Why does web experience matter?

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It’s very likely that your organization cares about your website experience, but when it comes to prioritization and resource allocation, it’s easy to put something as subjective and intangible as web experience on the backburner. Adding to the problem, there might be multiple, dispersed website contributors or website ownership might not be clearly defined or split across departments.

But there are two main reasons your organization should care about website experience: 1) the market now sees web experience as critical—including both consumers and tech solutions, 2) the website experience you provide can have a significant impact on your business outcomes and brand reputation.

Shifting market trends: The rise of digital experience

Consumers, organizations, and tech companies are assigning more and more significance to website experience.

Increasing user expectations

According to a 2020 report by Forrester, “Standout experiences are raising customers’ expectations. As good design spreads, it shines a bright light on design that’s merely adequate. And customers compare experiences across industries — expecting their utility company, for example, to provide an experience as smooth as their favorite provider in a more innovative sector.”

Think about the websites you use most often in your personal life: Amazon, Netflix, Twitter, YouTube, etc. All these sites are easy to navigate and suggest more content, products, or accounts to follow based on your behavior—they’re personalized, very easy to use, and frictionless. Those types of experiences are driving up user expectations for all brands and services.

To that point, according to a Deloitte survey, 60% of consumers said that ease of navigating a website to research or buy a product/service line is important to their purchase decision.

The rise of website experience investment

But it’s not only consumers who have higher expectations for website experiences—there’s been a significant increase in business investment, which was given a push due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic led to a massive increase in online traffic: Organizations globally experienced a 63% increase in number of digital touchpoints with customers during COVID-19. And that trend isn’t going away.

Forrester predicts that 25% of brands will have significant advances in the quality of their customer experience in the year 2021. Consumers now expect organizations to serve all their needs digitally and provide an enjoyable, smooth experience.

To meet that need, there’s also been a steep rise in Digital Experience Platforms which are used to build, deploy, and continually improve websites, portals, mobile, and other digital experiences. Gartner reports that the DXP software market grew 13.3% in 2019, reaching $3.5 billion.

Business impact

While user expectations have increased alongside investment in website experience, it might still feel like your organization doesn’t have to invest in your site experience—an average experience will get the job done.

But in fact, the website experience your business provides has a tangible impact on your business outcomes and brand reputation.

Business outcomes

It’s clear that a higher quality website and customer experience can lead to better business outcomes—but how much better? According to a study from Temkin Group, a moderate increase in experience generates an average revenue increase of $823 million over three years for a company with $1 billion in annual revenue.

Whirlpool is a brand that experienced that kind of growth by examining their website data and identifying the tasks people came to the website to complete. Those insights informed a major website redesign that narrowed the focus of the site to help more focused groups accomplish their goals faster and with a better experience, resulting in a $3.7 million annual profit improvement.

But what can a better website experience look like for your business? Consider how many website visitors you can lose at each level of the user needs pyramid when you start with 100 visitors to your website.

Number of starting visitors:

0

Functional

Problem

A site that isn’t usable for people with disabilities

Impact

18% of the population lives with a disability and 54% of adults with a disability use the internet

Lost visitors

10

Remaining visitors:

0

Reliable

Problem

A slow loading website

Impact

40% of visitors leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load

Lost visitors

36

Remaining visitors:

0

Usable & enjoyable

Problem

Low quality content or poor website design

Impact

38% of people will stop engaging if your content isn’t engaging or your layout is unattractive

Lost visitors

20

Remaining visitors:

0

Brand reputation

Beyond tangible business outcomes, website experience forms an essential part of the impression your organization leaves on users​ and that impression will dictate how reliable and credible people think your business is. According to research by Stanford, 75% of consumers admit to making judgements about a company’s credibility based on their website design​. Whether it justifiable or not, your website dictates what users think of your brand.

To that point, 88% of online customers are less likely to return to a website after having a bad experience​—which means your organization essentially has one shot to provide users a good website experience in order to have a chance at retaining them in the future. And that one shot doesn’t last long: It only takes users about 50 milliseconds to form an opinion ​about the visual appeal of your website.