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Three years ago, I started working at the Nordic retail chain Hong Kong Department Stores as the e-commerce director to launch their online presence. Back then we were a local, Finnish retailer with global intentions, facing the same challenge as many other merchants. We wanted to expand internationally and at the same time increase customer loyalty.
To succeed, we realized that we needed a different strategy online than for our physical stores, which are general-purpose department stores. To get engaged and loyal customers online it would be necessary to go narrow and deep.
In line with our new online strategy we created the online fishing store Happy Angler. But even though a narrow and deep strategy was a good start it was far from enough to reach our ambitious goal – to become the largest online store specialized in fishing in Europe.
We needed to develop a new initiative within digital analytic commerce that delivered a personalized shopping experience to consumers, to deploy social networking capabilities and create an online community that would drive both customer satisfaction and increased sales. In order to do this we cooperated with IBM.
We also found that fishing enthusiasts have strong opinions and are eager to discuss them. For that reason we saw great potential in building in social tools in our web site from the very beginning. Before even launching online, we used social media to get in touch with potential customers. This gave us the opportunity to listen to their demands, find out what they wanted, what kind of products they were interested in buying online, and what kind of functionalities they preferred.
I will tell you more about how we are working to hook customers by creating unique content and harnessing social networks at Smarter Business the 17th October at Stockholm Waterfront. Hope to see many of you there and share experiences, ideas and solutions.