Personalising your website for 2016: Top tips for SMEs

A recent survey of 2052 adults, commissioned by 123-reg and undertaken by YouGov, revealed that more than two-thirds (71 per cent) of British adults who purchased items online from a business’ website believe that a small business’ offline service is more personal than that of a big business. However, over half (59 per cent) felt that big business websites were generally better than small business websites. This research demonstrates a clear need for small businesses to translate their personalised offline service in the online environment – a worthy resolution for 2016 and easy to achieve with a few key steps:

1. Identify your style: Identify which element of your personalised service in person strikes a chord with customers and assess how you replicate this quality in your online store. For example, if you have a quirky, colourful shop, ensure that your website represents that character and isn’t shoehorned into a corporate template.

2. Maintain personal contact: Many customers choose small businesses because they like the special attention that they receive in store and it is easy for this connection to be lost when selling your goods online. Ensure that your website has a live chat option or clear directions as to how to contact you.

3. Build trust: The aforementioned survey found that there was a direct link between the personalisation of a website and the level of customer trust and empathy with the business. Think about how you present your products in your store and ensure that the images and descriptions on your site have the same level of personality and accuracy.

But where do you start? There are a number of website builders available in the market that will provide the tools needed to ensure you’re delivering a personalised service online. When choosing a website builder, look for an offering with responsive design templates that can be personalised according to need, behavioural targeting, easy migration to templates and an in-app up-sell option. These benefits allow users to control what visitors can see based on location, time of day and number of previous visits, as well as increasing the ease of use in terms of development.

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