Rick Nichols treats his customers the way he himself wants to be treated, which means he goes the extra mile, all the time, to listen to their needs and give them the service they want and more. At the same time, he also charges them low fees, which shows them the great value in working with Rick and The Web Designs Group.
At The Web Designs Group, Rick Nichols also knows that great design is integral to a website’s popularity, which translates to clients and money. If your website doesn’t have a good “visual first impression,” then don’t expect your website to get much traffic, and don’t expect your content to be read. It’s also true the other way around: even if you have great images, weak content will not turn into new conversions for you. Rick understands that combining both image and content is the new challenge for brands that want to cultivate brand loyalty.
Rick Nichols also understands that brands want to tell their story when selling to customers. This is why The Web Designs Group has made a mission out of “telling your story clearly” and “leaving a lasting impact on your customers” though smart and attractive website designs.
With Rick Nichols and The Web Designs Group, you’ll be able to build “amazing moneymaking online stores that get incredible results.”
Check out more web-savvy business leaders here.
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Rick Nichols: The key members of our team and I worked for major fortune 500 employers in our area and got to know each other through various joint marketing programs we developed for our employers.
Jerome Knyszewski: What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
Rick Nichols: As with any independent small business owner the Aha Moment occured when our creative ideas bumped up against the inertia of corporate culture. Modern marketplaces are now so dynamic marketers have to be able to respond to opportunities quickly. This is the classic dilemma faced by all companies that become large. Their size generally hinders the kind of explosive entrepreneurial gowth and aggresiveness that powered the firms early success.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Rick Nichols: I can’t remember ever considering giving up. The freedom to things our way was simply too liberating. I do laugh when I look back at the tools we used back then. Both the hardware and software landscapes have changed so much. I marvel at the creativity of the people who are building the clever tools we are using now to craft better solutions for our clients.
Jerome Knyszewski: So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Rick Nichols: We are the busiest we have ever been. The Covid shutdowns have caused our business to skyrocket as the owners of brick and mortar stores that were shuttered due to the virus discovered they no longer had a way to distribute their merchandise.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that? What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Rick Nichols: Two things differentiate us. We invest in real people who provide “old fashioned” person to person service. We refuse to automate any of our customer service work. The other is we are not successful unless our clients are successful. We make a significant extra effort to guide our clients in the marketing follow through of their online stores once we have completed the development and publishing of their websites. Sometimes that involves setting up a Google ad campaign or getting on Amazon, Wallmart and Target virtual shelves.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a few examples of tools or software that you think can dramatically empower emerging eCommerce brands to be more effective and more successful?
Rick Nichols: There are so many analytical data gathering tools that my best advice is to read the data and respond to its message. I don’t think we need more tools just more time.
Jerome Knyszewski: As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies an eCommerce business should use to increase conversion rates?
Rick Nichols: Try to understand why people are choosing your brand over a competitors then find ways to increase that value aspect of your offering. Keep giving them more of the product magic they are buying.
Jerome Knyszewski: Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that an eCommerce business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?
Rick Nichols: Simple, just ask customers for their opinions about the product or service after they have bought. Successful business people are always anxious to hear what their customers really think about their products and services. That is the only way then can improve and compete.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful e-commerce business? Please share a story or an example for each.
1. A product that solves a consumer need or problem. Every successful product solves a person’s problem. I built a website for a company that built personal hepa air filters worn with a lanyard around the neck. The original concept was to screen airborne soot and particles from dirty city air. When Covid came along all of a sudden the product turned out to be the perfect solution for health care workers and sales took off like a rocket. It was suddenly solving an urgent problem. Always be looking for ways to anticipate problems other people will have and solve them.
2. The price needs to be competitive. With all of the internet comparison shopping available you cannot get away with sloppy pricing. Be sure your value proposition makes sense. Me mercilous in reducing your costs to produce your product.
3. Be prepared to support your customers. People today actually need more contact with a real person using eCommerce than they do with a traditional brick and mortar. If you don’t have a support operation that connects with your customers you will not be successful. I am always shocked to see businesses delegate customer support to their least paid and most poorly educated about the business. You need to turn customers into advocates with great support. Take great care of your customers and they will always take care of you.
4. You must be prepared to spend some money to advertise your products. Google display ads do a great job of giving a product exposure while giving the start up entrepreneur tight control of their advertising expenses. Don’t expect the world to beat a path to your online store if they don’t know you are there. Build your brand through exposure.
5. Always be doing everything to make people aware of you. There is no single magic bullet. All of the most successful people I have ever met will tell you that the key to their success is they are prepared to do everything it takes to be successful. Success does not come without hard work and great attention to details.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Rick Nichols: Simply visit our website at webdesigns.group to see what we are up to.
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!