The Art of Website Investment
Ben Askins (@ski747)
There has been a shifting change in the way people and businesses have begun to view their websites. Gone are the days where companies treated their sites as little more than online brochures and there is now an appreciation across all sectors that acknowledge just how much potential there is for a business with a website that is designed and built properly.
Companies, from SMEs to enterprise level, are recognising the value in having a full-fledged digital strategy in place; one that has clear business objectives and allows them to track, implement and refine their approach depending upon tangible progress. The implementation of things like Google Analytics are a given in this day and age and because of this and other online tools there is far more in the way of raw data to analyse and draw conclusions from allowing a company to make business decisions from hard facts and figures rather than the slightly more wishy washy approach that preceded this. This digital strategy has a variety of stages and it is the building of a modernised website that is widely appreciated to be one of the most significant. It is your online footprint, your digital shop in the global market and the authenticity of your company will be judged accordingly.
The crux of the matter is that a website can no longer be viewed as a simple purchase. Instead it is now an out and out investment. An investment in the brand, an investment in the company, and it is an investment that, if done properly, will result in a significant return on the said investment. Here at Verb we launch new websites and ecommerce stores on a weekly basis. In many cases, these websites are the sole destination that businesses use to sell products and gain enquiries, very much like a high street storefront used to be. These sites therefore must be looked at in the same way, if you don’t invest in your most profitable and wide reaching sales channel, you will never see the sorts of returns you had hoped for. My role at Verb is lead project manager as well as often introducing individuals and companies to Verb and am consistently astounded at the unwillingness to invest properly in digital. Those who do understand the returns of proper digital investment are a pleasure to work with, and a great example case would be; we have been working with a client at Verb now for over a year and have helped them grow from strength to strength, we launched a new website for them recently with full ecommerce functionality and within the three days of trading they had made their full digital investment back. Within a week they had sold out.
This was no fluke either, as the numbers are very much reflecting this. In 2014 the online retail sector saw the largest increase in ecommerce purchasing to date, with sales reaching £44.97 billion in the UK alone. 2015 is already on track to comprehensibly beat this and we are looking at £52.25 billion at an increase of over 15%. The client mentioned above then is no anomaly, but rather an accurate representation of the direction the market is taking and reinforces the fact that an investment into one’s online presence is paramount to a company’s success. What you have to consider is that because we are dealing with such high numbers exposing yourself to even the smallest fractional increase to this customer pool can make a substantial difference.
Now, I am not advocating over spending at all. Not every company needs an enterprise Magento system, not least because these can become so fiendishly complicated that you seem to require a full in-house team to run. (In fact, such is the recent success of WordPress in conjunction with Woocommerce that Magento is unnecessary regardless of price but that is an argument for another day.) What I am trying to say however, is that with the technological advances over the past few years there has been a transition that has resulted in a company’s website being used as a genuine asset and as such, should be invested in accordingly. Ecommerce has become one of the most profitable markets in the UK and if one wants to buy into these ever increasing sales then the website holds the key.