Key takeaways from SheerB2B – a conversation with the customer

Last week saw SheerLuxe host their annual SheerB2B conference at The Worx in Parsons Green.

This is a great event which focuses on all areas of digital marketing for the premium & luxury sector. Leapfrogg have been a headline sponsor for five years and it’s one of our favourite events of the year to meet and network with people working across our niche sector.

This year was no exception and we were particularly pleased that the theme of this year’s conference was “customer centricity” in marketing as it’s a subject we’re passionate about. The two day event featured a fantastic line of speakers from retailers and brands as well as expert suppliers.

In this post, I have pulled out the key takeaways and highlights that I found most interesting from the conference.

Who is the luxury buyer in 2015?

First up on day one was Lara Bonney from Abacus who shared their recent findings on the luxury customer in 2015. Here are some of the key insights she shared:

73% of wealthy consumers identified “luxury” as “superior quality,” and they expect the experience of buying a luxury product to be as good as owning it. They seek exclusivity and stylish stores as well as a close relationship with sales assistants. They also believe it is worth paying more for quality items.

Less than a quarter of luxury consumers buy online BUT 50% research the items they want to buy online. 7 out of 10 consumers used social media in 2014 and 50% of them used Facebook.

Lara also talked about the importance of the catalogue as part of the luxury shopping experience using Boden as an example who saw a 30% increase in response from personalising their catalogues.

She also explained that many premium brands assume their customers are women where in fact in many cases over 50% are men! This was a recurring theme across the conference – never assume you know what your customers want and gain insight by asking them questions to really understand them.

We couldn’t agree more!

Grow your business with customer-centric strategies

Maria Hatzistefanis, the founder of Rodial Skincare, spoke about the need to connect properly with your customer. Maria explained how Rodial designed their packaging to appeal to their customers and picked highly effective brand ambassadors. She explained how celebrity Kylie Jenner had created a huge amount of brand awareness for Rodial as a brand ambassador after using the product and tweeting about it.

At Leapfrogg we absolutely agree that selecting the right brand ambassadors to connect with your customer is crucial, but we also believe that you should be joining the dots between all content producing and marketing teams in your business to ensure you’re making the most of your relationships to produce content across all channels.

Create effective blogger outreach strategies

Anna Hart is a blogger who runs a network called Pitch & Post to help connect brands with relevant bloggers and in her talk she shared some great insights into what bloggers really want from brands:

  • Exposure: bloggers utilise relationships with brands to grow their own following and keep them current in their readers’ minds
  • Revenue: bloggers can’t pay bills with free shoes! Be prepared to pay them what they are worth
  • Product: bloggers blog because they are passionate about what they write about. Giving them access to products is therefore a real incentive as long as it is done legally!
  • Strong images: provide bloggers with great visual content they can use. It costs them money to create themselves.
  • Fun opportunities: be interesting and fun to work with!

Anna’s tips on how to treat bloggers included:

  • Treat them as you would a media partner with long term content plans as well as immediate needs
  • Consider that bloggers need paying for at least 50% of their content
  • Always ask to see analytics of their blog to help you value their worth to you!

Get the basics right

Joanna from ReynoldsBushyLee spoke about many of the mistakes that retailers make in customer experience – a great reminder of how brands really do need to get the basics right online! She also had the best quote of the day from Ghandi:
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him.

He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it.

We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.”

Tailor your marketing to millennials

Marketing Consultant, Jennifer Roebuck, spoke brilliantly about marketing to millennials and broke many myths of how people perceive the younger generations.

She split the large group of millennials into two groups; The Entrepreneur and The Multitasker. The Entrepreneur is aged 18 – 25 and is engaged with global issues and a desire to be creative. The Entrepreneur is keen to lead a balanced career and identifies with beauty that is effortless.

The Multitasker is aged 25 – 35 years old lives life with purpose and wants to make the world a better place. They want rewarding experiences in life but will manage their finances carefully.

Therefore marketing to this more thoughtful generation is very different to the brash and possession focused Gen X. Brands must have purpose other than making money, be savvy yet approachable and be hugely personal to the people who buy from them. Luxury brands wanting to sell to this younger set take note!

Customer experience is the most exciting opportunity for retailers

Peter Abraham from Econsultancy talked us through their recent research on the ‘Pillars of Successful Ecommerce’. Here are the most interesting facts:
22% of businesses view “Customer Experience” as the most exciting opportunity for their business over the next five years.

The main business benefits of customer experience optimisation are:

• Higher engagement and conversion rates
• Better brand perception & loyalty
• Renewal, cross-sell and upsell
Customers who are personalising web experiences are seeing an average 19% uplift in sales.
We have been preaching the importance of customer experience for a number of years so were very pleased to see large scale research backing up our opinion.

Ensure digital and direct marketing work in unison

Rosemary Stockdale from Sterling Marketing gave a very interesting talk on the importance of the printed catalogue within the marketing mix for luxury and premium retailers and brands.

She shared insight from Royal Mail that showed that 51% of consumers prefer a combination of mail and email from the brands they shop with and 57% of consumers feel more valued by a brand that sends them a catalogue.
She spoke about Net-a-Porter’s brilliant ‘Porter’ magazine highlighting that 83% of its 32k subscribers said the magazine was the number one influence in helping them decide what to buy online.
She also talked us through how online fashion retailer, Atterley Road launched a publication on a much smaller budget which has helped launch their own brand range and has increased customer spend and retention.
As an agency we push continually to ensure digital marketing ties in very closely with direct as we know that a combined approach can lead to far higher AOV and repeat purchase.

Personalisation is key

Ben Blackwell from Oka spoke about how Oka used a simple solution from Nostra to personalise the online experience for their customers. This tool helped OKA group relevant products together and offer additional products leading to an increase in AOV on the site of 33% and an increase in conversion rate of 24%.
Neither of those are to be sniffed at and all smaller retailers can use tools like these at an affordable entry cost to start seeing immediate results!

Use customer insight to make decisions

Becky Hardman from Shop Direct talked the audience through how Shop Direct used its huge wealth of customer data and insight to launch their new premium brand Very Exclusive.

Access to customer  data allowed Very Exclusive to create a specific set of personas to target for their launch. Here at Leapfrogg, we are huge advocates of using customer personas to engage with your customer.
She also spoke about the need to create very different visuals for the premium and high fashion customer and how they created a different style of photographs for their products that focussed on style rather than model. This also fed through to the premium packaging they have introduced to offer a more premium experience.

You don’t need huge budgets like to Shop Direct to do this. There are many ways to find out more about your customers at low cost just by asking them!


Phew! Well the above is only a small selection of the great insight that was shared at the event. It was great to see so many brands and suppliers sharing the view that understanding your customer and putting them at the heart of your business and marketing really is the way to succeed today, particularly in the premium and luxury market.

This is a view we have had at Leapfrogg for a long time now and why the ethos for everything we do is to make our clients’ customers happy, by delivering premium digital experiences that meet our clients’ customers’ needs and desires.


Until next year!

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