All businesses have multiple spaces or situations of encounter with the customer or user (store, website, brochure …). It is important to identify these entry points and properly design them to offer an appealing, clear and simple view of our company.
When accessing a department store, we usually find a reception area, where visitors get a first impression of the place. Normally, at these points there is an escalator with some eye-catching information panels that guide the visitor (Floor 1: Menswear, Floor 2: Domestics, Floor 3 …).
Now, imagine a department store where you have never been before. Imagine that as soon as the threshold of the entrance is crossed there is no host space, but counters with different products, without any signaling, and the escalators far from the entrance, placed randomly.
Perhaps many of us have found ourselves in this situation. First, we feel confused and overwhelmed. We don’t find anything. After hanging out for a while, frustrated and irritated, we leave. They may have great products, but we will never have the opportunity to discover them.
Well, there is no need to be a department store to give this impression to our customers. Service companies or those companies that do not even have offices open to the public also need to design an entry point to clearly guide and present the offer.
First, we need to identify which are the main entry points of our business, that is, all those physical spaces or situations of encounter between the company and the user. Obviously, the most typical entry point is the hall of our offices or the shop, but in fact, in many cases this is the most insignificant one.
The main entry point for a growing number of companies is their website. We must be aware that the search and selection of suppliers of products and services has shifted to the net. Today, the Internet is a great showcase where companies compete for the attention of customers. Consistent with this, social media are also becoming entry points to be taken into account.
However, we should not neglect other more traditional entry points that have adapted to changing times. We are referring in particular to corporate presentations, but also to cards, brochures, packaging and many others.
Once we have identified our entry points, we must make sure that they are designed to allow quick access to the following information:
1. Who we are (First impression)
A good entry point should attract the attention and transmit in a few seconds who we are. We do not have much time. If in those seconds, customers are not able to understand what our business is about, they will pass by. At this point, it is important not to overwhelm the user explaining our history.
Obviously, the more well-known we are, the easier this aspect will be. Thus, Nike just needs to show their logo to be identified by everyone. But as our company probably is not Nike, we will have to try a little harder.
2. What we offer and how to find it (Information panel)
Once we’ve managed to transmit who we are, we will explain very simply and quickly what we offer. Again, we have only a few seconds, so do not try to impress anyone with your full range of services and products.
We must make an effort to simplify our offer to make it possible for the customer to quickly understand what products and services we offer and how to access them. Customers should not cross a labyrinth to find what they need.
3. How to move from one service to another (Escalator)
Once the entry point has been crossed, if users are satisfied with what they have found, they might want to see the rest of our offer. Similarly, we too want to sell more than one product or service.
It is always necessary, therefore, a quick access to the rest of our offer, no matter where we are. In a department store this will result in an escalator, in a website this is achieved by a clear and simple menu (avoid the endless drop-down menus), in a brochure or presentation it could mean an “Also” and a reference to our website.