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.

Lulu

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.

Very Exclusive

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.

Finery

Image via SheerLuxe

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

Image via Topshop.

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.

Burberry

Image via Fashion & Mash.

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.

The Weekly Shop (19th – 23rd Jan)

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Weekly Shop. This week we have an article from our commercial director, Ben, on how 2015 should be the year of the customer, six questions you should be asking your customers and why constantly discounting might hurt your brand.

Make 2015 the year of the customer

To kick things off this week, we have an article from our commercial director on how 2015 should be the year of the customer. Head over to Econsultancy to find out why Ben believes 2015 should be the year where every decision is made on the basis of what customers actually want rather than what the retailer thinks they want.

Why sales & discounts hurt your ecommerce brand

Our next article explores how constantly discounting your products can actually hurt your ecommerce brand. This is because lower prices rarely lead to brand loyalty, and instead they attract smart shoppers who jump at the opportunity. Obviously sales and discounts still have their place in any pricing strategy, but retailers should focus efforts on sales that complement long-term strategies.

Six questions to get actionable feedback from customers

This next article provides six questions you can easily ask your customers to get the most actionable and useful feedback.

4 ways SEO and UX experts can work together to improve web development

In this article, Search Engine Land explore how improved collaboration between your SEO and UX teams can result in positive impact on the outcomes of the Web projects.

Sustainable SEO Strategies for 2015

To finish off an article from Clickz which explores how your SEO strategy in 2015 should rely more on boosting the customer experience instead of focusing on search engine algorithms.

Thanks for reading!

The Weekly Shop (12th – 16th Jan)

In this week’s Weekly Shop news digest we look at the importance of customer experience management, predictions for the marketing world in 2010 and how customer satisfaction has reached the lowest point since 2010.

What is customer experience management (CEM) and why should you be focusing on it?

Our first article this week looks at the terms customer experience and customer experience management that have risen to the top of every business’s agenda over the last year. Econsultancy have defined the terms and also outlined the benefits of both quality customer experience and customer experience management.

Customer satisfaction reaches lowest point since 2010

Based on the feedback from nearly 40,000 customer experiences, the 2015 UK Customer Satisfaction Index has shown that satisfaction has reached the lowest point since 2010 – with only the utilities and banking sectors improved during 2014. Retailers John Lewis and Amazon topped the league table for customer satisfaction and other retailers in the top ten included Ocado, Marks and Spencer (food), Waitrose, Argos and Aldi.

10 Predictions for the Marketing World in 2015

You’ve probably read plenty of marketing predictions over the last few weeks, but Rand Fishkin’s predictions for the marketing world in 2015 are well worth a read. Head over to The Moz blog to find out what they are.

Five trends for retailers to watch

This next article from Internet Retailing looks at five trends that retailers should keep an eye on in 2015 which include wearables, cashless payments and drones.

Sales speak: using the right language to keep online buyers interested

Our last article this week explores how to use language to keep oniline buyers interested and includes some handy tips on what to do and what not to do.

Thanks for reading!

The Weekly Shop (5th – 9th January)

Welcome to the first Weekly Shop of 2015! This week we have predictions for 2015 across ecommerce and mobile, how this year’s Black Friday spending compared to last year and how men and women shop differently at Christmas following a survey from our Premium Panel.

Black Friday spending up 18% in 2014

New figures this week have revealed that consumers spent 18% more on Black Friday 2014 than they did on the same day in the previous year as they looked to get the best deals in the run-up to Christmas. According to data from Barclaycard, Black Friday 2014 was the highest spending day on record as UK consumers spent £810 million in one day.

Five ways technology could shape UK retail in 2015

Developments in retail technology are enabling retailers to offer a more bespoke and personalised service to customers andthis next article takes a look at five ways technology could help shape UK retail in 2015.

20 ecommerce trends and predictions for 2015

In our next article this week, Econsultancy have asked an expert panel of ecommerce professionals to predict the trends that are likely to shape ecommerce in 2015.

Six mobile retail predictions for 2015

Continuing the theme of predictions for 2015, this next article explores six big things retailers can expect to see from mobile this coming year including payments, personalisation and wearables.

Do men and women shop differently at Christmas?

Just before Christmas, we asked our Premium Panel – which is made up of over 700 UK consumers – how they were intending to organise their gift-buying this Christmas. We asked our Premium Panel two key questions which produced some interesting insights around the difference in the way that men and women shop. Head over to the Froggblog to read more.

That’s it for this week! Thanks for reading. We’ll be making a few changes to The Weekly Shop newsletter this year, so watch this space!

Do men and women shop differently at Christmas?

We know how important customer experience is to the modern consumer, which is why Leapfrogg has an ongoing quest to understand the needs and behaviours of the premium shopper. One of the most regular discussions we have about this is the difference in the way that men and women shop.

With Christmas fast approaching, we decided to ask our Premium Panel – which is made up of over 700 UK consumers – how they were intending to organise their gift-buying this Christmas.

We asked our Premium Panel two key questions and below we compare the boys to the girls.

Which channels are you most likely to use as part of your Christmas gift research?

"Likely" or "Very Likely" to use during Christmas gift research - Women

"Likely" or "Very Likely" to use during Christmas gift research - Men

At first glance it seems as though men and women are pretty similar in the mix of channels that they’re using for their Christmas shopping. There are, however, a few small but not insignificant differences we spotted:

• Women are more likely to use a number of different channels equally in combination to research purchases at Christmas
• By comparison, men are more likely to use individual brand websites (33%) and emails from brands (12%) than social-based channels
• Although marginal, women are more likely to use social channels than men to research their purchases with 24% likely to use them vs. 21% of men
• Overall, the percentage of those likely to be using social media channels is low compared to the high percentage of people likely to use brand or lifestyle websites as part of their consideration process

Therefore, retailers should be prioritising their Christmas marketing spend for digital channels in the following top five order to maximise on the research habits of their target consumers:

1. Brand website
2. Coverage on lifestyle/fashion websites
3. Email
4. Coverage on influential blogs
5. Facebook

Which channels are you most likely to go on to make your Christmas gift purchases through?

Channel most likely to make Christmas purchases through - Women

Channel most likely to make Christmas purchases through - Men

The key take out here is that although men and women are both shopping through a variety of channels, women are more likely to be using a combination of purchase channels than men (55% vs. 42%).

The main difference between the purchasing behaviour of men and women is that men are more likely to purchase numerous gifts in one place and use multi-brand retailers (28% of men vs. 18% of women).

Brands marketing to men, therefore, must make the experience on their site and in their email marketing stand out from multi-brand stockists to ensure they get the sale.

Those with a target audience including women need to understand the combination of channels most relevant to them and split marketing efforts across them to capture the broad spread of research and purchase behaviours women like to use.

To find out how you can understand more about your customers’ shopping habits and behaviours get in touch with us or read more about what we do.

 

Premium retail Christmas campaigns

Christmas is, without a doubt, one of the most important times of the year for retailers and a successful Christmas can really make the difference between success and failure for a retailer.

With so much hinging on the Christmas period, it’s little surprise to see just how much effort and money retailers will put into their festive marketing campaigns. It’s no longer enough to promote the latest product or discount; campaigns must be clever, creative and most importantly emotive to win over shoppers in time for the festive rush.

This year, the stakes have been raised even higher with more lavish and creative campaigns appearing across all platforms. In light of this, we’ve brought together some of the most innovative campaigns that we have spotted this year to identify which retailers are most likely to have tapped into their customers’ hearts (and purses!)

Harvey Nichols – Could I be any clearer?


Last year we wrote about Harvey Nichols’ rather shallow Christmas campaign and this year they’ve continued the theme by launching a range of ‘Could I Be Any Clearer’ Christmas cards.

When viewing products on the Harvey Nichols website you can select ‘create Christmas card’ which allows you to choose a card design which can be printed, emailed or shared through social media to send to your loved ones with a not-so-subtle hint of what’s really on your mind this Christmas.

Harvey Nicholls

Mulberry #WinChristmas

Mulberry is another brand who is continuing the theme of Christmas being all about the presents and has created an online campaign entitled #WinChristmas. The advert features an upper class household with family members all competing to outdo each other in their gifts for the spoilt daughter. Each present gets more and more over the top (including a Unicorn!) until granny trumps them all with a Mulberry handbag which gets the biggest reaction from the daughter.

The advert serves as a light-hearted reminder from the luxury brand that you can’t go wrong with giving a Mulberry bag for Christmas. The advert is also complemented by press, digital, in-store window displays, visual merchandising, social competitions and a digital Christmas gift finder – although I am not convinced anyone who has been really naughty deserves something from Mulberry!

Ted Baker’s #EdSelfie


This year, fashion retailer, Ted Baker has done something a bit different and launched a Christmas-themed game on Instagram to engage shoppers over the Christmas period.

The #TedsElfie campaign asks fans to help find Santa’s missing elves and gives clues on their social media pages with hints about where to look. Over on the @TedsElfie Instagram page, you can view various pictures and when you tap them clues are revealed as to the elves whereabouts. When you find an Elf, users can comment on the photos and follow the instructions for a chance to win prizes. I think it’s a really innovative campaign and a great use of Instagram and is certainly capturing the attention of fans of the brand.

ted baker

Selfridges ‘Elfridge and the Enchanted Forest’

Selfridges is another retailer who has also launched a Christmas-themed game to build awareness of their Elfridges service and loyalty amongst shoppers.

The retro inspired game called ‘Elfridge and the Enchanted Forest’ has five levels to represent each of its five stores and transactional website. Players take on the role of an Elfrdige to save Christmas after a golden goose steals the presents from Selfridges and have to navigate through a world reminiscent of Nintendo’s Super Mario. The game serves as a fun marketing tool to inform users about the locations of their different stores and the offers available.

Selfridges

Magic & Sparkle #Followthefairies

This year’s offering from Marks & Spencer has a strong emphasis on social media and the retailer has ditched all the celebrity signings it focused on so heavily last year.

M&S has launched an advert which features two fairies, Magic & Sparkle, who aim to lift festive spirits with ‘random acts of kindness.’ The retailer has utilised their Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr accounts to spread the word and generate chatter with the hashtag #followthefairies.

To emphasise their theme of ‘acts of kindness’ M&S listened to people’s wishes on social media and used geotagging to locate them and make them come true. They ran unbranded events such as creating real snow outside a school in Cornwall, giving gifts to night shift workers, delivering chocolates to a hospital ward to and creating fairies made out of lights above Newcastle’s Tyne Bridge – all of which weren’t revealed to be the work of M&S until the advert was released. The fairies Twitter account has already amassed a massive 42,000 followers and the challenge for M&S will be to keep the attention of the followers they have amassed after the Christmas season.

Burberry – From London With Love

Burberry has launched a four minute film entitled From London with Love which features 12-year old Romeo Beckham – son of David and Victoria Beckham. As well as the advert, the campaign features an interactive store window in its London and Paris stores which enable visitors to interact with individual scenes in the advert through their mobiles. Consumers are also able to shop for items directly through Twitter.

Christopher Bailey, the brands CEO and Creative Director said the idea was about combining a “physical experience with something that is online” and working with Twitter meant the brand could “do that on different platforms in a physical location”.

John Lewis – Monty’s Magical Toy Machine

It wouldn’t be a Christmas campaign blog without including John Lewis. I thought this year’s advert was sweet, but it didn’t blow me away. However, what I thought was really innovative was some of the other ideas intended to extend the life of the campaign such as Monty’s Magical Toy Machine. At the flagship John Lewis store in Oxford Street, children can scan their favourite toy into the machine and through photogrammetry technology the toy then appears on screen as a moving as a life-like 3D image and dances for the child. I can only imagine the children’s responses to their toys coming to life!

john lewis magical toy machine

So there you have it; just a few of the Christmas campaigns we’ve spotted this Christmas. Which one is your favourite and are there any other good ones that I have missed?

The Weekly Shop (8th – 12th Dec)

Welcome to one of the last Weekly Shop’s of the year – where has the year gone! This week we have featured some stories you may have missed around ecommerce returns, the importance of mobile-friendly websites in 2015 and the future of Google’s search algorithm.

Social engagement within the premium furniture sector

During the latter part of this year, we have been investigating how premium retailers are delivering relevant content and engaging socially with their customers. In the first report of the series, we have looked at 20 leading retailers in the premium furniture sector and assessed how well they are engaging their audiences which produced some interesting insights. You can download the full report here.

Men shop very differently from women online and require a completely new approach

Moving onto some retail news, this article from Internet Retailing looks at how men and women shop for clothes in a very different way online and looks at how websites can cater to the male market.

15 tips for improving ecommerce returns policies

With Christmas being the busiest time of year for returns volumes, how should retailers handle returns? In this next article, Econsultancy have rounded up 15 best practice tips from various retailers.

Why a mobile-friendly website is essential to a successful SEO strategy in 2015

Moving onto search news, this article from Search Engine Watch looks at the importance of having a mobile-friendly website in order to have a successful SEO strategy in 2015 .

Press releases are not an SEO strategy

This next article from Clickz explores how press releases and press release websites are not an SEO strategy and explores how you can get much better results contacting journalists directly.

Why SEOs Need To Care About User Experience

Next up, URL profiler looks at how Google doesn’t really care about SEOs and that they only really care about user experience and optimising the experience of Google for their users.

The Future of Google’s Search Algorithm: Refinement Vs. Overhaul

To finish of this week, some interesting reading from Search Engine Land on Google’s search algorithm and specifically where Google search is headed and the signals it relies on.

That’s it for this week!