Online sales have been growing at ten times the rate of offline sales since 2017. As such, it’s no surprise that more and more of us are launching websites – such as eCommerce stores – to advertise our products.
Whereas brick and mortar stores back in the day didn’t have to deal with technology, modern online stores do, if they want to be successful. And if you get smart about it, you can really use technology to help grow your business.
But why would your website need technology? The same reason why you and all the rest of us need technology in general: To make life easier!
Marketers, web designers and eCommerce store owners rely on technology to improve user experience, boost the appeal of their website, and even automate their work. Let’s take a look at how the smart use of technology plays to your websites advantage.
Websites That Design Themselves
Ten years ago, it seemed like we were all at the frontier of web design: Thanks to free website builders like Wix, anyone of any skill set could design their own website. This meant you, I and even our grandmothers could create an awesome-looking website in less than an hour.
Fast forward to 2017, technology has advanced so much that pretty soon there will be websites that design themselves.
This was Grid’s mission when it first went into beta in 2014. It caused a stir by proclaiming to be an Artificial Intelligence website builder. Which it was – and is. But what does that mean?
It means that the website essentially designs itself. The Grid will use all the common elements that web designers have in their tool box, from layouts and pictures, to craft a website that requires little to no human intervention.
Grid is still in beta, but once it officially launches, it will negate that most pesky and tedious of chores for many small business owners – web design. Until then, though, you are better of hiring professional web designers to do the work for you.
Bots That Talk
Bots have been getting a bad reputation for themselves recently, after Instagram cracked down on follow bots that were helping businesses grow their following. But bots still have plenty of uses, and are a smart piece of tech that you really should be using more of.
Chatbots in particular are playing a greater role in conversational commerce. These chatbots are able to mimic humans by interacting with customers on your website, both via text and – incredibly – via voice, too.
A site visitor can interact with a chatbot about whatever you like, from the weather to your products.
Chatbots are super useful, because they help to keep visitors on your page. Look at it like this: When a customer visits your page and really needs assistance with something, you’re not always going to be around to give it. Unable to get the information they need, the prospect leaves. Darn.
Enter chatbots, who are always available. Moreover, thanks to the amazing advances in Artificial Intelligence, these chatbots know more about your individual customers than you ever could. Intuitive and helpful, chatbots can solve customers problems, ensuring they – and you – get what they want.
A chatbot is nothing more than a smart robot that automates your websites customer service, improving the customer experience.
Apps and Plugins
If you own a website, it really is time to start making the most of apps and plugins. It’s not hard to do. For instance if you use Shopify the eCommerce platform, you may not be aware that they have lots of amazing apps and add-ons that are waiting to be used. There are super easy to use because they integrate with its awesome themes.
Still unsure about apps? Well, how does an app that builds an awesome loyalty program for you sound? Such apps reward your customers, therefore encouraging them to return after they’ve made a purchase. Loyalty Reward Points is one such app. There are over ten ways you can reward your customers, and it also helps you to turn your customers into referrals.
Or, if you want to build your own app using the CMS WordPress, you can do so with the help of plugins. Using Plugins for WordPress, can also be a great way to grow your business. Yoast SEO, for example, is a comprehensive solution for all of your on-site SEO needs and therefore is a helping factor to get your website ranked in Google for certain keywords.
Not only are there lots of great apps and plugins available that plays to your websites advantage – these apps are also super easy to add and use. Often, it’s just a case of dragging and dropping or downloading and installing.
A cool theme is nothing if it isn’t responsive. To make sure that you use technology to your advantage, you need to make sure the theme you use for your website is responsive.
Why? Because more and more of us are visiting websites from our mobile phones and other devices. If your pages aren’t mobile-friendly, they’ll look rather messy. The font might be too small, text will be flying off the page, and images will be scattered all over the place like a puzzle.
And when a website look messy, customers will quickly leave. This means you lose out. Which is a huge shame if your theme is awesome.
In times to come, responsive design will have become standard. For now, it’s up to you to do it yourself. Fortunately, making your themes responsive is super easy. You can buy a theme that’s already been made or have a digital agency create a custom one.
Analytics help you to understand more about your customers and their behavior, so that you can tailor your website according to their needs.
Google Analytics is one of the most popular analytics tool. It makes it possible to track how long visitors stayed on your website, how they got there and even what type of content and keywords kept them there.
Bounce rate is one of the most important pieces of data. If a large amount of visitors leaving your website after only viewing one page, then there is a problem that needs to be dealt with. This can be fixed by optimizing the page with better call-to-actions, for example.
It’s important that you don’t get overwhelmed by all of this information, though. Hire an outside professional if you must, as without analytics, you simply won’t know what’s working and what isn’t.
These are a few ways that the smart use of technology will improve your website. From metrics to AI, it might sound like an awful lot of hard work. But once you’ve started working with tech, tech will work for you!