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Last week, Waitrose announced it would sell 30 products through the Royal Mail online shop on China's Tmall.
Such inauspicious beginnings in its 59th international market could, Waitrose said, turn into its biggest overseas market in three to five years.
But, so shortly after ASOS decided to mothball its Chinese website, why is Waitrose so confident?
Having spent many years working on ad campaigns for brands such as JP Morgan, Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson, Ben Rhodes is now director of customer marketing for Royal Mail.
It’s for this reason that Ben was invited to sit on the judging panel for Marketing Week’s Data Storytelling Conference, which takes place this Thursday 10 September.
We are regularly asked for more B2B examples of great marketing campaigns.
B2B is one of the categories in the annual Digitals awards handed out by Econsultancy. So, I thought I'd revisit the spring 2013 shortlist and pick out some B2B nominees that haven't made it on to the blog yet.
Here are three campaigns that are unique, for one reason or another. Perhaps a unique client, idea or business gain.
Let me know what you think, or leave your own examples in the comments.
Imagine it’s 2030, that’s 16 years from now, not half past eight in the evening, clever guy.
You sit down to write a letter with your futuristic ray gun pen. But wait, haven’t the postal service just announced hover ships are no longer delivering sealed missives?
Have postal bods stop delivering the letter (the last mile at least)? How have letter volumes changed alongside email and social messaging? How has click and collect affected courier services? Could Amazon be ruling parcel mail?
There are indeed lots of questions.
Well, it’s the New Year and I think it’s time for a literature study, this time looking at the humble letter. After all, I have previously delighted and enthralled my colleagues, collecting tens of page impressions by writing about the fax machine. So why not pen and paper?
I’ve been tracing the history of letter writing in numbers alongside the rise of email and social. Are we close to the end of the letter and triumph of online?
E.M. Forster, great Victorian-born champion of the internet, sorry, humanism, once wrote this:
"Letters have to pass two tests before they can be classed as good: they must express the personality both of the writer and of the recipient".
The Royal Mail's revamped website is the latest in a string of big organisations meeting new and improved standards in customer experience.
The aesthetic of the site accounts largely for its improvements, and the site as it stands can be seen, excuse me Edward, to express more of the Royal Mail's personality as well as those of its various audiences.
First, I'll look at some interesting little here's and there's from around the site before panning out.
Is the global economy back on track? There's probably no question more capable of sparking a heated debate. But if the optimism of marketing directors in the UK is any indication, things are getting better.
According to the Royal Mail’s second annual confidence tracker poll, conducted in partnership with The Marketing Society, found that a third of the UK's top marketing directors anticipated an increase in marketing spend in the second half of 2010. More importantly, only 13% of those polled expected their budgets to be cut.
The postal strikes last month cost retailers a total of £53m in lost sales, but some retailers managed to offset customer concerns around delivery by offering collect in store services.
Argos is one example, reporting growth in use of its Check and Reserve service around the time of the strikes, and providing an example for other multichannel retailers of how to minimise the disruption caused by postal strikes.
The latest stats from IMRG suggest that the postal strike in October cost £53m in lost sales online, as growth dipped during the month.
Total online retail sales for October were £4.2bn, up both on last year's and September's figures. However, growth dipped in the last two weeks of the month, as the strikes affected consumer confidence.
Two thirds of online retailers have seen a 30% fall in their revenues since the Royal Mail strike began, and a third have seen a drop of around 24% in visitors numbers.
In a IMRG survey of online retailers, 85% believe that, with no sign of a resolution to the dispute in sight, the strike will discourage people from shopping online this Christmas.
With the Royal Mail strike going ahead today and tomorrow, there will naturally be some doubt in customers' minds over whether their online purchases will arrive on time, or at all.
Those online retailers that have made alternative arrangements for deliveries, or who don't rely on Royal Mail anyway, can do a lot to reassure customers with some timely messaging on their websites. So how are etailers communicating this information to visitors?
With a two-day strike scheduled for Thursday and Friday this week, and the possibility of further industrial action in the run up to Christmas, online retailers are justifiably concerned about the possible effects on their business.
I've outlined a few of the potential problems for online retailers below...