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Ultimately merchants need a comprehensive plan that addresses both tactical and relationship issues. A model that integrates marketing and merchandising with segmentation and personalization will deliver the higher conversion, customer retention and reactivation that merchants seek.
- Start with a thorough audit of your customer and your site: address strategic, merchandising and marketing elements including setting performance benchmark goals.
- Capture customer information relevant for segmentation: begin at the category level; next request personal feedback at critical junctures including sign up, purchase and my account capabilities. Ultimately dynamically amass behavioral data.
- Conduct focus groups and/or surveys: query site visitors and past and current customers to understand what they want from merchandising feature sets to navigation paths to service support.
- Focus on merchandising and marketing tactics: strive for ROI and keep a running list of priorities updated throughout the year as your category and the industry evolves.
- Know the numbers: understand who your customers are and how they shop; use customer segmentation analytics to energize creative efforts as well as to innovate marketing and merchandising efforts.
- Implement testing capabilities: take advantage of the ability to test, adjust and test again on the Internet.
- Respect and protect customer privacy: use data mining as a tool but keep information confidential; keep communications non-intrusive and always be sensitive to customer preferences.
- Integrate efforts across channels: keep branding, marketing and merchandising messaging consistent and coordinated on the web, in print, in-store and in advertising/ promotional media.
Lauren Freedman is author of "It’s Just Shopping" and president of consultants the e-tailing group inc. She can be reached at email@example.com