What webshops can learn from Marks and Spencer


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David Walmsley, Multichanel Development Director at Marks and Spencer gave Shop.org Summit attendees these three e-commerce insights:

1. You cannot obsess enough about your customer.
2. Being right is a very temporary feeling. Technology keeps evolving, so should your efforts.
3. Digital is the fabric through which our customer experience will be woven.

M&S does have the advantage of both offline and online channels in which to wow cusotmers, but the above three points are just as applicable to small webshops as large bricks and mortar retailers.

Get obsessive.
Walmsley recommends subscribing to the magazines your target audience would read. Profile everything; from the keywords that brought them to your site, to the values they hold. This information will guide your understanding of:
– why they shop online for your product category
– what matters to them most, quality, trust, price, convenience?
– what added value would convert the most visitors (free shipping, gift wrapping, free samples, customization/personalization, reward points, exclusivity)
– how well your brand image reflects their attitudes
– does your content resonate?

Keep evolving your digital efforts
The common theme of technology is convenience and connection.
– does your webshop make it easy for people to connect with you, and with other consumers?
– can they conveniently self-serve their questions, and still feel they’ve been touched by you?
– Are your digital channels complementary?

Weave that fabric
Digital provides rich data that makes selling even more intuitive, as well as providing ways for businesses to keep customers engaged. Are you using digital to enhance the customer experience with?:
– Google retargeting
– Serving up complementary products on your site
– Proactive chat to assist the shopping experience
– User generated content
– Product customization/personalization
– Peer to peer referrals and recommendations

Take a leaf out of Marks and Spencers’ book. They’ve been a British institution for 128 years, and they’ll be around for many more to come.

Denise Parker
Denise Parker is marketing guru of Casengo. This social customer support software in the cloud helps companies to respond to their customers with greater ease and a human touch. Casengo, developed in Amsterdam, will be released to the public this Fall. You can register as a beta tester by leaving your email address on casengo.com.


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