Using Christmas 2017 trends to grow sales

As well as keeping on top of developments in retail strategy, our many years living and breathing retail has made the Leapfrogg team keen design trend spotters.

Although not always relevant to a consistent or seasonal product strategy, understanding how design and visual trends are developing is important when helping us make recommendations on how to keep merchandising and marketing imagery fresh, how to ensure email marketing is on trend and how your product images stay fresh and engaging on social media.

Rosie is a frequent speaker at Pulse and this year, came back with three main trends that had been spotted at the show:

Bloomsbury Christmas

Rosie’s favourite, Bloomsbury is a festive celebration of the dark interiors trend, rich, dark colours and textures, with big blooming florals. Layering is key to create a luxurious, sumptuous feel.

Rich burgundy, deep plum tones and navy are accentuated with the satin textures of orchid, magnolia petals and pearl.  Think luxe, butter soft leathers, with hints of opulent gold and richly scented candles to create an intimate and luxurious mood.

Decorate table tops with lavish floral arrangements and collections of exotic, metallic trinkets

A brand that brings the Bloomsbury Christmas to life is interiors stylist and designer Anna Hayman, for more inspiration on this trend, follow her on Instagram (her gold leather curtains are our particular fav!).

Nomadic Christmas

Gwen’s favourite, Nomadic Christmas is a combination of this year’s global nomad and scandi themes; the bare woods and simple, clean lines of scandi interiors are softened with rustic finishes, artisanal soft furnishings and oodles of greenery

This trend is embodied by a cool and calm palette of eucalyptus greens, warm greys, navy, charcoal and dark denim blue. Rich browns and pops of dusty pink add an earthy element.

Feature furniture pieces are made from bleached wood, draped in patch work and geometric patterned rugs and heavy rustic fabrics.

For the Christmas table, think heavy linens, crackle glazed artisanal bowls, miss-matching plate settings and wooden serving spoons.

For inspiration on this interiors trend, check out blogger Kate Young on Instagram.

Indulgent Christmas

Lucy’s favourite, the Indulgent Christmas trend explodes with excesses of glitter, tinsel, clashing brights and glitter, plenty of glitter!  High shine metallics and over the top decorations in man-made fibres and plastics, a room decorated in the Indulgent Christmas trend looks like a bomb went off in a party poppers factory and some unicorns tried to put it out with a glitter cannon.

Colours are vibrant and clashing, with Miami inspired colour combinations of turquoise, orange, pinks and lilacs adding lightness to the usual Christmas reds and golds

More is more with this interiors trend, so spray paint objects pink and tie them to the tree and cover everything in rainbow glitters – including yourselves!

Read blogger Sarah Akwisombe’s Christmas styling posts for inspiration on how to bring this trend to life.

We’ve put the following tips together to help you make the most of these trends:

  • Go through your product portfolio and identify any that could sit well into a trend, refresh the product copy if relevant and optimise for any trend related natural searches
  • Experiment with some of your paid search spend – what trend related search terms could you appropriately target to pull further traffic into your product pages?
  • Ensure your social team are incorporating relevant trend hashtags into their posts about your products, you could inspire engagement from a new audience if you’re are visible
  • Include nods to the trends that sit best with your products with any seasonal photography, to ensure your imagery stays fresh and ahead of the curve
  • Try product placement or developing a relationship with key bloggers within each trend niche – featuring in their marketing and media not only positions you well within a trend, but is worth PR riches

 

How retailers SHOULD mention the C word (Christmas) right now!

If you’re a regular to our blog you’ll know we preach Christmas planning every year! However with the growing popularity of Black Friday, and savvy shoppers starting their Christmas buying earlier every year planning your Christmas and pre-Christmas strategy now is essential to success.

Building on our recommendations from previous posts:

Tis the season to start planning for Christmas

Christmas in July what you should be doing now

We have even more top tips for you!

What do you customers want?

All good strategies should start with customer insight, ask your customers about their planned shopping behaviour for this year. A simple Survey using a tool like survey monkey can help you unlock data for planning your Christmas marketing strategy.

Will your customers be looking out for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals? If so what deals most appeal to them?

Use this to test popularity of your Christmas Gifting products by asking your customers which ones they would be most interested in. Who they might be gifting for and how much they might be looking to spend.

Check in with them on what channels they use when researching there Christmas gifts, are they reading blogs? How important are reviews? What social channels do they focus on?

In a crowded space understanding what is most important to your customers will help you plan your budget and tactics effectively.

Social media

We talked lot in our previous post about getting you content right on social, making sure your potential customers have an exceptional experience with you is also not to be forgotten. With increased traffic, customers and sales making sure your customer service through all channels is impeccable is essential to creating happy customers.

With social media taking an ever more present seat in customer service, and those comments and conversation being available in the public arena up weighting your customer service staff is a must. Whilst that’s not rocket science ensuring you have enough time to train them and get them up to speed with your brand and social media guidelines, get them fluent in all the new product inventory and offers will only make for better customer service and improved sales.

So make sure staff and training is included in your budget.

Mobile first

Again not an unfamiliar message from us on optimising for mobile, with Google planned Mobile First index roll out if it’s not on your list to be looked at it should.

Google assures us it’s some months away but that shouldn’t stop you from getting started now. Here’s a couple of great articles on what mobile first mean and some tips on how to prepare from our friends are search engine land.

 

90 days may seem like a long time but it’ll be here before you know it. For support planning your Christmas strategy do not hesitate to get in touch

Black Friday & Cyber Monday – How to use them strategically to make a positive difference to your business

Christmas 2016 was a bit of a mixed bag for retailers, with the ‘new normal’ trading peaks of Black Friday and Cyber Monday now firmly entrenched in consumer’s minds.  We remember a little last minute panic as retailers hadn’t hit targets early in the Christmas trading season, but overall the on-and offline high street had done well by the time the alka selzer had stopped fizzing and the New Year’s hangover had receded.

The retail industry has been gearing up for this year’s festive season since July, but after a tough year for some, how do you ensure that Christmas 2017 becomes your game changing season?

The biggest question in retailer’s minds at the moment, is Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Now an established feature of the trading calendar, it’s an event in itself – but how should you approach it and is it right for you?

We’ve rounded up the key ways for you to identify the value of this retail event to your business to help you approach and plan for Christmas differently this year.

SCRUTINISE YOUR DATA

We know, you’ve heard this before, but central to your decision to stay on or jump off the Black Friday / Cyber Monday band wagon is a cold hard look at how it affected your overall Q4, and 2017 sales figures.

Did you genuinely make more because of your early discounting, or did you make the same across the period, just at different points?

The customers that you won over this period, have they gone on to become loyal repeat customers, or did they buy at a discount to be never seen again? You have 3 Qs worth of transactional data to crunch to enable you to make a strategic decision to invest time, energy and product to Black Friday / Cyber Monday.

We’ve spoken to many retailers who are going to resist the temptation of black Friday this year, but behind that decision is a very clear understanding of how potentially damaging (or indeed, rewarding) the effort to take part and get the cut through you want, is.

CAN YOU USE BLACK FRIDAY TO IDENTIFY AND TARGET THE GROWTH OF YOUR DATABASE?

It is possible to use Black Friday / Cyber Monday strategically of course.  If from scrutinising your data, you won some customers that did make a positive difference to your business, can you win more look-a-like customers from offering a similar offer than you did last year?

DO YOU HAVE THE TIME AND RESOURCE TO GENUINELY CONNECT WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS WELL BEFORE BLACK FRIDAY?

We know you have an email marketing strategy and you probably have a solid content strategy – but can you, hand on heart, expect your customer’s loyalty this Christmas, or do you risk their heads being turned by a different and exciting brand in the melee of Black Friday / Cyber Monday?

Along with the scrutiny of your transactional data – make sure you know how to really engage with your customers to keep them with you during the festive period.  It’s disappointing how many bland marketing messages are seen at Christmas and if you choose to not do Black Friday, then you need a laser focus on your customers and an effective plan to engage, upsell and retain them.

Alternatively, why not just target your existing customers with a Black Friday message?  Focus on rewarding them just before Christmas with an added value message to encourage further loyalty.

Retailers don’t have to be beholden to Black Friday & Cyber Monday to win this festive season, but by taking a step back, identifying its bigger picture value to your business and planning to make the most of it, you can make Black Friday work strategically for you, if indeed, you discover it’s right for you and your business at all.

Boost your Festive ROI – Five top tips to maximise Christmas sales

With £24 billion spent online in the UK in the 8 weeks running up to Christmas in 2015 and a further 11% rise predicted for 2016, how prepared are you to take advantage of this years bumper sales season? In this post I am going to explore five top tips to turn up the dial up on the activity you are doing already to boost ROI.

 

Dedicated Landing Page / Onsite Content

Your onsite strategy must include bespoke landing pages dedicated to Christmas, ideally getting pages live in October so they have time to bed in and become well established in time for the busy period.

Make sure your customer is at the heart of your content, consider how they might be searching, who are they buying for, what budget will they spend? Creating relevant onsite content that is useful, engaging and that has a clear call to action will be key to driving conversion.

Curate your best edit into a Christmas Gift guide, price band filtering to easily aid customers who have a specific budget in mind, along with ‘Gifts for him’, ‘Gifts for her’, ‘Gifts for kids’ to direct users to the most relevant content.

Getting your onsite content nailed then allows you to integrate your offsite strategy and funnel people to the most relevant content. Creating a consistent message on and off site, increasing awareness, engagement and ultimately conversion through a targeted approach.

Make sure messaging, offers and promotions in your offsite activity are clearly detailed on the landing page you are directing customers to, there’s nothing more frustrating than landing on a page without the relevant information on the offer, promotion or product you’ve seen.

Brand Paid Search

Brand Paid Search can be used cheaply and effectively to promote onsite messages and promotions. Creating consistent messaging across touch points.

“But no one is bidding on my brand term” I hear you cry “why would I pay for traffic I am getting organically?!” A very valid question…

Not all retailers run brand Paid Search year round, if you have no competition on your brand terms why would you? Competition or not, tactical use of Brand and Brand + Product Paid Search gives you seasonal and time sensitive flexibility in your message, that your well optimised but generic Natural Search listing can’t. Using site links to drive traffic to your Christmas content, gift guides and dedicated landing pages, plus call out extensions to highlight key messages such as delivery, price matching, returns etc.

If you haven’t already completed your trademark authorisation with Google, this allows you to associate your Adwords account as the trademark owner, create a list of authorised resellers if appropriate. We’ve seen clients brand CPCs drop after they have claimed and managed their Trademark authorisation.

Personalisation of offers

Use your data wisely, tap into your customer segments and personalise your message across touch points. Offering your customers relevant and timely offers that will drive them back to the site to buy.

Not all site visitors are made equal, use your remarketing lists and customer segments to create a more personalised message depending on the visitors site behaviour.

Abandon baskets being the Holy Grail and those primed to buy. Often retailers are all too quick to go straight in with a discount, when people can be tempted back without taking a big hit on your margin. We have seen great success with a tiered offering, for example:

No purchase within 24 hours – Free Next Day Delivery
No purchase within 1 week – Gift with purchase / free gift wrapping
No purchase within 2 weeks – X% discount

New vs returning – Depending on your strategy whether that be acquisition, retention or both! Use your remarketing list for search ads to show new and returning visitors different, relevant and personalised messages e.g. introductory offer to new customers, returning visitor promotional code. Also optimise bids based on behaviour so perhaps a 25% bid increase for returning customers.

RLSAs will also allow you to target terms you wouldn’t normally target, it opens up keywords that perhaps would be too expensive and perhaps broad, just for visitors who have been to the site or who have converted before.

Create sense of urgency

Black Friday was the busiest trading week last year with estimated sales of £4.3 billion last year, up 62% on 2014. In just two years the shift from Black Friday being a Bricks and Mortar event on a single day to a week of online offers.

Why have we all gone so crazy for Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Creating that sense of urgency with time sensitive offers is a brilliant conversion tactic to push people to purchase, however don’t over use it or people will learn to ignore it.

  • Some examples on how to do this:
  • Flash sale / promotions for a limited time period
  • AdWords dynamic countdown ads are a great, they have proven to significantly increase CTR and drive more traffic to the site
  • Sneak previews for your VIPs – let them have access to say the Christmas edit, Sale or similar 24 hours before it’s unveiled to the general public
  • Shipping offers for a limited period
  • Last order dates to get in time for Christmas
  • Stock levels for products with limited availability

Social commerce

So you’ve spent 2016 gaining followers, driving engagement, so how can you monetise social further in the busy period?

Optimise your calls to action, for example on Facebook:

  • Shop Now – direct fans to your website if sales are the primary objective
  • Send Message – Allows fans to send a private message directly to your Facebook account, where you could start the order process
  • Call Now – you get the idea right!

Facebook Shop:

Most ecommerce platforms now have an app or plugin to pull your site inventory into Facebook. We saw sales increase 50% after launching a Facebook Shop and promoting through Paid Social ads. With the rise of mobile commerce people are far more comfortable buying direct from their phone and through social commerce.

Content Optimisation:

Ensure that content is optimised for each channel. This will ensure a high quality appearance, better visibility within users’ timelines and increased engagement. One size does not fit all!

Promoted Content:

Organic reach has declined dramatically on all platforms, particularly Facebook. Boosting posts on Facebook and Twitter with small amounts of budget can drastically increase reach and engagement, as well as driving fan acquisition.

Ultimately these tips are designed to help you squeeze the ROI out of activity you are already doing, maximising visibility and efficiency of budget and time invested over the next 10 weeks.

Making Christmas 2016 your best ever

We regret to inform you that we can no longer go ahead with the event scheduled on 19th October due to the RMT rail strikes. We hope to host another event soon, so please watch this space. Instead we shall be creating a series of blog posts aimed at giving top tips to independent retailers on how they can boost the festive trading period and make 2016 the best year ever!

 

The Leapfrogg team are continuing our crusade to help boutique and independent retailers learn the lessons of larger retailers and compete successfully online.

Christmas is an extremely important time of the year for all retailers so we are launching the first in a series of events for independent retailers to help you maximise your online results this festive season.

A three hour event to inspire, motivate and give you the tools to make this Christmas trading period – your best ever
19th October 2016
4.30 – 8.00pm The Froggbox, Central Brighton

The first part of the event will be an interactive workshop covering the following:

  • Learn from retailers who have been there and done it at Christmas. What worked, what didn’t. What they will be doing this year.
  • Delivering immediate, quick revenue wins. Turning the dial up on the activity you are doing already to boost ROI.
  • Increasing sales throughout the Christmas trading period. Promotional tips, navigating the big sales days, delivering the right customer experience.
  • Using the Christmas rush to build a database for customer engagement into 2017. Use a successful period of customer acquisition to boost sales for the rest of the year.
  • Networking with retailers facing the same challenges as you

After our interactive workshop on how to make the most of your Christmas sales, enjoy a glass of pre-festive bubbles while meeting the most influential bloggers in the South East who are keen to promote your products this season.

Our blogger showcase enables you to display either incoming Christmas stock, or existing ranges in an informal, relaxed setting with local, high profile bloggers looking for seasonal, gift guides and product review content.

£49.50 + VAT per retailer for workshop and blogger showcase space
The fee admits 2 attendees from each retailer

Go to www.leapfroggchristmasevent.eventbrite.co.uk to book your place now!

How to take an agile approach to digital marketing

Our Head of Delivery, Gwen, recently wrote about Leapfrogg’s move into an Agile way of working across our digital marketing.

She wrote: “An Agile approach to campaign planning and delivery enables us to further adopt the growth hacking mind-set of data, creativity, and curiosity. The heart of growth hacking is the relentless focus on growth as the metric that matters.It fosters greater future focused analysis, opportunity spotting, adaptable plans (that can move at the speed at which the digital landscape changes) and it allows us to overcome any barriers and blockers to hitting targets in a proactive and flexible way.”

Working in a more agile way means that we are no longer tied to delivery of a longer term plan but are now equipped to redefine our scope of work as needed in much shorter intervals to maximise success. It means we are fully focused forward at all times and we deliver results not work. We are able to move with the same speed of the wider digital sector and stay ahead of the curve at all times.

Agile has been around in the technology and development sector of digital for a long time, but it’s now being more widely spoken of in mainstream marketing circles.

There is a growth hacking movement in the USA that is hitting our shores. Marketers are breaking down traditional approaches to campaign planning and working in a far more flexible way.

Instead of planning a six-month programme of work across multiple tactics, they are breaking down the plan and focussing on one area at a time to maximise its impact.

For example, instead of putting together a full eCRM strategy they will focus first on the priority which may be growing the number of email sign-ups as quickly as possible.

Step 1 – Analyse what is required to encourage sign ups and develop idea to test
Step 2 – Test the concept in a short sprint period
Step3 – Measure the impact
Step 4 – Roll out if successful

Then move onto the next priority, which may be improving email click-through-rate.

Once that element is improved they then may move onto landing page UX or email personalisation – whichever they feel will get them to their target quickest.

By working in this way, marketers are always focused on the end result, moving forward, failing fast, and most importantly they are able to keep up with the fast pace of the digital landscape.

Multiple sprints can be running at the same time to ensure that different areas of the marketing mix are developing. The main differentiator in working in this way is that if an activity does not yield results in an agreed amount of time, the team are able to move on quickly to the next tactic or revise the approach to the current one.

Although this approach is faster and harder than a long-term strategy, basing your activity on strong insight and data is still absolutely fundamental. How else will you be able to prioritise the work required effectively?

This level of analysis beforehand means you can pick the activity that will give you the biggest return first, improve it and use the increased success to give you the resource to move onto the next priority.

For agile to work effectively marketers must be constantly using the cycle of analysis, test, measure, then roll out.

This will inevitably mean a change in internal structure and process and the level of investment upfront will reap quicker and deeper rewards across all of your marketing activity.

Start thinking now about how you can be more agile with your approach to digital marketing, or speak to us about how we can help.

Image credit: VFS Digital Design on Flickr

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%).

Make 2016 the year of customer intelligence

Over the last few years, becoming truly customer-centric has become vital for retailers to succeed in today’s consumer-led world.

Those retailers that put the customer at the heart of their organisation and deliver an engaging and personalised experience are gaining loyal customers and market share from their competitors.

Not only does focusing on the customer make business sense, but research by Deloitte and Touche found that customer-centric companies were 60% more profitable compared to companies that were not focused on the customer.

The modern day consumer has extremely high expectations of the brands and retailers they shop with and now expect a seamless, personalised shopping experience across multiple channels.

As a result of these growing expectations, retailers are continually under pressure to improve the experience they give their customers. Larger retailers are creating customer experience roles and teams to help lead change across the organisation.

The first step for many has been getting the customer service and logistical elements of their business in shape. Better stock management and access, fast and low-cost delivery options and caring customer service are all good housekeeping measures which help increase conversion and retention.

But where do you go from here in order to stay ahead of the game and grow market share in 2016?

You now need to unlock the power of customer intelligence in order to make smarter marketing and business decisions and deliver an experience that engages customers at every level.

So what is customer intelligence?

Customer Intelligence is the product of three main capabilities:

  • The ability to collect, manage and manipulate customer data
  • The ability to turn that data into behavioural, holistic and predictive knowledge
  • The ability to use that insight to make change within the business

Once those elements are in place, you will have the ability to use customer intelligence to make impactful change.

Customer data

One of the great advances of ecommerce marketing is the ability to collect and analyse data on individual customers to help you understand more about your customers. For example:

  • Transactional data tells you what your customers have bought and when they made a purchase
  • Website analytics will tell you how your customers are behaving on site
  • In-store data collection will help show you which online customers also shop in-store
  • Email data will tell you which customers continue to engage with you and shop online

Using the above data to split customers into segments will allow you to start defining different types of customers and tailor your experience to them accordingly. The first step to customer intelligence is to start collecting, managing and manipulating the above data more efficiently.

Customer knowledge

Once data capabilities are in place, the next key stage is to build on that data to create a well-rounded knowledge of the customer on both a holistic and behavioural level. This will allow you to really understand their personal values, needs and expectations.

You should aim to find out the following information about your customers:

  • Demographics
  • Personal values
  • Online and offline shopping habits
  • Media consumption
  • Lifestyle and hobbies

Understanding the information above can lead to marginal gains across the entire shopping journey. The more detailed a picture you have of your target customers, the easier it is for you to start tweaking and improving their customer experience across your digital touch-points.

Using both quantitative and qualitative data to personalise the multi-channel experience to meet the needs of customers is now the ‘Holy Grail’ for retailers.

This is where the final element of customer intelligence comes into play.

Business readiness

There is no point in having a deep knowledge of the customer if you are unable to use that knowledge to make impactful change within the business.

Many retailers spend a large amount of money on customer insight that then sits in a corner gathering dust as the business does not have the processes or resource to use it effectively.

Only those retailers that have a culture of ‘test, measure and learn’ throughout their business and the processes to support it, are able to turn insight into true intelligence. You must have accountabilities for sharing customer knowledge with all relevant stakeholders. Those stakeholders must then have the resource and skill to use that insight to make changes, measure the impact of those changes, learn from it and then share findings with the wider business.

Retailers must make 2016 the year they build on their customer insight and experience strategy in order to gain true customer intelligence. By ensuring the three capabilities above are in place throughout the business, you will be able to:

  • Set well-informed and realistic business objectives
  • Prioritise budget and resource to the most relevant parts of the customer journey
  • Ensure marketing strategies are both optimised to minimise waste and personalised to drive better ROI
  • Build more meaningful relationships with customers that increase satisfaction and loyalty

 

cii_logo_medium_greytext

Leapfrogg and rais have created the Customer Intelligence Index to enable you to benchmark your customer data and insight capabilities, your level of customer knowledge and your ability to use it to make successful changes not just to your marketing but the wider business.

Click here to take our free online survey and get your own Customer Intelligence Rating.

 

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.

Download the report button

 

Christmas in July: what should you be planning now?

With the summertime (supposedly) in full swing, the last thing anyone wants to do is start thinking about the upcoming festive season. However, for online retailers, Christmas really does come early and identifying a strategy now can make the difference between success or failure at the most important time in the retail calendar.

To highlight this point event further, last year Ometria found that customers acquired at Christmas time are 59% more likely to purchase again the next year, when compared to those who were acquired at other points in the year. Christmas is therefore a great time to acquire loyal customers, not just one-off seasonal purchasers.

Every year, we feature our top tips to start planning for the Christmas season and although we still stand by what we suggested in 2014, we’ve expanded on a few of the points and provided some new tips to help you get prepared…

Speak to your customers!

Our Managing Director, Rosie Freshwater, is a huge advocate of running surveys to gain insight about your customers and establish their shopping behaviour. Create a simple survey using a service like Survey Monkey and offer your customers an incentive for filling it in such as a giveaway or discount. Ask them if they are likely to shop with you for Christmas gifts this year and if so, what categories, price points and people they will be shopping for. This will give you a good steer on where to spend your marketing budget.

We also suggest asking your customers how you can give them the perfect shopping experience this Christmas. Ask questions around preferred delivery options, customer service channels and gift wrapping, as well as the types of gifts they will be looking to buy and who they will be buying for. Use this insight to get your Christmas promotions on point.

In a nutshell, it’s crucial to understand and profile your customers and then build your marketing strategy around them.

Get your website up to speed

Google satisfaction

As well as the survey questions above, ask your customers what they think about your website and invest some user testing sessions to identity any issues on your website. Services like WhatUsersDo are great help identity any issues in your customer journey and the user experience of your website. By doing this now, you’ll allow yourself ample time to make any necessary changes to your site.

Start a program of CRO testing, so you can be sure that your landing pages are converting well when it comes to the key Christmas period. Consider the page layouts, your basket, usability of checkout and test what are good merchandising and upsell opportunities on your key pages.

We also recommend running an optimisation review and a natural and paid search gap analysis as soon as possible. This will ensure that any well performing paid search terms are included on your site. Be sure to sense check the terms you are promoting to ensure these are still potentially good traffic drivers.

Start planning your specific Christmas landing pages now to ensure that you have strong landing pages for any campaigns you are running as well any Black Friday/ Cyber Monday promotions. While on the topic of Black Friday – make sure you have a watertight plan, as many retailers were caught out by its popularity last year and it’s predicated to be even bigger in 2015. Start planning everything from your product strategy and promotions to fulfilment and delivery.

Social media and content

Surface View_FB ad

When preparing any paid social campaigns, think about the platforms you are running campaigns on and what your audience looks like on each platform e.g. is your Facebook following mainly women while your Twitter followers are men? Use this insight to create campaigns that are appropriate for each channel. Look at your campaigns from last Christmas and see what you can learn from them – what worked and what didn’t?

Imagery and video content is REALLY important – it’s what grabs the reader’s attention, whether that’s a blog post or a Facebook update. Therefore, any creatives shouldn’t be an afterthought when creating Christmas content. Make sure you have the resource to create awesome images that reflect your brand and will engage your audience.

Also, ensure your social team are working very closely customer service department if they sit in separate teams. Typically, Christmas will be a busy time for them, but it’s likely there will be an increase in enquires and complaints coming through from the social too. Agree who is responsible for dealing with queries and and customer enquiries or problems are dealt with in a quick and efficient manner.

Paid search

Make sure you have visibility of every promotion you will be running over the Christmas period and how they will be promoted, so you can plan your campaigns around them. Look back at which promotions have worked best in the past, such as flash sales, free delivery or discounts, and focus on these in your Christmas promotions.

Plan your paid search budgets to anticipate shifts in search volume for big shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Take a look at your data from last year to see which days were the most popular and plan accordingly.

Upload all new advert creatives well in advance of their launch to ensure they are reviewed and approved before your campaign starts – this includes both text and image ads. Don’t let Google hold up getting your campaigns started!

Lastly, make sure your product feeds are fully optimised for Google Shopping which is a key channel for Christmas shopping when consumers are looking for specific products. By not having visibility in Google shopping, you’ll be missing out on a huge chunk of traffic.

As you can see there is certainly lots to be thinking about and this blog post has only just scratched the service. The key to having a successful Christmas is to start now, plan well ahead, and be organised! If you’d like to talk to us about your Christmas strategy, then do get in touch, there’s only 152 days to go…