Customer behaviour is changing – as customers and as consumers we are developing rapidly. The way we choose where to spend our money is changing, and this means our requirements to retailers are changing, too. It is no longer enough to have a physical presence or a big billboard. For purchases other than our basic food shopping, which often is driven by convenience and location (e.g. proximity to our workplace or home, or parking opportunities), most of us do our research online.
If billboards were the place to be seen 30 years ago, the top of google search is today’s equivalent. And to be there, you need to have a well functioning and attractive website – one that immediately answers the question in the customer’s mind. If you are a restaurant, you may have a pretty looking website, but is it immediately obvious when you are open? Or how the customer can contact you or reserve a table? What about the menu?
Steve Jobs said ‘Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.’ So spending time designing an online presence that not only looks good and feels good – at the crux of it is functionality. It should work. It should answer any questions as soon as possible. Reducing the friction and the time spend finding the answer is the key to attracting customers. The easier it is for them to find out about you, the better a chance you stand in being viewed positively in their eyes.
Here are a few things to consider when designing a low-friction website:
- Is the menu clear?
- Is each main page on the site reachable from the homepage?
- Does the menu items clearly signpost where they lead you?
- Does the frontpage contain links to a contact page?
- Does the frontpage contain contact info directly?
Remember, what you want is to avoid anyone struggling to understand where to go next. If you have a complex site, considering putting your contact info somewhere clearly visible on the homepage. The easier it is for people to contact you, the better. For most, picking up the phone or typing a message asking a question is an easy option – much easier and attractive than searching through several pages.
It can be summed up as follows: Information should be relevant and presented as clearly as possible. Aim to answer the question in fewer than 3 clicks. The longer it takes the consumer to find what he or she is looking for, the smaller the chance of converting.