Research has shown that around 80 percent of first time surfers tend not to return to a web site once they have made their initial visit - yet building a strong brand and a loyal customer base, ensuring repeat visits, and ultimately repeat sales, is critical to ensuring a company's online success.
According to Nvision, the ten areas which businesses must concentrate on include:
- Easy access - Start by getting the basics right. Registration is a great way of getting to know who is visiting your site and capturing some key details. But make it simple.
- Navigation - Flashy graphics and animation are all very well, but a site that is visually stunning is not the be-all and end-all. One of the obvious ways to increase visitor satisfaction and loyalty is to make sure pages are served quickly and that, once on-line, visitors can navigate freely and easily around the site.
- Capture profiles - You can't begin to develop closer and more profitable relationships with your customers unless you know who they are, so it's worth thinking about how you can get hold of this information. This can be done either by simple registration techniques, or with more sophisticated tools and technology that will capture valuable information about their online activities elsewhere on the Internet.
- Use the information at your disposal - If you are capturing information through your site, make sure you exploit it to develop relevant content, promotions, products and services.
- Build a community - On-line purchasing requires trust, but the trust inherent in off-line brands doesn't always translate into online brands. This makes the role of community and participation increasingly important in generating the trust necessary to generate online sales.
- Get personal - Where possible, extend the 'personalization' associated with building a community, by delivering personalized services and content on a one-to-one basis. Sites that customize and personalize the viewing experience to the individual user statistically have longer visits, higher return rates and higher product purchasing rates.
- Keep it current - Adding new material and services is key. Nobody wants to see the same thing over and over again. Encourage people to return by presenting 'Coming Soon!' announcements to them. Deleting old material is also important to looking professional and on the ball. Always remove date sensitive promotions when they are over.
- Reward customer loyalty - Use sales promotion techniques such as create online special offers, loyalty schemes, discounts etc.
- Freebies and advice - Add value to your site by including initiatives such as offering guides, hints and tips, product giveaways or relevant news on the site.
- Remember basic rules of customer service - Have an easy mechanism for reporting faults on the site and giving feedback. Contact information and 'help' sections are a must for customers who may have questions they want resolved quickly.