Web marketing and merchandising are part art, part science. When displaying videos on an e-commerce site, retailers have to figure what will bring more value to the shopping experience, says Adam Lindquist, director of business development at e-retailer 2nd Wind Exercise Equipment, who will address online marketing and merchandising strategies at IRCE 2008 in Chicago next week.
2nd Wind and other retailers who have successfully used merchandising and marketing technology to build their e-commerce business, along with the vendors who provide the technology, will talk about reaching out to customers online, including what works, what doesn’t and what other retailers can learn from their experiences in IRCE’s Track D, “Web marketing techniques that convert shoppers to buyers.”
Lindquist, in the session “Implementing and using video," will talk about what his company has learned from its three-plus years of using videos on its site, including where retailers should draw the line between where video makes sense – for instance, to demonstrate a complex product about which users may have many questions – and where it doesn’t. “You have to ask, what is going to make a customer say yes and watch a video on the site, and where are you going to get the return on it,” he says. “If it’s something the customer already knows a lot about, it probably doesn’t make sense.”
Customer reviews are also getting online retailers’ attention because they are getting customers’ attention – in fact, some industry observers believe there is now a sizeable component of shoppers who won’t buy anything online without first seeing a review. Sam Decker, of ratings and reviews services vendor Bazaarvoice, will discuss in the session “Customer reviews: Getting them right,” what the company and its retailer customers have learned about what motivates reviewers to contribute, the multi-channel impact of reviews, and how reviews, which can be leveraged for use in other channels such as e-mails, are a digital asset for challenging economic times. Decker will be share his session with Matthew Kennedy, marketing manager at retailer Zale Corp.
Online widgets are also producing results. A widget on the web site of apparel e-retailer Due Maternity led to a 20% rise over the past year in sales for the apparel provider that sponsored the widget, says vice president Albert DiPadova, who will speak from first-hand experience in the IRCE session, “The big power of little widgets.” 40,000 people have tried the widget, entitled “look who’s preggo,” which enhanced users’ uploaded photographs to depict them as they’d look if pregnant. A pregnancy countdown clock, another widget on the site, is also a tool that engages customers. When shoppers supply their due date it can, for instance, on the first day of the second trimester, send a congratulations e-mail, promoting products to consider at this time of the pregnancy.
“We weren’t doing well with plain generic offers so we wanted to do something that was more relevant to customers, that would also engage them with some fun and entertaining information,” DiPadova says.