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London, United Kingdom, 2008/12/10 - Online retailers can maximise their share of the predicted 15 per cent increase in internet retail sales this year by engaging customers through Web 2.0 technologies, according to Vignette (NASDAQ:VIGN).
Online retailers can maximise their share of the predicted 15 per cent increase in internet retail sales this year by engaging customers through Web 2.0 technologies, according to Guy Westlake, Senior Product Marketing Manager EMEA, Vignette (NASDAQ:VIGN), a global leader in Web experience management and delivery.
With trade body IMRG predicting that UK shoppers will spend £13 billion during the 2009 Christmas period, price will not be the only factor in shoppers’ purchasing decisions. By incorporating Web 2.0 technologies and creating an engaging, interactive online shopping experience, retailers stand a better chance of grabbing and retaining consumers’ attention and share of wallet.
Vignette’s six top tips for engaging customers through Web 2.0 technologies are:
1. Target your key audience(s) – Different groups have different needs and expectations when it comes to going online. Make sure you know your users' requirements before incorporating Web 2.0 technologies on your website as one size does not fit all. If your company’s target market is teenagers – ‘creators’ – who enjoy using a range of features and trying new technologies as they emerge, you will need to be more innovative and dynamic with your Web 2.0, incorporating Wikis and forums, than if you were targeting an older audience who tend to be ‘spectators’.
2. Make it personal – Web 2.0 technologies are all about engaging and interacting with the user and therefore blogs, podcasts and vidcasts shouldn't be over censored or full of corporate marketing. Instead, for these features to be successful they should be more personal and appeal to the audience that it is aiming to reach. Let a range of employees contribute to your company’s Web 2.0 material – not just the CEO. This will help give the organisation a human face that your customers can more easily relate to. This can be enhanced by making the online experience unique for each user too, through personalisation features.
3. Keep it updated – If you have blogs on your website, ensure that you keep them updated. There is nothing worse than a company website that incorporates Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs and then leaves them untouched for a year. How can a company expect its users to stay engaged in its the content if it is not able to do so itself? When developing a Web 2.0 deployment strategy, businesses must ensure they factor in ongoing maintenance of its content and features to its long-term plans.
4. Monitor it – Companies are often cautious about allowing users to interact on their website and leave comments – after all, they could say anything! This is why, if you do allow users to comment on your website then it is important that it is monitored to ensure that questions and comments are responded to. It’s key to ensure this doesn’t become censorship though – comments should not be removed just because they say something uncomplimentary about the company, but they should be answered quickly.
5. Drive the conversation – Customers will always have an opinion about what you do – good, bad or indifferent – and this is a gold-mine of information and inspiration just waiting to be tapped. Use Web 2.0 to ask your consumers what they think of your latest product, or what they’d like to see in the next one. And if they are critical, don’t shy away from them. Getting involved in the debate and responding to difficult questions openly and honestly will earn more respect from customers and make them feel that they and their opinions really are valued.
6. Make it versatile – In an increasingly mobile world, users expect to be able to access information anywhere and at anytime, therefore multi channel communication is important for anticipating customer demands and expectations. Explore using Web 2.0 features appropriate to different communication channels (mobile, online) to give your customers control over how they interact with your brand.
Vignette (vignette.com) provides software and services that deliver the Web’s most dynamic user experiences. The Vignette Web Experience brings rich media and engaging content to life for the world’s greatest brands. Vignette is headquartered in Austin, Texas with operations worldwide.