eCommerce Is Dead, Long Live Multichannel: The Essential Checklist for Retail Marketers

White Paper

Retail has undergone a rapid transformation in the past few years and should no longer be viewed as separate channels competing against each other. Instead, it should now be grasped from a multichannel perspective, with all channels working in sync and perfect harmony to give your customer the seamless experience she demands no matter where or when she interacts.

So what does multichannel now mean for successful marketers? In short, your role is changing! Be prepared to play a part (or a more prominent part) in all aspects of the customer journey – you’re all one big team now!

Download this whitepaper to learn about the key areas in which you should be rolling your sleeves up and getting involved in during 2016 and beyond.

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Get To Know Your Customer

We’ll start off easy as this bit is nothing new; every marketer knows the importance of understanding their customer.

1. Data

Analyse your market and analyse your channels (online and offline)

Retailers that sell in the way their customers buy, or want to buy, are more likely to convert visitors. Traders who study analytics and carry out shopper research can ensure they do just that. When M&S, an Elite retailer in InternetRetailing’s IRUK Top500, was redesigning its website it analysed the way visitors bought and found that many shoppers put products in their basket from a mobile device but then made the purchase itself from a desktop device – highlighting the need for a visible and connected shopping basket across channels.

2. Segment

You’ve done your analysis so now it’s time to segment and group your data, this will help you optimise and target your messages.

3. Message

This will be wholly dependent on your overall strategy and medium, but can range from “We haven’t seen you for a while” to “You left something in your basket” or “You bought X, so have a look at Y”. The key thing to remember is to make it personal and ensure the right person gets the right message. Nobody wants to see a product they bought from you for £100 is now £50 one week later – personal experiences will win you more sales!

Create The Need

Another topic that should resonate with all marketers - creating a need for your product and making sure the customer finds and chooses you over a competitor, simple? No.

Some of the things you should be looking at:

1. SEO

To increase conversion rates, drive new traffic to your site and improve your Google search results, a well-implemented SEO campaign is a must. SEO is increasingly becoming integrated with other elements of digital marketing, but its core values still focus on providing value to your target audience via engaging content and good user experience.

2. PPC

There’s more to PPC than Google AdWords. A successful display advertising campaign requires audience behaviour to be charted and analysed, with the campaign tailored using the gathered data and taking in areas including social media and display.

3. CRO

Conversion rate optimisation is increasingly becoming a major part of the digital marketing conversation, with tracking, analysis and front end website development combining to remove website bottlenecks that can negatively affect conversions.

4. Re-targeting

Yes abandoned basket rates are on the up, but these should be seen as low-hanging fruit for retailers – have you got an effective strategy in place to first of all deter this, but then to win the customer back when they do stray?

Make Payments

Shoppers expect to buy in the easiest and most convenient way possible and payment shouldn’t be a “pain point” said Jack Smith, Group Digital Director, New Look at the 2015 InternetRetailing Conference. “You’re asking customers to do something they don’t want to do, and you’re making it really arduous for them at the same time”. New Look’s – an IRUK Top500 Leading Retailer - answer to this was to cut their mobile checkout down to two pages, seeing conversion rates soar as a result.

Payments may not seem like a natural fit for a marketer but, the ramifications of a badly implemented payments gateway can undo all your hard work in getting a customer to the buy button, whereas a well thought out system will have customers returning again and again.

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Here are the three things marketers need to focus on to ensure customers part with their cash

1.Mobile-first, second and third

In 2015 nearly half of all online sales were completed using mobile devices so it would be errant to ignore its vast potential. Make life easy for mobile-users, don’t have them fiddling around on small screens otherwise you’ll lose them. Ever considered adopting; oneclick payment methods, PayPal, digital wallets or Apple Pay? There are lots of mobile-friendly options out there so be sure to implement the ones your customer desires and then you’ll truly mobilise an army of repeat business and referrers.


Think how you’d feel if your payment details got stolen from a retailer – would you rush back to shop with them?

Thought not. Customers need to know you’ve got secure methods in place and their details will be stored securely. No marketer wants to deal with the ensuing backlash from a data breach, so perhaps consider tokenisation and make sure you meet the requirements of the PCI Security Standards Council. You should also consider your own security, planning and implementing robust fraud strategies.


It’s no good crossing borders if you don’t have systems in place for the locals. What works in the UK may not be de rigueur in The Netherlands (60% of Dutch online shoppers use iDeal), or the Nordics and Germany, where bank transfer is a popular payment method.

Amplify Your Message

So, you’ve ticked off everything so far and people LOVE your brand, but now it’s time to amplify your message and reach an even bigger audience. “Retailers across Europe believe that the market share of marketplaces will continue to grow, reaching around 40% of the global online retail market in 2020” (eCommerce Foundation) – so you should really consider a presence on marketplaces.

How to get the most out of online marketplaces?

Make it easy for the customer

Make sure that your listings are optimised to improve your click through rates and generate sales.

A picture says a thousand words

Use good and clear images to go with your listings to really sell your products.

Content is king!

Your opening paragraph needs to win the hearts of potential buyers. Be clear, list the main features of your product and use this opportunity to tell the customer about your business.

Be in the relevant places

Customers are spoilt for choice. List your products on as many marketplaces as possible that are suitable for your brand.

Be social

Figure out which social media channels are right for you and your business and incorporate this into your marketplaces strategy


61% of customers look at online reviews before making a purchase. If you’ve got great products, encouraging people to leave reviews is a great way to generate sales.

Like, Love or Loathe?

Make sure that you are liked and loved by as many customers as possible. This will propel you towards super seller status and marketplaces will then preferentially push customer towards you.

Customers are spoilt for choice

Providing the best possible customer service is what will set you apart from your competitors. Perhaps offer them a discount on their next purchase with you – one way to encourage repeat business.

Have your own identity

The key is to use marketplaces to sell your products, but through exemplary service based around price, delivery flexibility, returns and general all round customer service you can drive them to start using your site.

It’s harder and harder to compete on price, so successful marketers are now getting involved with and leveraging their delivery proposition to win more sales.

Delighting customers every time items are shipped can be a key selling point, especially for repeat business.

But just because click and collect works so successfully for John Lewis, or same-day for Argos, it doesn’t mean it will for you.

What does your customer want?

Maybe free delivery will make them click, next-day might be their thing, or possibly convenience will trump and they’re willing to pay that little bit more for scheduled delivery - perhaps none of the above.

Give them choice

Whatever their preference, it’s abundantly clear that they demand choice, a range of options and not just one.

Next-day might suit once or twice for that urgent birthday present, but standard delivery may hold off the guilt on that impulse buy for just a few more days – implement the right ones and you’ll have a loyal customer.

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