Why having a functional website is critical

Why having a functional website is critical

By Benjamin Juru

 

Zimbabwe’s digital footprint is rapidly growing despite the challenges we currently face as a nation. The multitude of access challenges in which data pricing continues to be biggest hurdle has largely contributed to a slower cultural change in the way we do business and or customers transact. The growth of e-commerce is one area that has been curtailed by these current impediments. Nonetheless, despite the myriad of macro-economic challenges we are confronted with, I’ve written prior about the need for businesses to go through an ideological reorientation. In this, I underscored the necessity to not just cut budgetary spend but to adopt a new strategy and a way of thinking that is consistent with the changes in consumer tastes and preference. This article is a continuation of that train of thought and I want to share a few insights on the strategic and critical importance of having a functional and live website.

 

1.      Your website is the primary source of information

Google recently coined a concept where customers are instantly looking for goods and services online as the Zero Moment of Truth. In this they argued that “Whether we're shopping for corn flakes, concert tickets or a honeymoon in Paris, the Internet has changed how we decide what to buy. At Google, we call this online decision-making moment the Zero Moment of Truth — or simply ZMOT”. This is modern version of the consumer purchase decision cycle we learnt back on college in a nutshell. The ZMOT according to Google consists of micro moments which basically denotes the fractured nature of the consumer journey into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments. It is in these micro moments that customers search online for particular brands to solve their needs. This scenario necessitates the need for any brand or company to have a fully-fledged, functional and live website. I’ve deliberately separated these to differentiate between just having a website to having a live website (one which supports lead generation, e-commerce, up to date, search optimized and mobile centric). A company website is the primary source of information for consumers to get more info about your brand, your services the products that you offer etc. In this day and age consumers are resorting to Google to search for answers, news and information pertaining to anything they want. The importance of having a functional website is such that you want to be visible in these ZMOT, you want consumers to easily find the information they need and make real time purchase decisions. If a consumer is searching for cheap tyres, cheap insurance are they going to find you is the biggest question hence the need for a live and not dormant website.

 

2.      No website no conversion

As alluded to prior, it is in these micro moments that consumers make purchase decisions and they either intend to conclude a sale or get information for decision making. The other strategic importance of having a live website is lead generation, how to ensure that you can immediately capture consumer details when they visit your site, how can they register interest in your products or better still convert (lead to a sale). If a brand doesn’t have a functional website, it is difficult to capture customer details and convert them into sales. One of the critical functions of a website is to enable and facilitate lead generation (which is getting sales leads online) and lead conversion (concluding sales online). For service industries this is a must have due to the nature of products offered where it’s much simpler to conclude a sale (in the Zimbabwean context). If a consumer is searching for investment products, insurance etc how can your website not only help the consumer make a quick decision and conclude that sale? A brand with a functional website will inevitably be able to conclude a sale because of proper navigation, lead form and e-commerce enabled. If your brand or company doesn’t have a website there’s no lead generation and thus potential loss in sales. Locally I’ve seen numerous brands run fantastic campaigns which have the potential for lead conversion but there’s no lead conversion because of the lack of functional website. Yes leads can be collected via social media but harnessing leads via your owned media (website) is the best way and has some distinct advantages and often comes at a lesser administrative cost.

 

In conclusion a website is your owned media property for which you retain ultimate control. Every website particularly for service industries must be able to support e-commerce and lead generation. When customers search for your products and services via mobile devices, they should immediately be able to find the information they need and conclude a sale. In Zimbabwe where we are currently beset by cash challenges, customers should be able to buy and pay for goods and services online. There are payment gateways like Paynow which supports all local banks and mobile money. All these is made possible by first having a fully-fledged, functional and live website.

Point of note, building and owning a website for your brand is not sophisticated. I have a personal website and even had a website for my wedding so no excuses there! :-) 

Comments (1)

Telecel iri kumirira wani. Your story haina ma facts jury do a re-write with details. This is shallow come on man Carol - 4 July 2017

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