I am all for small businesses and thanks to the marmite (love or hate her) red head that is Mary Portas, we know that people are crying out for mini-busi’s ! Unlike your small independent butchers and retailers etc that are being usurped by the huge conglomerates (most recently Morrisons) in the physical world, the digital world allows for a more equal playing field.
So what are the fundamental differences or should I say similarities between ‘the big’ and ‘the small’ online? Well most have one or a few websites (but we’re not talking about the difference between 1000’s of stores up to 185,500sqft in size in the most prolific cities in the UK vs one pokey shop down an alley in Orkney islands) and if they have any sense, they will have a pretty well established social presence. You could argue that the bigger brands have bigger budgets therefore their channels may be more heavily optimised. Aside the fact I know of plenty of examples where the biggest of brands that invest very little in digital vs lesser known brands like Boohoo that take it a lot more seriously, I’m not talking about the path that leads us to the house (search, display, affiliates), I’m talking about the house itself aka the website.
There is NO excuse to have a bad website, especially when you have companies out there willing to provide amazing templates and eCommerce solutions for very little cash. I’m sure I only buy benefit make-up for its packaging and for very little else- I mean there is only so much luminous shimmer powder one can apply to ones face. Your website is the ultimate packaging for your products/services so the same rules should apply to those things you purchase digitally. Some years ago I think consumers had lower expectations of their websites, they might subliminally give up if it proved too difficult to navigate but the aesthetics where perhaps a ‘nice to have’ not a necessity.
I studied (I use the term ‘studied’ loosely) Fine Art at University and I was of the ilk that appreciated looks over usability- if it looked beautiful then I wouldn’t care if it I was 4 more clicks away from my purchase, just as I might have invested more time chatting to the good looking guy at the bar and ignored the dumpy average guy despite being more ‘user friendly’. It’s was worth the effort!
I now know better, or at least I expect better- it should be both beautiful and functional and I flatly can’t be bothered to settle for anything less. Don’t get me wrong there are some stunning websites out there created on flash but if their purpose is to sell stuff then they’re no more than a flash car crash.
I was shocked at the weightwatchers website recently. Any company that can afford to bombard me with TV ads about Sharron’s success story, can afford to have a top notch website. Sorry to name and shame you weightwatchers- especially as I’m likely to require your services in the New Year!
There is a mantra commonly used by interior designers and that is ‘if it’s not useful and beautiful then throw it away’. Apply it to your website or consumers will apply it to your brand.