Saturday, 27 December 2008

Prediction For 2009 #3: Explosion Of Online Retailing

Well I was going to save this one for later, but Fred Wilson had a similar post this morning over at AVC.

While online retailing has been growing on a consistent basis what's starting to happen is that the world is dividing up into two camps. Those that get how to leverage the online channel to grow their businesses and those that don't. Those that get it, are going to tap into new markets to make up for the decline in overall retail sales.

Case and point? Ron White Shoes. A friend of mine who is not a particularly web savvy person was raving to me a while ago about Now, I"ve never shopped at Ron White in the offline world said a few drive bys when I was at Sherway Gardens. However, Lianne told me she only shops there online now as it's the worlds easiest expedience. I thought, I need winter boots for my daughter, I hadn't made it out to shop because I had been so busy, why not give it a try?

Went to the site, ordered a pair of boots and voila! Within a week they arrived in a lovely gift wrapped box with a discount coupon for our next online shopping venture. Cee tried on the boots and it was a perfect fit, however, if they didn't fit, return policy? Bring back or send back to any Ron White store and bobs your uncle. No fuss, no muss. Ron White? New happy customer and I think I will never buy boots offline again!

While the keys to success for me are simple - the ease of shopping, the no risk return policy, the free shipping, the sexy packaging, the future discounts - many traditional retailers aren't getting this. They suffer offline and on top of that are missing a huge opportunity online.

This isn't about social networking or fancy marketing - it's just plain, simple, smart online design and overall attention to customer experience.

IMO, while setting up such experie3nces might put a retailer back some at first, it's just the wisest investment they could make for 2009. Talk about ROI.

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