While the coronavirus pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone in terms of safeguarding our health and learning to live with restricted social freedoms, it has undoubtedly afforded us an opportunity to revolutionise the way we work.
And while Apple levels of devotion may seem out of reach, there are certainly a number of steps you can take to start building your brand loyalty – and an interactive website is a great place to start.
An interactive website is site which attempts to make the ways customers engage with it more relevant and personal, therefore keeping them more engaged with your brand.
What is an interactive website and why do I need one?
Interaction can come in many forms, from asking users to supply their location, the chance to subscribe to mailings, comment on articles and share things to social media to changing the content displayed to the customer depending on their past engagement with the website.
Given that as much as 70% of customer journeys now begin online, engaging with this audience is crucial for businesses, whether you’re a global conglomerate or a small ecommerce store.
Social media is an invaluable tool for companies trying to engage with their customers, and the ability to embed your Twitter and Facebook feeds directly into your website is one of the easiest ways to bolster the interactivity of your site.
But you needn’t just rely on the major social platforms to make your site more engaging for your customers.
Many companies further increase the interaction with their website by including a comments section or even a forum on their sites to allow for more direct interaction with users.
For instance Sony’s UK website includes a community section which allows users to pose questions to the support team or other Sony customers.
Not only does this allow you to build up a community for customers, but it is also a great way to get feedback directly from the horse’s mouth and begin building that all important brand loyalty.
The concept of ‘Gamification’, or the use of game design elements in a non-game context, is increasingly seen one of the most impactful ways to engage your customers and build brand loyalty.
This often involves adding a scoring or points system to a site, a great example of which would be the ASOS A-LIST programme.
This works much in the same way as a loyalty card at a supermarket, awarding points for each £1 a customer spends, but includes a tier system which can see users receive further promotions, helping further incentivise shoppers to spend money.
If done correctly gamification is a great way to prompt users return to your site repeatedly, with users seeking to increase the perceived value of their score.
As briefly mentioned above, one of the most basic ways in which businesses prompt users to interact with their websites is to get users to provide their location.
This is great for tailoring the experience to be more relevant for users.
For instance, if you visit Amazon.com in the UK you’ll be immediately asked whether you would like to switch to Amazon.co.uk, preventing UK users from simply bouncing from the site once they see everything is priced in USD.
Furthermore the sites of many physical stores, such as Argos or Marks and Spencer, will prompt users to enter their postcode, helping customers locate their nearest store and providing them with directions and opening times.
Real time activityAnother interactive feature which can help drive users to return to your website is through real time activity.
While users tend to find themselves frequenting websites that offer regular updates, they’re likely to be even more engaged if something is being updated in real time, be it a countdown timer, a big product reveal or a live news feed.
There’s also the chance to further build consumer brand loyalty through the potential to tap into a customer’s Fear of Missing Out or FOMO.
Again Amazon is an excellent example of how this can be deployed effectively, as seen with its Black Friday sales.
By not only placing a timer on many sale items, but also visualising the remaining stock, it prompts users to continually check back to see if anything piques their interest and to swiftly finalise any purchases before they can sell out.
There are of course many other ways to help to improve interaction with your customers, but we’ve offered a base point from which to explore the various ways in which an interactive business website can help you build brand loyalty.
Just keep in mind that overloading your business website with too many interactive elements may risk reducing the speed at which your website loads, and nothing causes your bounce rate to skyrocket quite like a site that takes forever to load!