Insight Edit – Consumers favour multi brand retailers over single brands

Here at Leapfrogg, we have a panel of more than 800 premium 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.

For single brands, it often feels like a David and Goliath fight to retain online marketing share against larger multi brand retailers.

As we work with a number of single brands, we wanted to find out the reasons why consumers might chose to purchase from a multi brand retail website rather than purchasing directly from the brand itself.

We asked our panel whether they preferred to buy from a single brand rather than a multi brand website and their answer was a resounding no!

multi-brands

We dug further into our data to determine whether gender, salary or age had an impact on response.

Although the majority of respondents in each category preferred to shop with multi brand websites, we did see that a slightly higher proportion of men prefer to shop with single brands (16% vs. 9.5% for women).

We also noticed that the desire to shop with single brand websites increases with age, with the proportion of consumers who prefer single brands increasing in the over 40’s. We also found that 20% of respondents aged 50+ preferred shopping with single brands.

This would indicate that as we get older, we become more loyal to certain brands rather than shopping around.

Therefore those single brands who have a slightly older target audience may well be better placed to compete online with the larger multi brands.

We then asked those who do shop with single brands why they do.

consumers

Being valued as a customer was selected as the most popular reason, which indicates that the investment single brands make in the experience they give their customers really makes a real difference.

Single brands must find the resource to invest in customer experience to maintain or grow market share.

The next highest reason for shopping with single brands was that they often run special offers and discounts. This was selected by 57.1% of our panel.

We always advise retailers to focus on making their customers feel valued rather than compete on price. However, if you’re able to offer an exclusive deal on certain products that are not available elsewhere, then this will have a positive impact on customer loyalty.

The next highest reason that was selected was the ease of returns (42.8%). There are still many single brands not making it easy enough to return unwanted items which is crucial to acquiring and retaining customers.

To conclude, the findings from our panel support what we have been preaching for a while now. The way for single brands to succeed and gain market share from larger multi brand retailers is to focus their resource on making the shopping experience with them better than anywhere else. They need to communicate with customers in a way that makes customers feel valued and provide the best level of customer service they can.

Insight Edit – why do consumers return fashion purchases?

Here at Leapfrogg, we have a panel of more than 800 premium 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.

A big focus for fashion retailers is the experience they give their customers pre-conversion to secure a sale. However, if the post-sale experience means the product is returned – all the investment in acquisition and conversion could be wasted.

This week we asked our panel to give us the reasons why they have returned fashion items to an online retailer within the last six months.

fashion-stat

Over half of our panel said they had returned an item within the last six months. This is a worryingly high statistic for those retailers selling clothes online, so we began to dig into the reasons why.

35% of our panel stated they had returned an item as it didn’t fit. This comes as no surprise given that humans come in all shapes and sizes. As a marketer, there is little you can do to change the physical product, however, you can ensure that your sizing information online is as clear and useful as possible. It’s much better to have a lower rate of conversion and lower return rate than a higher conversion level with a high return rate, especially if you are covering the cost of returns.

The next highest reason for returns is that the item received did not look like how it did online.

fashion-stat-1
This is another reminder that the investment in high quality imagery of your products is crucial in the battle against returns.

Features such as zoom capability, multiple viewpoints and real life styling are becoming essentials rather than nice to haves, to both increase conversion but also reduce returns.

None of our respondents said they returned an item as it was damaged in transit. The methods and standards of delivery available to retailers are improving all the time and there should be no reason why your products are being returned due to poor delivery.

To conclude, the way a product is described and showcased online is absolutely crucial to avoid high return rates. While this may seem like common sense, there are many retailers out there who are reticent to make additional investment in quality imagery or increased product information and are scratching their head as to why their return rates are so high.

Of course there will always be a level of returns that you just can’t avoid, so ensure that your return process is as easy as possible for your customers. How helpful, easy and clear you are about your returns process can mean the difference between encouraging repeat customers and sending them off to a competitor.

Is it important for consumers to touch and feel products in a physical store?

Here at Leapfrogg, we have a panel of more than 800 premium 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.

As more and more consumers are happy to purchase products online without seeing them in the flesh, we wanted to understand what retail sectors they most happiest making online purchases for. We asked our panel to rate how important for them to touch and feel products in a physical store across a number of retail sectors.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the category in which our panel preferred to purchase in-store was furniture, with 73% stating it was important and 46% very important. This may be why even pure furniture etailers such as sofa.com and made.com have showrooms available for people to view products in the flesh.

Furniture stat

The next most important category to purchase in-store is jewellery, with 32.43% selecting very important and 38% slightly important. Again, this is understandable and probably relates to higher the price point of jewellery items and the longer consideration process.

The need to physically touch and feel clothing in-store is preferred by many although a larger proportion (46%) viewed it as slightly important instead of very important. This is indicative of the huge success of fashion etailers such as ASOS and Net-a-Porter which make it very convenient to make clothing purchases online.

The categories for which respondents felt the least need to view products in the flesh were health and beauty (47% stated it was unimportant) and homewares (39%).

Health & Beauty Stat

These two categories are more likely to have a large number of reviews available online relevant to the functionality of the product, which may be why less need is placed on the need to test in real life.

To conclude if you are a big ticket retailer, it is crucial to provide a physical space for consumers to view products. If you cannot stretch to a full time show room then pop up stores could be a good compromise.

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

 

Welcome to The Hype – our monthly digest of the hottest products, trends and innovations from the world of premium and luxury retail, hand-picked by our Premium Panel.

 

 

 

The Net Set launches

Last month saw the launch of the Net-A-Porter’s highly anticipated social network – The Net Set.

The Net Set allows you to virtually shop with the most stylish women on the planet, including the likes of Poppy Delevigne and Laura Bailey, as well as a community of like-minded fashion fans, sorted into ‘style tribes.’ Features include being able to shop any item directly from the app, and if you upload your own style or outfit, their image recognition tool will find similar styles for you to shop.

We’ve written up some of our thoughts in a blog post here. The general consensus is that it’s a great app that really adds value to the Net-A-Porter shopping experience. We just wish everything wasn’t so expensive!

Walls Ice Cream x ASOS

The iconic ice cream brand Walls and online retailer ASOS have teamed up to create a 16-piece kitsch collection inspired by your favourite retro ice lollies, including Twisters, Rocket lollies, Feasts and Mini Milks.

The festival-friendly collaboration launched this week and features crop tops, sequinned mini-dresses, jumpsuits, socks, novelty Feast clutches, and Twister-inspired shoes.

Check out the full collection here.

Image via Metro.com

H&M x Balmain

Last month, the creative director of the Parisian house of Balmain, Olivier Rousteing, revealed that he was collaborating with high-street giant H&M for their next designer collaboration. The collection will hit the stores on November the 5th, and will feature clothing and accessories for both women and men.

Rousteing’s aesthetic is full on glamour and it will be interesting to see how this translates to the high street. Either way, we predict a sell-out!

Choo Hound by Jimmy Choo

Last month Brazilian artist Rafael Mantesso and his Bull Terrier, Jimmy, collaborated with Jimmy Choo to launch Choo Hound – a capsule collection of leather accessories.

Mantesso captured the attention of dog lovers all over the world last year when his playful illustrations of Jimmy went viral across instagram and the internet. Jimmy Choo’s Creative Director was so enchanted by Mantesso’s illustrations that she approached him directly to create a series of fun, tongue in cheek drawings of Jimmy to decorate a capsule collection of leather accessories.

The Pre-Fall 2015 collection includes tote bags, purses, cosmetic bags and iPhone cases and some seriously special leather dog collars. We think our office dog, Nora, would look great in one!

Image via Instyle.com

Karen Walker and Liberty

Liberty’s latest collaboration sees the iconic London department store lend its prints to Karen Walker’s eyewear. Choose from the Super Duper Strength, Harvest and Number One sunglasses styles in one of three Pereira print colourways.

Image via we-are-scout.com

Tom Dixon Sample Sale

If you’re in London this weekend, we recommend popping into Tom Dixon’s Sample Sale in Islington. Tom Dixon designs stunning, contemporary homewares. The sample sale runs from 5-7th june and will stock lighting, furniture and accessories at up to 70% off. More information here.

See you next month!

 

Insight Edit – Premium consumers are happy to pay full price for fashion items

Here at Leapfrogg, we have a panel of more than 800 premium 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.

This week we wanted to understand more about the discount habits of our panel and how they differed across category.

We asked our panel to rate whether they agreed or disagreed with a number of behaviours related to sales shopping. We asked them to rate their behaviours for each of the following categories.

  • Fashion
  • Jewellery
  • Homewares
  • Furniture
  • Health & Beauty

We found that across the panel the majority of people are happy to pay full price for items they want. Over 50% of respondents in each category agreed with the following statement:

Premium-Panel-full-price

As you can see the categories in which people were most comfortable with paying full price were Fashion and Homewares. Perhaps unsurprisingly the category that people were least likely to be comfortable buying full price was Furniture which is of course a higher value category. Overall the responses are positive for retailers as they show that if they have a good product they should not need to discount heavily to encourage sales.

Net-A-Porter new shopping social network – ‘The Net Set

Last week, luxury fashion retailer Net-A-Porter launched its eagerly anticipated new social shopping network called ‘The Net Set’ labelled ‘the social shopping network we have all been waiting for.’

As a luxury brand that never devalues its products by offering discounts and offers (apart from their end of season sales), Net-A-Porter’s strategy has always been to focus on creating the very best customer experience and creating loyal customer advocates. This is evident from their launch of Porter magazine last year which blurred the boundaries between content and commerce. In some ways, The Net Set is an extension of this and seeks to create an interactive and inspirational experience for its customers.

In a nutshell, The Net Set allows you to virtually shop with the most stylish women on the planet, including the likes of Poppy Delevigne and Laura Bailey, as well as a community of like-minded fashion fans, sorted into ‘style tribes.’ Features include being able to shop any item directly from the app, and if you upload your own style or outfit, their image recognition tool will find similar styles for you to shop.

Here at Leapfrogg, we obviously love shopping and all things social, so our Social Media and Content Consultant, Hannah and I wasted no time in downloading the app and giving it a whirl.

Currently, the app is ‘invite only’ and after signing up their website, we received a code to register. By not being publically available, Net-A-Porter is perhaps creating an air of exclusivity and buzz around the app and slowly building up its user numbers, whilst refining and tweaking the app. For now, the social network remains invite only, with Net-A-Porter shoppers allowed to sign up with the ability to invite five friends. Pinterest started out in a similar way and now is open to all with over 78.8 million users.

The app itself reflects the look and feel of shopping on Net-a-Porter which is minimal and stylish with their signature black and white branding. The only pops of the colour come from the products themselves which enables them to really take the spotlight.

Signing up was simple and we were given the options of personalising the app in six short steps which included which designers to ‘admire’, style tribes to join, and the option to add products to your wish list called a ‘Love List’ .

There are 13 high-profile designers featured on the app at the moment, and seeing as they stock hundreds I would expect them to be adding more as time goes on. A key feature of the app is that you can discover products and then purchase them within the app itself. The checkout process was very straight forward and the purchase journey is clear, but it could perhaps be made more user-friendly. Apparently, Natalie Massenet created the app as she believes digital shopping is quickly moving to mobile devices with 40% of Net-a-Porter’s transactions taking place on mobile. “The Net Set was essentially us entirely rethinking Net-a-Porter, as if we were building it from scratch today,” she says. “We created it with the expectations of the new socially connected consumer and the latest technology in mind.”

We couldn’t see any video content, which is a shame as their website features videos of their products in use, so it would have been a nice touch to see this integrated into the app and would convey a lot of information easily.

The feature I liked most about the app was the image recognition technology which allows you to upload an image of any kind to the app – whether it be a person, print or an inspiring image which is then matched to their product inventory providing further areas for exploration. For example, uploading an image of our office dog, Nora, brings up a selection of products which match her colouring if you’ve ever fancied emulating her glossy black coat (who wouldn’t!). I imagine this would be a useful feature if you have a colour or pattern you’ve spotted and want to find something similar. However, I couldn’t see a way to filter these products down or find complementary items that don’t necessarily colour match.

nora

All in all, we really enjoyed using The Net Set and imagine we will be checking in frequently. It’s a great way to enhance the experience of shopping with Net-A-Porter and discovering new products. It will be interesting to see how people use the app. Given the price point of Net-a-Porter products, it’s certainly not a place for impulse purchases. I imagine people will use it more for discovery, saving items they like and purchasing later on or using the app for inspiration to find similar items elsewhere.

 

Are your customers willing to share data for a personalised experience?

Here at Leapfrogg, we have a panel of more than 800 premium 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.

With the strong message that retailers and brands must personalise their marketing to their customers and thus need to find out more and more about their customers, we asked our panel how much information they were happy to share with retailers.

We asked whether the panel to rate for a number of personal details whether they “expected” them to know, “didn’t mind” them knowing, or “would rather they didn’t” know.
Our results showed that the vast majority of consumers really don’t mind how much you know about them!

Personalisation

As you can see from the charts above, a majority of respondents expect you to know a great deal about them in order to deliver a personalised experience.

The details that most consumers “expect” you to know about them are their preferred payment method and interestingly their size both with 23% of respondents stating that they would want a retailer to know.

Opinion was most divided over whether a retailer should know your address with 21% expecting the retailers they buy from to know it, but also 38% of consumers said that they would rather they didn’t know. This is interesting as purchases cannot be delivered without an address being given and usually it saves a lot of time when ordering if the retailer saves your address.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid of asking your customers for personal details. Requesting this information will not alienate your customers and in many cases being able to personalise their shopping experience will put you in a favourable light with those who buy from you!

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

 

 

Welcome to The Hype – our monthly digest of the hottest products, trends and innovations from the world of premium and luxury retail, hand-picked by our Premium Panel.

 

 

Lilly Pulitzer for Target

Last month, U.S discount retailer, Target, launched their highly-anticipated collaboration with Lilly Pulitzer, – a brand best known for its fun prints and chic resort wear. The 250 piece collection featured an affordable line of brightly printed clothing, homewares and cosmetics all created in Pulitzer’s distinctive neon prints.

However, within hours (even minutes in some locations), the collection almost entirely sold out, in stores and online and according to Target, it was one of the fastest-selling collaborations it has undertaken. This caused disappointment and outrage as shoppers discovered they couldn’t shop the items they had lusted after. Unsurprisingly, many items also appeared on eBay for more than double the original price.

The collaboration came under criticism from some fashion devotees think these collaborations are ruining the brands’ luxury aesthetic and the limited amount of product is simply a shrewd marketing ploy to create more demand for the brands.

H&M Exclusive Conscious

H&M is another brand that is well known for its sell-out designer collaborations. Last month, they launched a new collection of party wear as an extension to their existing successful Conscious collection. Entitled Conscious Exclusive, the debut range features an array of evening-appropriate clothing and accessories for both men and women. Each piece has been created from sustainable materials, including organic cotton, recycled polyamide and Tencel. The collection was modelled by actress Olivia Wilde, and unsurprisingly sold out online within a few hours. However, I spotted that since the launch, there are still limited pieces of the collection available online.

Endource launches

Last month, I also noticed the launch of a new fashion website called Endource.com which was created by the co-founder of holiday website Secret Escapes.

Endource.com scours magazine websites and influential fashion blogs to bring shoppers the ultimate fashion directory that has been editor-approved, with the aim of replicating the experience of shopping with a personal stylist. If you follow fashion magazine’s and bloggers, then this website is the perfect place to find the most covetable and endorsed products in the fashion world.

Condé Nast to Transform Style.com into Global E-Commerce Player

Over the last few months, we’ve seen many traditional content creators realise their potential power to sell and evolve themselves into ecommerce platforms. Grazia famously bought London Boutiques, to develop its own branded ecommerce offering and now Condé Nast have followed suit and have announced that Style.com will be the home of their new ecommerce business.

The new platform – which is the first of its kind for the publisher – will launch this autumn in Britain and sell merchandise to consumers, including readers and users of its magazines and websites such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ, targeting fashion brands as well as upmarket brands from other sectors such as beauty, travel services and technology.

Marks and Spencer’s sell-out suede skirt

Every year has its ‘It’ item and in 2013, Marks and Spencer’s pink duster coat caused a fashion frenzy, and now their brown suede skirt is fast becoming the must-have item for Spring 2015.

The 1970’s-style suede skirt with a price tag of £199 goes on sale later this month and currently has a waiting list of over 3,500 people. Demand has been so high that five times the original amount has been produced to satisfy requests. To cater to demand, Marks & Spencer have also set up a sign up page for the skirt until it’s release date.

The skirt received a huge amount of exposure on social media after fashionista’s Olivia Palamo and Alexa Chung were both spotted wearing it and it consequently featured in magazines such as Vogue, Red and Glamour which created a huge amount of social buzz.

The hype around the skirt will be regarded as a major success for the M&S, who are aiming to improve their fashion credentials to improve sales. Although a single item cannot save a struggling retailer, high-profile hits such as this will definitely help improve their brand image and appeal to a wider audience who may not necessarily shop there.

Insight Edit 7 – What content engages premium retail consumers?

Here at Leapfrogg, we have a panel of more than 800 premium 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 their buying behaviours and opinions on brands, 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.

As engaging content is a huge part of the buying journey for most consumers, we wanted to find out which types of content influence purchasing decisions across fashion, food & drink, health & beauty, home accessories, furniture and giftware categories.

We asked our panel to select the top type of content they used to help them make purchases for each retail category out of the following list:

  • Product information
  • Images of products
  • Images of products in context /real life situations
  • Written descriptions of products
  • Written content on how to use the product
  • Customer reviews
  • Reviews from influential people /celebrities
  • Videos on how to use the products
  • Editorial videos (inspirational, adverts)

Although the order in which they appeared varied, the four types of content that were selected most across all categories were:

  • Images of products
  • Product details
  • Written descriptions of products
  • Images of products in context /real life situations

As you can see from the following charts, the only retail categories where visual and written product related content did not appear in the top three types were ‘health and beauty’ and ‘fashion’. In these categories, ‘customer reviews’ came within the top three types of content.

Customer reviews did appear consistently as important to consumers, but on average, they appeared in 4th place behind product related content.

Our key takeaway this week is that for any retail sector, it crucial to ensure your on-site product information is of high quality – both visual and written. Visual imagery must be ‘product only’ AND ‘product in context’ to gain the highest conversions.

Next in importance is customer reviews and then other content such as video and celebrity endorsement. Even though these types of content did not feature as highly as others, in many cases there were still between 20-40% of respondents viewing them as important.

This is why making sure you have a strong content budget is important to maximise on sales in any retail sector.

Fashion

Food & Drink

Health & Beauty

Home accessories

Furniture

gifts

 

*Graphs show only the top three types of content in each retail category.

 

The Insight Edit 6 – what are the key elements of great customer service

Here at Leapfrogg, we have a panel of more than 800 premium 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.

With our survey last month revealing that customer service was the most important aspect of a good customer experience, we decided to further explore what our panel felt were the key aspects of receiving a great customer service.

We asked our panel to rate a number of aspects of customer service according to how important they were to the overall service they received.

Insight Edit - great customer service

The results show that our panel felt the most important aspect of customer service was ‘good old fashioned politeness’ with 85% stating that it is “very important” and all others stating it as“slightly important.”

A close second came ‘helpfulness’ with 81% viewing it as “very important” to good customer service and the rest as “slightly important.”

Speed was the next most important factor with 82% citing the ability to rectify a problem quickly as “very important” and 78% thinking the same for the speed of response.

Availability by email was deemed more important than receiving customer service by social media, phone and least importantly live chat.

Our key takeaway from this survey is that the way in which any of your customer service representatives communicate with your customer and are able to quickly rectify an issue is more important than offering a wide range of customer service channels.

Therefore, communication training for your customer service representatives no matter what channel they engage through is of high importance. Ensure they are polite and helpful at all times and react as quickly as possible to queries. If you pick one key channel to focus on to deliver customer service then make sure it is email.