A few days ago I found myself in a situation that seems to happen every week. Once again I was hungry and looking for somewhere to eat out. I’ve only been living in Columbus for a few months and I like to try new restaurants whenever possible so I pulled out my laptop and began browsing Yelp. In a few minutes I found a highly rated Chinese restaurant with a special deal running. My stomach growling, I searched for their site to check the menu and… the menu was nowhere to be found. I ended up eating somewhere else.
I suspect that at some point in the lives of most consumers, not being able to find the right information online has pushed them away from a purchase. If it wasn’t a menu, it may have been a phone number, hours of operation or a listing of stores where they could buy a given product. You may not run a restaurant, but no matter what you do you’re probably aware that getting people onto your site involves a lot of hard work and probably a pinch of luck. When that happens, your only duty to this person as a potential customer at this point is to give them what they’re looking as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you will lose customers.
Luckily for everyone, you don’t need to include a mind-reading feature on your site to accomplish this because most of the people are going to come to your site looking for the same things. There are a few ways to figure out just what that is, but the least labor-intensive method is to simply put yourself in the shoes of your consumers and think of what they want. Since you offer something to other people, you may have difficulty putting yourself in that situation. However, you make buying decisions almost every day. You hold loyalties to some brands over others. Make a conscious effort after today to stay aware of how you buy and why. Don’t make the same mistakes in your business that bother you as a consumer.
If you want to get serious about this, why not ask your customers if they were able to find everything they wanted from your site? You won’t be able to speak with the ones whose business you lost with this method (obviously) but you can at least use this to get an idea of what was hard to find. As a bonus, this will help you for a better relationship with those you serve. In addition, pay attention to questions people call to ask you because often this can point to information that’s missing from your site.
With mobile users, who are famously impatient and ready to act on their research immediately, form is important to consider as well. Even if everything that truly matters is just one click away from your front page, finding those links on mobile can still be tricky if the site isn’t formatted to adapt to the small screen. If you’re one of our users, we recommend using contact info or a concise rich text section with the most important information as your first piece of content.
Finding out what matters most to consumers looking at your site is always a worthy investment. With just a small amount of time and some simple modifications to your site, you can see real improvements that directly impact your sales very quickly.
Photo credit: vernieman