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.

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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?

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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.

Many retailers lacking across multiple areas of customer intelligence

As I wrote in my recent blog post “Why 2016 is the year of customer intelligence” retailers should be working towards building – not just their customer data capabilities – but their ability to overlay data with emotional insight and use that knowledge to make successful changes across their business.

As part of our drive to understand the level of customer intelligence that exists currently within the premium and luxury sector, we launched the Customer Intelligence Index back in January.

The Customer Intelligence Index enables retailers to benchmark their customer data and insight capabilities with their level of customer knowledge and their ability to use this insight to make successful changes to their marketing and wider business. Once the survey is completed, we produce a report which outlines their capability within the three areas of customer intelligence with recommendations on how they can improve.

The Index has only been live for just over a month, but already, the results have shown some common themes and has highlighted the main areas that retailers need to improve on in order to place the customer at the heart of their business.

Data management and collection

Developing effective loyalty programs that capture useful data

Not only does a loyalty programme encourage brand loyalty and repeat purchase, but retailers can use the data to gain additional insight into customers’ behaviour and preferences.

Tracking customers as they move from key segment to segment

Many retailers have begun to segment their customers into useful segments but they aren’t tracking them as they alter their spending habits and move to another segment. Retailers who cannot track this movement risk delivering very different messages to the same customer or failing to reward them for increase spend and loyalty.

Insight

Understanding the value of customers by acquisition channel

Attribution is an important, but a difficult element of customer insight. Being able to use Google Analytics and transactional data to attribute the value of each marketing channel by the value of the customer it drives is proving tricky. This means retailers are at risk of investing in acquisition channels that drive low-value customers or ignoring those that have the potential to drive high value.

Predicting future purchase behaviour

Being able to manipulate data alongside emotional insight has proved to be limited with the retailers who have taken part in The Customer Intelligence Index so far. The results have shown that they are finding it hard to make informed forecasts on what customers will purchase in the future and therefore are at risk of having the wrong product or stock and the wrong time.

Business Readiness

Regularly reviewing the customer strategy

Retailers are struggling to develop a ‘test, learn, refine’ model on their customer strategy and marketing activity. With consumer needs ever-changing, actions being taken could be out of line with what customers want or how they are currently behaving.

Lack of resource to track KPIs and collect and communicate customer insight

Many retailers still don’t feel they have the resource in-house dedicated to leading the creation and communication of customer insight. They may be collecting it in different places, but have no flag bearer to combine it and ensure it’s being used across the organisation. The result of this is that any insight collected can be rendered useless as it is not be used in an effective way.

The areas outlined are where retailers have consistently scored less than 40% but are only the tip of the iceberg. There are many other areas being highlighted that are still being scored below 50%, so watch this space as we divulge more results.

Better still, take the survey here and find out where you come compared to other retailers on the Customer Intelligence Index.

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.

 

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

 

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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.

Insight Edit: what do premium shoppers really think of Black Friday?

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 topics 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.

Christmas is looming and the press are already whipping up a frenzy over Black Friday. Apparently this is going to be the biggest Black Friday yet, and consumers must be ready to snap up the amazing deals that are going to be on offer.

However, through many discussions with our retail clients, we’ve heard first-hand that Black Friday does not actually have a beneficial impact on Christmas revenue. At best, it simply moves consumers spend within the period and at worst – it can actually have a negative impact on revenue and the perception of the retailers and brands that take part.

Our advice has always been to be as strategic as possible about your involvement. Don’t jump on the discount bandwagon and carefully select the products you are going to offer on sale and avoid the peak trading crunch that can lead to logistical problems and a poor experience for your customers.

We are also unconvinced that all of hype around Black Friday will really have that big an effect on consumers shopping plans this year.

So of course we asked our Premium Panel, and guess what? Consumers couldn’t really give a hoot.

 

Black Friday shopping statistics

Yes, that’s right – 40% said they had no intention of waiting until Black Friday to do their Christmas shopping, and another 40% said they might make a purchase if something takes their eye on the day, but they won’t base their shopping plans around it.

A further 10% said they had not even thought about Black Friday yet.

Only 2% of consumers stated they were waiting for the arrival of Black Friday to start their Christmas shopping, showing there seems to be very little enthusiasm for the event so far this season.

We looked at whether answers differed according to household income and gender, but opinions were similar across all segments.

So is Black Friday just hype by the media? Perhaps so. We have started to see a backlash in America, where larger retailers have decided to shut their stores on Black Friday. Will retailers follow suit over here?

Our advice to retailers? Stick to your usual Christmas strategy and ensure you are offering an exceptional shopping experience throughout the entire period. Don’t get caught up in offering crazy discounting as it may well disrupt your entire trading period or encourage low value customers who are unlikely to have a high potential lifetime value.

By all means, offer a Black Friday discount or offer, but perhaps focus on a specific range of items for that period and ensure your high earning products are available consistently at good value for the whole of the shopping season.

Good luck!

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

 

Demystifying the premium consumer: five common myths

In today’s consumer led world understanding “who” your customer is and what they want from you is crucial. Only with this knowledge in place can you start to tailor the right shopping experience to your consumers, leading to increased acquisition, conversion and loyalty across all channels. To put this in perspective, recent research from Econsultancy found that marketers, on average, see a 19% uplift in sales when they personalise their web experiences to their customers.

As we work with our clients to help them understand their customer base, we often hear them say “We know exactly who our customer is, it’s [insert an ideal customer profile cooked up in a board room years ago].”

So many retailers are basing their marketing on their vision of who they want their customer to be and NOT who they actually are.

Having an idea in your head of who you are selling your product to is a crucial starting point when creating a brand and a marketing strategy. However, once you’ve created a customer base, you need to pay attention to who they actually are and why they bought from you in the first place and start to tailor your marketing accordingly around those who are likely to spend the most with you.

Below are five myths we often come across about premium consumers:

Myth 1: Premium consumers are all rich

It depends on what you class as rich, but in truth, many of our clients’ customers are not extremely wealthy and a large proportion of them save up to purchase their products. If treated well at the beginning of their relationship with you, these lower income customers can turn out to be high value loyal customers over time.

Myth 2: Premium consumers are all glamourous and beautiful

I am sure many of them are, but a great deal of those who buy premium products are normal people with normal shaped bodies and normal lifestyles. Don’t ignore them. You may not want them as brand flagbearers, BUT alienating them will not do you any favours. We have found in our research that a high percentage of fashion consumers value images of the products they are buying on real life models.

Myth 3: Premium consumers are not price conscious

Don’t assume that if people can afford to buy high ticket items they are not price conscious. The buying drivers for many have changed over recent years, and although a more affluent customer may have money to spend, they are still looking for good quality and value for their purchases.

In a survey to Leapfrogg’s Premium Panel we found that 30% of premium consumers feel more valued by a brand who gives them money off their purchases.

Myth 4: Premium consumers expect more from the brands they buy from

There is an assumption that premium customers expect more from their shopping experience that those buying from cheaper suppliers. This is wrong; today’s modern consumer expects a top experience whether they are buying from Amazon or Harrods. The product and packaging may be superior, but they still expect a high level of customer service, speedy delivery and returns and that any problems that arise are dealt with quickly and efficiently

Myth 5: Premium consumers prefer to buy from stores than online

In the past this may have been the case, but those buying from luxury brands are getting younger and younger – they ‘live’ online and frequently buy high value items. Bricks and mortar stores will always play a role in the premium shopping experience, but the role of online will only grow.

The above are just some of the incorrect assumptions we see made about premium consumers on a regular basis. There are many ways of discovering more about your customers which you can read about in my previous blog post: Customer Insight – what you should know and why.

 

Image via: Death To The Stock Photo

 

Five mistakes retailers are making in their digital marketing

Working within the premium retail sector means we spend our days making sure our clients are making the most of all the opportunities available to them online. As a result we also see the mistakes and lost opportunities many are making too. We thought it would be useful to share a few of the common mistakes we are currently seeing made by retailers and some tips to help you avoid them!

Marketing decisions made on assumptions about customers not real data

Many retailers (especially premium retailers) have a good idea of who it is that buys their products. This is great if they actually are the people that buy them. Too often we see retailers who are marketing to a type of person that only makes up a very small percentage of their customer base and a majority of their revenue comes from very different people.

Yes, we all want high earning glamourous, beautiful people buying our products, but in reality, many of those who buy premium products are actually normal people that buy nice things because it makes them feel good even if they have to save up for it.

Retailers who don’t understand who is actually buying their products may find they are alienating their true customers by not showing their products in relation to their customers true lifestyle and appearing too out of reach.

We are not recommending that premium or luxury brands dumb down their branding in any way, but by understanding your true customers you can start to target individuals through eCRM and personalised content to further engage with the people who make you money!

Acquisition and retention run by separate teams

With the growing trend towards “customer experience”, retailers are focussing on how they provide a seamless experience at every stage of the buying journey. However, many of the retailers who are starting to join the dots of their customer journey are still operating their marketing teams in silos according to each stage in the buying journey. For example, one team might be focussed on acquiring the right customers by marketing to them and driving them through to conversion and another team then taking on the retention of those customers and in many cases never the twain will meet.

Unless these teams work VERY closely together there can never be a seamless experience for the customer. Content for the customer should be planned along one central theme that appears throughout the buying cycle. Far too often we see acquisition and branding teams creating different types of content that then sits on site or distributed via email. If a customer sees different content at various stages in their buying journey then this can affect engagement and acquiring and retaining the right kind of customer. For example, if a customer is acquired through engagement with inspirational, lifestyle content, but post sale is then sent product or sales focused content only through email, they will lose the affinity they have built with the brand and will feel they are just being sold to and are far less likely to purchase again. Likewise, if they bought through the first time through offer and sales related content they are less likely to respond to inspirational or editorial content later in their lifecycle.

If you currently have separate teams dealing with the same customers at different points in their lifecycle, then ensure you meet regularly and you are all working towards a common set of customer personas and KPIs.

No segmentation of customers

Even if it’s just to split out male vs female, or active vs lapsed – splitting a customer base into smaller chunks can only ever be of value to a retailer. It helps deliver a more targeted message via ECRM, nurture high value customers and stops marketing budget being wasted on people who may not buy from you again.

We still see a large number of retailers who have no segmentation of their customers in place. They are sending the same email to everyone and don’t try and re-engage their lapsed customers.

It doesn’t have to be complex; getting started with any form of segmentation will create a return.

Same content on every channel

We frequently see retailers pushing the same content on all of their marketing channels. This is another wasted opportunity. If a customer has already been on the site and seen a piece of content then being sent the same content via email or seeing it posted on Facebook is going to start getting boring. Not to mention the fact that often different segments of your customer base will use different channels to engage with you.

Yes, have a central theme of content across all channels that epitomises your brand, but tailor it to suit each channel. If customers on Facebook are younger then tweak the content to make it more current, accessible, fun and interactive. If customers on email are higher spenders then make sure content is tailored to them accordingly.

A successful content plan will be focussed on a specific set of customer segments and will be planned channel by channel in relation to which customers interact and engage where, and at what stage of the buying journey they are at.

Not monetising social media

Last and by no means least, we are still seeing many brands active on social media who are missing the opportunity to commercialise them and make more money!

Rich Pins

Rich Pin

Pinterest offers the functionality to set up Rich Pins which allow brands to have up to date pricing and stock availability featured on their pins. We see so many retailers who have failed to implement these, yet by doing so you can reach users who are ready to make a purchase. Our Social Media and Content Consultant, Hannah, has written more about Rich Pins in her blog post here.

Twitter ‘Buy Now’

The ability to purchase through Twitter is only available in the US only at the moment, but brands such as Burberry have adopted the new functionality that allows a customer to click on a “buy” button within their tweets. Something to keep an eye on!

Shoppable video

Just last week, Google launched Shopping Ads for YouTube so retailers can now promote related products alongside their YouTube videos. In addition it allows retailers to assess how the video is being watch and which elements within the video lead to purchases. Clever!

Those who have strong engagement and customer numbers on social channels could be driving additional revenue by adopting any of the above.

So there you have it, a little bit of a rant about where retailers are missing out on revenue and profit. These mistakes may take a little time and resource to sort out but they will immediately start providing return on investment.