As a small business owner, your website is often the first interaction a potential customer has with your business. When they’re searching for a product or service, and land on your site, you want your website to be the best representation of your business.
As such, your website needs to have the features that modern consumers look for, or just as quickly as someone finds your site, they’ll leave it. A report by Episerver found that 98 percent of consumers have been dissuaded from making a purchase because of a brand’s website.
Don’t let a bad website keep you from driving revenue. Instead, optimize your site focusing on the five features customers want to see when they visit.
1. Accessible Contact Information
Customers want quick access to your business’s communication channels. Whether it’s your address, phone number, or a link to your social media, all business information should be easy to find and readily accessible. If visitors can’t find your contact information, they’ll likely hit the back button, according to a KoMarketing report that showed 44 percent of website visitors leave a company’s website if there’s no contact information or phone number.
Depending on your business, contact information can include:
- Customer service contact information: phone number, email, or chat option
- Address to physical locations
- Hours of operation
- Links to social platforms
2. Streamlined Checkout Process
When a customer is ready to convert, make sure the process is easy to go through. To test the ease-of-use, buy an item yourself, or better yet, have someone else make a purchase and give you feedback. You’re trying to determine how challenging it is to make a purchase and e-commerce experts at Selz suggest keeping the check-out as simple as possible.
They explain: “Don’t force visitors to register. Don’t make the buying process long and don’t try to collect a lot of information from buyers. The more steps and information requested, the greater the friction, and the more sales you will lose as buyers abandon their purchase.”
Testing, and then simplifying the check-out process as needed, can reduce cart abandonment and increase conversions up to 28 percent, according to OptinMonster. Don’t miss this simple optimization option, which can have a significant impact on revenue.
3. Transparent and Dynamic Pricing
Even if you’re not an e-commerce retailer, or your business operates offline, customers should be able to get a basic understanding of pricing from your website because prices allow potential customers or clients to make informed decisions. For service-based companies with fluctuating price structures, this is an opportunity to explain the cost ranges and factors to give customers some context.
While some service-based businesses prefer not to list prices, Pia Silva, Forbes contributor, makes a case for being upfront on your website: “Pricing transparency immediately weeds out bargain shoppers, which are people I’m not interested in working with. If you want a healthy, profitable service business, you must have a decent margin on your work, and that will never be in line with a customer whose only concern is the price point.”
To get more from this, make your pricing sheet downloadable with an email. Once downloaded, you can start nurturing this potential lead who was interested in your pricing, and they have access to the information they wanted.
If you do sell products, don’t forget to include dynamic options so that customers can filter by price, allowing customers to find what they need quickly. This has become standard in the e-commerce world, so use your POS system to enable the feature, or download another tool or plugin.
4. In-Depth Product or Service Descriptions
Customers want detailed information on your products and services; it educates them and helps move them along the sales funnel. Research from Salsify shows that 87 percent of shoppers agree that a detailed product description influences their decision to purchase.
In your product description, focus on benefits to the customer, and include your unique selling proposition (why your product/service is different). Refer to Oberlo's guide to writing product descriptions for more details. Don’t forget to include customer or client reviews in your product description. Reviews and testimonials offer much-needed social proof.
5. Easy Navigation
Your site needs to be easy to navigate, which 94 percent of consumers list as the most important website feature, according to a recent survey. Long story short: a customer should be able to quickly locate your main navigation and find what they’re looking for.
Remember, however, that navigation includes more than your nav bar. Every product page should have strong and straight-forward call-to-actions (CTAs) that lead customers to the next step. For example: “buy now”, “add to cart”, “sign up today”. The goal is to make the user-experience fool-proof so customers can effortlessly navigate your site.
Finally, assess how navigation is affected by mobile devices. Forrester’s 2018 Retail Best Practices: Mobile Web found that smartphones will be used during the buying process in more than one-third of total U.S. retail sales, making this critical for e-commerce sellers.
Optimize Website Features with Customers In Mind
Your business website should be a tool for potential customers. They should be able to find what they’re looking for, understand what makes your product/service unique, and ultimately convert with ease. Use these ideas to make small, but meaningful changes to your website features to boost sales and traffic.
Jessica Thiefels is the founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, an organic content marketing agency. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur and Fast Company. She also regularly contributes to Virgin, Business Insider, Glassdoor, Score.org and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.