How 'digital diseases' are damaging e-retailers

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on November 18, 2008

If used effectively, the digital space can be a powerful retail platform that builds lasting customer relationships and generates incremental sales but, with so many e-commerce systems having significant flaws, too many customer experiences - and therefore relationships - are being damaged, according to a white paper by digital marketing firm Delvinia.

When there are problems with the digital channel, the company argues, it can be bitterly disappointing for the consumer, which leads to both brand damage and additional customer churn.

The company's latest research suggests that displaying too many adverts, offering poor navigation tools, or featuring too many new digital technologies are some of the common mistakes that marketers make, resulting in willing customers being pushed away from e-commerce web sites.

"Effective digital customer experiences are developed through understanding the behaviours and habits of digital customers first, and the application of new technology only as a response to their preferences," explained Adam Froman, president and CEO for Delvinia Group. "Companies that dive into marketing online without this understanding risk damaging their reputation, brand and customer relationships by providing a poor digital customer experience."

Delvinia's study identified the six common mistakes made by digital marketers, which it calls "digital diseases", including:

  1. Widgetitis - the compulsion to include the latest and greatest widgets on a web site regardless of whether they're necessary, desirable, or even supported by most customers' web browser software. (The Wise Marketer notes that many of the latest technologies lag far behind in support for mobile and PDA browsing software, which effectively eliminates one of the fastest-growing tech-savvy consumer segments.)
  2. Obsessive Content Disorder - an irrational fear of removing old content from a web site.
  3. Datapox - in which a healthy customer relationship is overwhelmed by intruding tools, data, and seldom-necessary options that make the web site's core purpose convoluted, difficult, and frustrating.
  4. Adtheria - which happens when marketers feel too strongly about advertising other products and services (whether their own or another company's) at the expense of the customer's overall experience.
  5. Monotyposis - which is most apparent when the online customer experience effectively blocks contact, connection, or conversation with the brand and the company.
  6. Navigation Deficiency Syndrome - when a web site offers very little ability to navigate, usually based on the fact there is simply too much content to look through.

"The good news is that these digital diseases can be cured by a marketers having a clear understanding of what their digital customers really want, and by building online experiences based on that knowledge to nurture loyalty, increase online traffic, and build stronger relationships. This ultimately means better bottom line results," concluded Steve Mast, vice president for Delvinia Interactive.

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