Are your customers willing to share data for a personalised experience?

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.

With the strong message that retailers and brands must personalise their marketing to their customers and thus need to find out more and more about their customers, we asked our panel how much information they were happy to share with retailers.

We asked whether the panel to rate for a number of personal details whether they “expected” them to know, “didn’t mind” them knowing, or “would rather they didn’t” know.
Our results showed that the vast majority of consumers really don’t mind how much you know about them!

Personalisation

As you can see from the charts above, a majority of respondents expect you to know a great deal about them in order to deliver a personalised experience.

The details that most consumers “expect” you to know about them are their preferred payment method and interestingly their size both with 23% of respondents stating that they would want a retailer to know.

Opinion was most divided over whether a retailer should know your address with 21% expecting the retailers they buy from to know it, but also 38% of consumers said that they would rather they didn’t know. This is interesting as purchases cannot be delivered without an address being given and usually it saves a lot of time when ordering if the retailer saves your address.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid of asking your customers for personal details. Requesting this information will not alienate your customers and in many cases being able to personalise their shopping experience will put you in a favourable light with those who buy from you!

The Hype: what’s hot and happening in premium retail this month?

 

 

Welcome to The Hype – our monthly digest of the hottest products, trends and innovations from the world of premium and luxury retail, hand-picked by our Premium Panel.

Lilly Pulitzer for Target

Last month, U.S discount retailer, Target, launched their highly-anticipated collaboration with Lilly Pulitzer, – a brand best known for its fun prints and chic resort wear. The 250 piece collection featured an affordable line of brightly printed clothing, homewares and cosmetics all created in Pulitzer’s distinctive neon prints.

However, within hours (even minutes in some locations), the collection almost entirely sold out, in stores and online and according to Target, it was one of the fastest-selling collaborations it has undertaken. This caused disappointment and outrage as shoppers discovered they couldn’t shop the items they had lusted after. Unsurprisingly, many items also appeared on eBay for more than double the original price.

The collaboration came under criticism from some fashion devotees think these collaborations are ruining the brands’ luxury aesthetic and the limited amount of product is simply a shrewd marketing ploy to create more demand for the brands.

H&M Exclusive Conscious

H&M is another brand that is well known for its sell-out designer collaborations. Last month, they launched a new collection of party wear as an extension to their existing successful Conscious collection. Entitled Conscious Exclusive, the debut range features an array of evening-appropriate clothing and accessories for both men and women. Each piece has been created from sustainable materials, including organic cotton, recycled polyamide and Tencel. The collection was modelled by actress Olivia Wilde, and unsurprisingly sold out online within a few hours. However, I spotted that since the launch, there are still limited pieces of the collection available online.

Endource launches

Endource.com

Last month, I also noticed the launch of a new fashion website called Endource.com which was created by the co-founder of holiday website Secret Escapes.

Endource.com scours magazine websites and influential fashion blogs to bring shoppers the ultimate fashion directory that has been editor-approved, with the aim of replicating the experience of shopping with a personal stylist. If you follow fashion magazine’s and bloggers, then this website is the perfect place to find the most covetable and endorsed products in the fashion world.

Condé Nast to Transform Style.com into Global E-Commerce Player

Over the last few months, we’ve seen many traditional content creators realise their potential power to sell and evolve themselves into ecommerce platforms. Grazia famously bought London Boutiques, to develop its own branded ecommerce offering and now Condé Nast have followed suit and have announced that Style.com will be the home of their new ecommerce business.

The new platform – which is the first of its kind for the publisher – will launch this autumn in Britain and sell merchandise to consumers, including readers and users of its magazines and websites such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ, targeting fashion brands as well as upmarket brands from other sectors such as beauty, travel services and technology.

Marks and Spencer’s sell-out suede skirt

Every year has its ‘It’ item and in 2013, Marks and Spencer’s pink duster coat caused a fashion frenzy, and now their brown suede skirt is fast becoming the must-have item for Spring 2015.

The 1970’s-style suede skirt with a price tag of £199 goes on sale later this month and currently has a waiting list of over 3,500 people. Demand has been so high that five times the original amount has been produced to satisfy requests. To cater to demand, Marks & Spencer have also set up a sign up page for the skirt until it’s release date.

The skirt received a huge amount of exposure on social media after fashionista’s Olivia Palamo and Alexa Chung were both spotted wearing it and it consequently featured in magazines such as Vogue, Red and Glamour which created a huge amount of social buzz.

The hype around the skirt will be regarded as a major success for the M&S, who are aiming to improve their fashion credentials to improve sales. Although a single item cannot save a struggling retailer, high-profile hits such as this will definitely help improve their brand image and appeal to a wider audience who may not necessarily shop there.

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 FreshwaterRosie 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 PotterBen 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 FreebornLucy 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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hype: what’s hot and happening in premium retail?

Welcome to The Hype – a monthly digest of the hottest products, trends and innovations from the world of premium and luxury retail, hand-picked by our Premium Panel.

 Apple Watch launch

On the 24th of April, the long-awaited Apple Watch Sport, Watch and Watch Edition will go on sale. There are three different models on offer in two different sizes and prices range from £299 to an eye-watering £13,500. In addition to telling the time through a range of customisable clock faces, the Apple Watch offers notifications, health and fitness tracking and new ways to communicate with others. Several apps will be available on the Watch too, including Siri, Messages and Maps along with information pulled from calendars and email. There’s been very mixed opinions on the Watch especially from the fashion world who have viewed the watch as a gadget, rather than this season’s must-have accessory. Whatever your opinion, it’s guaranteed to cause chaos outside Apple stores across the globe when it launches in a few weeks.

The Cult and Classic

This month sees the launch of The Cult & Classic, a new womenswear e-commerce site. Having gone live with a preview site on March 18th, the official launch is scheduled on April 15th. Founder Beth Wallace, who was previously Michael van der Ham’s Business Partner, selects labels ranging from emerging talent, to wardrobe staples and heritage brands with an edited selection of pieces from these collections. Our Premium Panel has been eyeing up their collection of iconic Bella Freud Jumpers.

The Cult & Classic also focus on the very best customer experience. All customers will receive a personal shopper who will be on hand to answer any queries and they also offer a generous loyalty scheme to all registered customers on the basis of one point earned for every pound spent. Check it out here: www.thecultandclassic.com.

An exclusive discount from Secret Linen Store

Secret Linen Store

In our last survey, our panel members stated that they’d like to access more discounts and offers from premium and luxury brand. In light of this, we are delighted to offer our Premium Panel members an exclusive discount from luxury bed linen destination Secret Linen Store!

The Secret Linen Store offers the most luxe bedding we’ve ever come across. All bedding is designed in-house and woven in Portugal using the best cotton yarns and come in an array of beautiful prints and patterns.

Not only do they already offer beautiful linen at up to 40% less than the high street – they’re also tempting us with an extra 12% OFF* their new collection.

Just use code MAKEMYBED at the checkout to receive your discount until 30th April 2015. *Please note offer is not valid on clearance lines, or valid with any other offer.

Visit Secret Linen Store here: http://www.secretlinenstore.com/

Spring fashion picks

With Spring well on the way, our Premium Panelists have been looking to purchase some new-season staples. We’re clearly ready to ditch our boots as high on the panel’s wish lists is footwear from strappy ballet flats to bright and colourful trainers.

Two new launches that have caught our panel’s eye this month are the Addidas x Pharrell Williams Supercolour range which come in a spectrum of 50 different colourways as a ‘celebration of equality through diversity’.

Nike have also launched their Air Max City Collection which is made up of six pairs which represent the fashion-forward capitals of London, Milan, New York, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo each sporting a vibrant, floral pattern that symbolises its region. We want them all!

Shopping survey

Thanks to everyone who completed our Easter survey last month and congratulations to Naomi Flood who won our hamper of Easter goodies from Hotel Chocolat!

If you’re interested in reading about the findings of our shopping survey’s – check out our new series on our blog each week – the Insight Edit.

See you next month!

The Insight Edit – how to make your customers feel valued

Here at Leapfrogg, we have a panel of more than 900 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 the ways retailers make their customers feel valued. Feeling valued by a brand or retailer is a large factor in a consumer’s decision to remain loyal and we wanted to find out what factors contribute to that.

We asked our panel to think of the brands they feel value them as a customer and then asked them to think about why that was.

Making customers feel valued

As you might expect customer service was the top response with 72.29% of respondents selecting it.

Ensuring you offer exceptional customer service is the best way to make your customers feel valued. It is therefore key you invest in this area within your business across internal processes, staff training, delivery methods and response times.

Next in importance is the way you communicate with your customers (54.2%). Understanding who your customers are and therefore the way in which they would like to be communicated with is important to not only make the first sale but to create customer loyalty and encourage repeat purchases. Interestingly men found this to be of far more importance than women with 70% of men and only 48.3% of women selecting it as a factor.

Offering discounts make 30% of customers feel valued. This suggests it is not always necessary to offer discounts to your loyal customers. If you offer a great customer service and communicate and engage your customers effectively then you can charge for your products profitably.

Loyalty schemes were a close 4th place with 28.9% of respondents stating it as a factor. This perhaps suggests that many loyalty schemes don’t create the warm fuzzy feeling towards a brand that is expected. Perhaps consumers don’t appreciate the benefits on offer and see through the schemes as a device to make them spend more.

Asking your customers for their opinion is the least important factor in making them feel valued (27%). However, this is only a couple of percentage lower than the previous two factors and so should not therefore be overlooked. Asking for customers input on new product development or asking them what they want from you can often generate a wealth of useful information you can use to increase revenue and profit.

The key takeaway from this week’s Insight Edit is that the physical service your customers receive from you is the lynch-pin in making them feel valued. Ensure you offer them great service and communicate with them effectively – easy!

SEO in web development, keyword analysis & monitoring the bottom line

Over the past few months, a number of articles have caught my eye as they reinforce important learnings about how search has evolved. In light of these articles, I’ve looked at how brands and retailers need to shift their mind-set around ‘SEO’ and use it more strategically within marketing campaigns.

SEOs have a role in development

SEO has evolved greatly over the years and it doesn’t operate in silo. Search engine algorithms have advanced significantly to weed out spam and reward sites that have relevant and valuable content – ultimately sites that provide users with what they want.

SEO and UX go hand-in-hand and which is why it’s important that the SEOs of today have good knowledge of usability and experience design as well as the technical aspects of search.  All these skills can be a huge asset when redeveloping a website.

Your optimisation team will have in-depth, historic knowledge of your current site’s performance, what works and what doesn’t as well as your business goals. They also have knowledge of a number of different platforms so can advise on the best platform even before the project has kicked off.

When developing a site, use your SEO team’s experience, learnings and advice to your advantage. Get their input on technical requirements and recommended specification for your new site to ensure that important elements, for both the search engines and users, are factored into scope.

Then by the combined ideas of your optimisation team, designers and developers will ensure you end up with a site that exceeds expectations in terms of architecture, content, optimisation and user experience.

Keyword analysis

I recently read a good post about the relevance of keyword analysis in Search Engine Land. I couldn’t agree more with the points raised and want to reinforce how brands should be using search term analysis today.

The Hummingbird update in 2013 was an important step in Google’s quest to provide better quality search results. By better understanding the intent of search queries by looking at context (rather than specific keyword matching) they have been able to provide smarter, more relevant search results.

Of course, bespoke on-page optimisation still has its part to play, but brands need to forget trying to rank for certain keywords and focus on adding relevant, more varied content around topics or subjects.

Keyword analysis today should help identify popular keyword themes, product opportunities and review what questions are being frequently searched for. This kind of analysis will help you find gaps and opportunities for targeted content, be that additional products, improved categorisation or filtering functionality, enhanced product information, how-to guides or FAQs.

Think about the role your content plays in a conversion and investigate terms that will target more of the right customers throughout their search.

Measuring your marketing

Another interesting read was this article on Moz which discussed why looking at correlation rather than focusing on causation needs to be more of a focus for modern SEOs and marketers.

It is becoming harder and harder to predict and measure success from individual channels and the key statement in this article is that SEOs are “becoming more complete marketers, with greater influence on all of the elements of our organisations’ online presence.”

All these articles reinforce that SEO shouldn’t be treated as something that operates in isolation. Retailers need to change their view on traditional SEO tactics such as keyword analysis, as these should be used far more frequently and strategically to inform content creation. Expanding quality, engaging content is always going to be the best long-term strategy for natural success, not focusing on specific keyword rankings as many brands still do!

Retailers also need keep focused on the bigger-picture. Of course monitor granular channel specific metrics, but don’t obsess over them. Tie everything back to your bottom line. If your marketing channels are working, you will be able to see this in your sales, revenue and market share.

And finally, be sure to get the most from your agencies by pooling their knowledge to ensure your marketing campaigns are joined up. Whether it is a new site build or a strategy review, get your agencies in the same room to work together, share plans and collaborate on strategy to ensure you maximise the effectiveness your marketing.

The Hype: what’s hot and happening in premium retail this month?

Welcome to the February edition of The Hype – our monthly digest of the hottest products, trends and innovations from the world of premium and luxury retail, hand-picked by our Premium Panel.

The Culture Cloud

Lulu Guinness has just launched The Culture Cloud – an interactive hub and online magazine. Each issue will present a new topic to explore, collaborating with a brand partner to give exclusive content and will also offer the chance to review products, attend exclusive events and win prizes. Click here to join the newsletter.

Very Exclusive launches

This month also saw the launch of Very’s new online shopping destination Very Exclusive.

The site is the latest project of Sarah Curran, founder of My-Wardrobe, and offers an expertly edited selection of over 100 of the world’s leading designers and beauty brands.

The bit that has got everyone the most excited is the fact that the site operates on Very’s payment model, allowing customers to buy an item and spread the cost in installments in order to make luxury designer labels accessible to all.

The Premium Panel were impressed with the new website which looks slick and stylish but also includes every ecommerce tool, filter option, social media links and product information that you see other websites criticised for not including. The user journey and editorial content is also seamless with links to inspiration pieces which add value to the customer and link to the products on offer.

The new High Street label   

Another new launch this month was the highly anticipated new fashion label Finery London. The label is the brainchild of a former Topshop designer and ex-Asos fashion and buying directors and offers luxurious, concept-driven designs at an accessible price point. The Premium Panel were particularly excited about this new launch due to the uniqueness and price of their garments which are reminiscent of labels such as Cos and Whistles.

 

Live trends at London Fashion Week

Last week also saw London Fashion Week come round once again with designers showing off their AW15 collections. This year, more brands than ever used technology during to engage their customers and deliver an omnichannel experience for not only those attending the shows but also for shoppers.

Topshop and Hunter both launched large scale outdoor digital ads to engage with fashion fans not attending the trade event.

Tosphop teamed up with Twitter to analyse real-time data to identify trends as they emerged and allow shoppers to buy goods in real-time. As key trends emerged they appeared in the Topshop trend cloud on billboards as hashtags such as #colourblocking, #pleats and #utility.

Topshop then allocated a screening area at its Oxford Circus flagship store to allow customers to watch the Topshop Unique fashion show streamed live from Tate Britain. The move furthers the brands attempt to democratise London Fashion Week for its customers and involve them in the event.

Customers were then able to Tweet @Topshop using one of the trend hashtags to receive a curated shopping list from the store which was inspired by the trend.

Hunter streamed their Fashion Week show live across the UK. In partnership with Ocean, an outdoor marketing specialist, the brand’s autumn/winter show in London was shown to shoppers and fashion fans on large-scale outdoor screens in some of Britain’s largest cities; including Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester in order to bring their show to a wider national audience.

Forward thinking British brand Burberry also partnered with Twitter and offered users of the social media site the chance to capture pictures of its show live from the runway.

By tweeting #Tweetcam to the @Burberry Twitter account, users will trigger a camera to take a photograph from the best vantage point within the show space as the models walked down the runway.

Each picture is then personalised with the user’s Twitter handle, a time stamp of the moment the image was taken and then tweeted back to them.

The Leapfrogg Premium Panel survey

Thanks to all who filled in our February survey. You can read about our findings on sale shopping over on The Insight Edit. Big congratulations to Laura Mottam who won our survey giveaway and will be receiving a rather lovely subscription to Not Another Bill.

Watch this space for our next survey launching mid-March!

Why standard customer profiling is only the filling in your insight sandwich

These days, everyone in retail is aware that the customer must come first – and really understanding your customer is the linchpin in that.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post – Customer insight: what you should know and why– there are many types of data, both qualitative and quantitative, that you need to understand in order to form a full picture of your customers.

Many retailers utilise standard customer profiling services such as Acorn or Mosaic to provide them with insight into the types of people their customers are and where they located. These tools in themselves provide an excellent starting point to gain a top-level understanding of your customers and provide a wealth of socioeconomic data and general behavioural insight. They are extremely useful when starting to tailor your brand and communications to the people you want to sell to.

However at Leapfrogg, we believe that understanding the profiles of your current customer base is not enough and that it’s only the filling in a much bigger ‘customer insight sandwich.’

Customer Insight Sandwich

Before you add the filling to a sandwich, you need to have the bottom layer of bread in place to add the filling to. When creating your ‘customer insight sandwich’ – the bottom layer of insight which supports your customer profiling is ‘transactional segmentation.’ Profiling your customer database will be so much more fulfilling if you have already segmented your customers by their value to you now and also in the future. It’s better to know the type of people that sit within your most valuable customer pot vs. those who hardly ever spend with you.

For example, a general segmentation of your database may show that you have 40% of customers within a certain profile. As this is a large proportion of your database, you start to tailor your marketing strategies to them, but what you don’t know is that they all sit within a single purchase segment and are not of high value. By using transactional segmentation first, you may find that 5% of your customer database is from a completely different profile, but make up your most profitable segment as they are loyal customers making repeat purchases which generate 50% of your profit. By not understanding your customers’ transactional value, you could be tailoring your marketing to the wrong segment.

Once the bottom layer of bread is in place and you have filled your ‘customer insight sandwich’ with profile data, you still need the top slice of bread to hold it all together.

The top slice of bread is the real actionable insight you can find from your own qualitative research. Asking your customers directly what their buying motivations are, how they want to engage with you and the buying experience they expect gives you all the sustenance your marketing belly needs.

With this insight in place, your sandwich is complete. You know who your most profitable customers are, the type of people they are, but now also that they are most likely to respond to video content, or they are driven by product over price. You know that they want targeted emails from you and will engage with you on Pinterest, but will never follow you on Twitter or Facebook. You know the people that influence them online and that their loyalty to you is driven by exclusive access to your brand, not discounts. It’s this extra layer of insight that is the really actionable part and forms the action of your marketing strategy. It’s only when you have all three layers of your sandwich in place that you will know WHO you are selling to, HOW much they are worth to you and most importantly WHAT you need to do to engage with them in the way they want.

Happy sandwich making!

If you need help with any of the elements in your insight sandwich get in touch with ben.potter@leapfrogg.co.uk

 

‘Light bulb’ customer experience moments for premium retailers

We’re only a few weeks into the new calendar year and I’ve already lost count of the number of conference flyers that have landed on my desk alerting me to a list of “essential” and “must attend” events for the customer experience professional this year.

The sheer scale of content out there on customer experience is perplexing and many of the premium retailers we speak to don’t know where to start. However, often it’s the simplest of strategy tweaks discussed over a coffee that will start joining the dots for smaller premium retailers looking to improving their customer experience strategy.

I call these learning’s ‘light bulb moments’ – they are those discoveries that seem too obvious when you vocalise them for the first time but can have a huge impact on a business. So, at a time of the year when conference organisers are asking for your company credit card and your valuable time, I thought I’d do the hard work for you and sift through opinion, trends, articles and reports to give you what we think could be the biggest ‘light bulb’ moments for premium retailers this year.

Light bulb moment no. 1: Your customers are in charge

Not you, not your ‘Brand Strategist’, not your Financial Director insisting on ambitious ROI and not your Head of Product Design with a thing for rose gold and copper again this season – it’s your customer that is in charge.

My first light bulb moment is probably the most difficult and the hardest to implement. It’s about shifting the culture of your business away from siloed departments with exciting targets around traffic, ROI and cost-per-action to a customer-centric approach which puts the customer at the heart of what you do.

Your customers are going to dictate how much you sell and when you sell it. Customers in 2015 will expect big things from you – from almost immediate customer service feedback on social media and personalised loyalty schemes – to beautiful packaging that arrives next day (free of course) and speedy returns. Start seeing your customers as your boss and their expectations of you as a catalyst for innovation, change and excellence, rather than a constant struggle with demands. By doing that you’ve already shifted your own thought processes.

It’s not easy persuading everyone, but it makes decision making around strategy, product and marketing beautifully simple once done.

What’s right for your customer + what’s right for your business = #win

But how do you put them first…?

Light bulb moment no. 2 – it’s not rocket science (if it was, I’d totally work for NASA)

The truth is in the data and you already have access to everything you need right at your ecommerce fingertips. Your own transactional data is the key to unlocking the experience your customers want.

When was the last time you looked at your customer database and worked out who are your most profitable or valuable segments of customers? Do you know which people in your database only buy at sale time? Which products are the gateways to customer loyalty? If someone buys at Christmas time, is it even worth remarketing to them in January?

Once you’ve started to dig into your own data, you can then start asking your most important segments what experience they want from you and take a long hard look at your product strategy.

Honestly, it is that simple. Well, OK, there’s some database cleaning, maths, focus groups, surveys and excel spreadsheets involved, but that only takes a couple of weeks. Once that’s all done – it feels pretty simple.

Light bulb moment no. 3 – earn your place

Your brand is not how you define yourself to your customers, but what your customers say about you. In 2015, you need to earn your place in their hearts.

Accenture found that 92% of global consumers trust seemingly unstructured content (earned media) above all other forms of advertising. So “earned media” is going to be an even bigger watch word in 2015 and all premium retailers know how important it is to be meaningful to customers. Give your customers useful, interesting, meaningful content and engage with them in the spaces they want to communicate in and they will reward you by sharing and creating content right back at you.

In turn, shared and useful content kick starts any natural search, social and PR campaign, drives engagement, creates brand ambassadors and ultimately, drives sales.

Lightbulb moment no. 4 – technology will enable experiences, not be the experience

In order to ensure you’re building relevant retail experiences that exceed your customers’ expectations – you’ve got to ensure that those experiences are seamless. It’s been the ‘year of mobile’ for as long as I can remember and in the past five years I can also remember the year of Pinterest, Facebook advertising, wearable tech etc.

The minute you take a step back from a specific channel and focus on how your experience can be communicated via that channel and indeed, if your customers even want you to be communicating with them at all via that channel – you’re thinking along the right lines. Premium retailers in particular need to fight hard to resist getting side-tracked by the latest fad. Remember what your customers want from you and enable that experience.

Lightbulb moment no. 5 – redefine what success looks like

So all your light bulbs are brightly lit; you’ve broken down those digital marketing silos, you’ve put your customer at the heart of your business, you’ve dug into your transactional data and you’re creating useful content that neatly supports your wider digital strategy.

But how do you measure success?

Again, it seems simple, but the best way of checking if you are genuinely delivering a decent experience for your customers is to ask them. The Net Promoter Score is going to see a revival in 2015.

Here at Leapfrogg, we’re starting to talk to clients about using it as one of our central KPIs. The better you can understand how your customer sees you – and whether or not they would genuinely recommend you – the better gauge you’ll have on the future success of the business.  Lots of sales are lovely, but the best customer experience strategies use the data of the past to plan for the future and what better way of checking you’re heading in the right direction than by asking your customers if they would recommend you.

So how can smaller premium retailers compete with the big boys?

All this database investigation, culture-shifting and content creation takes lots of budget, right?

Actually, it’s not as much as you’d think. You are in a much better position than some of the industry giants. These are the reasons why:

1. By the virtue of your size, smaller premium retailers have the nimbleness to change direction and get excited about culture changes quickly
2. You have a smaller team, who already work together closely. What’s another couple of digital marketing silos broken down between friends? You could probably do it at lunchtime…
3. You already have an intimate relationship with your most loyal customers. Several of our clients know their best customers by name and how fabulous would it be for a loyal customer to be asked to participate in the success of a business that they already love?
4. Your team has to generate PR, natural search and social content on a shoe string anyway – how much easier (and cheaper) would it be to streamline your plans to one simple content strategy that cascades across all of your channels and get your customers involved?
5. You can feel liberated by the opportunity to focus on the most relevant channels for your customers and ensure you spend your budget getting your experience right over those priority channels
5. You don’t have the layers of bureaucracy that many of the more established premium retailers do, so ‘testing’ an NPS KPI for a couple of seasons doesn’t have to be agreed by layer upon layer of management – you can agree it over a lovely cuppa next to the coffee machine

Customer experience for smaller premium retailers. Done!

Image via remographic on Flickr.