Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of an article from The eTail Blog, a source of exclusive content generated by and for the e-commerce community.
Rose Hamilton, EVP and CMO of Pet360, believes there is a lot more to etailing than simply selling a product. At Pet360, an e-commerce website for pet owners, the focus of marketing and digital efforts is to become an effective resource for pet parents. Before her time at Pet360, the website was transaction-driven. But it has since become community-driven, with an emphasis on the user experience.
It is now a one-stop-shop for not only buying pet related products, but also learning about pet wellness issues, enhanced by pet parenting related blogs and connecting with other German Shepherd, Scottish Fold or fuzzy hamster owners in the Pet360 community.
At eTail East 2013, during the Social Commerce and Social Engagement Summit, Ms. Hamilton shared six tips she believes will allow any company to transform transaction-focused online platforms into online communities:
1. Identify an executive sponsor for your upcoming efforts. Decide what higher-up member of your company is going to sponsor your efforts. If the CEO is worried about ROI and the budget needed to hire an editorial staff, then attempt to bring in the CFO of your company in order to better justify costs.
2. Define the value of customer engagement. Make sure that you understand how your marketing efforts will justify your financial goals. In other words, come to an understanding with your executive sponsor on how you will monetize your future online efforts.
3. Shape the culture of your community. Begin to understand your consumer's emotional motivations and engage accordingly. This begins in-house with the engagement of your own staff members. If they aren't engaged in the online community, how can you expect people outside of your company to engage?
4. Leverage consumer feedback to guide decisions. Feedback is not failure, thus in order for you to test certain community themed changes to your online platforms, you must create a risk-tolerant culture within your organization.
5. Integrate consumer engagement. Consumer engagement efforts must be spread over the whole of your organization. Everyone must be empowered to further along your company's engagement methods.
6. Measure quality over quantity. Focus on planned content as well as segment tailored content, rather than just customer acquisition and traffic measurement.
Of the tips offered in the article for transforming from transaction-focused platforms into online communities, which will provide the greatest benefit?