4 Ecommerce Ideas That Will Rev All Your Channels

Do you want more synergy between your various sales channels? Are you looking to avoid cannibalizing sales from one channel to improve another? Do you want to take better advantage of your multichannel platform? Here are four ideas to put at the top of your to-do list for 2016.

Right Product, Right Place, Right Time

You’ve got a great advantage over online-only retailers in that people can visit the products they are considering buying, return items to the store or pick up purchases in the store. But how do you make it seamless? We admire what Burberry’s has done. They’ve mastered browse, click, buy, deliver. Every Burberry sales associate carries an iPad to help customers select items online that might not be in even their largest stores. And salespeople have access to customer sales history to help them suggest new products. The company has told analysts that the iPad project and personalization efforts increased online sales 30%, while overall revenue increased 17% since the iPad project began.

End Promotion Code Abuse in all Channels

Online coupons are usually valid in a store, but if you are targeting promotions (to new subscribers, for instance, or high-value customers), the last thing you want is shoppers finding those special coupons on the web and using them online or in your store. Easy-to-use coupon managers are available to take the work out of generating personalized codes. Canadian retailer Silver Jeans uses a coupon manager that ended code abuse and makes it easier to distribute gift card codes as special promotion bonuses to high-volume shoppers.

Personalize Messages by Geolocation

When a California based retailer opened a store in Florida, the ecommerce manager quickly segmented a list of Florida shoppers and sent an email letting them know about the new shop. It’s usually hard to track the success of geolocation efforts (without requiring a loyalty card at point of sale), but in this case the manager got great feedback from the new store’s manager. The first person in the store on the day it opened told the manager she found out about the new site from the email – and then bought $2,000 worth of clothes. Customers that find you online don’t always know about your stores – and vice versa.

Take Charge of Abandoned Carts

Our research last year confirmed what many in the industry suspected: Shoppers don’t always abandon carts; they use them as storage devices. A majority of online shoppers, 73%, use the shopping cart to store items to buy later. While this shows that for most online shoppers, some level of purchase intent remains it also provides multichannel merchants with some options. You can send shopping cart abandonment messages (our research shows they are well-received). And if that doesn’t work, why not encourage shoppers to visit the item in your store or showroom? Forty percent of online shoppers say they plan to revisit the items in the shopping cart while in a physical store – so make sure they are visiting your store. Segment the list by zip code to send a message that lets them know where your nearest brick and mortar location is. In addition, don’t forget to make your website mobile-friendly as shoppers are likely looking at the product in the store on a smartphone. Responsive design is more critical than ever.

If your audience skews heavily toward one gender or appeals to a specific generation, here are a couple of other things you’ll want to know about abandoned carts and store shopping:

  • Men are more likely to view a cart in a store than a female (16% says “always” while only 8% of females always view it in the store).
  • Younger customers are more likely to view the cart in a store (66% of 18-29-year-olds “always” or “sometimes” view their cart in a store, along with 59% of shoppers 30-39).
  • Older customers aren’t using their phones this way (yet!). After age 40, the percent dips below 50% (and below 20% for shoppers over 65).

Even if you can’t implement all of these ideas right away, you can take steps in that direction. Most of our examples come from companies with one or two ecommerce specialists working without support from the development team. It doesn’t take an army of staff – just the ability to easily segment and personalize your email content.

Susan Wall is Vice President of Marketing for Bronto Software.

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