What You Need to Know About Your Web Site and TLC

By Gale Meyer, Diversified Ophthalmics
A few years ago, during the dot com craze, many customers rushed to get their Web site on the WWW (World Wide Web). Some sites sat “under construction” for months and even years. Sanity has now set in, and Web sites, if designed properly, are a useful business tool.

When designing or re-designing your Web site treat it with TLC – Think Like a Customer! If you’re reading this article, you are in the optical business and probably the wholesale lab business. There is a big difference between a B2B Web site (Business to Business) and a C2B Web site (Customer to Business). Let’s focus on B2B sites.

Here are a few suggestions for a successful B2B site.

Don’t let your children or the child down the street create, update, or maintain your Web site. Your site is a reflection of your business. If you don’t have the technical expertise in your company to design and maintain your Web site, hire a professional. Be prepared to spend some money – don’t expect to get a great Web site at bargain basement prices.

Along with TLC, give it a KISS! Keep It Simple Stupid! Easy navigation is key to a successful site. Your customer should never have to ask, “How did I get here and how do I get back?” Customers don’t return to sites that are not easy to use or understand.

B2B sites do not need the cute flashing pictures, running men, a lot of pop-ups or ads that change before they can be read. TLC – customers don’t want to get dizzy looking at your site.

Informational, integrated and both. A good B2B site will be both informational and integrated. TLC - what information will your customers look for on your site? New product information, discontinued products, product recalls, technical information on products, and price lists are just a few examples of what makes the informational part of a Web site worthwhile visiting time and time again. Integrating your Web site with your back office operations is by far the most complex part of any Web site. TLC – what will your customer find useful? Invoices, monthly statements, credit memos, and job status are examples of what your customer will be looking for in an integrated site.

Ordering on your site is a necessity for full integration. A necessity yes, but don’t be surprised if it is under utilized. TLC – customers will order the way they think is easiest for them. Phone and fax will continue to be the ordering method of choice for some customers. If you want to drive more ordering to your Web site, consider a financial incentive – discounted prices or rebates for Web site orders.

Login vs. non-login. Surfing the net has become a national past time. B2B sites contain information that should be viewed only by their customers – not the general public. TLC – design your site to require a login and password to view information such as pricing.

You’ve heard the saying “Change is Good.” Yes, but not always when it comes to your Web site. You’ve also heard the saying “People don’t like Change.” Before you change your site ask yourself is it really necessary? TLC – is it something your customer really wants and needs? KISS – don’t change it too often or too extensively.

The WWW becomes more and more a part of our everyday personal and business lives. Keeping a little TLC (Tender Loving Care) in our personal life and a little TLC (Think Like a Customer) in our business life just makes good sense!

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May/June LabTalk 2017