Breakfast waffle… Getting in shape for successful online shopping

breafastwaffle2 Breakfast waffle... Getting in shape for successful online shoppingBen Hatton’s latest Liverpool Daily Post column looks at the importance of data and personalisation in the pursuit of retail success online.

“Online is the big success story in retail, with more and more of us switching from browsing the aisles in high street shops to making our choices – and purchases – online.

It’s clear it will continue to grow in importance as a channel again this year. According to the latest figures from Experian, there were 113m visits to retail sites on Boxing Day alone.

Good news – but a word of caution here for brands and retailers too. They need to factor in smarter insight as well as simply reaping the rewards. People shop online for many reasons – convenience and ease of use being primary factors.

Yet increasingly, consumers are aware of how much information they give away in online transactions, so wise retailers need to be transparent about how they use the data.

What online retailers need to focus on is improving personalisation: swamp a customer’s inbox with rubbish they don’t need and don’t find interesting, and you’ll lose their custom. Send them information about things that they need or really like, and you’ll drive sales.

Brands and retailers will miss out if they don’t use the data they gather to offer smarter, more personal communication; which of course leads to the necessity of ensuring that sites are fully and properly optimised for mobile.

According to a survey by eDigitalResearch and IMRG, the number of people accessing the internet via their smartphone or tablet device on Christmas day and Boxing Day reached an all-time high in 2012. Access via smartphone was up by eight per cent, with a 13% rise for those using tablet computers.

So it’s obvious how vital it is that brands and retailers get their digital offer in shape. Be transparent on how data is used, get personal and ensure sites are optimised for mobile – that’s the recipe for success in the marketplace this year.”

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