It’s awards season here at Econsultancy as the entries detailing inspirational case studies from a huge range of companies continue to roll in, and it's still not too late for your team to enter.

The Digitals 2014 are designed to showcase the finest work from the global digital and ecommerce community, but not just from individuals, we want to put the whole team centre stage in order to celebrate and truly reflect the collaborative culture of our industry.

You have till 24 September 2014 to enter, and in order to give you inspiration for your own entry we’ve rounded up some of the best retail case studies we received in 2013.

For more advice on how to write your entry, read David Moth’s 10 tips for writing a stand out awards entry for The Digitals.

Argos

Argos wished to cement its position as a leader of multichannel retail with an expanded channel proposition including an iPad app, fully transactional m-commerce site and innovative web functionality.

The cornerstone of this strategy was the re-launch of its Argos.co.uk site  providing solid foundations for growth whilst delivering enhanced experiences and commercial returns. 

Equally important are the new mobile capabilities offering convenience and market-leading immediacy to new customers, providing competitive advantage in attracting customers on the move. 

The store refurbishment programme has also been designed for the multichannel customer and the iPad app begins to reposition Argos from a catalogue-led business to a digitally-led business, whilst digital and social marketing continue to play a significant role in customer engagement and acquisition.

The work involved building the new website, a mobile optimised website, iPhone app, iPad app, Android phone app and an Android tablet app. Customers can now easily start their journey in one place and pick it up in another. Responding to customer calls for speed, ease and immediacy, customers now have the options to check in-store product availability and Check & Reserve or 1-Click reserve for immediate collection. 

Improved navigation and product information is now available through the Argos.co.uk redesign, and thousands of customer reviews are available to help narrow choice. With a new national same day delivery service, customers can now choose between 14 combinations of order and fulfilment to meet their needs. The new iPad magazine showcases the broad range and inspires new customers. Channel breadth and market leading functionality have resulted in doubling of Facebook fans YOY.

The results: 

  • Multichannel sales penetration has increased to over 50% of total sales, with Argos.co.uk receiving 440m visitors per year. 
  • The internet now accounts for 42% of total company sales and Check & Reserve is Argos’ fastest growing channel. 
  • The iPhone app has been downloaded over 2.5m times, the Android app over 625k times and the iPad app over 450k times. 
  • The iPad app has already exceeded sales targets, achieving more than double the target set at launch and contributing to the 12% of total company sales now accounted for through mobile channels. 

For more on Argos from the blog check out how referral traffic from eBay to Argos is up 28% thanks to click-and-collect.

House of Fraser

House of Fraser wanted a digital advertising campaign that would support its Summer Sale activity in the ‘Women’s and Men’s Clothing’ and ‘Home and Garden’ categories ad increase its following across House of Fraser’s online and offline channels (including 62 House of Fraser bricks-and-mortar shops, the House of Fraser ecommerce site and House of Fraser’s direct outlet on ebay.co.uk)

The campaign sought to engage with its target market through highly targeted adverts, served on ebay.co.uk. It used eBay’s real-time transactional, search and geographical data to identify and target those shoppers who would be most interested in hearing about special offers from House of Fraser.

House of Fraser leveraged eBay’s Online Retail Media (ORM) proposition to increase campaign advertising awareness and sales across multiple sales channels, including offline.

In fact, despite all advertising being linked directly to House of Fraser’s eBay outlet, 72% of sales took place on House of Fraser’s own ecommerce site while there was a very positive impact on visiting and purchasing intentions in bricks-and-mortar stores. In particular, a high uplift in intent to visit stores (16%) and a 14% increase in propensity to purchase.

The results:

A survey of 2,700 eBay Advertising users showed:

  • Increased advertising campaign awareness: 44% uplift in advertising campaign awareness among eBay users within first week of the campaign, which was maintained throughout.
  • Uplift in visit and purchase intention: Campaign had significant impact across all sales channels, with visit and purchase intention each respectively seeing an uplift of: 25%/ 12% in House of Fraser’s eBay outlet; 16%/ 14% in store; and 25% each on House of Fraser’s website.
  • Shoppers also exhibited an increase in positive brand associations, in particular ‘high quality’ up 16%, ‘offers attractive products’ up 12% and ‘good women’s clothes’ up 10%.

Bravissimo/Pepperberry 

The temperamental British weather has a huge impact on what consumers search for and purchase online. Bravissimo/Pepperberry trialled Fast Web Media’s weatherFIT, a weather-activated ad management tool for Google AdWords to control online advert output based on real-time weather conditions.

The brief:  

  • Increase revenue from online paid search campaigns by 20% during three month trial campaign 
  • Increase PPC click through rate by 20% for swimwear and 10% for dresses during three month trial campaign. 
  • Increase ecommerce conversion rates by 10% for swimwear and 3% for dresses during three month trial. 

By analysing local weather data against ecommerce data, it became apparent that there was a strong correlation between weather and conversion rates.

Bravissimo/Pepperberry recognised the need to explore new online marketing methods to increase PPC revenues across its seasonal campaigns so agreed to trial weatherFIT for two of its campaigns - its Bravissimo swimwear range and its Pepperberry dresses range – in a three-month campaign running through March, April and May 2012

The results:

Following the trial, Fiona Lomas, Senior Marketing Manager at Bravissimo Ltd, said:

The results of our first campaigns using weatherFIT really speak for themselves, helping us to drive a major increase in PPC revenues. Using it to fine-tune our PPC advertising and promotions by taking into account local weather conditions really boosted sales in the crucial run-up to the holiday season – especially as the poor weather earlier in the year meant that consumers were spending more time at home.

John Lewis

Johnlewis.com required modernisation to deliver a multichannel strategy. The re-platforming project needed to provide enhanced user experience, better scalability and a foundation for the future.

Project EPIC needed to be able to achieve a huge amount of objectives, including:

  • Enabling business growth by supporting a three-fold growth in the volume of orders, develop an increasingly personalised customer experience and support John Lewis in becoming the leading multichannel retailer in the UK. 
  • Drive online revenue by refreshing and simplifying the online user experience, using personalisation, implementing tools to improve basket size whilst ensuring there was no customer impact during the project.

The approaches taken to reduce delivery risk were as follows:

  • Iterative delivery, from an initial 'executable architecture' to prove feasibility and iterative enhancements developed through prototypes.
  • Beta launch to a significant customer base.
  • Remove complexity and rationalise legacy data structures.
  • Develop an infrastructure that supports automation.
  • Build automated deployment mechanisms for all environments early. 

John Lewis can now track products and services across online and offline, know what customers bought or were interested in, and manage all orders, products and information seamlessly across all channels. The increased accuracy of data for both consumers and John Lewis partners is central to enhancing the relationship with customers, and helps make the John Lewis promise relevant across all age groups both in-store and online.

The growth in online volume enabled by the new platform resulted in the following:

  • Support growth of ecommerce to be 40% of total revenue 
  • Significant increase in peak order volumes that can be supported 
  • Increased conversion rates across mobile channels 
  • Portability of shopping basket across channels 
  • Significant improved ability to provide personalised customer experience 
  • Transition was completed with no discernible negative impact on revenue and the first full day resulted in more than £2m gross revenue.

For more on John Lewis from the blog, check out these 14 reasons behind John Lewis’ 44% increase in online sales.

Fortnum & Mason 

How do you digitise a 300-year-old brand?

Fortnum & Mason has a long-term business objective to grow the business and audiences in new media channels and build an online community to help endorse the company and future products.

Working with Bell Pottinger it found creative ways of turning a 300-year old brand social, while staying true to its prestigious brand values and more traditional customer base, as well as driving sales.

Its campaign objectives were as follows:  

  • Improve digital communications 
  • Launch and manage social channels 
  • Drive sales via store and online website 
  • Increase organic non-branded search results 
  • Drive engagement across all social channels 
  • Support in-store activity and PR activity via social channels 
  • Achieve 10,000 likes on Facebook in 2012

Fortnum & Mason began with Facebook and once proven successful, moved on to Twitter and activity around the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. From there it developed Facebook apps for specific campaigns, Twitter competitions and supported PR campaigns through the digital channels. 

The results:

Business objectives were exceeded with the successful launch of the brand online, increasing engagement and endorsement with customers, ultimately securing a big increase in online sales over key periods as well as across the year.

  • Total number of fans following: 80,440 
  • Social Reach: 11,580,952 
  • Total referrals to fortnumandmason.com from social media: 39,339 
  • !0,000 Facebook Likes by 31st December 

Co-op Energy

Co-operative Energy needed to raise awareness that it is a viable alternative energy provider at a key time. Working with Mediacom it used digital communications to gain market share in a turbulent market by reaching individuals who are researching and who may be actively looking for a new provider and Deliver a Cost per New Customer of less than £60.

Co-op’s strategy consisted of: 

  • Raising awareness with customer ‘look a likes’ for maximum impact – profiling post codes of existing customers and using this data to geo-target the activity. 
  • Reach those already in market through pull based channels – taking an aggressive approach to paid search to capitalise on the increased interest in the sector. 
  • Promoting to those not yet in market but showing an interest – target those through display media who have visited news articles on the price increases, visited money saving tips content, and home moving websites. 
  • Reaching bargain hunters who will be particularly responsive to the pricing message – gain coverage on voucher code and cash-back websites to reach this audience.

Every channel included in the activity had a specific role to play and how it was utilised matched this role perfectly. The level of targeting applied to the activity meant it achieved maximum effectiveness and reach the right audience for the product with the right message to promote engagement, awareness and customer generation. 

A voucher code and cash-back activity enabled it to reach price sensitive consumers and offer additional incentive to become a Co-op customer.

The timing and aggressive approach taken meant the Co-op was able to gain huge in roads in market share and capitalise on the actions of competitors in a manner completely in fitting with the Co-op proposition.

Results: 

  • In the three months of activity, the activity generated over 6000 new customers, exceeding the acquisition target by over 270%. 
  • The activity generated a cost per new customer of £14.74 across the three month period, 75% lower than the target set by the Co-operative. 
  • The cost per new customer was as low as £1 at the peak of the activity.

Enter The Digitals and showcase your finest work, your team and your clients to the global digital marketing and ecommerce community.

For more inspiration, check out these six inspirational B2B case studies from The Digitals.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 15 September, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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