photoHow does a company who sells a lot of paper stay valid in a world where paper is disappearing? Innovate. And it’s clear that Office Depot has done just that. In the eTail West session “Leveraging Web and Mobile Technologies to Drive Cross-channel Conversion” Stephanie Pike, VP of ecommerce at Office Depot, talks about best practices retailers can use to stay relevant in a world that’s rapidly changing.

Mobile, mobile… mobile?

If you chat up any retailer at the show about sessions, they’ll say “Oh, lots of mobile” or “The whole day yesterday seemed to be around mobile.” Interesting stats from a recent study said that 86% of people who own mobile devices have used their mobile while watching tv, 43% use mobile in a store and a larger group, 70%, used mobile devices in store during the holidays. Yet, “mobile is for content consuming, not content converting” says Stephanie. She suggested retailers invest in content: Namely visual content. Stephanie suggested using infographics and images as much as possible since a large majority of people learn things visually. But content is still king. And that means writers. Make sure you have a couple (or more) of great copy writers on your team.

Different strokes for different folks

As for mobile and tablet environments, make sure that the experience with your kiosk and mobile app is working and working well. She highlighted performance, usability and field infrastructure as challenges for most retailers. One industry challenge has been to find people with strong web analytics knowledge. She suggested offering perks to these hard-to-hires such as flexible work hours and environments. Office Depot has outsourced some of their talent, but try their best to offer a flexible working situation to those roles that are needed in the area.

When it comes to the website, “It’s not just a series of pages, it’s a conversation” Stephanie said. By engaging with your web visitor, the relationship between shopper and brand is stronger and more likely to create a positive shopping experience overall.