For Public Espresso, a small-batch coffee roastery and espresso bar in Buffalo, New York, the company's website is more than just a place for tempting pictures of pastries and beautiful latte art. It's also an essential component of their sales and marketing strategy for both their retail and wholesale business.
As co-owner Sam Scarcello explains, "our business is multifaceted with retail, wholesale and online programs, and we needed a website that could seamlessly highlight and advertise each of these programs effectively." With so much to juggle, the Public Espresso team had to make smart decisions to ensure their website met their ambitious needs. Here are some of their tips for success.
1. Consistency Builds Trust
"Visitors to your site are coming from all over the place," says Scarcello. That's why the Public Espresso team works hard to make sure their website works with other online destinations, from social media channels to review websites.
As Scarcello explains, "people know an outdated website when they see one." If there's a disconnect between your marketing and the actual experience a customer has on your website, it can reduce trust in your brand. This is especially true for mobile versions of your website, which need to be as intuitive as possible to meet customer expectations in the ubiquitous age of smartphones.
2. ECommerce is About Simplicity and Options
In addition to highlighting the company's retail store, Public Espresso's website is also used for eCommerce. When it comes to online ordering, Scarcello's advice is to focus on simplicity while also providing flexible options for customers.
"The number of options for paying and shipping has grown exponentially in the last few years," Scarcello says, "and being flexible and open to those options gives people confidence in their online shopping and lets them know that you're a forward-thinking company." The more simple and convenient you can make the ordering process, the more likely your customers will return for repeat business.
3. Focus on Your Customers' Needs
While Public Espresso's website supports the business in a number of ways, Scarcello advises business owners to focus first on what their customers need.
"Our website has to relay a lot of information (locations and menus, employment opportunities, online retail, our blog, etc.), but thankfully, Weebly allows us to do just that," says Scarcello. If your business is more sales focused or more informational, you might consider focusing on different features.
4. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
No matter what features you settle on, you can't underdeliver on design, especially when it comes to selecting photography for your website. According to Scarcello, in a time when everyone uses Instagram and understands how to use basic photo editing software, "there are no excuses" to have mediocre images on your site.
"If you're not confident in your own skills," Scarcello says, "there are scores of royalty free stock image sites, and Weebly even offers its own wealth of stock content, free of charge." Taking advantage of these services and selecting quality images can make a huge difference in how your website, and therefore your entire brand, is perceived.
For Public Espresso, that perception is all about passion. As a group of self-described coffee nerds, the founders were proud to be the first to bring small-batch coffee roasting to Buffalo, and this pride comes through in everything they do.
"Sharing good coffee has always been our strategy, and we've fortunately been met with a warm welcome in that endeavor," says Scarcello. It's a winning approach that's led to great success online and offline for this one-of-a-kind business.