Operational tips for independent retailers learnt from the big boys

One of the things I love the most about digital is the lightning speed at which it changes, the flexibility and adaptability required to keep ahead of the curve at the cutting edge is phenomenal. As someone who is motivated by new challenges and finding solutions, this speed of change keeps me interested and excited all the time. Retail digital consultancy luckily lends itself to fast paced adaptation. Being operationally nimble is no small feat and certainly not something to be under estimated.

Having spent the last six years working with retailers there are common hurdles and barriers to success I see time and again. In this post I am going to explore five of the lessons independent and growing retailers can learn from the big ones, and get right.

Unity

All too often I see big in house teams divided, marketing and ecommerce working independently, to goals that don’t align with each other. Marketing speak digital but don’t fully understand it. Ecommerce are revenue orientated and are laser focused on the 2-3% of site visitors who are converting, often neglecting the other 98% of visitors who need to be engaged through the brand experience. Brand vs Ecommerce, ultimately with the customer suffering as the result.

Unify your team, set collaborative goals and clear lines of ownership.

Your marketing team should own acquisition, retention, engagement and advocacy. Bringing together harmony between departments is the only way to do this successfully. Up skill your brand team to exploit opportunity and support the ecommerce function but with the customer at the heart.

KPIs must be centralised and teams working collectively to the same goal. Minimise waste, maximise efficiency and create a unified customer experience.

Vanity Vs. Sanity

Get to know your customer, marketing should be aspirational but it also needs to be inclusive and realistic. All too often brands have an idea of who their customers are or who they would like them to be, but the reality of those actually buying is very different.

Use your data effectively, investing in your data partner and getting your customer data in good shape is essential. Build a centralised, single view across all channels, no silos or duplication of databases!

Segment your data and get to know your customer beyond their purchase, who are they, what do they care about, how do they want to be communicated with.

Each part of your business can then use this data to create a perfect experience across all touch points for all segments.

Look beyond last click

All activity needs to be driving a return that of course is a no brainer. However all channels are not equal when it comes to ROI. All too often activity gets canned (mostly by the FD!) if it is in a silo and cannot hold its own in the ROI stakes.

Don’t underestimate the halo effect of activity, ensure your reporting looks deeper at metrics such as assisted sales, brand and non-brand impressions, new visitors vs returning, engagement etc.

Set realistic goals with conversion in mind. Appearing number 1 for high volume generic terms may boost your ego (and cost a pretty penny), but will those customers actually convert?

Make structured change and measure the impact. Changing lots of things at once can leave you unsure of what impact each change has had. Analyse, develop, test and repeat.

Jack of all, master of none

The temptation to try and do everything, be everywhere and use all channels and tactics is all to present for brands. Keeping up with the Joneses isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be for the bottom line.

Use your customer insight and data to identify where your customers are actually spending their time and getting their inspiration and turn that into action. Invest your budget wisely.

Embarking on activity without a clear brief or objective is the road to failure. Make sure you know what you want to achieve from the activity and set clear goals so you can kick the tires and test the effectiveness of it. Analyze, develop, test and repeat.

Do less but do it brilliantly.

Direct to consumer vs wholesale

All too often do we see brands battling with their stockists for market share. Trade team driving forward their partners whilst the ecommerce team are hemorrhaging budget trying to keep up with the big players and their deep pockets.

Get your Trade and Ecommerce teams working together.

Agree terms and guidelines around products, pricing, promotions and brand bidding through paid media in your trade agreements.

Retain exclusives so you are the go to for the full range or hero products.

Get full visibility on stockist promotional activity and align your promotional strategy. Enabling you to manage your budget effectively in times when you may not be price competitive.

Submit your authorised stockist list to Google via their trademark form. This allows only authorised stockists the ability to use your brand name in their ad copy. Simple and effective but also needs policing.

All of the recommendations above are well within the reach of smaller retailers. They don’t require huge budgets, just time and focus. What are your barriers to success? Speak to us now about how we can help you start making a change in your business.

Insight Edit: Are consumers buying through social media?

Here at Leapfrogg, we have a panel of over 1000 retail consumers that we engage with on a regular basis to help us understand customer needs and expectations from the brands and retailers they buy from.

 

Every month, we question them on a range of areas from buying behaviours and brand opinion, to emotional purchase triggers and their recent shopping experiences.

 

The Insight Edit is our weekly bite size edit of the insight we gain from our panel in our search to truly understand the mind of the premium customer.

 

There has been a lot of speculation that 2016 will be the year of the “buy now” button in social media. Many people within in the digital industry are convinced there will be a huge move forward in the number of consumers purchasing directly through their favourite social media platforms.

 

Whilst we are seeing the steady impact of social media (done correctly) on purchase behaviour across our client base, we are still seeing a low number of direct purchases through those platforms.

 

We decided to ask our panel if they had bought directly through social media platforms in the last three months.

 

77% of consumers have not made a direct purchase through social media in the last three months. (1)

Of the 23% who did make a purchase – 77% made a purchase through Facebook, 33% through Instagram and a further 13% through Twitter.

 

This shows us that social platforms still have a long way to go to be the main conversion channel compared to retail websites and email. We believe the main reason for this is due to the consumers lack of willingness to make purchases directly on social channels. Perhaps they are just not in buying mode when engaging on those platforms.

 

Alternatively, retailers may not yet be providing the right levels of engaging content on those platforms and, therefore, failing to create the need to purchase right there and then.

 

It will be interesting to see how these numbers change over the coming months as the main social platforms continue the push their “buy now” buttons to own the purchase moment in the customer journey.

 

Google updates product feed specification

As you may have noticed, there have been some changes happening across Google Shopping over the last couple of months. Google has announced several updates to the Google Shopping Feed Specification and Google product taxonomy. The goal being to create a richer experience for customers searching for products online and to simplify the process of providing information in your feed. Some of the updates require changes to your current product data.

Key dates to note:

  • Changes need to be implemented by 15th September 2015
  • Enforcement for shipping costs will start a little later, in February 2016
  • Non-compliant items will be disapproved and removed from Google Shopping starting 15th September 2015

Here’s a rundown of the changes that Google is making:

GTIN (Global Trade Item Numbers)

Probably the most significant change we will see and potentially the biggest cause of disapproval risks, is regarding the GTIN population. All products where the ‘brand’ is a designated brand and the ‘condition’ is ‘new’ must submit a valid GTIN.

Unique product identifiers (UPIs) are already required, but Google is being increasingly strict around UPI accuracy. Items with missing or incorrect unique product identifier values will be rejected.

  • Requirements regarding GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers) have been refined. These GTINs also include EAN (Europe, 13 numeric digits) and UPC (US, 12 numeric digits)
  • Submission rules around ID attributes have been tightened to prevent use of invalid characters or sequences. A product ID is required for all items in the data feed
  • Shipping requirements will expand to more countries: Switzerland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Japan

Previously, merchants could choose to submit two of the following three identifiers for their products: ‘brand’, ‘gtin’ and ‘mpn’. Now, for products sold in ‘new’ condition from a designated list of brands, merchants are required to specifically submit both ‘brand’ and ‘gtin.’

The guiding principles and requirements were refined around GTINs because GTINs uniquely and completely identify a product in the global marketplace. When you submit these identifiers, you make your ads richer, and you also make it easier for users to find the product that you’re selling.

Validation and Canonicalisation of Item ID

Google will disapprove IDs with invalid characters or sequences which are difficult to use in a user interface, e.g. trailing whitespaces or control characters.

Google product category IDs

ID: Currently you are required to provide the full Google product category path in a text format based upon the Google product taxonomy. This change sees retailers able to utilise numeric IDs instead.

Google product Taxonomy updates

Google Shoping feed specification updates

Values that you submit for the ‘Google product category’ attribute can be any taxonomy value that Google has published since August 2011. While it’s not required, Google recommend that you update your values for the ‘Google product category’ attribute to use the latest taxonomy values. If you are using the ‘category’ product attribute in your Shopping campaigns, some of your products might get assigned a different bid because they are categorised differently. Some categories have been retooled significantly, including Arts & Crafts, Decor, Hardware, Sporting Goods and Motor Vehicle Parts & Accessories.

Apparel and variant information

Variant attributes will now be grouped and known as “detailed product attributes”. Google already recommends providing these attributes if they are relevant so this is just a naming change rather than a functional amendment. “Detailed product attributes” include: ‘colour’, ‘size’, ‘pattern’, ‘material’, ‘age group’, ‘gender’, ‘size type’ and ‘size system’.

Units and quantity

The feed will support US units as well as metric units. Volume (floz, pt, qt, gal), weight (oz, only lb), length (in, ft, yd) and area (sqft) can all now be included within the feed.

 

Although there are no real game changers here, there are changes which mean action on your feed is likely to be required. Make sure you review your Google merchant centre dashboard regularly to check for product warnings, suspensions or optimisation opportunities – the earlier you carry out the changes, the less effect the update will have on your shopping feed.

Facebook tests ecommerce by building shops into Pages

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

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

What is happening to commerce elsewhere on the web?

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

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

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

Important considerations for retailers

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

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

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

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

Main image via Maria Elena on Flickr.

Five digital marketing must-haves for retailers

As consumer expectations continue to rise, there are a wealth of digital marketing tactics that were once a “nice to have” which have fast become “must-haves” in order to win and retain customers.

In this blog post, we have picked out the top five digital marketing must haves that all retailers selling online should have as part of their digital marketing mix.

 

1. Customer Personas

How can you market effectively to your customers if you don’t have a clear picture of who they actually are? There is a wealth of information that you should know about your customers that I have covered in many previous posts. No matter how much information or data you have about the people who buy from you, your marketing team must use that knowledge to formulate a set of customer personas.

A customer persona is a succinct profile of each type of customer that purchases from you. It should contain demographic information (e.g. age, gender, family, salary, location, education) as well as emotional intelligence such as their personal values, aspirations, shopping behaviours, buying drivers, media consumption, hobbies and lifestyle.

Mapping this information around a visual representation of the customer with a name will allow you to really bring your customers to life. This means you can start to engage with them on an increasingly emotional level, which in turn allows you to create far more engaging and focused marketing tactics. In fact, user personas have been found to make websites 2-5 more effective and easier to use by targeted users.

Customer personas in marketing have been around forever, but we are constantly surprised to find digital marketing teams who don’t have access to this type of insight on their customers, therefore missing a huge opportunity to focus their marketing more effectively. Having this insight is absolutely crucial as engaging content is becoming increasingly important as part of the digital marketing mix.

Customer Personas

2. Segmented email campaigns

Up until recently, a segmented or automated email program was deemed a “nice to have” for many retailers with the complex email strategies left to the larger retailers. Today, with the high level of personalisation expected by consumers, those retailers who are not carrying out any segmentation or personalisation of their emails will be losing a large amount of retained revenue and market share. According to HubSpot, personalised emails improve click-through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%.

Make sure you have some form of welcome program for those who are signing up to receive email communication from you. Gather as much information as you can when they register to allow you to tailor your communications to them – even if it is only sending different emails to men and women.

Once the consumer has made a purchase, use the information you have about their purchases to personalise future communication with them. You could send them curated products they might like, inspirational content related to the category they have bought from, or sneak previews of new products within that category. The increase in conversion rates from a tailored email communications are huge, so make sure you are looking at how you can start segmentation as soon as possible.

Here is a great example of targeted email that I received recently from Missguided which led straight to a purchase.

Missguided-email

3. A well-structured content plan

It is no longer enough to have different teams or individual people within your business producing content for your customers independently. A brand that delivers engaging content across all digital touchpoints can create a seamless experience for their customers that will aid both acquisition and retention. This cannot be achieved if there is not one central content plan for all teams adhere to.

A well-structured and successful content plan will contain the following:

  • Identified customer personas to engage with
  • A set of natural search terms to be woven into content
  • A central theme of content relevant to the customer and the brand
  • Channel by channel content creation around the central theme
  • Channel by channel content seeding and amplification
  • 3rd party content engagement elements (influencers, bloggers)
  • Week by week delivery and resource planning
  • A full set of financial and activity focussed KPIs

And most importantly – delegate a member of staff to own the plan and ensure everyone delivers their elements on time!

4. Google Shopping

If you sell products online and you do not have a Google Shopping feed or Product Listing Ads, then shame on you! Accordingly to research encompassing large-volume retailers, last year product listing ads drove 56% of non-brand clicks and 30% of overall Google search ad clicks.

Google Shopping results feature at the top of search results and are a key way to drive customers who are searching for particular products straight through to your product pages. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual and images are processed 60,000 times faster than text, therefore if consumers process ads before anything else on the search results page, then you could be missing out on a high proportion of clicks if you do not have your products there.

Google Shopping

5. Rich Pins

Rich Pins are a very simple digital marketing tactic you can utilise in order to make the most of the fast growing Pinterest platform. Although product information on Pins has been around for a while now, the amount that retailers can do on this platform to generate commercial results has been growing rapidly in recent months.

By placing a small amount of code on your website means that any product that is pinned can be shown alongside relevant information such as stock availability and price. Pinners may also get notifications when prices drop by more than 10%.

Rich PinsThe increase of product information can lead to a much higher proportion of Pinterest users clicking through and purchasing. A recent study co-sponsored by the platform found that pins actually influence purchasing decisions. Over half the active Pinterest users surveyed said that the site helped them find items to buy. In addition, 32% said they purchased something in-store after viewing content on Pinterest.

Your competitors are probably doing it already! What are you waiting for?

The tactics above are by no means the only “must haves” within digital marketing, but are some of the most common tactics that we come across which are not being implemented by retailers.

Make time today to start just one!

Key takeaways from SheerB2B – a conversation with the customer

Last week saw SheerLuxe host their annual SheerB2B conference at The Worx in Parsons Green.

This is a great event which focuses on all areas of digital marketing for the premium & luxury sector. Leapfrogg have been a headline sponsor for five years and it’s one of our favourite events of the year to meet and network with people working across our niche sector.

This year was no exception and we were particularly pleased that the theme of this year’s conference was “customer centricity” in marketing as it’s a subject we’re passionate about. The two day event featured a fantastic line of speakers from retailers and brands as well as expert suppliers.

In this post, I have pulled out the key takeaways and highlights that I found most interesting from the conference.

Who is the luxury buyer in 2015?

First up on day one was Lara Bonney from Abacus who shared their recent findings on the luxury customer in 2015. Here are some of the key insights she shared:

73% of wealthy consumers identified “luxury” as “superior quality,” and they expect the experience of buying a luxury product to be as good as owning it. They seek exclusivity and stylish stores as well as a close relationship with sales assistants. They also believe it is worth paying more for quality items.

Less than a quarter of luxury consumers buy online BUT 50% research the items they want to buy online. 7 out of 10 consumers used social media in 2014 and 50% of them used Facebook.

Lara also talked about the importance of the catalogue as part of the luxury shopping experience using Boden as an example who saw a 30% increase in response from personalising their catalogues.

She also explained that many premium brands assume their customers are women where in fact in many cases over 50% are men! This was a recurring theme across the conference – never assume you know what your customers want and gain insight by asking them questions to really understand them.

We couldn’t agree more!

Grow your business with customer-centric strategies

Maria Hatzistefanis, the founder of Rodial Skincare, spoke about the need to connect properly with your customer. Maria explained how Rodial designed their packaging to appeal to their customers and picked highly effective brand ambassadors. She explained how celebrity Kylie Jenner had created a huge amount of brand awareness for Rodial as a brand ambassador after using the product and tweeting about it.

At Leapfrogg we absolutely agree that selecting the right brand ambassadors to connect with your customer is crucial, but we also believe that you should be joining the dots between all content producing and marketing teams in your business to ensure you’re making the most of your relationships to produce content across all channels.

Create effective blogger outreach strategies

Anna Hart is a blogger who runs a network called Pitch & Post to help connect brands with relevant bloggers and in her talk she shared some great insights into what bloggers really want from brands:

  • Exposure: bloggers utilise relationships with brands to grow their own following and keep them current in their readers’ minds
  • Revenue: bloggers can’t pay bills with free shoes! Be prepared to pay them what they are worth
  • Product: bloggers blog because they are passionate about what they write about. Giving them access to products is therefore a real incentive as long as it is done legally!
  • Strong images: provide bloggers with great visual content they can use. It costs them money to create themselves.
  • Fun opportunities: be interesting and fun to work with!

Anna’s tips on how to treat bloggers included:

  • Treat them as you would a media partner with long term content plans as well as immediate needs
  • Consider that bloggers need paying for at least 50% of their content
  • Always ask to see analytics of their blog to help you value their worth to you!

Get the basics right

Joanna from ReynoldsBushyLee spoke about many of the mistakes that retailers make in customer experience – a great reminder of how brands really do need to get the basics right online! She also had the best quote of the day from Ghandi:
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him.

He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it.

We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.”

Tailor your marketing to millennials

Marketing Consultant, Jennifer Roebuck, spoke brilliantly about marketing to millennials and broke many myths of how people perceive the younger generations.

She split the large group of millennials into two groups; The Entrepreneur and The Multitasker. The Entrepreneur is aged 18 – 25 and is engaged with global issues and a desire to be creative. The Entrepreneur is keen to lead a balanced career and identifies with beauty that is effortless.

The Multitasker is aged 25 – 35 years old lives life with purpose and wants to make the world a better place. They want rewarding experiences in life but will manage their finances carefully.

Therefore marketing to this more thoughtful generation is very different to the brash and possession focused Gen X. Brands must have purpose other than making money, be savvy yet approachable and be hugely personal to the people who buy from them. Luxury brands wanting to sell to this younger set take note!

Customer experience is the most exciting opportunity for retailers

Peter Abraham from Econsultancy talked us through their recent research on the ‘Pillars of Successful Ecommerce’. Here are the most interesting facts:
22% of businesses view “Customer Experience” as the most exciting opportunity for their business over the next five years.

The main business benefits of customer experience optimisation are:

• Higher engagement and conversion rates
• Better brand perception & loyalty
• Renewal, cross-sell and upsell
Customers who are personalising web experiences are seeing an average 19% uplift in sales.
We have been preaching the importance of customer experience for a number of years so were very pleased to see large scale research backing up our opinion.

Ensure digital and direct marketing work in unison

Rosemary Stockdale from Sterling Marketing gave a very interesting talk on the importance of the printed catalogue within the marketing mix for luxury and premium retailers and brands.

She shared insight from Royal Mail that showed that 51% of consumers prefer a combination of mail and email from the brands they shop with and 57% of consumers feel more valued by a brand that sends them a catalogue.
She spoke about Net-a-Porter’s brilliant ‘Porter’ magazine highlighting that 83% of its 32k subscribers said the magazine was the number one influence in helping them decide what to buy online.
She also talked us through how online fashion retailer, Atterley Road launched a publication on a much smaller budget which has helped launch their own brand range and has increased customer spend and retention.
As an agency we push continually to ensure digital marketing ties in very closely with direct as we know that a combined approach can lead to far higher AOV and repeat purchase.

Personalisation is key

Ben Blackwell from Oka spoke about how Oka used a simple solution from Nostra to personalise the online experience for their customers. This tool helped OKA group relevant products together and offer additional products leading to an increase in AOV on the site of 33% and an increase in conversion rate of 24%.
Neither of those are to be sniffed at and all smaller retailers can use tools like these at an affordable entry cost to start seeing immediate results!

Use customer insight to make decisions

Becky Hardman from Shop Direct talked the audience through how Shop Direct used its huge wealth of customer data and insight to launch their new premium brand Very Exclusive.

Access to customer  data allowed Very Exclusive to create a specific set of personas to target for their launch. Here at Leapfrogg, we are huge advocates of using customer personas to engage with your customer.
She also spoke about the need to create very different visuals for the premium and high fashion customer and how they created a different style of photographs for their products that focussed on style rather than model. This also fed through to the premium packaging they have introduced to offer a more premium experience.

You don’t need huge budgets like to Shop Direct to do this. There are many ways to find out more about your customers at low cost just by asking them!

 

Phew! Well the above is only a small selection of the great insight that was shared at the event. It was great to see so many brands and suppliers sharing the view that understanding your customer and putting them at the heart of your business and marketing really is the way to succeed today, particularly in the premium and luxury market.

This is a view we have had at Leapfrogg for a long time now and why the ethos for everything we do is to make our clients’ customers happy, by delivering premium digital experiences that meet our clients’ customers’ needs and desires.

 

Until next year!

The Weekly Shop (19th – 23rd Jan)

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Weekly Shop. This week we have an article from our commercial director, Ben, on how 2015 should be the year of the customer, six questions you should be asking your customers and why constantly discounting might hurt your brand.

Make 2015 the year of the customer

To kick things off this week, we have an article from our commercial director on how 2015 should be the year of the customer. Head over to Econsultancy to find out why Ben believes 2015 should be the year where every decision is made on the basis of what customers actually want rather than what the retailer thinks they want.

Why sales & discounts hurt your ecommerce brand

Our next article explores how constantly discounting your products can actually hurt your ecommerce brand. This is because lower prices rarely lead to brand loyalty, and instead they attract smart shoppers who jump at the opportunity. Obviously sales and discounts still have their place in any pricing strategy, but retailers should focus efforts on sales that complement long-term strategies.

Six questions to get actionable feedback from customers

This next article provides six questions you can easily ask your customers to get the most actionable and useful feedback.

4 ways SEO and UX experts can work together to improve web development

In this article, Search Engine Land explore how improved collaboration between your SEO and UX teams can result in positive impact on the outcomes of the Web projects.

Sustainable SEO Strategies for 2015

To finish off an article from Clickz which explores how your SEO strategy in 2015 should rely more on boosting the customer experience instead of focusing on search engine algorithms.

Thanks for reading!

The Weekly Shop (5th – 9th January)

Welcome to the first Weekly Shop of 2015! This week we have predictions for 2015 across ecommerce and mobile, how this year’s Black Friday spending compared to last year and how men and women shop differently at Christmas following a survey from our Premium Panel.

Black Friday spending up 18% in 2014

New figures this week have revealed that consumers spent 18% more on Black Friday 2014 than they did on the same day in the previous year as they looked to get the best deals in the run-up to Christmas. According to data from Barclaycard, Black Friday 2014 was the highest spending day on record as UK consumers spent £810 million in one day.

Five ways technology could shape UK retail in 2015

Developments in retail technology are enabling retailers to offer a more bespoke and personalised service to customers andthis next article takes a look at five ways technology could help shape UK retail in 2015.

20 ecommerce trends and predictions for 2015

In our next article this week, Econsultancy have asked an expert panel of ecommerce professionals to predict the trends that are likely to shape ecommerce in 2015.

Six mobile retail predictions for 2015

Continuing the theme of predictions for 2015, this next article explores six big things retailers can expect to see from mobile this coming year including payments, personalisation and wearables.

Do men and women shop differently at Christmas?

Just before Christmas, we asked our Premium Panel – which is made up of over 700 UK consumers – how they were intending to organise their gift-buying this Christmas. We asked our Premium Panel two key questions which produced some interesting insights around the difference in the way that men and women shop. Head over to the Froggblog to read more.

That’s it for this week! Thanks for reading. We’ll be making a few changes to The Weekly Shop newsletter this year, so watch this space!

The Weekly Shop (8th – 12th Dec)

Welcome to one of the last Weekly Shop’s of the year – where has the year gone! This week we have featured some stories you may have missed around ecommerce returns, the importance of mobile-friendly websites in 2015 and the future of Google’s search algorithm.

Social engagement within the premium furniture sector

During the latter part of this year, we have been investigating how premium retailers are delivering relevant content and engaging socially with their customers. In the first report of the series, we have looked at 20 leading retailers in the premium furniture sector and assessed how well they are engaging their audiences which produced some interesting insights. You can download the full report here.

Men shop very differently from women online and require a completely new approach

Moving onto some retail news, this article from Internet Retailing looks at how men and women shop for clothes in a very different way online and looks at how websites can cater to the male market.

15 tips for improving ecommerce returns policies

With Christmas being the busiest time of year for returns volumes, how should retailers handle returns? In this next article, Econsultancy have rounded up 15 best practice tips from various retailers.

Why a mobile-friendly website is essential to a successful SEO strategy in 2015

Moving onto search news, this article from Search Engine Watch looks at the importance of having a mobile-friendly website in order to have a successful SEO strategy in 2015 .

Press releases are not an SEO strategy

This next article from Clickz explores how press releases and press release websites are not an SEO strategy and explores how you can get much better results contacting journalists directly.

Why SEOs Need To Care About User Experience

Next up, URL profiler looks at how Google doesn’t really care about SEOs and that they only really care about user experience and optimising the experience of Google for their users.

The Future of Google’s Search Algorithm: Refinement Vs. Overhaul

To finish of this week, some interesting reading from Search Engine Land on Google’s search algorithm and specifically where Google search is headed and the signals it relies on.

That’s it for this week!

The Weekly Shop (27th – 30th Oct)

In this week’s Weekly Shop, we feature a report on the importance of integrating branded content  into the customer journey, how fashion and luxury brands can gain insight into what their customers care about and what’s hot and happening in premium retail this month.

Content + commerce = retail winner: study

A new report this week has shown how the ability to bring content and commerce together “may be what separates retail winners from losers.” The report found that more than three quarters (78%) of consumers now browse online before buying in-store highlighting an opportunity for brands to win the sale before shoppers go instore through branded content. The study points to tactics used by successful brands, which include integrating blogs onto the main site experience, putting links to product pages into article, and promoting blog content on the homepage.

How can fashion and luxury brands develop an understanding of what their customers truly care about and reflect this in their digital strategy?

Head over to the new ‘Ask the Experts’ section of the Masterclassing website to read our commercial director, thoughts on the question above.

The Hype: what’s hot and happening in premium retail this month?

Alexander Wang x H&M, Selfridges new £40m website, Jimmy Choo’s online personalisation service and accessible luxury are just some of the developments in premium retail that have got our Premium Panel excited this month. Head over to ‘The Hype’ on our blog to find out what other products, trends and innovations have been catching their eye in October.

Seven customer experience case studies that generated loyalty and ROI

This article from Econsultancy looks at seven customer experience case studies from the likes of Triumph, Cadbury and Homebase which have optimised experiences to increase satisfaction and loyalty.

5 Ways behaviour has changed in the last 10 years

This last article this week takes a look at five ways in which search behaviour has changed in the last 10 years following Mediative’s excellent eye-tracking study of Google search results.

That’s it for this week. Happy Halloween!