There was a common thread amongst the responses, tending to involve the shift in device usage. (You may be reading this very sentence on a tablet or smartphone.) The past few years have seen a monumental change in the way we access the internet and this is reflected in the thoughts we received when we put the question of 2014 to the 9xb team. So, what should be at the forefront of your digital strategy this year?
"If you're an ecommerce business, then 2014 is the time to really focus more on the end-to-end customer experience and not just making fast bucks or single sales. There's always someone who'll undercut you, so it's important your potential (and existing) customers understand that quality and value are worth that little bit extra. Social provides opportunities for brands to excel in customer service. This level of service is fast becoming the rule, and not the exception. It is imperative you adapt quickly."
"Chances are your sweat and tears have gone into making your business a success, so it's no wonder you'll become a little unnerved when a third-party gets involved and wants to make changes. Try to remember that you're paying for their expertise and there has to be a bit of a leap of faith. Trust them when they recommend a course of action or recommend against it. This gives you chance to focus on the thing that really matters: achieving your objectives."
"With consumers using more channels to access information and products than ever before – often several at the same time – it’s time to take multichannel marketing seriously. Gone are the days of differentiation between online and offline. Instead businesses should be focussed on creating integrated campaigns across a range of channels. ‘Omnichannel’ marketing merges physical with digital, providing the information-rich customer experience that today’s user has come to expect."
"Usability testing has always been at the heart of any good web project and should continue to be in 2014. It's amazing how often this stage of a project is overlooked and it is one of the first sacrifices made when budgets are tight. In our experience nothing gives you a better understanding of who is using your site, what they're doing and whether it's achieving what you want it to achieve. It's so simple, but it's incredibly useful for every stakeholder in the project - not just designers!"
"We're seeing more and more sites are being built with mobile and tablet users in mind, which is great. However, it's amazing how often a business will invest in making a site responsive without giving any thought for how the copy and imagery also needs to change. So often they'll just try cram what already exists into the new design, ruining the effect of the new site. It's much better to rewrite and redesign than it is to amend!"