How to build trust as part of the customer experience

Would YOU buy from someone that you just didn’t trust? One of the foundations of excellent customer experience is trust. Consumers are savvier, more unpredictable and increasingly ethically minded these days especially when it comes to saving the big rock we live on!

 

 

Retail brands that are transparent about their story, supply chain and distribution can use that to build a trusting relationship with customers, gain a loyal following, improve repeat purchase rates and develop brand advocates.
Here are our tips on how to build consumer trust.

Take a stand! And shout about it.

As mentioned above, these days many consumers (but not all!) are more conscious of the impact their lives have on the environment and climate change. Increasingly people are looking for brands that take a stand on sustainability and are able to take a lead on helping to save our planet.
Brands that share their ethos on sustainability and the supply chain of their products will attract these passionate consumers, who are likely to be more vocal about the brands they love to their friends and family.

So, how best can you communicate your brand ethics? It’s simple, use the power of content. One of our client’s, Asquith, is a great example to share. The Asquith site has a dedicated page on ‘Our ethos’ including: ‘Our Mission’, ‘ECO Fabrics’, ‘Our Factory’ & ‘About Us’.

The best aspect about this content is the honesty about their products and the impact this may have on the environment. They’re transparent about the fabric used, how they source it and they explain how using organic bamboo excludes them from contributing to the microbeads issue that synthetic polyester fabrics does, but that using bamboo still has some environmental impact.

Asquith also share information about who makes their products by including content about the factory, alongside a picture of the lovely, happy ladies that make the clothes in Turkey with their Global Organic Textile Standard certification. This is very powerful, words can say a lot but imagery adds so much more, being able to visualise the people that make the clothes helps you to connect on a deeper level with the brand and product.

Many brands tell their story online but only those brand stories that feel honest and transparent truly engage and build strong connections with audiences.

Partnering with trustworthy influencers

Influencer marketing is still on a journey, with recent concerns over the last year regarding the authenticity of partnerships and the enforcement of #ad. There is no doubt that influencer marketing is a winning strategy but it’s crucial to make sure those partnerships are the right ones for your brand and your customers.

One successful approach to influencer marketing is to build trust with the influencer first. A good example of a successful influencer strategy is from watch brand Daniel Wellington’. Their strategy is built on authenticity and gives those working with them a level of autonomy and control over their posts rather than being told what to say and do. This helps the content to remain fresh and varied with an injection of the influencer’s creativity and personality. Below you can see an example of the brand reposting content curated and shared by an influencer.

They also repost user generated content by picking a #DWpicoftheday winner for what seems like every day! This encourages advocates and unknown influencers that are fans of the brand to create their own content in the hope it will be featured on the DW channel.

Customer insight can be hugely beneficial for finding out what types of influencers your customers follow. Sending out customer surveys with questions around interests, values, hobbies and influences, can then adapt the strategy according to the results and identify influencers that will connect with your customers on a personal level. This will not only increase engagement but also customers will be more likely to see this content in their own time, within their own social space which will make the whole experience more authentic.

Ask for opinions

Another fundamental aspect of trust building is giving customers a platform to voice their opinions and have their say. It’s not just about asking for feedback but asking customers for ‘feed – forward’. By involving customers on future decisions not only builds brand advocates but also helps you create a customer centric strategy.

Brands can ask questions about new product lines, loyalty schemes, events, basically anything you’d like to get an opinion on. When people feel like they are being listened to, it’s a basic human instinct to form bonds. So why not start putting your trust in your customer and see what happens!

So, retailers ask yourself these three questions:

1. Are we transparent about our brands ethos, products and distribution?
2. Do we work with influencers that would connect with our customers?
3. Have we asked our customers their opinion in the last 6 months?

If the answer is no, for any of the above, then it’s time to make some changes….

Customer experience needs to be exceptional as standard

Customer experience has been at the forefront of retail marketing for years, but 2019 brings a new shift for all brands. Exceptional customer experience is no longer an optional extra for retailers, it should be a given. Giving your customers a great experience no longer sets you apart from the competition, simply put without out it your business is at risk.

2018 saw some serious fallout with retail giants such a Toys “R” Us, Sears and many others hitting the wall. Looking at why these businesses failed, it wasn’t a lack of demand for their products but consumers opting to buy elsewhere, from businesses they could get a better experience with.

Omnichannel customer experience

With the rise of online shopping many retailers faced the task of breaking down silos, especially between online and in-store, retail and wholesale, but how many have extended this to their customer experience?

Consumer expectations are changing, with greater emphasis on the brand experience. Retailers need to shift their strategy to drive retail as a service, it’s no longer a simple transactional exchange. What will set brands apart in 2019 will be their ability to really connect with their communities and create a seamless personalised experience, regardless of channel.

With so many touchpoints available to consumers, brands need to focus on making that experience feel the same across them all. The current trailblazers leading the customer experience revolution are focusing on far more than the product and the transaction. They are creating engaging experiences, encouraging people to spend time with them, come back frequently and increase their interactions.

This evolution has to be adopted across the entire business. Long gone are the days that retail jobs are what you do while you’re waiting for a proper job. In-store and online teams are ambassadors for the brand and are integral to creating this epic experience for customers. Consumers are seeking experiences rooted in genuine engagement, empathy and emotional intelligence.

Using data to drive authentic experiences

Data to drive sales has been a dominant topic in the industry for years. It’s no secret understanding more about how people shop and buy helps drive sales. Little discussed topic is how to use your data more effectively to create a meaningful experience for your customers, enhance all interactions with customers across all channels and innovate the experiences you give people.

Customer insight should go beyond the ABC1 profiles. Who are your actual customers? Don’t just look at where they live, how old they are or what they buy, ask what they care about, what motivates them, how they view you as a brand and how they view themselves as people. Understanding the people behind the purchase will help create these authentic experiences.

Get personal

The more you know the more personal you can get. Empower your customers through a personalised experience. The daddy of personalisation is of course Amazon, but this hyper personalisation is no longer restricted to the big retail giants. Think beyond simple passive product recommendations, use the data you have to proactively provide consumers with recommendations based on your actionable data.

If you’d like to know more about creating an authentic, engaging experience for your customers across all channels, get in touch.

Do you have your Christmas 2018 Strategy in place?

As we sit in a baking hot office in the middle of another heat wave, we long for cold winter nights, wrapped up by the fire, sipping mulled wine and snuggling under a thick duvet. You might think it’s too soon to start thinking about Christmas 2018, but it’s not, especially if you’re in retail. If you haven’t already it’s time to get your festive hat on………. or maybe a nice cool straw hat for the time being.

 

So what can the marketing teams be planning now, here are some tips to start future proofing your success for A/W 18:

Get your trend on

Look at the fashion, interior and Christmas trends predicted for Autumn/Winter 2018. Start pre-categorising your A/W product range into these trends. Re-write product & page copy ready to upload to dedicated pages, when the time comes, to maximise on natural search results.

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 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 influencers within each trend niche – featuring in their marketing and media not only positions you well within a trend, but is worth PR riches.

The top fashion trends as cited at Paris Fashion Week in March are:

1. Head to toe animal print
2. Leather dresses
3. Cape crusaders
4. Silver, holographic and Sci-Fi
5. Tweed
6. The 70’s – think shearling & crochet
7. Pleats
8. Silk
9. Obvious logo/brand placement
10. Layering coats

Interior design colour trends are:

Colour trends

1. Navy Blue
2. Autumn Maple
3. Neutral Gray
4. Toast
5. Scarlet Red
6. Tawny Port
7. Golden Lime
8. Shaded Spruce
9. Light Blue

Christmas 2018 trends as shown at Christmas World are:

Vivid heritage
A mixture of traditional handicraft skills from different cultures combined with strong colours similar to Golden Lime, Scarlet Red and Shaded Spruce. Think embroidered patterns inspired by folklore and ethnic tradition.

Eclectic Gathering
This trend includes reflective, shiny and sparkling materials such as crystal, foil, mirrored glass and mother of pearl incorporated with lively details, over the top shapes and patterns. Colour palette combines pink, lemon, mandarin, azure, rosé, black and gold.

Balanced Sobriety
A mixture of matt brass, light coloured wood and shiny black surfaces with a Japanese influence. Colours range from pure white to rose gold, a shiny but cool grey, a deep red and black.

Splendid History
Think historical treasures. Lace, feathers, semi-precious stones, pearls and marble combined with dark, saturated colours with accents of aquamarine and gold.

Plan ahead for big shopping days

Don’t get stung by Black Friday or Cyber Monday but embrace them and create a plan that works with your business. Also look back at last year’s data and see what your best shopping days were and use them as additional opportunities.

You don’t have to discount all your products to keep your head above the water but create exciting deals for your existing customer base, that could also entice new customers. This could include exclusive offers and enhanced loyalty offers.

Think cleverly around your content strategy on all your platforms. Create a content plan specifically for the run up to and including big shopping days which includes engaging content in partnership with key influencers.

For smaller brands, Black Friday or Cyber Monday can actually be an opportunity to catch the eyes of new customers. Yes they’re hunting for the best deal but remember they are also looking for a great experience so make sure that you have all your ducks in a row and the experience from pre purchase through to post purchase is seamless. A great returns policy goes a long way!

Not forgetting the importance of resource. Ensure you have enough staff clued up and your website and team can handle the high volume of customers and sales. Your customer service team need to be super charged and understand all the many things that could go wrong so they are fully prepared to diffuse any situation that might arise.

Connect with your customer

Get the customer involved by sending out a small survey to see what they want around Christmas, exclusive offers? Exclusive content? Tips and how to guides etc. This sort of priceless insight can help to shape your content plan as well as boosting your customer engagement by making an emotional connection.

Christmas can be a joyful experience for most but also very stressful for those that have big families entertaining large groups or those that just dislike Christmas! Think about how you can alleviate some of that stress for your customers. Try and tap into your customers’ needs and help solve their stressful shopping problems. This sort of insight can be gained by using the survey. Content can then be created around the specific pain points and drip fed across all your channels in the run up to Christmas.

If you have a physical presence, connect online with offline by offering unique services instore to gain footfall like a free gift wrapping service, instore product demonstrations or personal shopping services. Try and make the shopping experience as enjoyable as possible as it can become quite the chore.

Listen to your customer

Did you get any bad reviews, feedback or complaints last year? Take a look back at what issues your customers voiced and make sure everything is fixed for 2018. This could be delivery problems, product information, site speed, checkout issues, the list can go on but ensure you have all of them ironed out and content updated so that your customers don’t face any of the same issues.

The key thing to remember is that a retailer’s main focus around Christmas is to inspire customers and take the stress out of the largest shopping event of the year which will lead to more revenue. Try and make it fun and interesting but most of all be prepared!

If you want any help or advice in putting together your 2018 Christmas marketing strategy give us a shout on [email protected].

5 Top Tips to Tackle GDPR

GDPR can be a little daunting, especially to small businesses that don’t have the resource to analyse and implement a compliant procedure. There is so much information out there it’s hard to define what needs to happen.

However, the main concepts and principles of the current data protection act don’t differ too greatly to the new law, therefore if you’ve already got a comprehensive procedure in place that’s a great starting point you’ll need to enhance some elements and change a few points along the way. In particular the new law has greater emphasis on the data controller’s documentation and the individual’s rights.

Here are our 5 top tips:

Communicate

Ensure that you communicate within your business about the impending change to the law. Having input from key stakeholders within the business can help to identify risk of compliance. If you have a team working together from different areas of the business then you’re likely to uncover any problems quickly.

Ensure you designate a Data Protection Officer if you carry out large scale systematic monitoring of individuals and large scale processing of special categories of data or data relating to criminal convictions and offences. The role of the DPO is to implement procedure, be accountable for the processing of data, to monitor compliance of GDPR and data law and be the first point of contact to supervisory authorities and the individuals whose data you process. However, allocating a GDPR project manager will be very beneficial in reaching compliance if you are a small business and you do not carry out any of the above.

Some aspects of GDPR will have more of an impact on businesses than others so with a team of key personnel you’ll be able to highlight which parts will have the biggest impact and then prioritise your planning.

Take a step back

Yep! It’s time to take that famous step back to audit and document the personal data you currently hold, this includes customer data but also employee data and why and how you process it. You must ensure that the data is correct, in date and relevant. If you have any incorrect data this needs to be rectified and documented. This is also proof for the GDPR’s accountability principle, you must be able to show your path to compliance which brings me to the next tip……….

Create policies and procedures

If you have policies and procedures or not, you’ll either have to create from scratch or adapt what you have to ensure you’ve taken on the new changes in the law. If you have all the relevant documentation for your data processing you’ll be able to prove your compliance quickly and easily.

Get consent

I’m sure you already gain consent to record and process data but you’ll need to review your messaging and ensure the following:

  • Be granular, clear and specific
  • Make sure the message is prominent and not hidden or in small type
  • Include a positive opt in – the individual needs to physically tick or sign to give consent
  • Properly documented
  • The ability to easily withdraw

Clarity is King!

You must be transparent in your privacy notices about what data is held, how it is used and for how long it will be held for. Clearly state the above and make sure it’s easily accessible to the individual so they fully understand how their data is stored and processed.
You need to include the following:

  • Your lawful intention for processing the data and how it might be shared
  • How long you will retain the data
  • The individuals rights: to complain to the ICO, to request access to their data free of charge in a commonly used format and within one month, to request correction or deleting of data and to object to data processing

These tips just scratch the surface of what the new law implicates, but this gives you a framework to tackle GDPR within your business. GDPR not only effects marketers and retailers, it effects any business that processes data. These tips come from how we’ve approached the changes in data law that GDPR is enforcing.

For detailed resources visit the ICO’s Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

If you’re a small retail business looking for help then please contact our sister company Digital Team on Demand who will be able to swoop in a GDPR hero to help you plan for compliance by 25th May 2018.

Note that this blog post is not intended to construe legal advice or offer comprehensive guidance on GDPR. This is just our professional opinion.

Onwards and Upwards

And just like that January was over, we’re all eating pancakes and love is in the air!

It’s safe to say that it’s been a bit doom and gloom in the world of retail last month. Looking back at 2017 in a haze as many retailers (but not all!) report a disappointing end to the year.

 

It’s now February so let’s not let all that news bring us down! There’s also a great deal to look forward to as we continue to march into 2018 with arms wide open and prove that retail can overcome the many obstacles it faced in 2017.

Here’s what we’re excited about:

Artificial Intelligence for the marketeer

Proper Sci fi geekery alert! Yes we’re at that point in time, artificial intelligence is now becoming the norm and something retailers are going to have to open their minds to if they want to be competitive.

It’s a bit mind blowing really, there’s now too much data for the human brain to handle on a daily basis which means we’ve needed to bring in the big guns and ask for a little help from the robots.
Using technology such as machine learning and deep learning methods can be hugely beneficial to brands, it’s basically adding brain power to your business that doesn’t sleep.

Machine learning and deep learning methods can assist data analysts to help recommend optimisations to content to improve organic search as well as detecting patterns in real-time to give marketeers an advantage at understanding customers, competitors, or market changes – turning insights into action!

If you want to read more about AI we recommend the following:

“artificial-intelligence-and-machine-learning-what-are-the-opportunities-for-search-marketers”– Search Engine Watch
“innovation-how-can-brands-keep-up-with-unpredictable-audiences” – The Drum

Understanding the customer even MORE

It’s no secret that retailers, especially if they haven’t already, need to get to grips with their customer data to stay ahead of the curve. Many retailers out there still don’t understand their customer’s behavioural patterns, needs and desires and this needs to change.

It’s time to dig deep into the data and updates in Google Analytics are allowing marketer’s to do this on a daily basis. The standard report function now enables more insight into user-level behaviour within sessions, User Explorer has been re-vamped to include lifetime metrics and dimensions for individual users, marketers can create audiences and publish them for analysis within the platform which enables comparison between different audiences over a period of time and finally conversion probability – Google can now identify recent site visitors with the highest probability of a future conversion by analysing historical data and automatically identifying the patterns between variables within sets of high-value customer. We’re in analytics heaven!

#BFF

We read a great article from Econsultancy last month explaining how the ‘working backwards method is key to superior customer experience’. We’ve been thinking this for a long time now and working with our clients to better understand their customer profiles before implementing any kind of digital strategy. Addressing their customers’ needs/desires and problems using the insight provided by the data.

In 2018 brands should be able to predict their customer’s behaviour even before they can, getting to know them inside and out, essentially becoming their #BFF.

GDPR

Ok…this one isn’t as exciting BUT very important and ties in nicely with the necessity of customer data. It’s the talk of the town and we all need to get prepared for 25th May 2018.

The regulation is there to protect EU citizens from privacy and data breaches in an increasingly data-driven world. It isn’t new but it’s the latest evolution of regulations on data privacy and protection so if your business is already compliant with the Data Protection Act you should be most of the way there.

We will be dedicating one of our next posts to GDPR, so watch this space……

Let’s not put our heads in the sand after a tricky year, let’s keep them high and rise to the challenges that 2018 will bring.

Remember, the customer is always right!

Tips to help retailers win in 2017

With today’s warnings from high street bell-weather, Next, on the challenging year ahead, there’s no denying that the perfect storm of economic climate, tighter spending belts from cannier consumers and shifts in the sale seasons we’ve seen as the UK embraces Black Friday, has had a knock on effect on Christmas shopping patterns and a detrimental impact on retail revenue this season.

It’s now more important than ever to have a solid January to make up any shortfall from Christmas and put good foundations in place for a successful 2017.

We’ve put together some tips for retailers to get 2017 trading off to a good start:

Do you really know who your customers are?

The key to successful retailing, is of course, acquiring and retaining the right type of customer for your business. This is, in turn, reliant on being able to identify who they are and how to attract them.

When was the last time you had a look at your transactional data to explore who your best customers actually were, what they buy from you, how often and what they actually want from your product range and marketing?

If you don’t know that now, with 2017 set to be another fierce year competing for consumer £££s, you must spend January digging into your data and learning everything you can about your customer.

Don’t market to your customers – give them a great experience!

The luxury retail trend of providing customers with a fabulous in-store experience has finally filtered onto the high street, with TopShop and John Lewis both launching in-store facilities that brought the shopping experience to life in 2016. Creating a shopping ‘environment’ isn’t a trend that is going to go away, it’s how clever retailers now ensure retention of happy customers and it’s not confined to bricks and mortar.

When you know what your customer wants from you, emulate that experience online. Is excellent customer service more important to them than price? If so, invest in live-chat, or a better presence on social channels to answer customer queries. Do your customers ask friends and family for advice before committing to a big purchase? If so, make sure your reviews are showing up in your internet search results or work with key industry influencers to give you that editorial cache.

Most importantly, do you have the right team to deliver?

Does your existing team have the skill set to cope with the shifts in consumer expectations and the cannier digital execution needed to retain them?
Digital disciplines established in silos for years; SEO, social media, affiliates and PR are seeing a convergence like never before and you may find that a team that was previously structured beautifully now has glaring gaps from those experts who can see the bigger picture of what a customer wants and have the ability to develop quick solutions to provide it.

Use January as a time to take an objective look at the team you currently have in the business and identify where you may need to skill up.

With these foundations in place, you can look forward to 2017 and coping with all the retailing challenges it throws at you.

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 Insight Edit: How do consumers shop for food and drink online?

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.

Recently, we have seen a real emergence of great online food and drink brands and retailers, from niche food retailers such as Planet Organic to the booming sector of food subscription services such as Gousto.

To further understand online food & drink shoppers’ evolving behaviours and attitudes, we asked our Panel whether they purchased food and drink items online than and their motivations for doing so.

food and drink stats
63% of the panel stated they had bought food or drink online (excluding supermarket groceries). Although this figure may appear to be behind other sectors, it’s still a large percentage of consumers and it shows growth opportunities for the sector.

We then asked those who had bought food and drink online what types of retailers they had bought from:

40% had bought from speciality food websites (e.g. health foods, wine retailers)

27% had bought from an individual food/drink brand online (e.g. Nespresso, Twinnings)

24% had bought from food subscription sites (Abel & Cole, Graze)

We then asked them why…

10% purchase food and drink online because they receive a wider choice of products

31% purchase food and drink online because it’s more convenient

12.9% purchase food and drink products they cannot purchase elsewhere

11% purchase food and drink online because the prices are cheaper

With such a low percentage of our panel being driven by price, brands and retailers selling food and drink online do not need to be price driven to drive sales as long as they are offering seamless and easy path to purchase. Successful online food and drink brands will be those with a clear and engaging brand and a range of products that are not easily available in stores.

Read more about the food and drink retailers who are engaging successfully with their customers in our latest engagement report which looks into the growing food and drink subscription sector.

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?

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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?

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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.