Across the insurance industry, e-commerce has just begun to mirror the sales tactics of the many industries that have long been selling products and services online. Today, the insurance industry is feeling the pressure to excel in the online sales realm. Although the task is not easy, there are steps that will help ensure the best possible online experience for current and potential customers.
These are tips we’ve used at HCC Medical Insurance Services, an international travel medical insurance provider, which has become one of the first of its kind to sell coverage online.
First, take a look at your company’s website.
Select a backend system that is current and provides optimal support. Regardless of the industry involved, a company cannot afford to have an out-of-service website, as information and communication loss with clients for any amount of time can prove detrimental. By selecting a back-end system that provides the best support to manage orders, inventory and processing, service providers are really doing a service to clients who need access to your website 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Have an accessible e-commerce platform. Online sales are essential for entry into new markets and providing a next-generation portal for members, providers and producers worldwide. Choose an e-commerce platform that is easy to use and delivers leading technology to all your customers no matter where they are located.
Two primary concerns to keep in mind when choosing your platform are the web browsers used by your customers and from what areas of the world they will be accessing your site. In the exhibits below, you will find recent browser usage statistics and a chart showing the primary locations of visits to an HCCMIS website. With careful analysis of your website traffic, you may find that you are receiving visits from places around the world that you did not expect. Does your e-commerce strategy meet the needs of these diverse demographic targets?
Make sure your website is really, really fast. In a 2009 study, Akamai Technologies, Inc. determined a mere two seconds was the threshold in relation to the average online shopper’s expectation for a web page to load. The study also determined that 40 percent of visitors will wait only three seconds before abandoning a retail or travel site for another option. Money should be allocated to ensure websites load quickly because losing customers is not an option. Web analytics tools can help ensure that your website remains competitive.
Read part two, Making an impression online: technology
Mark Carney is CEO of HCC Medical Insurance Services.