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Author: Ben Davis

Ben Davis

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com or follow at @herrhuld.

marks and spencer australia thongs

Marks & Spencer's new Australian website: six things to note

Marks & Spencer has just launched new localised ecommerce sites to cater to Australia and New Zealand.

Previously, Australians could shop online via M&S’s UK-run website, which delivers to 30 countries worldwide, but now they have localised payment, content and returns.

I've had a look through the site, trying to spot best practice or any teething problems. Here's what's worth knowing.


What is service design & who uses it?

Service and product design are in the ascendancy, becoming increasingly important within marketing and engineering departments.

Ashley Friedlein makes the claim in his trends for 2016, citing the number of consultancies and systems integrators that have made design acquisitions (see this Wired article for how IBM is beefing up its design creds).

Service design follows naturally from a focus on customer experience (as a central tenet of that dreaded term, digital transformation).

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Has Zalando designed the perfect email unsubscribe process?

I think I've found my favourite ever email unsubscribe!

What a treat, on my birthday, as well.

See if you agree.


What does 'improving customer experience' mean?

Improving the customer experience is a goal for just about every business, but what does that mean and what challenges does it present?

Well, it can mean a lot of things and, as part of Econsultancy's latest Quarterly Digital Trends Briefing in association with Adobe, is identified as one of the biggest opportunities in the coming year.

So, what aspects of CX are companies looking to in 2016?


Zalando: the fashion platform looking to China for great customer experience

German ecommerce pure play Zalando is learning from the Chinese market, offering stylist consultations by IM or phone call, unique social interactions and three-hour local delivery. 

It's part of rethinking the ecommerce model and blending online and offline to create a viable ecosystem, rather than simply an online shop.

argos logo

How Argos models PPC on TV, weather & seasonality

When PPC is as important as it is for Argos, understanding how external factors impact on conversion and spend is vital.

Argos' paid search agency Summit won a Masters of Marketing award in 2015 for doing just that, optimising bidding for the retailer in reaction to competitor TV ads, weather and seasonality.

Let's look at the what made this a winning campaign...

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digital kiosk

Is this the next step in programmatic out-of-home?

While it may always be impossible to sell actual out-of-home impressions, billboard technology is evolving rapidly and creating a newly agile medium for advertisers.

Clear Channel has just bought almost 2,000 phone booths from Arqiva and is expanding its use of automated digital six-sheet screens.

These new kiosks won't just be advertisements, but will provide a host of benefits to the public as well as advertisers.

Let's look at the future of out-of-home...

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google logo

12 practical content tips from Google's Page Quality guidelines

Google's unabridged Page Quality rating guidelines were released in November 2015.

Whilst some outlets covered this at the time, I thought I'd do so in purely practical terms.

So, here's a very simple checklist, based on Google's approximation of highest and lowest quality content.

It by no means covers everything in the guidelines, but references those bits that caught my eye.


Start Me Up! Machine, a platform that simplifies mobile programmatic buying

We haven't profiled a startup in a while on the Econsultancy blog, but Machine looks so current, we thought we'd get an overview.

Ashley Friedlein identified 'marchitecture' as his number one trend for 2016, with companies needing to articulate their 'marketing stack'. Machine seems to fit in somewhere here.

Heck, it's even got an animated, big-font scrolling-experience for a website.

Here's how the team describe their product...

pret coffee sleeve

Pret's genius continues, makes the coffee lottery official

Pret-a-Manger created a lot of buzz on social media in 2015 with its mysterious and seemingly-unofficial free coffee giveaways.

If you were a regular at a particular store, or if a barista simply liked your face, you may have received a free coffee.

Many people on Twitter took this pretty seriously, seeing the gesture as affirmation of their good looks or friendly manner (see tweets below). 

Well, now Pret is making this official and has added a twist that could turn out to be the most genius piece of marketing strategy of the year.

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zizzi scratchcard

How Zizzi uses gamification to boost voucher engagement

Zizzi has upset the rather boring restaurant email voucher model by introducing simple gamification.

We'll take a look at the games and why they make perfect sense in terms of engagement and refining contact strategy.

your website

Web design convergence: What? Why? And does it matter?

Have you noticed that website launches fail to suprise any more?

Of course, that's because over the past 15 years, we've all seen as many websites as we've had hot dinners.

But it's also because web design has been converging, thanks to the mobile trend, established interaction design patterns and also cultural conventions, as clients are influenced more by the crowd when deciding on their own approach.

I'm continuing to explore my web design predictions for 2016 in more detail, so let's take a look at convergence.