Why Neglecting Website Basics Can Significantly Impact Business Sales

If you are running a small business and selling online or driving traffic to your brick-and-mortar, you know how important an effective website can be. Great design is important, but all too often businesses neglect website basics, which can significantly impact business sales. A recent report from Vistaprint Digital reveals what consumers expect from a business website and what sends them running to the competition.

Vistaprint Digital Report Reveals Poor Design, Outdated Information and Lack of Necessary Detail are Top Website Turnoffs for Consumers

Nearly 70% of small business consumers say the most important factor in a positive website experience is up-to-date and accurate content, suggesting a quick "spring cleaning" could bring big benefits for business owners. That's according to The Small Business Consumer Expectations Report from Vistaprint Digital, launching today. Based on the results of a March 2017 survey of 1,800 U.S. consumers who have visited a small business website, the report focuses in on preferences for content, design and frequency of updates – and, most critically, what factors leave customers with a bad impression.

Consumer expectations of small business websites are high, with 42% reporting that they are not very likely to visit or purchase something from a small business if it has a poorly designed or unprofessional website – and 21% are not likely at all. Digging more deeply into what drives bad impressions, the results reveal that the nuts-and-bolts elements are significant: the top reasons consumers leave a small business website with a bad impression are outdated contact information (nearly 50%) and lack of address/directions/business hours (42%). What is the real impact? Nearly 60% of respondents say they would be less likely to purchase from a small business if they had a bad impression of the website – only 7.5% said it would have no impact at all.

“Based on a recent poll of our customers, we know that lack of time and limited resources are the top challenges for micro business owners as they look to grow their businesses. This latest consumer data arms these business owners with the insights to strategically prioritize their marketing tactics – specifically as it relates to their core digital presence,” said D. Scott Bowen, vice president and general manager of Vistaprint Digital. “With 68% of consumers saying that up-to-date and accurate website content is most important when it comes to having a positive experience with a small business site, allocating time to regular site updates is critically important to putting your best foot forward.”

vistaprint digital

Additional key insights in The Small Business Consumer Expectations Report include:

  • Half of consumers (50%) have the same expectations of a small business site as they do a large chain
  • 29% of consumers consider a website to be outdated if it hasn't been updated in six months; 25% say if it hasn't been updated in one month
  • 45% of those who have visited a small business site primarily are searching for product information, followed by 21% who are looking for hours
  • 42% of consumers report that they are not very likely to visit or purchase from a business that has a poorly designed website – 21% say they are not at all likely to do so
  • These figures represent a shift from the 2016 Digital Impact Report, which cited that 36% of consumers were not very likely and 9% were not likely at all to visit or purchase from a small business with a poorly designed website
“As a bake shop without a physical storefront, my website serves as a central hub for all my marketing efforts,” said Vistaprint Digital customer and owner of Chicago-based The Bug and The Bear Bake Shoppe Melissa Brogan. “These results validate my efforts to keep my site up-to-date, showcase my latest creations and maintain a professional look and feel, not only online but across my entire print and digital marketing mix.”

bug and bear bake shop

To review the full Vistaprint Digital Small Business Consumer Expectations Report, please visit the Vistaprint Digital blog.

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