Q&A: How retailers can succeed online

Ciaran Bollard, MD, Kooomo, explains how retailers can thrive when moving their business online.

What are the most important things retailers should consider when trying to move their business online?

Moving a business online can be a big task for a retailer to undertake. Aside from the task of merging offline and online experiences to create a seamless purchasing environment, retailers need to keep up and stay familiar with the latest trends in technology.

Let’s take voice as an example. Amazon’s voice search service, Alexa, has well and truly taken off, allowing consumers to grow accustomed to the idea of not only talking to a smart speaker, but using it to shop – a phenomenon dubbed ‘conversational commerce’. Today, an estimated one in five searches is made using voice.

The appetite from brands to engage with digital commerce is huge, but from what we’ve seen in terms of adoption, this enthusiasm isn’t always matched by the level understanding needed to execute and perfecta presence on these new trends.

As businesses change, whether it’s artificial intelligence, people buying through voice instead of search, it’s very difficult to keep up pace with all of these technologies. One way that retailers can remove a bit of complexity from their lives is by working with an ecommerce provider who has all these partners already in their ecosystem. This lets retailers choose which they feel is best across all the key verticals in digital commerce, whether that’s customer intelligence or bringing in rating systems, helping SEO and improving conversion ratios, or working with logistics or marketing partners.

Ciaran Bollard, MD, Kooomo.

What do you think are the biggest marketing mistakes retailers tend to make?

Ignoring new international markets! Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that in order to have a presence in country, they need to open a physical store or office in the area. Brands that think this way are completely underestimating the power that ecommerce possesses.

Another key mistake is ignoring the importance of providing a good eCommerce experience for customers. It’s not enough just to have a website – if the website doesn’t load seamlessly, or have all the correct information there in the right language and with the right currency, for example, then it will result in abandoned baskets and lost revenue.

How can brands ensure their customers experience a great customer journey?

You can compare a great customer experience to an Orchestra. Each different section plays an essential role. Separately, each section can play and sound beautiful but if they are not in-sync with each other, your night at the opera will quickly become a royal mess and you won’t make it to the interval.

If you’re a retailer with brick-and-mortar stores for example, perfecting your customer experience will rely upon creating a well-designed website, an email newsletter list, third-party sellers and engaging social media campaigns.

As the lines between online and offline continue to blur, it’s really important to give your customers a seamless shopping experience. Successful online shops are the ones that have nailed omnichannel. For a business to be hitting the right notes, it needs to sell across any channel, to every corner of the world.

What advice would you give marketers who are trying to make themselves heard in an increasingly crowded retail space?

Don’t be afraid to be bold. Today’s consumers are constantly being approached by brands from all channels seeking to win favour, grow loyalty and ultimately be heard. To really stand out and make an impact in a space that’s more crowned than ever before, marketers should use online tools to test their messaging on various platforms to make sure they’re really cutting through the noise to reach their target customer-base.

Are there any brands you think are doing a particularly good job of this and how are they doing so?

Slam is a great example of an eCommerce brand doing a great job. It is designed by sailors, for sailors. They live and breathe sailing and are passionate about making high quality clothing for all the people who spend time at sea. Slam have recently seen their online sales soar, having reached more than ¼ million visitors and shipping thousands of orders to some 40 countries, from Australia to Africa. They achieved this by re-platforming their eCommerce offering, which enabled them to take advantage of integrated partners to expand their business well beyond the platform itself. For example, by utilising a Mailchimp integration, Slam were able to deliver personalised newsletters to their customers instantly.

They’ve also engaged in a marketing drive to target specific markets through search engine optimisation (SEO), display and social media which saw a terrific response to their December promotion campaign. They did more than 30% of their sales in this first promo period. Through this, Slam discovered a big following in the United States and have now targeted it as a strategic growth market. This is now ranked as their third biggest market!

Slam were able to enter new markets with a seamless process to add more languages and currencies. The website was initially in English and Italian, but they expanded their market opportunity by launching in French, Spanish and German. Slam is now available in 5 different languages and has access to more than 500 million shoppers around the world. As a result of this drive their average basket size has increased by 40% since last November!

How do you see retail marketing evolving in the coming years?

Online retail customers are becoming more demanding. In the coming years, it will be vital to provide customers with a standout digital experience which will keep them coming back.

Retailers will need to be savvy to grow their online revenue through marketing and promotions.

At a top levels, some ways in which retailers can stay ahead of the competition will be to:
1. Launch multi-country promotions
2. Develop successful coupon campaigns
3. Integrate existing platforms like Google AdWords and Analytics
4. Track email campaign performance

A greater focus on these parts of the business will translate to higher revenues, a larger volume of transactions and happier, more loyal customers.

Kooomo is a digital cloud commerce platform that aims to help organisations succeed in the world of online business.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.