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How to Succeed in Online Retail in Perth

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    Key Takeaways from the Online Retailer Roadshow

    White Chalk Road was a proud sponsor and exhibitor at the 2013 Online Marketing Retailer Roadshow in Crown Perth last week. There was a host of fantastic speakers at the event, and here we discuss some of the most insightful takeaways from the keynote speeches.

    Embrace online retail, don’t fear it

    Lord Mayor of Perth City, Lisa Scaffidi, made an excellent point addressing those who are lamenting the decline of bricks-and-mortar stores due to an increase in online shopping. Mayor Scaffidi said that people will always enjoy going to stores, but this is becoming more of a social or entertainment activity, while online shopping for essentials is becoming more popular due to the convenience. The switch from traditional to online retail is nothing for Perth businesses to be afraid of as long as they embrace online retail alongside their traditional stores to take advantage of the market.

    Being ‘Channel Agnostic’ is key to retail success

    Faye Ilhan, Head of Online at Dan Murphy’s, delivered a standout speech in which she very rightly stated that shoppers don’t behave differently when shopping instore or online, and therefore retailers shouldn’t treat online shoppers different to store customers. When designing your online store or ecommerce website, Faye suggests setting up the product pages, functionality and features of the site to emulate the experience of a bricks-and-mortar store. People like to browse, get as much information about all of their options as possible and easily compare items, add to and remove from their cart and checkout with as little hindrances as possible.

    Free delivery: the taboo of online shopping

    The greatest bugbear for online shoppers is delivery charges. Understandably people don’t like having additional costs added to what they would pay in a physical store. But is it understandable? Faye Ilhan argued that shoppers don’t take into account the parking fees or gas charges they would spend shopping in a store, so she suggests offering an alternative if customers are unhappy with your delivery fees: let them order online and pick-up their goods at their convenience. However, she added an important caveat: if you do offer this option you need to ensure the items are ready to go at the selected date and time, and offer a well-signposted no-queue service for online shoppers such as an express pick-up lane at the till.

    Don’t underestimate the power of data

    Once again Faye Ilhan had a gem to share when detailing the timeline companies should follow when rolling out their digital retail offering. She warned companies not to blindly develop a mobile site or mobile app without first doing their research and checking their analytics. In her words “data will tell you what the customers want and what they are looking for.” When developing your mobile site it’s important to make the most of the small screen. Only offer the features you can see (through analytics) that customers want to access on their mobiles. Your mobile site should follow your ecommerce site. This will offer customers the basic service they want to access via mobile. Once you have your mobile site working well you can then use the data gathered here to develop a mobile app that allows better, sexier engagement.

    Charles Ryder at the Online Retailer Roadshow 1 CEO Charles Ryder hosting a roundtable discussion at the Online Retailer Roadshow

    Getting your digital marketing and SEO offer right has never been so important, with the Director of Omni-Channel and Mobility at Dick Smith, Steve Toth, saying at the event that it is expected more than 900m tablets will be sold worldwide in next 4 years. However, as mentioned previously, don’t just rely on online data – talk to customer-facing staff in-store to find out what it is customers seem to want the most. At Dan Murphy’s, for example, an insight from store retail staff led to an extremely useful feature added to their mobile app. Store staff realised customers were taking smartphone photos of the labels on the front of beer or wine bottles they liked in restaurants and asking staff to point them to that product in the store. Of course, a popular feature of many apps is QR code or barcode recognition, but this would be useless to those customers who had taken a photo of the front label. Therefore Dan Murphy’s added an ingenious label image recognition feature to their mobile app. A bonus message on data from Faye to optimise your Paid Search campaign was to look at traffic coming to your website based on the time of day and the devices popular at those times and structure your AdWords bids accordingly. Be visible in the time and place your customers want to see you.

    Beauty is nothing without substance

    There’s no point having the most beautiful front end website if the back end doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. Faye Ilhan’s message was simple: get your processes right! You wouldn’t put a large display for a product in the middle of your store only to tell customers you don’t have any of that product in stock when they get to the checkout, so don’t do the same to customers online. Simple things like keeping stock levels up-to-date online or ensuring items are delivered on time will be the difference between having happy repeat customers raving about your brand to having bad word-of-mouth reviews. Afterall, according to a McKinsey survey, 70% of customers make buying decisions based on what other customers have said.

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