As we scan through best practices in the eCommerce world 2 common themes emerge:
–Leaders set and match customer expectations better than peers
–Successful eTailers deliver brand promise consistently through all touch points
Amazon.com (1 on IR500 list): By focusing on core innovations: collaborative filtering, onsite search and testing they have grown from carrying books to carrying virtual storefronts of other companies (Toysrus.com, BN.com etc).
Dell.com (4 on IR500 list): customization and speed. Product customization, which was Dell’s sweet spot offline has seamlessly translated online. The load time of Dell.com is also the best in the industry.
QVC.com (14 on IR500 list): Integration. Amazon and QVC have the highest eCommerce conversion rates at 20%. QVC does this by very strongly coupling their TV programming with the website. Majority of the customer to their website come directly from TV shows and by having those products front and center QVC is able to convert a majority of visits.
Sears.com (14 on IR500 list): Comparative shopping. Their 120 year old brand message of best pricing translates neatly on sears.com where products can be compared side by side.
Buy.com (38 on IR500 list): Video as a selling tool.
Woot.com: Active (and colorful) dialog between retailer and customers.
Zappos.com (45 on IR500 list): Free return shipping. In a margin breaking category Zappos has not only built loyalty but also discovered new product categories.
AE.com (56 on IR500 list): Visually stunning shopping environment. Target audience is teens and young adults.
Crutchfield.com (81 on IR500 list): Rich content. The Crutchfield catalog is full of detailed product analysis. More than a direct sales channels it is an electronics Bible. crutchfield.com is an extension of their catalog business.
Landsend.com: Innovative promos (Christmas shopping calendar) and consistent online/offline merchandizing push.
Dwr.com (213 on IR500 list): Brand promise of best designed products. Design Within Reach’s online sales for Q3 were $7.4 million. This is staggering when you compare it to Ace Hardware’s total annual online revenues of $8 million.