Location, location, location used to be the mantra for retailers. But now that online and mobile shopping have acted to “unshackle” customers from the specific location of shops, says Michael Ross, co-founder of eCommera, retailers instead need to think consumer, consumer, consumer. “Who are they, how do I acquire and retain them?” are the key questions to ask, says Ross, for “even though they may still be shopping in physical stores they are much more fickle and peripatetic than consumers of old.”
To understand consumers, retailers must also understand how their customers behave, from how many they have through to have many are loyal and how they are buying. Use that information to diagnose points of weakness in the customer experience. “Customers are being acquired and then disappearing off the radar screen,” says Ross. “When you try and understand why, often it’s very poor customer experience – a poor delivery experience, returns experience, email experience that is enough for customers never to come back.”
And that, argues Ross, is all about getting the basics right. It’s pointless for retailers to become “fixated” on mobile, social, or the “new shiny thing” when they are not delivering when they said they would, or answering customers’ emails.
Rather, most retailers would benefit by returning to the foundations, and ensuring the operations are running smoothly. As well as understanding customers that means aiming for realistic growth of the business. Since “you can’t manage what you can’t measure,” the answer, says Ross, is “reinstrumentation of businesses to make sure they are measuring things that drive action and matter to customers.”
Find out more about what Michael Ross, co-founder of eCommera and former chief executive of Figleaves.com, advises growing ecommerce businesses at IRX 2012. His presentation, Pulling the levers for growth, will be in the Enterprise Conference at 3pm on March 21.
Entrance to IRX 2012, which will be held at the NEC in Birmingham on March 21 and 22, is free. More than 4,000 visitors are expected at the event, which features an exhibition of 150 suppliers to the ecommerce and multichannel industries alongside a two-day learning programme, Selling in the Digital Age.
The programme features four conferences, dedicated to Mobile and Social Commerce, Fast Track, Enterprise and Customer Experience, as well as a series of workshops, learning sessions and demonstrations of the latest technology.