Working within the premium retail sector means we spend our days making sure our clients are making the most of all the opportunities available to them online. As a result we also see the mistakes and lost opportunities many are making too. We thought it would be useful to share a few of the common mistakes we are currently seeing made by retailers and some tips to help you avoid them!
Marketing decisions made on assumptions about customers not real data
Many retailers (especially premium retailers) have a good idea of who it is that buys their products. This is great if they actually are the people that buy them. Too often we see retailers who are marketing to a type of person that only makes up a very small percentage of their customer base and a majority of their revenue comes from very different people.
Yes, we all want high earning glamourous, beautiful people buying our products, but in reality, many of those who buy premium products are actually normal people that buy nice things because it makes them feel good even if they have to save up for it.
Retailers who don’t understand who is actually buying their products may find they are alienating their true customers by not showing their products in relation to their customers true lifestyle and appearing too out of reach.
We are not recommending that premium or luxury brands dumb down their branding in any way, but by understanding your true customers you can start to target individuals through eCRM and personalised content to further engage with the people who make you money!
Acquisition and retention run by separate teams
With the growing trend towards “customer experience”, retailers are focussing on how they provide a seamless experience at every stage of the buying journey. However, many of the retailers who are starting to join the dots of their customer journey are still operating their marketing teams in silos according to each stage in the buying journey. For example, one team might be focussed on acquiring the right customers by marketing to them and driving them through to conversion and another team then taking on the retention of those customers and in many cases never the twain will meet.
Unless these teams work VERY closely together there can never be a seamless experience for the customer. Content for the customer should be planned along one central theme that appears throughout the buying cycle. Far too often we see acquisition and branding teams creating different types of content that then sits on site or distributed via email. If a customer sees different content at various stages in their buying journey then this can affect engagement and acquiring and retaining the right kind of customer. For example, if a customer is acquired through engagement with inspirational, lifestyle content, but post sale is then sent product or sales focused content only through email, they will lose the affinity they have built with the brand and will feel they are just being sold to and are far less likely to purchase again. Likewise, if they bought through the first time through offer and sales related content they are less likely to respond to inspirational or editorial content later in their lifecycle.
If you currently have separate teams dealing with the same customers at different points in their lifecycle, then ensure you meet regularly and you are all working towards a common set of customer personas and KPIs.
No segmentation of customers
Even if it’s just to split out male vs female, or active vs lapsed – splitting a customer base into smaller chunks can only ever be of value to a retailer. It helps deliver a more targeted message via ECRM, nurture high value customers and stops marketing budget being wasted on people who may not buy from you again.
We still see a large number of retailers who have no segmentation of their customers in place. They are sending the same email to everyone and don’t try and re-engage their lapsed customers.
It doesn’t have to be complex; getting started with any form of segmentation will create a return.
Same content on every channel
We frequently see retailers pushing the same content on all of their marketing channels. This is another wasted opportunity. If a customer has already been on the site and seen a piece of content then being sent the same content via email or seeing it posted on Facebook is going to start getting boring. Not to mention the fact that often different segments of your customer base will use different channels to engage with you.
Yes, have a central theme of content across all channels that epitomises your brand, but tailor it to suit each channel. If customers on Facebook are younger then tweak the content to make it more current, accessible, fun and interactive. If customers on email are higher spenders then make sure content is tailored to them accordingly.
A successful content plan will be focussed on a specific set of customer segments and will be planned channel by channel in relation to which customers interact and engage where, and at what stage of the buying journey they are at.
Not monetising social media
Last and by no means least, we are still seeing many brands active on social media who are missing the opportunity to commercialise them and make more money!
Pinterest offers the functionality to set up Rich Pins which allow brands to have up to date pricing and stock availability featured on their pins. We see so many retailers who have failed to implement these, yet by doing so you can reach users who are ready to make a purchase. Our Social Media and Content Consultant, Hannah, has written more about Rich Pins in her blog post here.
Twitter ‘Buy Now’
The ability to purchase through Twitter is only available in the US only at the moment, but brands such as Burberry have adopted the new functionality that allows a customer to click on a “buy” button within their tweets. Something to keep an eye on!
Just last week, Google launched Shopping Ads for YouTube so retailers can now promote related products alongside their YouTube videos. In addition it allows retailers to assess how the video is being watch and which elements within the video lead to purchases. Clever!
Those who have strong engagement and customer numbers on social channels could be driving additional revenue by adopting any of the above.
So there you have it, a little bit of a rant about where retailers are missing out on revenue and profit. These mistakes may take a little time and resource to sort out but they will immediately start providing return on investment.