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When you own a small business, you’re balancing many priorities, but improving the user experience of your website is a to-do that you can’t afford to ignore.
User experience (UX) refers to the overall experience a customer has when navigating your website or app. It’s essential to making sales and retaining return customers.
When you can generate a positive user experience, it can help your business and result in happy customers. On the other hand, when UX goes wrong, it can drive customers away and harm your business.
If you’ve ever tried to navigate a website that wasn’t mobile-friendly, you’ve likely experienced the effects of a negative user experience firsthand.
After struggling to scroll and view the page, trying to click buttons that were too small, and attempting to read colored text that didn’t stand out against the background, you probably gave up, frustrated.
If your website has similar issues, your potential customers will turn away just as you did.
The good news is that you have full control over your website or app’s user experience. With some careful analysis and by hiring a talented website designer, you can improve the UX of your site.
Your website is your small business’ storefront — so isn’t it worth investing some time and money to make it look and perform at its very best?
Defining User Experience (UX)
User experience encompasses everything that a potential customer experiences when interacting with your brand and products through a website, app, or even through the product, itself.
A well-designed website makes an immediate impression on a visitor. When a site is easy and enjoyable to navigate, that visitor is more likely to stay on the site to gather information or shop for a product.
A site that isn’t as welcoming or enjoyable can drive visitors away and result in lost customers.
Mobile use and compatibility are large components of offering a positive UX experience. Designing a site to be mobile-friendly is a must.
This becomes even more important if you have an e-commerce site where customers move through the checkout process.
Similarly, contests or e-newsletter signup forms that are easy to navigate can lead to increased sign-ups while building out your marketing lists.
This is also true of troubleshooting any issues customers may have with your product, addressing shipping delays, and staying on top of the overall customer service experience.
How UX Impacts Your Bottom Line
UX is more than just a pretty website. When you make navigating your site or purchasing a product easy, streamlined, and even enjoyable for a customer, you’re increasing your chances of making a sale while giving that customer a positive view of your brand.
After putting so much effort into customer acquisition through strategies like content marketing, SEO, and more, your UX isn’t an area you should neglect — particularly considering how it can impact your company financially.
Nearly 80% of users will leave a site with poor UX and search for another site to complete a task.
Mobile users are five times more likely to abandon a site that isn’t optimized.
Poor UX is a widespread problem, with 96 percent of mobile users having encountered sites that weren’t designed for mobile use.
A positive mobile UX can have a particularly significant impact on your sales. Smartphone users are more likely to take some sort of action, such as making a purchase or contacting a business on their phones.
Any UX issues that make it difficult for them to complete a purchase can cause you to lose a sale and the potential repeat business that customer would have brought.
Customers have come to expect those personalized experiences. This makes it even more important to deeply understand your target audience, their pain points, and what appeals to them.
Then, you can tailor your website, blog, and marketing materials to their interests, questions, and needs.
There are countless ways that you can use your knowledge of your audience to improve their UX. Tracking a user’s past history and engagement on your site means you can show that user particular suggested products that should interest them. Offering coupons or discounts based on a customer’s past purchase history can increase their chances of purchasing from you again.
Your marketing emails offer another chance for you to make a personalized connection with your audience.
Customizing emails with customers’ names is a must. Through email segmentation you can provide customers with highly customized content based on their interests, purchasing habits, and more.
While interacting with larger businesses is often an impersonal experience, small business owners can capitalize on their ability to engage with their audience on a more personal level.
Website User Experience Design Strategies
The visual elements of your website make an immediate impression on your visitors.
Your site’s UX design is an integral part of the user experience. Basic site accessibility elements, like a visitor’s ability to read the text on your site, depend on factors like font choice, text and background color, and text size.
Carefully positioning the text on your site so that you avoid big paragraphs makes a site easier to read.
A talented site designer can improve your UX by designing a user-friendly menu for easy navigation, including appropriate in-text internal links. They can also design “add to cart” and “checkout” buttons that are colorful, professional, and easy to use.
Adjusting your checkout process to require minimal information and to seamlessly integrate with a variety of payment methods also makes for an improved UX and can reduce cart abandonment while increasing sales.
Whether you come up with a creative “thank you” page after checkout or add a live chat feature to your site for increased customer interaction, your efforts to improve your user experience can result in increased customers, improved customer retention, and more sales.
A small business owner needs to know about UX and find ways to deliver quality interactions with all of their customers.
Jori Hamilton is a writer and journalist from the Pacific Northwest who covers social justice issues, healthcare, politics, and the workplace. You can follow her work on twitter, Linked In, and her portfolio.