know going in approximately what the fees. This is the number one reason for cart abandonment. Do you offer expedited shipping or only one mode? What is the time-frame for each? (More great stuff for the FAQ page!).
=> Are you shipping to every country on the planet? Right now you appear to be accepting orders from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. That isn't recommended unless you know all the possible shipping, tax and tariff implications. So change to only ship to those countries where you are confident about shipping to and note that in your FAQ as well.
Now all you have to do is add a blog to create content. More content is the way that you garner relevant rankings over time and to get folks to sign-up to get more content from you as you add it. The money is in the subscriber list!
@tedstanleyiom, First of all, congrats and getting your business up and running!
I'm not an expert in critiquing website designs, but here's the first thing that I noticed.
When you scroll down and the top navigation bar starts to shrink, a square frame with a non matching color, appears around your logo and the colors don't match so it doesn't look good.
Your logo needs to be implemented more professionally which might be either research on how to do it for your theme or hiring a person who knows how to make it happen no matter what the case. The background of the logo should be transparent and it must be a .png file.
Like you said, it's a competitive industry. The more competitive the industry, the more professional the competitors and the less mistakes you can make.
On this specific issue, you probably got lucky and the color of the first top nav bar happens to be the same shade of white as your logo, but when it shrinks, it also changes color, also indicating that it's in the shrunken state.
If your logo was created with a transparent background and saved as a .png file, instead of .jpg file, your logo would always adapt to whatever the background color is.
If you actually did make a logo with a transparent background but accidentally saved it as a .jpg file, the computer automatically converts the transparent setting to white because .jpg's simply don't work with transparent backgrounds.
In most themes you will only have to upload one logo and if the theme shrinks the size of the logo, like it does with your theme when you scroll down. So there's nothing to really remind you or warn you that this will happen. For example, if you were forced to upload 2 logos, one big and one small for when the nav bar shrinks, it might have made you scrutinize the second image a little more because you stare it at after uploading to see if it looks good, and you would have noticed the issue then. But if the theme doesn't force you to analyze the small version of the logo, then it's up to you to just notice.
Also, I think you should have the different categories on the main navigation bar so people aren't forced to scroll down before they can start shopping a category. To make money with ecommerce, your goal is to encourage repeat buyers so that you get sales without paying advertising costs. But for every single reason, including having to scroll two inches down when it could have been avoided, your percentage of repeat customers gowns down.
I would also try to create different types of categories so people can shop by more than just age. What if some kids are smarter or bigger or stronger than other kids his age? Or maybe they have a favorite color or texture like soft or rigid so they know if it's waterproof or can be used in a pool or whatever. These are just examples, I would study the top toy websites and see what they do. I guess if the most successful toy sites only use age ranges, than maybe keep them and test out if people like having other options to filter by.
Make a firm decision about the background of your images. Always transparent or always white? Some of your images have a white background and some are transparent (or you got lucky and the white matched your white perfectly) but rather than rely on luck, it's probably better to use a transparent background like the logo. You don't need to worry about this as much if you get all of your images from the same source and your website never changes. But whatever the case, I think a consistent style of pictures is essential.
I know a few people who are very successful with ecommerce sites and they spend a few dollars PER IMAGE, paying someone to enhance them and just make sure they are the best images humanly possible. Ecommerce is a game and science where people purchase visually with their eyes. They don't know you so you're asking them to trust a complete stranger with their money and although buying online is much more common and trustable than the past, how nice your website is, is representative of how much you're willing to invest in the business. There are situations where you actually benefit from showing evidence of more human, personal, mom and pop shop designs versus super professional, Walmart corporation, type of designs. And I'm not sure how your audience thinks or acts. All I can say is that I can't think of anything bad about looking like you put a lot of effort into the business/site/images so it's better safe than sorry to go with looking professional and like a big company. There are other ways to communicate you're a mom and pop shop if that's your goal. Like the about us page.
I don't know if you can remove it, but I don't like the "powered by Godaddy...." I would remove it if that's an option. But on this one you might want to research the popular opinion of pros since I'm not sure if it's more profitable to keep it there or not. Maybe the big brand association helps trust, not sure.
The last thing I will say because my fingers are falling off, is to always remember that ecommerce businesses have been studied extensively and that you should always research the answers to all of the decisions you have to make because sometimes the answers are counter intuitive because people are crazy. That's a joke, but there are many situations where the popular opinion of experts will be different than what you thought would be the correct choice. Since these people spend every waking moment thinking about one thing only, they are more likely to have the correct answer with the experiments, tests, and numbers to backup their claims. They experiment using scientific methods and their livelihoods depend on their ability to know the correct answers so it's usually better than our gut feelings.
For the most part, if it's your first store, it looks good and your doing right by asking questions.
I only recommended what I did because you have to image a scenario where you will be spending advertising money on buying ads to market the site. Would you feel better about spending money to advertise the site with or without the changes that I mentioned? If you don't feel strongly about making the changes even though you are willing to spend money on advertising, you might want to consider a business where you are super duper concerned with being the best business in the game at all costs. These days, it takes someone who obsesses over every detail to make a living with the ecommerce retail model, unless you have a strong competitive advantage like your uncle owns a factory and he lets you have all the grade B products with small blemishes, then your low price alone might be enough. But if you're in a category where the cost of shipping could potentially shift a decision about a purchase, think about how many transactions have to occur on a daily basis, in order to make it a meaningful income rather than a administrative PITA. In the past, starting an ecommerce business from home was a huge expensive risk, today, working from home is a privilege because it costs next to nothing to start a web shop and requires no skills outside of reading and clicking a mouse, so there is a low barrier to entry, resulting in a lot more competitors. But you're being proactive and asking for feedback so your on the right path. Now you just have to keep asking questions and for feedback until your making lots of money. You only fail if you stop asking questions or you can't ask enough questions before you run out of money. So ask as many questions as you can as fast as you can!
Remember...Whoever asks the best questions, to the best people to be asking those types of questions to, wins this game. This forum is a very general place to start, so keep that in mind. I would also recommending joining something called a Mastermind group..these are people that share a common general goal in business who keep each other accountable and share tips, tricks, secrets and it's great for networking in the industry which is cheaper than flying to conferences. The good ones charge a small amount of money because there are costs/benefits to joining the group. You usually get what you pay for in life, so choose wisely. The right Mastermind group will shave off 80% of your learning period. Good luck!