Saturday, November 1, 2008

Nov 2008 - Clever online marketing helping smaller online e-commerce retailers compete for Christmas business with Currys, HMV, John Lewis & Comet

Nov 2008 - Clever online marketing helping smaller online e-commerce retailers compete for Christmas business with Currys, HMV, John Lewis & Comet

It has been another growth year for online retailers but how do smaller, pure online retail business compete with established high-street retailers like Woolworths (now a pure online business ed. Oct 09), Currys, John Lewis and Comet? E-creation has worked with many small online retailers to improve performance against the larger brand names who might have an advantage on the Internet through deeply embedded brand recognition in the minds of shoppers. After all, how easy is it to go to Amazon for books?

This brand awareness creates huge volumes of traffic for the larger retailers without the need to be price competitive, offer superior service or a wider range of products because people just think the brand because they don''t know what other options are potentially available.

For example, here is the current ''popular queries'' list from Google UK (Nov 08):

mayo clinic
angelina jolie
britney spears
john lewis
pc world

As can be clearly seen, visitors using UK search engines in the run up to Christmas are using terms such as Woolworths, Currys, HMV, John Lewis, Debenhams & Comet - with these ''brand'' names dominate the list, accounting for close to 50% of the top search terms.

E-creation's online marketing consultancy for smaller online retailers, focuses on the following 'hitlist' of actions to drive their online e-commerce business to the next level. Obviously, this is just a launch point for your online marketing ...

Focus on the value proposition

For most users, the online shopping is price driven, something that larger online retailers can find difficult to compete with. Price strategy is an obvious and effective way to build traffic - particularly if you can get your site listed on price comparison sites. Most potential customers know exactly what they are looking for, most probably have a model number and will use that as part of their search terms. By researching the most popular models, and ensuring a very competitive price is applied, it is possible to rank highly in price comparision websites. This will drive traffic to your online retail site and as long as the site is easy-to-use and provides the appropriate 'buying' path, creates the opportunity to cross sell other products with higher margins.

Make the site easy-to-use & focused

Excess choice can lead to no purchase. Have a read of the book "The Paradox of Choice: Why less is more"...

The book has a chapter that deals with the behaviour of purchasers who are faced with excess choice and how it can prevent sales from occurring. It sounds counter intuitive but imagine a situation where a customer knows what they want, but are presented with numerous other production options with additional features ... all of a sudden the original product they were ready to buy there and then doesn't seem so attractive anymore. They still instinctively feel that its the one they had their heart set on but end the sales cycle while more 'thought' is put into the alternative products.

Offer the most appropriate products but ensure that you justify why you have chosen those products and then make is easy for the site visitor to see how the product could feature in their lives in everyday English (e.g. when selling a washing machine, in addition to the product size in mm, include details such as 'this dishwasher is the width of a standard kitchen cabinet, so you can simply replace a cabinet in your kitchen with this dishwasher.'

Use multimedia to create impact & improve the shopping experience

Consumers have come to expect an 'experience' when shopping. Whilst its not possible to replicate things like smells and the feel of items, clever use of multimedia can add to the shopping experience. For example, for B&Q, E-creation created an interactive fireplace that simulates the look of a real fire - enabling visitors to apply their chosen surrounds and 'see' it live in action. Immerse people in your site and build a 'feel' that makes them happy to spend their money.

Communicate with your audience in a positive way - but don't spam them!

Everyone experiences spam - whether its through your post box or onto your computer - and it's ANNOYING. However, there are times when potential customers are happy to hear from you - a case of being in the right place at the right time. Find out what your customer would like to know about, what it going to make their lives easier and better in terms of information - then offer that information for free.

E-creation is doing so right now by producing this posting. We are providing valuable information that can help a business to grow with the understanding that you have to give a little in order to get something back - so give something of your business and see the benefits.

These are just a few of the small things you can do to make your online retail sizzle in the run-up to Christmas. For more advice, visit to see how we can assist in building your online retail business. We are always happy to chat and offer useful advice (with the hope that you will see the value and choose us for more ''in-depth'' development).