Nostalgia….we all love it. Walking downtown, looking through the windows of the small shops and boutiques. We know if we go in, there will be someone there to greet us with a smile and ask us if they can help us find the perfect something we have been searching for. So not the case with a virtual store front on the World Wide Web. How do you give that same personalized experience to your customer with your business web site? Do you use .wav files, flash, multimedia? There are lots of choices, but how do you personalize your customers experience with your choice?
1. Know your target customer.
If your typical customer is not tech-savvy, do not design your website with the premise that your customer will have to take a class to navigate it. When working with your web design company or if you are designing your own website, keep your customer’s potential computer skills at the top of the list. Ask yourself, if I was my typical customer, how would it be easiest for me to find what I need…and fast? A good way to find out what your customer needs during their browsing experience is to offer a coupon for a percentage off one of your products in turn for their input. You would be surprised how many customers will take you up on the offer.
2. Make your product or service available right from your home page (acting as your store front window).
If you had a physical store front location, how would you dress your store front window? You would probably put your best products out front, right? Anything to attract your potential customer inside the door. Same principle applies for your website. Your customer will almost always start looking for your best product first and work their way down. Whether you are having a once-in-a-life-time sale or offering a product that your customer cannot live without, don’t make them hunt for it…make it available from the start.
3. Correspond with your customer thru your website.
Ok…so you don’t have a live person to meet and greet….that’s part of being virtual. But how do you say, “Hello, is there something I can help you find today?” Fast searches, quick navigation, short correspondence forms and email links are just some of the ways. But, there is nothing more frustrating than emailing a question or filling out a question form about a product and no one gets back to you for days. Meanwhile, they have found another place to purchase their product. Don’t make your customer wait. You should have a plan in place to monitor customer’s questions and feedback – and most importantly, follow through!
4. Keep It Simple!
Too often I have seen “cool, techno” websites that can scare a potential customer away just because of the look of the site. For Example: If you have signed up with a web design company who made a top-notch, flash, multimedia site, in which you paid thousands of dollars for and your product is an everyday household item, chances are you customer really isn’t interested in watching 5 minute flash movies. He or she just wants to purchase their item and be done with it. Don’t put your customer through this agonizing experience. Try to design your website with the least amount of clicks to get to where you need to go. I always try to follow this simple rule, three clicks and you’re there!
5. When they leave your site, give them a reason to come back.
If you website home page has what the customer needs, they will be back. If your virtual store front entices your customer to enter your virtual store, they will be back. If you follow through promptly with corresponding with your customer, they will be back. If your customer knows they will get what they need fast, they will be back.
And that’s what it’s all about right? Keeping your customers coming back!