Why you just can’t do what the big brands do!
Clients and businesses, I work with, in the planning or troubleshooting stages of their web development often say to me that they want their website to look like John Lewis or M&S or Amazon or some other well-known or dominant brand whether it is in their sector or not.
Sometimes they insist that they just want a feature that might behave in an unusual or novel way that is specific to that brand and appears to work effectively for them.
But just because a dominant brand’s website is working well for them, or that they are using the desired feature successfully does NOT mean it will necessarily work for you. It might seem completely logical to specify the use of an exemplar of good practice, to reason that if it works for them (and they appear to be making loads of money) then it will also work for you.
So why shouldn’t I do it this way” I hear so many of you say.
There are many reasons for this. First of all, you need to consider if you are running the same type of business; have a similar business model; are you operating in the same sector; are you targeting the same customer type, in the same categories, who buy from you for the same reasons and so on.
A special case
But really, the issue is more than all of this. Because John Lewis, and M&S and Apple and all those other megabrands are a special case. They are not only well established but enjoy an extremely loyal customer base whose allegiance to the brand will often tolerate inconvenience or undesired change. This means that a feature that might at first be difficult to use is unlikely to present a barrier to the website user completing their task. Something that is non-standard can be perceived not as an irritation but as a differentiating aspect of why the brand is better and the loyalty justified and may even view an illogical innovation as proof of superiority. The customers will gladly invest time and effort in learning how to use the change or feature. Additionally, the nature of loyalty means that unlike most websites, the users are more likely to use it often, visiting just to browse even when no purchase is being made.
So, before you insist that your web developer implements a feature that you’ve seen and maybe love on the site of a big brand:
- Am I operating in the same sector?
- Do I have the same type of customers?
- How are my customers’ behaviour likely to differ?
- Is this the ‘normal’ or standard way of doing it?
- Am I proposing to implement this feature in a similar context?
- Am I putting anything in their way that might hinder or prevent them from completing their tasks and becoming a customer.
And remember even if you can provide a positive answer to all these questions, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
About the Author
After 23 years working in electronics, production and mechanical engineering fields Nigel has spent the last 18 years working in the field of business development specifically on the internet.
Being at the start of the digital economy, Nigel has adapted and applied the principles of business development to the rapidly changing scene of the internet. With it the creation of new business models that work for clients had been his objective.
An author and digital business speaker his book “How to Get a Website that Works for your Business” has helped hundreds of SME business owners understand the principles of online success.
Today Nigel runs a digital consultancy PelaTis Online Ltd an independent eBusiness consultancy working with retail, manufacturing and service businesses. His insights and understanding of the way the internet works and the direction it is going in makes him the go to consultant for online business success.
Website planning is the first stage of any online development which Nigel and PelaTis Online offer consultancy services for. Get in touch by completing the form on this page or phoning 01639680248