We’ve all presumably been home now for a week or two. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve been reading and watching your television, consuming tons of content lately. There’s a bunch of scary information (the typical doom & gloom type stuff you find on social media), some real news, some BS, viral tik-tok video garbage, etc.. One obvious thing I’ve noticed is my fellow business owners feeling a bit overwhelmed with the shutdowns and I wanted to offer my knowledge and experience to you all in hopes that the information here will motivate and empower you. At least give you something to think about other than the Coronavirus. While this is one of the worst catastrophes of our time, its also one of the greatest opportunities.
A massive amount of people have been confined to their homes recently and occupying themselves with the internet. NOW is the time to lean into your online presence. We’ve always said that your website is the single most critical piece of your business and while most listened, some blew that off or took it as salesmanship. We worked long and hard on designing and developing websites that not only look great but actually convert traffic into customers and real dollars. I’m going to give you insight into two of our clients, each with different mindsets about their websites.
We’ve talked to hundreds of business owners over the last 7 years and we’ve found that there are typically just 2 schools of thought when it comes to a website.
- “Our website is absolutely critical to our mission.”
- “Ehh, a website is more of a flyer than anything else.”
Business owners who believe their web design is critical to the longevity and overall health of their business have been impacted far less than those who do not. Everyone is home and cruising the internet, but the basic rules still apply. If your website is terrible, users will not stay to investigate further. Not good, no money for you. If your website is elegant, informative, and professional, people will interact with it and possibly even buy something from you. Yay, revenue!
How eCommerce web design helps businesses thrive
For example, OK Feed and Supply is one of the longest standing local businesses in Tucson. They’ve been through the Great Depression, Bloody Monday, the Housing Crisis, and are still here today. Recently, we had the opportunity to partner with them to do something they’ve wanted to do for a long time. They wanted to build out an online store and finally, offer an eCommerce web design as an additional option for their customers who have been faithfully walking through their doors for almost 100 years. This was a massive undertaking given the sheer amount of products that needed to be represented on the site. Along with all the keyword research and on-site SEO, this was truly a monster of a project, but Will is a leader with resolve and we like a challenge. We launched Ok Feed’s new e-commerce web design 2 months ago and while sales began to build, we had no idea it was about to be it’s time to shine.
Will’s website was ready to convert internet users into paying customers. The online store was built out just in time and coupled with a Google Ad campaign featuring “FREE DELIVERY”, OK Feed turned a potentially catastrophic situation into a windfall of revenue. And while the post doesn’t specifically mention the online orders, trust me when I say that a couple more weeks of this sort of volume and the online store will have returned over 100% of their investment with us and e-commerce sites this big aren’t cheap. They were prepared.
Was your business ready for Coronavirus-forced shutdowns?
Restaurants that had online ordering or a DoorDash or GrubHub type delivery system already in place were more prepared for this shut down than those scrambling to integrate it into their website now. Businesses that already had gift cards available for purchasing were ready to promote pre-purchasing of goods/services to keep revenue coming in. Businesses that have blog sections on their website are able to take this time to write for their business and prove their expertise and authority in their industry. They can then use those new posts to start building interested audiences to market to when the mandatory shutdowns are lifted. We recommend these types of things on every website we build. Again, some see the potential in putting in the extra effort and some don’t. Those that followed our recommendations are really glad they did right now.
We work with dozens of companies all over the world. Not all of these business owners view their websites like Will at OK Feed. Unfortunately, one of our newest clients who, out of respect shall remain anonymous, did not feel their website was a critical part of their overall mission and decided not to heed our recommendation of redesigning their E-commerce store. Instead, the decision was made to continue to focus on the current model and pass on the development of the online store. Up until this crisis, that model relied almost exclusively on selling its products at trade show events. I don’t need to explain the impact COVID-19 has had on this client. They were not prepared. In a time where their type of product would have been widely shopped due to the purpose it serves and all the recommended social distancing we’re all hopefully practicing, they could have been thriving right now.
Here’s the advice bit, and it’s simple
Be prepared. You may think your website isn’t anything more than an online business card and that web design doesn’t matter much, but you’re wrong. Some might say “this couldn’t be predicted!” well, some would say it could’ve been and really, at this point, does it matter? It happened, it’s happening, and if you were prepared, you’re not scrambling to figure out how to generate revenue without people physically walking into your establishment. Which begs yet another question. Wouldn’t you rather have your website generating revenue at all times anyway? Why ONLY rely on foot traffic or word of mouth to keep you afloat? The first time you wake up in the morning and read an email showing you that someone made a purchase at 1am you’re going to giggle a little bit, I promise. What if your customers already knew they could order your products or services online and all you had to do was run an ad? Ask OK Feed & Pet Supply.
Google trends show that searches for “Ecommerce web design” are up 100 times more than they were just 30 days ago (first image above). And business owners looking for professional web design companies is up about 4x than it was a year ago (second image above). So, if somehow, we haven’t convinced you that this is important for your business to thrive (or survive) in this day and age, know that your competition sees the writing on the wall. Expect some of them to revamp their website, possibly launch an online store. How will that change the landscape in a time like this? We don’t currently know how long we’re going to be asked to isolate but you better believe people are going to find a way to shop. You can either be the business that they buy online from or the site they back out of because they can’t.
I’ll leave you with one final thought. How will this quarantine affect shopping after this is all over? Suppose you found a new site that has exactly what you’re looking for and the buying experience was excellent. What are the odds you’ll shop there again? I believe we’re experiencing the single best opportunity to train your customers to lean on your website than any other time in history. Not to mention that even after this epidemic goes away, people may not be willing to rush out and shop in person. It could take months before they feel comfortable venturing out in public. On average, it takes a person 66 days to form a new habit. Ecommerce was already trending up and up, but this pandemic may very well accelerate the adoption from the laggards. New buying habits are being formed RIGHT NOW. Are you ready to accommodate them?
I guarantee that you probably have something that you can sell online for your business. Whether it be products, gift cards, subscriptions, pre-paid services, video consultations or instruction, there is something that your website can do for you to keep the revenue coming in during this time. Don’t think your business can make money online? Give us a call. We love a challenge.