Making Your Website Customer Ready
While a website can provide a fantastic platform for your business, it simply can’t offer the level of personal service of a high street shop. This, combined with the ease of jumping onto a competitor’s website online, your website has to work much harder to turn visitors into paying customers.
Here we run down a list of the top features and techniques available to ensure your website is customer ready and prepared to compete with your online competition.
In 2015 Google announced that more internet searches were now coming from mobile browsers than desktops. This change in browsing habits means that your website has to adapt to mobile devices. The question is, should you developer your website to have a mobile specific version or to be responsive to screen resolution?
Some businesses opt to create a specific mobile website. This is usually on a subdomain of their main site such as mobile.example-site.com. This allows you to create a website that is completely tailored for the audience and which can be edited independently from the main website.
The other option – rapidly growing in popularity – is a responsive website. This is based on a website design that uses grid references to organise the look and feel of the design depending on the device it is being viewed on. This allows you to provide a website experience not only suitable for tablet and mobile, but even optimised for different monitor sizes.
Offer Live Chat
You may not be able to engage your customers face to face, but live chat apps can provide the next best thing. Applying a chat feature to your website not only allows you to guide your customers through their order, but also makes your website seem instantly more trustworthy.
Despite the digital age, a human touch is still always appreciated. Try tools such as Zopim which offer a limited free version to test the water. Just bear in mind that a staff member will need to be on hand in store to respond.
Ensure Your Website’s Secure
Between hacking of personal details and online fraud, the internet can seem a very dangerous place. Customers are wary of giving up their payment and personal details. As a business, you have to offer the assurance that all details are secure and customers’ best interests are at heart.
If your website takes customer details or information, then you should be applying an SSL certificate to protect your customers. This data file – when installed on your webserver – allows secure connections from your webserver to a browser. While not all customers will understand the exact nature of SSL, people respond positively in their trading on sites which display the secure padlock and https protocol in the URL.
Ensuring your payment gateways are secure is the next vital step. Generally, whether through PayPal, SagePay or other payment services the methods applied are secure. What you should be doing is making your customers aware of this. Testing has shown that businesses who add “Secured by…” images throughout the checkout process experience a higher rate of conversions.
Make Your Website Faster
Much like security, speed and performance are vital to your website’s success. A slow website will quickly frustrate a customer and a competitor’s website is only ever a click away.
Don’t allow your website to fall down on simple things like speed. Ensuring a fast browsing experience will help ensure that your customers will respond positively. Speed test your website with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and make sure your website’s performance is up to scratch.
Streamline Your Sales Funnel
The shortest distance between any two points is a straight-line. For your website’s checkout, you want to keep your customers on that straight and narrow line.
Provide vital information within the checkout pages, such as Returns, Shipping and Terms & Conditions to prevent customers leaving the checkout. Add a one-page checkout and remove unnecessary form details. Use breadcrumbs to inform customers of their progress through the checkout and their steps remaining.
By removing obstacles and streamlining your checkout, you’ll be making it far easier for your customers to complete a purchase instead of leaving you with the frustration of another abandoned cart.
Reach Customers Beyond the Website
Have you considered apps, email marketing and social media? Much like a mobile website these options can allow you to reach customers in different ways. Find out the social platforms that are most suited to your customer base and build a strong presence. Create an app that provides a useful tool or streamlines a commonly used feature of your website. Build up a strong email marketing list from a newsletter form on your website and make good use of it. Tools like MailChimp are excellent for streamlining and automating your mailing list.
Customers are all different, so using a broad range of platforms gives you more chance of reaching them in a way that works for them.
Show Them What You’ve Got
Ensuring you have all of the above in place will be vital in making your website customer ready. However, while this can put you ahead of many websites there will always be others who also practice these optimisation techniques and methods.
The one thing which can truly differentiate you from your competition is you. What is it about your product, business or service that differentiates you from your competitors? Once you identify this unique selling point, you need to make it a focus aspect of your website.
It might well be the key thing which keeps customers coming back to you.