Key takeaways from this years’ SheerB2B Ecommerce Conference

Leapfrogg has proudly been a part of the SheerB2B conference for the past six years. As well as the bigger industry events we go to, it’s our annual opportunity to check in with the premium retail industry at the smaller, more niche, luxury end of the spectrum. We always enjoy catching up with brands and our fellow speakers over its two days of panel discussions, presentations, case studies and networking.

As the Board Director accountable for bigger picture strategy for our clients, there were three main themes came out of the show for me:

    • Ensuring the longevity and value of a premium brand
    • Getting to know your data better
    • Breaking down your supplier silos

Ensuring the longevity of your brand

Driving sales vs. protecting your brand was the hottest topic this year.

With retail competition for the premium and luxury consumer fierce, a current retail culture for excellent service as expected and discounting the new normal, there were a number of retailers at the show all keen to share how best to keep a tight grip on their brand, whilst not losing revenue.

Sarah Weedon from Jigsaw inspired us with a very generous presentation about their brand ethos and stance against discounting culture. They have a “pricing referendum” – an honest and bold statement of product quality and ‘truth’ that that brand resolutely sticks too.

Jigsaw’s pricing manifesto

To ensure this ethos is lived by all departments, Jigsaw refused to participate in Black Friday discounting last year, claiming to “stand for something”; that ‘something’ being the quality of product and longevity of design. Their ecommerce team clearly communicate their sale dates to their customers at the beginning of the year and don’t discount stock below certain, pre-agreed level.

As Sarah told us, Jigsaw stocks some cardigans that can take more than 30 hours for one of their designers to hand knit – discounting something of such obvious quality is madness.

Their content strategy supports the business stance justifying the price point, materials and design ethos with ongoing storytelling around quality, fostering trust and belief from their loyal audience.

THE ITALIAN JOB a film by Jigsaw from Jigsaw on Vimeo.

Jigsaw’s designers are also very bought into the idea of longevity and create garments of silk, cashmere and leather that can be worn season after season. Jigsaw invests in its own in-house illustrator and works closely with designers to create hand created pieces each season.

There were also lessons to be learned from Martin Bartle from Arthur Ridley Esq and Michael Ross from Dynamic Action who cautioned against discounting. Many retailers know that any new customers you acquire during a discounting period, are more often than not, retained customers that feel comfortable purchasing at full price at the start of a season, but both were very clear to the delegates in the room that luxury and premium retailers just shouldn’t discount and realistically accept that revenue growth may well be slower because of it, but ultimately much better for the longevity of the brand.

Getting to know your data better

Martin Bartle and Michael Ross both gave presentations about digging into your data.

The quote of the conference has to come from Martin Bartle who said: “Your data is like an Agent Provocateur bikini; what is reveals is interesting, but what is conceals is vital!”

His argument that average order value (AOV) is a myth, and it was refreshing and exciting to hear both Martin and Michael argue that retailers make a disproportionate amount of their profits from a small segment of their loyalist E.I.Ps – Exceptionally Important People – and that this segment should not only be identified but treated differently from the majority their most loyal and retained customer segment.

This immediately inspired Will from our data partner rais and I, to start working on a new programme to start identifying our client’s average profile value (APV) per segment. This is an exciting element of insight that will only add value to the current segmentation, insight and strategy projects we’re working on.

Breaking down your supplier silos

We have been working with retailers for many years, helping the more forward thinking ones break down their internal department silos and ensure that all internal disciplines responsible for success in digital and ecommerce communicate and work with each other better. We’ve trained offline content teams to think bigger picture about online, structured reporting procedures and lobbied for buy-in from traditional bricks and mortar stakeholders into the value of digital, but we hadn’t yet started work on breaking down logistical supplier silos.

Presentations from our friends at Nosto and the logistics experts Temando, who we hadn’t met before, helped us see how the supplier chain could work more efficiently and cost effectively too.

It makes sense that the customer wants a seamless experience and seeing logistics and technology suppliers talk at the conference enabled us to see how the offline jigsaw could compliment the online one.


On the first day of the conference, our Managing Director, Rosie, spoke about how you can deliver a perfect personalised experience using data and insight and you can catch up with her presentation here. On the second day, I spoke about the level of customer intelligence within premium panel after analysing the results of more than 75 retailers who completed our Customer Intelligence Index. You can read a recap of my presentation here.

All in all another useful conference!

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