Add a high-street feel to online shopping

As Guy Phillipson points out, there may be an increase in e-tail spending, but too many retailers are still failing to replicate the high-street experience online (MW July 14).

As retailers spend millions designing shop layouts to entice consumers to enter and spend, so a website must create an emotional engagement with consumers through persuasive and logical information architecture that tips them into buying.

The internet provides an excellent way to cater for different shopping psychologies. In the same way that in-store customers are defined as browsers or buyers, the same definitions can be used for online behaviour to optimise customer journeys and maximise conversion. For instance, a good site’s search facility is optimal for people who know what they want, whereas browsers need help configuration or offers/suggestion tools.

The internet has the ability to create powerful communities, it is measurable and the activity of different customer segments can be predicted and catered for. The problem is that to maximise effectiveness a strategic approach is required, with the same level of thought put into the process as in-store. Though the internet allows mass market communication, one size does not fit all when it comes to online retail. Only those who understand this will succeed.

Andy Farmer

Director

Design UK

London W1D

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