Perhaps in the infancy of web design, when few had access to high speed internet, web-enabled cell phones and tablets, manning a retail website was simple. Orders came in, inventory was sent out, and almost nothing was done at top speed. Today, it takes more than just a decent inventory management to ensure that one’s website can function properly. From knowing the customer, to understanding how many different devices individuals use to visit websites today, a well designed website can mean the difference between success and failure in online marketing. Here are some effective tools for those wondering what it takes to have a well designed, fully functional website.
Know the Hardware
Online retailers today must be willing to acknowledge that the hardware consumers are using to access their online sites today bears little resemblance to the hardware consumers were using 10 years ago. Though many had cellular phones, the smartphone was almost completely unheard of. Imagine trying to tell an online retailer of the past about the customers who would be able to sit at the park watching their children play while ordering new pairs of shoes for the children. Imagine trying to explain that this ordering was being done on an electronic pad that somehow, magically, connected to the internet. The technology has advanced so quickly, that some retailers have joined in a mad scramble to keep up with ever changing requirements of consumer hardware.
Know Consumer Behavior
In the past, some who used the internet through a dial-up connection joked about reading a book as they surfed the internet because each web page took so long to load. This early form of multi-tasking is nothing when compared to how individuals access the internet today. It is not uncommon today to see an individual sitting at a desktop computer, accessing 5 to 10 different websites at a time. Even more interesting is the fact that these same individuals may also be holding a smartphone and looking at a completely different website with it. Those who shop through the internet have become masters of comparison shopping, deal finding, and avoiding any websites that are difficult to use. Successful retailers have learned that good website design is critical to capturing and keeping the customer attention focused until the transaction is completed.
Know Social Networking
According to a recent report by Nielsen Media Research, women spend an average of almost 31 hours a month using smartphone apps. The number of hours spent by men came in at a close 29 ½ hours. Of this time spent on phones, 78 percent for women and 63 percent for men was spent on social media sites. With such a large amount of time devoted to keeping up with social media, many retailers have stepped into social media in order to entice consumers to their websites. While many find success in attracting potential customers by offering sales and discounts by clicking on a social media link, others have found that at times, the response is so overwhelming, there is simply not enough inventory available to keep up with those customers drawn by a great deal.
An effective website today must keep in touch with the most current trends in hardware, social media and consumer habits in order to stay competitive. Good website design will ensure that those customers who make their way to a website stay long enough to become purchasing customers.
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