Your Customer: The Source of All Positive Change

By Shaun Tinney
4 minute read | Last Updated: June 5, 2016

No matter how many times you redesign your site, it’s never going to boost sales until you understand your customers and align with their goals.

Every website has seen its share of revisions, the problem is those revisions are typically carried out all at once in a complete redesign, rather than informed by customer data and implemented over time.

Brand websites are often redesigned every few years as a digital facelift for the brand, rather than as a means of capitalizing on customer-driven learnings.

While visual design upgrades to a site are fine, too many brands count on a redesign to deliver strong sales increases, the usual result is only a nicer looking site.

Every time a redesign happens, an opportunity is lost. The lost opportunity to carry forward the lessons of the past, and improve on them for a better future.

Instead of relying on the blind faith of an expensive redesign to deliver revenues from heaven, use small design changes that test hypotheses to arrive at an improved site that delivers for customers and your bottom line.

Redesign, re-platform, repeat

The redesign, re-platform merry-go-round often leaves the customer experience behind, but no matter how many times the front end look of a site is updated, or the back end technology is upgraded, the customer experience won’t improve unless they’re involved in the process.

So how do you involve your customer in this process?

Your customers (should) have no idea what platform your site runs on. But the platform your site runs on may impact the experience they have while on your site. If you run on a legacy platform that requires seven layers of development just to add a new image, video, or text, your platform is killing your chances of improving and providing a great customer experience.

Implementing a SaaS solution will eliminate these layers of dysfunction and provide an always up-to-date experience. SaaS ecommerce platforms also have the added benefit of making site content changes easy to implement. These changes are key to keeping your customers involved in the process.

When it comes to visual redesign, keeping your customer in mind is critical since they are the primary user and supporter of the website. Sadly this typically isn’t the case.

The usual redesign follows a familiar lifecycle—everyone at the brand loves the new redesign, they slowly grow apathetic, and finally criticize it to the point where another redesign seems like the only option.

Nowhere in this lifecycle is customer input or data influential or considered. Does this site that everyone at the brand now hates work? Are there elements, pages, or content that convert? What lessons can be learned from the existing (now loathed) site that can be carried forward or implemented site-wide to improve the experience for the customer?

In both phases (redesign and re-platform), there is a finality to the process. It begins with “We Love It!” and degrades to “Our Site Sucks!” This degradation does not create great sites, it creates business for web design and marketing agencies.

If the redesign, re-platform process had involved customers the whole time and adopted a mindset of constant evolution and iteration, the site that is now loathed could have been a site that is still loved (and consistently earning more revenue).

What is the goal?

The ultimate potential for a brand’s website, whether lead generation or ecommerce, is to turn potential customers into customers. This means designing a useful site, not just a pretty one. That is a process, not a project.

The process of continually improving a site’s performance begins by understanding the person on the other side of the screen who is investing their time to get something they want from your company.

It has very little to do with how the site looks, though that can play a role in making their lives easier.

It has very little to do with better technology, though that can make things work faster and better for your visitors.

It has everything to do with being committed to helping the visitors to your site find what they want quickly and easily, and to do so in an increasingly efficient manner.

The source of all positive change

No platform feature list or brand-perfect visual design can capture what your visitors are constantly offering you: direct feedback about their goals (and struggles accomplishing them) on your site.

The only way to get at this information is to deliberately collect it, and build a case for investing in improvement.

By focusing on the look of a site or the technology behind it, brands miss the key element to improvement of either aspect: the needs of their customers.

The Good has developed a process for consistently improving conversion rates on B2C ecommerce sites and B2B lead generation sites alike. At the heart of that process is a deep understanding of the end consumer, and a focus on continual learning and improvement rather than drastic changes to design or technology.

Design and technology may be the pillars of a highly performing site, but the true foundation is empathy for the customer and a process to constantly improve their experience with both the way your site looks and the way that it works.