How premium retailers are trying to win hearts for Valentine’s Day

Despite more than half of consumers feeling that Valentine’s Day is a waste of money, it has clearly not stopped Britain spending. Last year saw £313m spent on food and drink, £518m spent on gifts, and £135m spent on seasonal non-food items such as cards and wrap and this year, it’s estimated that Britain will spend £980m*.

In response to this, brands have been really pushing their Valentine’s campaigns this year with everything from emojis to fishing. Here we’ve rounded up some of the marketing highlights from premium retailers we have seen so far.

Ted Baker

Ted Baker is well known for their creative and engaging campaigns. To celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, the retailer rolled out a quirky microsite featuring a fishing game that invites consumers to ‘hook their Sole Mate’ in order to win prizes.

Users get three plays per day, before being invited to share the campaign on social media and return the next day to try again. The campaign also adorns Ted Baker store windows in the period running up to Valentine’s Day. Check it out here.

Ted Baker Sole Mate

House of Fraser

You can’t have missed House of Fraser’s not-so-subtle #emojinal takeover which was all over their social channels last week. The brand which is usually more known for their luxury-focused image hijacked trending topics such as Harry Styles’ birthday and Gigi Hadid’s night out by sharing a flurry of slightly cringe-worthy tweets and photoshopped images of celebrities filled with emojis.

While a lot of people have been slating House of Fraser’s #Emojinal campaign because it was such a stark contrast to their traditional branding, it certainly captured people’s attention.

It’s clear that House of Fraser was trying to capture a younger audience, but the campaign was criticised for alienating their existing audience as they jumped on trending topics without any real meaning or context. Interesting, as we get closer to the big day, there is no sign of the campaign on House of Fraser’s social channels.

Pandora

Valentine’s Day is a key date for jewellery brands, and so it’s no surprise to see many brands upping their game before the big day.

Pandora launched their #GesturesofLove campaign by visiting three stations to surprise people with gestures of love jewellery and a morning coffees.

They have also rolled out the campaign to their social channels to drive user-generated content asked their followers to share what simple gestures make them feel loved over on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Tiffany & Co

Tiffany & Co has asked its followers the age-old question, “What is love?” Their dedicated site features video interviews, a gift guide and a love generator that presents consumers with a sharable GIF to express their personal answer to the frequently pondered question. However, while the Generate Your Love GIFs initially grab your attention, they do get quite repetitive and it would have been nice to see more user-generated content seeded throughout the campaign

Tiffany & Co Love Is

One tip from our MD, Rosie Freshwater, is to make sure you are not alienating some of your customer base by blanket sending Valentine’s content or only speaking about valentines on your social, as half of them could be single and really not want to be reminded of it this time of year!

*stats via Retail Gazette.

This week in digital and retail – 5th February 2016

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

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.

 

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.

Marketing personalisation and the buyer journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zalon

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

Personally, I am looking forward to it.

Top five social media mistakes retailers make

The positive impact social media can have on revenue is well documented. Back in June, I even wrote a post about why retailers should take Pinterest seriously as a way to increase revenue. However, in order to tell your social media success story, you first need to be doing it the right way. From best practice bloopers to strategy fails, here are the top five social media mistakes retailers make – and what they can do to rectify them.

Not adding a call to action to their Facebook Page

Facebook-Call-to-Action

Earlier this year, Facebook rolled out call to action buttons on Pages. These sit in line with the ‘Like’ button and are designed to put a business’s main objective right in front of its Facebook audience.

There are a variety of calls to action currently available, including “Shop Now”, “Contact Us” and “Sign Up”. However, many retailers haven’t taken advantage of this handy little feature. As a simple and effective add-on, it’s good practice to ensure your call to action button is set-up.

To add a call to action button, visit your Page and click the “Create Call-to-Action” button. From there, select the most appropriate statement and enter the URL of the webpage you want to send people to. Facebook also gives you the option to personalise the experience for mobile users by sending them to a mobile-friendly website or an app.

Not compensating for Facebook’s algorithm change

Another common Facebook mistake relates to not adapting to changes on the platform. Two years ago, Facebook announced some pretty big changes to the way it determined what content was served to users’ News Feeds. You can read about these algorithm updates here. To summarise here, Facebook suppressed the organic reach of Pages, making it much harder for businesses to be visible on the platform.

Posting unique content and uploading links with a large preview image can help compensate for this loss of visibility. However, to see the same kind of reach as three years ago, retailers need to embrace paid advertising on the platform.

Of course, any investment in getting your content placed in more News Feeds is wasted if users don’t engage with it. Therefore, alongside a budget for adverts, retailers need to invest in a content strategy underpinned by customer insight.

Sticking with tried and tested platforms

A 2014 study by Hubspot revealed that on average, consumers expected brands to be present on 3.4 different social platforms on average.

Data showing how many platforms consumers expect brands to have a presence on

The survey also revealed that 84% of consumers asked expected brands to be on Facebook and 64% expected them to be on Twitter.

Data showing what platforms consumers expect brands to have a presence on

If you’re unsure where to build your social following, it makes sense to start with the two biggest social media platforms. However, many retailers focus solely on these platforms without considering where else their audience might be. For example, consumers buying homeware might use Houzz to find inspiration. Likewise, customers shopping for clothing might check out the latest trends on Polyvore.

The simplest way to find out which social media platforms your customers are active on is to ask them. Send out a survey asking which platforms they like to use then use the data to inform your strategy.

Focusing on last click conversions

In Google Analytics, it is possible to see the impact social media has on important metrics like conversions.

Impact of social media

Naturally, an ecommerce business will want to see a positive return on investment when embarking on any social media activity. However, a mistake retailers often make is becoming too transfixed on last click transactions.

Most consumers aren’t in buying mode when active on social media platforms. Therefore, it is unlikely they will click straight from your content to your website and purchase something right away. This is even truer for luxury retailers or sellers of big ticket items like furniture. These are considered purchases, where a consumer will take their time before deciding to buy, as opposed to purchasing on impulse. Therefore, last click transactions are less likely to take place.

To truly understand the impact social media has on revenue, you first must understand your customers and the buying journey. Are they impulse buyers? If they are, social media advertising directing targeted users to hero products could be a good strategy. However, if your customers like to research an item before purchasing, use social media as a channel to publish informative content about your products.

Working in a silo

Although many retailers have embraced social media as part of their marketing strategy, an issue we frequently come across here at Leapfrogg is teams working in silos. PR, marketing, social media and editorial teams all have an important part to play in a retail business. However, they don’t always work closely enough together.

When working on natural search strategies for clients, we first find out who the customers are and what they are interested in. We then create a content plan filled with ideas inspired by this consumer insight and tied in with the brand’s commercial objectives. This plan cascades down through the different marketing channels so everyone is working towards the same goal.

Breaking down silos within a business doesn’t happen overnight. However, the simplest thing like working from one centralised plan will enhance any marketing activity and make it much more impactful.

 

The Hype – Digital innovations at London Fashion Week

In this edition of The Hype, we look at the retailers and designers that have showcased fashion and digital at London Fashion Week (LFW).

Every season, the role of digital becomes more prevalent at Fashion Week as more and more brands harness the power of online. Now you don’t even have to be in the Frow in order to interact and engage with the shows, as more and more designers bring their collections to consumers via technology.

Burberry’s Snapchat story

Burberry on Snapchat

The digital pioneer that is Burberry inevitably stood out this year due to their innovative use of Snapchat.
 
In a first for a luxury brand, Burberry created a Snapchat story which revealed its spring 16 collection the night before its Fashion Week show to Snapchat’s 100 million users. The preview remained on Burberry’s story for 24 hours and was then followed up by a ‘Burberry Live Story’ that combined crowd-sourced Burberry show-related video and images into a single stream on Snapchat. The content then of course disappeared after 24 hours giving it a real feel of exclusivity. I’ve seen many brands use Snapchat, but it has often felt like the brand has been thinking ‘platform-first, content-second’, but in Burberry’s case, its use of the platform felt polished and really added value to their show.
 
Prior to Fashion Week, Burberry also launched another first for a fashion brand – a music channel on Apple Music. You can find the channel in the ‘curators’ section and it showcases collaborations with British artists in the form of songs, playlists, films and performances that are all in keeping with the Burberry brand.
 
The campaign was clearly a success as data from Brandwatch showed that Burberry was the most talked about designer on social this season – pulling in over 40,000 tweets – over 10% of the total tweets about London Fashion Week.
 
Former CEO Angela Ahrendts (now retail boss at Apple) was responsible for putting digital at the heart of Burberry’s business strategy, which has included launching live catwalk streaming and the ‘Art of the Trench’ mini-site. Last year during LFW, Burberry also partnered with Twitter to launch a click-to-buy button for Burberry products as they were modeled on the runway. 

Topshop’s Pinterest Palettes

Topshop Pinterest Palettes screenshot Topshop is the only high-street brand on the fashion-week schedule, and their Unique Show which is now in its 23rd season, has become one of the most highly anticipated shows.
 
In order to engage their entire customer base in the London Fashion Week excitement, Topshop teamed up with Pinterest to launch ‘Pinterest Palettes.’ Their online tool scans and identifies colour trends based on either a user’s individual Pinterest boards or those curated by Topshop on the trends they spotted in New York, London, Milan and Paris. Based on the colour palette selected, Topshop then provides shoppable recommendations from their online store. According to the team, a potential 16.8m colour combinations will be possible, providing unique results for every user.
 
For those in London, Topshop hosted a pop-up on the lower ground floor of its Oxford Circus flagship that offers shoppers the ability to explore their Pinterest boards on iPads, and print out their our Pinterest Palettes colour inspiration cards. Their personal shopping team is also offering colour advice tailored to customers’ individual colour spectrums.
 
According Brandwatch’s analysis of Fashion Week, Topshop secured largest number of sponsor mentions.

House of Holland NFC-enabled wearables

Eclectic English Fashion Designer, Henry Holland teamed up with Visa Europe to combine fashion, wearable technology and payments in another Fashion Week first. At his London Fashion Week show, front-row guests were given a Henry Holland-designed ring – created just for the event which featured integrated NFC technology, which linked up to a number of pieces containing a payment receiver tag. This was then linked via Bluetooth Smart technology to a virtualised terminal and Visa’s payment network. Guests could then purchase items directly from the runway which could then be picked up after the show. On speaking of the wearables, Holland said he designed the “connected jewelry” with fashion in mind and it was important to him that the technology was completely invisible.  

Hunter goes live on Periscope


British heritage brand Hunter Originals utilised live-streaming app, Periscope, at their London Show to extend the reach of their brand to a broader audience with a series of live mobile gigs in the build up to its show.

Hunter launched #BeaHeadliner Mobile Sessions on the app to showcase music and interviews from up and coming musicians which were filmed as the musicians travel to see the show in Hunter-branded 4×4 vehicles. The #Beaheadliner campaign tied in nicely to the brand’s association with music festivals as the label’s Wellingtons have long been the staple footwear at festivals. Hunter will continue to use the hashtag post Fashion Week to promote upcoming musicians during festival season.

According to DigiDay, Hunter Originals was the fourth most tweeted about show, fifth most tweeted about brand, and received over 40,000 Instagram interactions.

That’s it for our round-up. Which brands and designers stood out for you at Fashion Week this year?

Twitter displayed in desktop searches and Facebook referral traffic increases

 

This week there have been a few developments in social media that we thought were particularly interesting. Read on to find out about Twitter’s new partnership with Google and how recently published data shows that Facebook has now overtaken Google for referral traffic.

 

Twitter results displayed in Google desktop searches

Following an initial test on mobile and in the U.S, Twitter has officially begun to roll tweets into Google desktop search results for all English language searches.

The agreement between Twitter and Google was designed to put “real-time info” into Google searches, as well as providing Twitter with a larger audience for their content to promote the service in a relevant and engaging way. This partnership is great news for Twitter who has recently declared stagnating user growth and subsequent investor fears.

Now when you search on Google, a feed of the latest tweets relating to the search term will appear in a carousel in the main column of organic search results. Typing in a hashtag into Google also generates a list of trending tweets on that topic.

The tweets will only show when Google deems them to be relevant to the search results and users do not need to have Twitter account to click on the tweets. So far, we’ve started to see tweets appear in search results for both us and also some of our clients.

tom dixon

 

This change increases the chance of your content being discovered and it’s also another area your brand can dominate in the search results. For example, a fashion retailer might have a nice informative blog post about the latest seasonal trends and how to get the look with their collection. but on the flip slide, negative tweets about your brands might appear, so it highlights the importance of providing exceptional customer service at every touch point.

Facebook pulls ahead of Google in referral traffic

In more search and social news, recent data from traffic analytics firm Parese.ly has shown that Facebook has overtaken Google in driving traffic to news sites.

In its quarterly Authority Report, Parse.ly looked at referral traffic to the top 100 news sites (as ranked by comScore and Alexa) from May – July. They found that in this period, 43% of the referral traffic came from social and 38% from search.

Google has traditionally made up a majority of referral traffic. However, the search giant peaked in October 2013, when we saw Facebook traffic start to steadily increase. Google has always remained dominant until the last quarter, when Facebook’s referral traffic share made up 38.3% compared to Google’s 35.8%.

Social media is very agile and instantaneous – a breaking news story is likely to surface on social media first so people are checking these channels first for news, rather than traditional websites as it takes time for content to be uploaded.

 

Facebook tests ecommerce by building shops into Pages

Facebook has taken another big leap into ecommerce – a market that is predicted to be worth $350 billion this year. The platform has begun testing shops within Pages, allowing businesses to sell to customers directly. Complete with “buy” buttons, these mini-ecommerce sites allow the entire shopping experience to take place on the social media platform – from product discovery to making a purchase.

Currently, most of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising, and this is driven by the data that users provide. By offering people a seamless online experience – including the ability to buy their favourite products without having to the leave the platform – Facebook further cements itself into people’s online lives.

What is happening to commerce elsewhere on the web?

Facebook isn’t the only online social media platform to explore ecommerce functionality. Both Twitter and Pinterest have introduced shopping experiences of their own, such as Buyable Pins. Instagram (the photo sharing app owned by Facebook) has also enabled “Shop now” calls to action on adverts. Moving away from social into the world of search, even Google wants a piece of the action, recently unveiling its own Buy Button.

One of the main driving forces behind changes in the online retail landscape is mobile. Having a mobile-friendly website was made even more vital when earlier this year, Google announced they would be boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results. You can read more about the update on the Google Webmaster Central Blog.

However, apps are also a significant part of the online experience on mobile devices. According to research institute Forrester, we spend 80% of our time on mobile apps within the top five apps. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for online retailers to get the attention of customers. Therefore, it makes sense for Facebook to exploit this need by giving businesses space on the platform to sell directly to users.

Important considerations for retailers

This latest project by Facebook is still in its infancy, with less than a hundred test shops said to exist (Facebook won’t release the names of the businesses currently trialling the feature). However, based on what Facebook has done in the past, there are a few things retailers should consider.

The first is how much selling directly to users might cost. Facebook currently doesn’t make money from sales that take place on the platform. However, as we’ve already pointed out, online commerce is worth a lot of money – even more than digital advertising. Facebook won’t want to miss out on a slice of that pie.

Facebook also has a track record for offering something for free then changing their minds later on. Businesses used to be able to communicate with their fans easily in their newsfeeds. When Facebook decided to reduce the organic reach of Pages, businesses had to resort to paid advertising in order to reach the same people.

It is perfectly possible that Facebook will monetise shopfronts on Pages in the future. However, if the trends in mobile usage and social commerce continue, retailers might not have a choice if they want to get their products in front of customers.

Main image via Maria Elena on Flickr.

Insight Edit – Does social media influence purchasing decisions?

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.

As the importance of social media within the digital marketing mix continues to increase, retailers are focusing on how to measure the commercial impact of those channels.

In light of this, we wanted to find out if social media had influenced purchasing designs for premium retail consumers within the last six months.

To do this, we asked our Premium Panel if they followed any of their favourite brands on their social channels.

Social-media

We then asked those who replied ‘yes’ (57%), if they had purchased a product from a brand as a direct result of seeing it on a social media. As a result, 55% of our panel said that they had been directly influenced on those channels to purchase a product.

social-media-influence

The fact that nearly 30% of our respondents were able to recall a time where social media played a role in their purchasing decisions underlines the importance of brands getting the communication on their social channels right!

When you’re planning your social engagement strategy, make sure you really understand which of your customers are engaging with you online and communicate with them accordingly. Different customers will follow you on different channels. One size does not fit all, so ensure you do not put the same message and communication out across all your social channels.

To find out more, you can download our series of ‘Engagement Reports’ to find out which brands we believe are doing the best job of engaging their customers across their social channels.