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Shopfloor THE POWER OF ONLINE


The wonder of the web


30


There’s no doubt that retail websites are becoming a much bigger part of business today. And in these unprecedented times with changing consumer shopping trends, an e-commerce website may be all some retailers have. Jack Cheeseman hears how to maximise the opportunities and expand your presence online.


I


n 2016, the UK had the third largest e-commerce market in the world and, according to Statista, by 2021 roughly 93 per cent of UK internet users are expected to shop online. Therefore, any serious electrical retailer (independent or not) has no choice but to have a fully functioning e-commerce store, offering their customers a high-quality range of products available to buy and peruse online.


Mark Littlewood is the Managing Director of OneAgency, the marketing company behind the Euronics website. Here, he tells ERT that in the ultra-competitive electrical sector just having a basic online presence is often not enough.


“The last 10 years have seen a more educated and ‘web savvy’ consumer who now expects more powerful functionality, one touch payment methods, high quality photography and a mobile friendly retail experience that keep up with the very best services out there. Only a very brave retailer would ignore these consumer demands and rely on their retail store alone!”


Additionally, 40 per cent of shoppers prefer to buy online because it is convenient for them. Missing out on all those potential customers does not make good business sense.


“It starts with good first impressions, just as it does when a customer walks into a retail store,” Mr Littlewood continues. “A visually pleasing website design, clear branding and a fast load time are essential. OneAgency places a lot of thought into the user journey with clear and vital CTAs (calls to action, prompts to buy).


“Product availability, fair and quick delivery, warranties and installations are becoming more


important to many as is the notion of transacting with a proven, trusted retailer. We believe trust is the key to the success of the Euronics retail network.”


Mindy Gofton, Head of Marketing Strategy and Innovation at digital marketing services provider, I-COM, agrees.


She adds: “Retailer websites need to work on all devices, be user-friendly and easy to browse, offer


relevant trust signals (review stars, secure payment, etc), have faceted navigation to help customers narrow their searches, and offer some level of personalisation.


“Also, don’t challenge people too much.


Wishlists, filtering of products/faceted navigation, 360-degree views of products and product comparisons are important where applicable. “Your website should be at the heart of your


offering because for most shoppers it will be their first touchpoint – even if they later come into your shop to buy from you.” In Kilrea in Northern Ireland, electrical retailer Donaghy Bros has been trading online for around five years, moving with the times and keeping its customers at the forefront of its web activities.


The company launched a new website in 2016, which was awarded Highly Commended in the Best Retailer Website category at the ERT Awards last year, and it is currently in the process of developing a brand new site. Managing Director, James Donaghy, tells ERT he wants to give his online customers a fantastic and enjoyable buying experience that mirrors what the business offers in its physical store. “Our current design was built with the simple


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