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Succeeding in multi-channel optimization

Succeeding in multi-channel optimization

By PEER 1 Hosting’s EMEA Channel Lead, Mark King

Ofcom’s recent media audit has revealed that the living room is making an unlikely comeback, with households still coming together to watch TV at least once a week.

However, the modern day living room is far from traditional, with people now bringing along their tablets and smartphones and transforming the space into a digital hub.

We are now a nation of ‘media multi-taskers,’ with the average UK household owning at least three internet enabled devices, and one in five having more than six. The days of linear and predictable media consumption are behind us, with information being accessed at a rapid pace across multiple screens.

Brands and retailers therefore need to utilise the power of multi-screens to convert and better interact with consumers and audiences. By understanding how these different devices contribute to purchasing and search behaviour, brands can optimise their content and provide unique offerings for each device.

Smartphones are usually a good starting point when it comes to developing a multi-dimensional strategy, with the average UK consumer spending roughly 25 minutes a day accessing the internet on their smartphone. Recent research has also revealed that mobile browsing can actually trigger spontaneous purchase behaviour, whilst also having a positive effect on the average shopping cart size.

Ensuring that your hosting service can support mobile traffic and seasonal changes in demand across channels is the key to success when considering mobile optimisation. Likewise, consumers often move from one screen to another as they research their purchases, again demonstrating the basic necessity for cross-screen optimisation of sites, as well as an underlying robust infrastructure.

From pizza to holidays, consumers can purchase anything via their mobile. Despite this many brands are clueless as to how to provide a user-friendly mobile site that is specifically tailored to the new generation of consumer. This site will encourage repeat visits, multiple purchases as well as improving brand reputation.

It’s quite simple – if a consumer wants to purchase, make it as uncomplicated as possible, from design to payment. Keeping “Call to Actions” and design very simple, while avoiding overloading the consumer with unnecessary banner adverts or unreadable fonts, is the key to an optimised mobile site.

It’s also vital to remember that consumers, including myself, are not interested in ‘signing up’ or becoming a member and a large proportion leave a site completely when faced with this option – usually before completing a purchase.

Home-grown retailer Debenhams is a good example of a brand embracing the power of multi-screen technology. Its multi-channel customer adoption rates are soaring, primarily as a result of mobile commerce. General online sales were up 40% in the 16 weeks leading up to 22nd June 2013, compared to the same period last year, while mobile visits were up 85%.

Debenhams has embraced new technologies to provide consumers with a user-friendly, adaptable and interesting retail site, and its sales are directly benefiting from multiple device adoption.

Tablet ownership has more than doubled in the past year, with recent research from Google highlighting that consumers are more likely to purchase on a tablet than any other device. In light of this brands can essentially monetise consumer motivations by implementing varied and distributed retail models, utilising apps, interactive web functions and innovative visual content – uniquely attributed for whatever device they are using.

Today’s savvy consumer is more than willing to interact with a brand and share their experiences, whether positive or negative, with others, mainly through social networks. No matter how brief the interaction, contact should always be memorable and any form of purchase should be completed seamlessly.

Multi-device offerings are dramatically altering the media and commerce landscape and with audiences spending more time online than ever before, websites should be seen as the ‘shop front’ of any brand.

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