As a multichannel retailer dealing in the luxury end of the market, Selfridges has to offer customers 'connected and extraordinary experiences' across its digital and physical properties.

That’s according to the brand’s head of digital marketing Claire Higgins, who spoke this morning at the Festival of Marketing.

Here’s a summary of some of the tactics Selfridges uses as part of its multichannel strategy...

New website

We’ve reviewed Selfridges’ £40m website before so I won’t go over it again here.

However Higgins reiterated the new focus on bold creative ideas and editorial, as well as a UI built for touch screens.

The retailer currently gets 60% of traffic from tablet and mobile devices (rising to 70% on Christmas Day), so catering to these customers is vital.

According to Higgins:

The site is an extension of the brand and gets more visitors than our physical stores. It’s the global gateway to the Selfridges brand.

In-store

Selfridges is working hard to create immersive digital experiences in-store that reinforce its luxury credentials.

One example is the denim studio, which features a 6ft interactive display that allows customers to sit back and relax while browsing through the jeans collection online.

The aim is to use digital to enhance the sales experience, but also create a comfortable atmosphere that improves brand perception.

Importance of 1-2-1 experiences

The in-store, personal experience is hugely important in the luxury goods industry, as people expect to be made a fuss of when spending thousands of pounds on fashion or beauty products.

Selfridges has begun to work with some of its brand partners to create dedicated online stores, such as the Cartier Wonder Room which features additional content about its products and heritage.

However, these can only achieve so much. Higgins said that although people browse and occasionally shop Cartier online, they generally pick up in-store as they appreciate the 1-2-1 customer service experience.

Social media

Social media has transformed clienteling at Selfridges. According to Higgins:

Gone are the days when personal shoppers handwrite letters to customers. They are building prolific social followings, particularly on Instagram.

One example is Thelondonshopper, who has more than 6,000 Instagram followers.

The personal shoppers know if they promote products on Instagram they will inspire people to shop online or go in-store. 

It gives freedom to customers to reach sales people in different ways, but sales people can also connect in a new way.

Higgins said that one personal shopper had a lot of footballers as clients, so used Instagram and WhatsApp to notify them that a new pair of trainers was available. These luxury trainers then sold out.

And finally, a case study

Selfridges does six big campaigns each year, one of which was The Beauty Project that went live in May.

It was intended to be a celebration of beauty in all its forms, with various events, films and discussions planned to explore the subjective definitions of beauty.

It involved a huge teaser wrap around the whole Oxford Street store, followed by window displays that posed various questions about beauty.

The out of home part also included ads on buses and takeovers at Tube stations and at Heathrow Airport.

In-store it was impossible to avoid the various displays and props promoting the campaign, and Selfridges also worked with Dove to create a salon that hosted daily talks on beauty.

Various journalists and beauty icons got involved, including Elle Macpherson and other luxury brand ambassadors.

On the digital side Selfridges bought display ads on relevant sites such as Elle and Stylist, a photo booth in one of the window displays linked directly to Google+, and it also hosted Google Hangouts.

The integrated campaign achieved impressive results:

  • 40,000 mentions on social channels.
  • 1m views of promotional films.
  • 241 pieces of PR vs. a target of 80.
  • £100,000 in tickets sales.
  • 2,000 people went into shopping window for G+ booth.
  • 4.5k photos tagged with #beautyproject hashtag.

Most importantly, Google showed a 34% lift in searches for beauty and Selfridges.

David Moth

Published 13 November, 2014 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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