Have you ever googled your company and found an entry about your company? Often, Google creates automatic entries for companies, but these do not necessarily contain current or complete information. Sometimes even incorrect information is shown, for example opening hours that do not match yours. This could annoy potential customers and prevent them from coming back again. To keep your online presence up-to-date and improve it, you can take advantage of the free Google My Business tool.

Optimize store presence with Google My Business

The Google My Business platform is a kind of business directory that allows entrepreneurs to create and edit a free entry for their company on Google. Information such as the address of the business, the link to the website, opening hours or information about the services or products offered can be entered there. This will quickly give your business greater visibility on the web – the more complete your profile, the easier it is to find. In this Google help article, you can learn more about how you can influence your ranking on Google through your entry. One of the benefits of listing your business is that your customers can find the most relevant information about your business immediately. For example, if you have a phone number, customers can call you directly from your Google listing. Not only does this save them time in searching for relevant information, it also makes your business more trustworthy by making it easier to find relevant information. Customer ratings also contribute to this: According to a Capterra user survey, consumers trust the reviews of other customers even more than the recommendations of friends and acquaintances. For example, encourage your customers to rate you on Google, for example by newsletter, in a personal conversation in a store, or through other marketing materials. Once you’ve filled out your entry with all the relevant information, the “Insights” field provides you with important information about your customers’ behavior. Was your entry found via Google search or Google Maps? What actions were triggered by the entry? Were calls made or was your website visited? This gives you the opportunity to find out what is important for your customers so that you can continuously optimize your presence.

If there is already an entry for your company and you did not create it yourself, you can claim it. You can find out exactly how this works, or how to create a new business listing, in the help article in Google My Business.

Increase in-store traffic with Google Maps and Local Ads

The business listing on Google My Business is directly linked to the Google Maps service. If you have entered the address of your shop in the entry, it will be displayed on Google Maps. The advantage of linking both services: In Google Maps too, users can see photos and reviews in addition to the address and opening hours, and even call your store if you have a telephone number stored. This creates a coherent user experience across mobile and desktop platforms – and simultaneously connects online and offline. Using their smartphone, users can be guided directly to your store. The full profile on Google My Business is helpful for this, as is the integration of Google Maps on your website or online store. This makes it easier for users to find your store directly from your website.

Another way to increase traffic to your store is to display ads, called Local Ads, which Google shows users based on their location. Google Local Ads allow you to reach more customers who are interested in local information because they are designed to reach more store visits through advertising. You can serve ads through your Google Account. To do so, you select your business location, the campaign budget, and specify information that you want to display in the ad, called ad assets. Google uses machine learning to automatically optimize ad bids, placements and asset combinations. Ads on Google Maps are shown to users who are near or plan to be near your location. When you select ads through the Google Search Network, they’re delivered on keywords relevant to your business and location. Through the Google Display Network, ads are delivered where they’ll be seen by as many people as possible.

More customer loyalty through continuous updating

Besides the increased visibility on Google, the entry on Google My Business has another nice effect: more customer contact and customer loyalty. Through your profile, you can not only view customer reviews, react to them and take advantage of the feedback. With the ability to create reviews, you can also keep consumers informed about news, products, discount promotions or events. With a call-to-action button, you can encourage visitors to take further action, which you can then evaluate. This gives you a better sense of which articles your customers are most interested in.

Keeping your profile up-to-date will contribute to the trustworthy image of your company and the relationship with your customers. If you haven’t created a listing on Google My Business yet, get started today and try out the various features.

Re-ordering products, maintaining the store, advising customers – brick-and-mortar merchants have a lot on their plate. Opening your own online shop in addition to the shop itself may sound like a huge hassle and it may seem hardly possible without prior knowledge. But with the right shop software, every merchant can easily tap into ecommerce and sell their products online.

In the past, it was often necessary to resort to (often very expensive) services of an agency, have prior knowledge and upfront investments to take a business online. Today, there are cost-effective solutions in the cloud. The principle is very simple: You create and manage the shop completely in the browser and do not need to install anything on your computer. You can edit your orders, add products and add new pages to your shop from anywhere. In the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany, there are various providers who offer integrated online shops based on the ePages In-store shop technology especially for brick-and-mortar merchants. These include the leading payment organisations Elavon, a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp,  PAYONE, the joint venture of the Ingenico Group and Deutscher Sparkassenverlag, and the payment organisation of the Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken VR Payment. This means you can create your shop in less than a day and be found by your customers.

Have you decided on a shop software and registered your shop? You may follow the steps below to guide you with the setup:

1. Choose a domain

The domain is the address at which your shop can be found for customers – for example www.emmas-onlineshop.com. Usually you get the domain from the provider with whom you have also booked the shop. When choosing a domain name, it is usually best to simply use the name of your shop. Furthermore, the name should be as short as possible and easy for your customers to remember. More tips can be found on our article on finding domain names.

2. Design the shop

For your shop you can choose between different design templates. These provide the basic design. With ePages Instore, you can choose from a variety of attractive templates that meet all the requirements for a modern design. The templates are responsive, which means that they are displayed perfectly on all end devices. After choosing a design template, you can individualise the shop’s design – for example, by changing the colours and fonts and displaying the unique selling points of your shop in the header. By displaying the logos of the payment and shipping service providers you offer in the footer, you can give your customers an immediate overview of the options available to them when ordering.

3. Upload a logo

The logo of your shop is displayed in the header and enhances the recognition value with your customers. If you don’t have a logo yet, the name of your shop is simply displayed here. A tip: Online marketplaces for digital services, such as Fiverr, allow you to have a very individual, professional logo created for little money.

4. Create product and collections

The most important thing in your shop are the products you sell. When creating a product, you should always include its name, price, and description. Also important: high quality photos, with which your customers can get a perfect impression of the products. With ePages Instore, you can organise your products with so-called collections. These can be new additions, products on offer or products of the same type (such as T-shirts, jackets and trousers). The collections then allow you to display your products in the shop in an attractive way.

5. Create and fill pages

On the pages of your shop you can, for example, tell the story of your company or present your customers with information on delivery. Use various elements such as texts, images or videos to do this. By including a contact form, you give your customers the opportunity to ask you questions quickly and easily. As an online retailer, you are obliged to provide your customers with various legal pages. These include, for example, the imprint, the general terms and conditions or the data protection declaration. With ePages Instore, these pages are already created and only need to be filled by you. You can create free, legally compliant texts on the Trusted Shops website, for example.

6. Present your store

You should definitely also present your shop in your shop. To do this, create a separate page on which you enter the address of the shop and the opening hours. By including a map from Google Maps, your customers can find you quickly and easily. With attractive photos of your shop, you can give customers a first impression of your store.

7. Create payment and shipping options

You can offer your customers different payment and shipping methods. For delivery, you can either use a shipping service provider such as DHL or set up your own methods – such as in-store pickup. You should also provide your customers with the most important payment methods. These include PayPal, purchase on account or direct debit. That way, every customer will find his or her preferred method and can shop with you conveniently.

8. Optimize the shop for search engines

Shops based on ePages Instore are already optimally equipped for search engines such as Google through clever default settings, so that they achieve good rankings and can be easily found by customers. To further optimise your shop, you should make settings for pages and products. For example, it is worthwhile to enter a meaningful page title that contains the keywords relevant for your shop. It can take a while before search engine optimization takes effect. In the long run, however, it will definitely pay off for you.

9. Test and open the shop

Visit all subpages of your shop and make sure that everything is displayed to your satisfaction. By placing test orders you can check the order process, payment and shipping methods as well as the mails the shop sends to your customers. If possible, you should also ask friends and acquaintances for their feedback. Are you finished and satisfied with your shop? Then you can open it now!

10. Win your first customers

From now on you concentrate on attracting the first customers to your shop. To do this, you should make the customers of your shop aware of it. This can be done, for example, with a QR code in the shop window that refers to your online shop. In any case, also maintain your profile on Google My Business and add a link to your shop there. You can find tips for this in our article on Google My Business. Are you already active in social networks like Facebook or Instagram? Then use your already existing reach to promote your shop.

We wish you a lot of fun with the setup of your shop and much success in online business!

In physical retail, customers have the opportunity to touch, try out or to try on products. They can take a close look at the material, glance at the products from all sides, get a precise idea of the colour, in short: Grasp the products with all their senses. If you want to offer your customers a linked shopping experience and also offer your products in your own online shop, you have to convince your customers of your offer in a different way. In addition to a clear structure of your online shop, a uniform appearance or exciting information about the products, you can arouse the curiosity of your customers above all with good product photos.

Stick with one style

Your own online shop can not only have a positive effect on sales figures, it also serves to strengthen your brand and thus benefits your marketing. To achieve this, you can make use of the recognition effect by transferring the way you present your products in a stationary shop to your product photos. Is your store characterized by a minimalist style? Then your product photos should also convey this. Or do you have a specific colour palette that is characteristic for your store? Then you can also work with matching coloured backgrounds. So before you start photographing your products, decide on a style and stick to it, so that your online shop looks as professional as your stationary store.

Have the right equipment ready

Apart from the products you want to photograph, you should have the right equipment at hand. This includes:

A camera: In order to take pictures, you need a camera or a not too old smartphone with a good camera. New models in particular now have very good cameras with which high-quality photos can be taken.

Lenses: Telephoto lens, Fish-Eye lens, Wide angle lens – these are just a few examples of different types of lenses. They have a significant impact on the quality of photos and are a useful investment for retailers who photograph their products themselves. If you want to take pictures with your smartphone, there are now good lenses that can be attached to the phone.

A tripod: An absolute must for product photography. Tripods are available for cameras as well as for smartphones and offer various advantages. With a tripod, products can always be photographed from the same angle, but you also avoid blurred images caused by use. Tripods also allow longer exposure times.

Background: For good product photos a uniform, calm background is important. You should therefore have a suitable background for your product photography setup. You can buy mini studios or photo tents for this purpose, but with cardboard, sheets or plastic plates you can set up your own mini studio cheaply and quickly. When choosing the colour, the background should match your products as well as the colour palette of your retail store.

Lights: For high-quality product photos you need one or more suitable light sources. Depending on your budget and style, light boxes or tents may be right for you, or you may use desk lamps with strong light or construction spotlights. Whatever you choose, the same principle applies here: stick to a consistent style, so choose one type of lighting and do not change it. This will prevent your product photos from looking different.

Reflective materials: White reflective materials such as white cardboard or styrofoam reflect some light from the light source to areas of the product that require more light.

A dust cloth: Especially in detail shots, bright light and dark background, dust can be very noticeable on product photos. Please have dust cloths ready and check before and during the shooting if you need to use them.

Before you start taking pictures, you should definitely check your products again: Are they clean, intact and not scratched? Are there fingerprints on the products? Or labels that may need to be removed before taking pictures? Before you invest a lot of time in a product shoot and have to schedule a new shoot because of a mistake that was noticed late, you better make sure in advance that the products are ready for photography.

Get inspired

If you’re not yet sure which style you want to choose for your product photos, be inspired by the preferences of your target group and your competition. How other companies present their products can give you ideas about how you want to photograph your products – but also how you can stand out from your competition. If you have the opportunity to interview your target group or your customers, find out which shops they still like and look at them too for inspiration.

Select the correct camera settings

Once you have decided to work with a camera, you should familiarize yourself with important settings to get the most out of your product photos. Take the manual and start experimenting! A few terms you should know are aperture value, white balance and exposure value:

– Aperture value: With DSLR or good compact cameras, you should be able to set the aperture value. A shallow depth of field can be achieved with a small aperture value, a deeper depth of field with a high value. In short: the higher the value, the more focus.

– White balance: The white balance can be used to control the color temperature of the light. This means that you can correct color distortions caused by the type of lighting used. For product photos, white balance is important so that the colours of the products are displayed correctly and customers are not surprised when they arrive or pick up the goods. By accurately displaying the colors, you can reduce the number of returns or returns.

– Exposure value: The exposure value can be used to determine the amount of light present in an image. The correct value can be used, for example, to prevent an image from being darkened, i.e. underexposed, when it is taken against a bright background. The exposure compensation features are available on most digital cameras. If this is not the case, you can edit the brightness of your image after the shooting with image editing programs or image editing apps.

Take photos of your products from different angles

Your online shop cannot (and should not) replace the shopping experience in your store. However, to give your customers an idea of what you have to offer, you should photograph your products from several angles. Your customers can then view the goods from all sides. For example, if you sell clothing, you should not only photograph your products from the front and back, but also from the side, and pay particular attention to detail. If the product on offer has an embroidery, for example, it is worth taking a close-up to make it easier to recognise. It is also important to show customers different photos of the different variations of the product – for example, the different colors.

Take your time with image editing

The concept for your product photos, the products, the setup and the shooting are important factors for the perfect product photo. To get the best out of your photos, don’t forget the image editing. Not only can you ensure the quality of the photos, but you can also ensure that your product images have a consistent size and style. If you take the pictures with your smartphone, you have access to many free photo editing apps. With image editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, which are also available as smartphone apps, you can even save your own settings and apply them to any image as a template, called a preset.How to create high-quality product photos for your online shop

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© 2020 ePages · Pilatuspool 2 · 20355 Hamburg · Deutschland

Contact · Terms & Conditions · Legal Notice · Data Privacy Protection