Online Retailing – Take2, some food for thought and a big BUT!

July 27, 2009
46 Views

For today’s consumers ‘Online’ is part of life, like breathing… Is your brand breathing? Is it present virtually as it is physically? Are you providing a socially engaging experience?

As consumers we interact across time zones and physical boundaries, leveraging the web, mobile technology and social networks like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter (… remember email?) in our purchasing decisions.

Any news travels at the speed of thought and this reality is critically relevant to retailers as consumers relay their, “did you know” and “you won’t believe,” experiences in a flash. Bad news (experiences) travel even faster!

Talk about effective marketing! If you have an online presence and are committed to making online engagement relevant and rewarding, then you are on the bus…. and if the re-emergence of ONLINE is not (back) on the agenda for you, it should be!

Here are some fundamental reasons why ‘Take2’ for an online retail strategy?

  • The explosion in an internet savvy population – retail consumers who have matured to a 360 degree application and appreciation of the web in all its forms as a part of daily life.
  • The expensive lessons (for retailers) of the dotcom era have been

For today’s consumers ‘Online’ is part of life, like breathing… Is your brand breathing? Is it present virtually as it is physically? Are you providing a socially engaging experience?

As consumers we interact across time zones and physical boundaries, leveraging the web, mobile technology and social networks like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter (… remember email?) in our purchasing decisions.

Any news travels at the speed of thought and this reality is critically relevant to retailers as consumers relay their, “did you know” and “you won’t believe,” experiences in a flash. Bad news (experiences) travel even faster!

Talk about effective marketing! If you have an online presence and are committed to making online engagement relevant and rewarding, then you are on the bus…. and if the re-emergence of ONLINE is not (back) on the agenda for you, it should be!

Here are some fundamental reasons why ‘Take2’ for an online retail strategy?

  • The explosion in an internet savvy population – retail consumers who have matured to a 360 degree application and appreciation of the web in all its forms as a part of daily life.
  • The expensive lessons (for retailers) of the dotcom era have been learned.
  • The dramatic and continual improvements in technology behind websites.
  • Payment security and general trust issues are no longer the deterrent they were.
  • Consumers are responding to global players who are ‘eating the lunch’ of local retailers through their online presence.
  • The majority of consumers are using the online channel for researching ‘before they buy’ end up making their purchase in-store.
  • It is a changing world but get used to it, because if managed with the consumer experience top of mind, it all good news!

Here comes the ‘food for thought’ piece.

Extending your retail brand to include a meaningful and relevant online option will not only deliver incremental returns in terms of sales or market share but more importantly ‘consumer mind share’.

It provides your consumers with a real opportunity to engage with your brand, your products, your marketing and your organization on every level, if you encourage the interaction, learn from it and reward it.

And here is the big BUT…. learning from it?

Online investment considerations classically focus on marketing, product sourcing, logistics and infrastructure challenges.

Little or, at least, nowhere near enough attention and proactive planning goes into understanding online and critically offline (in store) consumer behaviour as a combined strategy and, therefore, the combined impact it has on the retail brand.

The integration and interpretation of hard and soft data across both physical stores and the online channel is vital if your product and service offering and experience is to evolve with the expectations of the consumer.

Fully understanding and appreciating the web browsing behavior of new and existing visitors to your site is essential, both before they make any purchases, when they’ve made purchases. More importantly it is essential to understand if and when they return a product, why they return it and what they said about it and the organization.

If understood and leveraged this insight will be more beneficial than additional marketing campaigns or discounts.

An online strategy, meaningfully pursued, implies lots of additional and different data to integrate, consume and understand in order to leverage – this is where the pain and the pleasure of an online strategy intersects.

What are your plans for Web Intelligence? How do you intend to integrate your Online and Offline Business Intelligence Strategies?

Don’t shy away from the challenge, engage in discussion. It could lead to a Simple, Powerful and Affordable solution.

Geoff Dyer
Retail Industry Specialist, Teradata
http://www.linkedin.com/in/geoffdyer