Cover Story: The 50 Best Tips of 2014
21. Write new job descriptions and hire from outside your industry. There are skills that you need that you don't have in-house. When it comes to e-commerce and web infrastructure, look beyond the traditional retail resume, especially for email marketing, data analytics, web development and the like.
Marti Tedesco, Baynote, "The Modern Retail Landscape," March 20, ROI Report
22. Underpromise, overdeliver. This is a philosophy that all retail companies should live by, not just startups. Etailz.com creates two budgets every year — one for its bankers and board of directors, and the other for its internal staff. The budget for the bankers and board of directors is more conservative and created with the idea that it will be more attainable to beat; the internal budget is more aggressive in terms of sales and profit growth. The internal staff only sees the more aggressive budget, so they're motivated to perform at their best.
Josh Neblett, Etailz.com, "10 Dos and Don'ts for Online Retail Startups," June 1, ROI Report
23. Suggest consumers buy from retailers. Manufacturers’ websites should explicitly recommend that consumers visit a retailer's website or store, especially if a given product is out of stock. In a product category such as apparel, for example, a manufacturer's website could suggest the following: "Want to see it in person?" and offer a map of local retailers selling the garment.
Andy Lloyd, NetSuite, "Manufacturer/Retailer Relationships: Friend or Foe?," September/October, Retail Online Integration
24. To group is sometimes to distract: A dedicated section that groups similar products as a segment can do a great job at increasing that segment's sales. On the flip side, it can also distract shoppers from the larger aisle and, instead of increasing total aisle sales, it can actually depress them. It's a fine line to walk and one that might take a little trial and error. The challenge is testing until you find the right balance.
Mark Hardy, InContext Solutions, "How to Optimize Product Placement and Get the Most Out of In-Store Marketing," Feb. 3, ROI Report
25. Develop web merchants. While your marketing team may want to automate all of your company's web merchandising, an algorithm can't listen to a customer. In that same vein, online product reviews are a key tool enabling web merchants to listen to their customers. Web merchants should be passing along the insights gained from these reviews to their product suppliers.
Frank Oliver, Gardener's Supply Co., "Tips for More Effective Merchandising," March 13, ROI Report
26. Keep it boring. Think of your website as an ATM for smartphones — people don't go there to be wowed, they go there because they're trying to get something done. Your job is to let them.
Tim Ash, SiteTuners, "Are Smartphones Bad at Conversions?", March 12, Designed to Convert blog
27. Optimize for weekends and downtime. Mobile usage peaks on weekends and holidays, so offer mobile-exclusive content and sales during this time. For example, iPad usage tends to peak in the evening when consumers are relaxing at home, so consider running a flash sale on your iPad app during this time frame.
Jason John, Gilt Groupe, "Mobile-First Approach Drives Gilt.com's Digital Success," May 2, ROI Report
28. Feature shallow navigation. Reduce depth in your navigation stack. The average number of steps back a mobile user takes is one. Very rarely does a user switch departments/categories by navigating multiple levels back.
Danielle McCormick, Skava, "From Soup to Nuts," January/February, Retail Online Integration
29. Integrate in-store locations into your e-commerce strategy. Use consumers’ love of "webrooming" to your advantage through transactional marketing. For example, place a "try it on" button next to a blouse, which would then link the shopper to the nearest store that sells that blouse.
Anthony Nicalo, Donde, "Transactional Marketing is the Future of Advertising," Feb. 18, ROI Report
30. Align your whole organization with proper structure, incentives and domain expertise in the right places. Instill an understanding among all workers that it's one ecosystem working together that leads to growth in all channels.
Julie Bornstein, Sephora, "Top Women in Omnichannel Retail," March/April, Retail Online Integration