Posts Tagged ‘Mobile’

Example of a poor multichannel consumer journey (DIY)

December 18, 2011 2 comments

Authors note: This spring we bought a house, and that is partly the reason why I haven’t blogged much. This post has been a draft for a very long time, and I thought I should finish it and finally get it published. State of their websites is from this summer, hope things have improved since. The rebuilding project went well 🙂

I am currently (summer 2011) rebuilding my house and as a somewhat reluctant DIY I wanted to share my experience of the Swedish DIY market and the state of their digital presence. I’ve interacted with brands such as Bauhaus, K-Rauta & Fredells and there is a lot these companies could do to acquire customers if they used online better. DIY cartoon

When I think about channel usage, I try to understand the context of the user. To set the scene, I’ve found myself in three very different scenarios

  1. At home, planning the work, choosing products & services
  2. At the construction site, with a specific and immediate product need, e.g. running out of concrete
  3. At the construction site, need information on the process of using a product, best practices etc

None of the brands are doing a good job online. K-Rauta as an example have a great offering with a personal shopper that will guide you through your DIY project, but the help is not available online in forums, chat or how to articles. They are not able to drive me into their store (via website, via google), they are not able to satisfy my information needs, and they are doing a poor job in the mobile. I get the feeling it has been designed without analyzing the user context I outlined above in mind.

Every time I went to a store, I could not be sure that I would return to my project with all the products required to complete my task. How many of your friends have complained about having to go back and forth because they forgot to buy something? There, that is an opportunity to solve.

I think all of our DIY brands should have a look at this awesome blog post and start thinking about it:

A couple of things they could do to improve:

  • Get proper product catalogue out online so I get there through google. (Try e.g. flytspackel) If you win on google, you’ll win me going to your store. That K-rauta is losing to the forum on “flytspackel” is … not good.
  • Help me choose, there is an abundance of products out there and I am starving for knowledge
  • Get availability information out online, I will be very unhappy if I go to your store and what I need is not available
  • Support the process – e.g. what other stuff do you need to complete your task? Help me get all I need in one go and I’ll brag about your brand in front of all my friends
  • Understand that I at times – especially when looking for usage / how-tos / product information is at a building site, accessing your site from a mobile device over 3G
  • Engage in the communities out there, e.g. that have filled the void your content could have filled
  • Get a loyalty program going, sign me up for it, and start communicating with me via email (Fredells is sending me snail mail only, K-rauta is slightly better)

Interestingly Jula is stopping their e-commerce initiative (swedish link) and will just be using their website to improve the experience in the store, by providing shopping lists with guides on where the products are in store, and in stock information. Not sure if that is future proofing their brand, but if they do that right they could at least win in a poorly developed digital market short term.



Some Multichannel examples

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Some interesting news and posts related to Multichannel commerce, thought I’d collate what I’ve run into this week here.

Phone and Web integration: Connecting and tracking conversions between the call center and website, over at Unbounce. I got information that a company called Freespee offered services around this, check it out here. I couldn’t really judge from their website their main target audience, so have requested more info. Not sure yet if they would be competing with e.g. ATGs (now Oracle) Optimization services click-to-call and click-to-chat, where you’ll get great stats on where people are calling from.

Web and store integration: The other great example was an article in New York Times, describing how Nordstrom have linked all their stores inventory to the web, so a web shopper could get the item packed and shipped if a store had that available. I’m sure there was some technical challenges and work on thresholds etc to get that to work. The article was well worth a read.

Mobile: And third, Thomas Husson at Forrester had a good post about mobile predictions for 2011. Some interesting things there regarding mobile bridging the gap between digital and physical worlds.

Future sales tactics for e-commerce

January 18, 2011 4 comments

In a previous post I described the brief but vivid history of eCommerce. What will the future look like? Something that  I find interesting to watch is the increasing professionalism in the industry and how it manifests itself in new great features, site structures and designs. There are tons of landing page optimization experts, great designers and information architects out there that make our online experiences better and better and helps channel shift to the web. However, most of the work is made based on the current concepts and not really addressing the weaknesses of the web channel compared to e.g. in-store experiences or call centers.

Example of converging shopping experiences

Picture of me building a converged multi-channel shopping experience

If we think about the differences and strengths and weaknesses between typical channels, traditional web, (mobile – although some don’t treat that as a specific channel), call center and in-store, a few major things comes to mind.

A few key weaknesses I see in a traditional web channel:

  • Lack of personalization, ability to consult and understand true needs and motives compared to a face to face or over phone situation. Algorithms rarely beat a “what’s most important to you?” or similar question a salesperson in a store would ask to present just the right product for you
  • Unable to answer “long-tail questions”, those millions of minor objections and uncertainties that can block a sale. There just isn’t room to display or a business case to create all that content that a savvy call center agent could answer within seconds
  • Hard to meet other emotional needs, such as lack of trust for online financial transactions in certain demographics, ability to touch and feel before purchase or just the plain old need to get your choice confirmed as a good choice by another human
  • Lacking ability, processes and budgets to try out what works from a store managers perspective. Sure A/B testing is great, everyone talks about that they should, but many don’t do it (yet)
  • etc etc

A few key strengths:

  • Overview, overview, overview. Try to get an overview of hotels locations and rates for any brand in London over the phone, and then compare to getting that displayed as a map. It’s like the difference between the weather forecast on the radio and on TV.

    Example of overview of hotels in London

    Example of overview of hotels in London from, try explaining that over phone

  • Ability to quantitatively and continuously measure the objective “in-store experience”, time spent, exits, click maps, browsing patterns etc etc. Quite hard to do in-store. Call centers sometimes have ok logging but not near the granularity you can get on the web
  • Meeting rational needs, every detail of every product or process can be shown. Real people rarely know if that wardrobe is 236 or 237 cm (but they can help you measure)
  • Always there for the user, no opening hours
  • Perceived price (belief in good deals online)
  • etc

So what can we make of this? I think the future tactics will be based on addressing the weaknesses and leveraging from strengths by three main means.

First the increased professionalism of online sales will put requirements on platforms from an internal perspective. The product or sales managers will be forced to work more actively and learn from their retail counterparts on experimenting with layouts – main difference being that online is much better equipped to monitor and adapt in real time. So in short much more flexible systems, with more or less built in A/B testing capabilities and bigger organizational investments in working actively with the content, offers, pricing and site structures.

Second I believe that the web will facilitate the interactions with humans, cross channel initiatives will be key to take the experience to the next level. Good examples of that are click to chat and click to call with immediate responses (no lame “we’ll call you back within 48h”, it should take seconds to respond). This is not unusual although not yet common practice. There are a bunch of products out there offering call and chat, check out e.g. ATGs Live Help, Talisma, eGain.

However the next step within live help might be to give the online sales staff ability to approach online visitors proactively, the same way a salesman in store can approach you to ask if you need help. If so you can initiate co-browsing and get more consultative service and personalized selling. There are some cool new products out there that look promising e.g. check out Vergic. (Swedish press release with a pilot client here) Will be interesting to see what will happen, and how fast it will happen.

Third i believe that the social features is key to give that human touch. Companies such as bazaarvoice can show stunning numbers on how much those reviews and ratings actually helps persuade.

What did I miss? Mobile?