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
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!

The Future of Bing Advertising: Thinking Digital 2016

Thinking Digital is an annual conference, taking place in Newcastle every May. Over the years, Thinking Digital has built a reputation for attracting the best thinkers and speakers from the around the world – The Next Web has even described it as ‘The UK’s answer to TED’.

On the agenda this year, were talks from the likes of Bill Jinks who gave a talk about what it means to be an IBM’s technical advisor to the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Mikko Hypponen who gave an entertaining talk on cyber wars and hacking and Ed Hipkins, a rhythmic creator, who spoke about the limitations that inspire creativity which he illustrated with a live and reactive performance on stage.

As a Paid Search Consultant, I was particularly keen to hear James Murray speak who is a Search Advertising Lead for Microsoft UK. I also managed to catch up with James during the conference and ask him a couple of questions on the future of search advertising. Here’s what he had to say:

Where does Bing stand now and what does the future look like?

“It’s a really exciting time to be working at Bing and there is so much that is happening, it’s difficult to know where to start.

I guess one of the key factors is our market share is growing rapidly in virtually every market that we are present in. For the UK, Bing now powers 18% of all searches so we are edging closer to 1 in every 5 searches coming from Bing which is amazing progress considering where we were even two years ago. A huge contributing factor to that growth has been the launch of Windows 10. The encouraging thing for us is that on average, Windows 10 users make around 30% more Bing searches than in previous versions of Windows.

The integration of Bing across the Microsoft ecosystem is also helping us to gain traction with consumers in new and exciting ways. Skype Translate, for example, is made possible through the power of Bing. So I can now speak to my Taiwanese mother-in-law in English and she will hear Mandarin, and she can speak back to me in Mandarin and I will hear English. Not so long ago this was science fiction but Bing has made this a reality. That might not be search in the way we traditionally think of it, but it’s search nevertheless that is enabling that experience.

From an advertising perspective, we are also trying to push the boat out with Bing Ads and that same idea of integration is an important one for us. The next opportunity that we’re excited about is native advertising. The idea is that you can take your existing search ads with image extensions and run those same campaigns in a native experience across the Microsoft display ecosystem.

Let’s say you’re managing the search campaigns for a big car brand. You could target the same search ads you run in Bing Ads to also show as native ads in the MSN Cars website; all with a simple tick of a box and no extra effort required on your behalf. We have started piloting this in the US with some great initial responses. Whilst there’s no immediate deadline for the UK, watch this space!

Overall, we believe that rather than viewing search as a destination, search will become invisible, and simply be pervasive wherever and whenever you need it. Regardless of what device or software you’re using, even if you’re not using a Microsoft product, we want Bing to be there to help you be more productive. Search is going to start integrating into more of the moments that matter to us and will power the experiences that we need to make our lives easier.

How does your view differ from Google?

“Google is phenomenal at what they do and I think it’s fair to say that we’ve been playing catch up with them for a number of years. We do feel though that Bing is coming of age, and the momentum behind us is fantastic. Creating a great search engine takes time and Bing has reached a stage of engine maturity that the difference between us and Google is now negligible. In some cases, we actually offer a better search experience than Google.

When we put consumers through blind tests most people can’t tell the difference between Google and Bing which is a testament to the improvement in the quality of our results. What’s exciting for me is that having reached a certain level of parity with Google we can now start to differentiate Bing with new products and functionality that aren’t simply an “us too” feature.

We’ve started doing this at Bing Ads with partnerships with companies like Twitter. The launch of Twitter annotations allows advertisers to show how many followers the brand has on Twitter, adding extra levels of credibility to your ads.

We’re also playing with new ad extensions that are going to give advertisers more options than ever before to customise their ads and make them stand out in the SERP. One recent example of this is image extensions which allow you to add high res images to your PPC ads. This is just one of many new extensions we are working on to push the frontier of paid search.”

Thanks, James!

I’m very excited about Bing’s new offerings and the future of paid search. The arguments that James made just make me feel even more comfortable about the future and prove my point that Bing is worth investing money and time in.

Twitter updates and highlights from Fashion Week 2016

Here at Leapfrogg, every week we have a meeting to share developments within the world of customer experience, digital and retail. Here are some of the things we discussed this week…

Twitter makes changes to timeline functionality

Twitter has just rolled out a new timeline feature that will display tweets out of chronological order and by relevancy to the user. The aim of this change is to stop Twitter users from missing out on updates from the people that they follow.

The feature, which launched Wednesday, is currently optional (you need to manually activate the option), but Twitter plans to roll it out as a default in the next few weeks but give users the ability to opt-out.

The new timeline feature seems aimed at solving one of Twitter’s biggest problems – the fact that casual users can be overwhelmed by the service’s noise, making it difficult for them to quickly find content that’s useful and relevant.

Our Senior Social Media and Content Consultant says “The introduction of an algorithm is both a challenge and an opportunity for retailers. If Twitter follows a similar path to Facebook, the new algorithm will become more complex over time, resulting in more time being needed to understand, monitor and adapt to these changes. Retailers could also end up being pushed towards advertising in order to compensate for loss of visibility on the platform.

However, there is an upside, particularly from a user perspective. Low quality and repetitive content will no longer cut it. Although this will mean more effort will be required from brands when they craft their content, the overall experience of using Twitter will be greatly improved.”

Twitter aims to improve customer service interactions

In more Twitter news, in response to the amount of customer service interactions that take place on the social media platform, Twitter has just added new a single ‘direct message’ button which can be added to a tweet, which aims to make the customer service interactions easier for both customers and brands.

Meanwhile Twitter is also planning the roll out, initially with selected brands, of a new survey feature called Customer Feedback. It claims this will make it easier for brands to ask customers about their thoughts against use two industry standard question formats: Net Promoter Score and Customer Satisfaction. Read more here.

London Fashion Week 2016

London Fashion Week kicks off today and this year will see The British Fashion Council screen shows and exclusive footage from 60 out of home sites on Ocean Outdoor and signature digital screens.

Content will include live streams from six catwalk shows and will air in four locations in London, as well as in Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.

This new venture brings London Fashion Week allows designers and brands to reach significantly wider audiences than ever before.

Lyst at New York Fashion Week

Over in New York, we spotted our client Lyst launch a campaign to ensure they are noticed during the busy period – which can typically be a struggle for ecommerce to engage with.

Through their ‘I’ve Got Clothes In Different Area Codes’ #FindNYFW campaign – Lyst teamed up with Uber to provide users with the opportunity to ‘style packs’ filled with designer items depending on what is trending in their neighbourhood (via data on the Lyst site).

All users have to do is open the app in Manhattan and Brooklyn and enter the promo code FINDNYFW to unlock the special stylepack option.

Instagram more popular than Twitter at London Fashion Week

This week, we were also interested to find out that Instagram has overtaken Twitter to become the go-to platform for London Fashion Week news. According to Greenlight, there were 5,602 Instagram posts using #LFW2016 in the month leading up to London Fashion Week 2016, compared with just 1,178 Twitter mentions over the same timeframe.

In 2015 things looked were quite different, with more than 6,000 Twitter mentions using the #LFW2015 hashtag leading up to the event.

What we’ve been reading this week:

New parents are Facebook’s mobile power-users

How to embrace creativity in the programmatic age

13 reasons your organic traffic is in decline…it’s not a penalty

A review of the last few months in premium retail

As we’ve come to the end of the first quarter of the year, I’ve asked our Director’s to reflect on the past couple of months in retail and share the trends and common threads we’ve noticed across our retail clients and the sector as a whole.

 

 

Rosie Freshwater, Managing Director

Customer-centric marketing

Over the last couple of months, I have seen a continued trend towards customer-centric marketing with more brands quite rightly putting their customers at the heart of their marketing strategy. Retailers are waking up to the importance of combining data and insight in order to understand who their customers are and the experience they desire. I feel there has been a big shift from retailers making assumptions about their customers to investing in data insight to show them an accurate picture. However, many retailers still aren’t spending enough on data and are consequently unable to make changes to their customer experience.

Mobile websites

With the arrival of ‘Mobilegeddon’ (Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm update) and the continued growth of mobile, we’ve seen many retailers dedicate more budget to mobile and ensure their websites are well optimised. Having a mobile-friendly site is now critical. We have noticed more customers using their mobiles for browsing on the way to and from work and in the evenings, they are multi-screening on both their tablet and mobile. In the forthcoming months, we can expect to see a stream of new initiatives available to marketers in terms of paid search and online specifically for mobile.

Engaging content

We’ve seen the trend for creating engaging content continue to grow and retailers are becoming much more consistent across all channels. We’ve recently been examining how retailers are creating customer engagement through content in our recent engagement reports and have found many retailers have a disparate content strategy across their social channels and are often creating content with little or no engagement. Forward thinking brands have kept their customers at the heart and are using insight about their customers to create cohesive content strategies around specific customer segments.

Email marketing

We’ve also seen a shift in the use of email marketing thanks to customer segmentation. Abandoned basket emails are still popular as are post-purchase communications and we’ve seen more retailers use past purchase data to ensure they are promoting relevant products. The most popular form of email marketing is for retention, but it’s also a strong acquisition tool if you invest in growing your mailing list. This is a great mechanism to capture those who are interested in your products so you can market to them whilst they make purchasing decisions.

Challenges

A key challenge for retailers has been the growing expectations of consumers. They expect a seamless and personalised shopping experience and it’s a long term investment for retailers to meet those expectations. As the economy starts to feel more positive, I hope to see more retailers making longer term investments in experience to create long term value. Many marketing decisions in recent years have been made for the short term gain – often at a cost to long term profit and customer loyalty. Change will involve technology and a cultural shift and hopefully retailers will feel more confident about doing this.

Strive for a single customer view

I’ve seen many retailers struggle to combine multiple data sources to create the single customer view. The big retailers are starting to see progress in this area, but for smaller retailers it can be a challenge due to budget constraints. My advice would be to begin doing this bit by bit. Start by understanding the online customer and tailor your marketing activity towards them. Then combine that insight with in-store data. In the meantime, take small pockets of data and try to extrapolate out.

Looking forward

Over the next coming months, I’d like to see more suppliers to the retail industry working more closely together to provide a full customer experience service. As retailers grow their customer experience teams, those teams will start to look for suppliers that can help across multiple aspects of the customer experience and so those agencies and suppliers that are geared up to collaborate closely on projects across multiple customer touchpoints will be in high demand.

 

Ben Potter, Commercial Director

I’ve noticed the needs of some larger retailers are changing where their search agency is concerned. Often retailers have people internally all doing (in the main) great stuff in content creation, PR and social media (all essential components of a contemporary natural search strategy).

However, the activity is often managed by disparate teams and therefore not aligned and working towards overall business objectives (or even towards more granular natural search goals). Such silos are the enemy of an integrated search strategy so we are increasingly finding our role is changing. Rather than being responsible for execution, brands with in-house teams are looking for Leapfrogg to advise at a more strategic level, to help facilitate change and deliver training. This might include helping the client to put in place the necessary framework, team structure, processes and guidelines to align and maximise the impact of in-house content, social and PR activity.

We are not necessarily saying that in-house teams are set up to do everything themselves. There will always be gaps. But in a lot of cases we are finding larger clients are not looking for a fully outsourced solution in the traditional sense. They require a partner that can be flexible, adding value in the most appropriate fashion. This highlights something that I said in one of my Econsultancy posts back in 2012 – that natural search cannot be purchased and delivered as a commoditised, packaged service. Every business is entirely unique in terms of their agency requirements, determined primarily by their objectives and in-house resource/expertise. Only by building an understanding of the retailers business, sector, products, competitive landscape, internal resource or offline marketing activity can an agency deliver exactly what the client needs, which is often different to what they think they want.

 

Lucy Freeborn, Insight & Strategy Director

The most exciting development I’ve seen in premium retail over the past few months has been the evolution of content strategy AS retail strategy.

Although data, wrapped in insight, smothered in relevant content, has been at the heart of a good digital marketing strategy for a good couple of years now, informed content strategy as an ecommerce strategy is starting to be taken seriously by those brands with vision and the ambition to invest in creative and practical resource.

Trail blazer, Mr Porter has has this ‘Content as an Ecommerce’ platform nailed for a little while now; I certainly always look to them for a bit of lifestyle inspiration. But more mainstream brands have been developing this forward thinking, natural-search-proofed, social-media-gold-plated strategy on the quiet for the past few months. Farrow & Ball is one of my favourite brands who is doing ecommerce content well at the moment. What started at “shoppable content” a couple of years ago has become a fully fledged stand alone retail strategy in itself.

Indeed, we’re also starting to see one of the most exciting (and game changing) shifts in ecommerce content, as the traditional content creators realise their potential power to sell and evolve themselves into ecommerce platforms. Grazia famously bought London Boutiques, (one of our previous clients!) to develop its own branded ecommerce offering and I’m really looking forward to the launch of Conde Nast’s long-anticipated e-commerce venture later this year under the company’s existing brand Style.com. What could be a bigger threat to those retail brands working hard to become inspirational homes for content, than those already established homes for inspirational content, becoming retailers?

Indeed, as print publishing becomes a much more cut throat game, print advertising budgets are slashed and readerships drop, how else can those big publishers survive?

If understanding your customer is central to developing a solid retail strategy, then who’s better to develop a compelling retail offer, than those who have been developing a relationship with their reader for years. A flurry of publishing houses entering the retail landscape, I think, will shake things up for the better.

‘Skill Swap’ session with Secret Linen Store

Here at Leapfrogg, we’re constantly immersing ourselves in the world of retail in order develop knowledge of the premium shopper, their needs, and the challenges retailers face in meeting them.

In light of this, our Managing Director, Rosie recently arranged a ‘Skill Swap’ session with new luxury bed linen etailer Secret Linen Store who popped into Leapfrogg to share their retail experience with us in exchange for the opportunity to pick our brains on all things digital and customer experience.

The session was really insightful, so I thought I’d share a few insights from the session starting with the questions we asked The Secret Linen Store and their responses…

Secret Line Store Bed Linen

LF: How do you plan for seasonal peaks in revenue, activity and products? How far in advance are you able to plan?

SLS: As a new retailer, we’re still learning about seasonality as this year was our first year of trading. So far, we’ve found out that Christmas doesn’t really affect linen purchases and that our busiest period is by far the January and summer sales.

In an ideal world, we’d start plan our marketing six months in advance, but at the moment it’s actually more like three months. We’ve found that volumes of stock shift a lot, with some products selling well and then dropping off dramatically. We’re currently running new analysis on page view vs. sales to determine if people are looking at products but not purchasing them. If we spot a product just isn’t working then we will quickly remove it from our line.

We have four product launches per year and we’re currently focusing on contemporary lines and building our collections around design and colour as these products have proved the most popular. Our products have a three month lead time which can be a challenge when trying to respond to customer demand. PR has also had a huge impact on our sales – for example a recent article in the Daily Telegraph on 600 thread count sheets saw our products fly of the shelves!

LF: How do you use data to provide a more personalised experience for your customers and which specific data driven actions have had the biggest impact on conversion rate?

SLS: It’s still very early days for us in terms of personalisation. We’ve recently signed up to an email marketing data company called Rais which links our Magento website to Mailchimp and segments our data by date, purchase frequency, customer location and life time value. We’re looking forward to seeing how we can use this data to make our email marketing more targetted.

LF: How much qualitative insight do you currently have about your customers and how are you planning on expanding that in the future to deliver the best possible experience for your customers?

SLS: Customer reviews are really important to us and we often change our products based on customer feedback. For example, we recently altered our pillow designs as we discovered that our customers didn’t like the seam being in the middle in case you wanted to turn your pillow over. We often use Survey Monkey to gather customer insight which is really valuable to us. We‘ve recently conducted some postcode analysis and found that our customers come from a wide sector and there is no bias towards one area.

LF: What do you think the main challenges are for specialist online-only retailers today?

SLS: Our biggest drawback as an online-only bed linen retailer is that our customers cannot see or feel our products. We offer samples, but we’ve actually found that 85% of our customers buy without ordering a sample and our return rate is quite low at 6%. We definitely recommend offering free returns as this definitely boosts sales.

As a small team, we lack manpower. We have to do everything ourselves and it often means we can’t move as quickly as we’d like. We’ve just initiated Google’s way of planning called ‘OKR’s’ which stand for Objectives and Key Results which definitely helps us get stuff done and work more efficiently. We’d recommend this way of working.

LF: Have you had any bad press or bad customer feedback? How does that make you feel and what actions have you made to improve the customer experience?

SLS: Luckily we’ve never had bad press but have a couple of customers whose orders weren’t as they expected. We take our customer’s experience of Secret Linen Store very seriously and always address their issues quickly and consequently have turned unhappy customers into very happy ones! I think it’s really important to focus on customer service as a new online retailer in order to provide a good customer experience that encourages loyalty and repeat purchases.

LF: Knowing what you now know, if you did it all again, what would be the one thing you would change that would make the biggest difference to your business?

SLS: We would have focused more on brand and content from the beginning and consequently made our website experience much more engaging and user friendly. We aspire to content-led websites such as Mr Porter, AndOtherStories, Everlane and Spoke and would love to develop a similar experience for our customers.

 

Big thanks to Secret Linen Store for coming in and chatting to us. Watch this space for our second post to find out what happened when the tables were turned and Secret Linen Store picked our brains about digital marketing and customer experience…

Applying philosophy to User Experience

One of the aims of The UX Brighton conference I attended towards the end of last year was to show how philosophy could be used every day in the approach to work of those in in user experience field.

Being an Oxford Scholar of Philosophy, Marianne Talbot’s talk was perhaps the most academically focused talk of the day, offering a challenging introduction to those unfamiliar with the philosophical ‘action theory’. Her talk examined the distinction between inductive and deductive reasoning, and how they interact in our everyday thinking. So better understanding this theory should help us to better understand our customers’ right? I have attempted to make sense of the thought provoking talk for those of us who are slightly less academic.

Marianne starts with the action of humans, highlighting how the aim of a website is to stimulate action, often several, actions which could include buying, following, liking, clicking through, recommending and reviewing.

Action is something philosophers apparently know a lot about. To highlight this, Marianne asks the question, distinguish “tripping over a carpet” and “pretending to trip over a carpet” – which is the action and why?

Easy? Maybe not, Pretending to trip over a carpet is an action because it is chosen; it’s performed intentionally and for a reason. When humans act they make choices, when they make choices, it’s for a reason.

If we want to understand action and how to stimulate buying, liking etc., it is necessary to understand reason. Make sense so far?

Reason driven behaviour (an action) is a behaviour caused by a combination of desires and beliefs. Desires and beliefs are both mental states but differ considerably:

Desires motivate action
Beliefs guide action towards its goal
• It is not possible to reason someone into a desire
• It is only beliefs that can be reasoned into

So how do desires and beliefs fit in with User Experience?

Marianne summarises how UX (User Experience) was born from the aim to ensure websites provide users with whatever they want (desires), this is however only half the picture as the user’s beliefs about how to fulfil their desires are the other half.

So since there is little we can do about users’ desires, the main aim should be to give your users belief that by using your website they can fulfil some of their desires.

So to give users the belief we can fulfill their desires we need to better understand beliefs. Marianne describes how all beliefs have contents, the contents of this consists of:

• Concepts
• Every belief is related to every other
• Beliefs admit truth and falsehoods
• Beliefs are expressed in sentences
• Humans care about the truth of their beliefs

Relations between beliefs can be rational, irrational and non-rational. All arguments are relations between beliefs and consist of deductive and inductive arguments.

Deductive reasoning is the process of reasoning from one or more statements (premises) to reach a logically certain conclusion. Deductive reasoning links premises with conclusions, goes from general to specific and gives us certainty, the relation between beliefs are rational, for example:

All apples are fruits
All fruits grow on trees;
Therefore, all apples grow on trees

Inductive reasoning is reasoning in which the premises seek to supply strong evidence for (not absolute proof of) the truth of the conclusion. It takes us from observations about the past to predictions about the future; this is important to humans and central to science.

A real world example:

Robert is a teacher.
All teachers are nice.
Therefore, it can be assumed that Robert is nice.

Inductive arguments can be good and bad however, take this example:

Women who drink this brand of vodka are beautiful, rich and attract the most handsome men.

If I drink this vodka I will become beautiful, rich and start attracting the most handsome men.

Where it gets even more confusing is whether inductive reasoning is rational? Marianne highlights how Scottish Philosopher David Hume noted that the inductive argument is based on the faith that nature is uniform, the future will be like the past, arguing this is non-rational, just because the sun has risen every day of your life doesn’t mean it will tomorrow.

SO, back applying this theory to user experience, we need to not only think about a customer’s desires, but their beliefs and behaviours, whether rational, irrational or non-rational. How do we do this? With customer insight at the core, of course.

Marianne summarises:

• Actions are reason driven
• For an action to be reason-driven is for it to be:

o Motivated by desire
o Guided by belief

• It’s not possible to reason anyone into a desire
• If you want to satisfy a users’ desires it is their beliefs you need to address
• Users beliefs can be changed and brought into being rationally, irrationally or non-rationally

“If you want to inspire trust it is always better to change someone’s beliefs by rational (deductive) means”

You can see Marienne Talbot’s talk at UX Brighton here.

Image via 10ch on Flickr.

The Weekly Shop (7th – 11th October 2013)

In the Weekly Shop this week we take further look at Google’s switch to encrypted search and some alternative methods to collect the missing (not provided) data. We also feature an article from Brand Republic which looks at the future of retail and follow up from the Digital Distress: What Keeps Marketers Up at Night? study we featured last week.

Keywords, and #Hashtags, and Hummingbird! Oh My!

The last couple of Weekly Shops have been full of Google news that has altered the way SEO professionals work, yet from a social media and content marketer point of view there is a thrill of opportunity for all digital marketing disciplines to work together as a cohesive team. This article on Search Engine Watch looks at what Google has changed and what those changes mean from a social marketers point of view.

Great, All of My Keywords Are Gone…Now What?

One of Google’s recent big changes was their move to encrypted search which resulted in the death of keyword data in Analytics. Many people have cited that this change will be the end of SEO yet it shouldn’t paralyse your SEO efforts if you are able to evolve and adapt your strategies as this article from Clickz explains.

Eight alternatives and workarounds for missing (not provided) data

In light of the above, Econsultancy has rounded up some useful workarounds and alternatives for measuring organic keyword data. Even though nothing can really substitute for the real data that has been lost, the alternatives they’ve provided are quite useful – although we’re not too sure about the last example!

A Simple Commitment To “Experience” May Just Ease Marketer Distress

Following on from the study we featured last week, which exposed marketers’ anxieties about their profession; Kendall Alan has expressed her opinion on why she thinks this might be over on Search Engine Land. She believes that thinking about customer experience is the key to easing marketer distress and it makes for an insightful read.

The future of retail: five things to look out for

To finish up, here’s an interesting article from Collective London that looks at how digital has changed the retail sector and what the future of retail is likely to look like. Many of the points in the article are aligned to how we think here at Leapfrogg and it’s well worth a read.

Happy reading!

Key takeaways from our luxury retail roundtable at BrightonSEO

Earlier in the month, we were delighted to have the opportunity to host a luxury retail roundtable as part of the bi-annual BrightonSEO conference. The roundtable saw us facilitate conversation and learning between key members of the luxury retail market which continues to grow and adapt to ever-changing conditions. We were really chuffed to have some great brands attend on the day and fuelled by a concoction of pic n mix and beer we discussed the unique challenges luxury retail professionals face across five different topics.

We covered a huge amount of ground in the one hour session and really did struggle to fit it all in! Below is a list of the key takeaways which were revealed at the session:

Market watch

The best way to track competitors is to use a combination of manual tracking and 3rdparty tools such as Moz Analytics, SEMrush, Linkdex, AnalyticsSEO and NetVibes. It was also considered important to take the time to experience your competitors yourself and see how the buying experience compares to your brand.

This summer has been particularly bad for all brands online, in some cases their sales have been 50%-60% lower.

Customer experience is a hot topic. It is hugely important for any brand to gain insight from their customers by speaking directly to them or by sending surveys to your customer database. This data is invaluable to gain customer insight.

Industry best practice

Using a specialist agency was considered beneficial as it’s becoming increasingly hard to keep on top of all the different and ever-changing areas of SEO and digital marketing.  This can help keep the ‘bigger picture’ in sight rather than focusing on granular details.

Since the Penguin update many brands have been affected, in some cases traffic has been 80% down. The process to remove bad links and penalties is very time consuming and it can be hard to communicate to senior staff with a non-digital background about a drop in traffic when black hat tactics have worked so well for so long.

It is important to use customer insight to determine what keywords are profitable when people haven’t heard of your brand. Keep testing and tracking to determine what works for your brand.

Insight and measurement

Google Analytics and Moz were considered the best tools for monitoring. If using Google Analytics, it was recommended that you regularly export monthly reports of your primary KPIs to help maintain visibility and true performance over time.

A key KPI to keep an eye on was the bounce rate from homepage. If this increases then the search results your brand yields are not relevant to the content on your website.

Financial planning

You should be flexible with your marketing budgets to adapt to market changes. If an area is performing particularly well you should be able to spend more money in this area.

Ecommerce teams are often blamed for a drop in sales in bricks–and-mortar stores. Online and offline stores should have combined targets and aim for an omni channel experience.

Key resources and allocation

SEO needs to be ingrained across the whole team so everyone is working to produce valuable content to best practice. Agencies can help to keep on top of best practice and specialist knowledge is appreciated as brands appreciate being able to take a step back and see the bigger picture.

Recruiting the right skill set is a challenge; it was felt there are a lot of ‘blaggers’ in digital. You should look for people with a blend of skills which complements your existing team.

Don’t always send internal emails to your team, go and talk to them and brainstorm. It is important to for a team to spend time together and talk not just at work so they can really understand what each role does and how they can work together.

You can download our full notes here: BrightonSEO luxury roundtable notes.

Leapfrogg to host luxury retail roundtable at BrightonSEO

This week sees the return of BrightonSEO, which has fast become one of the most popular and respected natural search conferences in the UK. Their next event on Friday is expecting over 2,000 attendees and draws some of the best speakers in the world of search.

Whilst we always attend the conference and have spoken before, this year we’re getting further involved by hosting a Retail and Luxury roundtable on the Thursday before the conference. The roundtable sessions are hosted by key companies in the sector who facilitate intimate discussion, and learning between key members of unique industry sectors.

Rosie, Lucy, and Tony will be facilitating the session and encouraging luxury retail professionals to share experiences and learn from each other as the luxury retail sector continues to grow and adapt to ever-changing conditions. Areas of discussion will cover:

1)   Market Watch – which brands are trail blazing across multiple channels and how do you keep up with them and assess the success of your competitors online? We will also look at the effect of the strong summer on online sales and the importance of having a thorough understanding of you customers and how they experience your brand at every stage of the buying journey.

2)   Industry best practice – how do you keep on top of best practice in the ever-changing retail industry? How have you been affected by the changes in Google’s Best Practice Guidelines and when does best practice go against your brand guidelines?

3)   Insight and measurement – here we will look at Google Analytics vs. 3rd party measurement tools, how well do you know your customers and how important is this data, and lastly, what KPIs should you be using to measure success and how do you report on success up the business?

4)   Financial planning – we will discuss the UK economy and how budgeting methods have changed in the last few years and also the biggest challenges to budgeting for seasonality across Christmas and sale periods.

5)   Key resources and allocation – this last section will focus on whether digital marketing is best managed in-house or outsourced. How do you ensure in-house teams are as skilled as possible as the market changes and also when working with agencies, is it best to work project by project or for a long term partnership?

As you can see, we have plenty to talk about! There are already some great brands signed up for the session so we’re really looking forward to some lively discussion on the subject of luxury retail. We’ll be writing up the key discussion points of the session so do keep an eye on the Frogblogg for updates and also the Leapfrogg Twitter feed.

 

 

 

The Weekly Shop (26th – 30th August)

Here at Leapfrogg, we spend time a great deal of time reading, sharing and bookmarking interesting articles and developments from the world of digital marketing and online retail. We figured that this would be a really useful resource for our blog readers, so from today, and every Friday, you’ll find a round-up of all the interesting articles we’ve been reading that week. We are calling it ‘The Weekly Shop’. So without further ado, here’s what has been making our ears prick up this week:

6 SEO Challenges Every Business Owner & Marketer Must Contend with in 2014

With the remainder of 2013 flying by, we all need to start thinking about our marketing strategy and budgeting for 2014. This article outlines the importance of looking beyond Web analytics to decide where to invest time and money and the six SEO challenges business owners and marketers will need to contend with when planning their marketing strategy for 2014.

Facebook Removes App Requirement for Promotions: Let the Giveaways Begin

Facebook made an announcement this week that they’ve removed the partner app requirement for running promotions on a Facebook page. Previously, you had to use a third party app to run a promotion which stopped businesses from ‘buying’ likes and also kept Facebook out of the legal issues surrounding competitions. Now, Facebook has removed the app requirement but there are still a few rules that you must follow. Great news for businesses, as competitions and promotions are a great way to drive traffic to your Facebook Page and website.

Turbocharge your retail strategy with customer data and insight

Recently, our Commercial Director Ben wrote an article for Econsultancy which explored the importance of insight and customer data when defining a search strategy. In this article he discusses the value of both transactional data and qualitative insights and how they can help turbo charge your search efforts and deliver a more informed and successful search strategy.

Ten Tips to the Top of Google

With Google’s recent quest for quality, authenticity, authority and usability, many of the tips that used to help get your site to the top of Google have been made redundant. This article from Search Engine Watch provides us with their 10 top tips on how to optimise your site for Google’s algorithm today and beyond.

‘Tis the Season to Get Ready for Your Busiest Time of Year

Last year, Clickz produced a helpful article on the importance of auditing your metrics from the holiday season. Following on from this, they have produced five tactics to focus on now that will help turn holiday browsers into buyers. Essential reading for retailers that are gearing up for the busy festive season.

Product Listing Ads Click-Through Rate 21% Higher Than Text Ads

Earlier in the week, Marin (PPC Management Software) released a report that showed Google’s Product Listing Ads (PLA) are winning in the paid search results with PLA click-through rates (CTR) remaining higher than standard text ads since November 2012. We’ve seen some great results from PLAs from nearly all our clients this year which shows that Shoppers continue to find PLAs more relevant to their searches than standard text ads. This article summarises the key findings from the report and Kye Mou from Marin gives four tips on how to maximise the performance of PLAs.

Ways to Optimize Press Releases & Avoid Google Penalties

The big bit of news which has been is dominating the SEO headlines is that Google recently announced that links in press releases carry zero SEO value. For a long time press releases, good and bad, were seen as a viable link building method, but not any longer. However, the press release still has a vital role to play in creating awareness of your brand, event, product or service and this article provides some great advice on how to optimise press releases and avoid being penalised.

Google’s Matt Cutts: I Recommend NoFollowing Links On Widgets

Following on from Google’s continued assault on questionable link building techniques; Google’s own Matt Cutts has posted a video to answer questions around the inclusion of embedded links in widgets. He explains that as these link sources have been abused in the past, he recommends using adding the rel=“nofollow” attribute on all widgets. This mainly stems from people using widgets on their websites but not realising there was a link back to a site embedded within it. He also recommends using the rel=no follow on any infographics. Watch the full video from Matt Cutts here.

Understanding Google’s Latest Assault On Unnatural Links

Without much fanfare or publicity, Google quietly updated the Link Schemes/Unnatural Links document inside the Webmaster Tools section of their site last month. Much of it is rather ambiguous and this article attempts to dissect the fact from fiction. Essential reading to understand what you should and shouldn’t be doing when it comes to building links.

Vince: The Google Update We Should Be Talking About

Back in 2009, Google released an update, named Vince (definitely the coolest named update!) This article revisits the basic premise of the Vince update what it means with regards to how SEO should be approached, namely that you must try and build a brand online to establish “trust” (with your target audience, as well as the search engines).

Amazing Correlation Between Google +1s and Higher Search Rankings 

No sooner did the highly respected guys over at Moz release a study that (seemingly) demonstrated a direct correlation between +1’s and search engine rankings, did Matt Cutts swiftly refute the theory. Cutts posted on Hacker News that he was “Just trying to decide the politest way to debunk the idea that more Google +1s lead to higher Google web rankings. Let’s start with correlation != causation” and explained that it all simply boils down to the quality of the content. Not the amount of +1’s or shares the content has. His belief lies in what we’ve always been done for long term SEO success where creating great quality content which is likely to be shared is the best kind of strategy.

Government rules out online sales tax

And lastly, some good news for retailers – the government will not be introducing an online sales tax. Phew!

So that’s it for this week. We’d love to hear your thoughts on any of the news stories featured, so please do leave us a comment in the box below and keep an eye out for the next Weekly Digest next Friday!