Well it’s that time again – time to renew my cell phone contract. Should I keep the same provider? They don’t necessarily have the best coverage. Then again, that can work to my advantage when I don’t really feel like talking: “Oh no, I’m losing you.” What about minutes? I could probably use more of them. Oh, and how about one of those cool camera phones? Imagine the fun I could have.
I figured the best way to find what I was looking for was not to waste a whole afternoon going from store to store, but instead research online from the comfort of my own home. So I did. “Cell phone” was the search term. 309 million websites were the results – that should be enough. I followed a link to a site where I found a great deal on a phone. The problem was, I didn’t want to buy it online and there was no site feature to help me find a local store. Back. Back. Back. I follow the next link. Another great deal, and right in front of me, clear as day, there is a link: “Store Locator.” Oh splendid, there’s one right down the street!
Now I realize that I could’ve easily looked up the first provider I came across in the phone book, but that’s not the point of this story. The point is that I shouldn’t have to. The internet is saturated with billions of websites. For virtually any product or service, users are provided with thousands, sometimes millions of options. But not all of these users want to buy online. In fact, studies have shown that a majority of shoppers will perform the necessary research online, but will complete their purchase offline. My plan, precisely. And while the first website I came across did an excellent job of positioning for such a competitive term, it failed to direct users to an offline point of conversion.
There is a significant upside to being positioned well for targeted terms relating to your business, but just as important is giving potential customers what they want when they find you. Usability is a crucial aspect to the design of any website, and it is an aspect that is all too often overlooked.
You may think this posting was sparked from sheer laziness, but I disagree. I believe it was my high expectations. I didn’t feel I should have to use the phone book to find the local cell phone provider I was looking for, and guess what, I didn’t have to. Establishing an online presence can generate an enormous amount of increased traffic for your website, and when that website is effectively designed from a user’s perspective, it can also generate enormous conversion rates, both online and offline.