Extract from the Echo E-Business Evolution white Paper

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1. Understand. As always, success begins with knowing your audience. At John Lewis, for example, nine out of ten of our online customers also shop in our stores. They choose to shop with us because they trust our brand – so we in turn must understand how our online experience fits in with their behaviour.

2. Create.Your editorial and functional choices make up your online language. Instead of friendly and helpful staff to show your customers around, your choice of words, pictures and design are there to do their work. (In fact, one tiny change to our website’s formatting led to an extra £1 million in revenue over the course of a year – so details really do make the difference!)

3. Challenge. Personalising the online experience as much as possible can only really be achieved by challenging e-business orthodoxy. There should be no set-in-stone strategies. Instead, gradual and small experimental changes can achieve huge results – both in terms of brand value and in terms of revenue.

4. Reach out. One advantage of personalising the impersonal is the enhancement of your marketing techniques. But e-marketing is more than just remembering who bought what and knowing that this customer also bought that. Web 2.0 technologies – such as company blogs and social network outreach – can boost consumers’ engagement with your brand.

5. Drill down. Through analytical measurement and multivariate testing, we can get a really good understanding of individual customer behaviour. For example, technology can tell us exactly where and when a particular customer abandoned their online shopping, and give us a view of the frequency and specific times of visiting, browsing and buying.

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David Walmsley, then head of web selling at John Lewis Direct


February 2009

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