The biggest challenge to online retailing is personalizing the impersonal, according to David Walmsley, head of Web selling at the British retailer John Lewis Direct. Walmsley offers five tips on appealing to a customer’s sense of loyalty, via the Web, in a white paper from Echo E-Business.
1. Understand. Success, Walmsley says, begins with knowing your audience. John Lewis, he says “must understand how our online experience fits in with their behavior.”
2. Create. Instead of friendly and helpful staff to show your customers around, Walmsley says, “Your choice of words, pictures and design are there to do their work.” In fact, he adds, “one tiny change to our website’s formatting lead to an extra ?1 million in revenue over the course of a year — so details really do make the difference.”
3. Challenge. Personalization is the key, he says, and that can only be achieved by challenging e-business orthodoxy. “There should be no set-in stone strategies. Instead, gradual and small experimental changes can achieve huge results.”
4. Reach out. E-marketing, Walmsley says, is more than just remembering who bought what. Company blogs and social network outreach “can boost consumers’ engagement with your brand.”
5. Drill down. Analytical measurement helps retailers understand individual customer behavior. “For example,” Walmsley says, “technology can tell us exactly where and when a particular customer abandoned their online shopping, and give us a view of the frequency and specific times of visiting, browsing and buying.”