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Ensuring your online customer journey reflects your brand

For most businesses in the 21st Century, a company website is normally the first place people come when interacting with your brand. It is essentially your shop window for advertising your brand to the rest of the world.

In the B2B (business to business) sector, a website arguably carries even greater weight, as very few people choose to do business with you from just walking past your office, as they might do with a high-street shop.

For this reason, tailoring your users' online experience to ensure that it accurately reflects your brand and its positioning within the market is of paramount importance if your business is to succeed. How does your brand think? How does it feel? How does it react to the needs of the user above its own? These are all questions that should be at the forefront of your mind when you’re looking to build or even modify your company website to improve your brand’s presence.

There are some simple steps you can take that will help ensure your business is taking its customers on the journey that’s right for them and for your brand. This will eventually help to not only grow your business but also encourage loyalty among your customers or clients.

1. Keep your website simple

Always remember the core purpose of your website. If you are an online shop, chances are that people are going to be more interested in the items you stock, how they are priced, what’s their availability and end-to-end service, and possibly where they are manufactured. They are less likely to be interested in your charity-fun run, as they are not buying into the culture of the company, simply its products.

By keeping the sole purpose of your website in mind and not overwhelming your customers, you’ll be in a better position to meet their needs.

2. Display key information clearly

If you’re selling multiple items that can fulfil the same need, show the customer why they should perhaps consider a particular product over another. This may sound simple, but we have all been in a situation on a website where you are thinking of making a big purchase, such as a laptop, and you just can’t decide between your final two on the shortlist. This is when you should offer helpful advice, or risk losing the sale.

Keeping it simple for the customer and highlighting the benefits of certain products over another, in an easily digestible way will ease the decision making process, making them more likely to complete a purchase straight away rather than clicking over to a competitor’s site. People don’t choose Apple because the brand overcomplicates its products. They frequently choose it because there is a common trust between the customer and manufacturer and that trust has to be carefully nurtured. A great way of doing this is through transparent and simple prices and product information, making your brand a name people can depend on for help.

3. Remember your customer

Lots of us like going into our local shop and being treated with a ‘hello', and even more so when they remember what we like and what we’re interested in. Websites are no different.

Most websites nowadays require you to log in to complete a purchase. Utilise this information to send out the best deals via a newsletter or something similar, and to tailor personalised promotions to your customer’s, based on their previous purchases. This technology isn’t new, nor is it expensive, but it can help safeguard return custom and add a human feel to your brand by applying that special touch - especially if this is communicated to a customer in a way that suits them.

4. Always keep in mind how you would like to be treated

Customers know good and poor customer service when they see it. When designing your website, look at potential pain points that could discourage customers and find a way around the problem. It doesn’t need to be flashy, but your online customer journey does need to be smooth and guide customers on a path that they feel comfortable with. For example, if you want to find out delivery information or other frequently asked questions, good brands will have this information readily available and easy to find.

Number five is the most important point: 5. Establish a great user experience (UX).

A great brand has a great UX, which means you have to design your website from the customer’s point of view.

It’s easy when working in a business to lose sight of how customers perceive your website’s layout, order process, basket page etc. Take time to step back and use the website as though you were a first time visitor buying a product from start to finish. What type of journey does it take you on and does this reflect the journey you want your customers to have with your brand?

Compare this to other websites that are ranked highly for the products / services you are trying to sell and take their journey into consideration - and, more importantly, how this differs from yours. An easy way to do this is to ensure that the website has frequent ‘touch points’ for customer service, helping to keep customers from feeling ‘lost’ within the site or during the ordering process. Websites that don’t will severely hamper their chances of securing a sale or return custom, ultimately damaging their brand.

If you follow these simple steps, your company will have a head-start over the competition, and you will have created a brand that you are proud of and that customers trust.