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May 7, 2012

Succeeding in Retail with a Strong Web Strategy

On Tuesday I presented at The Internet Show Melbourne on “Surviving the Future of Retail with an Effective Online Strategy. Here I’ll sum up some of my main arguments to help you build a web strategy that helps your business succeed on the web.

You can also access my presentation at bwired.com.au/theinternetshow.

More Platforms, More Effort

The rise of social media means the number of social media platforms is in the hundreds, and it’s only growing. But instead of getting caught up in the hype, limit your social media focus to one or two platforms to begin with. A successful social media strategy is SUSTAINABLE – that means you will have the time and resources to engage with the network and use it to deliver the business outcomes you’ve connected with the network (you’ve done that, right?)

Manage Customers

Online or offline, managing customers is essential in retail. How are you doing this on the web? For example, are you learning from you customers? Have you built your online assets with your audience in mind, rather than drawing from your own perspective only? Social media can be an excellent tool for listening and learning about your customers and their experience with your industry, but it can also be as simple as using a poll on your website or reaching out to your existing customers and getting their opinions.

Personalise

Once you’ve managed your customers and what they want from your eCommerce channel, you can also personalise their experience online. Personalisation is a powerful tool that will keep customers returning to your website. Offer different prices for your customers; suggest products they would like by bundling offers on your product pages; or send personalised emails that draw on the customer’s past experience with your site. There are many options, depending on your business.

Get Technology Right

Speaking of personalisation, the right technology can help you perform these types of activities on a regular basis and almost automatically. The right technology will also allow you to optimise the efficiency of your business, both from the back-end and the customer side of transactions. For example, a content management system can allow you to manage orders more easily, while also backing up a website that is secure and trustworthy for customers.

Hold Your Organisation (or Agency) to Account

You may have your business objectives in mind, but figuring out how to deliver on those objectives using the many tools, platforms and technologies of the internet is another thing entirely. Here, agencies can be of use. Their expertise and experience will allow you to connect your online strategy with the business outcomes you want to deliver. Hold these agencies, and their expertise, to account – ask for monthly or quarterly reports.

It’s Not Rocket Science

Succeeding in an eCommerce channel isn’t rocket science, it’s often just business basics and some hard work.

Find my presentation at bwired.com.au/theinternetshow; you can also download our whitepaper on 10 Reasons Why eCommerce Fails.

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