Author: Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher was the Deputy Editor at Econsultancy. He runs pop culture site Methods Unsound and you can hound him on Twitter @Christophe_Rock.

woman shopping on smartphone

Mobile users less likely to visit high street stores: stats

Just 47% of mobile phone owners purchase from retail stores on a weekly basis, a figure significantly down from 73% in 2010.

These figures come from a consumer study by eDigitalResearch and Portaltech Reply, so bare in mind these are third party stats canvassed from 1,011 responses, however the numbers do follow the general trend of ecommerce growth and the decline of high street sales figures.


Tastecard: a mobile user experience review

64% of mobile restaurant searches lead to conversion within one hour of the search.

This coupled with the fact that 95% of users conduct restaurant searches on their mobile devices means that restaurants are one of the top local and mobile search categories.

Tastecard has been running across the whole of the UK since 2010. Consisting of a network of restaurants offering a 50% discount or two-for-the-price-of-one on meals for an annual subscription charge, tastecard is seeking to corner this huge online market.

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great british bake off

Great British Bake Off and the rise of social TV

The Great British Bake Off finale achieved 156,000 tweets during its 8pm-9pm broadcast last night.

The flagship BBC2 show has also seen a steep rise in audience figures over its 2013 season, achieving 9m viewers during its finale, up from 6.5m who watched the crowning of last year’s winner.

Although an assured move to BBC1 and a 32.6% audience share is a huge success, perhaps The Great British Bake Off's greatest legacy is highlighting our changing viewing habits and how Twitter is transforming the way we watch TV.

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pinterest logo

How retailers can use Pinterest to drive sales

Pinterest users follow an average of 9.3 retailers, while Pinterest shoppers in the USA are also spending on average between $140-$180 per order, compared to the $60-$80 Facebook and Twitter shoppers are spending.

The business case for investing in Pinterest is well past the tipping point. With over 70m global users, Pinterest is now the third most popular social network, and there are claims that Pinterest, in many cases, drives more sales than Facebook.

So what can your business do to engage with this rich seam of potential customers?

1886 crescent hotel poster's journey into fear this Halloween

Halloween falls in a difficult holiday period, just at the end of ‘shoulder season’ (September to October) and right at the beginning of the dreaded off-season (November to March).

So it seems the end of October must be a write-off for travel company marketers. Or so you would think…

However, is taking advantage of a holiday season yet to be exploited by other travel companies, Halloween, and is managing to build a comprehensive marketing campaign around it.

We’ve already looked at the eight brands making the most of Halloween in 2013, but right at the top of the pile is this campaign from

Welcome to America’s Most Haunted Hotels...

50,000,000 elvis fans can't be wrong

Whitbread and the power of social proof

Whitbread, owner of Costa, Premier Inn and Beefeater amongst others, has beaten profit expectations in their interim results published today, reporting a pre-tax profit of £216.1m, £3m over analysts' predictions.

You could blame the sheer ubiquity of its coffee branches, the powerful draw of a roadside steak or the sight of Lenny Henry’s beaming face for this success, however Whitbread’s head of customer relationship management (CRM) & loyalty, David Oliver would have you believe differently.

David Oliver believes that it is principles from human behavioural psychology that are driving customers through its doors. In particular, the art of social proofing.

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m&ms Halloween

Eight brands making the most out of Halloween


Got ya! I make absolutely no apology, I am a massive Halloween fan. If I could dress up like Jason Voorhees and knock on my neighbour's doors demanding handfuls of sweets all year round, I would.

If only the world's various brands had the same commitment. Then that ghostly M&Ms advert on the left would never have to disappear. Still, I suppose Christmas marketing has to roll out at some point, so this is all just a pipe dream. 

Let's take a look at which brands are making the most out of this most evil, witch-filled and sugar-high fueled of holidays.

Marvel logo

How Marvel is revolutionising comic books with digital

Digital is becoming ever more important for the comic industry.

Although the industry is guarded when it comes to revealing figures,  Comixology (which release digital comics from the major publishers and many independents) has cited reaching 50m downloads in January 2012 and doubling that figure to 100m only 10 months later in October.

Physical comic book sales have been pushing against the tide of declining sales in other print media for some time now, with 2012 showing a 15% increase in sales year on year, and 2013 showing a similar trend.

It's clear the success of digital comics is increasing rapidly and concurrently with print, and it’s Marvel, who in the last few years has shown incredible skill in rebuilding its own brand, which is offering a lot more in terms of technology and service in its range of apps for mobiles and tablets. 


How to win at driving app downloads

According to Juniper Research’s latest report, they forecast that over 160bn apps will be downloaded globally onto smartphones and tablets in 2017.

Although the UK is the most expensive country in the world to drive app downloads, with 58% of the country owning a smartphone and 19% owning a tablet, the UK represents a lucrative territory to crack now and increasingly so in the next four to five years.

Here we’ll take another look at InMobi’s App Insight Report, released last week, and reveal some key insight and advice on how your company can best drive app downloads on mobile and tablet.

netflix icon mike monsters inc

Fight Club! Netflix, LOVEFiLM and NOW TV: a tablet UX comparison

According to BFI’s 2013 statistical yearbook there has been a 50% rise in Video on Demand (VoD) viewing in the UK since 2012.

The two major players in this field, LOVEFiLM and Netflix, corner the market, however they have an up and coming challenger in NOW TV.

You will no doubt have experienced at least one of these company's desktop websites, such is their strong online presence, but what about the commuter or person on the move who want's to watch films on a tablet? What's the experience like for them?

Similar to my previous Fight Club post comparing the UX of Sky TV and Virgin Media, only this time I’ll take a look at the three top VoD providers and compare their respective user experiences on mobile devices or tablets.

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Why is the UK the most expensive market to drive app downloads?

Statistics reveal that the UK represents the most expensive market to drive app downloads. In fact we’re 74% more expensive than the USA.

The findings come from the InMobi App Insight Report released yesterday, revealing trends and insights from app developers who ran campaigns on InMobi’s network in Q2 2013.

So what accounts for the UK being such a pricey market to crack?

sky logo

Fight Club! Sky vs Virgin Media: a user experience comparison

With BSkyB publishing its Q1 results today, and Sky’s recent rap on the knuckles after wrongly criticising Virgin Media over its traffic management policies, now seems an appropriate time to put their respective websites to the user experience test.

Similar to my previous post comparing luxury travel sites, here I’ll take a look at the respective media giants' customer-facing websites in terms of ease of use, functionality, availability of service and how easy is it to find the TV and broadband package you’re looking for.