Etailwatch – Twitter, The Internet Planets, In store delivery and MultiChannel Returns

Public outbursts against companies on Twitter

These last few weeks it has seemed like each has had a different social media story, centred around the consumer fighting back.  A prime example of this is the recent story (from econsultancy) of Paperchase selling a design which was allegedly plagiarised from an independent artist.  (Note – Since then Paperchase have stated they bought the design in good faith from an independent supplier).  The artist initially complained to Paperchase direct but to no avail, unable to fight it through the courts she used Twitter to bring attention to this and soon (once picked up by a famous figure) generated 1000′s of twitter posts and  emails directed to Paperchase.

Obviously companies should do all they can to operate fairly, but I do wonder how powerful Twitter is for complaining.  I would have never heard of ANY of the Twitter scandals if it wasn’t for eConsultancy or other Internet blogs!  Also it is only a story for a short space of time before the next story comes along! (more on this from eConsultancy)

That said once a celebrity gets behind something it could then spread like wildfire.  A couple of “Celebrities” that I follow I find often give quite frank and biased views about Products, Companies and people, surely it won’t be long before a twitter libel case!

The Map of the Internet

The above planet map from Experian Hitwise (found through Dave Chaffey’s SMART insights digital marketing blog) shows the relative amount of traffic that each site receives (sufficed to say this blog has not made it there yet!).  I’ve been enjoying the BBC show Virtual Revolution and thought that they used this diagram to great effect.  The point they made was that although anyone can set up a website and there is an unlimited amount of space on the Internet,  that isn’t how it happens – The web has one search engine (Google), one Social Network (Facebook), one video site (You Tube) and one book store (Amazon).  It seems its not just about having a good website, but also about marketing it well.

Shop the high street from your armchair with Google Streetview

According to Search Engine Land, Google are to expand their street view service to look inside stores.  They say “I received a tip from a New York retailer named Oh Nuts, that Google came to their store to take pictures for a new Google Maps product named “Google Store Views.” I was told that they took pictures of the inside of the store, every 6 feet, in all directions. They also took pictures of products.” See CCTV images of the Google photographer at Search Engine Land.

I’m not convinced by this, Any photos they take of displays and products will most likely be out of date by the time they are uploaded.  It could be a nice feature for iconic flagship stores to show off their fantastic architecture and displays, but generally I’m not sure why customers would use it.

Boots may partner with other retailers for in-store delivery service

IMRG posted this small news article, but one I thought could have interesting implications.  They report that Boots UK director of multichannel Tim Stacey said: “There are a lot of retailers with great offers, particularly in sectors such as fashion, which don’t have a good reach. We have over 2,600 stores and can reach many of the small towns where other retailers don’t have a presence. And it could also be another route to market for pure-play retailers who don’t have a store network.

Obviously space could be an issue for this but it could be a very smart way for Boots to increase their footfall into stores, with many people working during the day and unable to accept parcels at home this could offer a solution to them.  For Boots this would bring more footfall to their branches, get their brand listed on other retailers sites, and I’m sure a large proportion of customers will go on to spend in Boots after collecting.

Multichannel retailers need Multichannel returns

Another post from eConsultancy, sometimes when I read eConsultancy I think their bloggers may be using it as their own “Social media” way of getting back at retailers.  However the posts are usually grounded in good theory.  In this post Graham Charlton tells the story of his faulty mobile phone that he cannot return to store despite the company having a large network of stores.  I think it is essential that all retailers forget the words Multi Channel and focus on Cross Channel.  A customer who wants to use more than one contact route, eg store and online should be considered a much more valuable customer, more likely to spend than one which only shops via one channel.  To this end if a customer wants to buy online and return in store, this should be made as easy as possible.  etailers with “Bricks & Mortar” stores have a fantastic advantage, their stores give them legitimacy and a more trusted brand than pureplay online retailers, so don’t loose your advantage by not having a joined up cross channel culture!

That’s all for this post… Now it’s over to you

If you have any opinions on any of the stories mentioned or have found other interesting etail related stories please leave a comment!

I’m currently reading – Boo Hoo $135 million, 18  months… a dot.com story from concept to catastrophe

Charles Barsley works in eCommerce and in his occasional blog writes about his interests of eCommerce, Search Engine Optimisation, Photography, Cycling and anything which catches his interest!

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