Last week we talked about how buyer behaviors have changed and how many of the behaviors they have developed during 2020 will likely continue for the foreseeable future. Online shopping was the biggest winner to come out of last year and today we want to make sure that your site is ready for the influx of customers that now prefer to shop online for both products and services. There are plenty of places that will talk to you about proper design, what kind of shopping platform to use, and everything in between, but we focus on digital ads and SEO so we want to focus on the things that will help your site work best with the visiting customer and push those conversions once they find what they want . Here are 5 things to do to enhance your user’s experience.
Make It Easy!
This is a loaded bullet point because we are talking about making everything simple and easy to use, starting with the URL. People don’t want to be hunting all over the place for your site. Ideally they are clicking directly from an ad or your social media, but if they look for it on their own then it’s important they find it on the first try. Pay attention to how your customers and the community around your product and service refer to you. If it isn’t by the company’s true name it wouldn’t hurt to get the URL that matches how they identify you. For example Volkswagan is commonly referred to as VW. They don’t make you spell out the whole word, you get to the cars by typing V-W-DOT-COM. It’s simple, it’s vernacular from the community, and it helps sell cars.
In addition to being able to find the site, it MUST be easy to navigate. Don’t be afraid of negative or white space and be clear with your offers and calls to action. If your customers can find what they are looking for without much effort then they are more willing to buy. If they can check out without much effort then they are more willing to buy. If they know how to get a hold of customer service if there’s a problem then they are more willing to buy. Remember the K.I.S.S. rule (Keep It Simple, Stupid) and let it be your guide.
Optimize for Mobile
The little computers that we all carry around in our pockets are becoming more and more essential to the customer experience. A buyer no longer needs to be on their desktop or laptop to click on an ad, they can be on the couch and see something that reminds them of your product and then search it on their phones. Because of this people expect the experience they have on their device to be the same as they would have on a normal computer. The Manifest.com reported:
“According to the customer management solution Salesforce, 75% of consumers expect brands to have a consistent cross-channel experience.” *2
And as younger consumers join the buyer pool that number is only going to go up. Most website platforms and developers are well aware of this and it’s even planned for on platforms like WordPress and Squarespace. Do a check, take a look at how the site presents on different mobile devices, make sure it loads correctly and that all of the functionality matches the full site. Little things like this make a big difference.
Avoid 404 Errors
It seems silly to say, but if your website isn’t working and if the customer can’t get to the pages they expect to get to, that’s going to be bad for business. 404 Errors are common and occur when the server can’t locate the page the user wants to navigate to. There are many simple reasons for this, so many that we can’t cover them all here, which is why it’s important to visit your own site often. Make sure that any promotion or special offer is working before you launch it and do testing after any changes are made to the site itself.
Also, be prepared for when a 404 error does happen (because they are going to happen). A brand appropriate 404 Error page that indicates that there’s been a problem and that you’re working on it breeds far more good will than a blank white page with a giant 404 ERROR – PAGE NOT FOUND default page. Check out Eastern Market.org’s 404 page. They went the extra mile on this, but even something simple like Google’s 404 page is effective.
This helps ease the customer when the site isn’t working as expected, keeping a level of brand trust.
You Get 3 Seconds
I can hear you through the screen, “I only have three seconds?!” Yes, but let me be clear, you have three seconds for your customer to find what they want. They might spend the next half hour looking at it, reviewing it, reading about it, whatever, but they need to be able to find what they’re looking for in those three seconds.
As I’m sure you can tell, this is related to out #1 consideration: Make It Easy! The key to this tip is about the timing. If they can’t get to what they want fast, your customer will go where they can. Amazon is a company that does this very well. You may search for exactly what you want and the Amazon algorithm will show you related options in easy to click on boxes, just in case. You don’t need to be Amazon, but you need to make sure all your offerings can be seen and accessed quickly.
Be Engaging, Not Distracting
I know I mentioned in the beginning of this that we weren’t going to go deep into design, and we’re not really; but when you’re optimizing your site it’s important to make sure it isn’t distracting. Engaging vs distracting is an important distinction. It’s easy to get excited about your offering and just fill the space with features and images and reviews… But remember the K.I.S.S. rule and that most times less is more.
Engage the audience with the most essential information. Give them the option to learn more through your interface, but don’t try and cram everything into one spot. If they get distracted then they not only become less likely to buy, they are less likely to come back at all. If they remain engaged then they are not only more likely to buy, but they are more likely to refer you to their circle.
Go check your site. Is it ready? Is it optimized? Is there more you can do? Be honest with yourself and watch your conversions rise! And if you’re ready for help with your SEO and digital ad placement let us know, it’s our specialty.