Building a website and launching an online store can be intimidating. That’s particularly true if, like Tiffany McCrary, software and all the associated skills don’t come easy. “I’m a creative person, not a technology person,” McCrary says. But ecommerce is becoming a necessity for many retailers, and a lack of tech savvy doesn’t change that.
“I knew I needed a website,” McCrary, owner of vintage clothing shop 28 Scott in Brooklyn, N.Y., says. After trying several web-building platforms without much to show for it, she came upon Wix — and everything changed.
The companies that come to website-building platform Wix looking for help bring a vast array of needs. “They range from people who sell millions of dollars every year to someone who’s never sold anything online,” says David Schwartz, vice president of product at Wix.com.
Though their requirements run the gamut, Schwartz says Wix users share a basic set of goals. “The first thing we’re confronting is how to help our customers have the best ecommerce presence and the best store they can have,” he says. Some of these companies have in-house technology expertise but many do not. In all cases, they need help putting together an online experience that engages visitors.
Creating the online ensemble
There have been some twists and turns for McCrary. What began as a mobile shop where she sold vintage clothing and other eclectic pieces from a truck for a flat $10 has evolved into a bricks-and-mortar store. “The $10 model wouldn’t sustain that, so I had to up my online presence exponentially,” McCrary says.
With a need to justify price increases that topped nearly 400 percent in some instances, she had to give her customers a compelling online experience and a frictionless way to buy. “Wix made it easy,” she says. “Before, without the online store, I was going from a cheap model to hiking my prices, and it wouldn’t have worked if I didn’t have everything in place — an excellent website and the option of purchasing online.”
McCrary was relieved to discover that Wix removes the confusion around building a website and makes the process understandable. “I was surprised at how easy it was,” she says. She had already tried several common platforms but none gave her the results she wanted. “When I started to do it on Wix I couldn’t believe how much time it saved me.”
The system allows her to upload photos straight from her phone, for example, without going through a lot of extra steps. From there she can add the images to her site or even share them on social media. “Overnight, it was a serious upgrade,” she says.
Among retail sectors, fashion relies heavily on a visual component to connect with consumers. Product images are often more important to site visitors than text descriptions, and videos are an increasingly important tool to help customers make their purchase decisions. With Wix, McCrary can give shoppers the eye candy they crave in a format that’s pleasing and easy to navigate.
“I’ve had lot of photographs taken, and they were able to put them together with slideshows and grids,” she says.
Customers see products and shopping carts, but pulling back the ecommerce curtain reveals behind-the-scenes issues retailers need to manage. “It’s things like making sure they put in all the right policies, from their shipping and return policies to connecting to the right shipping provider and payment gateway, so they’re ending with an amazing online store,” Schwartz says.
“I was going from a cheap model to hiking my prices, and it wouldn’t have worked if I didn’t have everything in place — an excellent website and the option of purchasing online.”
— Tiffany McCrary, 28 Scott
As McCrary discovered early on, there are several ways to build a website. Wix takes an approach that blends easy-to-use tech tools with good site design. “One of the things that makes us different from others in the market is that we build technology that takes them by the hand and allows them to make all these decisions within the Wix environment,” Schwartz says.
The algorithm behind Wix Artificial Design Intelligence gathers information about the user’s goals through a short survey, then creates a website that blends design and content elements. Users can get help from Wix with nearly every area of their online presence, from search engine optimization to creating a logo that gets noticed. “I can’t make a good product for my customers,” Schwartz says, “but I can help them with all the rest.”
Though McCrary knew the 28 Scott site had to be visually pleasing, she also needed to ensure it was structured in a way that gave visitors a fun and seamless way to browse and shop.
“My customer base is mostly Millennials,” she says. “You have to have everything in place for them, from the retail experience to the technology part, and being able to get what they need in an instant.”
The online evolution continues
McCrary’s sales — both in-store and online — have increased 100 percent over the last year. She’s still conducting most of her sales in-store, but the addition of an ecommerce option has broadened her reach considerably. Before the launch of her online store, she says, “There was no call to action. Now I’m seeing sales from all over the world and bringing more people to the store itself.”
Whether customers live just down the street or they’re in town while traveling, she says, “Now they know where to find me and they know what products I’m offering.”
Retail is in a constant state of change. Marketers like McCrary don’t want their content going stale, and Wix understands that.
“For small customers, one of the most trusted ways to attract new people to their store is by creating attractive content that dynamically changes,” Schwartz says. A business may spend money on marketing — they may even do it well — but making that connection with customers is the key.
With some time and experience under her belt, McCrary says it’s full steam ahead for 28 Scott. She intends to leverage Wix to continue building a web presence that engages existing customers and attracts new ones. “You can never stop,” she says. “Being in retail now is like a dance, and you can’t get comfortable.”
Branching out into new content areas is a big focus for McCrary, something she says Wix makes easy. “They have all these other features, such as newsletters I can send out that are beautifully designed,” she says. She says she’s most excited about the blog feature and is already playing around with the huge array of templates the platform offers and gathering ideas about content. “Once you have a site, you need to work to get people to come, and Wix makes it easy to do that,” McCrary says. “The blog will really help me grow further and faster.”
Though the creation of a website and online store can appear daunting, McCrary encourages other retailers to get on board. “There really are no excuses,” she says, “because it’s so easy to use it. If I can use it, everyone can.”
Julie Knudson is a freelance business writer who focuses on retail, hospitality and technology.