Local websites are perhaps more important than many people realise. But how can you improve the website experience for local customers?
There’s a thriving trend of customers using local businesses lately. I recently read this article by Liberis about consumer attitudes; the headline is that 80% of consumers plan on using more local businesses in 2017. That got me thinking about the experiences customers have on websites for local businesses. How can you improve it?
Firstly, the article by Liberis suggested over 16% of shoppers didn’t shop at a local business because the business didn’t have a website. That might not be the biggest number out there, but it is very widely accepted that having a website for your business is a must.
If you don’t have a website, get one (but take the time to craft a website that’s really going to provide a good experience and give customers what they’re looking for). That 16% sounds small, but imagine increasing your profit by 16%…
Now we’ve got the obvious out of the way (you’re building that website now, right?) you should make sure your website actually mirrors the brand and personality of your bricks and mortar business.
Local businesses are usually oozing personality in my experience (maybe that’s why Norwich is an amazing place to shop?!) so take advantage and maximise on that!
Hopefully, you will already have looked at your brand and your audience to make sure your branding efforts are laser targeted. If you and your business’s personality is spot on, then your website’s should be too. I find it quite deflating to go to a website and find it’s generic with none of the business’s own personality thrown in the mix.
Take some time, and perhaps invest a little in a web designer, to maximise on that personality.
As a local business with one or two shops or locations, you might dream of increasing your profits and competing with multi-national corporations. But that doesn’t mean you should sound like a faceless organisation. Or worse, a robot.
As above, capitalise on your personality, don’t hide it! If it’s just you running your business and you love giving people a great experience when they shop with you, then show it.
Don’t ask your web designer to put in a load of stock photos of a generic shop somewhere. Get a few good quality photos of your shop and you in it. The personal touch is much more appealing. Stock photos have their place. It’s usually somewhere like a blog post (I’ve used one here for example), but that’s ideally where they should stay.
When you’re writing the content for your website keep in mind that you want to come across as personal and friendly, just as you are in real life. A local website for a a local business
This is a short one but when you’re writing that content, make sure it’s right. Spelling and grammar might be a boring subject, but it makes a difference.
Make sure you manage things like your Google My Business profile. Fill it out as full as you can. To go one step further you could employ a copywriter to write a fantastic description of your business.
Customers will often pay close attention to reviews so make sure you actively manage the accounts where these appear. You could try including those reviews on your website if the people who posted them are happy for you to.
The feedback also gives you a great opportunity to find out directly from customers how you can improve the experience for them. Try and reply to any review you get and thank them. Negative feedback can be a learning experience for you.
These are just a few pointers from my own experience. Now go and show those customers why they should be shopping with you!