All I want for Christmas is… a good online customer experience

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What stops customers buying from your website? Neil Hamilton is Director of Personalization at Emailvision and today tells of his Christmas online shopping frustrations. Some of the biggest retailers in the country still haven’t got the basics right. Neil, a committed Internaut despairs of poor buying experience, would love online retailers to catch up with the offline experience.

If you’d like to know more about how to more about smarter email, mobile and social marketing and less about ‘one size fits all’ email blasting, visit Emailvision’s website

Neil Hamilton’s online shopping experiences

Although I am a massive advocate of online shopping, and of leveraging the internet at every opportunity to streamline my life; the thought of spending another 24 hours of my short lifetime on this planet wrestling with poor online shopping experiences for Christmas as I did last year brings me out in a cold sweat.

Over the past week I’ve heard my wife:

 • Growling at the website because it didn’t inform her that the products she had spent time researching for weren’t available at the local store until nearing the checkout.

 • Yelling at for not having a search service on their website when looking for a pair of gloves she’d seen advertised in a magazine that day.

 • Scream and almost having a breakdown when lost the Christmas food shop delivery slot…

My iPad has never heard so much abuse, and I simply won’t submit it to anymore. Christmas shopping should be enjoyable! In fact all shopping experiences should be enjoyable, if it’s enjoyable you’ll part with some cash…

Neil Hamilton’s offline shopping experiences

Take Lush for example. I visited Lush at the weekend with my two children (7 and 5), the store assistants with their beautiful tattoos, exotic piercings and sing song approach to serving is so enjoyable. Before I knew what was going on, I had spent around 45 minutes watching the kids being entertained with bubbling cauldrons on potions being tested (and tasted) and parted with nearly £60.00 in products… because someone was paying attention to me and my family specifically – enjoyable and costly!!!

I seem to part with my money whenever “service” and “attention” is in play. Adopting a positive Customer Engagement model is therefore key for any retailer who wants to be “Shared”, “Liked” and generally socialised in 2013.

Neil Hamilton’s vision for online shopping in 2013

Personalising a shopping experience isn’t that difficult for any mature retailer…it’s simply a strategy which needs consideration and a few technical tasks along the way.

The online retailers that will be in a strong position next year will be the ones which understand the concept of providing a one to one experience. Those retailers which will be building profitable, loyal customers will be:

 • Enabling their existing store to adapt the content and products being presented based on data a visitor will be handing to them on a plate, such as the Search Keyword they used to find their store in the first place, as well as remembering specific attributes about the visitors preferences.

 • Capturing the data generated by every individual customer and employing easy to use targeting tools to re-engage and reward the Christmas shoppers in the New Year with relevant and fun offers

 • Will be building a “customer engagement” lifecycle strategy leverage technology where necessary but most importantly, thinking about what would small touches would enable the “wow” experience….for example:
    º Whenever you purchase something from, you get a packet of Refreshers…cheap but effective.
    º When my wife buys something from Liz Earle they send her loads of samples of products relating to her Skin Type….amazing service.

I am hoping we will see more in-store loving bubbling through in the smarter stores in 2013.

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