Monday, September 9, 2013

Retailisation - what it means to be a modern digital retailer

"We want to be more like a retailer"
"We need to think more like a retailer"
"Our business needs to evolve into more of a retail model"

Sound familiar? Well I'm hearing these sorts of quotes more and more often these day, and  not just from the obvious brands you would think. But from established product manufacturers and service providers, who realize that they need to up their game and drive people to consideration and purchase/subscription/take-up.
It seems that despite a recent Global economic melt-down driven by over-spending and an economic reliance on spending... retailisation seems to be the way forward. Everyone apparently now wants to be the next Amazon, Zappos or Play.com

So what does it actually mean to think and be more like a digital retailer these days? (Especially the major online or multi-channel retailers, who seem to epitomize this ethos).

Well here's my thoughts:

  1. A good online retailer never stops looking for ways to improve what they have. This constant & iterative approach to goal optimisation means sites need to constantly change to increase their conversion ratio, average order value and other KPI's. eCommerce giants like Amazon, Argos, Tesco, etc. no longer launch major re-developments once in a while, but have a tried & tested process of smaller changes planned based on analytics & insight. These changes are then implemented in an  optimisation road-map as quickly as they can, with the idea of building up a picture of what works and what doesn't.
    This is also not just something that done on the homepage of your site,  where every product/service wants to get visibility, but on every page / template, including: landing pages, product pages, etc.
  2. Use every opportunity to maximise each individual transaction. From useful up-sell and cross-sell opportunities through to optimised abandoned basket messages or a clever eCRM communication that pulls in dynamic product suggestions based on browsing history... you have the data, use it to persuade and encourage.
  3. Carry out regular user experience site reviews, but ensure they are done from the perspective of a prospect/customer.
    Examples could include:
    1. A new customer looking for product information
    2. An soon-to-be customer looking for product validation
    3. An existing customer looking for support or returns information
    4. A lapsed customer who has forgotten their password.
  4. A PPC & display budget should focus on those campaigns that deliver conversions and not just visits or other vanity metrics. In other words, deliver a bought media strategy that targets goals using input from you site analytics.
    (And if I hear one more senior exec say "we have X number of hits on our site" - I think I'll scream)
Retailisation isn't for everyone. But as more & more sites move beyond just the basics, I'm sure it is an approach that will continue to increase in use.
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