Journal

From “Bricks to Clicks”

The Lewis agency has a traditional retail background, as well as many years online experience. So it’s natural that our approach to e-commerce is informed by this practical experience. Many of our online insights come from years of hands-on work creating store layouts and window displays, buying product ranges, planning visual merchandising and practising shop-floor sales techniques. It’s the reason we are able to talk to our retail clients in a language they understand. And its also the reason we are able to apply the principles of classic retailing to the world of e-commerce.

Many online lessons can be gleaned from studying a bricks & mortar retail store. The shop window must attract attention quickly and effectively. It should feature bestsellers, new product, markdown or other eye catching product. Even from the street, a window shopper can peer past the mannequins to see tempting product inside the store itself. From the door you will be able to see where footwear is, where the menswear department is, where accessories are. If you need to ask, helpful assistants should be nearby. Signage is positioned to be easily visible from multiple sight-lines.

But that is not all. Good store layout is designed to take you on an interesting journey past carefully merchandised and cross-selling product areas. Lighting is considered. Sound is considered… even smell is considered! Every part of your retail journey should be carefully considered to help inspire and encourage your journey from shop-window to till.

The same, and more, is true on a modern e-Commerce site. From home-page to checkout, the user journey must be considered, tested and refined. The same principles of presentation, merchandising, orientation and service that apply in a bricks and motor store still apply online. But, in addition, the online retailer must also consider a range of knowledge specific only to the e-Commerce world. How to best organise a product catalogue for easy browsing. How to set-up a site for optimum SEO. How to build a site for specifically for digital content. How to incorporate social networking, user generated content and blog publishing platforms in the most effective, integrated way. And last, but by no means least, how to project the unique experience of a characterful High Street store or brand onto a best practice e-Commerce site (something we take particular pride doing well).

Yet the online experience is evolving so fast, that what seems exciting and relevant today can rapidly become stale and un-engaging tomorrow. So what we try to achieve in our work is a balance between core retail skills and knowledge that will not date – with an awareness of how “best practice” usability is developing right now. The key to multi-channel e-commerce success is to move forward into the digital future while carrying the classic retail principles of the past along with you.