The title of this blog post might seem sacrilegious coming from a company that designs websites. Let me explain.
We recently designed a new website for a company that had been in business for several years and had a pre-existing website. The website was inefficient for a number of reasons, and they came to us wanting more control over the content, which our proprietary Site Manager software allows, and they wanted a website that was organized more efficiently. Sounds like the right thing to do, right?
The problem arose when they told us, after the new site had been online for a month, that their sales had drastically fallen. Some follow up conversations revealed a few reasons why this had happened.
First of all, the previous site was so poorly designed for online sales that customers had to call the business to make their purchase. The previous site had almost one hundred images in a slideshow that people would look through, and then call up and say, “I want THAT one.” Problem is, the new site is designed to make online purchasing so much easier, that no one has to call anymore. Turns out, the sales team was particularly adept at closing sales over the telephone. The new site doesn’t offer that same impulse to talk to someone on the phone.
Furthermore, because this particular business sells items that are fairly expensive, they were always flexible about taking a deposit, doing multi-part billing and payments, etc. But the only purchase option on the new site was an add-to-cart button for the full price. There was no information available about their payment flexibility.
Now that we are aware of these issues, we are taking steps to introduce the right calls-to-action and design elements on the site, so that they can have the same telephone touch with their customers and payment flexibility that they used to have.
What could have helped avoid this situation? If you as the business owner are considering a new website, have an open and honest conversation about how your business works with your web designer. If much of your business comes from phone calls, tell your web designer. Even if they don’t ask, get this information on the table. We are here to do the best job we can for your business. Our business is only successful when YOUR business is successful.
There are certain industry best practices surrounding website design that work in most cases, but every business is unique. It’s important that the lines of communication are open, because the needs of your business are not going to be the same for any other business, even if you are in the same industry. Knowing just what you need and how your business works helps us create the best website experience for you and your customers.