Can you believe it? My favorite candy store up-and-moved on me. I stroll up the sidewalk, anxious for a fresh pack of Cherryheads, and there it is – a tasteless, black & white “We’ve Moved” sign. I was just here last week and don’t remember the store owner, “Jelly Belly” Barbara (as she’s known to frequent customers), saying anything about moving. Nor did I see any signs to warn regulars of the upcoming move. What gives? If you operated a brick and mortar business and were planning to move, wouldn’t you start letting your customers know ahead of time that you may not be there the next time they visit?
My point here is the importance of keeping your clientele in-the-know about major changes to your business, both offline and online. If you operate an e-commerce website, one of your retail goals should be to generate a strong customer base. You want these folks to enjoy their experience on your website, appreciate your thoughtful service, and come back again to make another purchase. These buyers know they can most likely find the product you sell somewhere else. But they like you, they like your prices and presentation; they even have you bookmarked in their browser so they can easily come back for more.
Now the time has come. For one reason or another, your website address is going to change. Thankfully, you value you customers and you take the necessary steps to make sure your old site URLs correctly redirect to your new site URLs. But not everyone is a big fan of change. You may have a regular customer who clicks on their trusty bookmark, only to be delivered to an unfamiliar web address and possibly new site design altogether. Your company name may have even changed in the process. Your valued customer might stay and look around, but since the warm cozies they felt with your old site have flown the coop, what’s to keep them from jumping over to a search engine and starting all over again? Similar to my inclination to now search for another candy store that’s closer to home, or maybe even reevaluate my strange addiction to Cherryheads.
Here’s where communication is key, and it doesn’t take much. Put up a graphic or text-block on your soon-to-be-moving website’s homepage highlighting the upcoming site change. Tell everybody when you’re moving, what additional site changes are taking place (if any), and ask them to please update their bookmarks when the time comes. Heck, even give out your new URL, minus a link of course since the site’s not live yet. Your customers will appreciate the advanced notice, and if you use text to convey this info, search engine crawlers should, at the very least, start to become familiar with your new URL.
When your new site is live, don’t forget to refer to yourself as “Formerly Blank & Blank” for a little while, so those regulars who were too busy shopping to notice your friendly moving signs know where they are. Taking steps to ensure customer satisfaction will keep your website tasting sweet as candy.