As technology improves, customers have higher expectations for business websites.
For instance, 52 percent of consumers say a high-performing website is their most critical expectation when visiting an e-commerce site.
Forty-eight percent of users won’t wait for more than five seconds for a site to load and 33 percent will leave to buy from a competitor if a site takes too long.
Customers also expect more from mobile sites, with only 35 percent willing to wait longer for a mobile site to load compared to a desktop, compared to 44 percent of respondents willing to wait in 2014.
Staying competitive in today’s market means keeping up with your customers’ expectations of your website.
Here are three key areas where it’s crucial to make sure your website meets customer expectations in order to keep your customers happy.
#1 – User Experience
Your visitors’ user experience helps form their first impression of your website and your brand, which can play a crucial role in determining whether or not they decide to become a customer.
Business consultant Larry Alton recommends three initial steps you should take to optimize your visitors’ user experience.
Page loading impact
First, since page loading time has such a large impact on whether or not your visitors stay on your site, you should make sure your page loads quickly.
Google provides PageSpeed tools that your developer can use to analyze your site and identify areas for improvement.
The benefits of an SEO audit are undeniable and should always be considered before starting any SEO planning.
Ensuring that code is built correctly is important, including e-commerce and WordPress developed sites.
Website and data security
Second, with cyber attacks on the rise, it’s important to make sure your site and your customers’ data is secure.
Limit the number of users who have administrative access to your site, and use two-factor authentication to reduce the risk of being hacked.
Make sure anyone on your staff with access to your site follows your security policies.
Third, adopt a streamlined design layout that users will be able to view comfortably on mobile devices.
This means reducing excessive text and focusing on large graphics and video when possible.
For instance, if you view Apple’s home page on a smartphone, you will see a clean look with an emphasis on graphics and white space, minimal text, and icons for menu options.
#2 – E-commerce
E-commerce & SEO is another area where you should take steps to optimize your visitors’ experience.
The vast majority of your visitors come to your site not yet ready to buy a product. This means that you need to offer content that motivates them to stay on your page and get into your sales funnel.
One effective way to do this is having your home page offer a case study, e-book, guide, or video that addresses some need that your visitors have.
Your home page should also include calls to action oriented towards visitors who are looking for information or resources but are not yet ready to buy from you.
As for your sales page and shopping cart, the easier you make it for your customers to buy from you, the higher your sales conversion rate will be.
For example, Amazon includes a shopping cart icon at the top of its home page so that it’s easy for visitors to begin the purchase process as soon as they arrive.
Amazon also makes it easy to add products to the cart, begin the checkout process, choose shipping and payment options, review orders and make repeat purchases with one-click ordering.
#3 – Customer Service
Customer service is another crucial component of an effective website.
Forrester research shows that 76 percent of customers prefer self-service over speaking to a representative on the phone.
A good contact cloud center solution can help ensure that you’re able to provide your customers with consistent support across live chat and other media.
When customers do need help, they increasingly prefer live chat, with 65 percent now using live chat compared to 43 percent in 2012, according to Forrester.
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