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How to make online customers stick around

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While enticing new customers has become second nature to Australia’s online retailers, they don’t do nearly enough to retain the ones they already have, according to new research.

The solution? The retailers need to “ramp up” their ability to use web analytics and move away from low-tech approaches to merchandising and customer service, says Steve Noble, a senior analyst with Forrester Research in Sydney.

“On the whole, we find that Australian online retailers are focused on the start and the middle of the purchase journey,” Noble says in a media release.

Noble’s report, breezily named “Online Retailing in Australia 2010: Marketing, Merchandising and Customer Service,” offers these highlights:

  • Online retailers have focused on only a few marketing tactics that use social media. The top two: encouraging customers to distribute product information or asking customers to follow or friend the brand (the ubiquitous Facebook strikes again).
  • But that mindset appears to be changing. In the year ahead, 34% of the retailers plan to begin opening their products to customer ratings and reviews, and 35% plan to create an online community around their brand.
  • Offering live chat on websites and creating a presence on mobile devices are very low priorities.
  • Almost half of the retailers surveyed said that among potential visual tools, providing several images of a product has the greatest impact. However, many respondents said they haven’t put a single visual merchandising feature into practice.

Image by webtreats

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