In this day and age, it would almost be counterintuitive to say, as a business, that you care about your customers if you do not have a well-established e-commerce website where your customers can browser your catalogue from the comfort of their own homes and purchase products or services without the hassle of getting dressed, commuting to your business, and waiting in line.
The benefits of hosting a well-designed e-commerce site are innumerable, both for the customer and for the business. But, for the sake of not spending an innumerable amount of time listing all the benefits out, consider these six main points:
- A well-designed e-commerce site will streamline the process of purchasing products and services. If the process of purchasing company products is relatively easy, interactive and efficient, customers will be more likely to return just for the sake of receiving the same customer service experience! Conversely, if the process of purchasing a product or service is slow and difficult, the customer may simply decide that the product is not worth the trouble. Just because customers do not necessarily interact with a person via your e-commerce site does not mean that customer service is not important!
- Just as the appearance of your storefront is important, so is the appearance of your e-commerce website. In addition to an intuitive design and efficient checkout processes, it is also important to have a website that is attractive. Consumer psychology offers research to back the fact that efficient use of colours and appealing design can elicit overall positive emotional states which can be the final little nudge needed to entice a customer to buy your product!
- The fact is that customers want to feel good about the purchasing decisions they make: if you bought a used, 2008 model Fiat with 200,000 miles for £25,000, how amazing would you feel flaunting that to your friends or colleagues? Hopefully you would not (or more so, hopefully you would not have made the decision in the first place)! Feeling good about a purchasing decision means being able to make an informed decision. A well-designed e-commerce website should be informative and give the customer the power to make a good informed decision while simultaneously selling the product to your customer. It is undoubtedly an art.
- The more functionality a website has, the more interactive it is for customers and the better the customer experience. One way to increase this functionality on e-commerce websites is by including shopping carts, wish lists, and so forth. By allowing customers the freedom of creating a wish list, it gives them a reason to return to your website!
- A good e-commerce site allows the customer to purchase products and services independent of a live agent’s assistance when possible. This saves time for the company and can increase productivity. At the same time, however, a good e-commerce website also gives customers the opportunity to get help if they need it or to have questions regarding products and services answered quickly. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by offering the customer an option to Live Chat. The idea is to let the customer govern their own experience.
- Some people would argue that an internet-only interface makes customers feel less of a personal connection with your customers. But, if done right, customers can feel just as connected to your business via a website as compared to via a storefront. Social connections via the web have been more or less normalised with social media, and as long as you stay in touch with the customer (by send email updates about the company or offering feedback opportunities through customer surveys) to show you care, you can build that relationship.
Sociologists have been making the claim over the past few years that, since the emergence of the internet, mankind has been phasing into a fourth-dimension: people’s lives are becoming more and more concerned with heightening the status of their online personas. The trend is inevitable: the digital age is upon us and the pervasiveness of technology is only increasing.
Whether you want to create a personal blog or a business, the only way to establish yourself on the internet is by getting your own domain name: you own digital home or business address. You may not yet have an idea of what you want to accomplish by getting a domain name – whether you will end up selling a product, advocating for a cause, or doing nothing at all – but, in any case, purchasing a domain name is a worth-while investment.
Do not hesitate! Let us take into consideration the possibilities: you purchase a domain name today with no particular end-game in sight. But the domain name is unique and it is yours. Consider, ten years from now, a squirrel chucks an acorn at your balding head and suddenly you are stricken with an ingenious business idea that will make you rich overnight. And thankfully, because you read this blog ten years prior, you already have the perfect domain name purchased and waiting to be the foundation of the riches you will build from the digital rubble.
But, what if you had not purchased that domain name ten years ago? What if you had the perfect domain name in mind but decided that you had no use for it, and so some days or weeks or years down the line someone else decided to purchase that same ingenious domain name, for no particular purpose. But now that you have your business plan, you are desperate to get the domain name, so you reach out to this mystery person to purchase the domain name from them, and suddenly they are charging you £500!
This is not uncommon: when the internet was just getting to the point where the majority of people had a personal computer and access to the internet from their home, a popular investment vehicle, much like trading stocks, was purchasing domain names that people thought would become valuable to other entities at a later time. It was an easy way to make money when the national sense of entrepreneurship was being augmented by the pervasiveness of the internet.
So whether you have a business plan in mind or not, get a domain name today! Who knows, maybe a company will approach you a few years down the line offering big money to relieve the burden off of your hands.