Online shoppers are clear about two things; they know exactly what they want and they also want the best quality at the lowest price. People do not “browse” online; they have a particular item they want or a specific purpose in mind. However, traditional retailers are used to browsers and impulse buys and they are clearly having a tough time online.

For instance, a new survey suggests that the main thing online retailers are looking for are “click throughs” to their adverts. Well, isn’t that just fantastic? Advertisers are using clicks on adverts as a measure of success. It’s like retailers measuring footfall – you can have millions of people walking into your shop, but if they don’t buy anything so what? In other words measuring clicks is useless. Measuring sales is what matters.

However, as revealed in an interesting discussion on Ecademy, in most large businesses there is a separation between marketing and sales. As a result, marketing people cannot be measured on sales because that’s someone else’s responsibility. So, marketing campaigns have to be measured on other factors, such as click throughs. A marketer can say how brilliant they have been because they led to so many click throughs; meanwhile the sales team have to justify why they didn’t capitalise on those clicks and sell something.

Maybe, it’s because online the marketing people are actually doing a bad job. Take this example from Marks and Spencer. Type in “girls smocked dress” into Google and you get a Marks and Spencer advert on the right hand side. Now, at this point the online purchaser knows they want a girls smocked dress; they don’t want anything else. So why does M&S serve them up a picture of a 10-year-old boy in a jacket and tie with the word “newborn” next to him? The page is also designed for browsers – and that’s not what online shoppers do.

However, the independent retailer Pocoropa has an advert leading direct to a page of girls smocked dresses – exactly what the online buyer wants. Yet if the woman who runs Pocoropa were to attend a marketing seminar, guess which company would be held up as a great example? You guessed it, M&S…! Now it seems to me that it is M&S who should be going on the marketing workshops and learning from people like Pocoropa.

So what does this example tell us? It says that if you advertise online you need to measure sales, not click throughs. If your measure is merely click throughs, you end up being a lazy marketer which allows you to avoid focusing on what the online shopper really wants.

M&S will argue that they sell millions of pounds worth online. Just think how successful they could really be if they were any good at Internet marketing.

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