We’re going to play a little pretend today. Start by closing your eyes and envisioning yourself in your favorite store. What do you like most about it? The displays? The lighting? The friendly associates?
There are just certain things a brick-and-mortar store can offer to enhance the entire customer experience: attractive merchandising, a well-planned layout, and someone who’s always a few steps away just in case you have a question (even though you’re usually “just browsing” right?). All these elements―right down to those bins of irresistible goodies near the checkout counter―should ultimately lead to that ring at the cash register. (Or the swipe at the card reader, if you will.)
Now, let’s apply this scenario to our world―the digital world. More specifically, customer-centric web design. As the name suggests, it’s all about making the user experience as positive as possible, so the customer can quickly and easily find what he needs. In other words, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and look at your web design through his eyes.
To continue the store analogy, look at it this way:
- Your homepage is like the big window display. Does it create a good first impression and draw people inside? Does it reflect your brand? Or does it appear dusty, poorly-lit, and outdated?
- Your navigation is like a store’s layout. Does the flow make sense? Are the aisles nice and wide, or cramped and cluttered? Is there signage to help you find what you need?
- Your FAQ page is like having a helpful salesperson right there to answer questions. Even if someone is “just browsing” through your website, chances are they’ll look for an FAQ page to see what questions have already been answered.
- Your visuals take the place of having tangible items to see and touch in person. Poor visuals will give the perception that your products/services are sub-par. Don’t skimp on high-quality pictures or graphics!
So when all of these things come together on your site, what does this mean for you? Increased potential for more leads and conversions. This could be in the form of someone signing up for your e-newsletter, calling you for a quote, or actually making a purchase. Whatever action you want someone to take, your site must guide them there in the most helpful and efficient way.
A lot of time and research goes into retail store planning and merchandising. The same applies to a customer-centric website! (And just to be clear, the most fancy website in the world can still turn people off if it’s not user-friendly.) If you think your site might need some help in this area, contact us… We’re just a phone call away.
P.S. We really are curious… what is your favorite store? From a customer’s standpoint, tell us why you enjoy the experience and how that might translate to a customer-centric web design. Share in the comments below!