As new sectors of the commercial marketplace adopt a long tail economic model, competition among niche online retailers becomes more intense by the day. New and improved website designs and domain hosting platforms geared toward user-friendly transaction platforms convert passive visitors into loyal customers with remarkable efficiency. How, one might ask?
The inherent potential of this new model, somewhat unsurprisingly, lies in giving customers what they want, when and how they want it. A fundamental change has occurred in how online businesses view their websites: as tools for selling rather than obstacles to be negotiated in order to get the sale.
A recent example of this phenomenon is online footwear and sporting goods store, Fitness-Footwear. The company’s recent launch of an updated website and new transaction platform has been undertaken in hopes of garnering more traffic, providing a user-friendly experience and, in doing so, gaining a firmer grasp on a highly competitive market.
The proposed website improvement hinges on two main factors. First, the business is based on specific knowledge of a painstakingly selected range of specialty products. This is not a “big-box” store in the suburban sense, but rather a niche business acutely aware of its niche product and clientele. Secondly, careful attention has been paid to how people shop, how they interact with the website, and how their e-commerce experience can be improved to generate more sales.
In general, it would seem that managing directors and IT professionals alike have clocked on to the fact that consumers frequently become “lost” in the depths of a website. From a lead generation perspective, usability is beginning to take precedence over aesthetics and even actual products. Flashy designs offering endless selection are quite useless if the customer is unable to navigate a site to find what they need.
This trend has been picked up far beyond the footwear market, and a foundational shift is taking place in the industry. Web hosting companies are now offering simple design tools that allow small businesses to create their own user-friendly, transaction-based websites, encouraging widespread adoption of the long tail model in the process.