[Edit Notes: Sometimes we ignore simple things. But these are the things that really make a difference. Manoj Kumar, formerly of MakeMyTrip, makes a case for why you should pay attention to the humble About Us page.]
The simple truth is that people buy from other people, not companies. What is not obvious that this fact is equally true whether the business is online, offline or a hybrid.
Think about it for a moment – when someone says “I buy from xyz.com, because I trust them“, they are implicitly referring to the people behind the organization, isn’t it?
Web is a place where anyone can establish a business. A genuine business or a make believe business. Many people who interact with your website for the first time will want to find out who you are and determine that you are indeed a genuine business.
This is where your “about us” page comes into picture
Case of a purchase that you do not do everyday… like buying a guitar
I was looking to purchase a guitar online. This is a kind of purchase that one does not do frequently. This is also not a thing that you would place repeat orders for.
I Googled, and as expected the result had many websites that I was seeing for the first time
Thoughts on first time interaction with a website
I clicked on www.guitarstreet.in, liked their selection. Immediately, the big question in my mind was whether these guys are genuine?
So, here I am, checking their about us page. It is shown below
So, I read about Utkarsh and Madhu, see their pictures and read about them. A bunch of lads driven by passion. I instantly find them trustworthy. These boys look like nice people to speak to in case your order gets something messed up.
This page has personal touch. Putting in contact information would be a nice additional touch point.
More examples – both bad and good
Another site I checked out was Bajaoo.com. Their about us page claims that Bajaoo is the largest direct retailer for musical instruments in Asia. It may be my ignorance in the field of music, but I have never heard of them, have you?. How do I verify the claim?
Consider the about us page from Naaptol.com
First, the navigation is buried deep down in the home page, when you get to the page, there is not much relevant content as shown below.
This is a company that has spent huge amounts in TV campaigns, so people know them. People are transacting with other people, so OLX may not have a big role in the transaction itself, so they can probably get away with a page like this!
But this is not a good example to follow for others. In fact a bit of personal touch and more information will only help OLX. What does it cost after all.
Now, consider the Quikr.com page
They have put out neat details of who they are and their executive team. This is the right approach. eBay is a global brand by all counts – does not mean that they do not need an about us page.
Consider the page from Junglee.com below:
The page is really detailed and answers all possible questions that one may have about Junglee. Its not the best of examples for personal touch, but does give you Facebook and twitter accounts to interact with the brand. Again, Junglee is a big name, but they are making all efforts to provide full information. I would certainly have liked a personal touch on the page.
Best “about us section”: Snapdeal.com
This page has got personality, that reflects the personality of the company. Young and ambitious
Minus the sales pitch of being India’s largest marketplace, this is a nice and detailed section. Closest to what an “about us” page should be like. Even has section for investor relations
Summing it up
You want to show that there is a real organization behind your website backed by genuine and trustworthy people. Your about us page is a key tool in gaining this trust.
There is a lot that is required to gain trust, it is something that takes long time to build and you can loose it in a short period of time.
I do not suggest that if you get about us page right, you have done everything to win trust. It could not be farther from truth. My point is that a bad about us page can ruin a new business, any why would you not do such a simple thing perfectly, especially if it can make such a big difference?
So go ahead, make your about us page personal, give ways to contact you and talk about who you are. You never know who is browsing your about us page, they could be your next customer or first investor, what would you like them to see?
[About the author: Manoj Kumar has spent better half of last decade at Makemytrip.com, handling product management/ revenues and technology for some of MMT’s critical lines of businesses. Most recently he held the position of Director – Product Management at MMT. He is now an entrepreneur, working to launch his first mobile based product.]