t might feel like every company out there has a dot-com, but the truth is that 27 percent of small businesses don’t have a website. For many of them, it’s about budget. Challenges like low website traffic, advanced functionality, and maintenance costs outweigh the benefits, especially if they can just have a social media presence.
At the same time, those companies say they would use a website to help customers make purchases online and showcase their products and services. The study revealed that 87 percent of the small businesses without a website plan to build one in the next few years, but what should they expect for their investment?
Building a robust, intuitive website that includes things like contact forms, e-commerce, blogs, and mobile responsiveness can cost tens of thousands of dollars to build and maintain. It’s essential for a company considering laying out that type of cash to ensure that the site will bring them a smart return on investment. As expert website builders, we’ve put together a list of your various options, and what you should expect with each
The Benefits of Investing In A Website
Especially for luxury brands, the list of benefits is long. In addition to the enhanced online presence, websites can sell products, generate leads, and elevate brand perception. Here’s our roundup of everything a slick, modern website can achieve:
A website allows a brand to become international, expanding its customer base beyond its physical locations. This is especially important for luxury brands that want to tap into international markets and attract customers from around the world.
Brand Visibility and Credibility
A well-designed website can do a lot to not only enhance your brand’s credibility and image, but also build trust and loyalty. Think of it as a digital storefront that showcases your values, aesthetics, and story, as well as your products and services.
If you’re a global online business, your customers are always awake. Around-the-clock shopping can be a major green flag for shoppers who want to browse products, learn about the brand, and make purchases at their convenience.
Online sales of luxury goods are expected to triple between now and 2025, leading to $91 billion in revenue. Beyond that, around 90 percent of luxury customers shop online at some point in their customer journey. If you don’t have a way for your customers to shop online, you’re missing out on your portion of this enormous pie.
Data Collection and Analysis
A website provides invaluable data on customer behavior, preferences, and interactions. Your analytics are a treasure trove for tailoring your marketing strategies, improving product offerings, and enhancing the overall customer experience.
Other benefits of a website include customer engagement and interaction (which builds loyalty), and personalized recommendations. A well-optimized website can improve your brand’s visibility and reach on search engines, making it easier for potential customers to find you. Customer reviews, testimonials, and endorsements will quickly help build your social proof.
Must-Have Website Elements
What elements are necessary for you to create a brand-worthy website? Here’s our list of ways to build a memorable experience that your customers will return to again and again:
Elegant Visuals and Imagery
No skimping on budget here. Your site should use only high-resolution, professional photos and videos that showcase products in exquisite detail. The use of minimalistic and spacious design creates a sense of luxury, and aesthetic consistency in imagery, color palette, and typography reinforces your brand identity.
Clean and User-Friendly Layout
Develop a well-organized layout that presents content in a clear and intuitive manner. Think: easy navigation with clear menus and navigation paths, and use of whitespace to enhance readability and focus on key elements.
Carefully selected typography complements the brand’s image. Ensure the use of elegant, readable fonts for headings, body text, and other elements.
Compelling Brand Storytelling
Create a dedicated website section that narrates the brand’s heritage, values, and unique story. Engaging content helps evoke emotions and build a deeper connection with visitors.
Beautifully designed product galleries or sliders allow visitors to explore products in detail. Be sure to use multiple images of each product from various angles and include detailed product descriptions and specifications.
Ensure the website is optimized for various devices, including smartphones and tablets, to provide a seamless experience.
Testimonials and Reviews
Sharing good reviews highlights the quality and exclusivity of the products. Display endorsements from well-known figures or satisfied customers on the homepage, where they’re easy to see.
Privacy and Security Assurance
This feature is especially important for customers who transact a large amount of money online. Your site should instill confidence by highlighting data protection and security measures.
Seamless E-commerce Experience
This includes product pages that are fully functional, multiple payment options, secure checkout processes, and clear return and exchange policies.
Personalization and Recommendations
Personalization has elevated from trend to expectation. By analyzing your website data, you can offer personalized product recommendations based on visitor preferences.
Contact and Customer Service
Just like payment options, be sure to have several ways to contact customer service, including by chat. A recent study found that 41 percent of online shoppers prefer live chat for contacting companies.
Social Media Integration
Be sure to include links to all of your brand’s social media profiles so visitors can stay updated and engaged online.
To enhance your site even more, you can include VIP access, interactive elements like 360-degree product views or product recommendation quizzes, partnership collaborations, or a calendar highlighting upcoming sales or events.
So, How Much Does All This Cost?
The answer to this question depends on factors like functionality, design, mobile integration, shopping capabilities, SEO optimization, and more. The good news is, websites aren’t an all-or-nothing deal. Here’s a look at what various levels of investment can achieve:
If your site doesn’t need to do much (just serve as a landing page for a social media campaign, for example), you can design a simple digital presence that enhances your credibility and gives customers the essentials, such as upcoming sales and contact information,
Putting a little more money into your website will give you a more robust, functional site that includes mobile-responsive design. More methods for interacting, like forms, photo galleries, and opportunities to buy online, equals more engagement. It also helps enhance your digital reputation and serve as social proof.
Going All Out
If the sky’s the limit for your budget, the sky’s the limit for what your website can do. Expect a higher level of graphic design and aesthetic, and a robust e-commerce platform that includes a seamless experience for questions and returns. Shoppers can receive relevant, personal recommendations that enhance their user experience, as well as rich content in the form of blog posts, high-quality videos, or other interactive content.
A top-tier website also comes with important back-end features like A/B testing, analytics dashboards and integration, conversion-rate optimization, and bots that find broken links. Expect optimal SEO performance, full mobile integration, enhanced analytics, and perhaps most importantly, a competitive edge in the digital space.
It’s clear that websites – even simple ones – play a vital role in increased online presence. When used to its full potential, your website can become your No. 1 method for engaging with both potential and loyal customers.
Ready to get building? Hawthorn Creative has an expert staff of digital strategists, creatives, developers, and analysts who will help you create the site of your dreams.