Long gone are the days of form over function. As our population becomes more tech savvy, function is obviously the key player in buyer decisions. When we study the habits of our customers more closely we can better design our website to ensure an ease of use. These 3 tips make your website more useful to customers and in turn, you make more sales.
1. Where are you?
We know it’s obvious that contact information is undoubtedly the most important information you can provide. Yet many businesses mistakenly make this information hard to find. Studies reveal that users typically follow the same eye patterns when scanning a website for the information they need. Looking at the top left corner, then to the right, and everything after that gets skimmed over. These behaviors help determine where your most valuable information should be: at the top of the page either on the left or right side. The more a customer has to scour a page for a way to find your business, the less likely they are to enjoy interacting with your business.
Next, is how the information is displayed. Sure, theres a lot to include, but you should prioritize balance between information overload and unnecessary details. These are the three specific things to include:
Unless your business is solely online, your address is essential information that should be optimally displayed in your contact page or in the footer. To simplify this step and avoid any confusion, you can add a small Google map to the contact page, that is also connected to your Google listing. Because Google is a familiar map format and a trusted source, this will help your business be found quickly and easily.
Hours of operation
When someone is looking for your hours, they are likely about to purchase, so make sure this is accurate and easy to ready. These examples show you what to definitely not do, and what to do to make it easiest on your audience.
Definitely don’t do this
Open Mondays – 9:00 am-5:00 pm, Tuesdays – 9:00 am-5:00 pm, Wednesdays – 9:00 am-5:00 pm, Thursdays – 9:00 am-5:00 pm, Fridays – 9:00 am-7:00 pm, Saturdays 12:00 pm-5:00 pm and customer service is open until 7:00 pm.
Pretty hard to read, right? Specific days that the customer may be looking for are hard to distinguish and you can’t really tell if customer service is just open on Saturday until 7pm, or every day.
What to do
Mon: 9 – 5
Tues: 9 – 5
Wed: 9 – 5
Thurs: 9 – 5
Fri: 9 – 7
Sat: 12 – 5
Mon – Sat: 12 – 7
You can probably see how scanning through that was faster because it was visually more appealing. It could save your customers a few seconds, which in todays culture is valuable.
Sometimes customers will feel more comfortable reaching out to you before they enter a store or make a purchase.
Businesses with multiple departments that each have their own phone lines should make it apparent on the contact page so customers aren’t playing ping pong between different department lines. If your contact information is the footer, use a catch-all number so that the information doesn’t clutter the page. Also make sure your information is optimized to be clicked on mobile devices, so that you can be reached instantly.
2. Who are you?
You probably have a lot to say about your business, so the challenge is in sharing the right information. Keeping it short and sweet ensures you don’t waste time writing the history of your business, when no one is going to read it. From the customers perspective, they are looking for a few key things like: What makes you stand out from the competition? And, what do you do to ensure that you have happy customers? Both of these things as you can see, are more about the customer and what they can get than about the inner workings of your business.
Once these basis are covered, consider adding a design element that helps interested customer learn more about the business, without bogging down the page. This page can be loaded up with your history, philosophy, and achievements.
3. What do you do?
Although there is no one-size-fits all method for explaining what your business does, keep in mind that it must be apparent when customers are make a decision to buy. When they are looking for confirmation that your business is what they are looking for, there is nothing better than clear, concise, helpful information. Remember the three click rule: no important information should ever be more than three clicks away.
One method that is helpful to start getting a feel for what works for your business is to survey your competition. Assuming the perspective of your customers, it’s easy to scan a site and make notes about what to avoid or implement.
Although commonly perceived by businesses as the online version of your business, it would be virtually impossible and detrimental to create a website that way. It’s really just a messenger, that relays information that customers need in order to make a decision. If your messenger is throwing too much information out, beating around the bush or making things confusing, customers will loose focus and be detoured. When you implement these tips to make your message concise and useful, customers will want to engage with your business. If your website is the first impression a customer has of your business, remember that you only have one shot at a first impression!