tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/high-street Latest High street content from Econsultancy 2018-06-15T08:05:00+01:00 tag: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:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/70055 2018-05-31T09:00:00+01:00 2018-05-31T09:00:00+01:00 Five reasons for M&S' woes: from loyalty to innovation Nikki Gilliland <p>This time, however, things are undeniably bleak. And as a result, M&amp;S has given in to defeat – it’s just announced that it is to close 100 of its stores by 2022, alongside news of a 62% drop in pre-tax profits.</p> <p>While it’s easy to single out Marks &amp; Spencer’s failure, it would be foolish to disregard the wider retail industry as a whole - and the dwindling fortunes of the ‘great’ British high street. </p> <p>Overall retail sales growth has declined from 4.7% in 2016 to just 1.9% in 2017, meaning than retailers like Maplins, who couldn't always compete on price or convenience with Amazon, have struggled. Both Toys R Us and Maplin announced that they are heading into administration, while there have also been rumours that New Look is to close many of its stores, arguably because of tough competition both on the high street as well as online.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">My favourite shop closes forever! Goodbye <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Maplin?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Maplin</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Birmingham?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Birmingham</a> <a href="https://t.co/bLXaitfIn7">pic.twitter.com/bLXaitfIn7</a></p> — Mike Johnson (@_Bostin_) <a href="https://twitter.com/_Bostin_/status/999634355008962560?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 24, 2018</a> </blockquote> <p>In this sense, there’s no denying that M&amp;S is just one of many struggling due to the current state of the high street, higher inflation and stagnant wages. But M&amp;S's brand and cultural heritage makes it a more interesting case. In the context of today’s retail landscape, where exactly is M&amp;S going wrong? More importantly – can it make a comeback? Let’s discuss.</p> <h3>Competition, both high and low</h3> <p>Perhaps the simple explanation is M&amp;S hasn't been doing enough to change things, with the retailer instead <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/67883-marks-spencer-what-does-putting-the-customer-at-the-heart-of-everything-mean" target="_blank">focusing on things like customer service</a> and store-layout rather than product or price. But do customers really care about this?</p> <p>While its financial state suggests that people are growing tired of M&amp;S, it’s also interesting how many speak so fondly of the retailer – even in overly sentimental terms. </p> <p>From the social cachet of its sausage rolls to the ever-present popularity of Percy Pigs, news of its dwindling fortunes has got everybody waxing lyrical about the part M&amp;S has played in their own lives. </p> <p>It seems to hold a cultural relevance that goes deeper than most retailers. There’s something quintessentially British about Marks’, and much like Cadbury’s chocolate or the Queen, us Brits seem ready to defend it to the hilt if anyone (other than ourselves) dare criticise it.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Me: Goes to <a href="https://twitter.com/marksandspencer?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@marksandspencer</a> to buy some healthy nibbles for today's BBQ. <br>Also me: Buys two large bags of Percy pigs <br>It's like an unwritten rule or something <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PercyPigs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PercyPigs</a></p> — Jessica Mennie (@JessicaMennie) <a href="https://twitter.com/JessicaMennie/status/1000700524805713926?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 27, 2018</a> </blockquote> <p>So, if we feel such an attachment to the store, why aren’t we shopping there? </p> <p>Quite simply, there are alternatives which now provide something it does not – both lower prices and better choice. From Aldi to George at Asda, there are a whole range of affordable, accessible and quality physical retailers stealing M&amp;S’ glory.</p> <p>For staples like underwear, people are finding it hard to resist Primark’s low prices. On the other end of the spectrum, supermarkets like Waitrose have been eating into the aforementioned sentimentality, with shoppers on the look-out for quality also going elsewhere for posh picnic fare.</p> <p>So, Marks &amp; Spencer’s has been stuck between a rock and hard place for quite some time. Should it concentrate on improving quality or lower prices? Compete with Lidl or John Lewis? Focus on food or homeware? </p> <p>Its inability to decide, alongside its determination to be all things to all people is perhaps the crux of the matter. Ultimately, in today’s highly competitive high street, being middle of the road means you are likely to be overlooked. </p> <h3>Lack of digital innovation</h3> <p>That being said, you could argue that other retailers (Debenhams, House of Fraser etc.) are slightly nondescript too. However, these brands – as well as known for being bigger department stores – also have fairly decent ecommerce offerings.</p> <p>Instead, while online sales have been increasing for M&amp;S, the retailer’s (lacklustre) digital presence has undoubtedly held it back. Its website is notably average, both in terms of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65244-where-did-the-marks-spencer-website-relaunch-go-wrong" target="_blank">design and ease-of-use</a>, with even chief executive, Steve Rowe, admitting that it is far too slow.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/4816/M_S.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="573"></p> <p>The company has also acknowledged the need for action, recently announcing that it will execute ‘accelerated change’ to complete digital transformation, which has so far been too sluggish.</p> <p>One big change will be its partnership with IT firm Tata Consulting, which will help the company to replace legacy IT systems for employees. Alongside this, it plans to further invest in its main warehouse and online website. M&amp;S also hopes to move a third of its clothing and homeware sales online in the next few years, with improvements to its supply chain and delivery services.</p> <p>So, will a better online service entice shoppers back in? There’s no doubt it will help, especially considering growing consumer expectations for a fast, easy, and omni-channel experience. With the likes of ASOS winning online thanks to top quality logistics, M&amp;S has no choice but to step up its game.</p> <h3>In-store CX &amp; Sparks card</h3> <p>Another area which could definitely do with improvement is in-store CX.</p> <p>Last year, M&amp;S decided to separate its Food and Clothing divisions into two separate businesses, which are both now independently managed. While this makes sense to a large extent – each face different challenges – the two often still go together in the minds of consumers. This is because M&amp;S stores typically include both divisions, which only adds to the somewhat confused and jumbled nature of the in-store CX.</p> <p>Layout is often cited as a big bugbear for customers, both in terms of the confusing way clothing departments are set out, and how often things change around in-store. In comparison to other fashion retailers like Zara or John Lewis, M&amp;S stores also just feel quite dull and inspiring – and certainly outdated in terms of design. </p> <p>Of course, it wouldn’t make much sense for M&amp;S (which tends to appeal to an older demographic for clothing) to include flashy or bawdy design elements, however, it could certainly work on streamlining its stores as well as doing more to grab the attention of passers-by.</p> <p>Meanwhile, another big area of confusion for customers seems to be the Sparks loyalty system, which is often criticised for being overly convoluted and difficult to understand. Unlike a lot of loyalty programs, whereby points directly translate into money-off items, Sparks focuses on ‘exclusive’ offers and events, which from the sounds of it, don’t align to the typical needs or wants of regular M&amp;S shoppers. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">M&amp;S profits slump - quell surprise?! Your loyalty card system is terrible, unrewarding and complicated <a href="https://twitter.com/marksandspencer?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@marksandspencer</a> and that’s just for starters</p> — Dr John Walter (@John___Walter) <a href="https://twitter.com/John___Walter/status/999351114440085509?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 23, 2018</a> </blockquote> <h3>Brand values</h3> <p>Lastly, it’s also been suggested that M&amp;S has been setting its sights too high – especially when it comes to corporate responsibility. </p> <p>Its <a href="https://corporate.marksandspencer.com/documents/plan-a/plan-a-2025-commitments.pdf" target="_blank">Plan A/2025</a> initiative is impressive and certainly determined - M&amp;S even calls it “an ambitious customer focused sustainability plan”. The report outlines the retailer’s aim to raise £25m for charities supporting cancer, dementia, heart disease and mental health, plus plans to halve food waste, improve communities, and reduce gas emissions. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/4817/M_S_Plan_A.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="601"></p> <p>While Plan A did make headlines when it was released last year, I doubt many consumers are currently aware of it, or have even given much thought about sustainability in relation to the brand. </p> <p>Rather then, in conjunction with the promise of quality, perhaps M&amp;S should be making more noise about its ethics. Perhaps if it does (alongside improvements to its online capabilities and a better CX) it might help to re-establish the brand as a retailer that’s worth paying a bit more for. </p> <p>A brand that – alongside something special for dinner, or a really nice pair of slippers – can be counted on for decent values.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69960 2018-04-20T09:09:08+01:00 2018-04-20T09:09:08+01:00 How Zara is using in-store tech to improve its frustrating shopper experience Nikki Gilliland <p>From this it aims to offer customers a slicker, more streamlined, and ultimately enjoyable experience – as well as to combat the growing competition of ecommerce front-runners.</p> <p>So, here’s a run-down of how Zara is using technology to gain an in-store edge, as well as what value it provides consumers.</p> <h3>Streamlining checkout with self-service</h3> <p>There’s no denying that Zara is one of the most in-demand retailers of the past few years. As of May 2017, it was ranked as the <a href="https://www.forbes.com/companies/zara/" target="_blank">51st most valuable brand</a> in the world by Forbes, with sales increasing 13% to reach a record £602.7 million.</p> <p>This is pretty evident in Zara stores, hence my frustrating experience last year. Shops are typically packed, often resulting in long queues for the fitting rooms and even longer ones to actually buy something (or god forbid, make a return).</p> <p>In a bid to combat this, Zara has now launched self-service checkouts, allowing customers to skip the queue and buy for their items via do-it-yourself kiosks (à la Tesco). </p> <p>However, the technology looks and feels much slicker than your average supermarket. Since being made a permanent feature of stores last September, I’ve given it a go a few times myself, and have actually left feeling quite impressed. </p> <p>Instead of receiving the classic ‘unexpected item in bagging area’ alert, I enjoyed an intuitive and relatively easy-to-use experience. One of its best features is that it adds any item to your basket that you hold up in front of it (meaning no searching for or scanning pesky barcodes).</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Zara has self checkout now!!!! I get to avoid unnecessary human interaction as much as possible <a href="https://t.co/zTcfhwwnBY">pic.twitter.com/zTcfhwwnBY</a></p> — A Boogie (@_KillaSeasonn) <a href="https://twitter.com/_KillaSeasonn/status/897154223829389315?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 14, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Has it abolished long queues entirely? Not quite, though (and this might just coincide with refurbished stores or more staff) the issue does seem to be lessening. Plus, the more customers try using the checkouts, the more it’s likely to ease even further.</p> <h3>Click-and-collect &amp; fitting room tech</h3> <p>Recently, Zara introduced its first ever click-and-collect store in London’s Westfield Stratford. It’s only a pop-up (set to run until May) while its main store is being refurbished, but it could indicate that the retailer will be fully rolling out the feature in future. </p> <p>Click-and-collect is not the only new technology on display at the pop-up, with other features also indicating what we might expect from the new flagship store. </p> <p>Alongside online order collection, there’s also the option for customers to order and pay via their mobile phones in-store. What’s more, the fitting rooms include radio frequency identification technology (RFID), which offers up recommended or co-ordinating items when a customer scans something. </p> <p>There’s certainly value in both these features, most notably click-and-collect - which Zara has surprisingly failed to invest in until now. The decision is certainly set to please online shoppers, as well as potentially increase orders made on the website. </p> <p>The fitting room feature is also innovative and not something commonly seen on the high street – Mango is the only other example currently experimenting with it – meaning that it could be a key differentiator amid stiff competition for Zara.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3718/Zara_pop_up.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="456"></p> <h3>Clothing comes to life with AR</h3> <p>Moving on to Zara’s latest initiative - augmented reality. This is particularly interesting, as while we’ve seen many mainstream <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69016-why-beauty-brands-are-betting-on-augmented-reality" target="_blank">beauty brands launching AR apps</a> - capitalising on the consumer’s desire to test products before purchasing – the fashion industry has been less quick on the uptake.</p> <p>So far, there have been just a few examples to appear (mainly from the luxury sector, such as Burberry) – also serving as a bit of fun rather than for product-based research.</p> <p>Zara was recently one of the first mainstream retailers to launch an AR app, which is designed to bring clothes to life in-stores. By pointing cameras at sensors installed in windows, users of the app can see virtual fashion models strutting their stuff. Other AR imagery includes mannequins moving around and showcasing the brand’s new Studio Collection.</p> <p>Once users have viewed the experience, there is also the option to buy the clothes featured directly through the app or in the store itself.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3716/Zara_AR.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="396"></p> <p>But will customers really use this kind of technology in-the-moment? </p> <p>With Zara reportedly only running the initiative for a few weeks, it does seem more like a promotional campaign rather than something of real or long-term value for consumers. Again, this is also because the AR imagery is more geared around novelty and entertainment rather than having any real impact on the path to purchase.</p> <p>The fact that the app asks users to share their photos and videos of the AR experience indicates that the retailer is hoping for a big splash on social.</p> <p>Having said that, there’s certainly a demand for a share-worthy shopping experience. Other brands like Missguided have found success with an <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68567-five-things-to-appreciate-about-missguided-s-first-ever-physical-store" target="_blank">Instagram-able in-store CX</a>. Meanwhile, Zara is clearly hoping the technology will lure millennials away from online-only retailers like ASOS and into its now hi-tech stores.</p> <h3>In conclusion…</h3> <p>Thanks to its increased focus on technology, Zara has certainly made steps to improve and enhance the customer experience in stores, with initiatives helping to counteract some of its previous problems. </p> <p>Self-checkouts help to ease congestion and make buying items less frustrating, while fitting room technology makes the experience of trying on clothes much more fun and enjoyable. Similarly, the AR app is a fun and unique concept, which is sure to pique the interest of younger shoppers - or those wanting to try out something new. </p> <p>So, while Zara’s future was never really in doubt, it’s recent investments are likely to boost success, as well as cement the loyalty of long-term fans.</p> <p><strong>Related articles:</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69754-how-lush-is-raising-the-bar-for-in-store-experience">How Lush is raising the bar for in-store experience</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69727-how-retailers-are-using-geofencing-to-improve-in-store-cx">How retailers are using geofencing to improve in-store CX</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69223-five-ways-retailers-are-helping-in-store-shoppers-using-digital-channels">Five ways retailers are helping in-store shoppers using digital channels</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69754 2018-01-29T11:00:00+00:00 2018-01-29T11:00:00+00:00 How Lush is raising the bar for in-store experience Nikki Gilliland <p>While it’s pretty impressive in terms of ecommerce (you can read <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67158-why-lush-is-the-undisputed-master-of-b-commerce" target="_blank">more about that here</a>) – I think its in-store CX is particularly worth shouting about. </p> <p>So, what can we learn from it? Here’s more on why Lush is leading the pack.</p> <h3>Innovative in-store payment</h3> <p>Recently, Lush overhauled its till system in its flagship Oxford Street London store, introducing a brand-new payment concept. It has replaced its regular till system with Android-powered tablets, which enables staff to roam around, and allows customers to checkout and pay anywhere in the store.</p> <p>The tablets also offer more payment options and faster transactions, meaning customers are less likely to abandon a purchase due to long queues or busy staff. In fact, reports suggest that revenue has risen by 20% since the introduction of the new system, as staff have been able to process more transactions at a faster rate.</p> <p>This is just one example of Lush’s aim to offer a seamless experience for shoppers in-store, as well as one that is tailored to the brand’s own retail strategy. For example, it is now looking to improve its payment system, introducing ways for customers to access wish-lists and more detailed receipts via its tablets.</p> <p>It also marks the first time a retailer has built its very own payment system, choosing to take greater control over its in-store technology and bypass traditional till providers. While not all retailers will have the funds or resources to invest (or perhaps gamble) in a similar initiative, it certainly acts as an example of how retailers can take greater control.</p> <p>On the back of its success so far, Lush plans to roll out this tablet payment system in UK stores before going on to trial it globally.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1871/Lush_tills.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="390"></p> <h3>Employees going the extra mile</h3> <p>Working for Lush is not like working in your average retail store. Shop staff typically go through extensive training to ensure they have the tools and knowledge to deliver the type of service customers have come to expect.</p> <p>So, how does Lush’s service improve the brand’s wider CX? There are a few strategies that staff take in order to satisfy customers. One is recognising and targeting customers based on their browsing behaviour. For example, if they ask lots of questions, employees will know to spend time demonstrating products based on the customer’s specific needs. Alternatively, staff are expected to recognise when a customer wants fast customer service and a quick turnaround in store. </p> <p>Lush employees are also known for going the extra mile, and striving to create friendly, memorable, and personal interactions with shoppers that aren’t based on retail transactions. It’s been reported that staff use ‘facts of the day’ in order to connect with certain emotions. So, if the weather outside is dark and miserable, Lush might aim to counteract this mood by recommending particularly bright and cheerful products. </p> <p>When you compare the type of customer service offered in Lush to other retail stores, many pale in comparison. Of course, there is the danger that not all customers will want a conversation as they shop, yet it remains an integral way in which Lush differentiates itself to create a memorable store experience.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">being greeted by the lush staff <a href="https://t.co/swCjPFzKJA">pic.twitter.com/swCjPFzKJA</a></p> — arran (@coloppola) <a href="https://twitter.com/coloppola/status/804038170425884672?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 30, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Unique and interactive layout</h3> <p>Another thing that makes Lush stand out from other retail stores is how it displays its products – as well as how it encourages customers to interact with them.</p> <p>Its stores are reminiscent of a deli or grocery layout, with customers encouraged to pick up, smell, and touch items as they go. Demonstrations are also part and parcel of the shop experience, as again staff are eager to show how products work and what they can do, using large sinks to show off its famously colourful bath bombs.</p> <p>It might sound a little grandiose, but there is almost a theatrical element to the Lush experience. Which, arguably, is why the brand is able to charge quite a bit more than other household brands of everyday products like soap, shower gel, and shampoo.</p> <p>Lush packaging is also another hallmark. While most of its products come ‘naked’, taking away the need for wasteful packaging, its pots and bottles are made from post-consumer plastic, and include quirky information such as who made it. Alongside friendly service, the Lush eco-friendly attitude and interactive store experience is something customers have come to expect.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1873/lush_in_store.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="427"></p> <h3>Aligning offline and online CX</h3> <p>In-store technology is clearly a new priority for Lush, however the brand has also been striving to better align its app with the in-store experience for a while now.</p> <p>During last year’s Creative Showcase, Lush unveiled two new technologies. The first is Lush Lens – a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69460-image-recognition-in-ecommerce-visual-search-product-tagging-and-content-curation" target="_blank">visual search tool</a> that allows users to discover further information about a product by identifying it with their smartphone camera. Secondly, it’s experimenting with a voice-activated assistant called Lush Concierge. This lets customers ask questions (such as where the nearest store is) as well as enables staff to find out information like stock levels and other inventory-related queries.</p> <p>With plans to integrate both tools into the existing <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68308-four-things-to-appreciate-about-lush-s-new-app/" target="_blank">Lush app</a>, it further proves the brand’s commitment to innovation, which will in turn continue to improve the customer’s experiences with the brand, and act as a key differentiator in the retail market.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1874/Lush_lens.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="409"></p> <p><em><strong>Subscribers can download Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/lush-a-fresh-approach-to-customer-experiences" target="_blank">case study on Lush’s CX</a></strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69600 2017-11-27T11:23:00+00:00 2017-11-27T11:23:00+00:00 Four examples of persuasive packaging copy Nikki Gilliland <p>Packaging copy has gained a bad reputation in the past few years, mainly due to the rise of ‘wackaging’ – i.e. the overly-friendly and almost sickly-sweet style of language used by Innocent and Ella’s Kitchen. </p> <p>It’s understandable why this tactic has become so popular. By using chatty language and quirky slogans, brands are aiming to grab the buyer’s attention and create a more personal connection. The problem is - it can also feel patronising if, say, you’re simply looking for a smoothie with the lowest sugar content. No one wants to be told to ‘eat your greens’ at the same time, right?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0644/Innocent.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="453"></p> <p>This is an arguably cynical point of view, and perhaps it is rather too obvious to single out Innocent. It has crafted its own unique and highly recognisable brand voice, and there is undoubtedly an audience for it.</p> <p>So, where does the balance lie when it comes to good packaging copy? Here are a few examples that I think hit the mark, and how it might impact the consumer in a positive way.</p> <h3>The Ordinary</h3> <p>Most beauty brands use over-the-top packaging to capture the attention of shoppers, using equally exaggerated names and descriptions to hammer-home the supposed benefits. </p> <p>For instance, while Maybelline’s ‘Colossal Big Shot Mascara’ sounds impressive, the reality could leave customers feeling slightly let down by its bold claim. Similarly, skincare is another area where brands tend to go over the top, waxing lyrical about how a product will restore a youthful glow or banish wrinkles. </p> <p>The Ordinary is one brand that does the opposite, instead using packaging copy to reflect its wider ethos of ‘less is more’. By taking away unnecessary ingredients, design, and marketing – which only ramps up price – it is able to take a no-frills approach across the board. Its packaging reflects this, merely listing ingredients to leave the consumer in no doubt as to what’s included.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0637/Ordinary.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="555"></p> <p>While this might sound like it lacks elements of persuasion, I think it instils confidence in customers. Promising ‘clinical formulations with integrity’ – it comes across as a brand that strives to be honest and authentic rather than boastful and in-your-face. There is the argument that a lack of information on packaging might leave customers unsure about what the product is meant to do, however, as a brand that largely sells online, the Ordinary relies on the fact that this is typically included on ecommerce sites.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0638/Ordinary_2.JPG" alt="" width="372" height="427"></p> <h3>Anatomicals</h3> <p>Another way brands tend to use copy to stand out on shelves is with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67434-four-brands-with-a-brilliantly-funny-tone-of-voice" target="_blank">humour</a>. Again, this can be an even riskier strategy, with the combined danger of sounding overly-friendly as well as unfunny. </p> <p>One company that I think uses humour and wit to great effect is bath and body brand, Anatomicals. Its uses a bold typeface and witty puns to grab the user’s attention, also doing so to make its broad (and perhaps mundane) product range sound exciting and appealing to customers - especially against glossy and high-end competitive brands.</p> <p>I don’t mean that the brand is mundane. But on the product side is it really possible to make lip balm sound exciting? With its ‘stop cracking up’ balm – Anatomicals gives it a good go. Elsewhere, from the “you need a blooming shower, rose and jasmine cleanser” to the “help the paw hand cream” – its copy is both clever and unique.</p> <p>Anatomicals also shrewdly recognises the context in which its products will be used, for example incorporating lengthy descriptions on products like shampoo or shower gel, in situations where consumers are likely to stop and linger. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0635/Anatomicals_2.JPG" alt="" width="381" height="413"></p> <p>Another reason the copy works well is that – much like The Ordinary - it reflects the brand’s no-nonsense approach. If you’ve ever come across an Anatomicals product, you might have noticed that it does not try to convince you to buy it with endless benefits and promised results. Rather, it concentrates on the functional and straight-forward elements of the product. </p> <p>What more can you say about “puffy the eye-bag slayer: wake-up under-eye patches”? I for one am convinced.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0636/anatomicals_3.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="324"></p> <h3>Propercorn</h3> <p>As well as trying to make friends with consumers, a number of brands are now using copy to convey a sense of authenticity or <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67874-the-rise-of-the-artisanal-tone-of-voice-among-brand-marketers/" target="_blank">artisanal sensibility</a>. This can backfire of course, with brands like (the now defunct) ‘Harris &amp; Hoole’ pretending to sound independent – despite being owned by Tesco.</p> <p>Some can get it right, if values and products match up that is. Propercorn is one brand that I think does succeed with its artisanal packaging copy, using a good combination of storytelling and product information to engage customers in-the-moment. After all, Propercorn does not largely invest in digital marketing activity, typically relying on outdoor ads and word of mouth instead.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0643/propercorn_OOH.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="371"></p> <p>On its packaging, which is also well-known for its bright and eye-catching design, it takes the opportunity to <a href="https://www.creativereview.co.uk/brand-storytelling-trend-began-whether-will-ever-end/">tell the story</a> of how the brand began. Detailing how it’s “popcorn done properly”, borne out “hours spent experimenting with ingredients and seasonings” – the copy surprises consumers with a personal touch.</p> <p>The fact that it’s also written from the personal perspective of co-founder, Cassandra Stavrou, further enhances this notion.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0642/propercorn.jpg" alt=""></p> <p>To me, this is what makes Propercorn stand out amid an onslaught of similar brands. With restrained yet engaging storytelling, the product is perhaps more likely to draw in customers browsing supermarket snack shelves. </p> <h3>Oasis</h3> <p>Finally, while you might not consider fashion items to contain ‘packaging’ copy (unless you order online) – I’ve noticed that Oasis has been placing a big focus on in-store copy of late. </p> <p>For example, customers might come across slogans like “you deserve it” or “treat yourself” on item hangers, perhaps prompting you to at least try it on…</p> <p>Meanwhile, signs around the store speak to customers at every touchpoint, from encouraging you to ask for another size to checking out Oasis on social. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0640/Oasis.JPG" alt="" width="510" height="345"></p> <p>This example shows that copywriting does not have to begin and end online – and neither does it have to be the hallmark of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68919-how-visual-social-listening-is-helping-fmcg-and-beyond" target="_blank">FMCG brands</a>.</p> <p>By using copy in a creative and personal way, Oasis is able to successfully reach out engage customers in-the-moment, when they’re ready and primed to buy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0641/oasis_2.JPG" alt="" width="403" height="313"></p> <p><strong><em>Related articles:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67052-a-copywriter-s-template-for-excellent-product-page-descriptions" target="_blank">A copywriter's template for excellent product page descriptions</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67708-10-common-online-copywriting-mistakes/" target="_blank">10 common online copywriting mistakes</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67752-three-online-copywriting-tips-supported-by-research" target="_blank">Three online copywriting tips supported by research</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69593 2017-11-22T10:00:00+00:00 2017-11-22T10:00:00+00:00 Physical book sales rise as consumers embrace the #shelfie Nikki Gilliland <p>Leaving our tea obsession aside for now, <a href="http://store.mintel.com/uk-books-and-e-books-market-report" target="_blank">Mintel predicts</a> that sales of books and e-books will reach £2.02 billion in 2017, marking an annual increase of 4%.</p> <p>Interestingly, despite the nation’s supposed digital addiction – with consumers spending more time watching screens than ever before – print is winning out. Sales of physical books are predicted to rise by 6% to £1.7bn this year, while sales of e-books are in line to fall.</p> <p>So, what’s behind this boom in consumer desire for physical books, and how are brands and publishers capitalising on it? Here’s more on the story.</p> <h3>Perceived value in physical media</h3> <p>Sales of print books are predicted to grow by 25% in the next five years, reaching £2.1 billion by 2022. In contrast, annual growth of e-books will be minimal.</p> <p>Perhaps we can put this down to the fact that consumers attribute higher value to physical books. Mintel’s research found that 69% of consumers are prepared to pay more than £6 on a hardback book, while 48% are prepared to spend more than this on a paperback. On the other hand, just 17% are prepared to spend more than £6 on an e-book, demonstrating how the perceived value of physical media is much greater. </p> <p>Alongside this, increased sales also appear to be due to a younger generation eager to get their hands on physical books. This is perhaps a little surprising, especially considering the fact that children’s digital usage is at a record high. <a href="https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/features-and-news/childrens-media-use" target="_blank">Ofcom research found</a> that 34% of children aged three to four years own their own media device, while youngsters aged five to 15 years spend an average of 15 hours per week online. </p> <p>It’s easy to assume then that this digital media consumption would translate to books. However, with printed copies mostly accounting for the 16% growth in children’s books in 2016 (rising to sales worth £365m) – this is apprently not the case.</p> <p>One publisher to capitalise on the desire for children's print is Wonderbly, which <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69284-how-wonderbly-uses-data-and-personalisation-to-create-a-magical-ecommerce-experience" target="_blank">uses data to personalise</a> its books based on its young reader's interests and personalities. Using technology to create and sell traditional books – it is a clever example of how to combine the digital and physical. With today's shoppers naturally drawn towards ecommerce giants like Amazon, Wonderbly draws in consumers with engaging storytelling and a seamless user experience.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FWonderbly%2Fposts%2F1523022034401160&amp;width=500" width="500" height="677"></iframe></p> <h3>The ‘shelfie’ trend</h3> <p>Another reason for the resurgence in affection for physical books could be the ‘shelfie’ trend popularised by Instagram. Essentially, instead of taking photos of themselves (i.e. in a selfie) social media users are now photographing beautifully curated shelves – filled with an impressive amount of books.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0572/Shelfie.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="494"></p> <p>It’s an undeniable phenomenon. There are currently 883,652 posts using the hashtag #shelfie on Instagram. Naturally, book publishers both large and small have recognised the trend, incorporating the hashtag into posts alongside #bookstagram and #bookworm. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0571/Addyman_books.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="530"></p> <p>It’s not just book publishers that are reaping the benefits either. Furniture and home interior brands are also said to be capitalising on the trend, using the hashtag to engage both book and home design fans. And these brands aren’t just benefiting from increased social media engagement – apprently it’s also boosting sales. According to John Lewis, sales of bookcases have increased 11% on the back of the trend, with consumers being inspired to get back into physical books.</p> <h3>Desire for a digital detox</h3> <p>But are consumers really reading, or are they only doing it for design purposes? It’s an interesting notion, and it’s hard not to think that the trend might sometimes be more about perceived intellect or a pretty bookcase rather than real enjoyment of literature.</p> <p>That being said, the overriding rise of audiobooks negates this, showing that the demand for content itself is legitimate. After all, audiobooks were the fastest-growing format in publishing in 2017. And in the first half of 2017, digital audio sales increased by over 28% in the US, generating $74m dollars.</p> <p>Book publishers are helping to drive this popularity through greater investment. Instead of unknown actors, they’re now employing well-known movie stars and media personalities to narrate books. Similarly, publishers are also ramping up the value of audiobooks (which can be more expensive than books or ebooks) by including additional or exclusive content. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">This enchanting audiobook reunites readers with the Snowman and introduces them to an adorable new puppy-friend, the Snowdog. Read by <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BenedictCumberbatch?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BenedictCumberbatch</a> <a href="https://t.co/MgqjkpMTz5">https://t.co/MgqjkpMTz5</a> <a href="https://t.co/nscgaeHHit">pic.twitter.com/nscgaeHHit</a></p> — audible.co.uk (@audibleuk) <a href="https://twitter.com/audibleuk/status/931572262301560832?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 17, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Technology has of course played a big part - brands like Audible enable consumers to access and consume content in a variety of different ways – however the resurgence of phsyical books is also perhaps due to a growing desire for <em>less</em> technology in our lives. While much of consumer downtime can be digitally-focused, e.g. shopping online or watching Netflix, audiobooks and physical books give people the chance to truly switch off and enjoy some screen-free time. </p> <h3>Other forms of physical media</h3> <p>So, does this consumer desire for physical media stop at books?</p> <p>According to Neilsen, sales of vinyl have been on the rise for the past few years, growing 2% this year – and that's despite sales of CD’s and digital downloads falling. Similarly, a recent <a href="https://tamebay.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/A-Guide-to-Physical-Media-eBay.pdf" target="_blank">report by eBay</a> suggests that gamers are also looking for physical copies of videogames, generating 22m searches on its marketplace over the past year.</p> <p>This proves that the desire for physical media is still there, which is naturally great news for traditional high street brands like HMV and Game. Meanwhile, with the likes of Amazon opening its own physical bookstores, it's a sign that even the most digitally-focused brands should not dismiss the pysical just yet. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0574/Amazon_books.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="473"></p> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69134-amazon-books-what-retail-can-learn-from-amazon-s-new-bookstores" target="_blank">Amazon Books: What retail can learn from Amazon's new bookstores</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.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> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69585 2017-11-16T14:16:50+00:00 2017-11-16T14:16:50+00:00 Advent calendars: Why beauty brands are so keen Nikki Gilliland <p>Is it yet another example of the commercialisation of Christmas? Almost certainly. However, it could also be described as an undeniably clever marketing strategy. Here’s a few reason why brands are getting involved.</p> <h3>1. Hype and conversation</h3> <p>Beauty advent calendars have been around for a while now, however they’ve continued to gain even more popularity in the past few years. </p> <p>For most beauty brands, the basic premise remains the same as the traditional one – i.e. to build excitement in the run-up to Christmas with a countdown (and a small gift each day). They often include mini or travel-sized products behind each window, allowing people to enjoy a selection of items from a specific brand, a particular category, or a mixture of the two.</p> <p>For consumers, the main appeal is the fact that the combined value of the products inside is usually far greater than the price of the calendar itself. Conversely, one of the main benefits for the brands is the amount of hype and anticipation that can be generated around the product’s release. </p> <p>Marks and Spencer is one example of a brand that generates massive hype around its now cult beauty calendar, which is well-known for being very generous in terms of the size and value of the gifts inside. M&amp;S’s clever pricing strategy – whereby customers have to spend £35 in store on top of the cost of the £35 calendar – helps boost profits, while still offering great value for consumers. This year, the contents are reported to be worth more than £250.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">M&amp;S Intel: apparently their beauty advent calendar will be out of stock by tomorrow. GO GO GO GO GO GO GO <a href="https://t.co/USTbzQXh4N">https://t.co/USTbzQXh4N</a>. It was literally my favourite thing about last December (and I went to Lapland UK so the bar was high) <a href="https://t.co/9luHwv6eN2">pic.twitter.com/9luHwv6eN2</a></p> — Alice Judge-Talbot (@alicej_t) <a href="https://twitter.com/alicej_t/status/929033921882411008?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 10, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>2. Social media engagement</h3> <p>Like most marketing campaigns within the beauty industry, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67884-seven-ways-social-media-is-shaping-the-beauty-industry/" target="_blank">social media is key</a> to furthering customer engagement. This can be generated with content created by the brand itself, as well as by consumers caught in the hype and anticipation.</p> <p>Last year, the luxury perfume and candle brand Diptyque created a social media campaign to coincide with customers opening their calendars throughout the month. Working with graphic designer and illustrator Pierre Marie, the brand created 25 original videos which it released on Instagram Stories each day in December. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fdiptyque%2Fvideos%2F10154733356766579%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=476" width="476" height="476"></iframe></p> <p>Clarins is another brand that ramps up social media activity at this time of year, specifically using Instagram to promote its advent calendars and other festive products. It does this by using the hashtag #christmaswithclarins, which automatically encourages consumers to post photos of their own purchases and festive gift ideas.</p> <p>YouTube is another platform where advent calendar hype is ripe – particularly heightened by beauty bloggers and vloggers who post ‘best advent calendar’ videos. Some are geared around specific brands, with creators opening up calendars and reviewing the products inside, while others are a general countdown of the best of the bunch.</p> <p>Regardless, with these videos generating hundreds of thousands of views each, the exposure and promotion for the brands featured is priceless.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/p3letDKiCd8?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>3. Gifting opportunities</h3> <p>Another reason consumers can’t wait to get their hands on beauty calendars is that they are also a good option for Christmas presents - which is the main marketing message from retailers at this time of year. If you’re not certain what specific products someone might like or be suited to, for example, the amount of different products inside means that they can be a fail-safe gift idea. </p> <p>Another benefit is that advent calendars are not limited to high-end or luxury brands either. Primark is one budget retailer to recognise the potential, launching its first beauty calendar this year costing just £10. Sure, the product itself might be cheap and cheerful, but the price reflects this.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/0490/Primark.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="575"></p> <p>While gifting requires you to give away calendars at the beginning of December, savvier consumers are also cottoning on to the fact that products inside the calendars can be divided up for multiple recipients, furthering value for shoppers in the run up to Christmas. </p> <p>Lastly, I also think they’re a good alternative to the rather stale ‘three for two’ bath and body gifts peddled by some retailers, which tend to be much more about the unnecessary packaging rather than products inside.</p> <h3>4. Customer loyalty</h3> <p>Thanks to the success of previous examples, advent calendars have become a big focus for beauty brands, with continual improvements being made to differentiate products and provide greater value for consumers.</p> <p>In turn, this means that brands have managed to build a loyal customer-base – one that returns each year to buy the same product. </p> <p>Liberty is one example of a brand that takes customer feedback into consideration, using it to inform the content of its calendar each year. The strategy certainly works – this November, it reportedly sold 33 calendars per minute on the Liberty website, meaning that over half of the stock had been sold online before it debuted in-store. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Set your alarms! Our Beauty Advent Calendar launches on 25th Oct in-store and online! Learn more: <a href="https://t.co/DPObi7aoDG">https://t.co/DPObi7aoDG</a> <a href="https://t.co/SHHS8LuSEr">pic.twitter.com/SHHS8LuSEr</a></p> — Liberty London (@LibertyLondon) <a href="https://twitter.com/LibertyLondon/status/920680937448443905?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 18, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Does it always work?</h3> <p>While beauty advent calendars are proving to be a great way for brands to boost sales and increase engagement at Christmas, that doesn’t mean they are guaranteed to result in success.</p> <p>Recently, YouTuber Zoe Sugg (aka Zoella) has received backlash over the release of her own advent calendar, which is apparently very disappointing considering its £50 price tag. With critics attacking her for jumping on a trend solely for monetary gain – it's clear that customer value should remain the biggest priority for brands getting involved, as well as the retail stores that sell them.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69354-10-brilliant-examples-of-content-marketing-from-beauty-brands">10 brilliant examples of content marketing from beauty brands</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69241-three-reasons-to-admire-glossier-the-best-online-beauty-brand-you-ve-never-heard-of">Three reasons to admire Glossier: The best online beauty brand you've never heard of</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68087-six-brilliant-blogs-from-the-beauty-industry/">Six brilliant blogs from the beauty industry</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69539 2017-10-26T10:19:26+01:00 2017-10-26T10:19:26+01:00 Six spooky Halloween marketing campaigns from big brands Nikki Gilliland <p>It appears Halloween is on heat this year. Unsurprising really, considering that UK consumers are <a href="http://www.mintel.com/blog/retail-market-news/halloween-spending-in-the-uk-set-to-reach-320-million" target="_blank">predicted to spend a whopping £320m</a> on the event.</p> <p>So, along with some more info on Topshop’s campaign, here’s how big brands are capitalising on Halloween in 2017.</p> <h3>Topshop</h3> <p>Topshop has been focusing on its <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69286-five-innovators-of-the-in-store-customer-experience" target="_blank">in-store experience</a> of late. It launched a VR waterslide in its flagship store this summer, and now it’s partnered with Netflix UK to create an immersive ‘Stranger Things’ pop-up for Halloween.</p> <p>It’s a clever partnership and a win-win for both brands. Building on the popularity of season one, Topshop has created a 28-piece collection of Stranger Things clothing including t-shirts, jumpers, and bags. Meanwhile, Netflix is building anticipation in the run up to the release of season two in the UK.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9943/Topshop_2.JPG" alt="" width="679" height="489"></p> <p>Alongside the clothing, Topshop has decked out its Oxford Street store with sets including Hawkins lab, the arcade, and Will’s Castle Byers den. It’ll also be holding exclusive screenings of the new series and giving shoppers the opportunity to ‘strangeify’ their online experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9942/Topshop.JPG" alt="" width="680" height="570"></p> <p>Altogether, it makes a refreshing change from the standard Halloween-themed campaign. By capitalising on the spooky-theme of the cult TV show, Topshop has created an engaging and exciting retail event for fans. </p> <h3>Marks &amp; Spencer</h3> <p>With a long-term decline in clothing sales, last year <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69378-m-s-director-of-customer-loyalty-on-the-retailer-s-sparks-strategy" target="_blank">M&amp;S</a> announced that it would be converting 45 stores into Simply Food outlets. </p> <p>The demand for M&amp;S food is clear, and never more so than as we head into the colder months. Now the brand is aiming to delight consumers on the look-out for Halloween-themed treats, with a spooky spin on its popular range of confectionary. </p> <p>Percy Pigs have become Percy Pumpkins, alongside new pals Freaky Frogs, Vampire Fangs and Zombie Owls. Meanwhile, the famous Colin the Caterpillar (which is the brand’s long-term bestseller) has been dressed up as Dracula. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9944/M_S.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="491"></p> <p>In order to promote the range, M&amp;S has been concentrating on its Facebook and Instagram channels where it typically engages with followers to build excitement and address customer queries. </p> <p>Like Topshop, M&amp;S’s product-focus (as opposed to merely using Halloween as an excuse for a themed marketing campaign) means that it feels authentic, and should give consumers yet more incentive to visit M&amp;S food stores as we head into autumn. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9945/M_S_2.JPG" alt="" width="460" height="762"></p> <h3>Fanta</h3> <p>Coca-Cola has hugely invested in Halloween this year, launching newly designed cans and limited edition Halloween versions of Fanta multipack drinks.</p> <p>These products also feature special QR codes that can be scanned to access branded Snapchat filters and lenses, such as a China Doll shedding tears of Fanta and other spooky examples.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9946/Fanta_cans.JPG" alt="" width="670" height="509"></p> <p>Alongside this, the main event is a special VR experience in London’s Westfield Stratford and Thorpe Park. It involves a scary elevator ride, with unexpected events occurring during the trip up to the 13th floor. You can also watch the 360-degree video below to see what happens.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Gqz7cEAzVw8?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68401-virtual-reality-content-marketing-s-next-big-trend" target="_blank">Virtual Reality is always a draw</a> for consumers and this themed experience is bound to get people talking (especially at Thorpe Park, where people will naturally be more eager to get involved).</p> <h3>Strongbow </h3> <p>Another beverage brand to jump on Halloween this year is Strongbow Cider, mainly to draw in consumers who might typically think of it as a summertime drink. This is combined with the fact that Halloween is increasingly becoming known as a party occasion, leading the brand to mark the event with a special ‘CarnEvil’ campaign.</p> <p>Working in conjunction with pubs and bars, Strongbow has released special point-of-sale kits including decorations and beer mats to allow licensees to create their own ‘theatre of horrors’.</p> <p>Meanwhile, there is a competition for Strongbow drinkers to win a five-night stay in New Orleans to attend Mardi Gras (hence the ‘CarnEvil’ angle).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9947/Strongbow.JPG" alt="" width="460" height="650"></p> <p>So, will the campaign lead to more sales of Strongbow in pubs this Halloween? The competition might be an incentive, but I doubt it’s enough to persuade anyone who doesn’t drink cider to do so.</p> <p>That being said, with a fun and eye-catching creative, it should drive increased awareness of the brand. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9948/Strongbow_2.JPG" alt="" width="583" height="587"></p> <h3>Asda</h3> <p>Asda is typically favoured by consumers looking for cheap and creative Halloween goods. This year, the supermarket has also released one of the most creative advertising campaigns based around the event.</p> <p>With an eighties theme, Asda's infectious TV advert involves multiple generations dancing to ‘Word Up’ by Cameo, dressed up in costumes and surrounded by Halloween food and decorations. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/mBn9_ch7Qa0?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>It has also launched a well-designed online hub where its collates its entire collection of Halloween products, along with inspiring content such as cocktail ideas and decorating tips. And similar to M&amp;S, Asda has also released a range of special Halloween-themed food items including pumpkin crumpets and ‘day of the dead’ shortbread. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9949/Asda.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="501"></p> <p>All in all, the comprehensive campaign means that consumers are likely to think of Asda in relation to Halloween in future, with its extensive product selection likely to satisfy shoppers as they head in-stores or buy online. </p> <h3>Svedka Vodka</h3> <p>Is retargeting <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68303-four-ways-to-avoid-creepy-personalisation" target="_blank">creepy or cool</a>? This is the premise of Svedka Vodka’s digital Halloween campaign, which cleverly uses data to stalk online consumers.</p> <p>Once they watch the ‘Curse Video,’ users will be retargeted with an onslaught of spine-chilling banner ads. In order to break free of the ‘curse’, they'll then be prompted to visit the Svedka microsite and share content with their friends (which in turn redirects them to the original curse video).</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0E67Ts4bqYE?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>It’s a particularly clever campaign, drawing on the modern phenomenon of data-use in advertising. </p> <p>Of course, there is the big danger that people will be annoyed rather than entertained, leading to a whole host of negativity towards the brand. However, with the campaign clearly aimed at digitally-savvy millennials, Svedka is hoping its target market will recognise the irony and relent to the fun. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9951/Svedka.JPG" alt="" width="521" height="550"></p> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69519-memes-in-marketing-seven-memorable-examples-from-brands/" target="_blank">Memes in marketing: Seven memorable examples from brands</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69505-eight-effective-examples-of-quizzes-in-content-marketing" target="_blank">Eight effective examples of quizzes in content marketing</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69499 2017-10-18T10:00:00+01:00 2017-10-18T10:00:00+01:00 Four lessons retailers can learn from Ted Baker’s international growth Nikki Gilliland <p>So, what’s behind Ted Baker’s recent success? Here’s a few reasons why I think it’s succeeding in today’s increasingly competitive fashion retail market, and what we can learn from its example.</p> <h3>Distinct brand DNA</h3> <p>Ted Baker sets itself apart from other fashion retailers with a distinct brand identity. This is characterised by ‘Ted’ himself, who is a personification of the brand’s quirky and decidedly British image. </p> <p>The brand’s founder, Ray Kelvin, has previously been described as the ‘closest man to Ted’. He says that it is “an individual and quirky viewpoint on fashion which keeps the customer coming back for more”, and it is the brand’s distinctly British sense of humour that is a big part of this.</p> <p>Ted Baker now has 36 standalone shops, 237 concessions and 14 outlets in countries across the word, capitalising on its British heritage to appeal to international consumers. Alongside this, it also focuses on a dedication to quality (in terms of both its product and customer service) and a real attention to detail. </p> <p>The latter is particularly evident in its retail stores, with each one being entirely unique in design. Its stores also serve as an opportunity for the retailer to reflect its whimsical personality. Examples of this include its Bluewater store including its own fictional village called ‘Tedbury’, as well as its London-themed Tokyo outlet, which is complete with a booth made to look like a black cab.</p> <p>Altogether, it has managed to create a brand identity that is both fun and highly recognisable to consumers across the globe.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9611/TB_Tokyo.JPG" alt="" width="580" height="326"></p> <h3>Experiential and innovative retail</h3> <p>Ted Baker was one of the first fashion brands to launch an experiential retail concept. Its line of Grooming Rooms, which first opened in 2010, offers customers the opportunity to enjoy a traditional Turkish barber experience (which ‘Ted’ apparently discovered during his travels).</p> <p>It offers haircuts and shaves and even brow threading – drawing in customers who are fans of Ted Baker’s dapper and perfectly groomed image. Some Grooming Rooms are standalone, yet others are placed inside larger Ted stores to entice shoppers to linger.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Hold fast with the new Hair Mud from <a href="https://twitter.com/Teds_Grooming?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Teds_Grooming</a>, formulated to give matte definition without the weight: <a href="https://t.co/fHFJXN9b8f">https://t.co/fHFJXN9b8f</a> <a href="https://t.co/kNKvYCerAt">pic.twitter.com/kNKvYCerAt</a></p> — Ted Baker (@ted_baker) <a href="https://twitter.com/ted_baker/status/915275385079771136?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 3, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>On the back of this demand for the brand, Ted Baker has also expanded its product offering, stretching to bath and body products, spectacles, and even a range of bicycles in collaboration with bike retailer Quella.</p> <p>This has meant that Ted Baker is transforming into much more of a lifestyle brand than just a straight-forward fashion brand – which is a clear advantage over competitors like Paul Smith and French Connection. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">We're all wheels: shop Ted bikes with <a href="https://twitter.com/QuellaBicycle?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@QuellaBicycle</a>. <a href="https://t.co/cxgpJLwohw">pic.twitter.com/cxgpJLwohw</a></p> — Ted Baker (@ted_baker) <a href="https://twitter.com/ted_baker/status/914759479782146048?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 2, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Elsewhere, Ted Baker uses digital technology to dazzle in-store customers. For its Spring 2017 campaign, it installed an interactive window displays in its flagship Regent Street store.</p> <p>The display, which involved passers by placing their hands on the window and peering through, was effective for piquing consumer interest. It also gave them the chance to enter a prize draw if they got involved, which was a great way to forge long-term connections.</p> <h3>Strong logistics</h3> <p>While the aforementioned activity is bound to delight customers, Ted Baker’s recent success can also be put down to heavy investment in infrastructure. It has recently opened a brand new distribution centre based in Derby, which acts as the main base for all of Ted Baker’s retail, wholesale and ecommerce operations across Europe. It also allows Ted Baker to fulfil the increasingly demanding expectations of consumers, such as next-day delivery and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68739-how-has-click-collect-evolved-and-is-it-still-in-high-demand/">click and collect</a>. </p> <p>This approach has also led to steady but strong international expansion, with the brand leading with concessions in markets like Vietnam and South Africa to build desire for its product – and building further standalone stores in China and the US.</p> <p>With a 43.8% rise in ecommerce sales, its investment has clearly paid off.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9639/TB_China.JPG" alt="" width="630" height="351"></p> <h3>Non-traditional marketing</h3> <p>Ted Baker has famously avoided traditional advertising, mainly focusing on digital and social channels. <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69094-five-examples-of-brands-using-interactive-video" target="_blank">Video</a> has been a huge area of focus, with the brand clearly paying attention to the prediction that 79% of all internet traffic will come from video by 2020.</p> <p>In 2016, it released a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66625-shoppable-video-the-missing-piece-of-your-marketing-strategy/" target="_blank">shoppable video</a> directed by Guy Ritchie – essentially a mini-film that allowed viewers to click and save items featured. For its <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68900-ted-baker-uses-360-video-and-instagram-stories-for-new-ss17-campaign" target="_blank">follow-up campaign</a>, ‘Keeping Up with the Bakers’, the brand launched a 360-degree shoppable film, allowing users to become further immersed in the world of Ted. </p> <p>This demonstrates how eager the brand is to innovate, with each campaign introducing new elements to surprise and delight consumers. According to research, 360-degree video increases engagement (and therefore sales) as people are said to feel greater affinity with things that they can control. Combining this with shoppable content means that consumers are even more likely to take action. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZSSfIlQnZb8?wmode=transparent" width="656" height="367"></iframe></p> <p>Meanwhile, Ted Baker uses social to further increase engagement around its campaigns, particularly focusing on Instagram for its large reach.</p> <p>It released its ‘Keeping Up with the Bakers’ sitcom on Instagram Stories, building anticipation in the run up to each episode, and giving viewers incentives to view each episode with daily challenges.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">UFO sightings have been confirmed on Tailor’s Lane. Head to Instagram Stories to find out the classified information <a href="https://t.co/auSCp3J3s1">https://t.co/auSCp3J3s1</a> <a href="https://t.co/px7PpjCmQl">pic.twitter.com/px7PpjCmQl</a></p> — Ted Baker (@ted_baker) <a href="https://twitter.com/ted_baker/status/841725624293117952?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 14, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Key takeaways</h3> <p>So, what can we learn from Ted Baker’s approach to retail? Here are few key points to remember.</p> <p><strong>1. Define your DNA.</strong> Ted Baker has created a memorable brand image based on its quirky and British sense of humour. This allows the brand to differentiate itself from the competition, and engage consumers on a deeper level.</p> <p><strong>2. Constantly innovate.</strong> With a strong brand (and product) as its backbone, Ted Baker is unafraid to improve and innovate in other areas such as in-store technology. Again, this makes it stand out in a competitive retail market, as well as delivering a memorable customer experience.</p> <p><strong>3. Focus on logistics</strong>. While engaging customers is important, Ted Baker ensures it is able to deliver top quality service with heavy focus and investment on logistics. Factors like fast delivery and easy returns, as well as large and new amount of products helps to satisfy customer demand.</p> <p><strong>4. Refresh your content</strong>. Lastly, Ted Baker shows how an innovative and creative approach to marketing can pay off. With a focus on video – experimenting with 360 and shoppable content – it constantly surprises and delights consumers, helping to increase long-term loyalty to the brand.</p> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69037-four-digital-commerce-lessons-from-fashion-retailer-bonobos" target="_blank">Four digital commerce lessons from fashion retailer Bonobos</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69334-lessons-in-brand-building-from-deliciously-ella" target="_blank">Lessons in brand building from Deliciously Ella</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69494 2017-10-17T12:00:00+01:00 2017-10-17T12:00:00+01:00 Four reasons fashion brands are launching their own beauty ranges Nikki Gilliland <p>But <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69044-five-reasons-behind-boohoo-s-97-increase-in-profits" target="_blank">Boohoo</a> is certainly not the only fashion retailer to capitalise on this burgeoning industry. It comes hot on the heels of other high street and online fashion brands including Primark, H&amp;M, and New Look also launching their very own beauty products. Others, like Topshop and M&amp;S, have been in the game for a while.</p> <p>So why are more fashion brands entering the beauty market? Let’s take a look at a few of the biggest benefits.</p> <h3>1. A slice of the beauty pie</h3> <p>On the surface, it’s unsurprising that fashion brands are looking to the increasingly lucrative beauty sector. </p> <p>While fashion sales stagnated in 2016, the beauty industry enjoyed notable growth. This only looks set to continue in the next few years, with the US beauty market in particular predicted to be worth <a href="http://www.gcimagazine.com/marketstrends/regions/northamerica/US-Beauty-Sector-Will-be-worth-90-Billion-by-2020-387002581.html?utm_source=Most+Read&amp;utm_medium=website&amp;utm_campaign=Most+Read" target="_blank">$90bn by 2020</a>. Meanwhile, the mass market category (which is targeted at middle or low income population) is expected to grow at an annual rate of 2.6% until then.</p> <p>Of course, the more crowded the market becomes, the more difficult it will be to connect with customers. However, previous examples show there is potential for real success.</p> <p>Take Topshop for instance, which first launched its beauty range back in 2009. Now a familiar part of its stores, its make-up range has a loyal customer base. There are perhaps a few reasons in particular why this is the case, such as dedicating a large part of its stores to showcasing make-up – not simply shoving it by the tills. This decision highlights the collection’s standalone appeal, telling customers that it is something worth seeking out rather than buying last-minute.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9569/Topshop_beauty.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="504"></p> <p>Similarly, its investment in a large and diverse range of products – which happens to also take much longer to produce than fashion – has contributed to the range’s reputation for high quality.</p> <h3>2. The chance to be a one-stop shop</h3> <p>Another reason fashion brands are expanding into beauty is the opportunity to become a one-stop shop, providing loyal customers with everything they need under one umbrella brand.</p> <p>Primark is a pertinent example of this, with beauty being just one of its extensive number of categories. Essentially, it contributes to the idea that there is nothing you can’t buy from Primark, including fashion, homeware, food, and now make-up – so why would you go anywhere else?</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Are you a saint or a sinner? Prices from: €3/$3.50 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PrimarkBeauty?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PrimarkBeauty</a> <a href="https://t.co/1cLTWaYyNX">pic.twitter.com/1cLTWaYyNX</a></p> — Primark (@Primark) <a href="https://twitter.com/Primark/status/911229108914409472?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 22, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Other brands are also recognising the potential to capture customer loyalty in this way. H&amp;M recognises that beauty can be an extension of fashion, which merely allows customers to experiment with their personal style in another way. Consequently, the retailer has heavily invested in its hair and make-up range, also extending it to fragrance and bath and body. It’s even launched sustainable and limited edition products, ensuring that customers are dazzled by an irresistible amount of choice.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9570/H_M.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="502"></p> <h3>3. Upselling and repurchasing</h3> <p>Alongside the ability to offer something other than just fashion, brands are also jumping on beauty as a way to increase customer retention.</p> <p>It depends on both budget and personal choice, of course, but while people might only buy new clothes at the start of every season or during sales, customers are more likely to buy beauty or cosmetics products when they run out. In turn, this also allows retailers to retarget customers based on predictions about when they will need to re-purchase – a tactic often used by traditional beauty brands such as Lancome (see below).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9571/Lancome.JPG" alt="" width="480" height="782"></p> <p>Another reason is that stocking beauty or make-up products can prompt customers to spend more, even if that is not their original intention. For example, online shoppers might add small-price beauty items to their basket to reach the amount needed for free-delivery. In stores, customers might also be drawn to beauty and cosmetics items for gifting purposes or simply as spontaneous purchases.</p> <p>For <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69216-four-factors-fuelling-the-growth-of-fast-fashion-retailers" target="_blank">fast-fashion brands</a>, where value is already a selling point, the ability to sell low-price but high quality beauty is also drawing in swathes of consumers – especially of a younger generation. With cosmetics typically being one of the first categories young people spend their money on, fast-fashion brands (that already have a connection with this demographic) have a one-up on legacy or higher-priced brands such as Mac or L’Oréal. </p> <p>Meanwhile, older consumers are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to factors like packaging or branding, which typically inflates price but does not impact the quality of the product itself. The popularity of new brands like The Ordinary (which offers highly functional, stripped down skincare products) demonstrates this.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">I cant stop myself from pressing that 'add to basket' button when it comes to The Ordinary products from <a href="https://twitter.com/deciem?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@deciem</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/skincare?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#skincare</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/obsessed?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#obsessed</a> <a href="https://t.co/vsgFf9yosk">pic.twitter.com/vsgFf9yosk</a></p> — Orla Maginness (@MissMaginness) <a href="https://twitter.com/MissMaginness/status/917701252737314818?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 10, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>4. Potential for influencer involvement</h3> <p>A number of fashion brands have successfully <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69196-11-impressive-influencer-marketing-campaigns" target="_blank">partnered with influencers</a> to capitalise on an existing and highly engaged social audience. The potential for this kind of marketing only increases in the beauty market, allowing brands to tap into a large new pool of influencers, as well as the ability to reach consumers seeking out reviews, tutorials, and general inspiration.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9572/Hannah_Gale_Primark.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="489"></p> <p>In this sense, influencers have given brands an entirely new way to market their products. Customers are ready and waiting to lap it up, too. According to research, 92% of consumers are said to trust an influencer more than they do an advertisement or a traditional celebrity endorsement.</p> <p>Of course, fashion brands do not solely rely on this kind of content to reach a beauty-hungry audience. The category itself gives brands the opportunity to create diverse and more lifestyle-driven content of their own. </p> <p>For example, H&amp;M's spin-off brand &amp; Other Stories sells beauty on the back of its distinct aesthetic. Its packaging mirrors the style of its social media as well as its stores, using pretty and minimal design to promote a certain type of lifestyle as well as the products themselves.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">&amp; other stories do the prettiest pastel coloured beauty products, I want them all for my bathroom <a href="https://t.co/NMAQ2mnDmO">pic.twitter.com/NMAQ2mnDmO</a></p> — Lucy (@WhatLucyLovesxo) <a href="https://twitter.com/WhatLucyLovesxo/status/913450616936124416?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 28, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>In conclusion…</h3> <p>So, will Boohoo succeed in beauty, or is the market already too saturated for brands like it to succeed? </p> <p>With clear opportunity to boost sales, store footfall, and social engagement, it’s an unsurprisingly enticing prospect.</p> <p>As Topshop and H&amp;M have already demonstrated, the real key to success appears to be delivering on the promise of great value, high quality products – not just jumping on the beauty bandwagon. </p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69241-three-reasons-to-admire-glossier-the-best-online-beauty-brand-you-ve-never-heard-of" target="_blank">Three reasons to admire Glossier: The best online beauty brand you've never heard of</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69354-10-brilliant-examples-of-content-marketing-from-beauty-brands" target="_blank">10 brilliant examples of content marketing from beauty brands</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68205-how-three-beauty-ecommerce-sites-integrate-editorial-content" target="_blank">How three beauty ecommerce sites integrate editorial content</a></em></li> </ul>