Using the Christmas rush to build 2017 sales

For most retailers, the run up to Christmas is a very busy time, when sometimes planning and strategy fly out of the door to be replaced by ringing tills and fast and furious seasonal transacting.

But approached with thought, your Christmas rush doesn’t just need to be a short sharp peak in your annual sales figures, but can be coaxed into something a lot more meaningful for your brand.

In this blog post, we look at 3 simple tips to keep your Christmas rush paying throughout the year.

Collect, collect, collect:

Make your data collection process as quick and simple as possible.

For ecommerce retailers, as well as collecting data during the check-out process, ensure you enable relevant pop up data capture points at key areas on your homepage and as browsing customers leave the site.

For bricks and mortar retailers, investigate how you can capture email addresses along with transactional data at till point. Can you email your customers a receipt? In its simplest form, can you ask customers to leave their email addresses while the transaction is going on, with the offer of January discounts?

Ensure the process is as easy as possible, so your full time staff can fit it in to the conversation at a busy till point and seasonal staff don’t feel awkward asking. If relevant for your business, reward staff for the number of email addresses and data captured to keep that data being collected.

Segment, segment, segment:

Once the Christmas rush is over and we’re in the February lull, take the time to look through the transactional data and see what sparkly Christmas treasures it holds.

For online retailers and those bricks and mortar stores who were able to capture data electronically at till point, you should be able to segment Christmas sales into at least three simple segments:

  • Existing customers buying more at Christmas
  • Brand new customers who have never bought before
  • Those who bought last Christmas and came back for more

Each of these segments can then be nurtured with different messaging over the coming months to turn them from Christmas customers into loyal, year round shoppers:

Existing customers – communicate your thanks, ask them if their friends and family liked their gifts, (or if they enjoyed their own Christmas treats!). Offer them a friends and family incentive for those who they bought gifts for, or a thank you offer for being such a loyal customer (to coincide with any SS17 collection, obviously…).

Brand new customers – welcome them into an engagement programme, share with them your social and blog content, involve them in what you’re doing as a brand and motivate them to return to purchase.

Christmas (or sale) only customers – ask them why they don’t shop with you at any other times of the year, you’re sure to find out something useful; thank them for their input and pop them on the back burner to re-invigorate at your next sale period or Christmas.

If you can’t segment, just say thanks:

For those retailers without the ability to cross reference transactional data with customer data, a simple “thank you” can often work wonders.

Tell them you were grateful for their custom, that they made a difference to you and offer them an incentive to come back soon.

Happy Christmas!

Why smaller retailers are perfectly placed to put the customer first

In the age of customer-first marketing – one might think that bigger retailers are at a clear advantage due to higher budgets, resource, and senior thinking.

Yes, of course, the larger retailers are able to throw money behind building customer experience teams and employing people to solely focus on uniting the business in putting the customer first. However, in our experience of working with all sizes of retailers – we actually think smaller retailers have the edge here.

In this post, I will explore three reasons why I think boutique retailers will find it easier to put the customer first:

Fewer customers

Most retailers would not view it as a benefit to having fewer customers than another, however, one of the main challenges larger retailers face in putting their customer first is having a huge number of customers that they have to understand and cater for.

To truly place the customer at the heart of their business, retailers must know who they are as people, how they shop with them now, how they shop with their competitors and how they can best engage with them in the future. This is a lot of data and insight to gather, analyse and take action from.

The fewer customers a retailer has, the less of a job it is to collect and organise data about them. The less time it will take to gather insight about them and what they want – the more simple it is to get inside the mind of the people who buy their products!

Flexibility

Smaller retailers have less complex business structures and processes that allow them to make change quicker.

We have worked with larger retailers who want to make change within their business to put more of a focus on the customer, but it requires huge resource and management to make those changes and put new processes in place.

We move in an extremely fast paced world and those retailers who can adapt and change first will give their customers the experience they want first.

Customer closeness

Smaller retailers are closer to their customers already and that’s a fact. In a small retail team, many will have direct contact with customers and therefore already have those direct relationships through which to get to know them better.

There is no excuse for boutique retailers not to be working hard to put their customers’ experience as a priority within their business.

Those that are not putting the customer first will be left behind by the competition who are already tailoring the experience they offer to create growth.

If you are a smaller or more boutique retailer the biggest challenge you will likely be facing is the fact that you are so busy running the day to day of your operations that taking time out to develop insight, analyse data and think strategically can be very hard to come by.

Luckily Leapfrogg are now able to help! We are now able to focus our experience with working with over 100 retailers on helping smaller and boutique retailers achieve their strategic goals. Our senior consultants act as board level advisors and in-house change makers to enable business owners or managers to take the time out to think strategically, start to work in an agile manner and take action to focus on the customer first.

Speak to us now about how we can help you start making a change in your business.

The level of customer intelligence within premium retail

Back in February, we launched the Customer Intelligence Index in partnership with our friends at rais.

With such a high level of competition amongst brands to deliver the right experience for their customers, we developed the index to help retailers understand their levels of customer intelligence against their competitors across the following areas:

  • Data: The ability to capture, manage and manipulate multiple forms of data about their customers
  • Knowledge: The ability to use data combined with customer research to develop a deep level of insight and understanding about their customers, who they are and their needs and expectations from the brands they shop with
  • Business readiness: Their internal structure, skill and resource to use customer data, insight and knowledge to make impactful changes across the business

Since the launch, more than 75 retailers have completed the index which has yielded some interesting results.

Picture3

As you can see from the above graph so far, we have discovered the following trends:

Knowledge: Behavioural

Most retailers believe they understand how their customers are behaving when they shop online – from the products and offers that work for them to the channels and touchpoints that they shop through. This means that they are able to use their analytics to assess what is currently delivering good results and adjust marketing accordingly. This is a very tactical level of customer knowledge.

Knowledge: Holistic & qualitative

Approximately, half of the retailers believe they have a good understanding of the types of people who buy their products, what is important to them and why they buy the products they sell.

The lowest level of customer knowledge was found to be in the area of advanced and predictive knowledge. This means that although retailers believe they understand how their customers are currently shopping with them, they don’t have a deep enough understanding of them to predict how they might shop with them in the future. This means that they don’t have a view of the lifetime value of their customers, they don’t feel confident in suggesting products to them and are not sure how much they should, therefore, be spending to acquire customers through specific channels.

This would suggest that much of the scoring around holistic customer insight is based on assumption rather than deep knowledge.

This is further supported by the fact that across the board, retailers scored themselves the lowest across all areas of customer data.

Data: Manipulation

This is the lowest scoring area of intelligence. This means that retailers believe they can capture data and in most cases store and manage it, but lack the ability to analyse it effectively to turn it into useful insight.

A similar story is seen within the area of business readiness. Whilst retailers are scoring themselves ‘average’ for strategic readiness and their in-house skills, they fare worst in their level of in-house process that enables them to use data and insight effectively within the business.

It’s only by internal change led from within the business will fix many of these lowest scoring areas. Overall there is a great deal of work across all areas of customer intelligence to be done across retail.

So how do different sizes of business compare against each other?

Graph 2

As one might expect, the larger retailers with a turnover of more than £50,000,000 have the highest levels of customer intelligence in all areas bar one – customer data capture. We suspect, they have such a complex and wide customer base that it is harder for them to ensure they are capturing all customer data effectively.

The size of the retailer with the lowest scores across the board is those with a turnover of between £1,000,000 and £5,000,000. These companies need to view a larger customer base, but due to size are limited by structure and resource on how to effectively capture and develop insight on those customers.

These are companies most likely to be in phases of high growth where the need to acquire customers is overriding the ability to understand them and ensure they are being delivered the right experience.

So what does the picture look like if we compare sectors within retail?

Picture5

Currently, there is no real difference of note within the sectors bar the fact that the food and drink sector have some catching up to do.

This is likely to be because, compared to other sectors, food and drink retailers were late to take advantage of online opportunities as their customers still purchased in-store, so they still have a large pool of offline customers that they know little about. Their online and data teams are therefore smaller in comparison and they are less likely to be able to capture and manipulate data effectively. This presents a golden opportunity for the first in this sector to really grow their customer intelligence and deliver a relevant and personalised experience to their customers.

If you would like more information on any of our findings so far or need help improving the level of customer intelligence within your organisation please do contact us at Leapfrogg. You can see how you fare yourself and take The Customer Intelligence Index here.

Which health & beauty brands are delivering a personalised experience?

It’s clear the modern shopper is increasingly seeking a personalised experience from brands and retailers. As consumers, we have come to expect retailers to fully understand what we want, when we want it and how we want to buy it and to use this information to engage and interact with us in a seamless and unobtrusive way.

According to Drapers 2016 Personalisation Report, 92% of retail executives say consumers are increasingly demanding a personalised approach to shopping online and in-store and a recent survey to our Premium Panel back this up further and found that 53% of consumers feel it is important that brands offer them a personalised shopping experience.

With personalisation so key, we wanted to investigate levels of personalisation retailers deliver during and after purchase across relevant digital touchpoints.

We’ve started by analysing the health & beauty sector which offers ample opportunities for personalisation given every customer will be interested in different products based on their age, skin type and concerns, hair type and brand preference. In addition, a Google Digital Beauty Study found that 43% of online shoppers go to five or more beauty websites before making a decision, and ultimately, one in four beauty shoppers make purchases online. Therefore, providing an exceptional experience is vital to these beauty brands.

We analysed 10 of the UK’s leading online health & beauty retailers over the period of one month and looked at the data they collected about their customers and how they used it to offer a personalised experience across all digital touchpoints. We analysed the following retailers:

  1. Feel Unique
  2. SpaceNK
  3. Look Fantastic
  4. Cult Beauty
  5. Beauty Bay
  6. Escentual
  7. Blow Ltd
  8. Beauty Expert
  9. Urban Retreat Beautique
  10. Bath & Unwind

Two studies were carried out concurrently by two researchers. One researcher made a purchase for each site at the beginning of the study and one followed exactly the same path through the site but did not make the final purchase.

Each researcher then followed a pre-agreed set of interactions with the retailers over the following 4 weeks and recorded all communications and visuals.

We looked at the following elements of personalisation:

1. Personal data collected pre-purchase (name, gender, age, skin type etc)
2. Personal data collected during purchase
3. Personal data collected post-purchase
4. Personalisation of online communication
5. Personalised packaging communication
6. Trigger emails based on onsite behaviour
7. Personalised retargeting or display ads based on products viewed or purchased
8. Personalised offers during period
9. Personalised content by site behaviour

The results showed that there is currently a real lack of personalisation across the retailers that we analysed. Minimal data and preferences were being collected and we saw little evidence of tailored content or offers with most retailers taking a general approach to communication across multiple channels.

Here are some insights from our analysis:

  • Only 30% of retailers studied collected the gender of their customers when signing up to emails
  • 30% collected hair, skin and beauty preferences from its customers
  • 30% addressed email communications by their first name
  • 20% personalised email communications by purchase
  • 20% sent trigger emails by on-site behaviour
  • 40% showed users personalised retargeting or display ads based on products viewed or purchased
  • 50% gave the user personalised content on site by showing recently viewed or recommended products

The retailers that provided the most personalised experience were Beauty Expert and Look Fantastic. Both websites are owned by The Hut Group who are renowned for their data-driven approach to ecommerce.

Despite not collecting any personal information, bar email addresses, both websites sent emails that were related to the products viewed or purchased and suitable for sensitive skin and also sent special offers related to products viewed.

beauty expert

An example of an email we received from Beauty Expert based on products viewed.

lookfantastic

Look Fantastic ran remarketing ads on Facebook related to the product and brand viewed.

Escentual, Feel Unique and SpaceNK were the only retailers who collected the gender of the user as well as email address when they signed up for emails. The emails which were consequently sent through were all very female-focused. Collecting the gender and age of your customers is a great way to start personalising their experience as men will most probably have very different needs to women.

Gender email

Escentual collected their customers’ gender when signing up for emails.

cult beauty

Beauty preferences were collected by Cult Beauty but we couldn’t see any indication of how this data was being used.

From our study, we were surprised to see how little data the retailers were collecting from their customers and potential customers. We recommend these retailers try and collect at least gender and date of birth as well as email addresses as a starting point to help them communicate more effectively with their customers. The main elements of personalisation we spotted were very product focused and we would have liked to have seen evidence of more personalised content relating to customer preferences.

Our MD, Rosie Freshwater, says “With such a wide scope for personalising the customer experience in the health and beauty sector, whether that be by product, age, gender, or skin type, it is disappointing how little seems to be happening even amongst the larger players.

Retailers are missing out on the potential for upsell and repeat business by failing to show through content how much they recognise and understand their customers.”

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.

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.

 

How customer insight can improve your social media and content strategy

In a recent blog post by our Managing Director Rosie Freshwater, she said:

 

“…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.”

 

A customer-centric approach to retail works – and why it is becoming ever more essential – because consumer habits and expectations have changed. It is now harder for brands to cut through the noise, reach, and then retain a strong customer base.  The brands that get it right are the ones who understand their customers’ behaviour, needs, wants and desires.

 

Customer insight is so valuable because it can influence and inform every aspect of your business – from product strategy and store locations to blog post topics and returns policies. As Social Media and Content Consultant here at Leapfrogg, my job is to channel this insight into content and social media strategies for our clients. The benefits of customer insight in this context include:

 

Knowing which social media platforms customers use

The online social space has grown enormously in the last few years. It seems like every month a new platform is being created. Established platforms are also adapting and changing in response to user behaviour.

An ongoing challenge for any retailer is knowing which social media platform (or platforms) to concentrate their efforts on. Insight about your customers’ online habits helps overcome this, enabling you to pinpoint the places where your customers are spending time online.

 

Wool and The Gang Instagram

 

Wool and The Gang promote the #ShareYourKnits hashtag both online and on the instruction books of their products. The uploaded images are displayed on their product pages.

Knowing which products to focus on when creating content

Content shouldn’t just focus on new products and sale items. By understanding customer buying habits, new hero products can be uncovered. For example, analysing your data will certainly reveal which products are popular. However, do people who buy a certain product become loyal customers? It makes sense to create and amplify content about that item as a purchase will have a much higher value for your business in the long term.

Creating content that resonates with customers

Your marketing campaigns don’t need to be bigger or more expensive than your competitors. However, they do need to resonate with your customers and target audience. Understanding things like personal values, buying habits, and the expectations they have of you as a retailer will help you formulate a really strong campaign. At this point, coming up with the creative idea is the easiest part as you already know the boxes that need to be ticked in order to delight your audience.

 Net-A-Porter The Edit

Net-A-Porter’s ‘The Edit‘ focuses on providing content that is aligned to the needs and desires of its audience and relates to their products.

Measure your customer data & insight capabilities against your competitors

How does your level of customer insight compare to your competitors? To benchmark your customer data and insight capabilities, your level of customer knowledge and your ability to use it to make successful changes to your marketing, we’ve teamed up with rais to create the Customer Intelligence Index.

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

 

Insight Edit: How do premium consumers want to shop in 2016?

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.

Digital retail trends

There are now an increasing number of new technologies available to consumers which aim to enhance their shopping experience. While industry experts are predicting the next wave of digital development, we wanted to understand what our panel thought about the emerging technologies from last year and whether they felt they would be utilising them in 2016.

We asked our panel which of the following digital trends they would be most likely to use if they were available from their favourite retailers in 2016:

  • Virtual changing rooms
  • Mobile payments
  • In-store Wi-Fi
  • The ability to buy direct from social media
  • Wearable digital wallets
  • Personalised content on the websites you visit

Findings

Overall we were surprised by how low the figures were.

The development our panel was most excited about was in-store Wi-Fi. 39% of our panel stated that they would use it this year and this isn’t surprising, given that this technology has been around the longest.

It does show, however, that a large proportion of consumers would feel the benefit from being able to use free Wi-Fi and their mobile devices in-store as part of the shopping experience. This is something that all retailers should now be seriously considering providing to their customers.

 

Premium Panel opinion on personalisation

27.5% of our panel also stated that they would like to receive personalised content on the websites they visit. Although this figure is lower than we expected, it still highlights that people appreciate a personalised shopping experience. There is no reason for retailers to not start doing this as there are plenty of low-cost tools available to retailers that can use customer data to personalise elements of their website experience.

19% of our panel stated they would use virtual changing rooms if they were available. Currently, this can be a complicated process to set up and work effectively, but as the technology develops we expect to see this become more popular with consumers.

Pretty Green virtual fitting room

An an example of Pretty Green’s virtual changing rooms.

 

As we highlighted in a previous Insight Edit, our Panel’s opinion on mobile payments is still lagging behind the technology. We are yet to see the majority overcome their fear of fraud and security for it to become mainstream. Consequently, only 18% of our respondents felt they would use mobile payments in 2016.

This is further underlined by wearable digital wallets being of least interest to our panel. This is still a very new trend and it is unlikely to reach mass interest for a while yet.

Conclusion

All in all, none of the digital technologies gained more than 50% interest from our panel and we feel there is still a long way to go before the modern consumer is fully immersed in digital retail. As these technologies become more widespread, we’re sure their usage will become wider and interest will increase. Of course, by then there will be a wave of brand new technology pushing the boundaries of the retail experience.

 

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.

 

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.