Archive for the ‘Retailweb’ Category

Welcome to SA – Michael Kromwyk Profile

December 19, 2010

Michael Kromwyk was a recent attendee at the UniSA Business in China MBA course. Welcome to South Australia met Michael in Shanghai as a part of his study tour. “This was my second trip to China after attending a trade show in Guangzhou. I feel that this experience from an academic and personal perspective has given me an insight into doing business in China and that I can help the RAA to buy better out of China.”

Michael’s day job is as RAA’s Senior Manager, Retail Distribution responsible for sales, member experience and merchandise buys for this highly respected Motoring organisation. “I’ve been at RAA for 5 years and see my transition to this role as a bit of a journey of self-experience”. With over 200 staff, a call centre, 22 shops and a web site, he has a lot of responsibility in generating income for the RAA Group. His prior experience as a sales executive at a number of SA iconic organisations has helped him throughout his career journey.

“I really believe in delighting the customer. I teach my staff to put themselves into the customer’s shoes and to give them an experience that makes them want to come back again and again.” Michael has introduced the Friedman system of sales to RAA – this is a values based selling system that helps the customer to save money while covering all of their needs. At RAA Michael’s team can sell emergency roadside assistance, home and motor insurance, holidays, security and merchandise that complement these services. A true one-stop shop.

Michael has the aspiration to be a General Manager and to this end has almost completed a MBA at UniSA. “This experience has changed my outlook on my career and while I love working for RAA I can see myself in Asia in the near future in a key sales executive role, in fact a highlight of my study was the Business in China Intensive School that I attended with UniSA in March 2010.”

“My MBA at UniSA and my experiences of studying in China have made me a better manager and a better negotiator in bringing merchandise into my stores. My journey is continuing and I see my next career transition working with a Chinese multinational or working in the Asian region, hopefully in Shanghai!” The cultural experience has also given Michael a desire to work in Asia “I have a desire to work in China; unfortunately this can’t be with RAA as we are a state based organisation.”

Michael welcomes readers to contact him direct at if you are moving or setting up a business in South Australia to talk about your insurance, road service, security and holiday needs. If you are a supplier or just want to share your experiences with Michael you can also email or follow Michael on twitter @charmike4, LinkedIn or his blog at


Usability As Common Courtesy

August 12, 2009

In Steve Krug’s book ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ (2nd Edition) he wrote about the things that diminish goodwill on a web site:

***Hiding the information that customers want such as postage rates, customer support, phone numbers and the like. Some companies do this so that they drive down costs in their business or customer self serve. Other do this due to internal politics, departmental policies or simply trying to increase the stickiness of getting a sale! Best practice is to be open, up front and transparent to the customer. Make it easy to find all information.

***Asking the customer to format data such as putting a dash or a space in credit card fields. Best practice is to allow the customer to enter the data as they want & then write a program to convert it into your system requirement.

***Asking for information that is not relevant. Don’t ask for marketing information if it isn’t relevant. Who has got fed up trying to set up an Amazon account. Keep it quick & punchy, then as you develop the relationship ask for more information & incentivise for it.

***Too much sizzle. Get rid of the long to load flash intros, no-one wants to see it.

However, there is another golden rule…if your customers actually like flash, like long sign up processes, want to key the data in the right format or like to search for information, then DON”T CHANGE IT. If it works for you and your customers and gets the results you need, then don’t change, but if you can get a better result through a test and learn phase then make the change towards better usability.

Web Optimisation Definition for Retail

August 5, 2009

Definition of Optimisation for Retail

Retail has:

• The Product
o Price & promotions
o Range
• Service
o Fulfilment
o Support

The Web Optimisation Team manages:
• Interactivity
o Customer journey
o Flow and data entry
• Ease of Use
o Usability
o Accessibility and standards

Web optimisation is about having a plan to take practical steps to change things so that they work better. This could include your registration process, email layouts, checkout and customer service follow up. It’s about a holistic approach to optimising your site and campaigns.

Some examples of optimisation are:

• Search engine optimisation (SEO) – mainly a marketing function, but Retail can influence this based upon sales stats and analytics
• Search engine marketing (SEM) – once again mainly a marketing function but Retail can have input via analytics to say which sites work best and which landing pages give a higher sales conversion percentage
• Behavioural targeting – tailoring the marketing message, up or cross sell opportunity based on the customers profile or what we know about that segment. An example would be an Accidental Damage offer if the customer had Home Insurance already. For this to work you need a segmentation model and if possible data about each individual customer and their preferences.
• Creative and messaging pre-testing optimisations – pre-testing optimisations on a small target group or for a few clicks to see the reaction. If successful then rollout to more customers, if not then cease and try something else!
• Site optimisation – checking the site regularly to ensure that all the links work and that there is nothing that is stopping a smooth flow for your customers. This is where you need to identify where shoppers leave your site & try to understand why
• Campaign performance optimisation – review the entire marketing campaign from search through to fulfilment to ensure that it works and get the highest conversion rates possible

Returning to our Analytics model optimisation is the final phase:

Phase 1 – The raw data

Phase 2 – KPIs (conversion rate)

Phase 3 – Measures
1. Conversion by new release/older version
2. Number of customers who also bought another product
3. Conversion by promotional offer such as free shipping

Phase 4 – Analytics
1. Effect on the landing page to conversion
2. Impact of product placement (merchandising) on the page
3. Impact of customer demographic and segmentation on the rate

Phase 5 – Optimisation
1. Optimise marketing offer to segments or individuals
2. Optimise site layout to maximise conversion rates
3. Track and optimise where customers exit the site

The way to track these results is using a scorecard system to ensure that the results are returning a positive ROI.

Analytics Defination for Retail

August 5, 2009

What is analytics as defined for a Retail web team?

The first part of analytics is to develop a unification plan to ensure that a customer has a continuous and seamless journey with the company. The customer should be at the focus of everything that we do – marketing offers should be tailored for each individual customer based upon their preferences and configuration.

So firstly we need to have a unification plan for each customer and this should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that it is working. This can be achieved by asking customers or by watching their behaviour while on your web site.

The next step is to develop a data plan. This has been covered in section 2. Work out what data you have available and then how you will report on it. Always measure against your objectives and KPIs.

The final step is to define your analytics plan inclusive of:

• Ensure that your KPIs are linked to your goals as defined in section 1.
• Established the various measures and the interval for measurement
• Determine whether you will do real time analytics and optimisation, making micro adjustments ‘on-the-go’.
• Analytics is then the study of the measures that have been selected. The purpose is to understand just what is happening to your measures and why.

Analytics is simply understanding cause and effect!

An example could be Adelaide UBD sales:

Phase 1 – The raw data

Phase 2 – KPIs (conversion rate)

Phase 3 – Measures
1. Conversion by new release/older version
2. Number of customers who also bought another product
3. Conversion by promotional offer such as free shipping

Phase 4 – Analytics
1. Effect on the landing page to conversion
2. Impact of product placement (merchandising) on the page
3. Impact of customer demographic and segmentation on the rate

Web Optimisation Team – The Framework

August 5, 2009

I have developed a framework for the development of a retail web team. In this blog I have set the framework for how a retail team can operate in this environment and the activities that need to occur.

1. Define KPIs and Objectives

Primary objective – to increase web conversion rates from browsing to purchase to fulfilment

• Increase conversion rates
• Increase cross and up sells
• Determine when to manually intervene
• Analysis of where customers choose to exit the e-commerce parts of the site

• Close %
• % of customer acquisitions
• % of customer conversions
• % of bundled sales
• % of upgrades
• % of suggestive sells bought
• E-SERVQUAL Matrix:
o Efficiency – ability of customers to get to the site and transact
o Fulfilment – accuracy of service promises including products in stock availability and delivery on time
o Reliability – site availability & performance
o Privacy – data is protected, not shared and credit card payments are secure
o Responsiveness – ability to provide appropriate support to customers as required
o Compensation – returns facilities for refunds & return shipping costs
o Contact – ability to talk to a live consultant online

The benchmark will be current statistics with a growth in sales to at least pay for the team costs.

2. How will these be measured? A Data Plan.

Retail will need to define a suitable measurement tool that allows tracking of sales, impact of any changes and real time analytics.

Tools such as Google Analytics will be helpful. Web edit will also provide data. Marketing may purchase additional software.

Once defined the Reporting Co-ordinator will be responsible for developing the reporting mechanism and defining the reports to be used by the team. This will include:

• Daily exception reporting
• Weekly optimisation reporting
• Monthly management reports

Inclusive in these reports will be all the measures of KPIs and Goals along with the web optimisation scorecard as detail in section 4.

3. Daily Activity

On a daily basis the web analyst should complete the following activities:

• Review the daily exception reporting, something that it occurring on the site that needs immediate action or change.
• Review customer transactions that could be intervened such as:
o Missing underwriting information
o Missing sales opportunity ie under insured as compared to other houses in the area
o Lost sale – vehicle was outside the underwriting guidelines
• Determine which transactions will be referred to the outbound team for immediate follow up
• Determine what transactions will receive an email direct mail piece suggesting another product, up sell offer or coupon
• Run the lists
• Review the conversion rates of each campaign
• Determine optimisation to increase the conversion rate and test and learn

On a weekly basis review:

• The web optimisation scorecard
• On the basis of these results determine action items and areas to test and learn for the coming week
• Identify products that are not performing to budget and increase optimisation in these areas
• Check for usability – if it is not simple people will exit the site, so suggest better flows and ways of flowing the customer through to the checkout process & fulfilment

On a monthly basis:

• Prepare a report on the web optimisation for the past month
• Identify wins and areas for increased focused
• Compile the scorecard and provide detailed reporting against the goals and KPIs
• Submit the report for management review

4. Reporting Tools

The reporting tools are yet to be determined. Retail does have access to the following information sources and resources:

Reporting Co-ordinator:
• Will develop the reporting framework
• Will co-ordinate the data sources to ensure a quick and uniform way to report and action work
• Creation of the reporting platform for web optimisation and monthly management reports

Data for the web analysts will be gathered from:
• Google analytics
• Web edit
• Other software as determine in consultation with Marketing

The important key is to ensure that each area reports in similar ways using the same data.

5. Roles and Responsibilities

Both Marketing and Retail have responsibilities to drive the success of the ecommerce activity:

Marketing Roles & Responsibilities

• Promoting the web site through all levers including banner ads
• Web site look and feel
• Branding
• Landing pages
• Web site usability

Retail Roles & Responsibilities

• Reporting on activity
• Sales conversion
• Sales analytics
• Sales optimisation
• Test & learn
• Providing feedback on:
o Flow
o Usability
o Checkout process
o Exit points

While each area has specific roles and responsibilities to achieve a sales outcome will mean that a partnership between the functions is required. Providing feedback on the checkout process and an opportunity to increase sales conversion can only result in a change if the Marketing team agree and make the necessary changes. In requisite organisation language it means a TIRR responsibility.

To ensure success regular meetings between Marketing and Retail will need to be held as well as sharing information to ensure the best possible optimisation outcomes.

Ten Deadly Sins of Digital Marketing

August 5, 2009

1. Long registrations – keep them short. Amazon’s process is too long and the Dymocks process means that even if you log in you need to re-enter all of your details!
2. No data plan – you need to plan your data and what you are going to do with it
3. Data but no analysis – there is no point in having data but then not having a plan of what to do with it. Remember the game is optimisation, not data collection
4. Going for gimmicks – there is a thought that gimmicks (like games) will increase stickiness, but it is short lived at best
5. Ignoring an awareness plan – You need a smart plan to build traffic to your site inclusive of SEM, SEO and other on and off line activity
6. Omitting search – you need to be a part of search, in all it’s forms – Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc etc etc
7. Poor usability – be customer obsessed and ensure that the site is usable for customers. Have a fast site that has no broken links and is easy for customers to find what they want and to check out in one page
8. Spamming – don’t do it
9. Failing to involve your participants – ask customers what they want, allow reviews, facilitate blogs, watch what they do and make changes to the site to make it better for them. Reduce brochureware! This is one-to-one marketing, not one-way marketing!
10. One size fit all DigiMarketing – Personalise your site, don’t make it mass marketing, make it customised to your consumers

Web Optimisation and Analytics

August 4, 2009

In the next few blogs I will write about web Optimisation and Analytics. I have developed a 10 point plan that I believe makes good sense if you are setting up a web team to manage your e-commerce sites. My 10 step plan is:

1. Define KPIs & Objectives
2. How will these be measured?
3. Definition of Analytics for Retail
4. Definition of Optimisation for Retail
5. Daily activity
6. Reporting tools
7. Test and learn concept
8. Team structure
9. Responsibilities between Marketing & Retail
10. Ten Deadly Sins

Stay tuned for more!

Cross Channel Marketing

July 31, 2009

Companies are having to evolve their marketing strategies from multi-channel marketing to cross-channel marketing.  What does this mean?

Initially you market to customers dependant upon the channel that the customer chooses.  This is marketing in a silo – focussed on selling a product down a certain channel through a certain marketing campaign.

Customers now want to see the campaign across many channels.  90% of people who see a TV ad who want more information then Google search for the product or company.  So the campaign that you run on TV, radio, direct mail, etc needs to have a link to an online specific landing page in order to capitalise on the sale opportunity.  This phase is called multi-channel coordination via cross-channel retailing.

The ideal world is cross channel optimisation – where you have a one business view of your customer and one over-arching strategy to engage with your customer across all levers.  It’s customer focussed.

Paul Marshall, the CEO of says cross channel is ‘the coordinated use of mulitple channels to gain market share, grow revenue and profits, create a differentiated experience and increase customer loyalty’.  For more information on this concept see Paul’s article at

Who do you think does cross channel marketing well?  Add your comments about this blog or links to cross channel marketers here.

Twitter – does it have a business application?

July 24, 2009

I have been reading a lot about twitter in the past week and it appears that most people think that this form of social media works and connects with users that the biggest problem is that it does not have a business model yet.  Without a business model it can’t be sustainable in the future.

I’m interested to here what others think.  Firstly can twitter create a sustainable income stream and still be attractive to its users?  Or will it go the way of MySpace?

Secondly do you have a business or a business idea that can leverage out of twitter to make an income?  I heard about a bakery that tweets each time a fresh batch comes out of the oven.  Apparently it is really effective and sales boom after each tweet.

I’m interested in your thoughts!

What steps are required to set up a retail web team for a merchandise ecommerce site?

July 17, 2009

I manage a small merchandise business with $2m in turnover on a range of travel, mapping, motoring, publications and first aid kits products.  This is a complimentary business to the core business of subscriptions, insurance and travel.  The growth has been 30%+ year on year for the past three years in the bricks and motar businesses.  There have been attempts at online sales with a growth from $3k to $9k now being recorded.

My dilemma is that while my team are very good at off-line retailing, merchandising and sales we don’t have the capability online.  So I am keen to find out from others about how to successfully sell and manage ‘retail’ online and what are the key points that I should consider?