SMEs could be losing up to 54% of online revenue by not updating their website

Yell has released new research into how businesses in the hair and beauty industry are managing their online presence in light of the pandemic, and how, as we come out of lockdown in the UK, getting your website right has never been more important.

The research identified an effective online presence as a key driver for sales and enquiries for hair and beauty businesses. 95% of businesses stated that branding was the most important aspect for generating leads and sales, closely followed by social media (94%) and digital marketing (93%). 90% of businesses said that it was their website. Interestingly, 35% stated that they thought their website was unimportant before the pandemic, but now think that it is important and over 1 in 5 (21%) of hair and beauty businesses think that their business would not survive without a website.

Consumers are increasingly seeking out businesses online too. On average, 61% of customers are either likely or very likely to seek out a hair and beauty business online before making a purchase or booking in a service.

Content is king

Out of the websites analysed, on average, hair and beauty websites were last updated an estimated 14 months ago, revealing that many businesses are neglecting to update them regularly.

Yell's research shows that this could have a direct impact on revenue from online sales, with the study finding that consumers spend 54% less per month on average on websites that have not been updated regularly versus those that have. Moreover, when consumers were asked what element of a business's website would most likely increase their chances of making a purchase or booking a service with that business, 42% stated that it was a website having up-to-date information.

The most common reasons amongst hair and beauty businesses for not updating or amending their website was a lack of time and a fear of something going wrong (both 31%). 25% believe they simply don't have the money to do anything else to their website and 23% said that they didn't have the expertise. 42% of respondents agreed that it was costly to update their website.

Designed for success

According to hair and beauty businesses, design is the most important part of their website (65% of respondents) and this is reflected in consumer behaviour too. Half of consumers surveyed stated that they would be less likely to give a website their business if it was badly designed and 41% said they would not use that business again.

However, the analysis of websites showed that 11% of hair and beauty websites contained text too small to be read on a mobile device. Furthermore, 29% of businesses had a website with horizontal scrolling on mobile devices, a common complaint amongst mobile users, and 16% were not optimised for mobile at all.

Speed is of the essence

With 36% of consumers stating that they would be less likely to give a company their business if their website was slow to use and 9% even saying they would post a negative comment about their experience on social media, site speed is another incredibly important factor for businesses in the domestic services industry.

On average, out of all websites analysed, the analysis found that it took 6.7 seconds for a business's website's page to go from a blank screen to a visually complete state. In comparison, it took hair and beauty websites 6.8 seconds, on average. Showing that websites in the industry are performing slightly below the average standard amongst other SMEs.

Claire Miles, Chief Executive Officer of Yell commented: “It's been an incredibly tough time for hair and beauty businesses across the country. The pandemic has forced them to adapt quickly and has led to a widespread adoption of digital services at speed. Whilst these digital services have been crucial for businesses to survive the past 16 months, our insights show that this trend towards digital is set to continue long past the pandemic. Therefore, it is crucial for SMEs to be getting their digital strategy right and an effective website will always be at the heart of that.”

To access further stats from the study and get tips and advice from Yell on how to make your online presence the best it can be, click here.