What’s a brand to do when its website has just been named the UK’s worst by online shoppers? That’s the question the digital marketing team at Homebase are asking after finding themselves bottom of the heap.

There’s a ready-made answer – get some first-hand feedback from those shoppers. Any website starts and ends, lives and dies, with the customer in mind. And that’s where the digital marketing experts and UX/UI specialists at Homebase will be focusing their attention.

The consumer magazine Which? was behind the survey that put Homebase’s website in last place, propping up a bottom five completed by WH Smith, B&Q, Dorothy Perkins and Sports Direct.

The mag asked 10,000 people to rate their interaction with websites they had shopped on over the past six months. The clear winners were the websites with top customer service, great special offers and easy-to-access perks.

Homebase trailed in with a customer satisfaction rating was just 55 per cent, a full six per cent behind second-bottom Sports Direct.

Niche brands top for customer satisfaction

Some niche brands topped the table. The team who put together beauty website LizEarle.com must be chuffed. It was first with 94 per cent satisfaction. Shoppers praised:

  • excellent service
  • high quality products
  • good money-off offers
  • sleek design
  • clear calls-to-action

Those last two elements make the site easy to navigate and ultimately easy to make a purchase from. The slicker a site is, the better it works for customers.

Of course, the Liz Earle team won’t be resting on their laurels – you can bet the marketers there are working with the web developers to find that extra six per cent.

Four brands – Richer Sounds, Rohan, Seasalt Cornwall and Wex Photo Video – completed the top five, each scoring 93 per cent.

The first really big brand to rank in the survey was sixth-placed John Lewis & Partners, with 90 per cent – and that’s a company synonymous with superior customer service.

Build a rewarding user experience

The one thing we bear in mind from the outset of any project, whether we’re developing a website, designing a platform, or creating a digital marketing campaign, is that it’s the user we have to impress. It’s all about customer service and building a rewarding user experience.

We create customer personas and try to get inside our ideal audience’s head then, working with our UX/UI specialists, we identify their needs, wants and desires and develop clear routes to navigate the website to facilitate their needs quickly.

Doing this relies on research – and on fine-tuning along the way as we establish what users like, what they love, and what drives them away.

It’s important that you are able to react swiftly and change up a campaign to reflect what the customer data is telling you. But you’ve got to make sure you’re gathering it first.

Fortunately, there are products we use that allow us to adjust messaging and web design to improve results for clients.

Tools which help gather customer feedback

This plugs into your website and gives you feedback on exactly what your visitors are doing,

For starters, it offers heatmaps that show just where people click on each page, how far they scroll and how they download and share content. This can be broken down by device – useful as people interact with websites differently on a phone or tablet than they do on a desktop.

Just as useful are Hotjar’s visitor recordings, which provide an opportunity to analyse users’ journeys in real-time.

Hotjar also collates data on the conversion funnel, showing the drop-off in potential customers at each stage, as well analysing what goes wrong and right with the forms you ask customers to fill out.

Then there is the blindingly obvious – customer feedback polls and surveys. These give clear instructions about what the customer expects to see. Ignore them at your peril.

This allows you to gain first hand customer feedback from your website, as well as gathering quantitative and qualitative data about the customer journey that can be used to analyse what works, how well, and why.

You can set up a customer survey – complete with your branding – in as little as 15 minutes using this tool.

The survey form is completely editable and a simple script allows you to place it one your website. And using customisable filters, you can hone in on particular areas of concern when you’re analysing your feedback.

The customer’s at the heart of digital strategy

These technologies put the customer at the heart of a digital marketing strategy – which is exactly where they should be.

Your company website is about your company, but it’s built for the users who visit it, with the aim of building their trust in you so they become customers.

It’s only by continuously testing, measuring and optimising how your ecommerce website performs – and truly understanding what works and what won’t – that you will keep customers happy and encourage repeat visits/purchases.

One of the wonders of the web is that you don’t have to repeat a negative experience. Google makes it exceptionally easy to find an alternative, so you have to continuously gain learnings, insights and optimise to encourage those repeat visitors and customers.

We know how to use the latest technological innovations to a brand's advantage. Contact us now for more details on 0800 612 9890.