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Viewing other articles from December, 2015

Online relaunches; 6 tips to avoid the mistakes Weight Watchers made

09 Dec 2015

It doesn't matter how good your online offering is or how future proofed you tried to make it when you launched it, there will come a day in the future where it becomes necessary to replace it with a newer version. Perhaps you've had a change in direction within your business, perhaps you stated with something that wasn't mobile friendly, or maybe you just want to add new features and it's more cost effective to start over.

Whatever the reason for replacing your online solution, it comes with one very big danger...

What is the biggest danger when replacing an existing solution?

Your current customers.

Launching a new solution is easy, because there's no current expectations for what's available or how it works. Replacing an existing offering is fraught with danger because your current customers (whether they are happy with the current offering or not) have a relationship with that solution; they know what's available, how it works, where the flaws are and what they feel needs improving.

The goal for any relaunch has to be to improve on what's already there. This is the only way to keep your current customers happy while you attract new ones, otherwise you risk backlash from your current customers which can be offputting to any potential new ones. There is little point replacing a solution if it leaves you in a worse place than where you were!

Unfortunately it's a lesson that Weight Watchers have learnt the hard way when they recently launched a new online tracking and mobile app to replace an existing solution. Whilst they were promoting their new improved online functionality, their customers were angrily taking to their social media platforms because the modernised new look was impacting on their ability to use the new solution and in fact, the replacement applications actually offered a lot less functionality than the previous version did.

Tip #1: When replacing an existing solution never remove functionality unless you have strong research proving that the feature is unused or unwanted. Customers become more attached to certain features than you would think. If you have run out of time to add an existing feature back in, then delay your relaunch until that feature is available. Always start by adding back in what's there before you add new features.

Tip #2: Always test your replacement offering before launching - there is no such thing as too much testing! While it is true you will never catch all the bugs before you put it live, a customer should reasonably be able to expect that they won't see an error within the first minute of using the replacement solution. Don't use your existing customers as beta testers without asking them first!

Tip #3: Keep the intended platform in mind when you create your new look; while large banners and oversized fonts can look cool on a desktop, remember to ensure that they are scaled back on mobile (if applicable) - otherwise you are cutting into what is already a very small usable space and it will result in frustrated customers who can't use the application without frequently scrolling.

What happens if you get it wrong?

Sometimes despite all the best intentions, you can end up in a position where you get it wrong and launch something which isn't well received. If you ever find yourself in this position then there are two paths you can choose to take; 1) carry on whether your customers like it or not or 2) admit it isn't right and take steps to fix it. Common business sense suggests the second path is normally the right one to take, but there are times where the first option can be appropriate (if for instance you are relaunching to attract a different target market entirely).

Tip #4: If you have a swarm of angry customers on social media, then however tempting it is, do not give every customer the same copy and pasted message. Other customers often take the time to read what other people are saying and how you are responding to them. If you are apologising for the inconvenience and asking for patience using the exact same wording, then after your 10th reply it is going to start feeling a bit insincere to those reading and commenting on your page.

Tip #5: Don't be afraid to go backwards. Sometimes the best solution to quell an angry mob is to admit that things weren't right, bring back the old solution and keep working on the replacement one until you have gotten all of the kinks worked out. While many business owners seldom take this route, the few that have end up in a stronger position for it; the angry customers quickly quieten down, business carries on as usual and when they've relaunched they've often opted for a side-by-side roll-out which works better.

Tip #6: Consider launching side-by-side. This is where you offer both solutions with the default one being the existing and an invititaion (usually via a badge or banner) to try the new version. This gives customers the choice of which one to use and allows you to collect feedback on the new one as well as iron out any bugs or glitches. While it can be annoying running both options side by side, it is a gentle way to introduce customers to the fact change is coming and lets you launch a replacement version once it truly is an improvement on what you currently offer. Make sure to pay attention to the feedback your customers are providing - don't launch your replacement while you are still getting a lot of negative feedback.

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How free shipping can increase your online sales

01 Dec 2015

The cost of shipping plays a big part in how desirable your online store is to your customers - especially now that Christmas is looming. Is free shipping actually free? In most instances no. Businesses typically recover the cost of free shipping by building the cost into their prices and even though most customers on some level understand this is the case, the good news is that most don't negatively link 'free shipping' with higher product prices....

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