Cost-cutting strategies were all the buzz at the eTail West 2009 conference in Phoenix. Here are a few suggestions from retailers and other attendees on how to save dollars in the e-commerce channel:
Stick to what works. Rather than launching new initiatives, rely more on strategies and proven campaigns that have worked for your company in the past.
DIY. You don’t have the budget for software upgrades to better learn how shoppers use your site? Go straight to the source to get the information you need: Watch and observe how customers navigate the site. Pull in-store shoppers aside, give them a laptop and ask them to find a certain item but don’t tell them how. Then, monitor the techniques they use to locate the product online, as well as any roadblocks they find along the way. You may be surprised to find how shoppers actually navigate your site and the insights gained may result in better strategies for site improvement.
Feedback. Another way to avoid pricey software updates but still gain insight into online customer behavior is to solicit customers’ feedback as they shop the site. For example, add a form on the footer of each page that encourages consumers to submit ideas about what other products they are looking for and how the shopping experience could be better.
Negotiate with vendors. It’s a tough time for everyone. Many vendors will discuss discounts, so don’t be shy to ask.
Don’t skimp on usability. Improving the online user experience is a crucial priority and one that shouldn’t be abandoned even in dire times. Make sure category navigation is clear, the editorial text on the site is engaging and that the checkout process is seamless. For more easy and innovative tips on how to ramp up usability without tapping into big IT dollars, click here.