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September 13th, 2016

Design’s Value in an Online World

Let’s face it, if you’re not averaging a 4-star rating in your online reviews, then you’re on a losing streak. 5-star is the Holy Grail and should be the goal of any company / brand selling online—whether it’s direct through your own site or through an e-tailer.

Don’t believe me? Then just check this article out: 50 Stats You Need to Know About Online Reviews

To save you a few minutes—the first three of 50 stats are:

  • 92% of consumers now read online reviews vs. 88% in 2014
  • 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just one to three reviews vs. 29% in 2014
  • Star rating is the number one factor used by consumers to judge a business

You get the idea.

So how can you own the 5-star spot in your online competitive marketplace? It’s all about Design.

I’m not talking about the “make it pretty” kind of design, although making your products visually attractive isn’t a bad thing. No, I’m talking about design that is a process, purposefully built into every aspect of your business. A way of doing business that affects every thought, every decision, every action. I’m talking about designing every point of interaction with your customer and/or consumer.

Design as a discipline can help you uncover, understand, and appreciate each customer connection so that you have the knowledge and insight to provide an experience which delights.

My wife and I recently moved into a new home and needed a few pieces of accent furniture to finish the look and feel of the place. A console table for the foyer, a display case for the dining room, a side table and slipper chair for the master bedroom. That kind of thing.

We went online to start looking around—like everyone does—and landed at Wayfair.com, looking through what seemed like endless options.

We liked a couple of pieces that had a unique look. We didn’t know the brand, but thought we’d try one of them. The process was easy and enjoyable and a few days later the console table arrived—as confirmed by Wayfair in two emails to us.

Upon opening the shipping container, every piece was nestled snuggly in place and protected by various pieces of foam and cardboard structure. All the hardware was neatly encased and in the order of use as directed by the easy to understand instructions. The joint connectors were made of brass and the dowels all cut to size. Short story—in 45 minutes the table was assembled and gracing our foyer. We were delighted! And we ended up ordering three or four more pieces from the same brand.

A few days after each purchase, we received an email from Wayfair asking us to review our purchases. Well, because we were delighted by each one, our new favorite brand “Hokku Designs” received glowing praise and the coveted 5 stars. And Wayfair is now our recommended e-tailer for the home!

The folks at Hokku Designs had obviously, and painstakingly, examined every point on their customers’ journey—from viewing online, to selection and choice, to packaging and delivery, to quality (in minute detail), to fit and finish, to materials and construction, and now onto future designs.

This is how you delight your customers and achieve the Holy Grail. You design the experience they will have at every touchpoint.

One note of caution. One day, while trying to save a few pennies, we needed a little bookcase for the 3rd bedroom, and we bought a different, less expensive brand.

2 stars later, we’ll never make the same mistake again. It’s Wayfair.com and Hokku Designs from now on. [And no, I’m not a paid endorser.]

Final take-away: Design as a business process is powerful and can help you outpace the market. It’s been proven time and again and every company—even small- to mid-size manufacturers—can embrace it for their business success.

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