Monday Oct 14, 2013

Stop Thinking of your eShop as the Online Equivalent of a Physical Store and Convert your Store into a Digital Boutique

With the occasion of an Oracle WebCenter event around The Connected Customer last week in Madrid, I have had the chance to listen and to discuss with different companies including big retailers from supermarkets to luxury brands. During the day, several questions and concerns came to my attention, so here you have some thoughts inspired by the meeting and by my own recent readings on the subject and in particular by Brian Solis´s book The End of Business as Usual.

How can I demonstrate how much my e-Shop is influencing sales? How can I demonstrate the ROI of my online investments and my social media marketing?

Connecting Experiences is a great message but often, online purchases are still too small to justify the required investment for a successful strategy including eCommerce sites; mobile apps; marketing sites; online communities creation; and additional online engagement projects. As an example, the consumers of luxury products are attracted by Web Experiences around those products demanding very compelling Web Sites with rich video and with advanced interactivity, but they prefer to try and buy those products in the physical shops making it difficult to demonstrate the true ROI of eCommerce initiatives. Here are some tips to justify and to maximize the investment.

Likeness is a predictor of future purchases

The agency Vision Critical has published recently a study From linking to buying devoted social media marketing. A key finding on it is that “the research showed 4 in 10 social media users have indeed gone out and purchased an item in-store or online after sharing and favouring it on Twitter Facebook or Pinterest.

Ask any consumer what it is they expect from a brand or retailer online”, says Brian Solis, “…and they’ll tell you that in addition to discounts, promotions, special offers and exclusive information, they want the ability to buy within their network. Sharing in purchase experiences, interacting with products through connected apps, and influencing decisions through social and mobile networks is quickly becoming the next big thing”. A single advice is then to track the number of likes that a potential customers does on a product whether those likes are done on your brand Web Sites or in your social media campaigns.

New experiences around your product will make your customer identify himself

Brian Solis also continues “ idea that had applied mostly to commodities and luxury items applies to everyone. That idea? The experience you build around your product is often more important than the physical product itself “. One of the strategies you can apply is Gamification as you can read in this article on How 9 Retailers Successfully Leveraged Game Mechanics. Gamification will not only make your site more engaging but the same time –and similarly to the creation of communities around your product - gamification will help you make your user identify himself and will facilitate the study of his behaviours for ROI demonstration. I am mentioning this technique just as an example of the different customer engagement online methods having in common the “Sharing” component.

Be creative with the use of Coupons, coupons are a very straightforward mechanism to prove the link between the online and the offline including the mobile. Showing the coupon at the point of sale will help you to make a bridge between mobile, web, and physical. Do not reduce its use to offer discounts. Coupons can be used to provide any extra service and can be beneficial for any kind of brand: you can use to invite your customer to a fashion show; or to offer to your loyal customer a dinner with his favourite celebrity. Everything is possible!

Use Social Login in your web site and reward your customer if he/she accepts to provide his social credentials and/or to share content and activities with his/her social graph. Additionally, design a strategy to link your visitor’s social identity with the identity he uses to interact with your brand. That will help you track what he likes; predict what he will purchase; and prove the influence of his eyeballs on his final purchases.

Anticipate your Customer needs using a Transitional Marketing Approach

The new model of Transitional Marketing as described by Brian Solis depends on accessibility and anticipation. “Accessibility is the foundational concern addressed by mobile sites, tablet apps, optimized campaign microsites, etc., but the key to successful transitional marketing is anticipation. Anticipating that a consumer is on her tablet device when your commercial airs. Anticipating that the needs of consumers before 8:00am and after 5:00pm are more time sensitive and experiential in nature. Anticipating that entries in a consumer’s calendar could benefit from an additive offer. Accessibility requires an understanding of connectivity and content. Anticipation requires an understanding of character and context. “

Anticipation today means Big Data

As described in this article by The Guardian Big data marketing dream or dilemma:  “ Big Data in this context is the mass of transactional and behavioural data that each of us creates as we use the internet, travel with location-aware mobile devices, make purchases with payment cards and loyalty cards online, and communicate our activities, goals and preferences through social media” and “…according to a recent survey carried out by German market research institute GfK 86% of marketers consider that big data will change the function of marketing, and a further 62% say that it has already fundamentally changed”.  Also realize that you need to get more data to understand your customer mood and context using different devices as Nielsen states on their Australian Connected Consumer Report -2013.

Accessibility today means Responsive Design

As Nielsen has shown, 29% of mobile consumers use their phone for shopping-related activities and more than 50% visit deal sites on a daily basis. Responsive Design and mobile web technologies are the most efficient to reduce mobile development costs in many business cases providing an experience that is developed once and adapts to the user device and browser size. Sometimes mobile native apps are also required, but Responsive Sites should always be part of the experience to respond to the multichannel journey of your always connected customer.

Connect your Shop with your Online Presence

Finally, be consistent and connect your physical shops with your eShop and marketing sites and let your customers interact with their peers and with you also when he/she is at your shop to make him/her enjoy the experience. I leave you with the link to the video to Burberry´s Shop we used to illustrate some of those concepts during the WebCenter Connected Customer Event.  Enjoy the Experience!!

Showrooming at Shop.

Recommended Links:

Here is what makes social customers go from liking to buying on social networks

¿Es el marketing en tiempo real una plaga que destruye la relacion entre marca y consumidor?

The End of Business as Usual

Transitional marketing and the connected Interface

Meet Generation C the connected customer

How 9 Retailers Successfully Leveraged Game Mechanics

Gamification finds new retail fans

Big data marketing dream or dilemma

Big data is a Big Opportunity for Retail

Understanding the role of tablet devices Nielsen connected consumer report device usage

Australian Connected Consumers Fyer March 2013


The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle


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