You never get a second chance to make a first impression. We all know the saying, but it takes on new meaning and importance for businesses.
Here’s why: consumers and B2B buyers alike aren’t relying on you to tell them about your company, products or services. They’re doing their own research before ever engaging with your company. The U.S. B2C Ecommerce Country Report found that 88% of consumers pre-research their buys online before making a purchase. And, when it comes to B2B buyers, more than 70% fully define their needs before engaging with your sales team, and almost half go so far as to identify which of your solutions they need, according to a report from CSO Insights.
When prospective customers do find you on their own (and they will), you should be confident that your website or mobile app is easy to navigate, gives them the information they need and represents who you are as a company. For this reason, many businesses turn to user research.
But it’s important to note that user research isn’t a one-time thing – it’s an iterative process. And there’s three main reasons why. First, what you have to say – your content – changes as your business grows. Second, you must evolve as technological advances change what users expect from a business’ online and mobile presence. And third, the needs of your users change over time as your company matures. Conducting user research will always be important as you refine your website and app to ensure they’re still engaging users and driving them to take action.
Conducting User Research
So, how do you go about understanding your users’ behaviors, needs and motivations to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward when it comes to your website and mobile app? Are they easy to navigate? Do they share the right information? Do they best represent your brand?
There are many different ways to conduct user research. For businesses with an existing website and app, the goal of the user research will be to assess how well they’re serving your visitors. Three strategies for doing this include:
Usability benchmarking. Many companies turn to usability benchmarking to understand their starting point. How are users engaging with you? You can benchmark against either yourself (as in earlier versions of your own site or app), competitors or industry standards. Depending on your goals, usability benchmarking can be retrospective, where you ask users about their past interactions, or task-based, where users walk through a simulated experience on your site or app.
Surveys. To reach a wide range of people, surveys are a great tool for conducting user research. Surveys allow you to slice and dice data to draw comparisons and spot trends. And, with a mix of both closed and open questions, you can get quantitative and qualitative information. Another benefit to surveys is that when conducted anonymously, your users might be more willing to be candid in their responses.
A/B testing. To gauge how well certain functionality or messages are performing, A/B testing is a good option. It allows you to test options with different groups of users as a means to measure their effectiveness. If you’re looking to drive users to take a particular action on your site or app, testing two different tactics will help you understand what’s resonating with them in real-life scenarios.
And, with these three listed above, we haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s possible when it comes to user research tools and methods. Each company – and even more specifically, each initiative – requires its own strategy based on its unique goals in regards to measuring and refining usability.
Do you have the resources you need to conduct user research? You need experienced designers and researchers who can come together, work effectively and communicate to get the best end result. Given the importance of your online and mobile presence, your market share and potential revenue opportunities are at stake. Wunderland Group can help, by helping you find the talent you need. Reach out to us at 312-506-8600 to learn more.
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