Four areas suggested for e-retail development
With web technology evolving at an unprecedented rate, it is important for retailers to ensure they are up to speed with the latest trends and developments, according to multi-channel retail service provider Zendor, which has identified four key areas that retailers must keep in mind when developing their online presence.
More and more retailers are choosing to adopt a multi-channel retail approach and competition in the online arena has never been more fierce. With this competition set to intensify further in 2007, it is essential that online retailers are aware of the opportunities available to them in order to attract and retain their customers.
Four key development areas Among the key areas that Zendor identified for retailers maintaining or developing an internet-based presence:
- Maintaining a customer balance There is a raft of technological advancements and broadband is facilitating increased opportunities for retailers online. However, when riding this wave, retailers should strive to strike a balance between web development and usability, so that they do not restrict customers use. Broadband is providing wider and easier internet access across the UK with the proportion of enabled homes doubling by 2008 to 18.5 millions (64% penetration).
An effort should be made to ensure retailers do not run away with the technological opportunities and alienate their core audience, who may or may not be web savvy. The most important question to ask is: "What do my customers want from my web site?"
- Improvement in web site fluidity To enable a smoother and more straightforward shopping process, and therefore improve the customer experience, retailers are rethinking the traditional approach and refining their transactional web sites. This includes removing or reducing irritating pop-ups and additional pages. Broadband has also enabled retailers to streamline a number of functions or steps into a blended single web page.
- Developing a stronger online selling strategy As more retailers become increasingly multi-channel, many are striving for consistency in their stores and web sites. This not only involves brand image, but also customer experience. By replicating in-store sales techniques, retailers are driving customer loyalty from store to web, crossing the divide with such initiatives as outfit-building with virtual models or browsing by trend, up-selling matching clothing or accessories, and pushing special offers such as multi-buys.
- Provide an added-value experience for customers To encourage loyalty and brand buy-in retailers are creating a point of difference in their web content. Alongside the shopping function, some are introducing magazine or editorial content or web and e-mail personalisation with, for example, targeted product recommendations. With the arrival of Web 2.0, customers can now have a hand in building web sites, in the form of online communities of customers who are now invited to share ideas and openly review products.
Based in the UK, Zendor handles a range of fulfilment services for retailers that are moving into the distance shopping space, including fulfilment and call centre services, multi-channel strategy and planning and channel development and marketing.