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Think of your company’s website as a retail store. It is the place where you sell your company’s product or service. You may be selling logistics, legal services, insurance, or some humanitarian service. No matter what you are selling, your website is your store (even if no transactions take place there).

If your website is a retail store, what makes a retail store successful? There’s 3 critical success factors for retail stores that apply to any successful website:

1. Foot Traffic

If people aren’t coming to the store, it doesn’t matter how great your product is or how beautiful your store is laid out. You can create foot traffic through location or employ marketing tactics to drive foot traffic to the store. More foot traffic leads to more sales.

When it comes to your company’s website, you can’t just put out an open sign and expect people to come. You are going to have to drive people to your site through social media, content marketing, and digital advertising. SEO is prime real estate, which means it is more difficult to attain.

2. Simplicity

When people come to your store, everything needs to be obvious. The store sections need to be labeled, prices need to be clearly marked, and people need to be able to get answers when they have a question. The customer will decided within the first minute whether they think your store has anything of value to offer them. If they can’t find what they are looking for, they will leave.

When it comes to your company’s website, the user experience is of utmost importance. The site layout needs to make it obvious where the user should go next. The next step or call to action needs to be clear. It needs to be clear where users can get help when they have questions. Simple and clear is better than comprehensive and complex.

Remember, your company’s website is not a textbook where people need to learn everything possible about your business. It is a marketing tool to drive them to engage with you further.

3. Differentiation

Your store may sell clothes. A lot of stores sell clothes. What makes your store different? Why should they visit your store when they need to purchase clothes? It is called differentiation. Your store needs to be a branded experience that sets you apart from your competitors.

Whatever your industry, you have or will have competitors. Your website needs to offer users a branded experience, a clear value proposition that sets you apart from your competitors. From the colors to the copywriting, the user needs to sense how you are different from your market peers.

The goal for your company is to gain and grow a share of the market. Your website is one of your most important marketing tools. It is often where first impressions of your business are made.

You need customers to visit, purchase, return, and refer others who do the same. It’s that simple. The success factors for retail stores are the same for any company website. People need to be able to find you, find out what you are selling, and what makes you different.