Revamped ‘etail websites…where you gonna do your Christmas shopping?
John Lewis has recently reported a huge rise in online clothing sales and apparently owes all thanks to its new revamped website. Managing Director of John Lewis Direct, Robin Terrell, said the group had targeted 8.5 million of extra revenue from the website in the half year to January 2010. Terrell also commented that online clothing sales are three times higher than last year, again owing all praise to the new website. Designer brands such as Paul & Joe, Zara Jarman and Rene Derhy are said to be selling particularly well.
Marks and Spencer have also re-launched a new website which has come joint first in a website usability ranking by user experience consultancy Webcredible. It is this website usability that e-commerce consultants are urging retailers to concentrate on this Christmas, not just on price, in order to differentiate themselves amongst the large number of stores retailing online.
Evidently, customer loyalty can be earned from an effective online service such as a shift from email enquiries back into the traditional call centre approach, where it will be possible to gain immediate access to an expert who will talk you through the product or any problems you may have with the service. This certainly develops a sense of security for the online shopper and would help avoid any doubts about purchasing online and the plethora of worries we all associate with it, especially with the current postal strikes.
It is too easy for retailers to lose customers to competitors through poor customer service on the shop floor and the same can be said for online shopping. Now retailers can invest in precautionary measures to keep their customers happy and loyal. Shoppers can choose to contact agents through their preferred channel of communication; phone, email, instant messaging. In the run up to Christmas, shoppers will be browsing online late into the night, and customer support should still be made available during this high street downtime.
John Lewis and Marks and Spencer are giving the purely online fashion ‘etailers such as ASOS and Goddiva a run for their money. However, competition is fierce and ASOS still remain the biggest name in online fashion retail. ASOS’ sales have rocketed 47% in the six months to September 30, and with the launch of their first outdoor ad campaign last Friday to secure some new Christmas shoppers, custom is expected to expand from the website’s current 1.2 million shoppers.