E-commerce stores are the first thing that comes to our mind when we talk about online businesses. Indeed online retail continues to grow as Internet Retailer (eMarketer) reports confirm, “online retail sales will grow from 225.5 billion in 2012 to 434.2 billion in 2017.” While online stores excel it does not mean that service businesses cannot also take advantage of the growing trend.
Businesses in the service industry should rethink their websites and overall online presence to deliver an experience that can improve online conversions rather than simply putting up a company catalog (i.e., list of services).
Here’s a look at four ways service businesses can reconsider their websites and take their customer’s online experience to new heights.
Create a website that is more than a company catalog.
This is the biggest problem for most service businesses; many simply invest their online presence into a 5-page website that tells online users what they do along with a phone number so interested people can call. However, today with the litany of choices available to them they want more.
First, consider your company website more than just a catalog of services. Develop interactive and engaging content, so your targeted audience finds it interesting enough to interact with your website and ultimately contact you.
MeMD.me (online doctor consultation service) is a good example; not only do they tell online visitors where they can find a doctor, but they allow users to register, log in and receive a doctor’s consultation online. No matter what industry you operate in, you can always think of interesting ways to create more value online.
Focus marketing efforts on solving problems.
It’s a tried and true marketing practice that will never become a fad. In order to win customers, focus on their problems and design a website that communicates how you solve them — in lieu of simply promoting your brand.
For instance, in the past PC repair businesses required customers to drop their PC at a physical shop to get it fixed and pick it up once the job was done. The real problem was finding a reputable place in your area to get the computer fixed.
Companies like Geek Buddy offer 24/7 support with the click of a mouse. With live chat support sessions, certified technicians connect to your machine remotely; all you do is sit back and enjoy the convenience. In the same way, explore how you can leverage technology to solve your customer’s problems. Not only can it help you retain customers and improve positive word of mouth, eventually it should increase sales.
Simplify service processes.
If you are offering a service that consist of long processes or too much documentation your website should help simply the process and help customers understand how to best leverage your services.
For example, Bridge.us is a company that has taken the immigration consultation business online so customers can navigate a complex issue (i.e., green cards, U.S. citizenship, and Visa applications) with more ease (e.g., documentation can be a real pain for immigrants). Regardless of your industry, you can make processes less tedious.
Help customers achieve their goals.
There are tons of businesses that offer the exact same services as you do. A key reason why customers might choose you is your focus and how you communicate it. Use your company website to tell prospects specifically how you can help them achieve their goals instead of letting them know how good or big you are; tooting your proverbial horn.
A good example of this in action is K12.com, online public (and private) school service that offers They have a precise focus to help people who prefer individualized education and do a good job of communicating how they can help students achieve the same results as a traditional classroom environment.
This article has been edited and condensed.
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