What webshops can learn from Marks & Spencer


At the Shop.org annual summit earlier this week, Marks & Spencer treated its attendees to three e-commerce insights. While learning how to reach its target market in the UK and overseas, M&S’s Director of Multichannel Development David Walmsley gained the following invaluable knowledge:

  1. You cannot obsess enough about your customer.
  2. Technology keeps evolving, and so should your efforts.
  3. Digital is the fabric through which customer experience is woven these days. Marks & Spencer does have the advantage of both offline and online channels in which to wow its customers, but the insights above are just as applicable to small webshop owners as to larger bricks and mortar stores.

1. Get obsessed with your customers.

Walmsley recommends subscribing to the magazines your target audience would read. Profile everything: from the keywords that led them to your site, to the values they hold. This information will help you understand: - why they shop online for your product category - what matters to them most (quality, trust, price, convenience) - what added value would convert the most visitors (free shipping/samples, customization/personalization, loyalty programs) - how well your brand image reflects their attitudes and how well your content resonates.

2. Don’t stop evolving digitally.

The common theme of technology is convenience and connection. So ask yourself: - does your webshop make it easy for people to connect with you, and with other consumers? (Consider live chat, forums and reviews) - can they conveniently self-serve their questions, and still feel they’ve been touched by you? (An intuitive knowledgebase with helpful suggestions will keep them using your product) - are your digital channels complementary?

3. Weave that fabric.

Digital provides rich data that makes selling even more intuitive, as well as providing ways for businesses to keep customers engaged. Are you using digital to enhance the customer experience with the following features? - Google retargeting - Serving up complementary products on your site, such as Amazon does with their ‘suggested products you might like’ and ‘what other customers bought’ features - Proactive chat to assist the shopping experience - User generated content - Product customization/personalization - Peer-to-peer referrals and recommendations Let’s follow M&S’s digital footprints! They’ve been an institution since 1884, and it looks like they’ll be around for many more years to come.