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4 years ago 5 min read

Why SMBs Need Usability

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Once upon a time SMB owners asked themselves: why do small or medium business need a website? It was just a few years back, but it feels like a lifetime ago. Having even a small website has become a must-have in almost every trade. Now the question is “Why do I need a usable website”? So, exactly why do SMBs need usability?

Nowadays, clients of SMB will first turn to the Internet to find not only products and pricing but also recommendations of others: 61% of online users use the Internet to find products.

Why SMB needs usability - 72% of online shoppers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
Why SMB needs usability – 72% of online shoppers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
| Flickr

Another study shows that 72% of online shoppers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. It is crucial to establish an online presence that will put your business in a strong position as a trusted brand.

But, as we already said – the website itself is not enough to attract customers and make them purchase anything we offer or use our services. If the website is poor, not attractive or complicated for the visitor to use – not only can business be lost, but also a reputation. And online reputation is everything for an SMB. A study shows that 49% of sites fail to comply with basic usability principles, and 50% of online sales are lost because visitors can’t find content.

Usability – common objections

There is a tendency to treat usability research and usability improvements as something expensive. Part of this trend is the fact that SMB business owners can think about usability improvements as an additional and unexpected cost that may not be effective. Another part of this trend is the fact that usability has lately become a sexy term: more and more people are attracted to this field and many of them claim they are usability experts. The truth is: usability is not as expensive as losing clients due to poor user experience.

I don’t have time for this – is another popular syaing about usability. Well, ask yourself a question: do you, an ownef of SMB have time for asking why are you losing or not getting more clients? Here is another truth: usability doesnt’t take as much time as you may think. If you ever find yourself or someone around you using this argument, bear in mind that it takes about 15 minutes per person to prepare and conduct a simple usability test with 5 users.

Small and Medium Businesses Adapt Faster

SMBs, especially if the trade is a narrow niche, don’t have a vast budget to spend on usability. Even if their online presence is not fully established yet and even if their e-commerce activity is not its core revenue source, SMBs have a big advantage comparing to a large, fully e-commerce based businesses. They are flexible.

Investing in usability for SMBs means that:

  • Changes are applied much faster comparing to a larger organization, as there are not as many discussions.
  • Decisions about good changes won’t get stuck on a managerial level; usually SMB owners are involved in everything so it is their directive to increase revenue.
  • Customer needs may be addressed directly and not be overlooked as something not high on your list of priorities.
  • Good User Experience for the clients makes them more likely recommend this nice and simple solution/service/shop to others and they will be more likely to come back.
  • More professional online presence for the business is established.

Usability ROI for small and medium business

According to research presented by Norman Nielsen Group, usability redesign gives an average 83% increase in return on investment. This basically shows that a good and usable website can bring more clients and convert better if the clients’ experience is good.

Why SMB needs usability - Usability redesign gives an average 83% increase in return on investment
Why SMB needs usability – Usability redesign gives an average 83% increase in return on investment | Flickr

Surprisingly, the research also points out that comparing to previous studies in the field, usability redesign ROI is lower and is going to be lower as more and more online businesses are investing in customer experience enhancement and usability improvements. This only shows that many new business owners who have decided to expand or conduct their business online are using usability and its power to improve their conversion. A popular saying that “what all the other kids are doing” applies here perfectly.

This serious approach to the subject leads to conclusion that small business needs usability like we all need air: 83% return on investment in case of a small business means a pretty nice chunk of change.

What can SMBs with a limited budget do to improve usability?

First of all, if you’re realizing that usability is important and it can help your business shine, you’re already in the winning position. With a good attitude, a limited budget is just one challenge to overcome in the user experience improvement process.

The best solution for small business website usability improvement is usability testing. It can be done in house with real clients or it can be done remotely via an online tool. It can be set and finished in one day or it can run for longer if it’s decided to go with the remote solution. It can give an instant answers and specific metrics indicating where website is leaking.

If you are looking for fast tips and tricks on how to boost your online sales, read one of our recent posts to get specific tips on how to increase revenue without spending too much money and time. If you are a small business owner and decided to give usability testing a shot (you should, by the way), here are 10 tips that can help you to set your usability testing and get the most of it.

 

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