tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/high-street Latest High street content from Econsultancy 2016-11-28T14:24:49+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68567 2016-11-28T14:24:49+00:00 2016-11-28T14:24:49+00:00 Five things to appreciate about Missguided’s first ever physical store Nikki Gilliland <p>On the back of its brash tone of voice and innovate social strategy, the ecommerce retailer has seen rapid growth over the past few years.</p> <p>Now, it has launched its first ever standalone physical store in London’s Westfield Stratford. </p> <p>But, is it any good?</p> <p>I recently paid it a visit to find out more – here are five things to appreciate.</p> <h3>High concept, high impact</h3> <p>Walking into Missguided is a bit of an overload on the senses, but in a good way. </p> <p>Created by agency Dalziel and Pow, it is designed to mimic a television studio, with the ‘On-Air’ concept reflecting the experience of shopping 'live' as opposed to online.</p> <p>If you’re familiar with the brand’s online branding, you’ll recognise many of the same hallmarks in-store.</p> <p>There are slogans everywhere, and even its mannequins are typically ‘Missguided’, striking poses and taking selfies around a giant pink monster truck that dominates the bottom floor entrance.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1800/Missguided_store_7.jpg" alt="" width="780" height="585"></p> <p>Together with the store’s screen-heavy design and dramatic lighting – it certainly makes for a striking atmosphere.</p> <p>It's pretty unlike any other fashion store in Westfield, which is bound to attract Missguided’s target teen-to-20s female audience.</p> <p>You can probably expect to see many dads and boyfriends waiting patiently outside.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1801/Missguided_store_8.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="799"></p> <h3>Encourages social sharing IRL</h3> <p>From its <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67600-missguided-launches-tinder-inspired-app-experience-review">Tinder-inspired app</a> to its Instagram feed, everything Missguided does online is inspired by a social-media-obsessed generation.</p> <p>The physical store is an extension of this, clearly designed to be ‘Instagrammable’ in its own right. </p> <p>With signs prompting customers to download the app and follow the brand on Snapchat, it cleverly fuses the online and offline experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1802/Missguided_store_3.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="720"></p> <p>In terms of design, there are cool features everywhere. Even the stairs are mirrored so that customers can see themselves (and take photos) while walking up.</p> <p>But more than just encouraging sharing on social, it also champions social interaction in-store – in the literal sense that is. </p> <p>Instead of hiding its fitting rooms in the back, this area is front and centre, complete with a pool party-themed lounge space so that people can hang out while trying on clothes. </p> <h3>Reinforces brand tone of voice</h3> <p>Missguided is quite clever in how it speaks to its target audience, using slang and pop culture references to create a tongue-in-cheek <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67268-how-to-achieve-the-right-tone-of-voice-for-your-brand" target="_blank">brand voice</a>.</p> <p>With slogan lightboxes dotted about everywhere, this is another aspect that stands out in-store.</p> <p>It is used to great effect, with slogans like ‘mermaid party this way’ replacing the expected ‘more clothing upstairs’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1803/Missguided_store_2.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="767"></p> <p>There is the odd eyebrow-raising example, such as the ‘send me nudes please’ sign by the lingerie and the ‘asspirational’ hashtag.</p> <p>Perhaps these would be less jarring to read online, but it does feel a little different to physically see these types of slogans in massive neon letters. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1804/Missguided_store_9.jpg" alt="" width="662" height="422"></p> <p>That being said, it certainly contributes to the brand’s playful and recognisable tone of voice.</p> <p>And luckily, the tone does err on the side of empowerment rather than coming off as merely outrageous.</p> <p>What’s more, by pushing the boundaries in this way, the retailer successfully sets itself apart from the comparatively bland-sounding Topshop and River Island.</p> <h3>Creates immersive shopping experience</h3> <p>While Missguided has met the demand for a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68387-how-missguided-uses-personalisation-to-create-an-addictive-shopping-experience" target="_blank">certain type of digital experience</a>, its new store reflects the increasing desire for immersive shopping.</p> <p>As well as enabling customers to try before they buy, it also turns the act of shopping into more of an event.</p> <p>This effect is mainly created in the way everything is set out, with sections separated into distinct and divided ‘sets’. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1805/Missguided_store_1.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="706"></p> <p>Similar to the maze-like layout of Ikea and high street store Tiger, this means customers are required to navigate it in a certain way, ultimately creating a much more immersive and explorative experience. </p> <p>Instead of just popping in for a quick browse, customers are likely to stay and discover new sections as they move around.</p> <h3>Offers exclusive perks</h3> <p>There are a few extra surprises to be found in-store.</p> <p>One of the most unique features is an own-brand vending machine that sells ‘unicorn dreams’ in place of bog-standard Coke or Fanta.</p> <p>I later found out that it's actually bottled water... which now seems rather disappointing.</p> <p>But while undeniably gimmicky, it is still a great example of how Missguided generates excitement on the back of its own branding. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1806/Missguided_store_11.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="798"></p> <p>What other retailer has its own 'spirit animal'? More to the point, how many times have you seen customers queuing up to buy water in a fashion store? It's undeniably quirky.</p> <p>Lastly, the store includes some additional features that are impossible to get online.</p> <p>From exclusive collaborations with upcoming brands to an in-store pop-up by Wah Nails - it builds on the sense that shopping in-store is more special than online.</p> <h3>In conclusion…</h3> <p>I was quite impressed with Missguided's debut retail outlet. </p> <p>While I wouldn’t usually shop from the brand online, the fun and quirky nature of its physical store would tempt me to take a look in person. Regular customers are likely to jump at the chance.</p> <p>By combining an innovative design with clever branding, Missguided has created something quite memorable.</p> <p>While it’s not quite ‘destination shopping’, it’s certainly given its young demographic another incentive to visit Westfield.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1807/Missguided_store_12.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="765"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68557 2016-11-24T10:00:00+00:00 2016-11-24T10:00:00+00:00 How UK retailers are promoting Black Friday online Nikki Gilliland <h3>AO.com</h3> <p>AO saw <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/52679ff2-9a2e-11e4-9602-00144feabdc0" target="_blank">record sales figures from Black Friday 2015</a>, and by the looks of it, it is banking on a repeat performance this year.</p> <p>Instead of simply focusing on Black Friday (and Cyber Monday), it is selling all week-long.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1721/AO.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="436"></p> <p>By describing the deals launched before Friday as 'earlybird', it sounds as though prices will drop further or more deals will appear as the week goes on - annoyingly, this is a little unclear.</p> <p>Regardless, it is promoting pretty heavily across social media, even going so far as creating its very own 'Black Friday Survival Guide' for consumers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1722/AO_survival_guide.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="610"></p> <p>Despite last year's success, it has been suggested that Black Friday cannibalised AO sales from Christmas and New Year.</p> <p>However, with consumers being more likely to search for larger household goods now, we doubt it's much of a concern.</p> <h3>Argos</h3> <p>Argos isn't beating around the bush this year, extending its Black Friday event to a mammoth 13 days.</p> <p>Instead of counting down to the best deals, it is using a 'buy now' price promise to reassure customers that offers won't go lower until the entire event ends.</p> <p>However, when they're gone - they're gone.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1723/Argos_Black_Friday.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="374"></p> <p>Not stopping there - it is also using the additional tactic of bonus discounts, such as 25% off when you spend a certain amount on an item.</p> <p>With feverish promotion on Twitter, and one of the longest events out of all UK retailers, Argos could be in danger of alienating uninterested followers or cannibalising those Christmas sales at reduced prices.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Get this <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AcerAspire?src=hash">#AcerAspire</a> with 4GB memory &amp; 1TB storage at our lowest price EVER this <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackFriday?src=hash">#BlackFriday</a> <a href="https://t.co/B7EfpxEsOI">https://t.co/B7EfpxEsOI</a> <a href="https://t.co/rTIfbLayY7">pic.twitter.com/rTIfbLayY7</a></p> — Argos (@Argos_Online) <a href="https://twitter.com/Argos_Online/status/801433376720875520">November 23, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>House of Fraser </h3> <p>With sales up 40% last year compared to 2014, the event has traditionally been a success for House of Fraser.</p> <p>Once again it looks intent on capturing search interest around Black Friday - it has even optimised its H1 to incorporate the phrase.</p> <p><em>(Read more on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68432-black-friday-2016-how-are-uk-retailers-optimising-search-landing-pages/" target="_blank">how retailers are optimising landing pages here</a>)</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1724/House_of_Fraser_H1.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="699"></p> <p>With healthy sales figures post-Black Friday last year, the department store's strong promotion appears to be effective.</p> <p>Running for six days, it is offering up to 50% off selected lines as well as new deals specifically for Cyber Monday.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1725/House_of_Fraser_flyer.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="447"></p> <p>The event hasn't overtaken all its current promotion either - it is still talking about Christmas and unrelated editorial content online - which means it's avoiding instilling the fear of 'buy now or never' into loyal customers.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Christmas is the all consuming season. The festive flurry is inescapable. Enjoy it. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ReadyorNot?src=hash">#ReadyorNot</a> Christmas is coming for you! <a href="https://t.co/LP3ZE0SRLf">pic.twitter.com/LP3ZE0SRLf</a></p> — House of Fraser (@houseoffraser) <a href="https://twitter.com/houseoffraser/status/794994514905669632">November 5, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Body Shop</h3> <p>The Body Shop is promoting its 'wildest Black Friday yet' with a special 'bundle' deal.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1726/Body_shop.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="369"></p> <p>It allows users to get a selection of products worth £93.50 for just £35.</p> <p>It's a surprisingly enticing deal - in just one click of a button, all products will be automatically added to your basket with the discount applied.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1727/Bundle.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="420"></p> <p>Alternatively, consumers can take advantage of the 40% off code in the run up to Friday, when an abundance of top deals are expected to land.</p> <p>A retailer that tends to rely on loyal and regular shoppers as well as seasonal gift buyers - opting in to Black Friday is likely to be a positive move, as long as it doesn't overshadow the Christmas rush.</p> <h3>River Island</h3> <p>River Island's Black Friday landing page has some confusing copy telling shoppers that they are a 'little too early' to find deals, despite the fact it does appear to be partaking in the earlybird trend (a week of 'style steals').</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1728/River_Island.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="403"></p> <p>Using daily deals in each category and the 'limited time only' tactic, it could whet customers appetites for the big day itself.</p> <p>Or, it could end up being a bit of a disappointment.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Shoe love is true love, don't miss today’s style steals! &gt; <a href="https://t.co/vgcXu4i4W3">https://t.co/vgcXu4i4W3</a> <a href="https://t.co/hO8O70FvqO">pic.twitter.com/hO8O70FvqO</a></p> — River Island (@riverisland) <a href="https://twitter.com/riverisland/status/801335674016321538">November 23, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>Regardless, with Black Friday traditionally being seen as a way to get discounted technology and household items - it's interesting to see more clothing retailers take part.</p> <h3>Boots</h3> <p>Recognising that consumers are put-off shopping in-store during Black Friday madness, Boots is cleverly using an online-only tactic.</p> <p>Of course, there are in-store offers, however it is keeping a fairly hefty percentage for ecommerce orders.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1729/Boots.JPG" alt="" width="720" height="474"></p> <p>Building on the opportunity to capture online customer data - it's a good tactic for a retailer that is better known for its physical presence on the high street and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68371-why-travel-retail-is-big-business-for-beauty-brands/" target="_blank">travel retail </a>stores.</p> <p>Lastly, with excitement over its Christmas gift range generally beginning in December, it is using the sales bonanza as a nice jump off for festive-related advertising.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Get a Christmas ready smile with <a href="https://twitter.com/Philips">@Philips</a> DiamondClean toothbrushes. Offer ends 28 November - get yours now. <a href="https://t.co/ZPQO3ciSQH">https://t.co/ZPQO3ciSQH</a> <a href="https://t.co/tdNKPXCt2r">pic.twitter.com/tdNKPXCt2r</a></p> — Boots (@BootsUK) <a href="https://twitter.com/BootsUK/status/801161597427261440">November 22, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Final points</h3> <p>While they are using some of the most interesting tactics, the aforementioned examples make up a mere snapshot of the retailers partaking in Black Friday 2016.</p> <p>Of course, there are those that are choosing to opt-out, such as Next and Asda, but most do seem to be getting in on the act.</p> <p>The main question is whether customers will embrace this year's trend for extended sales, or whether it will truly be overkill.</p> <p>Similarly, with questions raised over whether Black Friday deals are <a href="https://www.internetretailer.com/2016/11/21/black-friday-deals-uk-face-criticism-over-pricing" target="_blank">actually worth buying</a>, it remains to be seen how consumers will respond.</p> <p>Let the madness commence.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68472 2016-11-01T10:00:00+00:00 2016-11-01T10:00:00+00:00 Three reasons behind WHSmith’s boost in profits Nikki Gilliland <p>So, what’s been behind the strong performance?</p> <p>Here’s more on the story. </p> <h3>Separation of travel stores</h3> <p>While it might have previously been better known for selling reading material, WHSmith has seen a growing demand for food and drink on-the-go.</p> <p>So much so that it has now changed its strategy to reflect this need, choosing to separate its travel and high street stores with different stocking priorities.</p> <p>Its travel stores, found in airports and rail stations, now stock over 50% food, drinks and confectionery. </p> <p>On the other hand, its high street stores are largely comprised of books, magazines and stationery. </p> <p>This mirrors <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68371-why-travel-retail-is-big-business-for-beauty-brands/">the predicted growth of the travel retail sector as a whole</a>, with airport stores capitalising on the shopper’s need to spend before and after travelling. </p> <p>Likewise, it could also be reflection of the consumer’s desire for more affordable food options.</p> <p>A big part of Smith’s rise in profits has been the popularity of its meal deal - the retailer sold over 10m in the year leading up to August 2016.</p> <p>With the likes of Pret and M&amp;S costing upwards of £6 for lunch, the cheaper price range of Boots and WHSmith is something that undoubtedly appeals to both busy and regular commuters.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">You know your are in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UK?src=hash">#UK</a> when you see <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WHSmith?src=hash">#WHSmith</a> hello <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/manchester?src=hash">#manchester</a> #✈ hello meal deal ! <a href="https://t.co/qzUduSaZx2">https://t.co/qzUduSaZx2</a> <a href="https://t.co/dBwy9RVyOD">pic.twitter.com/dBwy9RVyOD</a></p> — Andrew Cheung (@AndrewCYCheung) <a href="https://twitter.com/AndrewCYCheung/status/750600313019764736">July 6, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Collaboration with a social influencer</h3> <p>The Richard and Judy book club has been part of WHSmith for years (starting way back when they were actually on the telly). </p> <p>While it is still popular – or arguably just inconsequential to the average consumer buying a book in-store - it is naturally geared towards an <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68344-how-brands-are-using-digital-marketing-to-reach-the-older-generations/" target="_blank">older demographic.</a></p> <p>Earlier this year, WHSmith teamed up with Zoella, one of the most popular and high profile YouTubers, to launch a brand new book club.</p> <p>Designed to attract younger readers into the store, the campaign saw Zoella choose a selection of eight books which she then recommended to her audience online. </p> <p>The book club drew a massive response. On the back of it, one title even shot from 1,101th to an impressive number 14th on the bestseller list.</p> <p>This is a great example of how a brand can harness <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-voice-of-the-influencer/">the power of a social influencer</a>.</p> <p>By choosing a personality who is a natural and relevant fit for its campaign (and whose audience perfectly matches the target demographic), the retailer was able to increase brand awareness and drive sales.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/izWPgT7h_qY?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Capitalising on non-digital trends</h3> <p>For a traditionally print-focused retailer, the rise of eBooks and other digital media proves to be a continued challenge.</p> <p>However, WHSmith has managed to capitalise on the recent trend for the digital detox – a reaction against the often all-consuming nature of modern technology.</p> <p>Despite sales of colouring books waning slightly in the last quarter, the retailer has still seen <a href="https://www.opi.net/news/wh-smith-reports-stationery-success/" target="_blank">strong stationery sales</a>. </p> <p>This could be due to the Zoella tie-in – she often posts ‘stationery hauls’ on her channel and has recently included a notebook in her latest Superdrug collection.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the popularity of <a href="http://qz.com/701309/people-are-falling-in-love-with-a-simple-productivity-system-that-just-uses-pen-and-paper/" target="_blank">bullet journals</a> and other non-digital productivity methods could also be behind the surge.</p> <p>Combined with WHSmith’s decision to move stationery out of hidden aisles towards the front of stores, it has resulted in steady sales of traditional writing tools.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">I used <a href="https://twitter.com/WHSmith">@WHSmith</a> colouring pencils to colour the robin motif in my book. Great pencils. <a href="https://t.co/aR6TlD6Cme">https://t.co/aR6TlD6Cme</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/colouringbook?src=hash">#colouringbook</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WHSmith?src=hash">#WHSmith</a></p> — De-ann Black (@Deann_Black) <a href="https://twitter.com/Deann_Black/status/791295137645072386">October 26, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>By tapping into the need for convenience and partnering with social influencers, WHSmith has managed to satisfy the changing needs of consumers.</p> <p>With <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68352-bhs-is-now-pureplay-ecommerce-will-loyal-customers-move-online" target="_blank">BHS</a> and Woolworths just two big names now absent from the high street - it is a great example of how to stay relevant.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68440 2016-10-25T10:27:02+01:00 2016-10-25T10:27:02+01:00 Jaguar Land Rover launches digital store in London: Is it any good? Nikki Gilliland <p>I recently paid it a visit to find out more.</p> <h3>Fashion-inspired design</h3> <p>Jaguar Land Rover is not the first automotive brand to experiment with a digital retail store.</p> <p>Last year, Hyundai opened a similar showroom in Kent’s Bluewater.</p> <p>Aiming to create better brand engagement rather than straightforward sales – it had some surprising results.</p> <p>The Hyundai store saw 60% of visiting customers completing their purchase online and 54% of buyers were women. </p> <p>Jaguar Land Rover is aiming to replicate this success – ramping up efforts to engage Westfield’s typically younger consumers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0619/jaguar_land_rover.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="585"></p> <p>With its sleek and airy design, the store fits in well with neighbouring luxury brands like Mulberry and Hugo Boss.</p> <p>The deliberately open-plan nature of the entrance is designed to entice passers-by, and is a good reflection of the general changing habits of car consumers. </p> <p>Now, it’s no longer about visiting a car dealership or poring over brochures for hours on end.</p> <p>Automotive brands like Jaguar Land Rover want to create an experience akin to shopping for luxury fashion or an item of technology, hence the store's location near the likes of Apple and Armani.</p> <p>The exposed store-front is certainly enticing.</p> <p>I’m not the type of person who is particularly interested in cars (disclaimer: I can’t actually drive) – but even I could be tempted to stroll in for a look round.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0618/IMG_3419.JPG" alt="" width="767" height="576"></p> <h3>Click-to-buy technology</h3> <p>The store itself is designed to complement the brand’s new click-to-buy website.  </p> <p>The idea is that consumers can visit in person to browse and view the display models, before either choosing to complete the purchase in-store (via one of the many tablet screens dotted around) or at home online.</p> <p>I spoke to one of the store’s so-called ‘Angels’ who guided me through the online process.</p> <p>Apparently, the rather grandiose title reflects their intent to help and offer information – not sell.</p> <p>The site itself is impressive, though my initial feeling was that it could potentially prove a little overwhelming.</p> <p>Allowing consumers to do everything from arrange a test drive to customise and arrange a trade-in – there’s a hell of a lot to take in. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0620/Jaguar_Land_Rover_online.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="437"></p> <p>I questioned whether people will actually have the confidence to complete such a large purchase online, however my ‘Angel’ assured me that the process is incredibly intuitive and straightforward.</p> <p>That also appears to be the main aim of the store, whereby a relaxed and laid back environment encourages consumers to learn about the cars at their own pace.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0622/store_interior.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="585"></p> <p>I certainly felt relaxed during my visit.</p> <p>There’s no pressure to show any intent to purchase - employees are more than happy to take a hands-off approach, leaving you to look around before asking whether or not you need any help.</p> <p>Again, this is reflective of the accessible nature of the store, created so that consumers don’t feel coerced into actually buying.</p> <h3>High-end experience</h3> <p>Alongside the tech, there are some nice additional touches in-store.</p> <p>As well as allowing users to choose car specifications online, the samples are showcased on the walls.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0621/store_screens.JPG" alt="" width="723" height="542"></p> <p>Likewise, visitors can be taken through various examples of interiors and colour choices, and large screens showcase the cars' features throughout.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0624/IMG_3427.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="666"></p> <p>It is a shame there aren’t more tangible features like this.</p> <p>Granted, the whole point of Jaguar's store is to complement the website.</p> <p>However, with many consumers desiring a physical experience - <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68073-how-marketers-can-use-new-tech-to-deliver-meaningful-brand-experiences/" target="_blank">as well as a meaningful one</a> – it's a little disappointing that the digital elements are still built around the sale.</p> <p>We’ve already seen the likes of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67877-how-automotive-brands-are-blurring-the-lines-between-digital-reality/" target="_blank">Audi and Toyota experiment with immersive technology</a> like VR and AR. </p> <p>With such a large and prominent retail space, it seems a shame that Jaguar Land Rover hasn't grabbed the opportunity to do so too.</p> <p>While it's a great example of how to make car buying more accessible, a few additional touches could make it a more memorable experience - one of the most vital factors for increasing brand engagement.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67943 2016-06-14T09:57:00+01:00 2016-06-14T09:57:00+01:00 Why are we still talking omni-bollocks? Chris Bishop <p>We all know by now that digital thinking can’t be siloed.  </p> <p>That it works best as an active and integrated part of the retail mix, supporting and complementing the whole shopping experience.</p> <h3>So, why are we still going on about it?</h3> <p>Well, amazingly, at the retail and digital conferences I attend and speak at, these same old debates do seem to rumble on.   </p> <p>There is an old guard who are still in denial, who need convincing that digital is not simply eating away at bricks and mortar profitability.  </p> <p>Marketing teams are still asking us for help to sell in joined up digital thinking to their senior management.</p> <p><img src="https://httpsimage.com/img/online-stealing.png" alt=""></p> <p>So if we’re still banging on about "omni-channel" and "digital transformation" maybe it’s because the focus remains within silos and those lessons don’t seem to haven’t been universally adopted.</p> <h3>Are we making digital sound too complicated?</h3> <p>But maybe we’re so bound up in the omni-channel rhetoric and jargon that the digital world is simply not making the case well enough.  </p> <p>Maybe the problem is the new media age punks chasing or being given the latest cool-sounding job titles and spouting the latest omni-bingo terms.  </p> <p>Maybe we aren’t telling the story clearly enough. Ironically, maybe it’s the focus on digital itself that’s misleading.</p> <p>We need to remember that BHS, Austin Reed and the rest did not collapse because they failed at digital, they collapsed because they failed at retail.</p> <h3>It’s just retail</h3> <p>Digital is not replacing real world sales but lifting performance and building profitability across the board.</p> <p>It is simply helping retailers to sell more product in more ways than ever before.</p> <p><img src="https://httpsimage.com/img/online-not-for-luxury.png" alt=""></p> <p>From <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66389-what-does-the-ideal-click-and-collect-service-look-like/">click and collect</a>, to location-based services and mobile, in 2016 we are seeing digital more and more bridging the gap between the physical and virtual world.</p> <p>It is breathing life into the whole retail sector and making it a formidable force in the economy.</p> <h3>Where’s the proof?</h3> <p>Online retail is continuing to expand; experts are forecasting more than 18% growth in 2016 alone.  </p> <p>But total retail spend is also on the increase from £13.3trn last year to a projected £13.7trn in 2016. </p> <p>Smart brands are realising that all of their real estate (digital and physical) are assets that can work together to drive customer satisfaction and profitability.</p> <h3>So, bricks and mortar retail is not dead?</h3> <p>No, but digital has killed off the idea of the convenience store because physical retail is no longer a ‘convenience’.  </p> <p>We’re no longer popping to the shops because it’s the simplest thing to do. Online is now by far the easiest way for consumers to transact.  </p> <p>Digital is what we turn to first in the buying cycle and remains their to assist in every aspect of a real world purchase, too,</p> <p>Digital retail is not eating the lunch of their bricks and mortar operations, it is redefining what those operations are for and how they work.</p> <h3>The mobile revolution changed the world</h3> <p>In the story of mobile we can see the way a single digital channel has reconfigured the entire shopping experience.  </p> <p>Of course, it’s become a powerful retail platform in its own right, it now accounts for one-third of the retail sales in the US (source: Internet Retailer).  </p> <p>But mobile has become the ultimate shopping assistant in real world sales, too. Mobile is the operating system that navigates your customers to your physical store. </p> <p>Today there are 34 times more ‘find my nearest’ requests made on mobile than there were in 2011, according to Google. </p> <p>Mobile is the operating system that makes the consumer more knowledgeable about the product they are about to buy.</p> <p>Already this year consumers have spent 100m hours watching ‘how to’ videos on their handsets, while 82% of consumers have turned to their smartphone for advice before making an in-store purchase.</p> <p>This isn’t a channel that’s driving customers away from shops!</p> <h3>Destination Retail</h3> <p>But one thing digital is doing is placing a new emphasis on retail premises as ‘destinations’ in their own right. </p> <p>With luxury brands leading the way, stores are becoming <em>more</em> attractive as places to spend time and money. </p> <p>They offer location-specific experiences, they build loyal communities and relationships, precisely because they do so in the real world.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BE4dzuZeFkk?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>And it’s easy to see how digital experiences can be built around those communities, through apps, notifications, concierge services and the like, to help evangelise brands and create further real world and online sales.</p> <h3>Death to the buzzword!</h3> <p>As digital marketers let’s tell our stories without resorting to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66631-20-banned-words-from-the-econsultancy-blog-and-their-alternatives/">buzzwords, jargon and other omni-bollocks</a>.  </p> <p>It’s getting us a bad reputation and switching people off.</p> <p>Consumers don’t see themselves as ‘multi’ or ‘omni’ anything, they simply want to choose the most convenient way to shop at any particular moment.  </p> <p>They are becoming less patient and more demanding. They expect retailers to provide a connected and on-demand shopping experience - anytime, anywhere.</p> <p>Digital channels are key to these new <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/creating-superior-customer-experiences/">customer experiences</a>, but they are part of an organic whole.</p> <p>Forget about the digital fairy stories, what’s important is what makes consumers tick and what makes them buy - wherever and whenever. </p> <p>If we focus on those things we’ll really help the total retail sector continue to grow.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67883 2016-05-26T11:00:00+01:00 2016-05-26T11:00:00+01:00 Marks & Spencer: what does 'putting the customer at the heart of everything' mean? Ben Davis <p>Well, though the media has focused on soundbites and the M&amp;S financial results (a brief overview is shown at the bottom of this article), it has rather unfairly skimmed over the <a href="http://corporate.marksandspencer.com/media/press-releases/2016/marks-and-spencer-group-plc-full-year-results-for-53-weeks-ended-2-april-2016-and-strategic-update">strategic updates</a>.</p> <p>So, here's my take on what M&amp;S is planning, which, though set to curtail profits in the short term, may revive the brand in the coming 18 months.</p> <h3>Giving the brand a face through improved customer service </h3> <p>Perhaps the most encouraging part of the M&amp;S strategy is investment in store staffing. The basic wage will increase from £7.41 to £8.50 outside of London, and rise to £9.65 in London.</p> <p>Nostalgia invoked by M&amp;S is in large part due to the rapport that many shoppers once found with their staff, who seemed to be always on the shop floor and there to help (if needed).</p> <p>Though there is still uncertainty around changes to the pension scheme, this salary change, along with a reduction in the size of the CEO's management team, could be a tonic for the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67118-17-bullshit-free-quotes-about-company-culture-from-digital-organisations/">culture</a> at M&amp;S.</p> <p>Engendering great customer service is invaluable in creating brand advocates. The M&amp;S statement puts it beautifully and concisely:</p> <blockquote> <p>Our employees are the lifeblood of M&amp;S and they can be the difference in converting footfall into customers.</p> <p>We will improve standards and offer better service by investing in more employees in our stores.</p> </blockquote> <h3>Getting rid of white label confusion</h3> <p>M&amp;S is a big brand and has big stores. However personal our affiliation with M&amp;S, it's essentially a department store and has suffered for that as more focused retailers have championed fast fashion or luxury.</p> <p>To bring back some clarity to its ranges, M&amp;S is reducing the number of products in Autumn/Winter ranges and preventing duplication across them.</p> <p>The retailer will also reduce coordination (I presume this means less matching stuff / outfits) and inspire customers with 'selective and impactful outfit merchandising'.</p> <p>With M&amp;S no longer first choice for its clothing customers (according to the brand's research), the product offering has to be crystal clear when they walk in store.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5369/Screen_Shot_2016-05-25_at_16.55.53.png" alt="m&amp;s labels" width="250"></p> <h3>Taking customer experience back to basics </h3> <p>Alongside better service and sharper ranges, M&amp;S has highlighted better availability as a part of its new strategy (no doubt sparked by <a href="https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=m%26s+skirt+alexa&amp;espv=2&amp;source=lnms&amp;tbm=isch&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwi3-PrKtvXMAhVkDcAKHRRGAn0Q_AUICCgC&amp;biw=1280&amp;bih=661"><em>that skirt</em></a>).</p> <p>The results statement says that 'some basic changes to the environment, coupled with great service, can turn a shopping trip into an experience.'</p> <p>That much is true, but there are no specifics here as to what these changes will be. Personally, I hope this will mean making payment easier (more visible and quicker tills?) and improving experiential and functional elements (cafes, signage, customer flow).</p> <p>Speaking to my Grandmother, she highlights M&amp;S Food as an innovator in this area, providing cafe menu items (such as her preferred toastie) in the shop itself to purchase.</p> <p>Elsewhere, M&amp;S does commit to continuing to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65244-where-did-the-marks-spencer-website-relaunch-go-wrong">improve digital channels</a> both online and mobile, though with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66389-what-does-the-ideal-click-and-collect-service-look-like/">click and collect</a> and return to store, a lot of the groundwork has been laid here.</p> <p>I predict further experiments with in-store tech such as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64379-11-ways-m-s-is-improving-the-multichannel-experience/">digital rails and online order stations etc</a>. are unlikely.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0004/4594/browse_order-blog-half.jpg" alt="terminal at m&amp;s" width="300" height="450"></p> <h3>Ranges cannot be all things to all people</h3> <p>Possibly the most important strategic change is M&amp;S's attempts to 're-establish style authority: focus on product, quality and fit'.</p> <p>Quality and fit seem straightforward enough, but when it comes to style, M&amp;S has to nail it colours to the mast.</p> <p>It does so as follows:</p> <blockquote> <p>We will re-establish our style authority by focusing on wearable, contemporary style and unbeatable wardrobe essentials. </p> <p>Product is key to this. Our customers look to M&amp;S not for fashion trends but for accessible products they can wear with confidence.</p> <p>This will be complemented by a refocus on stylish everyday essentials, which we will continually refresh to ensure they are current and competitive, and underpinned by standout M&amp;S innovation. </p> </blockquote> <p>Its Alexa Chung range was successful but in targeting contemporary clothing and style favourites (and not aiming to be fashion-forward), the brand has to hit the mark across further ranges, relying on an overall authority instead of 5-10 popular pieces.</p> <p>M&amp;S has to become firmly everyday.</p> <p><a href="https://marksintime.marksandspencer.com/home"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5370/st_michael.jpg" alt="marks" width="450"></a></p> <h3>Know what price a modern customer is willing to pay</h3> <p>M&amp;S is already some way towards restoring its price position, having lowered the price of 3.5m items so far.</p> <p>It plans to reduce promotional activity, too, which should help the brand be bold in establishing a trusted brand/price that isn't diluted by constant promo messaging.</p> <p>This will help the brand take full advantage of deeper clearance sales when they do occur.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5367/marks.jpg" alt="marks sale" width="450"></p> <h3>A smaller brand?</h3> <p>As food continues to make M&amp;S its money (more than 50% of profits), the tactics outlined above should have the effect of creating a more recognisable M&amp;S clothing and homeware brand.</p> <p>If it doesn't do this, further Simply Food openings are in danger of making M&amp;S seem like a food brand with clothing and homeware tacked on.</p> <p>Essentially the task is to make the brand seem smaller, more focused, belying its status as a department store.</p> <h3>In conclusion</h3> <p>Profit warnings are not just the preserve of M&amp;S. <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67681-can-cross-channel-marketing-save-the-next-catalogue">Next</a> and Gap have both issued them lately, and high street 'favourites' continue to disappear (e.g. BHS).</p> <p>If M&amp;S succeeds with this latest clothing and homeware rebrand, it will be one of the greatest achievements in retail and marketing. Let's hope they can do it.</p> <p><strong>Quick review of financial results</strong></p> <ul> <li>Profits in the last financial year fell 18.5% to £488.8m.</li> <li>However, discounting one-off costs (including £200m for international store closures and PPI fines), underlying profits rose 4.3% year on year (to £689m).</li> <li>These profits were buoyed by the success of Simply Food, with Mark &amp; Spencer's clothing and homeware sales down 2.9%.</li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67439 2016-01-26T14:07:00+00:00 2016-01-26T14:07:00+00:00 How creative SEO can deliver big wins for luxury fashion retailers Chris Bishop <p>Neither were they desperately researching which colour would dominate this season and updating their collections accordingly.</p> <p>They were mostly trying to work out how not to break their necks on a Saturday night.</p> <p>But even more surprisingly, this term was searched for equally by men and women.</p> <h3>Why you need to understand search behaviour</h3> <p>Both these strange insights from Google underline one important message.</p> <p>If you want to understand and take advantage of the retail opportunities presented by search, you really have to understand what search is all about.</p> <p>Because, despite the odd quirks of search behaviour – or maybe because of them – there is vast branding and commercial potential here for fashion brands.</p> <p>And now, more than ever, luxury brands that are ignoring search are missing huge revenue opportunities that others are capitalising on.</p> <h3>But what’s the opportunity in search for luxury brands?</h3> <p>With 1 trillion Google searches in 2015, luxury customers are just as likely to Google as everyone else.</p> <p>And luxury customers were <strong>4.7 times more likely to Google ‘Black Friday’</strong> than the average.</p> <p>Add to this the fact that <strong>39% of luxury clothes bought on the internet last year were bought on impulse</strong>, search really <em>does</em> look like the place where the smartest luxury brands would want to be.</p> <p>At a fashion digital conference last week we presented with our client Net-A-Porter on luxury consumer search behaviour and it really demonstrates how crucial ecommerce is for luxury brand health in the years ahead:</p> <h3>Black Friday: what a difference a day makes</h3> <p>Luxury brands really can benefit from the retail ‘holidays’ which have established themselves in recent years.</p> <p>Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2015 marked the highest and second highest sales days on record for Net-A-Porter.</p> <ul> <li>The retailer sold one item every second.</li> <li>Of these, the most expensive item sold online was priced at <strong>$27,307.</strong> </li> <li>While a single Saint Laurent mini-dress was sold for <strong>$14,943.</strong> </li> </ul> <p>This is not loss-leading discounting reluctantly undertaken for fear of losing brand profile.</p> <p>This is a strategic opportunity to engage with high-net-worth individuals and galvanise profitable sales activity at specific points in the calendar.</p> <p>And search plays a crucial part in this.</p> <h3>And what a difference a change makes</h3> <p>Data from fashion brands is pointing to a shift from slow, curated purchasing patterns to fast decision making tipped by arresting content. </p> <p>Once luxury brands understand that price is no longer the key driver behind online luxury brand buying decisions, it becomes much clearer what search barriers are really in the way of increased sales.</p> <p>McKinsey released research demonstrating that returns (75%) and delivery policy (73%) were key factors influencing luxury buying decisions, especially interesting when considering only<strong> 48% were interested in price</strong>.  </p> <h3>Adjusting to a multi-device world</h3> <p>It’s a cliché, but luxury brand customers are cash rich and time poor – the question is how does this translate into search and buying behaviour online?</p> <p><img src="https://openmerchantaccount.com/img2/multidevice.png" alt=""></p> <p>In online luxury retail there is no such thing as a single customer journey anymore, these customers with their demanding lifestyles, constantly switch between devices that are ‘always on’.</p> <p>What’s more, they have the best devices (high spec, tablets, laptops, smartphones) and they expect the experiences they have on them to be equally high spec.</p> <p>Therefore, as one absolute takeaway - don’t ever think in devices (desktop, mobile), think only of the consumer journey.</p> <h3>The beautiful customer experience</h3> <p>Ecommerce is now a multi-device world and brands need to understand the importance of a ‘beautiful customer experience’, meaning a series of seamless, all-encompassing, cross-platform customer journeys that often begin with search and are highly mobile.</p> <p>Every year marketers have been told that this year is the year of mobile and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67397-ashley-friedlein-s-10-digital-marketing-ecommerce-trends-for-2016/">2016 will be no exception</a>.</p> <p>For luxury mobile is becoming increasingly important to keep up with the demands of the luxury consumer.</p> <p><img src="https://openmerchantaccount.com/img2/catwalkmobilephone.png" alt=""></p> <p>Often we hear about the increase in mobile penetration in a market – however when you consider the affluence of a luxury shopper that becomes even more important.</p> <p>McKinsey suggests that across the world <strong>95% of luxury shoppers have a smartphone</strong>, with <strong>100% penetration in some markets</strong>.</p> <p>Forrester research last year stated most luxury consumers expect retailers to have mobile optimised website or app - however in January 2016 only half do.</p> <p>Luxury customers are everywhere in terms of device and location, and mobile has become key to closing sales.</p> <ul> <li>41% of Net-A-Porter’s customer orders over Thanksgiving were on a mobile device.</li> <li>Nearly half (48%) of its sales in Japan were on mobile.</li> </ul> <p>Customers are not only visiting Net-A-Porter's sites on mobile, but buying items as well.</p> <p>As such there are opportunities to optimise search in specific ways, in specific locations and for specific groups that could make all the difference to traffic and sales.</p> <h3>Gender targeting through Google search</h3> <p>Gender targeting is one of these opportunities. Male luxury customers still often seem to be impulsive and impatient in their purchases as they tend to shop for gifts on mobile devices at the last minute. </p> <p>Males tend to spend more time examining search engine results pages (SERPS) and are <strong>5.4 times more likely than females</strong> to inspect lower ranked results.</p> <p>Therefore, a key opportunity to maximize conversion from search is by reassuring customers on the SERPS that the mobile checkout process will be simple and painless.</p> <h3>Location, location, location?</h3> <p>Location is also significant when selling to these customers, but not necessarily in the ways that you think.</p> <p>The average luxury customers takes <strong>16 trips a year</strong>. So, where these customers are searching is not necessarily where they live.</p> <p>This means brands need to be careful about the kind of delivery offers they’re making based on location.</p> <p>Don’t go offering free delivery in Tokyo when the customer lives in New York.</p> <p>Therefore, when a consumer adds location-based search queries we have to listen to the signal - dig deeper into data, don’t make assumptions and tailor to location.</p> <h3>Social &amp; content converts</h3> <p>Even if they’re not buying, your customers want to talk to you and about you.</p> <p>Working out when to sell to them and when to talk to them is part of the challenge of dealing with customer search.</p> <p>But in reality every search is an opportunity for engagement that may lead to a sale.</p> <p>In fashion it is even more important to have a focus on social, with two-thirds of the target audience generating content on a regular basis and <strong>15% doing that on a daily basis</strong>.</p> <p><img src="https://openmerchantaccount.com/img2/customerswantcontent.png" alt="" width="660" height="390"></p> <p>Social and content is presenting more and more chances to capture the imagination of potential customers and shortening the gap between catwalk and shopping basket.</p> <p>Fashion is throwing open the doors to the public with live streaming and interactive digital tools.</p> <p>Lining up your social, content and search is presenting more and more chances to share amazing content and arrest the attention of a customer base primed and willing to buy into your brand.</p> <h3>Rising to the challenge of search for luxury brands</h3> <p>“<em><strong>How to Walk In Heels</strong></em>” is not a comment on the mundanity of search.</p> <p>Instead it’s an imaginative challenge to agencies and marketers to interpret needs and wants in ways that are thrilling to customers.</p> <p>I hear there’s a trick to walking in heels, but once learned it looks elegant and effortless.</p> <p>Learning the secrets of luxury search is learning to create beautiful experiences, optimised customer journeys that seamlessly capture, build your brand and convert sales in new and exciting ways.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, read:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66501-how-fashion-brands-are-setting-trends-in-digital/"><em>How fashion brands are setting trends in digital</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64543-20-beautiful-examples-of-web-design-from-high-fashion-brands/"><em>20 beautiful examples of web design from high fashion brands</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/fashion-ecommerce-and-content-marketing/"><em>Fashion Ecommerce and Content Marketing Report</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67159 2015-11-09T12:06:27+00:00 2015-11-09T12:06:27+00:00 Are we doing Black Friday in the UK or not? Chris Bishop <p>This year, there’s definitely a bit of Black Friday backlash in the air.  </p> <p>Fuelled by snobbery and perhaps a British stiff upper lip, some Marketing Directors seem to think it’s all a bit tactical and beneath them.  </p> <p>Others are just counting the death toll resulting from all this madness. For a chilling glimpse at the collateral damage of retail rage look no further than <a href="http://blackfridaydeathcount.com/" target="_blank">BlackFridayDeathCount.com</a> </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8822/john_lewis_black_friday.png" alt="" width="606" height="300"></p> <h3>For or against Black Friday?</h3> <p>In reality the arguments for and against UK brands observing Black Friday are finely balanced. Some of the naysayers, like John Lewis’s Andy Street, really do have a point:</p> <blockquote> <p>It is not in the industry’s interest to focus so much trade onto one day. You want more steady trade and obviously you want more of it at full price.</p> </blockquote> <p>But as Black Friday looms and retailers anxiously wait to see what will happen, it’s worth considering the arguments on both sides:</p> <h3>The case for getting stuck in </h3> <ul> <li> <strong>It’s hard to ignore.</strong> Black Friday is predicted to be a £1bn trading day (Salmon, Experian and IMRG all say so).</li> <li> <strong>Consumers love it.</strong> 96% of Black Friday’s 2014 purchasers said they were <strong>happy</strong> or <strong>very happy</strong> with what they bought (via Retail Week).</li> <li> <strong>It’s the big one!</strong> IMRG estimated £810m was spent online on Black Friday last year – the biggest ever day for UK online sales. For those that missed the analysis Econsultancy and Hitwise did last year, here are the <a href="https://docs.google.com/a/econsultancy.com/file/d/0B0IZM8gxECK6Y2lQYkpkV3dHaUE/edit?pli=1" target="_blank">Black Friday traffic statistics for all major UK retailers</a>.</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8823/house_of_fraser_black_friday.png" alt="" width="578" height="417"></p> <ul> <li> <strong>It’s a global gold rush</strong>. Not just in the UK and US. The phenomenon in spreading to Asia and Africa; a client of ours in Nigeria received a staggering 1,440% year-on-year increase in online revenue with a <a href="http://techloy.com/2014/12/03/record-breaking-numbers-and-statistics-from-the-konga-yakata-sales-infographics/" target="_blank">domestic version of Black Friday activity</a>.  </li> <li> <strong>The big spenders will be out in force</strong>. Luxury consumers are 4.7x more likely to search for Black Friday (Experian).</li> <li> <strong>Don’t disappoint.</strong> You risk disappointing your customers if you don’t engage.</li> </ul> <h3>The case for holding back</h3> <ul> <li> <strong>Black Friday cannibalises Christmas sales.</strong> According to e-Digital Research 30% of UK online shoppers say they’ll buy on 27 November this year - compared to 8% last year.</li> <li> <strong>Margin. What’s the cost?</strong> If you go for it, sales might increase, but will consumers ultimately spend more? Discounting often comes at a cost to margin.</li> <li> <strong>For retailers demand can prove too much.</strong> Site outages, slow page load and annoying queuing systems are not going to endear you to your customers. In 2014 Tesco, Argos and Boots reported problems with their websites on the big day. You need IT platforms that can perform under the heaviest of peak loads.</li> <li> <strong>What about supply chain bandwidth?</strong> Are there enough lorry drivers? Can demand be met? Don’t forget that customers will be disappointed if logistics melt and delivery is slow or muddled.</li> <li> <strong>Needy is not a good look. </strong>Jumping on this particular band wagon can appear rather... tactical.</li> </ul> <h3>Which way will we jump?</h3> <p>There seems to be real uncertainty about whether British brands are going to ‘go for it’ in 2015, or if there’ll be an uneasy stand off over who’ll blink first. This is what Home Retail boss John Walden said in October:</p> <blockquote> <p>Trading at Argos during this year’s important Christmas season seems less predictable than usual, as both retailers and customers determine whether to repeat last year’s unusual Black Friday patterns.</p> </blockquote> <p>So whether or not you’re planning ‘to do’ Black Friday this year, it seems the best way to deal with this encroaching American tradition is to adopt the best in British traditions – approach calmly and be prepared.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8826/argos_black_friday.png" alt="" width="800"></p> <h3>11 quick tips for a trouble-free Black Friday</h3> <p><strong>1. Have a plan and stick to it.</strong></p> <p>Retailers can approach Black Friday in one of several different ways.  </p> <ul> <li>Plan A: We are not doing Black Friday.</li> <li>Plan B: We might do Black Friday if Debenhams do.</li> <li>Plan C: Okay change the homepage, we’ll put a few things 20% off.</li> <li>Plan D: F$%k, ASOS &amp; Selfridges have joined in, launch the Black Friday missiles!</li> </ul> <p>Whatever you decide make sure everyone in the business knows you have a plan(s) - and what it is.</p> <p><strong>2. Know your limits.</strong>  </p> <p>Do you know your capacity? Have you forecasted targets? Have you thought about website load, stock, supply network, warehouse, click and collect?</p> <p><strong>3. Have you got a contingency plan?</strong>  </p> <p>What can you switch off? Can you slow down orders? Do you need to offer only mainland delivery, can you just concentrate on London?</p> <p><strong>4. Timings.</strong></p> <p>What time will the sale go live? What time is the TV ad scheduled for? What advanced notice will staff and customers receive?  </p> <p>Statistics show 7am to 10am on Black Friday, and 7pm to 10pm on Cyber Monday will be the peak traffic times.</p> <p><strong>5. Mobile.</strong>  </p> <p>Black Friday will be the peak day for mobile transactions, with predictions of 23% on mobile device (Adobe).</p> <p>Ensure your mobile marketing, website and app are fully prepared.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8825/debenhams_black_friday.png" alt="" width="800"></p> <p><strong>6. Prepare your marketing.</strong>  </p> <p>Consistency across all channels is key.  </p> <p>Don’t just rely on your email database or a few tweets. Amplify across all marcoms and especially digital - affiliate, display, PPC, SEO (yes SEO!) and social all need to be aligned.  </p> <p><strong>7. Prepare your media budget.</strong></p> <p>How scalable is it?  What if one big affiliate is performing well, how do you further incentify to push harder, do you have a contingency PPC budget if the demand continues?</p> <p>What opportunistic marketing can you do? Hijack a brand that isn't? Or their TV advertising via the second screen?</p> <p><strong>8. What’s your product/sale mix?</strong>  </p> <p>Have this agreed well in advance. Hourly discounts? Percentage off? Hot Hero products? </p> <p><strong>9. Upsell and cross-sell.</strong>  </p> <p>Don’t forget your basic sales principles in all the excitement. Use peak traffic periods to sell bundles, sell the accessories that goes alongside the hero product.  </p> <p>Push both gifting and self-purchase (gifting for yourself).</p> <p><strong>10. Plan and rehearse.</strong>  </p> <p>Across your business, your media agencies and all relevant third parties – rehearse what you’re all going to do – allowing margin for error…</p> <p><strong>11. On the day...</strong></p> <p>...have all the <a href="https://twitter.com/7thingsmedia/status/538331609767100416" target="_blank">key people together</a>. Agree and know accountability, prepare for regular and short communications on activity.</p> <p>React quickly to issues and schedule breaks for all the various teams.</p> <h3>So, what’s the verdict?</h3> <p>Opinion may be divided on whether or not Black Friday and Cyber Monday are welcome additions to the UK retail calendar.  </p> <p>The jury is still out on whether it is good or bad for sales, logistics and, ultimately, customers.</p> <p>But the momentum is such that it <strong>may be difficult to abstain</strong>.  And if you do, <em>what if your closest competitors don’t?   </em> </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67014 2015-10-16T11:02:45+01:00 2015-10-16T11:02:45+01:00 Fast fashion: how to keep up with the new ecommerce trend Georges Berzgal <p>They bring new and trending styles to the market faster and cheaper, whether the inspiration comes from the catwalks of fashion weeks or celebrity magazines.</p> <p>The creation, marketing and selling of these garments has become big business for high-street retailers and is putting established fashion brands under a lot of pressure as they struggle to keep pace with the quickly changing demand.</p> <p>So how are businesses able to take advantage of this trend? Read on to find out, and for more on this topic check out Econsultancy's report on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/fashion-ecommerce-and-content-marketing/">Fashion Ecommerce and Content Marketing</a>.</p> <h3> <strong>Create fast</strong> </h3> <p>While traditional brands follow the annual seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter and require up to nine months from the design stage to the sales floor, fast fashion brands have compressed these cycles into a couple of weeks.</p> <p>‘Rapid fashion’ companies like Boohoo.com claim to be even faster, stating that they design, manufacture and start selling a celebrity-inspired outfit in just a few days.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8067/Screen_Shot_2015-10-16_at_10.51.01.png" alt="" width="1187" height="812"></p> <p>While traditional retailers have looked to Asia for cost-effective product creation, many of the fast fashion brands are increasingly manufacturing within close proximity to their headquarters.</p> <p>For example, the Guardian reports that over half of <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2015/apr/07/fast-fashion-online-labels-boohoo-missguided">Boohoo.com and Missguided’s stock is being produced in the UK</a>, and Zara has retained a substantial part of its production in its native Spain.</p> <p>This makes it easy to get new items made and in the hands of consumers as quickly as possible.</p> <h3><strong>Market fast</strong></h3> <p>Marketing is far and away the key driver for fast fashion - and again speed is key.</p> <p>Marketers must create the desire for these new designs close to the time of creation in order to bring it to market as quickly as possible.</p> <p>Many fast fashion brands are seeing the best returns on image-based social platforms, such as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65826-what-is-asos-doing-so-right-on-pinterest/">Pinterest</a>, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67020-why-instagram-should-be-the-channel-of-choice-for-marketers/">Instagram</a> and Facebook, where celebrities as well as millenials post pictures of their latest purchases. </p> <p>By continuously and quickly releasing new products, these brands are also able to drive consistent traffic and engagement with their website throughout the year as customers visit the site more regularly to make sure they don’t miss out on the latest styles.</p> <p>Missguided’s founder and CEO Nitin Passi plans to capitalise on the fast in fast fashion by <a href="http://www.refinery29.com/2015/04/85199/future-of-fast-fashion-boohoo-missguided">updating its website every hour with new items instead of only once per day.</a></p> <h3>Sell fast</h3> <p>Last, but by no means least, is the ability of fast fashion retailers to test small batches of fashion items in their stores and online and then quickly produce more if the goods are selling well.</p> <p>Thanks to their highly responsive supply chain, these brands are able to deliver new fashions as soon as a trend emerges while established brands will be unable to respond quickly to a sudden rise in popularity of a certain colour or shape.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8068/Screen_Shot_2015-10-16_at_10.50.49.png" alt="" width="1402" height="997"></p> <p>Because fast fashion retailers don’t order in the same volumes as many traditional businesses, opting instead to increase batches on products that sell well, they don’t have piles of unsold clothes to get rid of.</p> <p>This means less need to discount. It also increases the urgency for the customer to visit frequently to get their hands on the latest fashionable items.</p> <p>Studies found that <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/operations/2012/06/zara_s_fast_fashion_how_the_company_gets_new_styles_to_stores_so_quickly_.html">customers are visiting Zara stores an average of 17 times per year, compared to only four to five at the Gap</a> – we can only imagine what the difference online could be!</p> <p>A number of traditional high-street brands are beginning to baulk at this speedier trend for disposable fashions, opting instead to market their products as ‘long-lasting’ and staples of any wardrobe.</p> <p>But with the Gap, possibly one of the most established fashion retailers on the high street, <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/gap-backs-earnings-guidance-1440100878">recently announcing its own trial of fast fashion</a>, it looks like the ability to create new designs and bring them to market quickly is a trend that is going to stay.</p> <p>By speeding up the process of creating, marketing and selling garments, retailers will do more than just become faster, they will also help their bottom line by streamlining each of the three key areas of their business. </p> <p><em>For more on this topic, read:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63977-how-fashion-site-missguided-made-the-switch-to-responsive-email/"><em>How fashion site Missguided made the switch to responsive email</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/9908-q-a-boohoo-s-chris-bale-on-digital-marketing-for-fashion-retail/"><em>Q&amp;A: Boohoo's Chris Bale on digital marketing for fashion retail</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/66919 2015-09-14T09:25:00+01:00 2015-09-14T09:25:00+01:00 Four steps to help build customer loyalty in retail Ritchie Mehta <p>I’m a regular visitor to the various mainstream coffee chains that sprawl our high streets. While holding a client meeting at one of these establishments, we got talking about the all singing, all dancing Starbucks Rewards program...</p> <p>“I can redeem my points anywhere in the world… they even give me a free coffee on my birthday!” I heard rather enthusiastically.</p> <p>So, I asked, “you must be the biggest Starbucks coffee drinker ever?”. “Nah, I don’t actually like their coffee!”</p> <p>The conversation struck a cord with me as so many organisations constantly churn out offers and rewards as a way to entice customers back through their doors, when surely a more holistic approach should be taken. </p> <p>There is certainly a place for the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66904-do-retailers-really-need-a-customer-loyalty-program">loyalty program</a> lever but for me it needs to be the icing on the cake rather than the cake itself.</p> <p>It’s simple, if you can get customers to love your brand for what it stands for and what it delivers (earned loyalty), they will only appreciate you more when you give them great offers to spend more time with you (bought loyalty).</p> <p>So to do this, organisations should consider winning ‘earned’ before ‘bought’ loyalty to be sure to create stickier relationships. Here’s a four step guide to doing just that:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6995/earned_bought_loyalty-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="350"></p> <h3>1) Align your brand and customer’s values</h3> <p>As a foundation, your brand purpose must align and resonate with that of your audience and be demonstrated in everything you do. </p> <p>This will ensure you stay relevant and favoured in the eyes of your customers, leading to an increased emotional connection.</p> <p>Starbucks didn't do itself any favours by being embroiled in the tax avoidance issue that goes against one of their core values to ‘connect with transparency, dignity and respect’. After a massive boycott the brand is still recovering and many customers have not returned to its doors.</p> <p>So to create ‘earned’ loyalty, its important for organisations to reflect on their brand position and determine if it is both clear and truly aligned to their target market. </p> <p>At the end of it, all other activities flow from delivering the brand promise so it’s important to get right.</p> <h3>2) Propositions must meet and exceed customer requirements</h3> <p>The second stage of ‘earned’ loyalty is to ensure your value proposition spot on. It must align to your customer’s wants and needs, otherwise no matter what else you do, they will not come back for more.</p> <p>As an example: on a recent visit to Soho, I walked into a very reasonably priced all-you-can-eat buffet. The quality of the food was terribly disappointing to the point I even got resentful paying the reasonably priced price tag. </p> <p>The real kicker came at the end when I was handed a half-priced voucher for my next visit. Would I ever go back to redeem it? I’ll let you decide.</p> <h3>3) Deliver an exceptional and novel experience</h3> <p>The final stage in the ‘earned’ loyalty category is to deliver an exceptional experience. </p> <p>If you can meet a consumer's wants and needs AND deliver it in a place (digital or physical) that is convenient to them AND in a way that is aligned to their tastes, they will make you a regular thing.</p> <p>I recently had my first experience of immersive theatre at Alice Underground Wonderland (sadly its now finished for the year), where the experience was second to none and exceeded all expectations. </p> <p>It encapsulated the audience, made you anticipate what was around the next corner and took you into its own world for that space in time. </p> <p>I ended up taking another set of friends two weeks later and even paid for the premium tickets the next time around. If only brands could replicate these emotions, clearly in their own way. </p> <h3>4) Giving customers that little bit extra</h3> <p>The final step in building loyalty is to generate ‘bought’ loyalty. </p> <p>This is where you offer incentives, rewards and surprises to encourage repeat purchase and re-visits. </p> <p>There are some great programs out there, my personal favourite being the Nandos loyalty app. It’s simple and hence effective, as you always know how far away you are from your next free chicken. </p> <p>But if I didn't associate with the brand (Cheeky Nandos!), love the food and enjoy the experience, the app would simply not exist on my phone.</p> <p>So all in all, it's a simple equation to building stronger customer loyalty: '3 to 1' - Three steps to building ‘earned’ loyalty and one step to building ‘bought’ loyalty. To me, it should be in that order.   </p> <p><em>You can learn even more about customer experience at our two day <a href="http://bit.ly/1M8uMOA">Festival of Marketing</a> event in November. Book your ticket today and see how you can create a customer-focused culture.</em></p>