We had a great time at the Commerce Futures Multi-channel eCommerce conference on 2nd July. A massive thank you to the organisers of the event - and to our client Ajay from Blue Inc for taking up a panel spot in the morning.
For those who weren’t able to attend the event, we’ve whittled down our learnings from the sessions into 5 multichannel retailing tips.
The morning was kicked off by a presentation fromStudio Moderna, the leading multi-channel and direct to consumer electronic retailer. With 130 transactional websites, they are focussed on meeting the local tastes and requirements of every country they work within, which brings us neatly on to our first learning:
1. International nuances
Up to 40% of the sales in Eastern Europe are made through phone calls into the company, driven by prior research on the website. Why is this? Well, many people are not comfortable making transactions on their credit or debit cards online so prefer to do it over the phone or as payment on delivery.
2. Flexible design for international sales
Anyone in eCommerce with their ear pressed to the ground will know that international shipping is the next big venture companies with any hope of a future should be aiming for. As such, being flexible with your international orders is a no-brainer.
You need to plan in local languages and translate your website well. The main tip we took from this was to design and plan for the longest languages. Why? Because if you want your main header to read ‘Shop Now’ in size 18 font, while it’s only seven characters in English, it’s twice that in Bulgarian.
Some countries will require you to show the delivery price up front, others may require a different address format so that shipping is accurate and successful. When it comes to eCommerce order fulfilment internationally, you’ll want to consider implementing awarehouse management system that can handle the intricacies of international shipping such as accurate despatch label printing.
3. Multi-brand/multi-domain websites
An emerging market, so to speak, in eCommerce are these multi-domain websites that are popping up. With a similar concept to marketplaces like Amazon, these websites are almost a collection of websites hosted together with a shared shopping basket. A great example is diapers.com who have done great job of making the ‘tab switching’ super easy.
From diapers.com, a customer can purchase baby food for the little one, then move over to wag.com where they can buy dog treats for Spot. Both of these orders, though made on separate websites, are added to the same basket and shipped from the same distribution centre.
4. Brand experience online
Shaping a brand is no easy task. Doing it in store is a little easier because, on top of all the aesthetic design and colour schemes you use, you also have sales assistants roaming the aisles to ensure that every customer can find what they're after.
Online brand presence is a little harder and David Kohn, Multi-channel director for Snow+Rock, mentioned at the event that many multi-channel retailers don't bring their store-personalities online. Making this a key focus should be top of the list for any multi-channel retailer because so many pure-play eCommerce companies have already got a head start online.
5. Getting store staff to care about online
Before my days as a writer for Peoplevox, I worked in a retail store and I found it very frustrating when I would spend twenty minutes with a customer talking about the benefits of this printer over that printer only for them to say ‘Thanks for the info, I’ll probably order it online later.’
I didn’t work on commission, but it bothered me that the sale would not be registered against my name even though I’d put in all the work. Getting your store staff to care about online sales is important, though, especially with eCommerce growing quicker than bamboo. An option to consider in order to keep your multi-channel retailing equal is doing an email marketing campaign that offers voucher redemption in store.
Fellow attendee Oliver White, eCommerce Director at Heal’s, mentioned that they have introduced RFID cards for their employees so when a customer in store is using an iPad to shop they can ‘tap in’ to gain credit for any purchases that customer makes online.
>> Get your international operations in order
>> It’s called multi-channel for a reason - don’t focus on one channel or the other more!
>> Get your staff to care - it’ll make all the difference
>> Make your brand clear and strong, everywhere
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Author: Jess Lawrence