In order to find out how other successful UK startups have tackled engaging with their customers online, we’ve spoken to a number of business owners who have shared their insights and experiences with us below.

First up we have learnings from Bertie Stephens, the Founder of Flubit. Flubit provides users with the ability to compare the price of items on Amazon.co.uk and also offers a lower private price for the same item.

What impact does your website have on your business?

Being an online marketplace, our business is our website. It’s how we trade, operate and make money. Without our website, there would be no Flubit because what we’re offering is an online shopping service. We also have a secondary website for online merchants looking to start selling on Flubit.com. Both websites are essential to our business.

What aspects of your site are most important to your customers?

We’d say the interface and user experience, as it’s of most importance that users can easily navigate the site and go through the process of demanding a better price and placing an order. If they had trouble using the website, they’d be less like to a) convert and b) return. We’d also say that site security is very important, especially for a site like our where users are shopping online.

Are you planning to develop any areas of your website?

Our website it constantly being tweaked and changed as we expand our offering and launch new features. We also make changes based on user feedback –all feedback we get is collected, if we find we’re getting a similar request from a lot of our users we’ll add this into a pipeline of changes for our teams of developers to review and if we think it’s necessary of would be an improvement, it’s planned into a pipeline of work to the site. We recently made a number of big changes to the site – namely adding our best deals on the most popular, best-selling items to the homepage, and also shortening offer waiting times from 24 to 3 hours maximum.

What advice do you have for new startups who are building their businesses website?

Make sure your website reflects you as a brand, and is easy to the user to do what you want them to do – have a clearly labelled navigation with areas of them to click depending on what they want to do. Promote your website by social media, email marketing etc., add your site URL into everything you’re doing – flyers, business cards, online content etc. Also, especially for startups, be open to criticism and feedback – if you’re user is telling you something they would like to see on the site, consider this and weigh up whether it would be a beneficial change. These kind of feedback is essentially free testing! Also, create an email address of users to flag any bugs or glitches they encounter, you’re site visitors will save you hiring a QA if you have a clear channel for them to communicate with you.

Next we have advice from Joe Martin, the Social Media Manager at Laundrapp. Laundrapp has designed an app that enables users to remote control their laundry via a door-to-door service.

What impact does your website have on your business?

Laundrapp may have launched with an app, but the website is still really important to us in a number of ways. Firstly, we’ve updated the site since launch so that we can now accept orders there. The app is still the best way to order on your mobile, but a lot of our customers really love that they can order their dry cleaning and laundry online or from their PCs.   The other reason that the website is important is because it’s a convenient place for us to talk more about our service. Laundrapp offers a door-to-door service that includes collection and delivery, but some people can be understandably nervous the first time they give their clothes to someone they haven’t met before. The website is a great place for us to hold content such as FAQs, where people can discover how our service works and that we’re a reliable service, run by a team of real people with many years of experience caring for your clothes!

What aspects of your site are most important to your customers?

That’s an interesting question because what’s important to one customer often isn’t important to another. For example, we know FAQs are really important to our customers – but each customer will generally only need an answer to one or two questions. It’s really important we don’t over-communicate or bombard customers with information in these pages though – so what’s the solution? We think the most important thing is to have a simple, accessible design that enables customers to find the information they need as quickly as possible. It’s not about having all the answers in one place; it’s about helping customers zoom in on just the answer they need. And being available on social media, just in case.

Are you planning to develop any areas of your website?

Oh yes, we’re constantly improving the site and updating or tweaking things. When Laundrapp launched less than a year ago we only operated in London and we didn’t accept orders online, but over the last 11 months we’ve seen really explosive growth and we’ve scaled our business and our website in line with that. You can now order dry cleaning online, as well as check our blog where we talk about laundry lifehacks and other apps that can save you time and money – both things we didn’t have at launch.   In fact, we’ve grown so fast that we launched a new feature last week that enables customers to vote on where we should expand to next – and there are more features in the works too. Head to www.laundrapp.com/coverage to check it out!

What advice do you have for new startups who are building their businesses website?

Four words: “Test everything. Iterate constantly.” The web moves really fast and customers nowadays will absolutely expect you to have a good website that addresses their basic needs. It’s not optional and it can’t stand still. Even if you’re happy with your overall site design, it’s absolutely essential that you A/B test different designs and continue to iterate and improve.

Finally we have insights from Caner Veli, the Founder of Liquiproof. Liquiproof have created a water-repellent superhydrophobic coating that helps to keep fabrics clean, dry and stain free, utilising nanotechnology.

What impact does your website have on your business?

In this day and age a website is a business’s main asset. I believe it ranks higher than the product or service you provide. It is the window that your potential customers will look through to gain information. Even well-established traditional retail stores have strong websites. Gone are the days of walking down the high-street to find the things you’re after. Especially a service led business that’s not on the high street When was the last time you picked up a yellow pages for example? I’m not sure of the exact figures but I’m sure 99% of people researched products and services online before making a purchase. 96% of mobile users have researched via their mobile device so it’s even more important to have a mobile optimised website. Without our website we will not be able to sell direct to consumers and our potential customers would not have the best and most up to date information about our award winning products.

What aspects of your site are most important to your customers?

Our most visited page is obviously our homepage but the most important part of our site is the information it provides to potential customers. It holds the latest how to guides and content our customers have uploaded. In the sales journey visitors only become customers once they have found enough information to make up their mind and purchase. Some people need more information than others. Another important part of this process is safety and trust. People asks themselves can I trust this business/product/website. Displaying trusted logos or brands helps make people comfortable with making a purchase and that you are a legitimate enterprise. I recommend displaying secure website and payment badges where possible.

Are you planning to develop any areas of your website?

Our website is always being developed. We continuously tweak and try to improve our information and therefore our conversion rates. One element we would like to add is a section where customers can upload their own images and videos of our products in action. I believe this will help provide social proof that our products are good and others are happy with it. Overall helping improve our conversion rate and strengthen our brand.

What advice do you have for new startups who are building their businesses website?

The best advice I can give is to ensure that your website looks good and is fast. You’ll struggle to sell if your site looks awful and it takes forever to load. People don’t have time to waste. Invest in good imagery and content. An iPhone can only take you so far. Employ an agency to handle it for you if you are not confident in creating it yourself. Make sure you value your time. You’re better off bringing in clients rather than spending hours and days trying to learn how to set up a good website.

Take on board the learnings of these established UK startups and invest in creating a website that will help your business to grow and thrive in the future.

Author Bio: Robert Elding is the Managing Director of USIO. USIO is a UX Agency London that specialises in Digital Strategy and Planning, Customer Insights, UX/UI Design as well as Testing and Evaluation.