martijn bertisen quote web

How’s the spring cleaning going? I am picking up on the theme of my last column and urging you to look at the digital assets you ‘own’ through your customers’ eyes. Consumers today want a clean, frictionless online experience, just as they do in-store, and it is essential you pay attention to your apps and websites.

I previously said that if you can create an app that is easy to use and offers great utility, then there is a better chance of it being downloaded. However, the website is just as important.

Huge numbers of people are now using mobile devices to browse, research and shop. M-commerce already accounts for a third of e-commerce in the UK. The mobile web is likely to be where consumers will first encounter your brand, so it is imperative that the experience you provide is ‘best in class’. If a consumer’s first contact with the brand is pleasurable, engaging and provides the information they need, then they could be converted into regular customers, and hopefully into app downloaders. Your website needs to be optimised for mobile and be able to provide consumers with information, inspiration and the opportunity to purchase. This means thinking about the context in which consumers research - in-store research via a mobile phone is one of the most important research-related activities [Google Consumer Barometer].

Factors that might not have previously been a priority, such as the load speed of your web pages, are now paramount. It doesn’t matter how packed with attractive offers and promotions your site is if it is never visited.

Think about the mobile consumer’s need for real time data. Are you able to update price promotions and stock level information quickly and can you offer genuine substitutes? Is there a slick checkout process?

There is another requirement - the need for a robust attribution model so you can link digital investment with offline and online sales. Greater insight into the customer journey to conversion can help in finessing and optimising content, advertising and a retailer’s media mix model.

The mobile shopper wants digital experiences that are fast, simple and personalised. Brands that have created impressive online experiences highly rated by consumers include ‘newcomers’ like Uber and Netflix and online veterans like Amazon.

UK retail boards are full of experienced folks who can walk into a store and tell you how to optimise the customer experience. But a study by DHR International states only 5% of executive directors at UK retailers have an online background. This will probably need to change as we strive to create the perfect multichannel experience.

Martijn Bertisen is country sales director at Google UK