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Starting an Online Business All-in-One For Dummies®, 3rd Edition by Joel Elad, Shannon Belew

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Creating the Perfect Shopping Experience

The right image is just the beginning. The look of an online store can be nearly flawless, but after you open that door (or enter the Web site), you may find a different story. Regardless of your store's image on the outside, if customers have difficulties with the actual shopping experience inside, you can quickly lose those customers.

As a shopkeeper, you have to make great strides to carry your complete image from the outside in. For an online store, that inside image is all about organization.

For example, any large bookseller probably has thousands and thousands of books packing the shelves and tables of its store. Yet every book has its place. Each one is neatly categorized according to subject matter, release dates, clearance items, sales, or even product type (books, magazines, greeting cards, and gifts, for example). With all this managed chaos, the store still has room for wide aisles, chairs and sofas, and an entire coffee shop!

When you visit the online version of the bookstore, you should find the same strategy at play. The navigation provides clear choices that mimic the categories you find in the store.

To achieve this level of detail online, start by taking a tour of your brick-and-mortar location. Think about all the ways that you categorize products to make shopping (and inventory management) easy. These categories often include

  • Brand name: People shop by designer labels and other recognized brands.
  • Product type or style: ...

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