Front Door Thinking in a Back Door World

Matt Mantey from The Internet is Just a Fad has some examples of the weaknesses with Nordstrom’s online retail experience. While Nordstrom’s has an incredibly recognizable and respected offline brand, it doesn’t necessarily translate into comparable online success.

If I was to guess, I think the problem faced by many large retailers trying to succeed online is one of front-door mindset.

They come from a mindset of build a strong brand experience, get people in the door, take care of them, watch the cash register ring.

But online, it’s not about getting people in THE door. It’s about EVERY door. You’re no longer competing at the store level. You’re competing at the product level.

The doors into your store are every single product and category page.

If people can’t find the appropriate door into your store when searching for a specific product, you lose. It doesn’t matter how strong your brand is, how generous your return policies are, or how big you are in the offline world. If you’re not found on specific product searches on Google, you’re losing money.

Once you get someone in one of your thousands and thousands of doors, you have the potential to leverage your brand’s power to increase the size of your consumer’s shopping cart. But first, you have to get them there.

Sadly, it seems that many strong offline brands are still focused on the front door of their online presence. They stare at homepage mock-ups in boardrooms and make group consensus decisions on how to make every stakeholder happy instead of focusing on the thousands and thousands of other doors into their online store where the real money is made (or should be).

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