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Successful Retailing Online

The rapid pace of change in the UK retail sector is frightening. Retailing online is no different and brings into sharp focus the importance of pursuing a joined-up approach to your digital marketing in order to meet the needs and expectations of your customers.

The keys to successful online retailing are simple and straightforward – at least on paper! However, executing them in practice is often the hard part. MY five golden rules for ultimate digital retailing SUCCESS are:

1. Giving customers access to more brands.
2. REAL discounted prices (20-25% lower).
3. Ensuring the buying experience is “frictionless”.
4. Focus on making the customer happy!
5. Focusing on logistics to reduce costs

OK, so let’s turn the above on its head and for the purpose of clarification and to drive the relevant points home run the following by you for reasons why companies FAIL with their online retailing!:

1. Lousy and/or not enough products
2. The wrong price
3. Outdated or limited technology
4. Ignoring customer care
5. Ignoring logistics

With the above in mind it is imperative for ultimate long term success that you build a platform that is specific to what you want your audience to do.

Retailers must make it as easy as possible for customers to come online, find what they want, purchase it, receive it on time and in good condition, and return it easily.

What is your desired outcome from a visitor to your online store? If the outcome is to shop and buy, be sure to choose the correct online Content Management System (CMS) and design the website to enhance the customer shopping experience. Make it as easy and fool-proof as possible.

Frictionless e-commerce is about exceeding the expectations of your shoppers. It is NOT about fancy graphics or having the lowest prices on the web. Do not create unnecessary friction by forcing your customers to jump through hoops or go around in circles, chasing their tail to make a purchase! In the perfect online retail experience of the near future, less will indeed be more.

Whilst there is no doubt that much could be learned by smaller online retailers from behemoths such as Amazon.com, it is wise to remember that companies of the size of Amazon are the exception and most definitely not the rule to be blindly followed.

For example as a smaller retail player in the Internet space you should be making it a priority to take advantage of the opportunities to get to know your customer base better, and, therefore, give users MORE of what they want. In essence, supercharge your customer service!

Maximising your social media presence is vital to build awareness of your brand and products. Building priceless social currency can deliver higher conversion rates and better customer engagement and retention.

The social media revolution has made it possible for all online retailers, of any size, to reach an infinitely expanding audience. With the right integration tools, it is simple and easy to automate your social media activities directly with your e-commerce shop front.

Lastly, but possibly most significantly for future online retailing success: Retail sales through mobile are growing – FAST!

Almost half (48%) of the UK’s online shoppers buy from their beds!! Whilst some may still be balancing a laptop on their knees and clicking the buy button, more and more will be using their tablet and smartphone to purchase online.

However, conversion rates from tablet and smartphone visitors are still very much lower than desktop visitors. Recent research also shows that average order value from mobile traffic is 28% lower than from a desktop. This represents a significant opportunity for companies to increase conversion rates to drive much more revenue from traffic originating from these devices. M-retailing is here to stay…..

Paul Brewster, September 2014