A website is one of the most important assets for any online business. Your website has to capture your customer's attention, represent your brand image, and guide traffic through to the point of purchase. A website for an online business does more than facilitating purchases; it defines your brand and customer experience. With so many online businesses competing for the same customer base, your website is vital to ensure your business remains competitive and able to grow in the future. This guide is here to help you understand more about how your website design impacts customer experience and how to improve your site for customer experience.
How Does Website Design Affect Customer Experience?
Website design is a term that describes the process of contextualizing, arranging, and manifesting your website. Both a website's aesthetic design and functionality are included in the term website design. The list below outlines a few of how website design can impact your customer experience.
Brand Identity and Aesthetic Design
The focus of digital marketing today is on target audiences, namely, the consumers who are most relevant to your brand image and your products or services. Your website's aesthetic design, down to your font or color pallet, can have a big impact on your brand identity. You need your website to accurately reflect your brand identity to make and maintain an instant connection with your target audience. Research has found that it takes users, on average, two-tenths of a second to form a first impression of a website. This means that, from first glance, your aesthetic design can impact whether a user feels your site aligns with their expectation and preferences or not.
Load time is a term used to describe the time that it takes for a page to load. Loading speeds can have a big impact on customer experience. Search engines use loading speeds to determine rankings because they know that the average user will click off a page that takes more than three seconds to load.
Website Design and Perceptions of Trust
Website design can have a big impact on how much a user is likely to trust your brand. Research has found that 48% of people surveyed reported a website's design to be the number one factor in deciding the business's credibility. If your site is old, outdated, or unresponsive, customers are far less likely to stay on-site or make a purchase.
Website Design and The User Journey
Online shoppers are familiar with how websites work, which means they have certain expectations. Shoppers don't want to have to spend time searching your site for the information they click on for; in fact, most people will simply click off if this is the case. Your website should offer all the standard navigation tools, such as a navigation bar and search box. A good customer experience navigating a website should be unnoticeable; the user should instinctively click through your site to the point of purchase.
Website Design and Customer Relationships
Your website is your window display, shop set up, and floor staff all rolled into one as an online business. Your website design has the power to make or break relationships with users. It determines whether they click off seconds after reaching the landing page or becoming loyal, returning customers. Without the right website design, your product development, customer service, and order fulfillment teams are futile, as users are unlikely to make it to the point of purchase.
How to Improve On-Site Customer Experience
Website design is a multi-faceted process; therefore, improving your website for customer experience will involve a few different focuses. The list below outlines some of the most effective ways of improving your on-site customer experience.
Offer a Live Chat Service
Research has found that companies who add a chat button to their websites experience up to a 40% increase in conversion rates. A live chat feature can be so beneficial to sales due to its benefits to customer experience. It enables users to connect instantly with your brand, helping them feel more valued and making them more likely to stay on-site and make a purchase.
Improve Loading Speeds
As outlined earlier, the speed at which your site loads has a big impact on whether a customer will remain on-site or click off. Test your website's loading speed to see how it is functioning. If your website is loading too slowly, you might want to consider switching website hosts, using a faster theme or compressing images.
Optimize for Mobile
Mobile currently accounts for over 52% of global web traffic; this figure is only expected to grow in the coming years. To ensure that you are catering to the large market of mobile shoppers, you need to ensure that your site functions as expected across mobile and laptop devices.
Offer a Range of Payment Options
Offering a range of payment options is the best way to ensure that your customers continue to have a positive experience on your website right up until the last stages of ordering. The chosen payment method of shoppers can vary greatly, so including a range of options ensures convenience. Shoppers are also more likely to trust a site that uses a familiar payment method.
Make Important Pages Easily Accessible
You want customers to have to spend as little time as possible thinking about your site's navigation. To make your site's navigation more instinctive, review your display of important informational pages. For example, where are your 'about us', 'contact us', 'online checkout', and 'FAQs' pages? If these are not located in an obvious and accessible location, then you should assume the average user will not spend the time needed to find them.
Review Your Analytics
Analytics is a very useful tool when it comes to improving on-site customer experience. Tools like Google Analytics will provide you with information about the average time-on-page and your best-performing webpages. You can use this information to further your website development with a focus on your current customer behavior.