Marketing personalisation and the buyer journey

Out this week, the John Lewis Retail Report 2015, How We Shop, Live and Look, made for fascinating reading. With 34% of John Lewis sales now online, the brand has declared 2015 the coming of age of the ‘Master shopper’. Meandering down a complex buyer journey towards an eventual purchase (and repurchase), the Master shopper uses the full range of online and offline channels available to get inspired, get information, garner opinions from peers, make a purchase, get it delivered and tell the world about what they think of it. Depending on what they are buying they might move through every channel, or double back, or move directly to purchase, there is no set A+B=C.

This omnichannel path to purchase is a result of technology weaving its way into our everyday lives. There are, of course, buying patterns, but each of us uses technology in our own way. We have come to expect technology and digital channels to be there to answer questions, and provide solutions. A big part of this is social media, which John Lewis have now declared more influential on buying decisions for their customers than celebrities and models on the catwalk, with inspirational Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest product images driving sales.

The thing about social media is that it’s just more personal. We can curate our own information flow into our feeds, and then share with our friends what we think about the information we have invited to be sent to us. This personalisation of experience is bringing brands closer to its customers, and in part replacing the role that seeing items on a model had in inspiring purchases. As John Lewis put it, “From working out, to planning a showstopping wedding, this was the year that customers were their own stylists, interior designers and wedding planners.”

The premium and luxury retail sectors have historically been slow to adopt digital marketing personalisation, with some major fashion brands only this year launching on Instagram. This is gradually changing, with many high profile brands integrating social media and marketing personalisation into their PR and marketing. This year, Burberry blazed a trail by premiering its SS16 collection on Snapchat the night before its catwalk show, but all major fashion brands now live-stream their shows.

At Luxury Interactive 2015 this October, Stacy Huggins, Vice President of Digital Marketing at Tamara Mellon, said, “Data-driven personalization is today’s handwritten note.” This could take the form of targeted mobile adverting campaigns that use geolocation to deliver real-time product information, or more prosaically, the segmentation of data to access insights into the motivations and behaviours of a brand’s customers. Whether its cutting edge campaigns, or solid bottom line drivers, digital channels offer opportunities to provide the kind of enriched experiences that make premium brands stand out from the crowd.

It’s important, though, to remember that all of this marketing personalisation is about people. While geolocation offers brands the chance give real-time product information in a seamless way, it could be seen by some customers as creepy, rather than cool. Fashion etailer Zalando this summer rolled out Zalon, an online personal stylist service, in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. A team of 150 stylists offer personal telephone consultancies and personal product picks to customers, at once driving sales and building customer profiles through real-life relationship building, not just real-time automation.

Zalon

Marketing personalisation is not just a way of growing sales, it’s the future. As technology more and more becomes part of our everyday lives and buyer behaviour, personalisation will become expected across every channel. How this will look and how brands will translate the power of omnichannel delivery and data driven personalisation remains to be seen, but the opportunities are there.

Personally, I am looking forward to it.

Insight Edit 5 – how consumers make big ticket furniture purchases online

Here at Leapfrogg, we have a panel of more than 800 premium retail consumers that we engage with on a regular basis to help us understand customer needs and expectations from the brands and retailers they buy from.

Every month, we question them on a range of areas from buying behaviours and brand opinion, to emotional purchase triggers and their recent shopping experiences.

The Insight Edit is our weekly bite size edit of the insight we gain from our panel in our search to truly understand the mind of the premium customer.

This week we are focussing on what factors influence purchasing decisions for consumers buying big ticket items online.

55% of our panel have made a big ticket furniture purchase (over £100) online in the last six months. We asked them which methods of consideration they used when making those purchases:

Insight Edit 5

 

As you can see, by far the most important method of consideration our panel used was looking at the product in detail on the retailers website (78.31%). This was over and above looking at the product in store (60%.) This shows that contrary to popular belief, there are a growing number of people who are prepared to buy furniture having not seen the product in real life.

Next came the researching of price(46.99%) which showed us that price does have a role to play when consumers are buying big ticket items and are still keen to get a good deal.

38.5% of our panel members use customer reviews as a decision making aid. Reviews play a key role in giving consumers security in their purchase decisions and they are even more important when spending larger amounts of money.

The consideration methods that our panel used the least when buying furniture was reading bloggers opinions and reviews (13.25%). This suggests that this sector is less swayed by influencers than other premium sectors such as fashion.

Engaging on social media also held less sway in the purchase journey with only 8.43% using social media to influence their decision to purchase.

To conclude, having a strong, clear and engaging website with high quality imagery is paramount for furniture retailers. Investment should be made in ensuring the website is user friendly and easily found before other forms of engagement such as social media, blogger PR etc.

Please see our recent report of Customer Engagement in the Retail Sector to find out which furniture retailers are doing well to engage their customer base during all stages of the buying journey.

The Weekly Shop (10th – 14th Nov)

In our Weekly Shop this week, we look at Christmas planning, retail tech trends, how Google judges quality content and two case studies from Selfridges and Liberty.

Small and medium-sized retailers to start Christmas promotions earlier this year

A study by Royal Mail has found that the UK’s small and medium sized online retailers are planning to start Christmas promotions this week – which is one week later than last year. The study also found that price promotion was the most common tactic set to be deployed in the battle to win sales this Christmas followed by free delivery and returns.

Retail tech trends for the 2014 holiday season

While on the topic of Christmas,  Econsultancy have rounded up a selection of retail tech trends for the 2014 holiday season to help you end 2014 strong.

New study: this year’s Black Friday set to be the busiest yet

Another new study this week has suggested that this year’s Black Friday on 28 November could be the busiest and most successful yet. The study found that more retailers are looking to invest in the discount day than last year and shoppers are actively anticipating the day to start their Christmas shopping.

How Selfridges uses digital to create extraordinary multichannel experiences

According to Selfridges, a multichannel retailer dealing in the luxury end of the market, they have to offer customers’ connected and extraordinary experiences’ across its digital and physical properties. In light of this, our next article this week summarises some of the tactics Selfridges uses as part of its multichannel strategy.

Liberty launches Instagram-based loyalty app

Luxury London department store, Liberty, is the first retailer to trial an iPhone app that will reward customers in the store with the use of iBeacons. As customers enter Liberty, iBeacons will trigger the app – named Tapestry – to unlock vouchers to be used in store. The app will use the users Instagram data to curate the vouchers available to the a customer and create a bespoke reward system.

How does Google judge quality content?

In our last article this week, Econsultancy identify five key factors that you should focus on if you want to produce content that search engines will recognise as high quality.

Thanks for reading!

The Weekly Shop (15th – 19th September)

Welcome to this Friday’s edition of the Weekly Shop. This week we feature lots of retail news and some updates from London Fashion Week which kicked off last Friday.

How Burberry and Topshop used social to rule at London Fashion Week

With London Fashion Week over for another year, this article from Econsultancy takes a look how both Burberry and Topshop showcased digital innovation at their shows this week using social media.

What is customer lifetime value (CLV) and why do you need to measure it?

Next an article which aims to make sense of the term ‘Customer Lifetime Value’ and explains why retailers need to measure it.

10 Online Shopping Personality Traits

This next article looks at how shopping behaviour data derived from a behavioural commerce analytic platform was analysed to determine the 10 most common shopping personality profiles. Which category do you fit into?

Site search: retailers still have a lot to learn

Here’s another article from Econsultancy which looks at how site search remains a problem for ecommerce sites, with lack of key functionality and flexibility proving to be a barrier to the user experience.

High street shoppers change the way they shop in the light of online: BRC

A recent study has shown that shoppers are changing their high street shopping behaviour in the light of ecommerce with shoppers now visiting shops less often but spending more when they do. It seems that customers are now hitting the high street with purpose, knowing what they want to buy ahead of time, supported by online research, and doing more shopping in a single trip.

 

The Weekly Shop (8th – 12th Sept)

It’s Friday, so that means there’s a new edition of The Weekly Shop! This week, we explore Twitter’s ‘Buy Now’ button, driving brand advocacy through sales teams and employees, Christmas spending and the single customer view.

Twitter tests ‘buy’ button to allow retailers to sell products direct from a tweet

The big news in digital marketing this week came from Twitter, who is officially testing a ‘buy now’ button to allow retailers to sell products directly from a tweet. Currently, the trial is being offered to a small percentage of retailers in the US including Burberry and The Home Depot.

Next Up For Twitter: Improved Search, Better Algorithm, Possible Group Chat

While we’re on the subject of Twitter, this article from Marketing Land looks at what could be next for the social network following insights from Twitter’s CFO Anthony Noto.

Incentivising your retailers to drive brand advocacy

This next article explores how a brands sales teams and employees are, more often than not, the greatest brand ambassadors for your company as they are closest to the products to share your brand message. Econsultancy have provided three approaches to encourage employees to advocate for your brand whether it’s via bricks-and-mortar store, online or through third parties.

UK online shoppers set to spend £13bn this Christmas: forecast

According to a new study this week by Sage Pay, online spending will top £13bn for the first time this Christmas. Sage Pay says the rise – equivalent to an 18% boost on last year’s spending of £11bn – will come as Britons already start to look online ahead of Christmas spending. If you’re looking to start planning for the festive season, then check out this blog post which features some tips and tactics from the Leapfrogg team.

What is the single customer view and why do you need it?

This last article from Econsultancy aims to simplify the term ‘single customer view’ and explain why retailers need it. It also provides some further reading on the subject.

Thank for reading!

The Weekly Shop (11th -15th Aug)

Hello, and welcome to another edition of The Weekly Shop. This week, we feature ways to increase customer engagment in ecommerce, Pinterest’s new messaging feature, Amazon’s 3D printing marketplace and the importance of the customer journey. Let’s get stuck in…

Ecommerce turns 20 and my, how it’s grown

Monday marked the 20th anniversary of the very first online sale, which apparently was a copy of Sting’s album ‘Ten Summoner’s Tales’ in case you were wondering! Our first article this week takes a look at how the world of ecommerce has changed since August 11th 1994.

10 ways to increase customer engagement in ecommerce

In our next article, Econsultancy have explored 10 innovative features that can help keep customers engaged on ecommerce websites which includes examples from the likes of M&S, Topshop and ASOS.

The customer journey & relevant experiences are the new business imperatives

Next is another great read from Econsultancy that explores how recent research by eBay and Deloitte have shown the sheer importance of understanding the customer journey and delivering relevant experiences. According to the article, ‘leading marketers must understand the value of these multichannel customer interactions and work towards ensuring seamless customer experiences.’

Amazon 3D-printing marketplace promises to ‘change the way people shop online’

Amazon have just unveiled their 3D printing store where customers can buy on demand 3D printed products ranging from jewellery to home décor. Currently, the store is only available in the US and stocks over 200 print on-demand products which customers can personalise. Amazon believes that the introduction of the 3D Printed Products store suggests the beginnings of a shift in online retail and that manufacturing can be more nimble to provide an immersive customer experience.

Pinterest Rolls Out Messaging So Pinners Can Have Conversations Around Shared Pins

Direct messaging has popped up on many apps within the last year including Instagram and Vine. Now Pinterest has followed suit, and launched a new messaging feature that allows users to send a pin and start a conversation all within the desktop site and app to allow for further engagement on the platfrom.

Google confirms HTTPS as a new ranking signal: What are the implications?

Google has recently announced that it is starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal within search results. The ‘S’ in HTTPS stands for secure, so this change essentially means that any websites using secure and encrypted connections across their domains will benefit from this ranking update. In this article, Econsultancy looks at the implications of this change.

Thanks for reading!

The Weekly Shop (4th – 8th August)

Welcome to another week’s edition of The Weekly Shop news digest. This week, we have been reading about concept stores, how and why your paid search agency should fail and how online browsing could save the high street.

Concept stores: what do they mean for customer experience?

Our first article this week looks at how we have seen the resurgence of the concept store over the last three years as retail has woken up to the value of service, great product display, interactivity, digital technology and a great shopping experience.  Econsultancy have taken a look at some of the concept stores out there from the likes of Argos, Apple and Burberry and what they mean for customer experience.

Online browsing ‘could save the high street’

While on the subject of the high street, a new study from SalesGossip has found that many of their users visited stores after browsing and researching online. The study found that their respondents will find information about products online but then go into the store to make the final purchase highlighting that online and in-store together are much greater than the sum of their individual parts.

Multichannel retailers enjoy faster m-commerce growth than pureplays: study

New research has found that multichannel retailers are enjoying stronger growth from m-commerce than their online-only competitors. Those using channels including shops and a website to sell saw sales via mobile rise by 79% in the period from January to June, according to a study by Capgemini and IMRG, while those who only sell via a website saw their m-commerce sales lift by 59%. More over on Internet Retailing.

5 Myths About Mobile Content Strategies and What You Can Do Instead

Matt Cutts recently stated that he expects Google’s mobile traffic to exceed desktop traffic in the very near future. If you don’t have a plan for mobile, you certainly need to make it a high priority. If you’re starting to think about your mobile strategy then this article from Clickz outlines five common myths about what it means to optimize content for mobile so you can be sure not to include them in your planning.

How and Why Your PPC Agency Should Fail

Here’s an interesting article from Clickz on why failure shouldn’t be a bad word in the PPC industry. It should be used as a tool for growth and continual improvement. The article features some useful tips on how you and your agency should be coming together to make progress on your accounts.

Thanks for reading!

The Weekly Shop (12th – 16th May)

In the Weekly Shop this week, five things our clients learnt just by asking, a new retail concept – the Inspiration Corridor, how ecommerce sites can boost profits and Google’s new Panda patent.

Five things you can learn about customers just by asking

We start this week with an article from Leapfrogg’s commercial director, Ben Potter, who has written about the importance of customer insight for the Econsultancy blog. To illustrate his point, Ben has shared five very simple insights that we have gathered from surveys we have created and run for our clients.

Inspiration Corridor

Inspiration Corridor is new retail concept developed by the France-based shopping centre Klepierre and creative agency DigitasLBI Paris. It utilises facial recognition technology, profiling algorithms and purchase history in order to give consumers personalised style advice consisting of items that can be found inside the building.

Inspiration Corridor by DigitasLBi Paris & Klepierre from DigitasLBi Paris on Vimeo.

Five ways ecommerce sites can boost profits

Profit margins determine whether businesses sink or swim and this is especially true in the hypercompetitive ecommerce industry. This article from Econsultancy looks at the price related issues that retailers must address and provides five tips on how ecommerce sites can start to boost their profits.

Dot luxury domain names going on general release

This week saw new top-level domain name .luxury go on general sale, which provides a dedicated digital platform for all things luxury, giving brands the opportunity to further define their status online. Around 500 brands from Bvlgari to Versace, signed up for their own .luxury top-level domain name during a 60-day period where only trademarked brands could register.

In pictures: Waitrose showcases new technologies in Swindon store

Last week, we featured an article about the new Waitrose store in Swindon and how they are using omnichannel in a strategy aimed at setting itself apart. This week, Essential Retail visited the new store to check out their new technologies which includes digital signage, in-store tablets and geo-location mobile systems.

The Panda Patent: Brand Mentions Are the Future of Link Building

There has long been speculation about how Google measures “brand authority” and last month Google filed a new patent, which some say could be the Panda patent which may have gone some way to answering that question. If the recently filed patent is any clue, Google is now working on major algorithmic changes to measure authority outside of followed links. This post from Moz explores the new patent and other supporting evidence in an attempt to understand what the opportunity may be for digital marketers in the future.

6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Search Marketing Agency

Next up is a useful article from Search Engine Watch for anyone working with, or considering working with a search marketing agency, as it provides advice on how to create a happy, profitable, and pleasant agency/client relationship to get the best results.

10 Google Chrome Extensions guaranteed to improve your life

To finish up, our senior natural search consultant Ben Adam, has helpfully rounded-up his 10 Google Chrome Extensions which he guarantees will improve your life!

 

The Weekly Shop (31st – 4th April)

Welcome to a new edition of Leapfrogg’s Weekly Shop. This week, we take a look at Shoppable Hangouts, channel integration, Google Authorship, insight into how consumers buy online and some exciting news from Leapfrogg!

Browse & Buy in a Google+ Shoppable Hangout Without G+ Account

Google has announced an exciting feature for Google + Hangout users – Shoppable Hangouts. A Shoppable Hangout works much like a normal Hangout, but as the title suggests, users will have the chance to shop and interact with a business’ products. Since Shoppable Hangouts are currently in Beta stage, only a limited number of brands have taken part including Diane Von Furstenberg, ASOS and Nike who have reported increased website traffic, brand recognition and engagement. Read more.

Shoppable Hangouts with Diane Von Furstenberg.

Almost two thirds of retailers now operate four or more customer touch points: new survey

Results of a new survey of retailers have shown that channel integration is proving increasingly difficult as more and more retailers turn multi-channel. The study found that just 34% of the retailers polled felt their current customer touch points were well integrated, compared to 48% two years earlier, revealing that existing technology systems are the key barrier to a coherent and innovative multi-channel customer experience.

Four Revealing Facts About How Consumers Search And Buy Online

A recently released study by retail engagement firm Parago examined how consumers research and buy across several product categories. The research is full of insight about how people buy and this article from Search Engine Land looks at one aspect of the research: insight into consumer behaviour when the buyer is in purchase mode. This research produces several insights for digital marketers which can help serve the growing shift to online ecommerce.

Google Authorship and SEO

Google Authorship is a way for content authors to connect their Google profiles to their online content to establish original ownership, and the benefits for the author can be immense. Google authorship could be one of the most significant SEO factors to help improve rankings since Hummingbird and this article from Clickz explores what it is, what it can do and how you can start to take advantage of it.

Leapfrogg wins at the European Search Awards!

We had some very exciting news last Friday, when we found out we had won a European Search AwardBen and Alice headed over to Reykjavik for the rather swanky awards ceremony and took home the award for ‘Best use of PR in a Search Campaign’ for our ‘Bride of the Year’ campaign for Wedding Rings Direct. We were absolutely thrilled!

Thanks for reading!

The Weekly Shop (24th – 28th Feb)

In the Weekly Shop this week…how to improve customer experience when items are out of stock and attract registrations without creating a barrier at the checkout, plus the growing importance of online reviews and insights into how the way we’re shopping is changing.

How to improve customer experience when products are out of stock

We probably all know how frustrating it is to find the perfect item online and then later discover that it’s actually out of stock. This article from Econsultancy tackles the out of stock problem online retailers are encountering today and looks at ways you can improve customer experience when items are out of stock to induce the users to make a purchase, either on the same session or in the future.

How to attract registrations without creating a barrier to checkout

Registration has its benefits to both customers and retailers, yet often a forced registration can be perceived as a barrier by customers. This next article looks at how well designed checkouts can reduce customer abandonment while still encouraging people to register with examples of best practice from ASOS, Macy’s and House of Fraser. 

77% of UK shoppers consult reviews before buying online: report

It probably won’t come as a surprise to hear that reviews are an important feature of any ecommerce site. Nonetheless, a new survey from Trustpilot has found that three out of four British shoppers (77%) consult online reviews before buying online, showing that clearly reviews are incredibly important for driving conversions. To further highlight the importance of reviews, here’s a roundup of data taken from several other studies which show the impact they have on driving conversions.

Online shoppers move from PC to mobile as they shop more often, but with five or fewer retailers

More research this week has revealed insights into how the way we’re shopping is changing. The study found that fewer shoppers are using their PC to buy online and are turning to smartphones and tablets. Other interesting findings included the statistic that 57% of UK online shoppers buy with five or fewer online retailers. Asked why they shopped at their top three retailers, 85% cited trust, and 79% price. More over on Internet Retailing.

 

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