They expect retail Websites to provide powerful search and navigation, quality product information, simple checkout and cross-channel shopping options at a minimum.
Surprisingly, according to a survey by Retail Systems Research, 56% of online merchants can’t figure out how their customers use their sites!? Troubling, as today’s site should be designed by metrics and performance, not focus groups and theories. In this day and age when everything can be tested and optimized, you have no excuse. (funny, I wrote that last sentence before reaching the end of the eMarketer article; that is, the point where it highlights that “customer behavior tracking” – no explanation of what that is by the way – is both the most effective and most disappointing priority. At least, I think that’s what the chart is meant to say – please comment if I’ve misread it).
Worse, the study suggest that nearly half, haven’t figured out how to coordinate channels to create a shopping experience that creates synergy rather than conflict. I don’t want to get into this topic now other than to say look to your friendly neighborhood search engines and social media to effectively promote both.
Now, how’s this for a challenge:
While you are busy meeting increasing customer engagement and performance online, the DMA finds that your old fashioned print catalog still accounts for, on average, 50% of sales. Dealing with channel conflict with a catalog is certainly much more of a challenge, but not impossible. The real question is where you put those resources. Significant development work to support performance based online marketing and conversion improvements as well as rich and social media solutions to increase online engagement OR attention on maintaining half of your revenue stream? The answer is again, “effectively both.”
I’ve seen tremendous success in using online insights and performance to drive catalog optimization. How? Search behavior is perhaps the best leading indicator of consumer demand and trends while a catalog can easily blend product promotions with online resources, promoting the opportunities you create for customers to socially interact with your brand.
What else has your attention? I’m not aware of too many other priorities that can have as significant an impact on your holiday season but I’d love to hear from you.