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John Lewis Direct ups its marketing mix with Omniture Merchandising

16th Dec 2008
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Omniture rolls out a new product to enable the management of online merchandising efforts, with Web 2.0 functionality - and the internet arm of John Lewis department stores is already using it to expand its online strategy.

By Stuart Lauchlan, news and analysis editor

With its Mercado acquisition completed, Omniture has rolled out the first fruits in the form of Omniture Merchandising – and named the UK's John Lewis Direct as one of the early customers.

Omniture claims that Omniture Merchandising allows retail merchandising managers to deploy customer-centric and potentially revenue-accelerating merchandising strategies more easily. It enables them to seamlessly manage online merchandising efforts, even across multiple brands, departments and product lines.


"Retailers and ecommerce businesses are looking for increased efficiency without compromising visitors' shopping experience."

Brett Error, executive vice president of products, Omniture

With an eye on the Web 2.0 world, it also allows for the incorporation of user-generated and social media content, such as product reviews, into the online merchandising mix, to better help shoppers refine their selections and give them more confidence in their purchasing decisions.

Among the new features of the Omniture Merchandising Solution are a commerce merchandising console, which is an interface to manage merchandising strategies such as cross-sell, up-sell, promotions, and landing pages across online channels; intuitive shopping interfaces, which provide attribute-driven product navigation, selection and comparison to guide shoppers to a quick purchase decision; built-in shopper vocabulary, which are pre-built but extensible linguistic and domain dictionaries for specific retail segments; metrics driven merchandising which integrates with online business analytics to execute sophisticated merchandising strategies such as seasonal campaigns; and social merchandising, which allows customer-generated product reviews.

"Retailers and ecommerce businesses are looking for increased efficiency without compromising visitors' shopping experience. Omniture Merchandising, together with industry leading web analytics from SiteCatalyst, provides a compelling solution to accomplish both thesegoals," said Brett Error, executive vice president of products at Omniture. "We plan to continue to invest in Omniture Merchandising and our suite of online business optimisation applications to empower merchandisers."

Dynamic online environment

One such online store is John Lewis Direct, the online arm of John Lewis department stores, which is using Omniture Merchandising to expand its online strategy and grow revenue. Omniture Merchandising will aim to provide visitors with relevant product suggestions that lead to cross-selling and up-selling. Currently the site lists products in ranges such as home and garden, fashion, technology and sports, but does not promote additional products during the selection process.


"Search marketers have the most powerful positions in organisations right now."

Josh James, CEO, Omniture

The new platform will help the business demonstrate commitment to customers’ needs and preferences, said David Walmsley, head of web selling at John Lewis Direct. “Omniture Merchandising will help us create a more dynamic online environment,” he commented. “It will help us better tailor the site and find the most appropriate products and services for each customer.”

The new offering will streamline the customer journey using SEO and SEM campaigns throughout the John Lewis site. It will also introduce dynamic landing pages and contextual promotional banners designed to increase campaign effectiveness and conversion rates. “We will work to optimise John Lewis' online business and encourage continued customer loyalty,” said Neil Weston, senior vice president and general manager at Omniture EMEA. “Ecommerce is more than just a channel, it is a constant journey of innovation and re-development to improve the customer experience."

Another early customer is US retailer GUESS. "Omniture Merchandising is integral to our efforts to better engage withour customers and ensure we are meeting their online needs through adynamic and tailored retail experience," said Michael Relich, SVP and CIO, GUESS. "The solution is flexible in that it allows us to create targeted landing pages to connect shoppers with the right products, regardless of whether they came to us by way of a promotional email, searchengine or organic search traffic. The intuitive and easy-to-use interface allows our business users to make seemingly complex merchandising enhancements, without needing technical expertise."

Elsewhere, Omniture's CEO Josh James this week called for search marketeers to deliver a more personalised, relevant online experience for each visitor who clicks on an ad. He said there is a disconnect between what an ad appears to promise and what is subsequently offered after the click, a phenomenon he dubbed “anticipointment".

Marketers must understand why visitors do not convert online, and then implement such improvements as customised landing pages to lead visitors down the path to conversion. "It's not the data in and of itself that's interesting - it's what you do with that data," said James. "Search marketers have the most powerful positions in organisations right now. You need to determine how you're perceived, however. Think about the conversion funnel and what you can do to fatten it at the bottom with more conversions."


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