Posts Tagged :

Guest Blog

GUEST BLOG: Bricks, mortar and digitisation on the High Street

The high street is dying, right?  The huge surge in online competition for bricks and mortar stores has undoubtedly had a huge impact, with many physical traders going to the wall.  In this piece, Propsellers – which facilitates commercial propertyexchange across the UK – takes a look at ways to embrace tech to make physical stores potentially more viable…

Utilising the benefits of Email receipts

In a survey conducted by YouGov for email marketing software providers, Bronto Software, it was found that 44 per cent of consumers would like to receive digital copies of receipts whenever they made a purchase in-store. However, just a third of the survey’s respondents said that they were given this opportunity.

When you consider that 64 per cent of those involved in the survey would be open to receiving additional marketing messages, 34 per cent product promotions and 31 per cent information about loyalty programmes too, you should really consider making them a part of your business’ offering. 

Your email receipts can include a message asking if customers would like to opt-in to your company’s marketing emails to stay up-to-date, as well as a bounce-back offer for completing a survey online — something that will appeal to consumers and also allow you to keep track of their actions.

It’s a good idea to include details on your email receipt about how someone can contact your purchase after they have made a purchase too. Do this by pointing them to the places online where they can ask someone at your company a question, leave a review and make an enquiry in the unfortunate event they need to make a return. Links to your social media channels will encourage happy customers to remain engaged with your brand.

On top of all of this, email receipts have the added benefit of putting your brand in a positive light as it showcases that you’re thinking about the environment by trying to save paper. 

Going interactive with your retail displays is a must …

For decades, retailers have had to focus on giving static retail displays unique designs and bold colours in order to grab the attention of customers — whether that is through window displays or when promoting the must-have products of the time when someone is browsing inside a shop. Interactive window displays have now emerged though and are naturally eye-catching with their hi-tech designs and excellent use of lighting effects. 

Research by retail website, I Am Omnichannel, underlines the benefits of enhancing your stores with some interactive retail displays. According to its study, 70 per cent of women and 50 per cent of men see shopping as a form of entertainment. What’s more, 70 per cent of customers say that digital signage is entertaining. 

Conversion rates at your stores could also witness a significant boost with an interactive retail display, as 30 per cent of customers said that they end up making a purchase after engaging with this technology. With that amount of potential extra custom, the cost for getting these displays installed could quickly be reimbursed.

If you don’t offer Click & Collect – you should!

Click & Collect, which allows customers to buy items online and then pick them up at one of the retailer’s physical stores, is a brilliant blend of eCommerce and high-street shopping. According to research by Macfarlane Packaging, it became the third most popular online service in the UK during 2017 behind just online banking and online shopping in general.

There are so many reasons why you should consider introducing Click & Collect services at your company — with benefits being offered to customers and retailers alike.

From a consumer point of view, Click & Collect grants them more control with their orders as they can decide where they want their items to be delivered too. In fact, delivery company, Shutl, conducted a survey which found that 95 per cent of respondents would consider shopping with another retailer should their first choice not be able to provide a suitable delivery option for their needs. 

Customers will also be given the opportunity to get around delivery costs and also get reassurance that an item that they are keen to own can still be purchased even if it’s sold out at their local stores.

One of the main benefits when it comes to retailers is that Click & Collect has the potential to increase sales. This is because customers who visit a physical store to pick up their order could be inclined to buy even more items as they work their way to a shop’s collection desk. Retail Assist found this to be a case at fashion retailer, New Look, as it discovered 25 per cent of Click & Collect customers make additional purchases in their stores. You can capitalise on this further by putting your most eye-catching items and best deals along the path that customers will take from a store’s entrance to the collection desk.

Sources:

https://marketingland.com/why-sending-receipts-via-email-is-a-good-idea-25423

https://www.shopify.com/retail/6-ways-retailers-can-leverage-email-receipts

https://pointofsale.com/On-Managing/Four-Advantages-Of-Emailing-Receipts.html

http://www.bizreport.com/2015/11/e-receipts-under-used-as-additional-marketing-vehicle.html

https://www.macfarlanepackaging.com/blog/embracing-benefits-click-collect/http://www.sky-technology.eu/en/blog/article/item/5-benefits-of-interactive-retail-displays-on-customer-experience.html

GUEST BLOG: How will Brexit affect eCommerce?

Brexit brings a wave of uncertainty and change to the UK business landscape, and since the day the UK voted to leave the EU, it’s been a whirlwind.

But what will the landscape look like leading up to, and after Brexit? What kind of impact will it have on eCommerce, especially smaller sellers just starting up?

With thousands of startups launching each year, will the looming shadow of Brexit threaten the livelihood of new businesses and discourage people from starting out?

Khaos Control delves into what the future looks like for both new and established eCommerce businesses, with the recent Brexit upheaval…

The recent rejection of the withdrawal deal has left so many (un)expected changes and regulations on the horizon. The public is left wondering what the next steps are, with the chance of a no deal impending. Although nothing can be predicted for sure, knowing what may be in store will allow retailers and businesses alike to prepare and adapt to a post-Brexit reality. Here are a few areas that eCommerce sellers will need to consider now and in the future:

Tariffs

The import of goods due to tariffs is an area predicted to be affected post-Brexit. As an EU member, Britain has always had the luxury of free trade with the EU, and other EU enabled countries such as Norway, Switzerland, South Korea and Africa. However, with Brexit underway, eCommerce sellers currently importing goods from the EU, or selling to customers in the EU, may see tariffs and additional taxes on goods occur. Business for Britain estimates tariffs costing British exporters £7.4 billion a year. SME’s shouldn’t see too much of an impact as fees would likely be the problem for the customer you’re sending goods to, unless you decide to pay these import fees beforehand (which isn’t recommended). If you’re a larger eCommerce enterprise, some consideration and planning will need to occur to ensure you’re ready for the tariffs and fees coming your way.

Increase of sales in Europe

With the value of the British pound dropping to become one of the worst performing currencies worldwide, imports to the UK have become more expensive, whilst  British goods and exports have become cheaper to shoppers in Europe. In the case of eCommerce platform XSellco, their UK clients boosted their sales by 49%, with European customers making up 15.5% of total sales a month, up from 12.8% the year before.

In light of this, UK seller’s, should consider European marketplaces and ensure their eCommerce store has auto-translation features, as well as the ability to support multiple currencies.

Order fulfilment

For UK eCommerce sellers who sell products to consumers outside of the UK, the changes in value-added tax will have an impact. If the UK leaves the EU with no Brexit deal, businesses would no longer have to collect VAT from sales to customers in the EU. No VAT means prices would most likely be lower for products, however, fulfilment and shipping may be slower. This is because of cross-channel trade disruptions like customs and product conformity procedures.

Deal or no deal, putting a solution in place to help with fulfilment is advisable, in order to make the process easier either way. A software system will implement structure and automation into day-to-day business, speeding up the packing and shipping process, as well as ensuring your business delivers to customers as quickly as possible, which is both advantageous in light of Brexit and also favourable by current and future customers.

Searching closer to home

With the overwhelmingly negative press surrounding Brexit, it’s safe to say a lot of UK shoppers may start to feel uncertainty with looking abroad for the best deals. As a UK eCommerce business, you may well see your UK sales increase as a result of Brexit, as customers are looking closer to home for deals in fear of tariffs or hidden costs that they may be forced to pay for themselves.

If you’re a seller located in the UK reevaluating your marketing campaigns to target British customers would be a valuable move. You could use key British holidays to attract customers to your products or use seasonal cues to encourage more of a British audience. Also evaluating your competitors is key, because while UK shoppers may be more inclined to buy products from those close by, they won’t be afraid to find the best deals and shop around.

Lack of skilled workers

Another possible consideration for eCommerce businesses is a shortage of skilled workers. Brexit could introduce new visa requirements and other limitations, which would make it much more difficult for businesses to outsource workers from the EU, with working visa requirements both a challenging and time-consuming process. This could be especially challenging for businesses that require staff to have skills such as speaking in more than one language. In 2016, it was reported that more than 80% of the adult working-age population within the EU, knew one or more foreign languages. With reported stats, it seems some changes may need to be made for those businesses that outsource workers from the Eurozone, as outsourcing multi-lingual customer service will only become more expensive. Increased labour costs will also contribute to the price customers will pay for a product or service, and in turn affect the supply chain.

For eCommerce businesses worried about Brexit, planning for potential pitfalls is key. Despite all we know about Brexit, there are still changes to come that can’t be predicted till they happen, so preparing for potential issues (or gains) is best to ensure when the time comes, Brexit doesn’t rock your business boat too much.

GUEST BLOG: Data-driven insights, DNVBs and the death of the agency model – what does 2019 have in store for retailers and their digital partners?

Jonathan McNamara, co-founder and CEO of digital consultancy RetroFuzz discusses the trends most likely to impact the industry in 2019…

2018 was an exciting, and challenging, year for digital marketing. Conversations around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and influencer marketing became fused, as the rise of virtual influencers like Lil Miquela and Sophia the Robot marked new opportunities for engagement.

Concerns over security and data privacy, heightened by GDPR compliance, remained at the top of everyone’s Twitter feeds. Chatbots, conversational UX and video marketing are all trends from this year that will spill, and expand, into the next. As the year comes to an end, we spent some time thinking about what the digital sector can expect from the next one.

Here are our predictions for what the retail sector should expect and see being implemented by the digital industry in 2019.

The agency model is dead

Or at least, it’s evolving. The gig economy, the 24-hour work day, and new perspectives on work-life balance means that more people than ever are working remotely – either as part of a flexi-time scheme or as freelancers. There has become less demand for a generalist mindset; many retail brands now employ in-house creative team members, making the full-service style of agency feel not only outdated, but redundant.

In 2019, we predict that the most progressive agencies will begin to reinvent themselves as a flexible, agile team of specialists that are built around their client’s exact needs. The agency model will give way to the rise of digital consultancies, who tailor their skillset to fit around a particular project or client – not the other way around.

As an embedded extension of their in-house team, this new form of agency – the digital consultancy – is more than just a workforce. They are advocates for their clients, as well as their creative partners. This model will value transparency and collaboration; empowering clients with expertise and working closely with them through every stage of the process: from strategy, to delivery and finally, implementation.

How DNVBs are doing it better

Digitally Native Vertical Brands (DNVBs) are created on the internet, for the internet. Beauty brand Glossier built it’s cult-like following almost entirely through Instagram (it now has 1.6m followers). Historically, there have been two channels: wholesalers and direct to consumer. DNVBs don’t engage in wholesale; everything they produce is from a direct-to-consumer perspective. They’re changing customer service as much as they’re transforming User Experience (UX) – and that’s important.

In 2019, established retail brands will make a point of learning from the DNVB model. According to We Are Social, more than 3 billion people are on social media worldwide. DNVBs like Glossier have capitalised on social media platforms to tell their brand story; and have built their audiences through customer engagement. Listening to the customer, and learning from them, are not just built into the design process; for DNVBs they’re a point of origin. Structuring a business around the consumer experience, and prioritising their perspective, is the future of accelerated growth in the digital sector.

This will be the year that DNVBs make their biggest challenge to the high street yet: by expanding into physical retail. Following the likes of established DNVBs like Warby Parker, Casper and Bonobos who have already reimagined their customer centric, digital concept as bricks-and-mortar shops. As the customer becomes more discerning, UX and brand narrative becomes all the more important. We believe big retail brands can benefit from focusing on their direct-to-consumer channels and creating engaging, purpose-driven content that tells a story worth sharing.

Data driven insights

According to an article in Forbes, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data were created every day; 90% of data in the world was generated in the last two years – a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. The same research has shown that Google now processes more than 40,000 searches every day, while smart device ownership is predicted to grow to a projected fifty billion by 2020*.

Investigation of data is not just integral to the UX design process, it’s the start of it all. In 2019, retail brands will use data insight to listen more closely to their customers, and apply their findings to inform design decisions. Through software like Google Analytics and Hotjar, screen recordings, scroll maps, polls on websites and face-to-face conversations with consumers, digital experts can gain a 360 degree understanding of a user’s experience. It’s all about getting a clear feedback loop on what the customer wants; telling a story by following the funnel of data, from where it begins through to conversion. We predict that data and insight will become a pivotal element in conversations with clients around UX, and empower their decisions to take onboard new directions of design.

Marketing automation, AI and personalisation

During 2019, marketing automation tools powered by AI will continue to increase, and hone, personalisation. Mapping the customer’s experience – from the messages they receive, to their eCommerce journey – will fuel the UX design process in new ways. According to research by Forrester, global spending on marketing automation tools will grow from $11.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2017 to $25.1 billion in 2023.

The use of marketing automation will only increase as digital marketers discover new, smarter ways to learn about their customers. New trends, like Machine Learning-as-a-Service (MLaaS) products, Machine Learning Data Catalogs (MLDCs), semantic SEO and advancements in chatbots will have a bigger part to play during 2019.

Ultimately, marketing automation and AI will feed into the new model of consultancy that we’ll see more of next year by empowering agencies and their retail clients with rich data and a customer-centric approach to the design process.

But don’t forget the basics

The next big thing in the digital marketing space is all well and good but at the heart of everyone’s strategy for 2019 should be a clear focus on getting the greatest commercial return for their investments in eCommerce. Sometimes, that means accepting the latest tech innovation or update is not in a brand’s best interest; forgoing a few quick wins, challenging all that is trendy, and achieving, together, long-term, lasting results that add real value to their business. Going back to basics is top of our wish list for clients for 2019 – putting digital marketing spend where it is needed and gaining the greatest ROI possible.

GUEST BLOG: How retailers can embrace cryptocurrencies to boost business and loyalty

By Raj Agrawal, Founder & Tech Entrepreneur, Dewber

Traditional loyalty schemes are in need of an overhaul – customers are tired of carrying around multiple store cards and retailers are looking for new ways to encourage sales.

This is where cryptocurrency comes in, offering a new platform that retailers can customise and use how they see fit. Any retail business can incorporate cryptocurrency into their business operations, creating new opportunities and advantageous benefits for both the business and the customer.

Loyalty schemes are nothing new. Big retailers have seen loyal customers purchase 90% more regularly than casual customers, and the average spend can be much higher when a customer knows they are collecting points. The problem is, smaller and independent retailers can find it difficult to achieve the same amount of customer retention through their loyalty scheme alone.

Many loyalty points are forgotten about, and too often accounts become inactive. Globally, there is over 100 billion dollars worth of unclaimed loyalty points, leading to the question: How can we innovate our loyalty schemes to keep customers coming back?

Cryptocurrencies may seem complicated, but once on board, it can give retailers the opportunity to attract and keep a new, young customer base. Over 17% of millennials have purchased digital coins, which can be spent and traded freely through a centralised, online system. This cashless system is gaining momentum, and retailers can maximise business by incorporating this into their loyalty schemes. By receiving digital tokens instead of traditional loyalty points, customers are getting something they really want – the ability to earn loyalty from everywhere and choose where to spend thereby creating shared loyalty experience on the high street. The chances are they will keep coming back to you when they know their digital purse is growing.

Once a retailer is signed up to a blockchain-based loyalty scheme, they will become part of a wider, global network of retailers who offer the same digital tokens and business specific rewards. Customers can receive digital tokens with every purchase, which can then be redeemed globally at any participating business. It’s up to you how the tokens are awarded and redeemed. Customers will become magnetised to these businesses who offer a common goal, leaving the individual store cards behind. This innovative system allows a much greater use of loyalty points by the customer, which in turn can only lead to more committed customer base for retailers that may have struggled before.

By introducing cryptocurrency into your loyalty scheme, you can begin to capture the attention of the younger generations, and ultimately improve customer engagement and repeat spends. Companies such as Dewber are gearing up to provide a user-friendly platform for retailers to get involved, and aid with navigating this game-changing way of rewarding customers.

Whether you are a café, bar or independent retailer, offering digital tokens could be the business-savvy way forward.

About the Author

Dewber founder and CEO Raj Agrawal has over 20 years experience in business, technology, senior management experience in operations, IT security, marketing and finance within fortune 50 companies like Deutsche Bank, Prudential (Vitality), Visa Europe and Deloitte UK.

Dewber is a tech start-up which uses blockchain to bring innovation to the loyalty economy with the ability to run global rewards and crypto points schemes. Dewber offers a digital mobile experience, customer engagement, cross channel redemption capabilities and strictly does not perform any data mining by collecting or analysing customer purchase history for marketing or cross product promotion.

GUEST BLOG: Where are department stores going wrong? 

As alarming headlines continue to emerge about some of the most established UK department stores, it’s natural that the industry is questioning the future of retail and the place of bricks-and-mortar stores. But is retail as we know it beyond repair or is it set for a revival?

The ability to have an emotional resonance with a customer and add genuine value to their shopping experience, are key differentiators that high street stores still hold over e-commerce, but these can quickly become lost.

Tom Downes, CEO, Quail Digital discusses how retailers can keep hold of this differentiator, improve their customer experience and still rival the e-commerce competition…

The Core Issues

It’s obvious really but attractive stores, interesting products, and motivated staff are the lifeblood of  bricks-and-mortar retail, and always have been. Department stores that sold-up, closed down or failed altogether were almost certainly making basic mistakes well before the internet became their newest competitor and accelerated their demise.

Sears being just the most recent example of a retailer that had it all; longstanding supplier relationships, a great distribution network and an enormous and loyal customer base, only to let it all slip through their hands like sand. Turning the browsing shopper into a buying customer is about giving them the reasons and means to ‘treat’ themselves, and while that’s achieved partly through presentation and partly through the available products, it’s also about the enthusiasm of the store associate.

A well-trained associate creates the moment and through engaging with other team members ensures that the correct expertise, samples, products, sizes and alternatives are produced effortlessly for the customer, creating a quick, easy and positive shopping experience, inspiring them to spend.

Consider a recent UK-based retail trends survey that found that whilst 74% of consumers still prefer going to a physical store they have little and dwindling patience poor service. According to an additional study, 60% of customers have walked out of a store in the last year due to poor customer service and those asked cited more friendly members of staff, less waiting time and better communication between in-store teams as the top three critical points for customer service.

This shows that a traditional human element is still a big part of what the customer wants and expects when shopping in-store, particularly so in a department store where customers would be expecting a higher standard of service than one might experience in the high street.

To provide the quickest, smoothest experience retailers need to simply connect their teams to one another. Traditional communication needs such as tannoys and radios are intrusive on the customer, don’t instill them with much confidence and are easy for staff members to ignore. Some retailers have adopted mobiles and tablets into their retail teams as a potential solution, but 41% of consumers believe that headsets are more likely to improve the overall customer experience and speed of service.

Using single digital channel headsets ensures that all staff are continually on message and as a result, managers can efficiently reallocate store associates to specific tasks as required. In addition, staff can also communicate with each other – asking questions of product specialists to immediately answer a customer query, for example, or quickly getting someone on the shop floor to fulfil a two for one offer for a customer already at the check-out. This immediate and shared communication enables store associates to work together as a team in order to improve overall efficiency and productivity.

Conclusion

In order to encourage shoppers to not only come in but return time and time again, department stores need to be built around the behaviours and needs of the customer, not the other way round. A good customer experience is the foundation of retail success and the right department stores have this in bundles.

But in order to thrive when others are dwindling, stores must realise that their secret weapon really is found in the store associates. They have an essential role to play in executing a good customer experience across every touch point and if they are armed with the tools they need in order to excel and exceed customer expectations, then the rest will follow.

GUEST BLOG: Cross-brand collaborations – ‘X’ marks the spot

By Red Hot Penny

Cross-brand collaborations seem to be everywhere right now. But why the sudden explosion in collaborations? And why do brands do it?

We’ve delved into some of the likely reasons behind cross-brand collaborations and collected some handy examples of those collaborations in action.

Open up new markets

One reason for collaboration is to open new, complementary markets and get your brand in front of potential customers.

We’re seeing this a lot in the fashion world. High-fashion brands are constantly collaborating with high-street brands. Think Moschino X H&M, Fenty X Puma, or Junya Watanabe X The North Face.  It helps to tap into different customer groups and introduce higher end brands to the high-street shopper through capsule collections.

IKEA are current kings of the new market collaborations. They regularly collaborate with other brands and individuals all of which open up the IKEA brand to new customers and markets.

Show you “get” your customer

Sometimes a collaboration isn’t necessarily about accessing new customers but showing your existing customers that you get them and understand what they want. It increases brand value and makes your fans even more dedicated.

LEGO are particularly good at this with Star Wars, Batman, Simpsons and Harry Potter brand collaborations all reinforcing their respective brands even further within their target markets.

Sports brands are also getting in on the action. Nike X Cristiano Ronaldo, Puma X Rihanna, and Adidas x Pharrell Williams are all examples of brands spotting trends amongst existing customer bases and using collaborations to reinforce their brand with their customers.

Get noticed

The marketplace in all sectors is so crowded now that brands have to do something out of the ordinary to be heard and raise awareness. And a collaboration is one way to do just that.

Some of the most hyped collaborations of recent times include Supreme X Louis Vuitton (what’s a blog about collaborations without at least one mention of Supreme?), Nike X Apple, and Uber X Spotify.

Smaller brands can use collaborations to get ahead and piggy-back on the reputation of their better-known collaborator too. Palace Skateboards, well known in their niche but not globally renowned, have had great success with their Adidas collaborations.

Through the collaboration the smaller brands get access to a much bigger audience and the larger brand gets positioned as a champion of the next wave. Win – Win.

Promote a cause

Brands can also team up for selfless reasons. The CALM X F&F #MarkYourMan campaign, WWF X Whiskas and GLAAD X Asos collaborations all help shine a light on different charity causes such as preventing suicide, protecting tigers and promoting LGBTQ rights.

A collaboration can be a fantastic way for a charity to expand its reach and awareness with the relevant people, while also generating more funding. For the supporting brand, it can create good feeling as they demonstrate their commitment to charitable causes.

Reinvigorate a brand

Sometimes a brand collaboration can be a great way to shake the dust off an established brand and create a bit of positive buzz to show that it’s still relevant.

Heinz soup cans had been largely untouched for 108 years until a design collaboration with Cath Kidston was launched in April this year.

Crayola, beloved crayon brand and supplier of one of the best smells from your childhood have been getting in on the action, launching a make-up range with Clinique that sent beauty bloggers crazy. Their second make-up range released with Asos is primed and ready for festival season.

Both ranges will have reintroduced the brand to many former Crayola fans, and tapped into nostalgia to drive the brand forward.

Tap into the latest trends

Collaborations aren’t necessarily long-term deals and that’s never more evident than when brands team up with pop culture flavours-of-the-month for short term collaborations.

The marketers at Topshop might love Stranger Things, the guys at Drop Dead probably binge watch Game of Thrones and the team at Covergirl are obviously massive Star Wars fans, but the mass appeal of the shows and the buzz around new releases is more likely the reason for the collaboration than any shared ideals or agendas.

Collaborations between brands don’t look like they’re going to stop any time soon, and with the ever-growing pressure on the high-street it may soon be a case of “collaborate or die” for those retailers who haven’t done so yet.

So, whether it’s to open up new markets, reinvigorate a brand or shine a light on a cause close to a brand’s heart which brands do you think will be the next to collaborate?

An unedited and extended version of this blog can be found at https://www.redhotpenny.com/insight/cross-brand-collaborations/

GUEST BLOG: The pitfalls of paid search

By Ben Lipscombe, Head of Biddable Media, Red Hot Penny

Your resellers are undercutting you on Google Shopping. What are you doing about it?

Google Shopping is one of the most important channels for generic online growth. But you might be shooting yourself in the foot thanks to the reseller agreements you have in place.

WHY IT’S A PROBLEM

Resellers will discount your product prices due to a lack of awareness around the agreements put in place and/or a lack of restrictions. And with no restrictions in place, your resellers can – and will – sell your products for cheaper.

By the time you realise it is a problem, it’s often too late and you’ll have very little room to negotiate because the agreement (without restrictions on undercutting) is already in place.

This not only strains relationships but also limits the potential you have to drive sales on your own site, so you need to be clear on expectations from the outset.

The ultimate point is that you don’t want to get beaten on price on Google Shopping. It’s essentially a product with a list of prices next to it so is hugely price sensitive.

Having a great brand and strong website won’t matter if someone else can get exactly the same product for cheaper elsewhere. And you don’t want to end up in the position where you’re struggling for growth because your own resellers are selling your products cheaper than you can.

The worst part? You’ll only have yourself to blame.

SOLVING THE PROBLEM

Google have recognised the issue and are bringing out a set of analytical tools that’ll help you pinpoint pricing differences across your product feed – so you can identify issues ahead of time and focus on the areas for growth.

But to help yourself out putting a pricing strategy in place when you first negotiate with your resellers will ensure you leave yourself with the option to sell online through your own site via Google Shopping without the fear of them undercutting you.

In most cases, there’ll already be contracts that exist with no mention of Google Shopping pricing restrictions. So, you’ll need to have a careful discussion with your resellers to reach a compromise without any party feeling hard done-by.

That’s why it’s so important to consider your reseller and partner Shopping agreements pre-emptively.

And remember, Google Shopping is a price-led channel, no matter how big your brand is.

NEXT STEPS

If you’re already in the position where you’ve got agreements in place but no pricing restrictions, or you’re considering working with resellers and don’t want to get tripped up, get in touch for advice on how to approach either situation so you can keep all parties happy.

www.redhotpenny.com

GUEST BLOG: Understanding changes in shopping habits

By Russ Powell, Head of Marketing, Red Hot Penny

The way we shop is constantly changing. From post-war austerity, through the economic boom of the 1950s to the dot com explosion of the 2000s our High Streets, shopping habits and expectations have altered beyond recognition.

Online sales have risen steadily over the last 10 years, making up 16.3% of all British retail salesin 2017. And the effect on the high street has been clear with numerous brands either struggling badly or having already disappeared.

This is a huge contrast to the success that online retailers are seeing at the moment with sales at the top 20 online-only retailers growing by nearly a quarter (23%) in the last year alone.

But even the way we shop online is now changing. Sales made on smartphones in the UK have increased by 13% in just the first quarter of 2018 according to Criteo – a big jump in a short space of time.

Smart speakers are also steadily becoming a must-have with nearly 25 million smart speakers sold in 2017, driving the rise of voice searches.

Predictions by ComScore say that more than 50% of all searches will be voice-based by 2020. And considering Amazon Echo owners increase spending on Amazon by 6% after purchasing the speaker, it gives an idea of how consumers are using the devices – to shop.

So, what do these changes in shopping habits mean for retailers?

Shopping habits are all about convenience so you need to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to shop with you. A functioning website isn’t enough though. To stay relevant, you also need to think about:

  • Online visibility

If your website is hidden on page 5 of Google’s search results, customers might not even realise they can buy from you. A fully-optimised website that ranks for related searches is essential.

  • Mobile First

If it isn’t already, your site should be mobile optimised so it’s as easy as possible for customers to buy products with their smartphone. Every page and navigation feature should be designed with mobile in mind – fast site speeds are a must.

  • The rise of voice search

This will see a growth in longer, more conversational searches. So webpages need to be relevant, work seamlessly on mobile and be easily readable to be picked as a voice search result.

Voice search may also come in useful for driving footfall to stores. Optimising your Google My Business Listing so it can answer things like location and opening hours queries will help direct customers to you.

Retailers need to stay ahead of the curve and embrace new shopping habits, because failing to keep up has already caused well-loved brands to go bust.

To find out more about voice search and its rising influence take a look at our Slam Down blog or find out what your voice search IQ is with our quiz.

GUEST BLOG: Reclaim your Monday – Data Studio Dashboards

By Dan Coleman, Digital Marketing Director, Red Hot Penny

Monday mornings in ecommerce and retail businesses can be a real drag.

You’ll probably spend a lot of your precious time pulling reports out of Google Analytics, copying them into Excel and reformatting them to put into your trading pack. We’ve seen businesses waste up to a day a week in man hours just generating the reports for their Monday meetings.

But there is a better way. A way that allows you to reclaim your Monday, gives you your time back and lets you focus on everything else you need to do to drive the growth of your brand.

Data Studio Dashboards.

Data Studio Dashboards connect to your Google Analytics account and extract all the data for you automatically, providing at a glance metrics for your weekly trading meetings without the need to spend hours every Monday in Excel.

Dashboards provide you an easier and more efficient way of creating more valuable reporting, and we here at Red Hot Penny have created one that we’re letting you get your hands on for absolutely nothing through Forum events. We’re not even asking you for an email address, we just want you to reclaim your Monday.

Our data studio dashboard has 4 tabs covering performance overview, campaign performance, customer behaviour, and product performance, but once you’ve had a chance to try out the dashboard if you need any help or you’d like to make suggestions for new features/customisations just let us know.

Download the dashboard here and then just follow the simple steps to connect it to the GA profile of your choice.

GUEST BLOG: Affiliate Marketing – The marketing channel than can grow your business by 20%

By Steve Bryant, Managing Director, ThoughtMix

Affiliate Marketing and its landscape has changed rapidly over the last decade. Once a channel for unknown sources of traffic and black-hat click-bait, the sector has grown to a mainstream marketing channel for the major online retailers and new entrants alike, helping grow revenues for sum by up to 20%.

The concept of affiliate marketing largely remains the same as a decade ago. A retailer joins an affiliate network and partners up with a selection of publishers (affiliates) to promote their brand on a commission-only basis. The rise of influencer marketing means affiliate marketing extends across to video influencers, social profiles and bloggers alike, creating another route to entry for retailers of all sizes to take advantage of a risk-free source of traffic and sales.

As an affiliate management agency, ThoughtMix’s role is to manage the relationships between the retailer/advertiser and the publisher, using intelligence, expertise and experience to curate winning campaigns with some of the leading affiliates. Last year, the business drove advertisers more than £45m, from some 24,000 publishers.

Retailers join ThoughtMix for instant access to an expert to drive their affiliate program forward, helping to grow exposure across a range of partners, and drive up revenues. Under ThoughtMix’s leadership, the average program grows a business by up to 20% once introduced to the marketing mix.

Affiliate marketing is appropriate for nearly every type of retailer. From brands selling their collections online, to multi-brand retailers with large inventories. ThoughtMix has helped brands including Cox & Cox, Robert Dyas, Roman Originals and hundreds more grow their online affiliate marketing channel.

If you’re looking at new ways to grow your site traffic and revenue – visit thoughtmix.co.uk to arrange a no-obligation consultation.