MARKETING SOCIETY AWARDS for EXCELLENCE 2012: Ecommerce

WINNER Johnlewis.com (Agency: Rain Communications)

John Lewis has jumped headlong into the world of ecommerce, going from a virtually non-existent web presence to become a leading online retailer in just two years. The transformation of the traditional bricks and mortar retailer began in 2009 when the decision was taken to apply its 'never knowingly undersold' price promise to the web. The retailer determined to make shopping at John Lewis easier and more convenient for customers and to develop engaging content to attract and reward shoppers through different digital channels.

One of the biggest moves was the re-launch of the chain's online fashion sales at the end of 2009, with a dramatic makeover proclaiming an ambition to rival the biggest online fashion retailers in the industry. More than 100 'brand shops' were launched, selling products such as Barbour, Mulberry, Ralph Lauren and Diesel. Guest editors were hired to create catwalk trend previews and 'Get the look' guides. Fashion sales have risen from 25% of John Lewis online sales in 2010-11 to nearly a third in 2011-12.

A crucial element of the ecommerce push was the launch of 'Click and Collect' in 2009 allowing customers to order goods over the web, by phone and in shops and collect them from a John Lewis store the next day.

The chain launched an iPhone app in December 2011 giving customers access to 200,000 products while on the move. It has introduced free WiFi and self-service kiosks in stores and partner-assisted terminals in 30 shops. John Lewis has launched channels on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Facebook fans have grown to 340,000 and there are 20,000 Twitter followers. Judges said the John Lewis ecommerce story was 'brave' and 'head and shoulders above the rest'.

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Merlin Entertainments Group

Merlin Entertainments Group runs 95 visitor attractions across five continents, including the London Eye and Alton Towers in the UK. The fast-growing company failed to anticipate the importance of ecommerce and was haemorrhaging cash through eight different online booking platforms with low conversion rates. Findings showed it took a visitor to the London Eye website 11 pages to click through to make a single booking.

Project Zeus was the brand's plan to centralise the myriad booking systems under a single platform that could operate across the globe in different languages with different branding and designs. The aim was to deliver improved conversion to all the attractions and drive growth in online revenue. The result is greater efficiency and added revenue. Judges praised the ambition and subsequent delivery of the project.

ALSO SHORTLISTED FOR E-COMMERCE

  • Nails Inc, Ecommerce site redesign; New Look, Multichannel ecommerce presence; 
  • Go-Ahead Group: Gatwick Express, Breaking a 200-year old habit, one step at a time

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