The digital habits of every generation are forever changed. WP Engine’s new Generation Resilience Report reveals nearly two-thirds of all Australians (64 per cent) expect to maintain their digital habits after the pandemic and nearly half of Australians (47 per cent) believe all shopping will take place online in 10 years, writes Mark Randall, Country Manager, WP Engine, ANZ.
Despite the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the report indicates Australia can expect an uptick in new online businesses, and increased competitiveness as a result, with over a third of Australians (36 per cent) planning to start their own business in the near future. This increases to over half of Gen Z (51 per cent). 3-in-5 Australians (62 per cent) intend to launch their business online.
In less than two years, website ownership has increased more than 300 per cent, with the younger generations leading the charge. A quarter of young Australians already own a website (Gen Z 25 per cent; Millennials 28 per cent).
Businesses that have been able to keep up with rapid digital transformation – by moving quickly to an eCommerce model or upgrading to a more performant website – have been able to reach larger, more engaged audiences and accelerate in uncertain times.
But if you’re new to this space, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Try these six steps to get your business online quickly and if done right, thriving:
Choose the right CMS
When launching a new website, employ a safe and reputable content management system (CMS) like WordPress, which will allow you go to market faster. According to WP Engine research, Australian businesses believe WordPress is easy-to-use and leads to economic benefits. Driving 41% of all websites globally, WordPress is open-source and free from upfront licensing fees and offers a customisable platform for building any type of website imaginable.
Invest in an eCommerce solution
Asking the experts is never a bad thing nor does it need to break the bank. The right technology partner can help you activate an eCommerce solution to make the leap into online sales or make more money faster with your existing eCommerce business. They’ll help you create a mobile-friendly site and online store quickly and easily, ensure your online business is secure and privacy compliant, and enable blazing-fast product searches that increase revenue.
Prioritise performance online
Even the best-looking and most functional websites are only as good as the way they perform –a slow, clunky user experience will send just about any customer packing. For any type of eCommerce site, speed is the most important factor of all as it’s tied directly to conversions of online shopping carts into revenue. And when it comes to accessing a site on a mobile device, every second may matter even more.
Google reports that the best practice is to keep your loading times at three seconds or less, and when loading times go from one to three seconds, the probability of a bounce (a user leaving right away) increases by 32%. What’s more, for pages that take five seconds or more to load, the probability of a bounce increases by 90%. Tracking site speed, deleting unused plugins and themes, removing unnecessary media, compressing images, and using a content delivery network (CDN) are just a few techniques to help boost your site’s speed.
Remember performance is a practice, not a project. In other words, site performance requires constant monitoring and optimisation. To remain competitive, set a performance budget and KPIs that give you an effective management framework for your site’s performance.
Make online check out easy
The ubiquity of the Internet has ushered in a sharp drop-off in consumer patience, which means most web users today are less likely than ever to tolerate a slow and clunky checkout process. Look into providing a guest checkout option for those who do not wish to create an account, and offering a single page checkout experience, reducing the number of pages and clicks to complete payment, resulting in a faster checkout process.
Add a search function to your site
For users, navigating through your site to find what they need can sometimes become tedious and frustrating. That’s where the site’s search function comes in. Even for sites that are well laid out and easy to navigate, a search function provides a faster and easier way for visitors to find what they’re looking for, which helps to improve UX, and makes for a more enjoyable experience. Site search can increase conversion rates – in fact our research shows having a site search capability can deliver up to 18% higher revenue.
As we’ve navigated the new digital paradigm that blurs digital and human experiences, our relationship with the web has evolved. More and more Australians are not only relying on the internet for information but for entertainment and social connection, with 2-in-5 respondents (40 per cent) making a new friend online during the pandemic. In the next five years, Australians, in particular the younger generations, are demanding a more ‘human web’ and even expect all websites to exhibit emotions and have AI capabilities.
In a nutshell, look for ways you can connect with your audience on a human level, whether it’s through social media, customer service or peer-generated review sites. Communicating, listening, and acknowledging your customers and their concerns in a personalised way can go a long way in driving a more loyal customer base.
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