CTO, Partner @ Marena Cosmos overseeing all technical decisions and consulting & advising clients regarding websites & martech. My LinkedIn
2021 will be a banner year for B2B and B2C e-commerce globally, as McKinsey & Company highlights. Now that consumers have faced prolonged lockdowns due to Covid-19, this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic has forced us all to adapt to a digital lifestyle whether we want to or not.
To help your business weather the continuing pandemic economy in 2021, your website must pass a standard best practice test to ensure e-commerce success. I have developed a list of the 10 most critical items to focus on and am happy to share them with you. If your site has all of these, bravo. If not, it may be time for an update, an overhaul or maybe even a platform change.
“Doom scrolling” is a real thing; you can read about it in this article published on NPR.
But seriously, as we all move to a mobile lifestyle, our business also must follow this consumer demand to serve our customers. Progressive web applications (PWAs) are websites that look and behave like apps. They are a great way to get your website working just as well on iOS and Android mobile devices and can cost a lot less than building and maintaining multiple app platforms in addition to a website.
According to Nielsen Media, Americans spent nearly 50% of their days on average interacting with media in 2018, and social media accounts for a significant chunk (45 minutes) of that time. As consumers, I’ve found that many of our decisions to buy or visit a website are influenced by social media and our friends. People like to share good content, so it is essential that your website makes sharing as easy as possible. Adding a “share” button (that supports a variety of media, of course) is a good start.
Good site navigation is akin to walking around your favorite store or driving on a well-designed road — it takes you where you want to go without you even thinking about it. “Flow” state is a form of navigation that prevents barriers that may distract you from moving in a desired digital direction. Apple’s website is a good example of this flow state. Poor site architecture or functionality can result in low conversion rates and high bounce and exit rates, which in turn can result in lost revenue and disappointing digital customer experiences and service.
When one thinks of a brand, one typically thinks of the giants like Apple or Citibank. But a brand is so much more than its logo and color palette. Upgrading your website or app can present a real opportunity to refresh your brand with a focus on the customer user experience.
Your technology stack is the foundational technology that runs your online business, website or app (or all three), so make sure every layer is up to date and monitored so your website stays secure and runs optimally. Keeping your technology updated is akin to vehicle inspections or annual physicals. We all know what happens when you neglect to change your oil.
Accessibility For All
In the brick-and-mortar world, everyone knows that a U.S. store must be ADA accessible. Yet plenty of websites suffer from major flaws that could prevent a person with disabilities from using them. Lack of access by disabled persons can lead to lost revenue and could result in a costly lawsuit. You can read these resources from W3C Web Accessibility Initiative about how people with disabilities use the web.
Believe it or not, I’ve found that consumers actually respond to offers. That explains why the words “sale” and “free” still motivate people to purchase. But who has time to send out emails repeatedly to remind customers to buy? You don’t need the extra time — or staff. Marketing automation (Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, Salesforce and HubSpot are just a few companies that offer this) can do the work for you. You can set it up to automate processes such as rebuy reminders and requests for reviews.
Integrated Marketing Automation Technology (Marketing Automation)
Your website is one of your company’s most important business technologies because it can drive business around the clock if you integrate it with your CRM and marketing automation platform. Imagine sending out emails and direct mail to customers without ever lifting a finger. This can be done for a lot less than you think, and the results can be enormous. Learn simple marketing automation tips that help boost conversions from this Search Engine Journal article.
SEO And Analytics
Paid and organic search are responsible for 68% of most businesses’ website traffic, according to Brightedge research (via Search Engine Land), yet many websites don’t have basic SEO set up correctly. Simple steps like entering metatags, title tags, alt tags and practical keywords can help customers find your site more easily. Not doing this? You’re not alone. I’ve found that enterprise websites can be as bad as small business websites.
2020 has seen some terrible cyberattacks, according to Wired (paywall). The cost of a cyberattack could devastate your business, but staying vigilant by keeping your software updated and well managed is one way you can stop the problems from ever showing up. It’s essential that you do the proper analysis and instill a culture of cybersecurity. Make 2021 the year you guard your business against security threats.