There is no doubt that channelling your users to regularly interact with your website can only be good for your business. By making serious efforts to engage with them on a regular basis, to initiate their return, can drive higher customer lifetime value - to say nothing of having serious effects on the bottom line.
But engagement and target marketing needs to evolve into a valuable and worthwhile experience for the user. Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media Channels have been really successful at tapping into users’ emotions and setting off powerful triggers, which users react to when they feel a certain way. It soon becomes an unconscious thought to lift your mobile and check Facebook. We do it as a daily habit without giving it much thought. The product becomes an important part of our life - an addictive habit the seeps seamlessly into our routines. This is, ideally, what most brands and businesses should be striving for - being an significant part of a persons life, rather than the constant struggle of competing with all that other daily noise that attempts to interrupt it.
How is this done?
Well for a start, from your website or apps perspective, it is important to create a value loop.
This happens when users interact with the website. They find what they want and have a positive experience along the way. The user has received the value they were looking for and then in return, the value comes back to the business. This can be money from a sale, money saved or increased usage. Businesses need this value loop to work efficiently for business success. The customer needs to have a good experience or else they are lost as a returning customer.
How can a business create and maintain a value loop?
The answer is simply by investing in User Experience Design when undertaking any new website project. This early investment can help save you from making fundamental changes later in a project life cycle when it"s a lot more expensive and time consuming or even too late to do so. UXD helps define the user requirements up front. It makes websites more intuitive and user-centred. As well as the user needs, the business goals are considered. A positive user experience is one in which the goals of both the user and the business are met. But remember just because a user was able to complete their task on your website does not necessarily mean "yeah success" – a person may be able to get the desired result - but unless it was easy and intuitive, they won’t be returning a second time to use it. The experience they have is key to increasing their chances of making a return visit and even regular visits.
Research conducted by Accent in the 2014 ‘Beyond the Point of Purchase’ survey, found that 80% of customers will make a future purchase from the same website after a positive experience, leading to 14% following the brand on social media and 36% writing an online review. And while you may not care about what people are saying or how they are "interacting" with your brand online (although obviously you really really should) consider the fact that even negative reviews for little-known books on Amazon can increase sales of that book by 45%.Yes, FORTY FIVE PERCENT.
Here are 5 proven Return on Investment gains from User Experience:
- Overall revenue/conversion boost (loyalty)
- Lower support calls (cost)
- Reduced development waste (efficiency)
- Increase customer satisfaction (also B2B)
- Reduce the risk of building the wrong thing
So, in summation, why should we care about User Experience Design? Well the straightforward answer is because the long term success of your website depends upon it. And considering online accounts for, on average, approximately 25% (and growing) of total sales for a business in Ireland today, your business may well depend on it too.
People "experience" a website.
Some experiences can be good. Some can be bad. And our online habits over the last two decades have come to make us more impatient about the latter than possibly anything else in our lives. Next time you get a "buffer" icon while trying to do something, just observe how it makes you feel. Then consider the success of Apple - how, for Jobs, the entire success of the company was build on creating an intuitive and fluid user experience. UXD so good that - in his words - "you"ll want to lick it".
User decisions about the appeal, usefulness, legitimacy, security and ease of use of your website are collectively being made in a matter of seconds not minutes. If users have a bad experience then it sticks with them, to the point that they avoid repeating it at all costs - not to mention telling others about it.
So, can your business really afford to ignore UX?
- blog post by Cora Fox