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Whether you are a new entrant to e-tail or an old hand with large sales volumes, the right content optimisation strategy is vital in order to effectively leverage multivariate testing tools within your organisation.

A recent Internet Advertising Bureau debate in the UK asked: “Has online retail taken the fun out of shopping”.

You might argue this was like asking a group of plumbers if hot running water had taken the fun out of bath-time. Unsurprisingly the answer was no, but with a few caveats.

Top conventional retail brands are driven by great product people and responsive merchandisers who have creativity, sales focus and 360 degree customer vision. These competencies exist in a dynamic environment where weak performance can cost you dearly.

Online retail is not so different. With highly analytical real estate practice now common, the next big win is onsite content optimisation – or, put another way, better merchandising and customer facing operations.

There is a wealth of analytical data and insight into customer habits in the back room of most online retail operations but the next big question is what should be done with it? As former Jupiter analyst Eric T. Peterson puts it:

“If you're not testing, you're not really taking proper advantage of the data your analytics provides.”

Increasingly, online marketers are embracing multivariate testing and techniques like it but they must be employed in a planned, progressive and creative way.

There are many quick wins to be had using MVT but, if you want those sales and margins to move up in a sustainable way, avoid starting with a “trolley-dash” approach to the process. Form and structure, information architecture and generic processes can be the focus of initial optimisation to get them in good shape for higher traffic levels in future.

Whether you are a new entrant to e-tail or an old hand with large sales volumes, the right content optimisation strategy is vital in order to effectively leverage multivariate testing tools within your organisation. Done right, it helps get the right content and offers in front of the right customers at the right time and delivers sustainable revenue uplift.

If you simply rely on your analytics and creativity to optimise your store’s content then there is likely to be considerable sales value to unlock in your store.

For extensive insight into effective testing and content optimisation approaches, see our fee whitepaper “Optimising E-Tail For All Sorts”, regardless of the technology provider you are working with or assessing for your site.

Mark Simpson is MD, Maxymiser.

Mark Simpson

Published 15 April, 2008 by Mark Simpson

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