tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/personalisation Latest Personalisation content from Econsultancy 2016-12-07T11:04:00+00:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68603 2016-12-07T11:04:00+00:00 2016-12-07T11:04:00+00:00 Five ways luxury brands attempt to increase conversions online Nikki Gilliland <p>Meanwhile, with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68540-how-four-uk-retailers-are-giving-consumers-the-vip-treatment-this-christmas/" target="_blank">VIP treatment expected</a> in-store, getting the balance right between subtle and salesy on an ecommerce site can be tricky.</p> <p>So, how can retailers recreate the luxury experience online, while ensuring customers buy?</p> <p>Here are five ways, with some nice examples to back it up.</p> <h3>Creating a sense of urgency</h3> <p>Without staff to shmooze shopppers in-store, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65348-how-to-increase-conversions-by-creating-buyer-urgency-fear-of-loss/">creating a sense of urgency online</a> can be difficult - especially when luxury brands don't have sales or a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67149-how-to-create-simple-brand-tone-of-voice-guidelines-for-twitter/">unique tone of voice</a> to persuade.</p> <p>An effective online tactic is telling customers if an item is selling out.</p> <p>Fendi is one brand that has recently started to do this.</p> <p>On its product pages, it subtly tells you if an item has limited stock, giving a clever nudge to buy sooner rather than later.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2076/Fendi_stock.JPG" alt="" width="543" height="553"></p> <p>Similarly, it uses pop-ups to inform customers how many others are currently viewing an item.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2075/Fendi_pop_up.JPG" alt="" width="747" height="396"></p> <p>While it's a popular tactic used by travel sites, I've not come across many fashion brands doing it before, especially not a high-end brand like Fendi.</p> <h3>Enabling customisation</h3> <p>Another way for luxury retailers to encourage customers to buy online is to replicate the service they'd receive in-store.</p> <p>Or even better, to offer something they wouldn't.</p> <p>Dior is an example of a brand that cleverly uses personalisation to make shoppers feel special.</p> <p>Its made-to-order range of Dior So Real sunglasses are fully customizable, allowing customers to pick and choose the colour, lens-type and even engraving to suit their own unique taste.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2077/MyDiorSoReal.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="463"></p> <p>By handing over this level of control, it enables customers to feel like they are buying something a little more unique than just a carbon-copy of what everyone else is wearing.</p> <h3>Offering online exclusivity</h3> <p>It's an obvious tactic on the high street, but many luxury retailers resist sales and discounts for fear of devaluing their brand.</p> <p>Ralph Lauren is not afraid to promote discounts, as shown by its current offer of 40% off throughout December. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2079/Ralph_Lauren_Online_Only_Discount.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="595"></p> <p>While this could potentially put off shoppers who like the brand's premium aspect, it cleverly uses an 'online-only' element to offer something of value.</p> <p>It could also help to increase sales at what is a very competitive time of year.</p> <p>With shoppers displaying less loyalty and greater focus on getting the best deal, it appears to be a tactic that's growing in popularity.</p> <p>We've recently seen a trend for new companies aiming to disrupt traditional luxury brands by offering premium and custom-made products at more affordable prices.</p> <p>Awl and Sundry is an example of this. A US-based shoe retailer that wants to 'democratise bespoke luxury', it does so by using a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68139-the-rise-of-the-direct-to-consumer-model-it-s-not-just-dollar-shave-club/" target="_blank">direct-to-consumer business model</a>. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2080/Awl_and_Sundry.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="786"></p> <p>By offering a similar level of luxury but without the extremely high price point, it could potentially steal customers from the brands that are refusing to offer discounts.</p> <h3>Providing extra special customer service</h3> <p>Another important feature of luxury shopping is the level of customer service offered in-store.</p> <p>From personal shopping to champagne - it's incredibly hard to replicate this element online.</p> <p>However, many are introducing features like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64255-why-do-online-retailers-need-live-chat/" target="_blank">live chat</a> and messenger bots to bring the personal touch to their ecommerce offering.</p> <p>Burberry is one brand that does this well, using a chat function to help and guide customers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2082/Live_Chat_Burberry.JPG" alt="" width="432" height="451"></p> <p>Small features like using the employee's full name and a chatty and friendly tone reassures you that you're talking to a human being - not a faceless brand.</p> <p>While it is not advertised on the site as prominently as it could be, this chat feature still lets customers know that they are getting the same premium service that they would be in person.</p> <h3>Capitalising on social reach</h3> <p>With prestige and desirability the hallmarks of luxury brands, maintaining this allure on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67604-what-s-the-point-of-social-media-for-luxury-brands/" target="_blank">social media</a> can be difficult.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68119-how-everlane-is-using-an-exclusive-instagram-account-to-strengthen-customer-loyalty/" target="_blank">I've written about Everlane before</a>, but it's a great example of how to promote exclusivity while still fostering customer loyalty.</p> <p>It uses a private Instagram account to offer a select group of followers special sneak peeks and early access to sales.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2087/Everlane.JPG" alt="" width="400" height="841"></p> <p>By creating an 'inner circle', it ensures followers will feel valued and encourage sharing on their own social media channels, too.</p> <p>Similarly, with new opportunities for social commerce, more brands are cottoning on to how this tactic can directly lead to sales.</p> <p>Michael Kors revamped its #InstaKors campaign earlier this year to include a new shoppable feature.</p> <p>More than just allowing customers to buy, it has created a social loyalty programme, whereby Instagram followers will be able to get their hands on items before anyone else, as well as access unique offers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2086/Instakors.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="492"></p> <p>A great example of how to increase exclusivity through social media rather than dilute it - it's one element of the luxury ecommerce experience that we can expect to see more of in future.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64776-five-great-ecommerce-sites-from-luxury-brands/"><em>Five great ecommerce sites from luxury brands</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64767-where-are-luxury-brands-going-wrong-online/"><em>Where are luxury brands going wrong online?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66175-louis-vuitton-analysis-of-the-luxury-online-customer-journey/"><em>Louis Vuitton: analysis of the luxury online customer journey</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68545 2016-12-02T14:27:26+00:00 2016-12-02T14:27:26+00:00 Five ways subscription box services can increase customer retention Nikki Gilliland <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1637/Customer_retention.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="289"></p> <p>So, how can subscription box services improve retention in the long-term?</p> <p>Here are five ways, as well as a few examples of the techniques in practice.</p> <h3>Offers for loyal customers</h3> <p>Most subscription services entice new users with delivery deals or a lower price for the first three months, and while this remains an effective acquisition strategy, an absence of incentives after this point is likely to be a big reason many jump ship.</p> <p>It’s no coincidence that people tend to cancel after four months – soon after most early offers expire. </p> <p>As a result, there needs to be more of a focus on offers built on loyalty.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68525-how-birchbox-and-trendyol-approach-data-and-personalisation/" target="_blank">Birchbox</a> is one brand that delivers this, using its points program to drive retention. </p> <p>Customers can earn points with each box delivered, as well as when they review samples online. In turn, these can be traded for full sized products - a great incentive to stay signed up.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Finally used my <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/birchbox?src=hash">#birchbox</a> points and grabbed this <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/benefit?src=hash">#benefit</a> set <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/fotd?src=hash">#fotd</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/instagram?src=hash">#instagram</a> <a href="https://t.co/yUCb3XLnSE">pic.twitter.com/yUCb3XLnSE</a></p> — LittleMissBeautyBox (@LMbeautyboxes) <a href="https://twitter.com/LMbeautyboxes/status/787941158861275136">October 17, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Options to personalise content</h3> <p>Shorr’s survey found that one in five customers cancel a subscription service because they don’t like the products they receive.</p> <p>One way to combat this is by allowing people to tailor boxes to suit their own tastes. </p> <p>Graze does this with its choice of snack boxes, allowing customers to choose between ‘variety’, ‘light’ or ‘protein’. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1638/Graze_boxes.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="455"></p> <p>It also tells consumers about the snacks that are available, listing the nutritional values on its website.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1639/Graze_boxes_choice.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="603"></p> <p>While this tactic could negate the ‘surprise’ element that some customers enjoy, there are ways to get around it, such as asking about broad personal preferences and tastes.</p> <p>This could still deliver on the element of surprise, but ensure there is less chance of disappointment. </p> <h3>Flexible plans</h3> <p>Consumers might be reluctant about signing up to a subscription box service because of concerns over difficult cancellations in future.</p> <p>So while many brands might prefer to bury this information, being transparent and flexible on this issue could help to increase levels of trust.</p> <p>Dollar Shave Club is well-known for its personal, easy-going and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67434-four-brands-with-a-brilliantly-funny-tone-of-voice/" target="_blank">humorous tone of voice</a>, and this extends to how it reassures customers.</p> <p>Using ‘All reward, no risk” as its tagline, it’s encouraging from the start. </p> <p>Likewise, this kind of copy is littered throughout its website, reassuring customers that there are no commitments involved.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1640/Cancel_anytime.JPG" alt="" width="358" height="430"></p> <p>Pact Coffee takes this one step further by providing a number of flexible options around frequency and delivery.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1650/Pact.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="502"></p> <p>Allowing customers to pause or cancel orders at any time - it gives them the confidence that they are entirely in control.</p> <p>Likewise, the flower subscription service, Bloom &amp; Wild, uses its app to reflect the brand’s flexible approach.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1641/Bloom___Wild_app.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="268"></p> <p>As well as allowing users to keep track of orders, it also sends out reminders and special offers – similarly useful tactics for keeping customers happy and engaged.</p> <h3>Custom packaging</h3> <p>Shorr’s survey found that 76% of consumers would be very likely to notice custom packaging versus standard brown paper boxes.</p> <p>One in three have also shared an image on social media to show off a box’s packaging.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1646/Custom_packaging.JPG" alt="" width="660" height="307"></p> <p>So, along with the added bonus of inspiring <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67547-10-excellent-examples-of-user-generated-content-in-marketing-campaigns/" target="_blank">user generated content</a>, unique or custom packing is also likely to further a positive response. </p> <p>Not Another Bill – a subscription service that sends out surprise gifts – is a great example of this.</p> <p>Reflecting the brand's premium nature, the box acts as an extension of the overall experience. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1647/Not_another_bill.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="446"></p> <p>Consequently, customers are often quick to shout about it on social.</p> <h3>Additional value through content or education</h3> <p>Alongside monetary incentives, customers are more likely to renew their subscription if they are receiving something of additional value.</p> <p>Wine subscription box service, Sip and Learn, uses education.</p> <p>Essentially, the longer a customer is subscribed for – the more they will learn.</p> <p>By using this as the basis for its business model, it means customers are unlikely to cancel before they have reached the end of the 12-box program.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1648/Sip_and_Wine_programme.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="533"></p> <p>Similarly, other brands aim to deliver value outside of what’s in the box.</p> <p>Beauty subscription services in particular tend to use <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68205-how-three-beauty-ecommerce-sites-integrate-editorial-content/" target="_blank">online editorial content to engage customers</a>, using expert advice and tips and tricks to help them get the most out of the products, as well as extra content based on general beauty.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1649/Glossybox_blog.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="677"></p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>While attracting new customers is an important part of the subscription box marketing model, it's certainly not the key to success.</p> <p>Rather, it is vital that brands think about long-term strategy.</p> <p>By delivering extra incentives and increased value for loyal customers, cancelling will hopefully be the last thing on their minds.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68573 2016-11-30T11:01:07+00:00 2016-11-30T11:01:07+00:00 Seven examples of Black Friday email marketing from retailers Nikki Gilliland <p>Following on from our article on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68557-how-uk-retailers-are-promoting-black-friday-online" target="_blank">how UK brands promoted the event online</a>, here’s how seven retailers executed their email marketing campaigns.</p> <h3>ASOS</h3> <p>Let's kick off with one of the best of the bunch.</p> <p>ASOS executed a pretty heavy email campaign, first mentioning the event nearly an entire week beforehand.</p> <p>While this might sound a little excessive, the emails are still quite subtle, designed to build excitement and get customers in the mood.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1844/Black_Friday_warm_up.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="424"></p> <p>When the real event finally kicked off, ASOS used a discount code with the promise of 20% off all items.</p> <p>Just imagine the regret if you forgot to enter the code at the checkout...</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1845/ASOS_code.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="436"></p> <p>It also promoted the Black Friday offer on top of an existing sale of 'up to 70%'.</p> <p>It's not clear whether the items here were any good, but the email copy sure does makes you want to go and have a look.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1849/ASOS_extra.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="199"></p> <p>Likewise, ASOS's subject lines were nicely done, reinforcing the brand's young and conversational tone of voice.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1846/Asos_subject_lines.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="139"></p> <p><em>For more on ASOS, read our post on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67950-eight-ecommerce-checkout-design-features-that-make-asos-great/" target="_blank">eight checkout design features that make its site great.</a></em></p> <h3>House of Fraser</h3> <p>Unlike ASOS's strong but subtle approach, House of Fraser went overboard on the emails this year, as shown in the screenshot of my inbox below.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1850/House_of_Fraser_emails.JPG" alt="" width="300" height="508"></p> <p>The actual emails were fine - they nicely promoted the array of discounts on offer.</p> <p>It's just a shame they were sent every day for a week, which could be enough to put off even the most loyal customers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1851/HoF_email.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="595"></p> <p>On the plus side, despite going down to 30% off, the emails become get more targeted as the week wore one.</p> <p>The one below obviously takes into account my previous interest in womenswear.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1852/HoF_30_.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="544"></p> <h3>Zara</h3> <p>In contrast to the aforementioned example, Zara took a very restrained approach, only sending out two emails in total.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1853/Zara_black_friday.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="613"></p> <p>As well as being underwhelming (in terms of the discount and the creative) - the subject lines were pretty boring to say the least.</p> <p>With no indication of how big the offer or how long it'd be on for, I'd be surprised if it received many click-throughs.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1854/Zara_subject_lines.JPG" alt="" width="430" height="139"></p> <p><em>For more on Zara, read <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67581-six-reasons-i-love-zara-com-and-a-few-reasons-i-don-t/" target="_blank">'Six reasons I love Zara.com (and a few reasons I don't)'</a></em></p> <h3>John Lewis</h3> <p>Surprisingly, John Lewis wasn't very impressive either.</p> <p>Again, with no indication of the amount of money customers might save, it doesn't give much incentive to click through.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1855/John_Lewis_black_friday.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="563"></p> <p>Another thing I found interesting was that its Sunday email - sent when the weekend event was still running - used an entirely unrelated subject line.</p> <p>This was despite the fact that the email itself was Black Friday related.</p> <p>Maybe the retailer was trying to be subtle? It just felt a bit misjudged to me,</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1857/John_Lewis_subject_lines.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="121"></p> <p>However, with John Lewis <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68512-john-lewis-combines-tv-ad-with-snapchat-lens-and-email/" target="_blank">traditionally more focused on Christmas</a>, perhaps Black Friday was deliberately underplayed.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1856/John_Lewis_black_friday_2.JPG" alt="" width="430" height="528"></p> <h3>H&amp;M</h3> <p>H&amp;M's emails on and around Black Friday were strong.</p> <p>With a bold and concise message of 20% off plus free delivery - customers were left in no doubt as to what they could expect.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1858/H_M_black_friday.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="546"></p> <p>Furthermore, I also like the fact that its emails included editorial-inspired content, motivating customers with how they could style their bargains rather than just promoting the sale.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1859/H_M_2.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="569"></p> <p>The only factor that let H&amp;M down was its slightly dull subject lines.</p> <p>Not bad - just a bit lacklustre. Still, at least they're concise.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1861/H_M_subject_line.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="114"></p> <h3>Debenhams</h3> <p>On to Debenhams, and it demonstrated a good amount of variety in its emails.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1862/Debehams_black_friday.JPG" alt="" width="400" height="559"></p> <p>As well as giving customers a heads up on what was to come, it also included original content, such as a 'Top 10' deal countdown and editorial-inspired imagery.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1863/Debenhams_2.JPG" alt="" width="380" height="287"></p> <p>By incorporating more variety into its messaging, it feels less salesy, meaning customers are less likely to dismiss it as Black Friday noise.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1864/Debenhams_3.JPG" alt="" width="400" height="550"></p> <p>You can read how Debenhams' site redesign led to ecommerce sales growth <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66644-how-debenhams-site-redesign-led-to-ecommerce-sales-growth/" target="_blank">in this article</a>.</p> <h3>Threadless</h3> <p>Finally, an interesting approach from US retailer Threadless.</p> <p>On the Wednesday before the event, it sent out this email offering an exclusive 40% off code that expired before the Black Friday deals began.</p> <p>While this might sound like it'd have limited impact as people would just hold out for Black Friday, it's obviously an attempt to foster customer loyalty for the long-term.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1869/Personal_email_threadless.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="454"></p> <p>By using a personal tone - even sending it from the Founder of the company - it is designed to make customers feel valued.</p> <p>A refreshing surprise just before Black Friday hit, it made for one of the most memorable emails of the week.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1871/Threadless_email.JPG" alt="" width="370" height="147"></p> <p>On to the actual Black Friday emails, and Threadless promoted it with a Christmas-themed creative.</p> <p>This could also prove effective for getting customers to think about the festive period (and why they might want to come back again soon).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1868/Threadless_creative_2.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="487"></p> <p>Finally, hats off to the brand for including an original and humourous subject line in its Cyber Monday email.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1866/Threadless_subject_line_2.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="123"></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68567 2016-11-28T14:24:49+00:00 2016-11-28T14:24:49+00:00 Five things to appreciate about Missguided’s first ever physical store Nikki Gilliland <p>On the back of its brash tone of voice and innovate social strategy, the ecommerce retailer has seen rapid growth over the past few years.</p> <p>Now, it has launched its first ever standalone physical store in London’s Westfield Stratford. </p> <p>But, is it any good?</p> <p>I recently paid it a visit to find out more – here are five things to appreciate.</p> <h3>High concept, high impact</h3> <p>Walking into Missguided is a bit of an overload on the senses, but in a good way. </p> <p>Created by agency Dalziel and Pow, it is designed to mimic a television studio, with the ‘On-Air’ concept reflecting the experience of shopping 'live' as opposed to online.</p> <p>If you’re familiar with the brand’s online branding, you’ll recognise many of the same hallmarks in-store.</p> <p>There are slogans everywhere, and even its mannequins are typically ‘Missguided’, striking poses and taking selfies around a giant pink monster truck that dominates the bottom floor entrance.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1800/Missguided_store_7.jpg" alt="" width="780" height="585"></p> <p>Together with the store’s screen-heavy design and dramatic lighting – it certainly makes for a striking atmosphere.</p> <p>It's pretty unlike any other fashion store in Westfield, which is bound to attract Missguided’s target teen-to-20s female audience.</p> <p>You can probably expect to see many dads and boyfriends waiting patiently outside.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1801/Missguided_store_8.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="799"></p> <h3>Encourages social sharing IRL</h3> <p>From its <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67600-missguided-launches-tinder-inspired-app-experience-review">Tinder-inspired app</a> to its Instagram feed, everything Missguided does online is inspired by a social-media-obsessed generation.</p> <p>The physical store is an extension of this, clearly designed to be ‘Instagrammable’ in its own right. </p> <p>With signs prompting customers to download the app and follow the brand on Snapchat, it cleverly fuses the online and offline experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1802/Missguided_store_3.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="720"></p> <p>In terms of design, there are cool features everywhere. Even the stairs are mirrored so that customers can see themselves (and take photos) while walking up.</p> <p>But more than just encouraging sharing on social, it also champions social interaction in-store – in the literal sense that is. </p> <p>Instead of hiding its fitting rooms in the back, this area is front and centre, complete with a pool party-themed lounge space so that people can hang out while trying on clothes. </p> <h3>Reinforces brand tone of voice</h3> <p>Missguided is quite clever in how it speaks to its target audience, using slang and pop culture references to create a tongue-in-cheek <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67268-how-to-achieve-the-right-tone-of-voice-for-your-brand" target="_blank">brand voice</a>.</p> <p>With slogan lightboxes dotted about everywhere, this is another aspect that stands out in-store.</p> <p>It is used to great effect, with slogans like ‘mermaid party this way’ replacing the expected ‘more clothing upstairs’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1803/Missguided_store_2.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="767"></p> <p>There is the odd eyebrow-raising example, such as the ‘send me nudes please’ sign by the lingerie and the ‘asspirational’ hashtag.</p> <p>Perhaps these would be less jarring to read online, but it does feel a little different to physically see these types of slogans in massive neon letters. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1804/Missguided_store_9.jpg" alt="" width="662" height="422"></p> <p>That being said, it certainly contributes to the brand’s playful and recognisable tone of voice.</p> <p>And luckily, the tone does err on the side of empowerment rather than coming off as merely outrageous.</p> <p>What’s more, by pushing the boundaries in this way, the retailer successfully sets itself apart from the comparatively bland-sounding Topshop and River Island.</p> <h3>Creates immersive shopping experience</h3> <p>While Missguided has met the demand for a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68387-how-missguided-uses-personalisation-to-create-an-addictive-shopping-experience" target="_blank">certain type of digital experience</a>, its new store reflects the increasing desire for immersive shopping.</p> <p>As well as enabling customers to try before they buy, it also turns the act of shopping into more of an event.</p> <p>This effect is mainly created in the way everything is set out, with sections separated into distinct and divided ‘sets’. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1805/Missguided_store_1.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="706"></p> <p>Similar to the maze-like layout of Ikea and high street store Tiger, this means customers are required to navigate it in a certain way, ultimately creating a much more immersive and explorative experience. </p> <p>Instead of just popping in for a quick browse, customers are likely to stay and discover new sections as they move around.</p> <h3>Offers exclusive perks</h3> <p>There are a few extra surprises to be found in-store.</p> <p>One of the most unique features is an own-brand vending machine that sells ‘unicorn dreams’ in place of bog-standard Coke or Fanta.</p> <p>I later found out that it's actually bottled water... which now seems rather disappointing.</p> <p>But while undeniably gimmicky, it is still a great example of how Missguided generates excitement on the back of its own branding. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1806/Missguided_store_11.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="798"></p> <p>What other retailer has its own 'spirit animal'? More to the point, how many times have you seen customers queuing up to buy water in a fashion store? It's undeniably quirky.</p> <p>Lastly, the store includes some additional features that are impossible to get online.</p> <p>From exclusive collaborations with upcoming brands to an in-store pop-up by Wah Nails - it builds on the sense that shopping in-store is more special than online.</p> <h3>In conclusion…</h3> <p>I was quite impressed with Missguided's debut retail outlet. </p> <p>While I wouldn’t usually shop from the brand online, the fun and quirky nature of its physical store would tempt me to take a look in person. Regular customers are likely to jump at the chance.</p> <p>By combining an innovative design with clever branding, Missguided has created something quite memorable.</p> <p>While it’s not quite ‘destination shopping’, it’s certainly given its young demographic another incentive to visit Westfield.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1807/Missguided_store_12.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="765"></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68560 2016-11-28T11:31:38+00:00 2016-11-28T11:31:38+00:00 Five compelling reasons to offer free Wi-Fi in-store Nikki Gilliland <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1743/WIFI.png" alt="" width="300" height="517"></p> <p>What can I say? I’m a consumer cliché - and a great example of why retailers should be offering Wi-Fi in-store.</p> <p>Despite many retailers introducing it quite a few years ago, a suprising number of others have failed to do so.</p> <p>Here are five reasons to explain further.</p> <h3>Immediate affinity with a brand</h3> <p>According to research, more than <a href="http://www.retailtouchpoints.com/topics/mobile/more-than-90-of-consumers-use-smartphones-while-shopping-in-stores" target="_blank">90% of consumers now use their smartphone</a> while shopping in-store.</p> <p>So, first and foremost, that is a huge percentage of people walking through the door that a retailer could potentially target. </p> <p>If a store does not have Wi-Fi, I doubt it would impact the customer’s perception too negatively. </p> <p>But on the flip side, customers are much more likely to have a positive response towards those that do.</p> <p>Regardless of what I used it for, I certainly appreciated Anthropologie allowing me to log-in whilst perusing their irresistible over-priced candles.</p> <h3>Aids the path to purchase</h3> <p>So why would a person use Wi-Fi in-store, other than to check their WhatsApp messages? </p> <p>SessionM's 2015 study found that approximately 54% of consumers use their smartphones to compare prices, while 48% and 42% use it to search for product information and read reviews respectively. </p> <p>You’ve probably heard of '<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/62447-13-ways-for-retailers-to-deal-with-the-threat-of-showrooming/" target="_blank">showrooming</a>' – a phrase that refers to when a customer browses in-store before buying online. However, ‘web-rooming’ is apparently becoming even more popular, meaning to browse online before buying in-store. </p> <p>Rather cringe-worthy terms, I know. </p> <p>But the point is that Wi-Fi enables both. Even a combination of the two.</p> <p>John Lewis is one retailer that introduced Wi-Fi into stores a few years ago, with the aim of facilitating this new type of consumer behaviour.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1739/John_Lewis_Wifi.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="487"></p> <p>By making it easier to shop in-store, and ensuring transparency, the retailer is able to deliver on its famous promise of being ‘never knowingly undersold’.</p> <h3>Encourages more time in-store</h3> <p>Unsurprisingly, Wi-Fi means that customers are more likely to linger in a store for longer.</p> <p>More importantly, around 50% are likely to spend more as a result.</p> <p>With many people using Google Maps and various apps to find where they can access Wi-Fi, it also has the potential to increase foot traffic, acting as a great incentive to enter a store.</p> <p>While this has been standard practice for coffee shops and cafés for a while, only the biggest department stores and flagship shops tend to have it as standard.</p> <h3>Marketing opportunity</h3> <p>Many Wi-Fi solutions allow brands to create custom-made landing pages before a user even signs in. This is a great promotional opportunity.</p> <p>Whether it’s a current deal or or simply a nice bit of copy saying 'welcome' – it allows the retailer to engage with the customer at this first point of contact.</p> <p>Retailers can also use it to promote special or unique services that are exclusive to in-store shoppers only.</p> <p>The Foyles branch on Charing Cross Road is a great example of this. </p> <p>On opening the WiFi, users are met with a map of the store that allows them to find specific books as well as search the store to check if an item is in stock.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1740/Foyles_map.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="552"></p> <p>While my colleague Ben found both <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65096-can-bookshops-like-foyles-benefit-from-digital-in-store/" target="_blank">positives and negatives to the in-store digital experience</a> when it first launched, it is still a great example of how to increase value for consumers.</p> <h3>Captures customer data</h3> <p>Lastly, one of the most obvious reasons a retailer should offer Wi-Fi – the opportunity to retarget customers once they have left the store.</p> <p>With many people more than willing to enter an email address in exchange for the service, retailers can easily follow up with related offers or promotions depending on what a customer did or didn’t purchase.  </p> <p>Likewise, valuable customer data such as demographic information and dwell time can help retailers gain a much better understanding of exactly who is walking through the door.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68562 2016-11-25T14:17:02+00:00 2016-11-25T14:17:02+00:00 Why personalisation is key to Trainline’s social media strategy Nikki Gilliland <p>So, how does a company that sells tickets on its behalf create a positive reputation?</p> <p>I recently heard Nicole New, Social Media Manager at Trainline.com, speak about this topic at an event hosted by We Are Social.</p> <p>Here’s a summary of what she said.</p> <h3>Using social media as an enabler</h3> <p>For Trainline, the biggest challenge it faces on social media is cutting through the noise of people complaining about poor service – and creating a separate identity for the brand in its own right.</p> <p>On platforms like Twitter in particular, it can be hard to strike the right balance between <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65478-how-20-top-uk-retailers-handle-social-customer-service/" target="_blank">customer service</a> and brand promotion.</p> <p>However, Trainline avoids blatant sales speak or merely shouting into the Twitter abyss about great prices.</p> <p>Instead, it strives to become part of the conversations and trends already happening online, aiming to answer questions and concerns of customers in real-time, but to also offer a friendly and fun voice on seasonal, topical or timely topics.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Be a Christmas culture vulture with these 5 festive trips: <a href="https://t.co/7m2PGIKrvr">https://t.co/7m2PGIKrvr</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Christmas?src=hash">#Christmas</a> <a href="https://t.co/LSHgr4lqJg">pic.twitter.com/LSHgr4lqJg</a></p> — trainline (@thetrainline) <a href="https://twitter.com/thetrainline/status/801767348839575553">November 24, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>By positioning itself in this way, it is able to ensure it is the first brand that comes to mind when consumers need a train ticket.</p> <h3>Relate, don’t dictate</h3> <p>'Relate, don’t dictate' is a nice little slogan used by Nicole – and a great tip for anyone working in social media.</p> <p>Essentially, it means using platforms in such a way so that natural user behaviour is not disrupted.</p> <p>Again, this is done by being active in the spaces in which target consumers are present. But more than this, it is about honing in on the things that are the most relevant to them. </p> <p>For Trainline, this doesn’t always mean talking about the most obvious subjects.</p> <p>Nicole explained how one of Trainline’s most popular posts on Facebook for engagement was a post about University reading week.</p> <p>While it’s not specifically to do with train tickets, the brand found that it was a highly relatable topic for the platform’s core demographic.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fthetrainlinecom%2Fposts%2F1116512331765252&amp;width=500" width="500" height="481"></iframe></p> <p>The article tapped into the natural conversation that was occurring on Facebook from students talking about going home for reading week, perfectly aligning with their current interests and budgets. </p> <h3>Connecting through shared experiences</h3> <p>Nicole also spoke about how Trainline uses the above tactic to encourage users to talk to each other as well as the brand.</p> <p>By creating conversation around a popular and shared experience, such as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for example, users are more likely to feel like Trainline enables their own activity on social media.</p> <p>Instead of being an overbearing brand trying to sell them something, it is a seamless part of the experience.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fthetrainlinecom%2Fposts%2F1065887370161082&amp;width=500" width="500" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Celebrating the customer</h3> <p>Lastly, Trainline’s customer-centric approach extends to how it responds to online feedback.</p> <p>While negative comments are par for the course, Nicole explained how positive mentions from consumers are truly celebrated.</p> <p>One way Trainline does this is to create personalised videos for users who mention the company in a positive light.</p> <p>By letting them know that the brand likes them back, Trainline is able to create a truly memorable moment for a customer, fostering a sense of loyalty and strengthening the cycle of positivity. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">We love you for being awesome too <a href="https://twitter.com/markfawkes123">@markfawkes123</a>, you're our kind of train traveller... <a href="https://t.co/DdDUbg08uW">pic.twitter.com/DdDUbg08uW</a></p> — trainline (@thetrainline) <a href="https://twitter.com/thetrainline/status/801725986765230080">November 24, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p><strong><em>Now read:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67022-nine-things-i-love-about-the-trainline-app/" target="_blank">Nine things I love about the Trainline app</a></em></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68546-social-media-customer-service-six-important-talking-points/"><em>Social media customer service: Six important talking points</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68534 2016-11-23T16:00:00+00:00 2016-11-23T16:00:00+00:00 What are dark Facebook posts? Nikki Gilliland <p>You might have heard of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67529-the-rise-of-dark-social-everything-you-need-to-know/" target="_blank">dark social</a> or dark web – but this is something different.</p> <p>Let’s shine a light on the subject.</p> <h3>Social posts for select eyes only</h3> <p>A dark post is anything a brand might post on Facebook – such as a link, video, photo or status – that will only be seen by a specific or target demographic. </p> <p>Unlike a regular published post, a dark post does not show up on a brand’s timeline or on its follower’s organic newsfeed. </p> <p>Instead, it appears as an advert for some, but remains hidden to everyone else.</p> <p>You might have heard dark posts also being referred to as ‘unpublished posts’ – they are the same thing, a promoted and targeted post that is not published on your brand page.</p> <p>A similar option is available on LinkedIn.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1527/Creating_dark_posts.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="739"></p> <h3>Why do brands use them?</h3> <p>There are many benefits to using dark posts.</p> <p>The biggest is that unlike organic or boosted posts, they enable brands to carry out <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67249-a-beginner-s-guide-to-a-b-testing/" target="_blank">A/B testing</a> without cluttering up their own pages and annoying users in the process. </p> <p>By tweaking headlines, call-to-actions and even the time of publication - brands can measure CTR’s and determine what kind of ads are the most effective and why.</p> <p>Further to this, it allows brands to ramp up <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67070-why-personalisation-is-the-key-to-gaining-customer-loyalty/" target="_blank">personalisation</a>.</p> <p>With the ability to post dozens of ads without the fear of backlash, posts can be targeted to a user’s location, interests or previous online behaviour.</p> <p>The idea is that the more targeted they are, the larger the likelihood of engagement. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1529/FB_flyer.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="602"></p> <h3>Are they better than boosted posts?</h3> <p>A <a href="http://trackmaven.com/thank-you-2017-facebook-advertising-index/" target="_blank">recent report from TrackMavens</a> found that businesses are spending on average nearly twice as much on dark posts as they are on boosted posts.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1531/Dark_post_average_spend.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="514"></p> <p>However, despite this increased spend resulting in greater reach and more page likes, boosted posts appear to garner more engagement overall.</p> <p>The average boosted post on Facebook receives 643 total interactions, while the average dark post on Facebook receives 559 total interactions.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1532/Dark_posts_interactions.JPG" alt="" width="718" height="411"></p> <p>With the latter having more longevity - staying active for around 42 days - it appears that dark posts are being used as more of a long-term strategy for larger brands.</p> <h3>Should you use dark posts with caution?</h3> <p>While dark posts mean improved targeting and testing, brands do need to be wary that they don’t enter into ‘creepy’ marketing territory.</p> <p>Instead of increasing engagement, using super-personal details like names has the potential to alienate users instead of attracting them.</p> <p>However, if used correctly, these types of posts can undoubtedly be a valuable tactic for brands online.</p> <p>The chance to carefully measure how an ad performs, as well as tailor it to a target demographic, could easily outweigh the high cost and potential pitfalls.</p> <p>With a recent survey finding that <a href="https://www.iabuk.net/about/press/archive/15-of-britons-online-are-blocking-ads" target="_blank">46% of users use ad blockers</a> due to annoyance over irrelevant ads - it's sometimes better to be left in the dark.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68540 2016-11-22T09:50:00+00:00 2016-11-22T09:50:00+00:00 How four UK retailers are giving consumers the ‘VIP’ treatment this Christmas Nikki Gilliland <p>In a survey of over 4,000 millennials , 57% were found to be willing to share information about themselves if it meant getting a better service in-store. </p> <p>Similarly, 47% of millennials would like retailers to know exactly who they are when they walk through the door, using location-based technology.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1601/Salesforce.JPG" alt="" width="720" height="395"></p> <p>While personalisation is becoming more prevalent across the board, a few retailers appear to be upping the ante this Christmas.</p> <p>Here are four recent examples I've come across.</p> <h3>Boots Emporium</h3> <p>Just in time for the festive period, Boots has launched an in-store Emporium to help position itself as the number one retailer for beauty gifts.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1584/Boots_emporium.JPG" alt="" width="670" height="448"></p> <p>Describing itself as a way to ‘immerse yourself in personalised beauty’ – it satisfies the customer in two ways.</p> <p>First, it delivers on personalisation in a literal sense, allowing you to customise gifts for friends and family. </p> <p>You can choose to get items engraved or select the make-up to go in a bespoke palette - an attractive prospect for people who want something a bit more special than a basic gift set.</p> <p>Secondly, it results in a more memorable shopping experience overall.</p> <p>Whether or not you actually buy anything personalised, the Emporium encourages you to experiment with trends and ask for expert advice.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/fashionbellee">@fashionbellee</a> You've picked some gorgeous shades for your Makeup Obsession palette Sophie. We hope you liked our <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BootsBeauty?src=hash">#BootsBeauty</a> Emporium</p> — Boots (@BootsUK) <a href="https://twitter.com/BootsUK/status/793082497756168192">October 31, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>For customers, this one-to-one interaction with employees results in the sense that you’re being given the star treatment.</p> <h3>Selfridges' Elfridges</h3> <p>Selfridges has been big on aligning its <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68034-how-selfridges-s-body-studio-blurs-the-lines-between-digital-in-store/" target="_blank">physical and digital presence</a> in 2016.</p> <p>It now looks intent on creating an extra special Christmas with a range of festive related experiences, including events such as an in-store pantomime and breakfast with Santa.</p> <p>Another big initiative is its ‘Elfridges’ service – a personal shopping option to help customers find the perfect gift. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1600/Selfridges_Christmas.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="565"></p> <p>Instead of promoting it as a premium or luxury service, Selfridges looks intent on reassuring customers that it is accessible for all.</p> <p>Described as a ‘complimentary service for lists both big and small’ – it’s a great example of how to give everyone the same level of treatment, regardless of budget.</p> <p>The service also extends to online, allowing users to ask for help via the dedicated Elfridges Twitter account.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Come visit us in all stores for gifting advice! <a href="https://t.co/keTMYBowSW">https://t.co/keTMYBowSW</a> <a href="https://t.co/O4nlqp6KBl">pic.twitter.com/O4nlqp6KBl</a></p> — Elfridges (@Elfridges) <a href="https://twitter.com/Elfridges/status/798163808141344768">November 14, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>John Lewis's VR experience</h3> <p>This year’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68512-john-lewis-combines-tv-ad-with-snapchat-lens-and-email/" target="_blank">John Lewis Christmas advert</a> has already broken records for the most shares within an hour.</p> <p>Now the retailer wants to let fans become part of the story through an immersive VR experience, enabling users to feel like they are bouncing just like the famous Buster the Boxer.</p> <p>There are two ways to get involved – either by using Oculus Rift technology in-store or Google Cardboard and its accompanying 360 degree video.</p> <p>With technology allowing customers to experience something out of the ordinary, this is a great example of how to build on existing consumer interest to deliver even more value. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wOPEWJN9gUw?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Wool and the Gang's Hand-made checklist</h3> <p>Salesforce found that 79% of consumers appreciate it when a retailer offers a complimentary promotion based on a previous purchase.</p> <p>Online retailer Wool and the Gang uses this technique as part of its email strategy, often targeting consumers with tailored deals.</p> <p>However, instead of sending out offers in isolation, I’ve noticed how the retailer tends to provide extra value for consumers by teaming it with seasonal content. </p> <p>One example is a recent email promoting its downloadable holiday checklist – a fun piece of marketing material in its own right.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1599/Wool_and_the_Gang.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="539"></p> <p>However. on the bottom of the email was also a 25% off discount code for online orders, which ramps up the (surprise) value for customers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1594/25_percent_off.JPG" alt="" width="300" height="394"></p> <p>With the prediction that consumer expectations will continue to rise for future generations, personlisation won't just be a tactic used at Christmas-time.</p> <p>As technology improves, we could be in for VIP treatment all year round.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68496 2016-11-18T11:03:56+00:00 2016-11-18T11:03:56+00:00 10 examples of AI-powered marketing software Ben Davis <p>Some of the solutions are fairly novel, and others have been around for a while.</p> <p>Obviously, this isn't an exhaustive list, but it gives an idea of the maturity of machine learning.</p> <h3>1. Email copy - Phrasee</h3> <p>Appropriately enough for a language optimisation product, Phrasee's website describes the product with admirable clarity:</p> <p>"Phrasee is language optimisation software. It gives you human-sounding, machine-optimised marketing language that gets you more opens, clicks and conversions.</p> <p>"Better results come from better use of language combined with better statistical analysis. Until Phrasee, this was impossible for most marketers.</p> <p>"Phrasee’s artificial intelligence algorithms generate your subject lines, body copy, and calls-to-action. It looks at hundreds of emotions, sentiments and phrases and predicts what your audience will respond to."</p> <p>"The more you use Phrasee, the better your results get."</p> <p>Econsultancy blogger and Phrasee founder <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66169-start-me-up-a-profile-of-phrasee/">Parry Malm explains</a> that "in the near term (say 10-20 years) machines won’t be able to outperform humans when it comes to creating long-form text. What Phrasee can do is outperform humans with small, structured language sets such as subject lines."</p> <p>The Phrasee team received £1m seed investment in July 2016, and is currently the only SaaS language optimisation product on the market.</p> <p><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/138874258" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p><em>Incidentally, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/authors/parry-malm/">Parry has written some great articles on email marketing</a>, which you should read immediately. </em></p> <h3>2. Conversion optimisation - Sentient Ascend<br> </h3> <p>We covered Sentient Ascend on the Econsultancy blog earlier this month (<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68466-could-ai-kill-off-the-conversion-optimisation-consultant/">Could AI kill off the conversion optimisation consultant?</a>).</p> <p>Machine-learning algorithms allow for more efficient multivariate testing. Scores of website features can be tested, requiring less traffic than traditional testing.</p> <p>Sentient's website explains: "Our patented AI solution mimics biological evolution, enabling it to quickly learn, adapt and react to determine the best performing design from the building blocks you provide."</p> <p>There are a number of brands onboard, with underwear brand Cosabella generating 35% more conversions than the control when testing 15 different changes to the homepage header, category page, product page and cart layout.</p> <p><em>The Sentient Ascend interface</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1052/Ascend-Cosabella-1.png" alt="sentient ascend" width="615" height="294"></p> <h3>3. Virtual agent - Watson</h3> <p>Watson does a whole bunch of stuff, of course. From a virtual agent to search, analytics and unstructured text analysis. </p> <p>Let's look at the virtual agent. According to IBM "it offers a cognitive, conversational self-service experience that can provide answers and take action."</p> <p>The agent is pre-trained with industry and domain content, but is customised to fit the user's needs, content and brand. <a href="https://www.ibm.com/marketplace/cloud/cognitive-customer-engagement/us/en-us">More from Watson</a>.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/g2f-RT0EjPg?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>4. Purchase Recommendations - Grey Jean's Genie</h3> <p>Grey Jean claims that <a href="http://gjny.com/meet-genie/">Genie</a> can predict a customer’s next likely purchase with “up to 72% accuracy in a category”.</p> <p>The personalisation platform uses a whole host of user data, from online and offline purchases and loyalty programs, to CRM, social media and website behaviour.</p> <p>Demographics and income level are also used in modelling the best offers to present to customers, in the most efficient channel and at the best time.</p> <p>Deals can be delivered via channels such as web, geo-targeted push notification, social ads and email, and the tool can be used for personalisation (in the case of a recognised user) or for behavioural segmentation.</p> <p>It's worth noting that CEO Craig Alberino <a href="https://martechtoday.com/startup-grey-jean-launches-ai-powered-personalization-platform-177593">told Martech Today</a> that the platform is not specifically set up to match offline and online selves. Offline data is primarily used to assist geotargeting and the building of behavioral profiles.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1508/genie.jpg" alt="grey jean genie" width="615"> </p> <h3>5. Lead generation - DemandBase's DemandGraph</h3> <p><a href="https://www.demandbase.com/solutions/">DemandGraph</a> uses Demandbase's business records alongside publicly available information such as newswires, regulatory filings and social media to profile potential clients.</p> <p>Analysing this unstructured text as well as billions of web interactions from B2B buyers gives a good estimation of what prospects are looking for, at what time, and through which decision maker.</p> <p>Users are given an overview of potential clients including key information such as corporate structure, decision makers and relevant content they have published.</p> <p>The software can generate custom messages tailored to this information, which a user can take as the basis for their own contact.</p> <p>DemandGraph's website claims: "Mapping the relationships between companies is far superior as a predictor of a future relationship between two companies.</p> <p>"DemandGraph provides companies with a trusted and accurate repository of information which they can use to guide conversations, better predict future business behavior—and with accurate precision—identify and target their next customer, supplier or partner."</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1522/Screen_Shot_2016-11-16_at_10.17.52.png" alt="demandgraph" width="615" height="200"></p> <h3>6. Performance marketing - DataXu Mobile Optimizer</h3> <p>Programmatic advertising makes use of machine learning in its targeting of users most likely to click on a given advert.</p> <p>I thought I'd include a technology that focuses on mobile specifically. DataXu’s Mobile Optimizer uses the company's cross-device tracking technology and machine learning to “accelerate the growth of app installs and increase engagement of users across all their devices and apps.”</p> <p>Device matching itself (the mapping of mobile device IDs to cookie data) is done with machine learning, and so is the optimisation of targeting (based on CRM, purchase history and behavioural data).</p> <p>Ed Montes, Chief Revenue Officer for DataXu, said in a release that: “The most innovative marketers are recognizing the value of mobile applications and the data associated with them as the strongest bond between brands and their customers from both a customer experience and marketing intelligence standpoint.”</p> <h3>7. Cloud Machine Learning Platform - Google</h3> <p>Okay, this isn't marketing software per se, but Google's cloud platform deserves inclusion here, not least because Alphabet has just announced the creation of an AI unit for Google Cloud led by Stanford University intelligence professor Fei-Fei Li.</p> <p><a href="https://cloud.google.com/products/machine-learning/">Google Cloud ML Platform</a> provides "machine learning services, with pre-trained models and a service to generate your own tailored models."</p> <p>This is the same platform that Google uses for Photos (incredible image recognition), voice search, Translate and Gmail's Smart Reply. Customers can now bring its power to their own business applications.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1533/machine.png" alt="google machine learning" width="281" height="291"></p> <h3>8. Salesforce Einstein - sales, marketing, service, community, commerce, analytics, and Internet of Things</h3> <p>Salesforce rolled out its <a href="https://www.salesforce.com/products/einstein/overview/">Einstein AI</a> in September 2016 and the range of applications is impressive.</p> <p>There are various flavours of product available with AI enabled in each Salesforce Cloud (listed in the subheader above). Some of these new features will come with no added charge, whereas others will be paid for.</p> <p>Examples include:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Sales Cloud:</strong> Predict which leads are more likely to become sales, alert users to contacts that might be considering a rival service.</li> <li> <strong>Marketing Cloud:</strong> Analyze images on social media, perform customer sentiment analysis, and make suggestions about targeted marketing.</li> <li> <strong>Service Cloud:</strong> Case classification.</li> <li> <strong>Analytics Cloud:</strong> Predictive analytics, recommendations and automated rules optimisation.</li> </ul> <p>As it sounds, Salesforce is going big on AI, and has also formed a Salesforce Research group.</p> <p>This group will be a 175-strong team of data scientists looking at deep learning, natural language processing, computer vision and more.</p> <p><em>Copy from the Salesforce Einstein web pages</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1507/Screen_Shot_2016-11-15_at_13.42.42.png" alt="salesforce ai" width="615" height="245"></p> <h3>9. Messaging - Boomtrain</h3> <p><a href="http://boomtrain.com/product/">Boomtrain Messenger</a> offers multichannel recommendations but with a bit more sophistication.</p> <p>An online chat tool can be implemented using past user behavior to "engage customers in intelligent conversations at just the right time."</p> <p>As you can see from the screenshots below, it looks fairly smart, and offers an alternative to yet another email (particular as it can engage in real time).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1512/chat.png" alt="boomtrain messenger" width="550"></p> <h3>10. Account-based marketing - YesPath ABM </h3> <p><a href="http://yespath.com/introducing-yespath/">YesPath ABM</a> automates segmentation of website content in the targeting of key accounts (and the key people within those accounts).</p> <p>JavaScript in the site header allows the tagging of content according to topics. The platform then presents questions and content to the user according to a continuously optimised user profile.</p> <p>Upon its release in March 2016, YesPath compared its AI approach to Facebook’s, where an algorithm determines the best content for your news feed.</p> <p><a href="https://martechtoday.com/startup-yespath-launches-ai-driven-platform-automatically-targets-marketing-content-169496">More from MarTech Today</a>. </p> <p><em><strong>For more on AI, subscribers can check out our report, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/marketing-in-the-age-of-artificial-intelligence/">Marketing in the Age of Artificial Intelligence</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68525 2016-11-14T15:30:00+00:00 2016-11-14T15:30:00+00:00 How Birchbox and Trendyol approach data and personalisation Nikki Gilliland <p>What do these two companies have in common? A shrewd grasp of data – and two female CEO’s at the helm.</p> <p>I recently heard both Katie Beauchamp of Birchbox and Demet Mutlu of Trendyol give a panel discussion at Web Summit in Lisbon.</p> <p>Here are a few key takeaways from the talk.</p> <h3>Digital-first companies have a head start on data</h3> <p>Unlike bricks and mortar businesses that have moved into the digital realm, Birchbox’s starting position as online-only meant that it had the edge from the get-go.</p> <p>According to Katie, this allowed the brand to collect and use data natively – as opposed to looking back at it in retrospect.</p> <p>The company was also founded on the belief that the negatives of being online-only, such as its '2D' nature and lack of textured storytelling, would be outweighed by the positives. Namely, the ability to capitalise on data to serve a better experience for customers.</p> <p>Demet also touched on this topic, relating it to Trendyol’s ability to scale up at a rapid pace. </p> <p>Instead of relying on physical stores, it uses data to interpret its customer’s needs in real time. Now moving into selling private labels, the ecommerce site has been able to bypass constraints that might limit traditional retailers.</p> <p><em>Trendyol.com</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1466/trendyol.png" alt="trendyol" width="615" height="364"></p> <h3>Using data to speed up the supply chain</h3> <p>Speaking of time – another point raised during the discussion was how both companies use data in order to speed up internal processes. </p> <p>By using data to determine in advance how a product might perform, it allows them to reduce or increase inventory in response. </p> <p>So instead of buying now and hoping for sales - maybe even resorting to discounts later on - both rely on data to tell them how much to invest.</p> <p>Trendyol in particular appears to be focused on this, using it to feed into every part of the business. </p> <p>Demet explained how data not only determines what goes on the site, but it also informs other factors such as shipping algorithms.  </p> <h3>Generating demand that didn't previously exist</h3> <p>While both<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67095-how-birchbox-engages-customers-with-personalisation-that-disappears/"> Birchbox and Trendyol use data to personalise for consumers</a>, a lot of the discussion revolved around why it is vital to avoid venturing into ‘creepy’ territory.</p> <p>For Birchbox, the aim is not to meet the expectations of the consumer - let's say sending them an email about hand cream during winter, for example.</p> <p>Instead, it is to generate demand that did not previously exist. Or more to the point, that the consumer thought didn’t exist.</p> <p>This means using data to determine a picture of the consumer and to deliver a relevant message - but to also introduce them to something new.</p> <p>According to Katie, this type of personalisation is the difference between satisfying a customer and turning them into a long-term and loyal one. </p> <p>Trendyol also focuses on this notion of customer loyalty, emphasising the importance of long-term strategy - even if it means going against the grain. Demet cited that fact that 30% of the company’s sales derive from its loyalty program. </p> <p>Likewise, instead of being afraid of product returns, the company has realised how an easy returns experience for a customer can be far more valuable – and this experience can in fact lead to more purchases in future.</p> <h3>Test and test again</h3> <p>Finally, both Katie and Demet cited the importance of testing to be able to truly innovote through data.</p> <p>Trendyol in particular runs hundreds of tests at any one time, using it to inform the continuous changes being made on the site. </p> <p>What’s more, data runs through the company’s DNA. Instead of analysis it in silo, it is a thread that runs through all teams.</p> <p>Finally, Birchbox touched on the fact that data allows it to be a voice of authority for other brands.</p> <p>Armed with the knowledge of what their customers are loving or hating from one month to the next (which, as Katie pointed out, can change like the wind) – it has found that merchants and stores are more than willing to listen.</p> <p><em>(For more on testing, read 'A <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67249-a-beginner-s-guide-to-a-b-testing/" target="_blank">beginner’s guide to A/B testing</a>')</em></p>