E-commerce must be multichannel

A strategy of content and customer engagement on mobiles, the web and in store is crucial to successful e-commerce, an audience of marketers heard at Marketing Week’s 1-2-1 E-commerce Summit.

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Speakers from the UK’s top retailers, including Argos, Marks & Spencer and Shop Direct, argued that a transactional website alone is not enough to ensure sales growth across a business as well a compelling customer experience.

Tesco.com head of mobile and web development Annabel Thorburn commented that mobile e-commerce, for example, should not be thought of separately from other sales channels: “For our customers it is just another route into our shops, just as the web is.”

Providing content on mobile sites, apps and websites is also instrumental in bringing traffic to e-commerce sites and encouraging consumers to consider product purchases, according to Shop Direct head of e-commerce James Balmain.

“Put a content team together and really look at your content strategy,” he said. “You need to invest time and effort into really good user-generated content.”

Delegates heard too that e-commerce strategies should seek to engage with physical stores, attributing profits and losses to those locations. Retailers presented case studies demonstrating that online shopping increases the frequency with which shoppers visit local branches, arguing that e-commerce is often responsible for growing rather than cannibalising sales in stores.

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