The digitization of business processes has fully trickled down to small and local businesses, in part because necessity mandated a major transition to online business development in the early months of 2020. Regardless of the reason for this transition, it would be naive to think that we’ll backtrack away from digital engagement, even with local businesses. The convenience, simplicity and privacy afforded to consumers when they engage with businesses online has opened eyes to a new world of consumerism, and it’s unlikely that everyone will return to running errands around town when they can engage with businesses they love from the comfort of their home.
When we all stepped up our digital game in March – maybe adding website points of sale, delivery services or other safety-mandated online functions – we did so with haste. Business survival demanded immediate transitions to online operations. Now that we’re six months wiser, it’s time to take a look at our digital front door and assess.
Think of your digital front door as your online storefront. It’s the landing page that leaves a first impression on new or potential customers, and it’s as much a part of your brand as your logo, printed materials and physical place of business. Right now, your digital front door might be a little out of sorts – it’s OK. We all had to work with what we had to get things moving in March. But what can you do now to strengthen your digital front door?
As you quickly add content and change information on your site, it is easy for messages to become jumbled and for processes to become unclear. One surefire way to turn a customer away is to confuse them on the front end. Evaluate your content and refine language on your homepage to ensure customers know how to engage with your business online. Then, think about the process a typical consumer might go through when they visit your site. Prioritize site content based on user needs to help people better find the information they seek.
When we had a “make it work” mentality, we errantly placed buttons and pop-ups throughout our sites to draw people to new features and online marketplaces. The placement wasn’t perfect or optimal, but it got the job done in a pinch. You may have invested in a software or multiple programs to bring customers through the sales process, but the navigation isn’t necessarily smooth. Now is the time to optimize and streamline your processes. Ask your customers what is working for them and where they are getting hung up along the way. Then, heed their advice. Connect platforms to make online browsing, purchasing and delivery easy. Communicate these enhancements with your customers on social media and in your email newsletters to demonstrate your listening, and remember to update your website content to clearly outline your new processes.
As you add and remove services or products, launch campaigns and adjust site language, you sometimes forget what exactly you have on your site. When this happens, your homepage and frequently visited pages start to contradict content found deep in the crevices of your site. Go through the back end of your website and make sure that the content on your deepest subpages agrees with your homepage content. This helps alleviate confusion and strengthen your overall site appearance.