tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/multichannel-2 Latest Multichannel content from Econsultancy 2018-06-15T08:05:00+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/70092 2018-06-15T08:05:00+01:00 2018-06-15T08:05:00+01:00 How can struggling high street retailers step up their online strategies? Rebecca Sentance <p>Before House of Fraser, food and clothing stalwart <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/70055-five-reasons-for-m-s-woes-from-loyalty-to-innovation">Marks &amp; Spencer</a> was the focus of attention after an announcement that it would be closing 100 stores across the UK amid falling sales and profits.</p> <p>Other high street brands that have sought and signed CVAs in the past three months alone include fashion retailers Select and New Look, mother and baby brand Mothercare, and home fittings retailer Carpetright.</p> <p>Fears are widespread that these brands will go the way of Maplin, Toys R Us and BHS, each one a former staple of UK retail which has fallen into administration in the past two years.</p> <p>It’s no secret that the decline of the UK high street is due to a failure on the part of high street brands to keep up with the digital age. Online sales are continuing to increase as a percentage of retail spending: the Office for National Statistics <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/retailindustry/bulletins/retailsales/april2018">reported in April</a> that online sales accounted for 17.3% of all retail, up from 16.1% the previous year.</p> <p>High street retailers are facing stiff competition from online-only brands such as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69967-how-asos-is-delighting-shoppers-with-diversity">ASOS</a>, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69044-five-reasons-behind-boohoo-s-97-increase-in-profits">boohoo</a> and Ocado, all of which are reporting strong growth as their high street counterparts close their doors. It’s little wonder, then, that ecommerce is often accused of “killing” the high street.</p> <p>But ecommerce doesn’t have to be the enemy for high street retailers. In fact, there are a number of online strategies that retailers could employ that will complement – not detract from – their in-store business, and the brands that are implementing these strategies are already faring better than most.</p> <p>Here are some of the ways that the UK’s high street brands could bolster their online strategies to improve their fortunes.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5306/struggling_high_street.png" alt="Apocalyptic high street" width="650"></p> <h3>Embracing omnichannel</h3> <p>Not every single high street retailer is suffering in the age of ecommerce. A few notable names have managed to weather the transition to the digital era relatively well, and by and large, they’ve done so by employing <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/11163-what-is-omnichannel-retailing-and-how-can-it-improve-the-in-store-experience">omnichannel strategies</a>.</p> <p>An omnichannel retail strategy is one that treats every channel that the retailer is present on – its physical stores, catalogues and directories, digital presence across different devices, social media, and any other online or offline outlets – as one, seamless experience.</p> <p>Omnichannel retail acknowledges the reality that customers shop across a whole range of different channels, often starting their customer journey on one channel and completing it on another.</p> <p>It’s often conflated with multichannel retail, which merely refers, more practically, to selling online and offline (e.g. via stores, websites and marketplaces). As <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63423-why-mobile-apps-and-in-store-wi-fi-are-central-to-b-q-s-omnichannel-retail-strategy">B&amp;Q’s director of omnichannel</a> told Econsultancy in an interview,</p> <blockquote> <p>“For us [omnichannel is] about going beyond <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/multichannel-marketing-and-the-customer-journey">multichannel</a> and really putting ourselves in the shoes of our customers, because consumers don’t interact with channels – they interact with brands.</p> <p>So rather than putting the choices of channels in front of the customer we try to understand what the customer wants and deliver that through all of our channels.”</p> </blockquote> <p>How does this work in practice? Let’s look at some high street brands that have been doing omnichannel retail effectively.</p> <h4>River Island</h4> <p>River Island is one notable success story from the UK high street. The London-based high street fashion brand has embraced digital transformation and omnichannel retail, and as a result is still privately-owned and going strong since its foundation in 1948. In 2016, the brand pulled in <a href="https://fashionunited.uk/news/business/river-island-reports-flat-annual-sales-and-profit2/2016092221865">close to £1 billion in sales</a>, with a 30% increase in ecommerce sales the year before, and a 40% increase in click-and-collect orders.</p> <p>River Island has a dedicated digital office in Shoreditch, and Fashion Network <a href="http://uk.fashionnetwork.com/news/River-Island-invests-heavily-in-tech-to-drive-growth,871183.html#.WyDmUkjt6M9">reported last year</a> that the company has committed to doubling its size, as well as tripling the size of its technology team in a bid to prioritise ecommerce.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5309/river_island_ecommerce.png" alt="" width="650"></p> <p><em>River Island's online shop</em></p> <p>Some of the specific measures that River Island has implemented include allowing customers to use their phones when they arrive in a shop, in order to let staff know they’re there to collect an online order. It is also developing a way for customers to scan in-store items with their mobile phones to check colour and size availability in that shop, and in nearby outlets.</p> <p>“The customer expects a more connected journey now, whether online or in-store, so we need to ensure we provide that experience,” Doug Gardner, River Island’s CIO, <a href="https://www.v3.co.uk/v3-uk/interview/2446523/river-island-cio-focuses-on-digital-transformation-to-drive-firm-forward">told V3</a> in an interview.</p> <p>To that end, in May last year the brand hired a <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69576-river-island-s-head-of-customer-experience-on-the-brand-s-cx-strategy">head of customer experience</a>, Tim MacIvor, to oversee the broader view of the customer journey across all channels, and make sure that the experience of shopping across them is as seamless as can be. (N.B. Tim MacIvor will be speaking at <a href="https://www.festivalofmarketing.com/welcome">Festival of Marketing 2018</a>, October 10-11 in London)</p> <p>Staff have also been equipped with Android devices on the shop floor which contain the new store system, allowing them to carry out back-office functions, like updating stock information, from the shop floor. A relatively simple step like this has afforded River Island with a huge boost in productivity, as staff are already comfortable with using mobile devices, and very little training is needed to use them.</p> <h4>John Lewis</h4> <p>John Lewis has also made a concerted effort to join up its various channels in order to better track products and orders end-to-end. The brand encourages consumers to shop across multiple channels, for example by providing in-store wi-fi that allows customers to try their items in-store and then buy them online, or even compare their prices with other retailers as they shop.</p> <p>Its click-and-collect strategy (which former CIO Paul Coby claims that <a href="https://www.i-cio.com/innovation/it-infrastructure/item/john-lewis-s-journey-to-omnichannel-retail">John Lewis invented</a>) has served it particularly well, overtaking home delivery in popularity at the end of 2014.</p> <h4>Boots</h4> <p>Boots is another high street brand that has earned plaudits for its innovative omnichannel approach. <a href="http://www.retailconnections.co.uk/articles/boots-beauty-omnichannel-approach/">Speaking to Retail Connections</a>, Boots’ former director of omnichannel Robin Phillips said that it’s important for the brand to have a memory of customers’ interactions across channels and demonstrate that it has understood the whole journey, for example by having staff acknowledge when and how a click-and-collect order was placed when the customer comes to pick it up.</p> <p>However, he believes that retailers should “act like a butler and not a stalker” when it comes to data collection and personalisation – for example, suggesting other products that will appeal to a customer based on their past orders. In-store, staff use tablet devices to bridge the gap between the digital and the physical worlds and ensure they have access to all the relevant information.</p> <p>Phillips also argues that it’s important for both the online and offline sides of the business to be joined-up behind the scenes as well, measuring the same KPIs and talking about the same targets.</p> <h4>Omnichannel takeaways</h4> <p>Based on these examples, here are some takeaways on executing an effective omnichannel strategy:</p> <ul> <li>Omnichannel means seeing all channels as equally important and complementary to the business, and approaching strategy with the assumption that customers will be shopping across many different channels in the same journey.</li> <li>It also involves making sure they are joined up seamlessly – for the consumer and also for the business itself. At the risk of sounding hopelessly clichéd, businesses need to break down silos by ensuring that different departments of the business communicate with one another, not just internally, and share goals and targets.</li> <li>Retailers can use technology to enhance the in-store experience and bring the online store offline. This doesn’t have to involve flashy, expensive innovations like augmented reality changing rooms; it can be as simple as equipping floor staff with mobile devices, and making sure their knowledge of the company’s online experience is as in-depth as their knowledge of offline.</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5311/omnichannel.png" alt="" width="400"></p> <h3>Distributed commerce</h3> <p>A retailer’s website isn’t the only place that it can offer its wares online. Increasingly, a retailer’s product feed – a data file that lists a retailer’s products and their attributes – can be used to ‘set up shop’ in different places online, allowing retailers to reach a wider range of customers and drive more sales.</p> <p>Samuel Dean, founder and CEO of <a href="https://www.pricesearcher.com/">Pricesearcher</a>, a search engine specialising in price data, explained to me how this works, and why it’s so important for retailers to make use of their product feed as part of their online strategy.</p> <p>“To really turn around their business, high street retailers need to adopt one key strategy to begin with: to increase the reach of their products online,” said Dean. “How far have their products been distributed across the internet? They can’t be precious about waiting for the customer to come to them – they need to go to where the customers are.</p> <p>“This is an old strategy when it comes to digital marketing, but I’m referring to something more than marketing – I’m talking about distributed commerce.”</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/10451-e-commerce-is-dead-long-live-distributed-commerce">Distributed commerce</a> is a concept that, like omnichannel, acknowledges that customers are shopping across more channels and coming into contact with retailers in more places than ever before, and aims to make products available to them wherever they might be.</p> <p>“Every retailer that has an online presence has a product feed – a technical existence of all of their products inside their own ecosystem,” Dean explained. “What they need to do is prepare that product feed for distribution, by exporting it and putting it in a format that allows it to be placed in every possible location.</p> <p>“That way, no matter where consumers might be shopping, they can still see and browse products belonging to those retailers. The best online players are the ones who do this.</p> <p>“Retailers can put their product feeds into marketplaces, they can put them into affiliate agencies to drive traffic to wide publisher networks, they can put them into price comparison sites, they can put them onto Amazon and Google Shopping, and of course, they can put them onto Pricesearcher.”</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/5315/google_shopping.png" alt="Google Shopping" width="650"></p> <p><em>Google Shopping. Google has recently included product ads in image search, too, distributing these products still further.</em></p> <p>Dean emphasises that, although it might sound technical, exporting a retailer’s product feed is a very straightforward task. “Out of all the work that is involved in putting an online platform together, this is one of the easiest things to do.” Agencies exist who specialise in helping retailers to prepare their product feeds for distribution in different formats, and typically charge a modest monthly fee for the work.</p> <p>Which high street brands has Dean encountered that are particularly good at distributed commerce? “John Lewis does this well, as does Ikea, and a lot of builder’s merchants like Screwfix are good at distributing their products both in stores and online. They have concentrated digital teams and expertise that are designed to drive that mission forward.”</p> <p>For a pure-play online retailer who can concentrate their entire strategy on ecommerce, expanding into additional online outlets probably isn’t too much of a stretch. But for a high street retailer who is already managing retail strategy across a range of branches and online, this might seem like a lot of balls to keep in the air. I asked Dean how retailers should approach the challenge of juggling so many different channels.</p> <p>“Retail brands are going to have a team that manages their offline retail, and a team that manages the online. The online team typically sits within the digital marketing team. These guys will already be able to work with different sources of traffic – so if you consider an online shop, the digital marketing team will want to know where users are visiting their site from.</p> <p>“If a product feed is present in lots of different locations, it’s the same management style to understand where the sales are coming from, who is driving the traffic and who isn’t.</p> <p>“In fact, it’s the same mentality that applies to offline – a high street retailer needs to be present on the best streets and in the best locations to drive maximum footfall. If anything, I would argue that it’s harder to open up an offline store - you’ve got to manage logistics, delivery of products, driving the user to the store. A lot more work would go into that than needs to go into digital strategy.”</p> <p>Even with that said, for high street retailers to start pursuing a distributed commerce strategy online, they will still need to make an up-front investment of time, energy and money, and in some cases, change their whole mentality with regards to ecommerce. How can they be sure that it will pay off?</p> <p>“The same risk-benefit calculations that a brand makes when deciding to open up a new high street store also apply online – except that online is actually more transparent,” says Dean. “Users’ habits online are quite well-known.</p> <p>“In fact, if a shopper is walking down a high street, there could be any number of reasons why they’re walking along that street; they might not necessarily be there to buy. But on a shopping platform, the intent of those users is absolutely known. So there’s actually less risk in that respect.</p> <p>“As for the reward – Pricesearcher, as a search engine, is still in beta, but we’ve already seen that users are making an average of four and a half visits to retailers each time they use the search engine.</p> <p>“And we have about £5 million worth of product click-outs” – traffic to retailers that is driven by Pricesearcher – “that happen per month. Some retailers have received upwards of £9 million of product click-outs that have converted to sale at 1.5%. So that’s the evidence.”</p> <h3>What does the future hold for high street retail?</h3> <p>The story of the struggling high street is not a new one; high street brands have been <a href="https://www.lovemoney.com/gallerylist/53030/23-major-brands-that-disappeared-from-uk-high-streets">suffering for years</a>. The brands that are named in this article are just the latest to have fallen on hard times, though perhaps at a slightly faster rate than before.</p> <p>Nor are any of the solutions proposed here new – omnichannel and distributed commerce are both established concepts, though new tools certainly exist now to take advantage of them, and the success of retailers who have employed these strategies stands as evidence of how effective they are.</p> <p>The future of high street retail doesn’t have to be bleak. In fact, the knowledge and experience that comes from managing hundreds of different locations can give high street retailers the edge in the digital age – even over pure-play ecommerce brands.</p> <p>“In my opinion, it gives them an additional advantage,” says Samuel Dean. “Because they have the store networks. If retailers can join up their online and offline presences, they can use the assets from both. They can offer click-and-collect, they can offer online shopping, customers can come in-store and experience the products for themselves – there are so many more options.</p> <p>“This, for them, is an opportunity. The question retailers need to ask is: How much of that opportunity are they taking up?”</p> <p><em><strong>For everything you need to get up to speed with ecommerce strategy, attend Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/fast-track-ecommerce-online-retailing">Fast Track to Ecommerce</a> training course.</strong></em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69877 2018-03-19T13:30:00+00:00 2018-03-19T13:30:00+00:00 Mobile retail apps are beating out mobile websites Patricio Robles <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2985/criteo_report.png" alt="" width="800"></p> <p>All told, mobile apps account now for 44% of ecommerce transactions in North America as compared to 33% and 23% for desktop and mobile web, respectively. On a global basis, year-over-year, mobile apps have seen their share of transactions grow by nearly 50%.</p> <p>The implication: retailers that don't have a mobile app are at a growing disadvantage.</p> <p>In reality, however, it's probably not exactly that simple. For one, some retail subcategories, such as a sporting goods, fashion/luxury and health/beauty, have much higher shares of mobile sales. Retailers in subcategories in which mobile sales make up a lower percentage of overall sales might not be as affected if they don't have a mobile app.</p> <p>Criteo also found that retailers with low mobile sales derive more of their sales from cross-device transactions, leading it to suggest that “combining cross-device data helps make up for a below-average share of sales on mobile.”</p> <p>Even so, if the trends Criteo identified continue, it would appear that shunning mobile apps is something that many retailers will find increasingly difficult to do.</p> <h3>Challenges remain</h3> <p>Of course, mobile apps are not a 'if you build it, they will use it' proposition. Getting users to install mobile apps can be costly, and many users don't even open all the apps they install. Of those who do, retention can be a brutally challenging exercise. </p> <p>That means retailers launching mobile apps need to deliver great user experiences and be savvy about how they engage their mobile users. For instance, research from mobile app commerce SaaS provider Poq <a href="http://poqcommerce.com/app-commerce/2016/07/poq-app-retention-report/">found that</a> mobile app users who make a purchase within seven weeks of downloading an app have double the retention, suggesting that retailers might want to consider employing special incentives to engage new app users.</p> <h3>A piece of the puzzle</h3> <p>It's important for retailers to remember that apps are just one piece of the omnichannel puzzle.</p> <p>Criteo found that 26% of all desktop transactions are preceded by a click on a mobile device. Retailers that are able to match intent see an average uplift of 17% in average order values compared to unmatched shoppers. And although omnichannel shoppers only represent 7% of all shoppers, they are responsible for over a quarter (27%) of sales.</p> <p>What's more, Criteo says that “omnichannel retailers that can combine their offline and online data can apply over four times as much sales data to optimize their marketing efforts.” </p> <p>So while mobile retail apps are clearly increasingly important, other channels still have the potential to play a key role. Put simply, the whole of all channels is greater than the sum of their parts.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69690 2018-01-04T09:30:00+00:00 2018-01-04T09:30:00+00:00 What is cross-channel marketing and why do you need it? Nikki Gilliland <p>So, what are the benefits exactly? Here’s what you need to know.</p> <h3>What’s the difference between multi-channel and cross-channel?</h3> <p>Before we get into it, let’s think about what cross-channel marketing actually means, as it can often be confused with another common practice - multi-channel marketing. </p> <p>There are a key few differences. The first is that multi-channel means to have a presence on one or more channels – let’s say a website and a mobile app. On the other hand, cross-channel means to provide a seamless experience across a combination of several different channels.</p> <p>For example, perhaps a customer might browse on the web, before being targeted via an email that they read on their mobile device. In this sense, cross-channel takes the basic theory of multi-channel and elevates it to create an overriding and seamless brand experience – as opposed to a one-off or fractured brand message.</p> <p>So, what are the real benefits of a cross-channel approach?</p> <h3>Increasing engagement</h3> <p>Communicating with consumers on a single marketing channel might generate a certain level of success, but it also means that you are relying on a certain type of user behaviour. Checking your email when you wake up, for instance.</p> <p>In contrast, using multiple channels means you are able to reach consumers at different times of the day and also at different points of the purchasing cycle. For example, while an email might drive click-throughs, an email combined with a delayed push notification might be enough to remind a consumer to follow through on a purchase.</p> <p>Research suggests engagement levels are marginally increased with cross-channel messaging too. <a href="http://downloads.digitalmarketingdepot.com/BRZ_1712_CrosChaDif_landingpage.html?utm_source=sel&amp;utm_medium=newspost" target="_blank">Braze found</a> that when customers received outreach in two or more channels, levels of engagement were 166% higher than a single-channel rate and 642% higher than for customers who received no messages whatsoever.</p> <h3>Improving loyalty</h3> <p>As customers engage with a brand on a more regular basis, the chances of them becoming and ultimately staying loyal to that brand also increases. This is largely due to the consistency in messaging – one of the main features of cross-channel marketing.</p> <p>Unlike multi-channel, which treats each platform differently (and is therefore likely to be inconsistent in terms of tone of voice or the message it is sending) – cross-channel places all platforms under one umbrella. When it comes to ecommerce, for example, this level of consistency means that common pain points can be avoided, such as seeing a social media advert for a sale, only to find out that it has ended on the brand's website.</p> <p>Regardless of the environment they are in, a cross-channel approach ensures that customers will have the same experience across the board. In turn, this is likely to increase satisfaction and lead to repeat interactions and engagements.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1336/john_lewis.JPG" alt="" width="380" height="480"></p> <h3>Aligning with consumer behaviour</h3> <p><a href="http://www.mediaoceanuk.com/tags/cross-channel-buying" target="_blank">According to MediaOcean</a>, 53% of all UK adults now ‘media multi-task’ on a weekly basis, with the average user spending seven hours per day consuming media across multiple screens. This, combined with the growth in webrooming and showrooming (whereby consumers research on mobile before shopping in-store, or vice versa) proves that user behaviour is more fractured than ever before.</p> <p>As a result, one of the most effective forms of cross-channel marketing is when brands are able to create cohesion between online and offline behaviour – and even better when this is personalised.</p> <p>One good example of this is Under Armour, which allows users to find out product information by scanning barcodes via its app in-store. On the back of this data, it is then able to retarget customers based on browsing and purchasing behaviour, which also contributes to increased engagement and loyalty. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1335/under_armour.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="325"></p> <h3>Barriers to overcome</h3> <p>While an increasing number of brands are beginning to recognise the benefits of a cross-channel marketing strategy, there can still be big barriers when it comes to implementation. </p> <h4>Breaking down silos</h4> <p>One of the biggest obstacles can be existing siloes within organisations. A brand might have one team for email, another in charge of social media, and another dedicated to ecommerce or customer engagement – with each team focused on a different set of goals and outcomes. According to Experian, this is the case for <a target="_blank">58% of UK brands</a>. The solution is therefore to try to break down these siloes, and to establish a single set of KPIs that all teams work towards – only then can overall success be measured.  </p> <h4>Lack of single customer view</h4> <p>As a result of silos within organisations, siloed data can also occur. This means that it will then be impossible to achieve a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65425-what-is-the-single-customer-view-and-why-do-you-need-it" target="_blank">single customer view</a> - a vital step for delivering a consistent and personalised customer experience (often referred to as 'omnichannel'). Without a SCV, customers are likely to be met with a fractured (and differing) experience at various touchpoints, rather than a seamless one. </p> <h4>Limitations in technology</h4> <p>Finally, marketers might also struggle to achieve a single customer view due to a lack of technology – and/or the skills required to interpret and act on data. Problems can also occur when new channels come into the mix, meaning that fresh technology will need to be integrated and new processes learnt. </p> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68760-five-key-takeaways-from-our-cross-channel-marketing-in-australia-new-zealand-report/" target="_blank">Five key takeaways from our Cross-Channel Marketing in Australia &amp; New Zealand report</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68903-three-steps-to-a-consistent-cross-channel-customer-experience" target="_blank">Three steps to a consistent cross-channel customer experience</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69450 2017-09-27T14:00:00+01:00 2017-09-27T14:00:00+01:00 What makes Argos the UK’s top multichannel retailer? Nikki Gilliland <p>Here’s a look at its multichannel strategy, and how it offers customer a superior and seamless experience across all channels. </p> <h3>In-store experience</h3> <p><a href="https://www.retail-week.com/topics/technology/data-the-uks-top-30-multichannel-retailers/7025739.article">Retail Week</a> reports that online sales account for a third of total sales on average for the top 30 multichannel retailers. This means that the rest is generated in stores. </p> <p>For Argos, success in both areas has stemmed from heavily investing in store technology – notably replacing its famous laminated catalogues and mini pens with tablet devices.</p> <p>Instead of the old system of writing out an order slip and queuing to pay a cashier, customers can now buy items much quicker via a digital kiosk before waiting for their collection to arrive. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9196/Argos_digital_innovation.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="474"></p> <p>Meanwhile, employees are also armed with portable devices to help find product and stock information quickly and easily, and warehouse staff use headsets to find out what tasks should be prioritised at that particular moment. </p> <p>Another key area of online and offline alignment is click-and-collect – a feature that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68739-how-has-click-collect-evolved-and-is-it-still-in-high-demand/" target="_blank">72% of consumers</a> are said to make use of if it is available. Argos’s ‘Fast Track’ service takes this up a notch, allowing customers to order and pick up from a store on the very same day.</p> <h3>Speed and convenience</h3> <p>This brings us to another important factor in Argos’s success – the aim of offering customers the fastest and most convenient option possible. </p> <p>According to research, 17% of consumers would change their minds about a purchase if click and collect was not available, making it a highly effective way of reducing basket abandonment. What’s more, click and collect customers are reported to spend <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/shoppers-hesitate-to-use-click-and-collect-2016-3?IR=T" target="_blank">twice as much</a> as regular shoppers.</p> <p>Not only does Argos offer click and collect, but the addition of ‘Fast Track’ means that customers can pick up on the same day, as well as get same-day delivery on home orders placed before 6pm.</p> <p>Effectively, this means that customers are no longer restricted to a retailer’s terms or operating hours, enjoying the freedom and choice to choose where and how they receive their items at their own convenience. Argos also allows customers to choose between four time slots or a two-hour delivery window in exchange for their mobile number – a way to banish that dreaded day-long wait indoors.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9197/fast_track.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="597"></p> <p>The demand for this kind of service is evident. Retail Week says that Argos generates half of its sales online, yet three quarters of those online orders are collected in its stores.</p> <p>When it comes to choosing Argos over competitors like Amazon, its £3.95 one-off cost for same-day delivery might also be a compelling option for customers, rather than being committed to the latter’s Prime monthly fee.</p> <p>Argos’s multi-channel business model is clearly making an impression. Since taking it over in 2016, Sainsbury’s has trialled the Click &amp; Collect service in a number of local stores, recently announcing that it is to roll it out throughout the UK.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9198/Sainsburys_Argos.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="359"></p> <h3>A focus on mobile </h3> <p style="font-weight: normal;">In 2015, it was revealed that Argos was the first multichannel retailer to generate £1bn of mobile commerce revenue in a single year, with sales on mobile devices growing 38%.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">With a user-friendly mobile site and a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66077-18-excellent-features-of-argos-s-mobile-app" target="_blank">slick and functional mobile app</a>, Argos’s dedication to this channel allows the retailer to better align its digital and physical worlds. Essentially, the app acts as a connector between the two, designed so that customers can switch from one device to another with ease, reflecting the increasingly fractured path to purchase consumers now take.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">The app also allows users to streamline the in-store experience by providing a reservation number to quickly collect items. Similarly, features such as geo-location technology allow the retailer to target customers with relevant and location-related messaging, and a barcode scanner lets customers instantly bring up more information about items in the catalogue.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9195/Argos_scanner.JPG" alt="" width="300"></p> <p>As an aside, Argos often posts amusing version update descriptions on the app store. This is not entirely relevant, but it's a nice detail, showing how the retailer unexpectedly engages users and generates a bit of conversation on social.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/Argos_Online">@Argos_Online</a> app updates always worth reading what's new <a href="https://t.co/6spMr99C06">pic.twitter.com/6spMr99C06</a></p> — Damianiw (@damianiw) <a href="https://twitter.com/damianiw/status/909864303490211840">September 18, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Featureful ecommerce</h3> <p>Most retailers have an ecommerce site, but that doesn’t always mean they’re easy or appealing to use. There are many features which makes Argos’s website both of those things.</p> <p>Stock visibility is a highly important factor, with Argos specifically being one of the retailers that allows customers to see whether or not an item is available in-store. </p> <p>This is an incredibly useful feature, made even more so by its prominent visibility on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67237-eight-examples-of-best-practice-on-argos-product-pages" target="_blank">Argos’s product pages</a>. The tool itself is fast and responsive, providing users with a handy map as well as a list of nearby stores – plus information about when the item in question will be available to pick up.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9193/Argos_Stock_Map.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="403"></p> <p>Alongside this, there are a bunch of other helpful features on Argos product pages, including a question and answer tool that helps customers with specific queries about a product. </p> <p>Similarly, ratings and reviews include product-specific categories. For example, customers can rate out of five stars on things like ‘durability’ and ‘imaginative play’ for toys and ‘sound quality’ and ‘comfort’ for headphones. This might sound like a small detail, but it means that instead of reading extensive reviews, users can instantly find out details that might impact whether or not they make a purchase. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9194/Argos_reviews.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="458"></p> <p>Elsewhere, Argos integrates product videos where possible to further inform customers. It also uses recommendations and alternatives to pique interest, as well as prompt users into making a definitive decision.</p> <p>Its <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67878-mega-menu-design-trends-in-ecommerce-2014-vs-2016">mega-menu</a> is also highly impressive, allowing customers to see all available categories at one time, without having to scroll or click through. It also showcases Argos's extensive product inventory, including popular products of the moment (such as fidget spinners or the Apple watch).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9213/Argos.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="428"></p> <p>Altogether, Argos might not have the most attractive or slickest UX, but in terms of functional elements, it certainly shines. </p> <h3>In conclusion…</h3> <p>While other retailers like John Lewis, Dixons, and Schuh have also been cited as top multichannel retailers, it’s clear why Argos comes out on top.</p> <p>With a decent ecommerce offering, investment in store technology, and a clever distribution model, it delivers on the promise of a seamless shopping experience across the board.   </p> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66121-improving-the-multichannel-customer-experience" target="_blank">Improving the multichannel customer experience</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67705-what-s-now-next-for-digital-technology-in-retail-stores" target="_blank">What's now &amp; next for digital technology in retail stores?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68514-making-the-most-of-multichannel-with-data-s-help" target="_blank">Making the most of multichannel (with data’s help)</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69250 2017-07-14T10:52:35+01:00 2017-07-14T10:52:35+01:00 Four reasons behind Superdrug's 41% increase in profits Nikki Gilliland <p>So, why the big turnaround? Here’s a look at Superdrug’s strategy, and the reasons why it’s currently enjoying a resurgence.</p> <h3>Targeting younger shoppers </h3> <p>Boots is the largest health and beauty retailer in the UK, with over 2,500 stores compared to Superdrug’s 850 or so. It’s also got the longest history, as well as a large and loyal consumer base that includes people of all ages and budgets.</p> <p>With Boots catering to such a large demographic, Superdrug has changed its strategy to target a more specific set of consumers. While its rival concentrates on its own-brand beauty range of Botanics, as well as more mid to high-end brands such No. 7 and L’Oréal, Superdrug deliberately targets younger consumers interested in more affordable cosmetics. </p> <p>Cheaper brands like MUA, GOSH and Make-Up Revolution, despite being less well-known, are now sold in most stores.</p> <p>So, alongside a general focus on affordability, how exactly does Superdrug entice younger consumers?</p> <p>In the face of low-price beauty launches from the likes of Primark, H&amp;M and New Look, Superdrug’s work with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66560-what-are-influencers-and-how-do-you-find-them" target="_blank">influencers</a> certainly sets it apart. The retailer struck a deal with Zoella in 2014 to sell her beauty range, with the collection going on to break sales records. </p> <p>Upon launch, the Superdrug website saw twice as many visitors as usual, with 25% of new visitors clicking on the Zoella range. Since then, Zoella has gone on to release two new collections, both resulting in similar success for Superdrug.  </p> <p>Other popular influencers such as Tanya Burr and Fleur de Force have also partnered with Superdrug to sell exclusive make-up and cosmetics collections, meaning the retailer has been able to capitalise on their existing and loyal audience. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/Zoella">@Zoella</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/ZoellaBeauty">@ZoellaBeauty</a> I've just picked this up from Superdrug it's so pretty <a href="https://t.co/IKAg0QyMdR">pic.twitter.com/IKAg0QyMdR</a></p> — Jessica newman (@jnew135) <a href="https://twitter.com/jnew135/status/883622463531253760">July 8, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>In-store experience</h3> <p>Influencers are not the only way Superdrug has aligned itself to younger shoppers. In 2014, it rolled out its new ‘Beauty Studio’ concept, offering beauty services such as threading, manicures and eyelash extensions in-stores. In select locations, it also introduced digital displays and an interactive ‘selfie’ area to encourage shoppers to share their makeovers on social media.</p> <p>Elsewhere, and even in stores that do not include a Beauty Studio, the design and layout of most stores is used to differentiate itself from Boots’ pared down approach. The retailer often uses bright colours and illuminated lettering, bringing a fashionable element into stores. Again, cosmetics is a huge focus, with this area often much larger than other areas.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7455/superdrug_cosmetics.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="431"></p> <p>Another way Superdrug has enhanced the in-store experience is to introduce Wi-Fi and its own radio station. ‘Superdrug Live’ is used to support brand campaigns and promotions, as well as create a unique store environment through music.</p> <h3>Healthcare focus</h3> <p>Alongside its Beauty Studio, Superdrug has also expanded into the healthcare market, placing much more focus on its status as a pharmacy as well as cosmetics retailer.</p> <p>While its stores used to have a 70/30 split between beauty and health products, some stores now have a 60/40 strategy, with the retailer introducing consultation rooms and services from pharmacists and nurses, such as flu vaccinations. </p> <p>Interestingly, Superdrug has also introduced its own brand of morning-after pill, selling it at half the cost of the average pill sold over the counter. The move has been praised by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which applauded the retailer for giving women greater choice and accessibility. </p> <p>There’s no doubt that Superdrug’s focus on healthcare is succeeding – sales of this category grew 12% last year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7456/wellbeing.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="444"></p> <h3>Rewarding loyalty</h3> <p>Superdrug’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/admin/blog_posts/69250-four-reasons-why-superdrug-is-succeeding/edit/Six%20tips%20for%20loyalty%20program%20success" target="_blank">loyalty program</a> has also grown over the past few years. In fact, membership is said to have doubled over the past two years, with the retailer having 19m registered members by the end of 2016. </p> <p>The Health and Beauty card is a fairly standard retail loyalty system, rewarding shoppers with points that can be exchanged for discounts. However, Superdrug adds value with exclusive offers and perks, also rewarding long-term loyalty members with exclusive gifts. Regular promotions like ‘Treat Thursdays’ – which offers exclusive discounts – provide incentive for members to collect and spend points.</p> <p>The Health and Beauty card also works in conjunction with the Superdrug app, allowing shoppers to collect and monitor points as well as access offers. By aligning the app and loyalty program, Superdrug has also been able to improve targeting, offering deals and promotions to customers based on their location or past purchase history.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Calling all Health &amp; Beautycard members! Get 10% off Diet &amp; Fitness products until 23:59 tonight <a href="https://t.co/pj1ctMQvf7">https://t.co/pj1ctMQvf7</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/treatthursday?src=hash">#treatthursday</a> <a href="https://t.co/qcrKFWzd3g">pic.twitter.com/qcrKFWzd3g</a></p> — Superdrug (@superdrug) <a href="https://twitter.com/superdrug/status/885431137660796928">July 13, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Improved online presence </h3> <p>While most consumers might naturally think of Superdrug in terms of physical stores, the retailer has been making strides to improve its ecommerce capabilities – as well as its general digital presence.</p> <p>With improved delivery and click and collect, it offers customers more flexibility than before – perhaps one of the main reasons its saw a 60% growth in online sales last year.</p> <p>Another reason could be its Online Doctor service, which allows customers to consult with a doctor on various medical issues and arrange prescription for collection or delivery. The popularity of the Online Doctor has spurred on expansion of Superdrug’s healthcare services, with the retailer recently announcing that will open 30 new stores and create 600 new jobs in the UK.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Superdrug uses social media to reach out and interact with consumers. Its Twitter and Facebook strategy involves a lot of user generated content, with the brand also using lifestyle and pop-culture inspired content to engage younger, female consumers.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Chris says he isn’t bothered… but we have a feeling that he is defo bothered! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/draaaaaama?src=hash">#draaaaaama</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/muggymikeisback?src=hash">#muggymikeisback</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/loveisland?src=hash">#loveisland</a> <a href="https://t.co/Tzj24KdgFW">pic.twitter.com/Tzj24KdgFW</a></p> — Superdrug (@superdrug) <a href="https://twitter.com/superdrug/status/885590454573641736">July 13, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>In conclusion…</h3> <p>Making both beauty and healthcare accessible, Superdrug has managed to carve out a niche in the market, making its high street presence almost indispensable to consumers.</p> <p>While it previously stood in the shadow of Boots, its strong growth and expansion plans means it is a worthy competitor – possibly even winning in the fight for the attention of today’s young consumers. </p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67138-native-apps-for-retail-10-reasons-it-s-now-or-never/">Native apps for retail: 10 reasons it's now or never</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66160-how-boots-can-improve-its-customer-journey-from-search-to-checkout/">How Boots can improve its customer journey from search to checkout</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68472-three-reasons-behind-whsmith-s-boost-in-profits/" target="_blank">Three reasons behind WHSmith’s boost in profits</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69236 2017-07-07T12:40:12+01:00 2017-07-07T12:40:12+01:00 10 superior digital marketing stats from this week Nikki Gilliland <p>On we go...</p> <h3>Mobile shopping ads presents growth opportunity for retailers</h3> <p>According to a new report by <a href="http://www.foundit.com/blog/mobile-shopping-search-retailers-biggest-opportunity-improve/" target="_blank">Foundit</a>, mobile clicks on Google Shopping ads represent the largest single source of visitors for online retailers, accounting for nearly 25% of all sessions across direct, paid and shopping search traffic.</p> <p>However, the report – which reviewed over 60m shopping sessions across leading retailers – also states that search is the worst channel for bounce rate, with users typically viewing just two and half pages before quitting.</p> <p>In terms of the difference in bounce rates between Google shopping on mobile and desktop, just 27% of sessions browse past the first page, compared with 38% on desktop. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7342/foundit.JPG" alt="" width="706" height="318"></p> <h3>TV sponsorship increases positive brand associations</h3> <p>According to a study by Thinkbox, brands that sponsor TV shows are able to improve brand health metrics – mainly thanks to the strong affinities viewers have with their favourite programs.</p> <p>Research found that there was a 53% increase in ‘personality fit’ between viewers of a TV show and the sponsoring brand when compared to non-viewers. In turn, viewers were far more likely to recommend the brand than those that didn’t watch the TV show. </p> <p>Meanwhile, when the sponsorship creative was a natural fit with the program, key brand health metrics for viewers were 5% higher than for non-viewers. </p> <h3>UK shoppers buy from just three online stores</h3> <p>According to a YouGov poll commissioned by Apptus, online fashion retailers are struggling to attract new and loyal customers.</p> <p>In a survey of over 1,500 online shoppers, 62% of people were found to have a core group of favourite online retail stores – a figure that rises to 68% for women.</p> <p>Interestingly, younger shoppers appear more likely to stick to a narrow selection of sites, with 78% of 18-24 year olds and 70% of 25-34s staying loyal to a select few retailers.</p> <p>In order to tempt them away from their favourites, 66% of shoppers said that other retailers should offer greater value for money, while 48% said they should make it easy to find products they are looking for. In contrast, just 4% pointed to ‘lifestyle content’ as a means of grabbing their attention and building loyalty.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7346/online_payments.jpg" alt="" width="718" height="487"></p> <h3>North Dakota named the best US state to start a business</h3> <p><a href="https://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-to-start-a-business/36934/" target="_blank">WalletHub</a> has compared 50 US states across 20 key indicators to determine where startup businesses are most likely to succeed.</p> <p>It found New Jersey to be the worst, mainly due to high office space and labour costs as well as inaccessible financing.</p> <p>On the flip side, North Dakota was ranked the best, seeing the highest average growth in small businesses. The state also has the most startups per 100,000 residents – three times more than West Virginia, the state with the fewest.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7341/Start-ups_US.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="311"></p> <h3>75% of users are searching on mobile more often due to voice technology</h3> <p>New research from Google shows that voice search is influencing user behaviour, with 75% of consumers saying that they now search on their mobiles more often because of the technology.  </p> <p>People who started using voice search in the last six months are said to be the most frequent users, with 42% now using it daily. In comparison, just 25% of people who started using voice search over four years ago use it as frequently.</p> <p>The research also found that both visual and text search remain popular, with 51% of respondents using the two interchangeably.</p> <h3>Cyber-attacks on UK businesses increase 52% in Q2</h3> <p>A new report by Beaming suggests that the number of cyber-attacks aimed at UK-based businesses increased by more than half in Q2 2017. This means that businesses saw almost 65,000 attacks in just three months – an increase of 52% from the previous quarter.</p> <p>68% of attacks targeted connected devices such as networked security cameras and building control systems. However, there was also a marked increase in attacks on company databases, with businesses experiencing an average of 105 attempts per day compared to just 14 in the first quarter.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7340/Cyber_attacks_UK.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="192"></p> <h3>Mobile traffic at an all-time high across Europe</h3> <p>A new <a href="https://www.slideshare.net/adobe/adi-2016-europe-best-of-the-best" target="_blank">report from Adobe</a> – which includes analysis of the top 20% of companies using Adobe Experience Cloud and a survey of over 5,000 consumers across Europe – suggests mobile traffic is increasing across Europe.</p> <p>It states that smartphones accounted for 31% of all European web visits in 2016 – an increase from 22% in 2015. In comparison, desktop accounted for 58% of browser traffic - down from 65% in 2015. For the top-performing companies, 41% of web traffic came from a smartphone in 2016, up from just 31% the previous year. </p> <p>Meanwhile, the report found that consumer expectations are driving mobile usage, with 57% preferring to use a smartphone over another device when completing tasks in 2016 – up from 51% in 2015.</p> <h3>Shoppers’ dual-screening habits present big opportunities for retailers</h3> <p>Data from eBay has revealed there was a huge spike in consumer spending during last summer’s sporting events, indicating the potential for retailers to tap into dual screening behaviour.</p> <p>On the final day of the Tour de France last year, searches for ‘Pinarello’ – the bike that Chris Froome rode – rose by 62% on eBay.co.uk. Meanwhile, searches for ‘cycling shorts’ and ‘road bike’ increased by 46% and 71% respectively.</p> <p>Similarly, in the two weeks of the Rio Olympic Games, searches for ‘running shoes’ rose by 66%, and interest in running watches jumped by 113%.</p> <h3>Uber gains more customers than any other US company in the past year</h3> <p>Despite the series of scandals that have plagued the company in the past year or so, Uber has made the largest customer gains since the first half of 2016. </p> <p>26% of all US millennials are said to have recently used the service, which has increased its <a href="http://www.brandindex.com/article/ride-sharing-brands-top-biggest-millennial-customer-gains-over-last-year" target="_blank">Adobe BrandIndex</a> ‘current customer score’ by 8.2 points.</p> <p>Other companies in the sharing economy have also grown, with Lyft – Uber’s biggest US rival – becoming the third biggest gainer, and Airbnb coming 12th in this list.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7343/uber.jpg" alt="" width="724" height="483"></p> <h3>Online consumers desire security over transaction speed</h3> <p><a href="https://mypinpad.com/consumer-trust-report/" target="_blank">New research</a> suggests that retailers who favour speed and convenience over security measures could be losing customer trust. This is because 67% of consumers surveyed said they are concerned about their online banking and shopping security, with one in four respondents being ‘very concerned’.</p> <p>In order to improve levels of trust, retailers must implement greater transparency around security practices, as well as increased security steps. </p> <p>40% of respondents said they would like to use cardholder PIN to authenticate online transactions, while 50% would like to use a combination of both PIN and biometrics. Only 2% of consumers believe transaction speed is more important than security.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69216 2017-07-07T10:12:39+01:00 2017-07-07T10:12:39+01:00 Four factors fuelling the growth of fast fashion retailers Nikki Gilliland <p>So, what’s fuelling this boom? Here’s a bit of a deep dive into Hitwise’s <a href="http://www.hitwise.com/gb/articles/urgency-catwalk-look-fuels-fast-fashion-industry/?bis_prd=1" target="_blank">research</a> and how brands are capitalising on the consumer desire for instant and affordable fashion.</p> <h3>What is fast fashion?</h3> <p>Before we go any further – what exactly determines a fast fashion retailer? </p> <p>Essentially, it is when the production process is accelerated in order to get new catwalk trends into stores or online as quickly as possible. It also reflects the growing consumer desire for speed and value within retail. </p> <p>It means that, instead of waiting for new seasonal collections (i.e. spring/summer), consumers can get their hands on a continuous cycle of trend-led clothing, all year round.</p> <p>Brands such as H&amp;M and Zara were said to be among the very first fast fashion retailers. When the latter opened its first US store in 1990 (having first launched in Spain in the 1970s) it announced that it would only take 15 days for a garment to go from concept to completion.</p> <p>So, what’s fuelling fast fashion brands?</p> <h3>Speed and agility</h3> <p>Hitwise data suggests that ASOS, New Look and Very are the most popular brands in the category, accounting for 47% of the UK’s fast fashion market share. </p> <p>For brands like ASOS, the ability to capture millennial consumers is key, with this demographic now reportedly having an estimated spending power of $2.45trn. One way it does this is by delivering on the demand for new fashion, as younger consumers typically spend around seasonal events (such as festivals) as well as after payday.</p> <p>ASOS stocks over 60,000 items at any given time, allowing the ecommerce retailer to constantly update its inventory with ‘new in’ products.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7155/ASOS_social.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="475"></p> <p>Research by Goldman Sachs suggests that ASOS is able to do this by mastering its supply chain. The below screenshot shows the correlation between supply-chain lead times and like-for-like sales growth, with the results showing just how important speed is for both <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69044-five-reasons-behind-boohoo-s-97-increase-in-profits" target="_blank">Boohoo</a> and ASOS.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7154/goldman.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="483"></p> <p>ASOS constantly tracks how well (or poorly) trends are selling online, before adjusting its inventory accordingly. This means that it reduces the risk of unsold stock, and in turn, delivers a steady stream of new trends for fashion-hungry consumers.</p> <h3>Celebrity endorsement</h3> <p>Hitwise data also shows that PrettyLittleThing.com is the fastest growing brand in the fast fashion category, with the site seeing a whopping 663% increase in online visits year-on-year since 2014.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7150/Hitwise.png" alt="" width="297" height="233"></p> <p>For PrettyLittleThing, working with celebrities and influencers has allowed the brand to drive awareness of its products. A popular search term relating to the site is ‘celebrities wearing Pretty Little Thing’ – mainly thanks to endorsements from the likes of Kylie Jenner and Sofia Ritchie.</p> <p>However, Pretty Little Thing does not only use celebrities to merely promote its clothing. Well-known names, like former TOWIE star Lucy Meck, have also created their own clothing lines with the brand. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7151/PLT.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="546"></p> <p>In doing so, it has allowed the ecommerce retailer to strengthen its connection with customers, offering them something more authentic and original than a shallow celebrity endorsement.</p> <h3>Sales through social</h3> <p>Alongside influencers, fast fashion brands have mastered the use of social media to drive sales. </p> <p>Today, consumers are constantly craving fashion and lifestyle-related digital content, not just to inspire their choices, but also for the purpose of entertainment. So, in order to deliver this, many retailers have started to act more like media brands – fusing the worlds of shopping, entertainment, and social media. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">SHINE BRIGHT Shop the leggings - <a href="https://t.co/BAozK9oxRq">https://t.co/BAozK9oxRq</a> the shoes - <a href="https://t.co/ybfQaGIWuX">https://t.co/ybfQaGIWuX</a> <a href="https://t.co/7Nnp9xFv7m">pic.twitter.com/7Nnp9xFv7m</a></p> — boohoo.com (@boohoo) <a href="https://twitter.com/boohoo/status/879474400445292544">June 26, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Unsurprisingly, Instagram reigns supreme as the most effective platform for fashion brands, with many posting videos, Instagram Stories, and including links to shoppable content to allow users to smoothly transition from the act of browsing to buying. </p> <p>One brand that has effectively used social to increase sales volume is Missguided. It has even incorporated the recognisable user interface <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67600-missguided-launches-tinder-inspired-app-experience-review">of another social app – Tinder – into its own</a>.</p> <p>With its ‘swipe to hype’ feature, consumers can dislike or like products to create their own wishlists.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7152/Missguided_app.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="483"> </p> <p>This ‘tinderisation’ of ecommerce shows how fast paced the industry has become, with consumers making impulsive decisions – often based on the knowledge that there will be continuous stream of new products in the pipeline.</p> <h3>Sustainability and ethics</h3> <p>The fast fashion industry has come under fire in recent years for its impact on the environment, as well as suggestions that the demand for cheap clothing is driving poor working and labour conditions. </p> <p>Interestingly, research shows that 19% of the top fast fashion related searches are linked to the environment, ethics and sustainability. In order to counteract this, many brands are now displaying increased levels of transparency, with some also introducing initiatives relating to ethical and environmental issues.</p> <p>H&amp;M, for example, launched a conscious beauty collection in 2016 which included ‘planet-friendly’ products. Similarly, it has set itself the goal of using 100% sustainably sourced cotton by 2020.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7153/H_M.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="321"></p> <p>Meanwhile, Zara has pledged to boycott Uzbek cotton, which is an industry linked to forced labour. The brand has also joined the Better Cotton Initiative to promote sustainability and best practices for workers in the cotton industry.</p> <p>Of course, there is still a long way to go before fast fashion retailers prove themselves, however these examples are helping to satisfy increasingly conscientious consumers – as well as enhance their brand reputation.</p> <h3>Other brands playing catch-up</h3> <p>So, what impact has the fast fashion had on the wider industry in general? Interestingly, mid-tier and luxury brands are recognising that the consumer desire for fast fashion is not only based on low prices. </p> <p>Often, it can simply be because consumers do not want to wait for seasonal collections. </p> <p>As a result, some brands are introducing ‘runway to retail’ concepts to allow consumers to get their hands on clothes as soon as they’re seen on the catwalk. Elsewhere, JC Penney has accelerated the delivery of merchandise in order to update stock mid-season, while GAP has announced that it will be trialling a fast-fashion model to see whether it increases sales.</p> <p>As the continued growth of retailers like Missguided and ASOS demonstrates, fast fashion could be a trend that’s here to stay.</p> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68728-how-fashion-retailers-can-use-search-trend-data-to-inform-marketing-product-strategy/" target="_blank">How fashion retailers can use search trend data to inform marketing &amp; product strategy</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66501-how-fashion-brands-are-setting-trends-in-digital/" target="_blank">How fashion brands are setting trends in digital</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68404-10-examples-of-great-fashion-marketing-campaigns" target="_blank">10 examples of great fashion marketing campaigns</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69131 2017-06-15T11:43:00+01:00 2017-06-15T11:43:00+01:00 How shopping malls are enticing consumers offline Nikki Gilliland <p>More specifically, how retailers are struggling to strike the right balance between online and offline channels.</p> <p>One member prompted the question: Are high street loyalty programs pointless compared to offerings like Amazon Prime – whereby unlimited free content keeps consumers hooked? How can high street or bricks-and-mortar stores possibly compete?</p> <p>On the flip side, when we’re constantly being told that consumers want experiential shopping experiences in physical environments, are we focusing too much online? It amounts to a lot of confusion, especially for multi-channel retailers. </p> <p>So what about targeting consumers in shopping malls? After all, these environments act as a sort of middle-man, with the potential to help bridge the gap between brands and consumers, as well as the online and offline worlds. With this in mind, here’s a bit more on how they're targeting today’s (increasingly digitally-focused) consumers.</p> <h3>Creating destination shopping</h3> <p>From children’s soft play areas to pop-up catwalks – shopping malls have always included more than just the retail stores themselves. </p> <p>However, these services (not including mid-tier entertainment such as cinemas and bowling alleys) are generally geared around basic convenience or blatant PR as opposed to anything truly customer-centric. This appears to be changing, with shopping centres now focusing on how they can use the spaces between shops to create a truly immersive experience for customers, from beginning to end. </p> <p>One way the likes of Westfield and Bluewater are achieving this is by strategically placing champagne bars in the middle of malls.</p> <p>It’s not rocket science of course – giving people a reason to linger (and make them more relaxed) is bound to drive extra footfall to stores. But it’s not just a case of any old alcohol either. Interestingly, locations such as the Intu Victoria Centre in Nottingham UK have deliberately chosen prosecco bars instead of champagne, with the former drawing in a wider demographic and better aligning with high street retail brands. In contrast, you’ll find Searcy’s champagne in Westfield London, located opposite high-end brands like Jimmy Choo and Versace.</p> <p>This shows that it’s not as simple as creating an immersive experience for the masses, but one that aligns with the specific commercial environment and target customer.</p> <p>Meanwhile, shopping malls are striving to make leisure and entertainment the primary reason for people to visit - not just an added bonus. This is particularly the case in the US, where shopping malls are massively suffering due to the rise in the ecommerce market, with one in three <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/12/1-in-3-american-malls-are-doomed-retail-consultant-jan-kniffen.html" target="_blank">reportedly set to close</a> within the next decade.</p> <p>With the aim of reclaiming the shopping mall as the heart of the community, many are combining fine dining, brand pop-ups, showrooms and even sporting activities to entice consumers. The Mall of America in Minnesota is a rather extreme example, but its aquarium and dinosaur walk museum demonstrates the true potential of destination shopping.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6446/mall_of_america.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="499"></p> <h3>Utilising space and design</h3> <p>While there is a huge danger of over-generalising when it comes to gender, there’s no denying that men and women typically shop in different ways – meaning that they also want different things from physical retail environments.</p> <p>According to BI Intelligence, 40% of men aged 18 to 34 would ‘ideally buy everything online’, while just 33% of women feel the same. </p> <p>So, what actually drives men into malls?</p> <p>Research suggests that most males are likely to use physical stores to seek out unique products that they can’t find online or, in the case of those at our Digital Advisory Board meeting, if they are accompanying friends or family members. Interestingly, one person cited the difference between a shopping mall that includes relaxation areas (including comfy sofas and water stations) in multiple areas - and one that didn’t. Naturally, they said, you’ll find a greater percentage of males using these areas, often waiting for others while they shop.</p> <p>This is not a revelation, however it does demonstrate how shopping malls can effectively utilise space and design – even if it just means a comfier seat - to enhance the customer experience and increase the chances of return. </p> <p>Many new malls are also being designed with the wider environment in mind, regardless of how urban it might be. Take Cabot Circus in Bristol UK, for instance, which was built with a huge shell-shaped glass roof to create the illusion of being in the open-air. Similarly, the Fornebu S mall in Oslo was voted the most sustainable shopping mall in the world for its green roof and bicycle park, which encourages consumers to cycle to and from.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6447/cabot_circus.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="474"></p> <h3>Using technology to merge online and offline</h3> <p>Finally, it would be foolish to ignore the growing popularity of online shopping, specifically how consumers are using a combination of the two channels. Whether it’s showrooming (which means visiting stores to buy online later) or webrooming (the other way around) – retailers need to find a way to facilitate and enhance both experiences, instead of convincing customers that one is surperior.</p> <p>One way is to increase the amount of technology in-stores, for example using a tablet to quickly search if a product is in stock. Or even just a slick buy-and-collect service to give consumers greater flexibility and freedom.</p> <p>A few years ago, Kate Spade launched one of the first examples of integrated technology, installing touchscreen storefronts that allowed customers to purchase items based on real-life ‘window shopping’. Now with the introduction of VR and AR, high-tech stores and pop-ups like this are becoming even more innovative, meaning that customers are turning to physical retail for the sole purpose of discovering what brands are doing with it.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6448/Kate_Spade.JPG" alt="" width="614" height="464"></p> <p>Essentially, whether it is a touchscreen or a prosecco bar, it’s all about giving consumers a greater value proposition. Not just in comparison to ecommerce - but to the standard shopping malls of the past.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69098-could-ai-revolutionize-high-street-retail-as-well-as-ecommerce/" target="_blank">Could AI revolutionize high street retail as well as ecommerce?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68023-think-retail-how-brands-are-targeting-the-phygital-generation/" target="_blank">Think retail: How brands are targeting the ‘phygital’ generation</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68893-four-digital-priorities-for-retailers-in-2017/" target="_blank">Four digital priorities for retailers in 2017</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69071 2017-05-09T11:00:00+01:00 2017-05-09T11:00:00+01:00 M&S to trial grocery delivery service: Will it take off? Nikki Gilliland <h3>Growing UK delivery sector</h3> <p>According to <a href="https://igd.com/About-us/Media/IGD-news-and-press-releases/Online-grocery-delivers-huge-potential/" target="_blank">IGD</a>, Britain’s online food market is expected to nearly double to £17.2bn by 2020. It’s not just the big supermarkets that are involved, of course. The likes of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68508-the-four-goals-underpinning-deliveroo-s-growth-strategy/" target="_blank">Deliveroo</a> and HelloFresh – companies that offer takeaway options and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67861-four-reasons-recipe-box-brands-are-delivering-success/" target="_blank">at-home recipes kits</a> – are also taking a slice of the pie. </p> <p>Meanwhile, M&amp;S has been missing out. </p> <p>Despite the retailer’s previous insistence that its product-range and basket-size is too small to offer a legitimate and price-worthy service, the emergence and popularity of the delivery market is bound to have been a factor in its decision to get involved.</p> <p>The question is – how will M&amp;S convince customers that it’s worth paying for a proper delivery? </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5947/grocery_delivery.jpg" alt="" width="700" height="466"></p> <h3>Changing consumer perceptions</h3> <p>With its ‘dine in for 2’ range, M&amp;S Food is typically seen as a top-up shopping option or a special occasion store. That being said, it is a very profitable one, with M&amp;S’ clothing business dwindling in light of the success of its food arm.</p> <p>Last month, the retailer confirmed it was opening an additional 34 food shops following a review of its UK store portfolio. Meanwhile, it already operates an ecommerce service for its wines by the case, as well as party food, homeware, flowers and other non-food items.</p> <p>As well as a focus on physical stores, M&amp;S has also been concentrating on food in marketing terms. Interestingly, news about its delivery trial aligns with a new campaign that aims to get consumers to think of Marks and Spencer in a different light.</p> <p>The ‘Spend it Well’ campaign is more about promoting brand values than its product-range, telling consumers that life is too short not to spend time and money on the things that matter the most. </p> <p>This, alongside clear investment in physical food stores, is perhaps a sign that M&amp;S is serious about getting consumers to view it as more than just a place to pick up a sandwich.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hYbh7PbYq5g?wmode=transparent" width="940" height="529"></iframe></p> <h3>Potential partnerships</h3> <p>So, back to the biggest obstacle of a viable business model.</p> <p>According to reports, M&amp;S is currently in talks with Ocado about a potential partnership to handle order fulfilment. The most likely scenario would also involve M&amp;S products being available on Ocado’s website, rather than a new standalone website being set up for M&amp;S. </p> <p>This would solve the problem of small-basket values, giving consumers the option to pick and choose from Marks and Spencer alongside other food brands. </p> <p>However, with Ocado currently having a deal in place with both Waitrose and Morrisons, it’s not yet clear whether it’s actually possible to bring M&amp;S into the mix. Ocado’s current contract with Waitrose specifies that 70% of all non-own brand products sold have to come from Waitrose. If M&amp;S is classed as a brand – the deal will be unable to go ahead.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5948/M_S.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="528"></p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>With a proper logistics model, success with online grocery delivery is not totally implausible for M&amp;S.</p> <p>Even if consumers do not buy into the idea of a weekly shop, perhaps the introduction of speciality delivery services could prove enticing. If the popularity of its seasonal food is anything to go by - with Christmas and Easter ranges typically seeing shoppers flock to buy a large amount of ingredients in one go – consumers are likely to lap up the added convenience if it is on offer.</p> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67883-marks-spencer-what-does-putting-the-customer-at-the-heart-of-everything-mean/" target="_blank">Marks &amp; Spencer: what does 'putting the customer at the heart of everything' mean?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68355-how-online-grocery-retailers-are-capitalising-on-the-need-for-convenience/" target="_blank">How online grocery retailers are capitalising on the need for convenience</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69063 2017-05-05T13:07:06+01:00 2017-05-05T13:07:06+01:00 10 juicy digital marketing stats from this week Nikki Gilliland <h3>Ecommerce decision-makers bank on new tech</h3> <p>A new study from Salmon suggests ecommerce decision-makers are increasingly investing in new technology like IoT and virtual reality.</p> <p>Research found that 61% are currently investing in IoT (Internet of Things) enablement, while 69% plan to invest in robots and 60% in machine learning within the next five years.</p> <p>What’s more, 74% of decision-makers plan to switch ecommerce platforms in the next 12 to 18 months, with 92% of organisations recognising the need to better analyse data to improve the customer experience. </p> <h3>82% of UK consumers are unaware of the filter bubble</h3> <p>Research from the7stars has found that most consumers are unaware that their online experience is limited by social media and search preference algorithms. In fact, 82% have never heard of the term ‘filter bubble’. The study also found that consumers want more serendipitous content online from brands, with many stating positive emotions when asked how relevant but unexpected ads make them feel.</p> <p>In contrast, when asked what they associate with expected advertising based on recent searches or expressed interests, the majority of consumers chose negative words such as ‘targeted’, ‘intrusive’ and ‘annoying’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5904/the7stars.jpg" alt="" width="780" height="463"></p> <h3>75% of consumers say Amazon would be their go-to physical store</h3> <p>According to new research from <a href="http://www.fujitsu.com/uk/solutions/industry/retail/forgotten-shop-floor/">Fujitsu</a>, four out of 10 consumers in the UK are disappointed by the state of in-store technology. 75% say they would choose Amazon or eBay over traditional names if these retailers had a physical presence on the high street. </p> <p>When it comes to the reasons for this disillusionment, 42% say it is because the technology is slow, while 37% say it is unreliable. Three quarters of consumers say they can access more information than retail employees as a result, with 73% saying they can get it quicker. This means that around 65% of employees are even using their own devices to try to bridge the gap.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5900/Fujitsu.jpg" alt="" width="464" height="336"></p> <h3>360-degree technology is fuelling investment in digital video </h3> <p>A new study by AOL suggests that new advances in technology are contributing to the rise of digital video. Research shows 55% of buyers and sellers in the UK believe immersive formats such as 360-video will provide one of the best revenue streams over the next 12 months. </p> <p>That being said, these formats are still in the early days of adoption. According to the study, 20% of consumers in the UK watch virtual reality video once a week or more, and 68% of Brits say they never watch VR at all.</p> <p>While immersive formats have yet to truly take off, live formats are becoming mainstream – 42% of consumers in the UK now watch live content once or more than once a week versus 55% globally. In truth even these numbers seem quite high.</p> <h3>Eight in 10 shoppers think music makes in-store shopping more enjoyable</h3> <p>A report by <a href="http://moodmedia.co.uk/shopping-with-emotion/">Mood Media</a> has highlighted the importance of improved customer experience in-store. In a survey of 2,000 consumers, 89% said they are likely to revisit a store if it has an enjoyable atmosphere. Eight in ten like background music while they shop in-store, with 75% saying waiting times are less dull if it is playing. </p> <p>When in a shop with enjoyable elements like music, visuals, or scent, the study also suggests that shoppers are more likely to stay longer, revisit, and recommend it to others – as well as choose the store over buying online.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5901/Music.jpg" alt="" width="750" height="365"></p> <h3>Ad campaigns using audience IDs predicted to triple by 2020</h3> <p>Audience IDs – which are the online identity profiles used to recognise and match users across different devices and channels – will be used in 58% of total UK online ad spend by 2020.</p> <p>This comes from a new report by Yahoo and Enders Analysis, which also suggests that audience ID ad spend will triple to €7.9bn by 2020, compared with €2.7bn in 2016.</p> <p>Predictions also suggest that growth in the volume of ad spend which uses audience IDs will slow when GDPR comes into effect in 2018. However, it will continue to grow as the industry responds and adapts to the new regulatory requirements.</p> <h3>UK grocery sector grows 3.7%</h3> <p>The <a href="https://www.kantarworldpanel.com/global/News/Britains-sweet-tooth-helps-grocery-sales-rise">latest figures</a> from Kantar Worldwide show that all 10 major UK retailers saw growth in the 12 weeks ending 23 April 2017, with the sector growing 3.7% as a whole. Britons spent an extra £1bn this year compared to last, with both Easter and inflation contributing to increased spend. A preference for premium confectionary lines was also a factor, with the average price paid for an Easter egg rising by 8.6% to £1.65.</p> <p>In terms of the big supermarkets, Sainsbury’s sales rose 1.7%, while Tesco's were up 1.9%. Meanwhile, Iceland, Aldi and Lidl saw greater success, with sales rising by 9.3%, 18.3% and 17.8% respectively.</p> <h3>Data privacy of retail apps is still a big concern for consumers </h3> <p>According to Apadmi’s latest <a href="https://www.apadmi.com/pdfs/retail-app-report-2017.pdf">retail report</a>, concerns over data privacy and security are still preventing consumers from downloading retail apps. </p> <p>In a survey of UK 2,000 shoppers, 74% said they were most concerned about the security of their information, while 34% said they don’t like the idea of retailers storing their information and not knowing what it would be used for. </p> <p>It’s not solely a generational worry, either. The report states that 36% of 45-54 year olds, 41% of 55-64 year olds and 44% of over 65s share the same concern.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5903/Apadmi.jpg" alt="" width="318" height="423"></p> <h3>89% of UK retailers have seen a drop in foot traffic over the last five years</h3> <p>Research by <a href="http://unbouncepages.com/retail-research-517/">LoopMe</a> suggests that the shift to online shopping has resulted in a loss of revenue for high street stores, with 93% of UK retailers agreeing this has been the case. </p> <p>In a survey of over 250 decision-makers within retail, 89% said they have seen a drop in foot traffic over the last five years, and 17% state they have lost between 31% and 50% of income from physical outlets.</p> <p>As a result, AI-powered campaigns could help to bring back footfall, with 74.5% of retailers suggesting the in-store experience is an ‘extremely important’ part of the purchase journey.</p> <h3>Young agency execs place less value on viewability metrics</h3> <p>New research from <a href="http://www.turn.com/resources/2017-agency-report-split-opinions-could-impact-videos-evolution">Turn</a> has highlighted how agency executives under 30 are turning their back on current viewability standards, with only 28% viewing it as a key requirement in ad buying.</p> <p>Younger execs are also less likely to see fraud as a major concern, as only a quarter of survey respondents aged under 30 believe fraud-free guarantees will drive future video spend. Meanwhile, almost 40% of brands still consider online conversions and clickthroughs to be the chief measures of video success. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5902/Viewability.jpg" alt="" width="659" height="412"></p>