The relationship with the consumer must start with an initial attraction to your eCommerce site.  This initial attraction sets the tone of the relationship with the consumers and also your collaborative partners so you must be careful in how you make this initial attraction.  What I mean by this is that the initial attraction must fit in with your sales and product strategy in order to not only attract the consumer that first time.  This initial attraction must not focus on a low cost strategy when your site is a luxury item store for instance.  So, your initial attraction strategy is the most important introduction point where you make your first impression with consumer and being to develop your relationship.

The first impression of the consumer involves not only the products and price but also the site construction itself.  In other words, the initial lure brings the consumer to your site and then the site, product mix and most importantly services encourage the consumer to not only stay that first time but also to return.  There is another important aspect to the first impression and that is that this first impression begins with the initial attraction to the site, through the purchase and then does not complete until the consumer’s order is delivered and they are happy with the product.  Don’t ever forget that your positive and continuing relationship with the consumer depends on your continuous performance.  Your product mix may be great and your pricing fair for the product and if your delivery or your issue resolution fails you will lose the consumer.

The first thing you must decide in developing your attraction strategy is what is your market strategy because your initial attraction strategy must fit in with your market strategy.  My feeling is that it is a mistake to focus on price only for your initial strategy because this type of consumer is only loyal to the price and you cannot afford to get into a low price battle with your competitors.  Your attraction strategy must take into account your brand strategy, your product strategy and your service strategy.  It is OK to start with an introductory price to lure the consumer for that first purchase, however you should not focus on pricing unless of course your market strategy focuses on low prices. 

Your objective for the initial attraction is to first lure the consumer to your site, second to encourage the consumer to purchase from your site.  After this your delivery service should clinch the relationship.  The follow-up with he consumer should then be based on the type of products they purchased initially and providing up-sell and cross-sell attractions.  Another follow-up should be the invitation to rate the service, the delivery and the shipment packaging.  All of these things encourage the relationship extension.             


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?