Many online business owners focus solely on technology and design when building their websites and forget about the most important element: what the customer expects!
Most online business owners simply add some content, launch the website and then wonder why they don’t have customers.
To really make an impact and influence customers, businesses must move beyond a seller’s perspective. Generating business value happens by creating a customer experience driven from the buyer’s perspective.
Usability guides the placement and direction of content within the design and technology. The goal is convenience for the visitor’s interaction. Powerful usability enables a frictionless customer experience where intuition versus thinking drives the visitor’s movements.
A well-designed website that has high usability includes intuitive and instructive navigation, clear call-to-actions, articulate value propositions, credibility-building communications and a convenient order process.
Influence is where the seller guides the buyer down a deliberate sales process. A usable website generates average sales; an influential and usable website can skyrocket sales. An influential website is like a consultative sales person providing information, helping to evaluate alternatives, adding reassurances, feeding the emotional appeal, and skillfully pulling the visitor towards the purchase not always “now” but assuredly at a point in the future.
Influence includes personalization, suggestive selling, relevancy, trust, assurance, sincerity, helpfulness.
Influence is not manipulation. It is not the stereotypical used car salesperson tactics of cheap talk and deceptive ploys. Powerful influence is about intimately understanding the visitor’s needs to provide them the right information at the right time. It moves them clearly and easily through their buying process.
Usability and influence are buyer-driven because what is usable and what influences a purchasing decision is entirely controlled by the buyer. And just like you can’t manage what you don’t measure; you also can’t influence what you don’t understand – the visitor’s intent.
Design is the façade around the technology. It adds curb appeal to the website and directs the visitor’s eye towards a desired path. Great design directs a visitor’s actions through the effective use of colors, graphics and lines.
The design is initially recognized by the visitor in forming their first impressions about your ecommerce business. Design is like a person’s clothes or dress style; it doesn’t provide substance, but it forms our willingness to interact, to commit time and to frame the possibility of fulfillment.
And like people’s clothing style, we naturally associate stereotypes to a design to speed our decision process.
Whether fairly perceived or not, design plays a crucial role in setting expectations. With the average visitor spending 10 seconds or less determining our website’s relevancy with their goals, our designs either connect or expel them.
Ultimately design plays a supporting role to usability. Great design drives great usability.
Technology is a website’s foundation that must work seamlessly supporting the customer experience. Visitors shouldn’t notice the technology and typically only do when it is broken.
Technology is like a car’s engine; most drivers don’t know or care how it works, it’s just a vehicle to get them from point A to point B. But it quickly grows frustrating when it slows down, breaks down or falls apart.
Remember, in developing and evolving your online business – put the customer’s perspective first.