Tips and trends for best practice in digital retailing

shutterstock_166727498As e-retailing takes a firm hold on the industry online activity is coming under increased pressure to work in harmony and provide the ultimate omni-channel shopping experience.

The following tips are suggested for retailers looking to best perform in this area:

Cross platform

  • Consistent branding, image and layout use across website, tablet, mobile, and digital examples of print.
  • Equal content should be available all channels where possible.
  • Mobiles and tablets should have an optimised version of the core desktop website, and not be solely commerce focussed.

Mobile App

  • Multiple apps beyond commerce should be made available for the consumer to complement their shopping experiences and requirements.

Live Chat

  • The retailer provides the customer with a handy Click-to-Chat popup without prompt and in a timely manner.

User Sharing via Social Media

  • Shoppers should be able to easily share products and other content that they find online via email and social networks.
  • A blog with content that focuses on brand and lifestyle values, that is also integrated with the website and online catalogue makes for a good shopping experience.
  • Videos that support the brand and product are great for telling a story worth sharing.


  • Full image interactivity is recommended to give an optimum shopping experience while browsing an online catalogue.


  • A seamless add to cart option from the catalogue, online website or appropriate app should be incorporated within the shopping channel without losing functionality.

Forrester Research’s Sucharita Mulpuru recently noted three key factors that retailers also “need to be keenly aware of” surrounding the digital revolution within retailing.

Three aspects are expected to help shape 2014:

  • Shipping costs – Shipping logistics are key to e-commerce and also one of the most challenging aspects. Mulpuru described shipping as “the Achilles heel of online shopping…consumers expect to have free shipping and expect retailers to subsidize free shipping.” Retailers are advised to invest in ship-to-store, click-and-collect and other delivery mechanisms that will support their omni-channel shopping offer.  The idea is to find cheaper alternatives to shipping to a customer’s home address which is the priciest from of delivery. The alternatives “can insulate retailers from unwelcome surprises,” Mulpuru said.
  • Mobile investment – Mobile has been ranked as a top priority by retailers, despite also being recognised as a very uncertain area for development.  Such businesses are looking for mobile success and competitive advantage, but fear a change in technology will make their investments obsolete.  The current focus is on projects from responsive design to mobile site optimisation and tablet redesign with the aim of creating “mobile unique” experiences that meet real customer needs.
  • No-competition for low prices – As dynamic pricing is increasingly used in retailing, more and more users are using smartphones to research and compare prices in-store with online prices winning out. “Branded manufacturers with strong brands will strike out on their own (with independent stores) and will be able to maintain prices across channels, but this is limited to the top brands in any sub-category,” Mulpuru said.