Online Retailer Conference – Seven Secrets to Big Brand Success


Our clients are some of Australia’s best known brands who partner with us to ensure they remain at the cutting edge of Search marketing. In order to ensure we’re at the forefront we often send our FirstClickers out in search of innovation and expertise – just outside our four walls. This week the team ventured to the Online Retailer eCommerce Conference & Expo in Sydney to seek insights into successfully innovative retailers and the best practices they use to stay ahead of the pack. Here are seven secrets we gleaned from the keynote speakers.

Insight 1 – Think and act like a start-up

Firstly this means always questioning the status quo to ask ‘how can we do this better? or find the ‘So What?’ as we always challenge at FirstClick. Even big brands with more complex processes and timescales understand the importance of challenging conventional wisdom to improve and streamline their efficiencies as well as teams solely dedicated to innovation. ‘Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries’ were words of wisdom from Masters Julie Mathers, presenter and FirstClick client who cites Masters success partly due to their ability to take risks and push boundaries as many successful start-ups do.

Insight 2 – Be relevant to your customers

If you get this one right then it can unlock the key to future success. The more relevant you can be to your customer the better your targeting, efficiencies and ultimately sales. Wellington Fonseca the VP of Marketing at multi-brand retailer, a US success story proves this with the strategy of continually making it easy for customers to provide feedback throughout each interaction of their purchase journey. Whether in a customer service conversation, a loyalty program or through website optimisation, Gilt highly prioritise this in order to understand customer preferences and better tailor product offers.

Insight 3 – Make it personal

Involving your customers in your marketing provides further engagement and loyalty. Sali Stevanja CEO from Stylerunner, the luxury active wear e-tailer, used social media platform Instagram to leverage photos from followers allowing them to be the ‘Face of the Brand’ providing real feeling of inclusion and in turn these positive feelings can lead to sales.

Master’s has a business value to ‘Love Your Customers’ and strive to do everything to ensure the customer experience is exceptional, including continually engaging with their customers to identify pain points and improve their experience both in store & online.

Insight 4 – Relationships and the right people

At the end of the day the old adage that people like to do business with people they like rings true, which is why it is important to hire the right people whether your business is a start-up or a large corporate. This approach was evident through all speakers, notably John Winning – CEO and founder of Appliances Online, who attributes success to building a team of emotionally intelligent individuals who complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. At FirstClick we operate similarly. Our culture is important to the success of our business, so we need to ensure we have the right team in place which is key to promoting open communication and effectiveness across all business areas.

Insight 5 – Make it easy. Be where your customers are

This is where having the right search marketing strategy is so important and can mean the difference between more sales for your brand over competitors. Paul Fanthorpe, General Manager at Australia Post, shared online research in the apparel category where on average consumers spend between 8-9 hours browsing online.  Understanding this shopper behaviour, i.e. 24% of consumers shop online for the reason of free shipping, second only to ease and convenience, means advantage can be obtained through tailored and appropriate messaging.

Insight 6 – Data is key

Big data is the buzz word in marketing but it doesn’t have to be all big. There are opportunities for capturing customer data at every interaction no matter the size of your base or tools. Quite simply the better you know your customer the better you can optimise your communications and offers to them. Gilt’s Fonseca emphasised the importance of using both explicit and implicit data sources across all touchpoints, and continually making it easy for customers to give their input and feedback as well as monitoring behavioural data and using these analytics and insights to continually shape and tailor your offer.

Insight 7 – Never Give Up

Lastly a mantra evoked by many a successful brand including Andy Dunn Founder of Bonobos, the innovative online jeans retailer, who recognised a gap in the maturing online retail market to provide customers with a better fitting pair of trousers. Facing many a naysayer, and often a number of tough years, successful brands are those who overcome these hurdles to never give up when people say it’s all too hard. Bonobos is now one of the US most successful online apparel retailers. Closer to home, Winning’s cites occasions when Appliances Online customers are not satisfied, he makes it a personal mission to ask why and resolve their issues satisfactorily when people think it can’t be done.

Fear of failure is the reason most people give up and Mathers believes that as with any business including Masters mistakes will happen, and it’s how you learn from your mistakes that is the key to improvement.

These seven secrets can be applied to any business whether it at start up stage or an established corporate and are the cornerstone of most successful brands marketing strategies. It is important to note that these secrets work best when employed in unison. Like an award winning chef developing a new creation, it’s about ensuring that all the ingredients are mixed in the right combination that results in the most successful masterpiece.

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