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Top tips to boost your E-commerce

Top tips to boost your E-commerce

By Caroline Rolfe, Member of the IDM digital council.

Traffic levels

Until recently everyone was obsessed with traffic and how many ‘unique’s’ a site received. Then it was all about time spent and quality not quantity of visitors. I now predict a shift back to concern about traffic levels. Time spent online is increasing but so is time spent on social sites, so brand/e-commerce time is decreasing. My tips – give customers a reason(s) to regularly return to your site and maximise current traffic generating channels. Set traffic target KPIs for each channel to retain constant focus.

More bang for your buck

Apparently the recession is over. But the consumer mindset is forever changed. Used to huge incentives throughout the recession, customers want more for their money. Affiliates are key here – more specifically voucher and cashback sites. Are you on Quidco yet? If so, you’ve seen the benefits and your customers will too. Affiliates and their associated discounts and vouchers may not be on-brand for everyone but there are ways they can work.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

Marketers always want to find the ‘next big idea’. But quite often it’s much more effective to look at existing ideas and work out where, with the right partner you can get your message out there faster and to the right audience. Debenhams and Domino’s pizza have partnered with ‘Foursquare’, the iPhone app that uses GPS to track your location, to let you rate and even become mayor of that specific restaurant/shop – a clever way of appealing to an existing audience.

Social Media task force

The buzz focus area for 2009 is definitely still buzzing in 2010. You need to establish the correct structure and approach to Social Media within your company – rather than just rushing to tweet or get lots of friends. Social is now integral to most brands’ marketing and customer service strategies.

Building your company’s structure is key to maintaining and growing your presence and effectiveness. Social is not a marketing tactic but a way of communicating with customers.  Get HR, PR, customer service, Sales, Ecommerce, Marketing and everyone else involved to ensure customer communications are unified.

Give your customers something more

Consider your site’s user journey. What pages do they visit and which parts can work harder? What would your customers want here? Anything that refines the purchase process or has competitor differentiation will see the biggest ROI. Give them more and give them a reason to return.

Listen to what your customers say about you online

A big part of social media is using it to listen to what people are saying about your brand and having the framework in place to react effectively to an issue. There are loads of free buzz monitoring tools that you can use. They are essential for customer service (to react), for product development (for free feedback) and for marketing (to identify your brand advocates).

Embrace customer interaction

Interaction is important. Consumers will talk about you whether you want them to or not so listen to what they are saying and encourage them to talk to you and each other.  Seek their ideas and tell them you have listened (Dell and Starbucks are great examples).

Get involved with video

YouTube is now the world’s second largest search engine and increasingly used as part of the purchase research process. If video can work for your products then make it work. If catwalk clips are too costly then go for trend summary videos or style tips. Whatever content you have, get it on your site. It’s good for SEO, social media and gives customers a reason to return/interact.

Look at your delivery costs and charges

Figleaves were one of the first to offer a simple delivery& returns proposition to help customers get over online purchasing barriers. ASOS now offer a ‘super saver’ free option. John Lewis, Boots and many others offer free delivery over a certain threshold. Delivery is a cost so making the majority of it free – common in the US – will dent your budget significantly.

Charge the lowest you can and then make sure you point out the benefits of shopping online right next to your delivery charges. Make customers compare the delivery cost to petrol and parking costs to justify your charge.

Multi-channel approach

Most retailers are only multi-channel in proposition. Very rarely do they present a unified front to their customers. However, customers don’t view you as separate channels but as one brand. When launching a product it should be in every communication – your homepage should replicate your windows but  the campaign should also be across your PPC ads, your affiliate channels etc. The more cohesive, the stronger the campaign. Get a competitive edge by presenting a unified approach.

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