Facebook reactions and brands jump on the emoji bandwagon

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

Facebook rolls out reactions globally

Facebook reactions were first announced in November 2015, after many requests for a ‘dislike’ button from users. Now after a period of testing in various markets across the world, Facebook has announced they are ready to roll this feature out to all users in the coming weeks.

Facebook reactions

Facebook is rolling out an initial five Reactions: ‘angry, sad, wow, haha and love’. Although, this update may seem quite trivial, we’re interested to see how brands and retailers can start to use this feature to gain even more insight and data into the customer experience. Now is the time for marketers to develop a plan to process this new stream of customer data so they can take advantage of it at launch.

 

Our Senior Account Manager, James Bradbury said “Rather than the simple ‘like’ and much clamoured for ‘dislike’ button, users will be able to attach emotion to brand messaging. This is going to mean that brands are going to have to be even more intelligent when it comes to brands and retailers communicating through Social Media.”

House of Fraser’s #Emojinal campaign provokes mixed reactions

If you follow @HouseofFraser, you won’t have missed their very out of character #emojinal takeover which was shared across their social channels on Monday.

 

The brand, usually more known for their luxury-focused image, hijacked trending topics such as Pep Guardiola’s move to Manchester City and Harry Styles’ birthday by sharing a flurry of slightly cringe-worthy tweets and photoshopped images of celebrities filled with emojis.

A quick scan of the #emojinal hashtag on Twitter shows mixed reactions from House of Fraser’s followers with many expressing surprise and dismay at the drastic shift in tone from the retailer and questioning whether the account had actually been hacked. The campaign appears to follow on from their more ‘edgy’ Christmas advert back in December as House of Fraser continues to evolve its image and reach a new audience.

 

On analysing the campaign Rosie, Leapfrogg’s Managing Director, said “Unless House of Fraser is tricking us all and has a brilliant next stage of their #emojinal campaign I think this is a classic case of jumping on a trend for the sake of it rather than thinking about what would really resonate with their customers. House of Fraser may be trying to attract a new younger audience but completely changing your brand tone and identity on a platform where many of your core customers engage with you is not a clever move. I would recommend House of Fraser revisit their customer profiles and find a way to attract the right type of customer for the products they sell.”

Diptyque launches new scent with packaging and emojis

Following on from the above, our favourite fragrance brand Diptyque has also jumped on the emoji bandwagon.

 

To coincide with the launch of their new Rosaviola scent, Diptyque has recruited fashion designer Olympia Le-Tan to create embroidered versions of the brand’s iconic packaging. In addition, the full range of designs have been digitised as an emoji keyboard which includes lollipops, typewriters, lipsticks and a version of Diptyque’s recognisable shopping carrier.

 

#diptyque #emoji #collaboration #olympialetan (link in bio)

A photo posted by @diptyque on

 

Unfortunately, the icons cannot be used like traditional emojis but are more like ‘Facebook stickers’ where the user has to paste them into messages which we found a little disappointing.

 

It’s interesting to see how a luxury brand such as Dipthque has jumped on the growing trend of emoji marketing but put their own luxury spin on them in order to meet reach out to a younger, tech-savvy audience.

 

Insight Edit: Are consumers buying through social media?

Here at Leapfrogg, we have a panel of over 1000 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.

 

There has been a lot of speculation that 2016 will be the year of the “buy now” button in social media. Many people within in the digital industry are convinced there will be a huge move forward in the number of consumers purchasing directly through their favourite social media platforms.

 

Whilst we are seeing the steady impact of social media (done correctly) on purchase behaviour across our client base, we are still seeing a low number of direct purchases through those platforms.

 

We decided to ask our panel if they had bought directly through social media platforms in the last three months.

 

77% of consumers have not made a direct purchase through social media in the last three months. (1)

Of the 23% who did make a purchase – 77% made a purchase through Facebook, 33% through Instagram and a further 13% through Twitter.

 

This shows us that social platforms still have a long way to go to be the main conversion channel compared to retail websites and email. We believe the main reason for this is due to the consumers lack of willingness to make purchases directly on social channels. Perhaps they are just not in buying mode when engaging on those platforms.

 

Alternatively, retailers may not yet be providing the right levels of engaging content on those platforms and, therefore, failing to create the need to purchase right there and then.

 

It will be interesting to see how these numbers change over the coming months as the main social platforms continue the push their “buy now” buttons to own the purchase moment in the customer journey.

 

The decline of organic Instagram and Audience Optimisation for Facebook

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

The decline of organic Instagram

This week a study by social analytics company Locowise, concluded that Instagram’s engagement and organic growth is declining. Instagram was one of the most engaging social platforms in 2015, but now it appears it is growing so fast that it’s becoming more difficult to get organic growth on it.

Locowise reviewed 2,500 profiles and found that in terms of follower growth, the numbers were 88.21% lower in December, at 0.23% – than they were in at their peak in April, at 1.95%. Growth on Facebook and Twitter, were 0.14% and 0.09% respectively, during the same time.


Overall, Instagram is still performing better than Facebook and Twitter and Instagram ads are open to everyone through Facebook’s self-serve ad system. The bad news is that it looks like brands will now have to pay for visibility in order to be successful.

Our Social Media and Content Consultant, Hannah Brookes, said “social media advertising is a growing area in digital marketing – one that the platforms are more than willing to encourage. It’s certainly frustrating for retailers to have to pay to reach the audiences they’ve spent time and effort building up. Only time will tell if Instagram will follow the same path as Facebook and actively restrict the organic reach of content posted by businesses. Either way, when social media success comes with an advertising budget attached, it’s so much more important to have a clear strategy for your marketing. By taking the time to understand your customers and the journey they take from first contact to purchase, you’re much more likely to see a healthy return on your investment.”
 

WhatsApp’s allows brands to communicate with customers

Also this week, mobile messaging app, WhatsApp, announced that they are soon going to allow certain businesses to communicate directly with customers on the platform.

According to a company blogpost on the changes, WhatsApp will this year begin testing tools that allow consumers to “communicate with businesses and organisations [customers] want to hear from”. That means no ads and no messaging spam, and it will become more of a notifications service.

WhatsApp has already ruled out introducing third-party ads in its post, stating: “Naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today’s announcement means we’re introducing third-party ads. The answer is no.”

Enabling third-party brands on the platform should provide WhatsApp with a revenue boost without alienating users. We will be interested to see how this pans out and retailers can start using the platform to provide updates to customers and improve their customer service.
 

SEO finally comes to organic Facebook posts

In more social news, Facebook has just announced that Interest Targeting will go and will be replaced by Audience Optimisation.
 
Facebook’s new Audience Optimisation comes in three parts:
 

  • Preferred audience – tags that encourage Facebook show the post to people who might be interested in the tag.
  • Audience restrictions – a bit like the old interest targeting; you can say who might not be interested in the post.
  • Audience insights – want to see how the content actually performed against your tags? This will show you.

 
This means that English language pages, will soon be able to use interest tags within your posts and Facebook will optimise the delivery of those free posts to matching people. You’ll also be able to analysis how successful your interest tagging strategy is and see how different subsets of audiences are engaging with your content.
 

Christmas trading update

JLL’s annual Christmas Trading Update has revealed that over 80% of UK retailers and leisure operators that have disclosed performance figures for the key Christmas trading period have registered positive like for like (LFL) annual growth, with 50% delivering LFL growth in excess of 4% year on year.


Overall, online sales were the clear winner, and retailers that provide customers with an integrated, seamless offer continue to benefit from real competitive advantage. In particular, the growing influence of m-commerce was evident from the trading updates of Jigsaw (mobile sales up +115%), John Lewis (+31%), Very.co.uk (+32%) and Made.com (+122%).

Retail marketing trends we’re excited about in 2016

There is a lot to look forward to in 2016 in the world of retail – innovations in technology continue to break down the barriers between consumer and retailer. Methods for gathering insights about your customers are also getting more sophisticated. These means marketing campaigns are becoming much more targeted – and therefore effective.

Here are few of the retail marketing trends for 2016 that we’re excited about:

The gap between off-line and online is shrinking

It’s becoming ever easier for internet-only retailers to make their mark on UK high streets. Pop up shops are popping up all over the place, with both big and small brands opening physical shop doors for a few days or weeks at a time.

The surge in popularity for pop ups has caused a few problems for the little guys, as empty shops in sought-after locations like London now come at a premium. However, the upside is that these temporary spaces are now being used much more strategically. In recent months, we’ve seen retailers using pop up shops to gather data, trial locations for more permanent stores, and get feedback on products to inform development of new lines.

The pop up trend shows no sign of abating in 2016. However, the format is evolving and adapting in favour of smaller retailers. Services like We Are Pop Up are helping like-minded retailers connect and collaborate. Instead of renting out a whole shop space, you can just rent a rail.

We Are Pop Up

This blending of brands is certainly practical from a logistical point as you can utilise existing facilities in an established shop. However, it also creates potential create PR opportunities when done right. We’re very much looking forward to seeing what pop up partnerships happen in 2016 and how they are received by consumers.

Social media is becoming more integral to the shopping experience

In 2015, social media advertising caused waves in ecommerce as many platforms scaled up their advertising features. In September, the big news was that Instagram opened up to all advertisers after integrating with Facebook. UK retailers are also waiting with bated breath the launch of Pinterest shoppable pins – currently only available in the US.

Instagram and other Social Media Apps

Image credit: Jason Howie on Flickr.

We expect to see similar stories in 2016 as more platforms allow retailers to sell direct to consumers with “buyable content”. However, it’s not just in the virtual space where social media and shopping are merging. Retailers are beginning to introduce social content to stores too.

One story that caught our eye was the social media-informed digital clothing rail. Created by O2 Business for Tyrers department store, the rail displayed which items of clothing were trending on social media. This is a good example of how social listening paired with technology creates a great experience for consumers.

Data is being used to inform business decisions

Here at Leapfrogg, we love hearing how retailers are using data to game-change their business. In 2015, we were excited to work with Rockett St George on a customer insight project. By learning about the buying behaviours of their customers, this homeware retailer segmented and profiled their database, then refined their marketing communications to provide customers with a more relevant and personalised experience. The result was a 20% increase in turnover in October compared to the same period last year.

Another success story from a retailer was the launch of River Island’s “Click and don’t collect” service. Research by fulfilment specialist Shutl and Retail Week revealed that 20% of shoppers who buy online ask for a refund on their goods rather than collect in store. To give customers more control over the delivery of their items whilst minimalising stock level issues, River Island launched an innovative new service. Shoppers who have selected ‘click and collect’ now have the option of change to Shutl’s delivery service and get their order delivered to their door within 90 minutes, or at a time convenient to them.

In 2016, we want to see more case studies like this as the benefit of using data is two-fold – retailers see better results and customers enjoy a richer experience when purchasing items both online and in stores.

 

Which trends and innovations excite you the most in 2016? Tweet us at @leapfrogg or leave a comment below.

 

What did we learn from Black Friday 2015?

Just over a week ago, the shopping phenomenon which is Black Friday hit the UK. A couple of years ago, this event was only confined to America as a post-Thanksgiving sale event, but it has quickly gained momentum in the UK and become a key date in the retailers calendar. In fact, on Black Friday this year, online sales broke through the £1bn barrier for the first time and over the entirety of Cyber Weekend, a staggering £3.3bn was spent by UK consumers.

With the dust finally settled, we thought we’d look at some of the overall trends we spotted across our clients and the retail sector in general.

Industry insights

Consumers spent more

According to The IBM Watson Trend Hub, this year consumers in the UK spent 50% more online than in 2014. The average basket was a full £7.50 higher at just over £82, making it one of the highest ever posted. If you compare this to an average Friday which is £71, then it’s clear to see the impact of Black Friday and how it has gained traction in the UK.

Shoppers prefer their smartphones

This year, nearly half of all online sales came from mobile devices on Black Friday.  Adobe says that 21% of sales were made via tablet computers, and £242m was spent on mobile devices, up from £217m last year.

This data shows that retailers’ investment in mobile commerce is definitely paying off as consumers are becoming increasingly happy to research and make purchases on their mobile phones. We imagine that many consumers would have done their research prior to Black Friday, and are ready to make purchases on their mobiles first thing or during their commute to work.

Black Friday is an online event

According to figures from the IMRG, online sales broke through the £1bn barrier for a single day for the first time on Black Friday, but high streets and shopping centres failed to entice shoppers despite their heavy promotions.

Black Friday footfall was significantly down on last year, despite more awareness of the event and retailers communicating their discounts well in advance. It appears that horror stories from previous years had an effect on shoppers and the average Brit opted to stay inside, avoid the crowds and shop online.

Consumers still shop in-store for various reasons; namely being the convenience and the experience of shopping as a leisure activity. If this is compromised, then shoppers may well choose to shop online instead. Bricks and mortar stores need to think beyond discounts and focus on the experience they are providing their customers – what can they offer in-store shoppers that you can’t get online?  Being more creative about the shopping experience will help motivate people to leave their screens and head in-store.

Retailers are still unprepared

As shoppers surged online, we saw more website casualties this year. Our friends at Ampersand created a live dashboard to track retailers’ websites and reported that a fifth of ecommerce websites had experienced some downtime by 9am and singled out Boots, Argos and Game as retailers that had experienced disruption.

Argos were forced to give customers a countdown as long as nine minutes before transactions could be completed and their customers took to social media in their droves to voice their complaints. This was highly unfortunate for the retailer since they had been creating hype around their discounts for a week before the event.

Argos website Black Friday

Downtime can cause huge problems for retailers. It stops those all-important sales and can cause long term damage on a brands reputation from customers who expect sites to be fast and reliable at all times. If they are not, they will most certainly head off to a competitor and probably won’t come back. Retailers need to look at their data from this year and ensure that they have the right technology in place for 2016.

As well as their website, retailers need to also ensure they can always deliver on their delivery promises with the increase in sales that Black Friday brings.

You don’t have to discount

This year we saw retailers such as Oasis, Next, Reiss and Asda chose opt out of Black Friday. Over in the U.S, outdoor retailer REI even decided to close their stores on Black Friday and encourage shoppers to enjoy the outdoors as part of a huge campaign to boycott the day. Here in the UK premium fashion retailer Jigsaw didn’t discount to tie in with their pricing manifesto and ended up having their highest ever week at full price. Based on the chaos of previous years, Asda also decided to focus on offering great value products throughout the whole Christmas period rather than focus on one day of discounting to improve the experience for their customers.

Jigsaw's pricing manifesto

Jigsaw’s pricing manifesto

Retailers are divided over whether Black Friday is a good thing seeing as it forces them to lose margin at the most important time of the year. They need to make a commercial decision about whether Black Friday will be a beneficial promotion for their business.

If retailers did discount, their challenge is now to encourage those customers to keep shopping with them at full price throughout 2016.

What have we learnt?

Rosie Freshwater – Managing Director

“Don’t put all of your promotional eggs in one basket. Instead of focusing on high discounts on Black Friday, run seasonal offers from late October and ensure consistent stock levels and efficient delivery throughout the entire season. Use Christmas to acquire new customers with future profit potential, rather than discount shoppers who will only buy once.”

Monika Varzinskaite – Paid Search Consultant

“Prepare your promotions well in advance. Create landing pages, use special site-link extensions (this year Google offered extensions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday only) and set aside a budget specifically for cyber weekend as cost-per-clicks go up, meaning that you would see an increased media spend compared other weekends.”

Alex Oxborough – Social Media and Content Manager

“I share a similar view to Rosie, Black Friday has arrived on the UK retail scene, but it needn’t be just about discounting. The negative press around the day is an opportunity to gain positive publicity for your brand. By stating that you are not taking part in Black Friday and making the reason why about the quality of your customer experience, you can build your brand and win customer loyalty.”

The top five customer service factors that will increase customer loyalty

To many, the word “customer service” represents the services that a retailer gives their customers post-purchase to ensure the order arrives smoothly or that any faults or questions from customers are dealt with in a timely and efficient manner.

However, this is no longer the case as the world of retail is changing in line with the demands and expectations of the modern day consumer. Customer service now also relates to the way the retailer communicates with the consumer throughout the entire buying journey.

Customer service begins at the consideration period. Video chats with customer service representatives, answering enquiries on Twitter and reviewing responses from the brand on social media are just some of the ways in which the level of service from a retailer will influence the purchase decision.

Moving across to the moment of purchase – customer service also plays a huge role. The ease of the online purchase funnel, the ability to read other customer reviews, offers of free, fast or convenient click and collect delivery are all elements of customer service that affect the point of conversion.

Post-purchase, the traditional elements of responding to queries, delivery problems, product faults and returns come into play, but how the retailer communicates with the customer to form an ongoing relationship is part of customer service. Sending personalised emails, relevant offers, offering loyalty programs and engaging on social media are all ways in which retailers provide a top service to their customers.

Customer experience and customer service are interchangeable as both disciplines are focused solely on the happiness of the customer.

The modern consumer expects incredibly high standards of customer service from the brands he/she chooses to shop with. We have listed below the five key elements a retailer must have in place to meet expectations and create a profitable ongoing relationship with its customers.

1. Delivering on promise

Simply put, retailers MUST deliver on their promises. Offers must be honoured, items must be in stock, and products must come in top condition and on time.

John Lewis Delivery options

2. Continuing the brand experience

Many retailers focus on delivering a brilliant service to potential customers to entice them into making a purchase, but then forget to carry on that high level of experience post-purchase. Order confirmations and delivery notes can be bland and unengaging, social media channels too sales focused and packaging can be uninspiring. Retailers must put the same amount of effort into their messaging and content post-purchase as they do pre-purchase. They must work to deliver an amazing ongoing brand experience to retain their customers long term.

3. Remember and personalise

It is important that a consumer feels valued by the brands they buy from. A great way for retailers to show they value their customers is to remember who they are and personalise communication towards them. Personalisation is much more than remembering a customers’ name in an email. Retailers should be curating products and content within emails and website to match the preferences and previous shopping habits of their and their customers. They should aim to find out what is important to their customers and tailor their communication accordingly.

Feel Unique email sign up form

Feel Unique’s email sign up form asks customers about specific beauty concerns in order to personalise their communications.

4. Ask their opinion

By asking your customers opinion on topics such as product development and promotions will show your customers that you really value them.

We are not suggesting that a retail strategy should then be driven wholly by their customers, but there have been many cases where asking customers their thoughts on your business and products they would like to be introduced has led to very successful changes being implemented. There are many ways in which you can gather your customers’ opinions, such as social media or email, so there is no reason why retailers should not be garnering insights from their customer base on a regular basis.

Screengrab of asking customers about products

Pai skincare asked their customers what products they would like to see introduced to the range.

5. Reward for loyalty

Every retailer will have a pool of customers who are loyal and shop with them multiple times a year. To retain those customers, retailers cannot just rely on great products. Great service will, of course, encourage those customers to remain loyal, but the icing on the cake, especially for those of high value or potentially high value is to reward them and thank them for their custom. Retailers don’t have to give money off as a reward; there are plenty of other ways to reward customers from, exclusive product previews and events to express delivery and free gifts. Retailers must choose the rewards that match the needs of their most valuable customers.

SpaceNK Birthday gift

SpaceNK offers a free product to their customers’ on their birthday.

In a nutshell, the most important ways for retailers to ensure their customers come back time and time again is to take the time to truly understand the service that their customers want and deliver that service, tailored to them. It isn’t a quick process to become customer-centric in this way, but every change that a retailer makes with customer happiness in mind is one step further towards that utopia.

A closer look at Habitat – the most engaging online furniture retailer

Back in September, we launched our first ever Customer Engagement Awards. After a month of voting from our Premium Panel, the public and a panel of retail experts we were delighted to announce the winning brands across a number of retail sectors.

In this series of blog posts, we will be taking a closer look into why the winning brands are leading the way with customer engagement by delivering relevant content and engaging socially with their customers.

First up is Habitat who was voted the most engaging online furniture brand and scored 13/25 in our first engagement report.

In our analysis, Habitat scored highly in terms of the engagement they received on their own on-site content. We were impressed by the content they produced, but felt a key takeaway for the brand was to cascade this content consistently across their social channels and use it to excite their audience further.

The Habitat website is a great resource for those interested in interiors with everything from iconic product stories and information about their designers to their heritage and Habitat’s role in modern culture.

We enjoyed their #HabitatVoyeur campaign which accompanies their recent television adverts. This campaign takes a look into the homes of some of the UK’s creative individuals and shares their interiors inspiration. The content doesn’t just share inspirational interior design, it also introduces readers to exciting people in the fashion, food and drink world and does a great job of making you feel “in the know” and that you are accessing exclusive content.

Screenshot of Habitat's coolest Habitats

Habitat has also produced humorous videos which give instructions on how to be a #habitatvoyeur, tapping into the fact that many of us enjoy a snoop around other peoples’ homes.

To engage their audience further and spread the idea of Habitat voyeurism, they recently ran a competition, in which they invited people to upload an image of their home in order to win a voucher which produced user-generated content and engagement across their social channels and allowed consumers to become part of the brand.

Screenshot of Habitat user generated content

On-site, Habitat has a blog section which includes buying guides, stories behind their products and gift guides and inspiration. However, this content is very tucked away on their website and should be given more prominence on their website and social channels. It would be great to see the product stories incorporated into their product pages to really bring them to life. Buying guides can also improve conversion rate as they help customers make an informed choice.

Habitat received the most engagement for their own content on Twitter followed by Facebook. Their strategy on Twitter also see’s them retweet happy customers and mentions of their brand whilst sharing their own content. There is a good mix of post types including images, video and mentions from bloggers. They also reply to customers order queries and complaints in a timely manner. A nice touch is that they reply to any Twitter user who submits a #HabitatVoyeur image, but it would be even more brilliant if they could make this more personalised to each customer.

Over on Instagram, the brand has been steadily growing their following. Their images are all vibrant and modern and very reminiscent of the Habitat brand and their products. As well as sharing products, they also share images from their #HabitatVoyeur campaign, behind the scenes ‘sneak peeks’, press mentions and images of their products in context. However, some posts weren’t receiving a huge amount of engagement compared to other brands.

Habitat Instagram

Facebook, although full of content, is one way and the engagement is mainly in the form of Likes.  A development for Habitat could be using their #HabitatVoyeur campaign to engage more of a conversation with users. They could ask more questions, survey fans on what rooms they like most, or even offer the opportunity to be interviewed by Habitat and share their customers’ inspirational images to push their voyeurism theme even further.

You can read more in our furniture engagement report here.

Insight Edit: How much personalisation do today’s premium consumers want?

Here at Leapfrogg, we have a panel of over 1000 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.

Personalisation is a growing trend for retailers looking to enhance their customer experience.

Leading retailers are building various forms of personalisation into their marketing tactics. It is no longer enough to just address emails personally, consumers now expect the content of their emails to be personalised to their shopping habits and preferences. Website content can be tailored according to previous behaviour and display ads can be shown according to the way a consumer has behaved across multiple websites.

Although these tactics create a very relevant experience for consumers, we are also conscious there in a thin line between ‘creepy’ and ‘cool.’

In light of this, we wanted to understand our Premium Panel’s attitude to personalisation. We asked them how important it was that the brands they buy from personalise their communications based on their preferences and previous purchases.

Premium Panel survey

A further 35% were indifferent, deeming it neither important nor unimportant. This means that only 12% think it unimportant that brands personalise the experience.

These figures show how important it is that retailers begin to build an element of personalisation into the experience they give their customers. Showing your customers you are aware of their favourite products or providing offers that suit them will not only generate additional sales but also increase loyalty too. By personalising the experience you give your customers across any channel, you can show them that they are a valued customer.

If you can make your customers happy, they will ultimately buy more and remain loyal. It’s a win-win situation. There are plenty of clever tools to allow retailers to start using personalisation across their digital channels with very little cost implication. So what are you waiting for?

Five simple tips to get your site in shape for Christmas

Last year, our Website Optimisation Manager, Suze, gave some great conversion rate optimisation tips for maximising online sales at Christmas time. To follow on from her recommendations, I have provided a few more tips to ensure you ride the sleigh of success straight to the North Pole this holiday season.

 

 

Give your page titles and meta descriptions the attention they deserve

Your page titles and meta descriptions are essentially your organic ad copy and are often neglected.  As the volume of searches ramps up towards Christmas, a fraction of an improvement on your click-through rate could mean additional sales or enquiries to help hit those vital targets.

Ensure your listings stand out in the crowded SERPs with well written and thought out page titles and enticing meta descriptions. You can take this a step further by adding mark-up to your page content to add rich snippets such as product stock level, star ratings and price to your results. You can do this using schema.org or to some extent Google Search Console’s Data Highlighter.

Check for ‘page not found’ errors in Google’s Search Console

A link to a ‘page not found’ is a lost link. It can also mean a search engine drops your page from its index and offers visitors a poor user experience. Google Search Console kindly shares ‘page not found’ errors as it finds them. Work to get these cleared up before the Christmas rush.

'Page not found' errors

Page load speed

Spend some time checking how fast your most important pages load. How do they compare to the site average, are they slow? Do they load slowly on mobile devices? Is there anything you can do to speed them up?

All of this information can be found by taking a look in Google Analytics to see how long it is actually taking your pages to load for site visitors.

Page load speed in Google Analytics

Use Google’s Page Insights tool to identify what you can do to speed up your pages. One of the most common issues that slows page load is having large images. Lossless compression of your images is also probably the easiest (if time consuming) thing to work on.

Check mobile usability

Again Google’s Search Console can help you out here; it will point you in the direction of pages with mobile usability issues and provide some detail how to resolve the issue.

Mobile usability

Have a dig around analytics for any other potential site issues

Look at what happened last year. What pages performed well? Which ones didn’t?

Take a look at what pages had high exit and bounce rates last year. Was there a reason for that? Is there anything
you can do to improve these pages, for example, can you help your users better navigate your site with improved signposting on these pages? Is the information the searcher is looking for immediately obvious?

It doesn’t look good to Google if there is a large proportion of searches bouncing straight back to the SERPs from your pages.

Potential site issues

Optimise your images for search

Finally optimise your images, give them friendly names, and set the alt attribute to something that describes the image. People use Google Image search to look for products so you need to make sure yours are there.

 

As you can see, there are a couple of quick wins you can make to your website to ensure that you are maximising your online sales this Christmas.  With only 41 days to go, don’t delay in making these changes. Good luck!

Image via Kaboompics.com.

 

How to put the customer at the heart of your digital marketing

In today’s consumer-led world, there’s no denying that crafting a great customer experience across all channels is firmly rooted as the key to success.

Those retailers who truly understand the needs and expectations of their customers and are able to deliver a positive, seamless experience across multiple touchpoints – from in-store, to mobile, online, email, sales and customer service – will ultimately prosper.

Whilst most retailers agree that designing and delivering the perfect customer experience is the key to success, there are many challenges they face in doing so, from data and insight through to back-end technology and larger structural changes. Digital marketers in particular face the ongoing challenge of knowing where to invest to get the best return when there is such a myriad of marketing opportunities and tactics available to them.

Our solution is to get into a customer-first mindset.

Basing decisions on actual insight and feedback from customers allows digital marketers to cut through the noise and make more informed decisions.

We believe that everyone in an organisation has a responsibility to be customer-centric and for this reason, we have produced a step by step guide on how to keep the customer at the heart of your everyday marketing activity. We explain how to get clever with customer insight in order to make smarter decisions and improve the results of your day-to-day marketing activity.

We hope you find the report a useful read. If you have any questions, please do get in touch to find out more about how you can use customer insight to put the customer at the heart of your marketing strategy.

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