Harnessing User Reviews and Questions to Drive e-Commerce Performance

Harnessing User Reviews and Questions to Drive e-Commerce Performance

We invest significant time and effort in understanding our target audiences and their shopping patterns. Most marketers’ best efforts tend to focus on the moment of purchase and the journey leading up to it. However, there are many performance benefits we can tap into through spending time building a comprehensive strategy around reviews and questions generated by our products. Most consumers under 65 now consider reviews more important than brand name when it comes to determining the quality of a product and research suggests 90% of customers now say their buying decisions are influenced by reviews. It’s more important than ever to ensure brands have an approach that boosts product discoverability, reduces buying friction and improves the overall shopper experience.  Doing this right can have a big impact on product sales and customer lifetime value. The importance of user-generated content (UGC) as a make or break purchase journey connector Despite all the hype about retail moving online, more than 85% of shopping today is still done in-store. The bigger story is that a significant part of the shopper journey for those in-store sales is now taking place online. Research suggests that by 2023, 58% of all retail sales will be influenced by digital, meaning around 45% of in-store sales across all categories will be digitally influenced. A big part of that influence is driven by shoppers who are checking reviews orratings and product details during the research phase and on the move. In one study, 90% of shoppers said that even when they have found a product somewhere else, they still check back to Amazon before buying.  Platforms like Amazon and TripAdvisor provide fundamental reassurances to shoppers and are now a key part of the decision-making process for most shoppers. If brands don’t pay attention, it could be a key reason why purchase journeys break down and sales are lost to competitors. How UGC can help optimise the shopper experience, remove friction and boost conversion Data suggests that featuring user-generated  reviews can uplift sales by 18% and that an increase of one star in a rating on Amazon can equate to a 26% increase in sales. This highlights the sales and performance benefits from having the right strategy in place when it comes to user-generated content. Feedback from customers also helps us to continuously improve products and optimise the shopper experience. A lack of detailed product information is one of the top reasons that shoppers bounce from product pages. Customer questions and reviews are a wonderful resource to help improve that content, connect touchpoints, empower shoppers and reduce returns. Boost discoverability and performance by optimising for people and algorithms When it comes to improving visibility, the quality and quantity of product reviews really matter. Having plenty of reviews and a high star rating will certainly help to ensure Amazon’s search algorithm ranks your products favourably. The rating level at a glance can also have a huge influence on clickthrough rates via paid search, shopping and SEO or review snippets. However, it’s important we don’t become too fixated on calculations and remain focused on putting the consumer’s needs first. For example, we are often told by Amazon that we must have at least 15 product reviews, while some  research suggests that many consumers are actually looking for in excess of 100 reviews before feeling they can confidently trust a product. The same is true for growing shopper expectations around rich media, product images and videos which appear to be far greater than the often-quoted SEO-recommended levels. What can we do to maximise trust and reassure shoppers There has been plenty of coverage around fake reviews in recent times and consumers are increasingly cautious. Brands need to develop a strategy that captures post-sale reviews effectively and then tracks and responds in a way that helps to create a positive, authentic review profile. Whilst only receiving positive feedback is great, a profile that is entirely positive can often appear unnatural or suspicious. We recommend reacting quickly to negative reviews and attempting to rectify customer issues in a visible way. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate positive brand values and a willingness to resolve issues with any dissatisfied customers. Some shoppers are dubious of reviews placed directly on brands’ websites and so it’s important to surface your genuine, verified reviews consistently across other key platforms and touchpoints. For example, you could leverage the well-earned reviews from Amazon, across other key touchpoints and/or use reviews collected via a third-party tool to display across the likes of Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor and other platforms. So, what are the main components of a good product UGC approach? An effective process for collecting reviews post-purchase, either directly or in partnership with a trusted third party A consistent way to track, collate, report and react to reviews in a visible and helpful way A feedback loop that helps to optimise product content and fuel product development A system that supports leveraging reviews through other platforms and shopper touchpoints Key takeaways Product UGC is fundamental to commerce success online and in-store. With the right approach you can nurture a review profile that’s positive and authentic. This can be a powerful way to reassure shoppers at key moments, demonstrate your brand values and drive incremental sales through existing and prospective customers. With a good process in place, you can boost your overall ecommerce performance as well as the performance you see across many of your other paid and organic channels. Want to go further? Get more details on how iProspect can help you build a winning approach to reviews and product UGC. Contact us today. 0

5 mins read

Elevating the In-Store Experience Through Data

Elevating the In-Store Experience Through Data

Retailers haven’t waited for the ascent of e-commerce to harness data in their growth strategy. The Huff Model, a popular method using census information, store size and distance to predict consumer spatial behaviour and ultimately decide about the best store location, is more than 50 years old.[i] Loyalty cards – and the troves of shopper insights they enable – gained traction in the 1990s when online transactions were still in their infancy. Since then, consumers have learned to use data to their advantage, empowered by technology: 78.1 million people in the United States use Amazon on their mobile phone to compare prices or availability online when shopping in a physical store.[ii] Brands must keep innovating to improve their in-store shopping experience and remain the preferred choice of customers over competitors.   Enhancing Consumer Experience   In-store experience doesn’t have to be grandiose to matter to consumers. For instance, Walmart added a Store Assistant in its app to make the shopping experience more convenient for customers, from groceries list to returns. Recognising that 80% of consumers make lists prior to visiting a store, Walmart lets them enter items in natural language in the app, which returns stock level and price at their local store.[i] Walmart also input its store layouts inside the app, so that consumers can now quickly locate an item from their list on a store map and easily navigate between aisles.[ii]. Shoppers can initiate a return on their smartphone by looking up both their online and offline purchase history and generating a QR code to present to Customer Service when dropping off their return.[iii] With other features such as Easy Reorder,[iv] the Walmart app makes the data vs. value exchange tangible to customers and delivers against the four pillars of the Commerce Success Framework: availability, findability, buyability and repeatability.     Source: Now in the Walmart App: Store Assistant, Walmart on Youtube   Another interesting example is the Nike by Melrose store in Los Angeles that uses local digital data such as buying patterns and mobile application engagement to inform the in-store assortment, matched to specific local preferences regardless of Nike’s broader seasonal priorities. Additionally, customers can reserve products through the application and pick them up via smart lockers, book one-to-one sessions with associates also through the app, and scan any barcode with their smartphone to check the product inventory, online and in store.[v]   Improving Mobile Clienteling   Face-to-face guidance and advice from sales assistants is a key element of differentiation for physical stores vs. their online counterparts. Although easy access to customer and product data can empower sales associates to drive more personal and relevant conversations with shoppers, less than half (45%) of store associates can access their store’s inventory according to Newstore.[vi] Improving access to data is particularly important for luxury brands, whose consumers expect increased levels of attention. For instance, Neiman Marcus lets its associates quickly collect information through voice-activated wearable devices to spend more time with consumers.[vii] To get started, marketers can make the most of product feeds and CRM data used across their digital environments to feed their associates with actionable data on the sales floor.   This article is excerpted from the report Data-Driven Commerce. Download it now for key insights on winning at commerce in the new digital economy.     SOURCES:   [i] David L. Huff, Land Economics, A Probabilistic Analysis of Shopping Center Trade Areas, February 1963 [ii] M1, DAN’s proprietary data platform, September 20, 2018  [iii] Walmart, Your Shopping Trip Just Got Easier with This New Store Assistant, February 2018 [iv] Walmart, Your Shopping Trip Just Got Easier with This New Store Assistant, February 2018 [v] Walmart, Walmart Reinvents the Returns Process, October 2017 [vi] Walmart, How Easy Reorder is Making Shopping Even … Easier, July 2017 [vii] Nike, Nike Opens Nike by Melrose Store in Los Angeles, July 2018 [viii] NewStore, Omnichannel leadership report 2018-2019 [ix] Retail Info Systems, First Look: The Technology Behind Neiman Marcus’s New Retail Experience at New York’s Hudson Yards, March 2019     0

4 mins read

Conversation with Mark Cripps, CMO, The Economist

Conversation with Mark Cripps, CMO, The Economist

Trust, value exchange and staying relevant in the digital age: Mark Cripps, CMO, The Economist, shares his views iProspect.  How would you define consumer trust and what do you think are the main drivers of trust? Trust is part of an individual’s belief system. In the specific instance of consumer trust, it is defined as an individual’s belief that brands and their products and services will perform as promised – as advertised and as per previously experienced. The Economist is a globally recognised brand in terms of publications and news. In the digital age, where readers have more choice than ever, how are you ensuring that your brand remains not only recognisable, but also a reputable and reliable news source?    Increased competition for both mind and wallet-share means that we have to fight harder. In that sense, brands are more important than ever. Recognising that people have a choice, brand saliency is very much front of mind for us. We use several metrics to measure and manage this including awareness; relevance; preference and propensity to pay. Our brand trust stems from the quality and trusted nature of our content and therefore we surface the content in our marketing wherever and whenever possible. We do so whilst deploying established trust cues – that’s design and text based (colours deployed, language used etc.). In 2018, we celebrated our 175th anniversary. For most of that time, we were available exclusively in print, in long-copy format and published on a weekly cadence. Today, we distribute our content on a vast array of platforms; produce it weekly; daily (and hourly in some instances) and in many formats. Noticeably our audio content is reaching new audiences who are demographically at variance from our core subscription base. I’m confident we’ll be around for another 175 years! Listen to the excellent podcast of The Economist on SoundCloud   Data and technology are the lifeblood of the digital economy. How does The Economist balance the needs for personalisation and privacy to build trust on the long term? Do you think technology enables deeper relationships or conversely that it is a factor of mistrust?    Legislation, such as GDPR, should be considered as an opportunity for brands. Being data-responsible is a differentiator. It is a balance; we need to be on the right side of creepy. The balance aspect is important as that infers an exchange of some kind. As marketers, exchange is at the very core of what we do (offering goods and services usually in exchange for money). For the exchange to occur (and ideally be repeated), it has to be equitable, reciprocated, transparent and mutually beneficial. That’s what we seek to do. Regarding technology, I’m interested in the construct of “Computers as Actors or Agents”, which has attracted a great deal of academic attention. Research indicates that, where they are aware that they’re engaging with technology, people are increasingly prone to disclosing (more) personal information than if they are invited to disclose to a human. As responsible marketers, we can take advantage of this, responsibly, and capitalise on the value exchange. “Increased competition for both mind and wallet-share means that we have to fight harder. In that sense, brands are more important than ever.”   This article is excerpted from Future Focus 2019: Searching for Trust.  Download Future Focus 2019 for key insights and success stories on navigating truth and authenticity in 2019.   0

3 mins read

Social Streamlines Commerce Pain Points

Social Streamlines Commerce Pain Points

Although social media has a strong influence on driving purchases, the value of each social visit has decreased by 11% since Q3 2016 according to Adobe.[i] The question for brands is how to better channel one’s willingness to purchase into an actual purchase before the consumer turns to another brand, or another product? One way to do this is to remove the friction between intent and check-out. With new features like Instagram Checkout, brands can now transform their social media into a cash register. But while it’s just now becoming a global phenomenon, the power of social commerce is something that brands, retailers and developers in Asia have understood for years. For instance, 28% of Chinese consumers use Mini Programs in WeChat to shop without leaving the app.[ii] Singapore-based Jumper.ai is the first company to allow for the entire checkout experience to happen directly on social media. Since its launch in 2017, Jumper has helped thousands of brands turn their social media accounts into points of sale, driving buyability and increasing ROI. Yash Kotak, Chief Executive Officer of Jumper.ai, shares his views with iProspect on the most important components to a successful social commerce strategy. Platform: Different social media platforms engage and convert differently. Take Facebook and Instagram, for example. There are 1.56 billion daily active users on Facebook[i] and 500 million daily active users on Instagram.[ii] However, while Facebook clearly dominates when it comes to reach, organic engagement with brands’ publications is higher on Instagram (1.60% median engagement rate per post vs 0.09% for Facebook[iii]). That said, brands need to keep in mind that these are generic statistics, and their own user bases might behave differently. Social commerce tools enable brands to try out different social platforms to compare click through rates, conversion rates, and average basket size to determine which platform has the most potential for a specific brand or product. Content: Social commerce is where content meets conversions. Content is no longer just an awareness and engagement tool; it is slowly turning into an instant point of sale across social networks. For instance, following the debut of its fashion line #TOMMYNOW, Tommy Hilfiger ran a series of photo ads and video ads to encourage people to initiate a conversation with the TMY.GRL bot on Messenger. Interacting with the bot, users could view the collection that had just appeared on the New York runway, go behind the scenes of the show and shop the collection.[iv] Visually appealing, video-based social media posts, supported by deep storytelling, are the new branding and conversion currency. The convergence of branding, performance marketing strategies and budgets is putting pressure on the advertising industry to rethink and repackage its payment models. While most advertising platforms currently run on cost per click or cost per impression models, we’re expecting a rather rapid shift towards cost per action models. Advertisers are no longer looking to just pay per click. They want to pay per (actual) performance. Branding: Social commerce has not only changed which channels brands sell through, but also how retailers segment and brand their products. Single-product, vertical-focused brands will most likely take centre stage. That’s not to say larger brands must revert to selling only one product line, but rather they should rethink their product positioning and create different sub-brands or brand pages. FashionNova is a great example of this. They have continuously added new product lines during the last few years, but each with its own social presence and its own brand strategy, turning the fashion brand into one of the most researched on Google alongside luxury fashion houses. Other brands like Supreme use the product drop strategy, which is all about exclusivity and fleeting buying moments. Additionally, social and messaging commerce tools can deliver real-time insight on which content converts best, giving brands more storytelling power and an ability to evolve brand positioning alongside changing consumer trends.     Source: E-commerce platform walkthrough - How to get started with jumper.ai, Youtube   Data-Driven Personality: With social networking, brands have moved towards personification, developing a specific voice and tone. One industry concern often expressed in reference to social commerce is the concept of brand disintermediation, in which the brand’s unique voice doesn’t translate to in-app checkouts. It’s a valid concern. However, with the help of data and artificial intelligence, brands can replicate that personality when they adopt social checkout. Technological innovations like Jumper enable brands to create emotion-evoking, fully conversational checkouts through messaging tools like Messenger. With the ability to plug into brands’ marketing and CRM stacks, and to tap into socio-demographic data, customer surveys, and product interest, the checkout can be customised to each individual based on his/her purchasing preferences, taking social media conversion rates to the next level. Jumper’s merchants, for instance, experience an average conversion rate of 25-35%. Some campaigns have even achieved conversions up to 82%.   Looking Ahead Social-based commerce has the potential to make online shopping enjoyable again by enabling retailers to mimic offline shopping behaviour in an online environment. Brick-and-mortar shopping is a classic social activity, and online shopping sites, with their ‘pull’ and ‘hard sell’ approach, are simply not as much fun. By tying new engagement and brand expression opportunities to instant, in-app checkout, social commerce has the potential to actually make shopping social again. Combining consumer awareness, transactions, promotions and re-engagement all into one platform gives unprecedented power to brands to drive conversions and create new revenue channels. But it doesn’t stop there. With headless API integrations built on top of their current architecture, brands can even move beyond social. Ultimately, as online and mobile consumer behaviours evolve, and the definition of a social platform continues to expand, it’s likely that social commerce will morph into everywherecommerce.   This article is excerpted from the report Data-Driven Commerce.  Download it now for key insights on winning at commerce in the new digital economy.     SOURCES: [i] Adobe, Retail Unwrapped - Adobe 2018 Holiday predictions, Change in visit value by last touch channel (US, Q3 2016 – 2018), November 2018 [ii] eMarketer, What Types of Miniprograms Do WeChat Users in China Use?, Q1 2019, January 2019 [iii] Facebook, Facebook Reports First Quarter 2019 Results [iv] Instagram data as displayed on business.instagram.com in April 2019 [v] RivalIQ, 2019 Social Media Industry Benchmark Report, February 2019 [vi] Facebook, From catwalk to commerce with Messenger   0

6 mins read

Anatomy of a Good Product Page

Anatomy of a Good Product Page

An effective product page is one that turns visitors into customers by clearly conveying the value of the item, addressing potential concerns and facilitating the transaction. Marketers selling online know the importance of paying particular attention to product pages on their e-commerce website, using conversion rate optimisation (CRO) and search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques. However, as maximising visibility and sales within online marketplaces is the fastest growing priority of marketers in 2019,[i]  how do CRO and SEO practices apply in these environments? What should marketers do to satisfy ‘skimmers’ (i.e., users in a rush, looking for only certain relevant information) and ‘researchers’ (i.e., users looking deeply into product features)? Using the example of Legrand, a French global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures and iProspect client, Nicolas Guéry, SEO Business Unit Manager, France, looks at what makes a good Amazon marketplace product page and how to balance optimising for people and optimising for marketplace algorithms.   IMAGE OPTIMISATION The first image is critical as it appears in the search results and therefore influences click-through rate. White background should be favoured over busy background and the product should take 80% of the available space. High resolution images enable effective zoom. Different angles and perspectives should be proposed, with a maximum of 9 images. Although on average shoppers tend to expect more than 5 images and at least 2 videos,[i] it is important not to duplicate images, or use images that aren’t relevant for the particular variant of the product, especially for simple products. Having misleading or incorrect images will lead to less sales and more returns. At least one image should put the product in context to show scale and help consumers envision themselves using the product, increasing purchase rates. Lifestyle, infographic-type and 360° images can be useful for many products. Images should be properly tagged as picture metadata is indexed by the Amazon’s A9 algorithm.   TITLE OPTIMISATION   The priority keyword should occupy a prominent space, here right after the brand ‘Double prise électrique’ (double socket). Product reference in the title in case it would be searched. Title should not exceed 200 characters: a good title is concise, while having all info necessary for search. The priority keywords must appear in the first 70 characters to display properly on mobile. Technical specifications must be present in the title. Commas, dashes or vertical bars must be used as delimiters. To future proof, title should sound good when read out loud, as that is how it will sound when Alexa recommends it. In the case of Legrand, we observed a significative gain in visibility thanks to title optimisation (from non-indexed to first position on ‘double socket’ keyword in only 4 weeks).   BULLET POINT OPTIMISATION A lack of product information is often cited as a key reason why shoppers bounce from product pages.   The 5 bullet points should always be fully utilised. Priority and secondary keywords should be repeated in the content of each bullet point. Rich content should be preferred for each bullet point, within the 500 authorised characters. This is the perfect place to add complementary information about the product quality to improve conversion. It is advisable to look at the other top ranking comparable organic products to see the copy they are using in order to learn and also differentiate. These bullet points are often where Alexa will find and read product information from. Make sure they are concise and sound well when spoken. In the case of Legrand, we observed that product pages where each bullet point is optimised have a higher average visibility than others (more than 40% of the pages on Amazon first page).   OPTIMISATION OF PRODUCT DESCRIPTION Improving format can help you make content both skimmable and researchable, without sacrificing the other. The focus should be about giving the user easily readable and structured text that caters for everything they may be thinking about as part of that decision making process. 1. Content optimisation From a ranking perspective, simple product description is indexed. We usually add the principal keyword once or twice. Copy should at least be 1,000 characters and be kept below 2,000 characters. 2. A+ content addition to improve conversion A+ content has been added for each main product category. A+ content and Enhanced Brand Content are not indexed by Amazon. However, all page content is indexed by Google and can help specific product pages place higher in search engines outside marketplaces. A+ content typically increases product conversions by 3-10%. In the case of Legrand, we observed improvement up to 30% on conversions.      OPTIMISATION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS Questions are vital indicators about what is important to the consumer and therefore a key consideration to ensure content covers all the things that consumers may be needing, not just on Amazon but also for other channels, and platforms. We recommend answering directly to questions which don’t have answers from other consumers yet, prioritising the most strategic products in their portfolio. The more information the users have in this section, the lower will the return rate be. Amazon lowers the seller rank of sellers with a high return rate, which may result in losing the Buy Box to sellers that provide better service.   RATINGS AND REVIEWS   Reviews are critical to being purchased. No reviews will severely limit purchases, and no negative reviews will make it look like the seller is dishonest and hurt sales. We recommend sellers to benchmark against their category and respond to negative reviews to show consumers they care and as a result to get more sales.   This article is excerpted from the report Data-Driven Commerce. Download it now for key insights on winning at commerce in the new digital economy.       SOURCES:   [i] Salsify, 5 New Rules to Tackle Shoppers’ Rising Expectations on Your Brand, March 2019 [ii] iProspect 2018 Global Client Survey, Oct 2018   0

5 mins read

News

Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated

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Understanding cognitive biases to improve experiences

Understanding cognitive biases to improve experiences

According to the Dentsu Aegis Network CMO Survey 2018, CMOs recognise that capitalising on consumer engagement, i.e., turning interest into commitment or building loyalty, will get increasingly hard over the next two to three years.  Being relevant in an age saturated with pixels is not an easy task, and marketers have to develop a genuine understanding of their audiences’ behaviour and preferences to truly resonate with them.  In a world where everything can be measured, it is easy to forget that people are not perfectly rational agents always making consistent decisions based on known preferences. In reality, all of us are subject to cognitive biases in everything we do.    Subconscious decisions    You heard a new word a few days ago and now see it everywhere? This is a phenomenon psychologists call the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. Still comparing a product you have just bought with alternatives? This might be post-purchase rationalisation. Ignoring arguments against buying a new smartphone? This is probably a case of selective perception.    These biases can be sources of discomfort. People can be paralysed when facing too many choices. Actually, 54% of us say we feel overwhelmed by the choices we have to make in our lives.[i] Consumers may make decisions that don’t really benefit them only because they want to conform to their peers. For brands, it means their customers can be overwhelmed with decisions and may give up or make choices they will regret later. Marketers should attempt to identify how these biases interplay within their current proposition as they seek to design more relevant experiences for their audiences, particularly when considering the brand’s digital properties.  Designing for people, not KPIs  On a website, there are many occasions where users drop out early: they may be distracted along the way, or they may have a limited amount of time, energy and motivation. Optimising their experience starts with data. Analytics are critical to mapping problematic areas on a website where metrics like bounce rates, click through rates, and general behaviour based data can help pinpoint underperforming areas and suggest potential reasons behind poor performance: bad UI, unreasonable expectations, confusion, etc. Brands must employ qualitative research techniques such as heatmaps, user recordings, forms, and polls, if they are to understand their users’ struggles and build hypotheses for optimisation.  Are users having trouble deciding? Simplify their options or make comparison easier through better information framing. Do they lack trust in your website? Work on authority though expert advice, or social proof in the form of reviews. Are they unmotivated? Let them know how far they have progressed through progress indicators.  Ask yourself “What is beneficial to the customer?” before “What is beneficial to the brand?” If you are not focused on the customer, then tactics such as getting people to click on that CTA more often or setting your newsletter to opt- out may result in an immediate increase in your metrics, but how will they affect your business in the long run? Will customers return products? Will they think highly of your newsletter if they were forced to subscribe? A created account doesn’t mean an engaged customer, and a newsletter subscription doesn’t mean a devoted reader.  There is no absolute right or wrong. The only truth is the one resulting from iterative testing. For instance, you might decide to display reviews on your page and yet when you test it, the results are marginal at best. This does not necessarily mean it is a bad idea. Try linking to an external party that might have more credibility like TripAdvisor, or use video to show the human side of the reviewer. There are multiple aspects to a single solution that only experimenting can reveal.    From theory to practice: How Transavia increased satisfaction of young parents by designing a more relevant booking process   Transavia is a budget airline that is part of AIR FRANCE KLM, the largest airline group in Europe, that provides solutions to a large number of travellers. With a mission of making “low cost feel good”, Transavia is constantly optimising its website experience to each customer’s individual needs.  Transavia sought to tackle the universal challenge young parents face when travelling: flying with a baby is always a hassle. Young parents may be not be prepared to meet seating and luggage/carry-on regulations, and this adds stress on top of having to take care of their baby during their journey.  To better understand travellers with babies, Transavia leveraged information available through their customer service and ran usability polls. Based on this research, they formulated the hypothesis that adding specific content about travelling with babies throughout the booking funnel would make parents feel more informed, and thus more comfortable to complete a booking.  As soon as travellers indicated they were flying with a baby, Transavia changed the content of their pages to reflect the information needed for flying with an infant. Providing all the pertinent baby information during each step in the booking process allowed parents to instantly get a clear overview of what bringing their baby would mean for their flight arrangements.  It turned out that there was a slight decrease in the total number of bookings among people flying with children; some people decided not to proceed with their booking once they learned about the rules of flying with a baby. However, if having that information was enough to deter them from booking, what if those people had found out about that information only after they completed their booking? They would not have been satisfied with their travel experience, and would potentially have felt betrayed. Conversely, customer polls indicated that there was an 11% uplift in customer satisfactionamong those who did complete their booking.  Sometimes, building long-term trust requires looking at a different set of KPIs. Revenue is easily measured in the short-term, while customer satisfaction and retention are not. Transavia chose to put transparency first, placing a positive traveller experience ahead of securing bookings at all cost. By being upfront about all the unavoidable requirements of travelling with a baby, Transavia respected their customers’ time, both during and after the booking process, and created the foundation for trust.  This doesn’t mean brands cannot win both on the short term and the long term. For example, user research led Transavia to also revise how its fare packages were presented. By providing jargon-free explanations on what each package covers and doesn’t cover, Transavia made the comparison easier for travellers, resulting in a direct 27% increase in sales of its premium packages.  Want to know more about Transavia’s digital strategy? Click here to read our interview of Vanja Mlaco, Digital Growth Strategist, Transavia. This article is excerpted from Future Focus 2019: Searching for Trust.  Download Future Focus 2019 for key insights and success stories on navigating truth and authenticity in 2019.       SOURCES:   [i]Ipsos, Global Trends Survey, October 2016     0

6 mins read

Inspiring People Through Discovery

Inspiring People Through Discovery

As seen previously, being easily found by shoppers, and being found more often than competitors, is crucial in the commerce success framework. However, what happens when people don’t really know what they’re looking for just yet or when they are looking for inspiration rather than a specific brand or a specific product? What can marketers do for their brands to be ‘found’ when people haven’t even thought of them yet?   Vikram Bhaskaran, Global Head of Vertical Strategy and Marketing at Pinterest, shares his views with iProspect on why brands need to inspire people earlier in their shopping journey.   Inspiration, The Overlooked but Paramount Component of Commerce Strategies In any vertical, from e-commerce brand, to mass retailer, to the next great direct-to-consumer business, consumers have more options than ever before. As a result, their tolerance is low and their expectations are high. People want to be able to discover ideas that are personal to their individual tastes, and once they discover these ideas, they want to be able to shop—anytime, anywhere. Today, the digital shopping experience isn't great. Discovery is hard, and taking action once people do discover something they like is even harder. There is enormous pressure for retailers to make the shopping experience seamless and to give consumers new levels of convenience and choice.   That said, innovations in online shopping have been focused on the transaction instead of replicating the in-store discovery and inspiration experience. As a result, basket sizes are decreasing and brand loyalty is quickly disappearing. Retailers need to engage with consumers early in their decision-making process rather than relying on the last signal of intent prior to the transaction. It is particularly important when people look for inspiration that they don’t distractedly browse, but really evaluate their options to take action. By enabling new ideas and suggesting use cases and occasions for products, brands can make the most of this active time to guide people through their journey.   •   The Specifics of Discovery   ●  It helps brands matter before decisions are made Depending on the category, planning can start very early in the purchase journey. For instance, people start planning on Pinterest three months before they use other platforms. According to Neustar MarketShare,[i]Pinterest is more likely to influence purchase decisions in the beginning of the purchase journey than other platforms, leading to 40% bigger baskets and faster conversions. ●  It is ideal for introducing new offerings Interestingly, among the more than billions of searches happening every month on Pinterest, 97% of the top 1,000 searches are unbranded,[ii] showing people are open to hearing from brands they haven’t considered before.  ●  It is a widespread behaviour among the most valuable audiences According to comScore,[iii] Pinterest reaches 77% of all women ages 24 to 54 in the United States, a demographic responsible for 80% of household buying.[iv] ●  It is visual at heart At its core, retail is about introducing consumers to new ideas that inspire them to make a purchase, and the future of retail centres on its ability to create discovery experiences. Online, this comes in the form of visual search. Unlike tapping text or calling out commands, visual search sits squarely in the native shopping environment consumers already understand; it’s similar to how they shop in physical stores today. Visual technology powers everything on Pinterest - from the content recommendations to the way ads are served – and image recognition and machine learning fuel the shopping experience. Return on Inspiration will become as important as Return on Investment, as tapping into inspiration builds long-term brand love, salience and shareholder value. To get started today, brands can leverage the data troves the more than 250 million Pinners[v] around the world create when they plan their meals and decide what to wear. This enormous bank of knowledge represents a unique opportunity to understand the trends that matter today and the ones that will matter tomorrow, and to respond to consumer demand with enhanced product development and individualised communications strategy.     This article is excerpted from the report Data-Driven Commerce.  Download it now for key insights on winning at commerce in the new digital economy.     SOURCES:   [i] Neustar MarketShare, Retail MTA Analysis, MTA study with 3 blinded advertisers, June 2017 [ii] Pinterest internal data, US, February 2017 [iii] comScore, US, October 2018 [iv] Ketchum, Marketing to Women, January-October 2017 [v] Pinterest internal data, Global, September 2017   0

4 mins read

Dominating Share of Shelf Through Competitive Intelligence

Dominating Share of Shelf Through Competitive Intelligence

As e-commerce platforms present consumers with product listings that seem infinite, it is critical brands occupy the most prominent spaces if they are to be found and shopped. Advertising plays a key role in emerging from the clutter. However, the available advertising real estate is limited and works as a zero-sum game: the space one wins is the space another loses. In a context where more than one out of two marketers (57%) declares that efficiently managing high volumes of data is one of their more difficult challenges in 2019,[i] advanced competitive intelligence is an imperative in a brand’s toolbox if they are to make the most of their marketing budget.   Technology Highlight: Sonar Sonar is a competitive intelligence platform providing marketers with strategic information about their competitive landscape across digital environments and markets. Used by major brands such as P&G, AccorHotels and Samsung, Sonar uses powerful crawling technology to bring to the surface low signals from competitors’ moves, even in walled gardens. Once product managers define which competitors to monitor in which retail environments, Sonar extracts data from the selected sources, transforms data to apply relevant calculations, and loads the formatted information into the Sonar database, accessible through a dashboard.   Pricing Intelligence Sonar helps brands precisely calibrate their pricing according to competitors. Marketers can access insights such as price per category, per brand, per custom attribute (e.g., for automotive manufacturers: car model, fuel type), price elasticity (lower whisker, lower hinge, median, upper hinge, upper whisker and average), minimum advertised price and more. Each price can be recalculated to provide fair comparison (e.g., for CPG brands, prices can be readjusted per volume unit if competitors sell in different packaging formats), and first-party data can also be injected to add other layers of intelligence, such as profitability. Therefore, marketers can be notified via customised alerts of subtle changes in competitor pricing that can have drastic consequences in the consumer decision and react before losing sales.   Example: Fizzy drinks Period: 10/18/2018-10/23/2018 Market: United Kingdom Category: Diet, Diet caffeine free, Regular, Zero Sugar Retailer: Amazon, ASDA, Ocado, Tesco Flavour: Apple, Blood Orange, Burdock, Cherry, Cucumber, Ginger, Lemon, Lemon and Lime, Lemonade, Lime, Mango, Orange, Original, Rose Lemonade     Shelf Intelligence   As highlighted in the iProspect 2019 Global Commerce Survey, only one marketer out of five (21%) currently uses a digital shelf analytics technology.[ii] A tool like Sonar delivers to brands a comprehensive vision of shelf presence, encompassing the real share of shelf vs. their competitors, their search coverage of strategic queries, the most popular products per category and retailer, and more. Marketers can use this information to improve their product mix per platform, inform the negotiations with retailers, understand where content optimisation should be performed, and evaluate the products and categories for which advertising would bring the most added value.    Example: Refrigerators Period: 09/11/2018-09/14/2018 Market: Brazil Segment: Basic, Essential, Premium, Super Premium Retailer: Angeloni, Carrefour, Casas Bahia, eFacil, Fast Shop, Magazine Luiza, Ponto Frio, Submarino Brand: Brastemp, Consul, Electrolux, Panasonic, Samsung,     Advertising Intelligence Using Sonar, marketers can understand the advertising strategies of their competitors. They can not only access the ad share per category, retailer and brand, they can also get insights on the type of ad run by their competitors. Powered by optical character recognition and image recognition, Sonar reads and interprets the content of any display banner to automatically categorise ads in promotional types (e.g., bundle, discount, trade-in, product launch, sponsorship, partnership) and provide ad samples for each. Sonar can also compile the list of all the products advertised per competitor to inform marketers about the strategies of their competitors.    Example: Blenders and Mixers Period: 08/13/2018-08/15/2018 Market: Brazil Segment: Basic, Low Essential, Essential, High Essential Retailer: Americanas, MagazineLuiza, Ponto Frio Brand: Arno, Britania, Mondial, Philco        Activating Competitive Data to Drive Paid Media Strategy   The intelligence collected in competitive monitoring platforms like Sonar can be put into action very rapidly for paid media purposes. It can not only help marketers evolve their messaging and reassess the selection of products they promote through advertising, it can also directly drive bidding strategies and ad formats. iProspect has developed a decision matrix taking into consideration the product lifecycle stage and its competitive strength, with actionable tactics for each possible scenario.        This article is excerpted from the report Data-Driven Commerce. Download it now for key insights on winning at commerce in the new digital economy.     SOURCES: [i] iProspect 2018 Global Client Survey, October 2018 [ii] iProspect 2019 Global Commerce Survey, May 2019       0

4 mins read

Turning Media into Solutions

Turning Media into Solutions

There is little value in designing a highly convenient website, app, or store if your media effort to drive people to these environments is not on par. As consumers have more choices than ever, if at any point they encounter friction, they will abandon their current engagement and move elsewhere. Thus, maintaining convenience at every point of interaction, from first contact to conversion, is critical to succeed.   Contextual solutions  Designing convenient solutions through media requires leveraging context efficiently, whether it be by query, specific location or mobility situation such as commuting. Successful brands know how to harness contextual intent to bring value when it matters the most.    Brands can leverage media platforms’ unique features to support their proposition in the eyes of specific audiences, organically or through paid tactics. For instance, in India, a country with more than 350 all-news TV channels, BloombergQuint used WhatsApp to cement its position as the go-to platform for curated business news. Recognising that business news readers were always strapped for time, BloombergQuint delivers snippets of its daily coverage through WhatsApp. WhatsApp features being perfectly aligned with BloombergQuint’s promise of speed and efficiency, the service generated more than 350,000 organic subscribers and accounted for 26.5% of visits on BQ.com within 8 months of launch.    Using feeds as connectors of convenience    It’s much more difficult to deliver a consistent experience with inconsistent data. Product data is one of the few things a brand can completely control, and any investment in improving the quality and accuracy of that data will pay off across multiple channels. There are three primary components to well-structured data:    Accuracy    Ensuring there are no mistakes and that inventory and price are frequently updated.    Detail    The more robust the data, the more it will stand out in a crowded field or connect with a consumer looking for a specific attribute. Marketers need to enrich their feed beyond a standard description and picture, and think about rich imagery and connectivity with other data sources such as weather, location, news, their own CRM system, etc. For example, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines includes in its feeds attributes such as origin and destination airports information, city codes, fares, number of flights per day, popularity of the route, or the language of the cabin crew for specific destinations.  Marketers can use the power of AI solutions like Google Cloud Vision to enrich their visual database with new image attributes, increasing their ability to match images in ads with the interest, affinity and in-market behaviour of a specific user. Other tools, like Grip by INDG, enable marketers to create a large set of images or 360° videos presented in various contexts from their entire product portfolios. By combining AI and automation, marketers can create truly granular feeds.    Portability  Brands that use the same data to populate their website, their ads, their partnerships, and other connection points ensure a consistent consumer experience wherever the customer chooses to interact with them.    Well optimised data unlocks more proactive direct opportunities to provide convenience, such as with Google’s Local Inventory Ads and Shopping Actions. Moreover, robust data can be incorporated directly into multiple marketing channels to reduce the friction between awareness, interaction, and conversion.    From theory to practice: How Elgiganten increased convenience through automation   Maintaining convenience can turn out to be very challenging for marketers when they scale up their brand’s product offerings. This is where automation can help.    With 165 stores, Elgiganten is one of Sweden’s leading consumer electronics and household appliances retailer. Elgiganten is growing fast, very fast; within a year, they more than doubled their inventory. As a result, their large ever- growing product assortment and frequent price changes made it challenging to present consumers with search engine results reflecting the correct product availability or price tag.    To avoid advertising on sold-out products and to consistenly present accurate information to consumers, iProspect implemented its proprietary tool iActivate to create ads that truly mirror Elgiganten’s website.    iActivate automatically creates full advertising accounts from the client’s inventory data, in a way that wouldn’t be possible with third party tools. Instead of creating ads and keywords manually, iActivate uses personalised templates and rules. The parameters in the templates are automatically replaced with the information from Elgiganten’s feed. It means ads are always up to date. When a stock level is low, or a product is sold out, the system pauses all advertisement for that product and reactivates it when the product is back in stock. When Elgiganten’s inventory increases, new ads and keywords are created automatically. Therefore, ads are always highly relevant and drive users directly to the right product or category page, preventing unnecessary expenses and dissatisfied customers. All without the constraint of repetitive manual work.    iProspect and Elgiganten case study     Through automation, we made Elgiganten’s advertisement more convenient for users, making the most of both the users’ and the Elgiganten marketing team’s time.    “We’re very happy with the results: 10% lower CPCs, 36% higher conversion rates, 177% more transactions, and a 61% higher ROI. With iActivate, we have more time to focus on things that truly matter, like strategy.”  - Niko Niva, Digital Marketing Manager, Elgiganten     This article is excerpted from Future Focus 2019: Searching for Trust. Download Future Focus 2019 for key insights and success stories on navigating truth and authenticity in 2019.     0

5 mins read

Capturing Demand by Optimising for Consumer Intent

Capturing Demand by Optimising for Consumer Intent

Many marketers make a concerted effort to ensure their product assortment within each channel is just right. However, if consumers cannot easily find a product when searching online, they will look for alternatives to suit their needs. Jenna Spivak Evans, Global Go-To-Market Lead for Shopping & Assistant at Google, shares her views with iProspect about how marketers can use data to improve their findability across platforms during this pivotal point in the consumer journey.   Being Found More Often Than Competitors   Not only does product data provide crucial information that consumers consult when making purchase decisions, but it also informs query matching on Google Search and retailer websites. To power and optimise Google Ads shopping campaigns, advertisers feed their product data into Google Merchant Center. Product data within an advertiser's Merchant Center feed includes fields such as product title, description, price, and category. This data informs query matching and influences shopping campaign success metrics such as return on ad spend (ROAS) and impression share.   If the impression share is low, bid optimisation is only part of the solution. Marketers can increase their ad quality by improving their product attributes with rich, up-to-date product data. With more than 40% of online transactions made on mobile devices,[i] it’s imperative for advertisers to win top ad placements for key terms, especially on smaller screens where visibility is more challenged. For example, the left-most ad on mobile shopping results gets up to three times more shopper engagement. Absolute top impression share indicates how often products show up in this top Shopping Ads placement. Marketers should make sure their brand is showing prominently when it counts - whether that’s for their top products, top categories, key shopping days, or for new product launches. Providing accurate, high-quality product data is an excellent way to drive product visibility and help consumers make well-informed purchases.    Being Found by the Right Consumer   If marketers only consider cost per acquisition (CPA) to assess the success of a campaign, they mistakenly treat each acquisition with the same weight. CPA ignores the fact that the lifetime value (LTV) of customers will differ based on their propensity to spend, and spend regularly, with each brand. Segmenting campaigns by LTV provides a way for advertisers to adapt CPAs and optimise acquisition efforts. Using website, sales and CRM data, advertisers can implement dynamic remarketing campaigns, personalising ads for people who have visited their website before.    Advertisers can do this in three simple steps. First, they should segment consumers in three LTV buckets - high, medium & low - using data from multichannel reports in Google Analytics, CRM profile and engagement data, as well as transactional data, if available. Next, advertisers should calculate the max CPA for each LTV bucket using Google Analytics audience reports and audience insights within AdWords. Lastly, advertisers should use their LTV segments and bid strategies as inputs to build remarketing lists and similar audiences in order to maximise the effectiveness of their campaigns.    Being Found at the Right Time   In the past five years, foot traffic to retail stores has declined by 57%[ii] but the value of every visit has nearly tripled. Store visits have become more informed as consumers research products online before they visit a physical store. Additionally, local shopping queries have increased by 45%,[iii] indicating that more consumers are searching for a product to purchase near their physical location. These consumers exhibit a high intent to purchase with three in four people visiting a physical place within 24 hours of their online local search.[iv] As such, store visits are an important metric for advertisers employing an omnichannel strategy on top of other more monitored KPIs such as impressions, ROAS and click through rate.     To capture shoppers during this pivotal moment in their journey, advertisers can draw on local store inventory data, query intent signals, and the user’s distance from a store to drive hyper-relevant campaigns. For example, adidas Japan noticed that more consumers were using local search queries, which indicated a consumer need to move from “now I want to see” to “now I want to buy.” After setting up more than 150 stores within Google My Business, adidas Japan implemented local inventory ads, which improved store visit rate by 42%.    Being found at the right time is more than just optimising for consumer intent. It also means ensuring the most important items are found, and purchased, at the right time. To capture maximal returns from their Shopping campaigns, marketers need to take control of their traffic by implementing multiple, segmented campaigns with separate bids and budgets. This can be achieved by segmenting Shopping campaigns to indicate to Google Ads which products should be shown the most. For example, marketers can indicate a high priority campaign for holiday or high margin products, a medium priority campaign for top sellers, and a low priority campaign covering everything else. Advertisers can evaluate campaign performance based on ROAS and profit. Advertisers with e-commerce tracking should monitor their ROAS and evaluate products based on revenue in relation to cost. Advertisers can also optimise for profit by creating a custom column in their Google Ads reporting and entering their profit margin in the formula: profit = total conversion value * profit margin - total cost.   This article is excerpted from the report Data-Driven Commerce.  Download it now for key insights on winning at commerce in the new digital economy.     SOURCES:   [i] Google data, June to September 2017 [ii] Google, Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands, Digital Impact on In-Store Shopping, Published on Think with Google, May 2014 [iii] Google/Purchased Digital Diary: How Consumers Solve Their Needs in the Moment, May 2016 [iv] Google/Purchased Digital Diary: How Consumers Solve Their Needs in the Moment, May 2016   0

5 mins read

Conversation with Tom Verbugt, Director E-Acquisition, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Conversation with Tom Verbugt, Director E-Acquisition, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

According to the 2019 Dentsu Aegis Network CMO Survey, more than half of marketing leaders see developing the overall customer experience as the primary role of the marketing function in their organisations. Tom Verbugt, Director E-Acquisition, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines shares his views around elevating the customer experience and attracting the right talents.   All companies are going through some form of digital transformation to maintain or improve their customer experience in the digital age. What is your approach to addressing challenges and opportunities around the customer experience?  We don’t differentiate from competition through the lowest price or the most luxurious product, but by providing exceptional service. According to Bain & Company, 80% of marketers believe they deliver superior customer experience and only 8% of consumers agree. As an airline, we have a lot of contacts with our customers: through our call centres, via our mobile app, at check-in, at boarding, in the airplane, when they read our magazines, etc. All of these contacts create our customer experience, and our difficult job is to orchestrate, to personalise and to scale this experience. Building a brilliant customer experience is rooted in how data and technology are combined and deployed, which is one of the universal challenges of our time, data being quite often situated in silos within organisations. How do you address this challenge? Leadership plays a critical role. Recognising that we have to bring all the data together, to be more agile and to co-create instead of keep building expertise within silos requires a broad perspective. Although it is obviously very important for teams to be able to explain to top management why they need more data integration, leadership needs to challenge the status quo and take a clear direction. At KLM, we now have teams with a central responsibility of clustering data and aligning data sources. This organisation comes with its own set of challenges, because we used to have smaller sources with smaller teams, enabling us to quickly access and fix issues that frustrate our customers. As the organisation becomes bigger, the process becomes slower. It is a constant challenge to think ahead and try to be prepared for what's next. As younger generations’ expectations around commerce are increasing and as marketers have so many options available, from voice search to shoppable social media, where do you think the big bets are in terms of the changing commerce landscape? How do you take advantage of them?  We make the distinction between the servicing part and the commerce part. Being everywhere the consumer is is very important for servicing. We want to be on WhatsApp, on WeChat, on Messenger and help our customer in the experience they have with KLM. For the commerce part, direct sales are very important for us, as they enable us to provide the best customer experience. For instance, if there are disruptions at the airport, we are able to update the customer about the new flight or hotel because we have the customer’s contact details. The direct online channel gives us the most direct relationship with the customer and is also the cheapest one. Source:KLM flight info on WhatsApp, KLM via Youtube   We know that obviously trust is a key issue for brands. We interviewed 300 leading marketers, and feedback in our study showed that 88% of marketers make trust a key priority for their brand. How do we ensure that brands’ digital marketing doesn't jeopardize trust between brand and consumer?  As a consumer, I love GDPR. As a marketer, I hate it! We need to learn from this discrepancy to create trust. “We don’t differentiate from competition through the lowest price or the most luxurious product, but by providing exceptional service.” This is One of the key challenges for businesses in the digital economy is attracting and retaining the right talent. Not only in terms of hard skills around data, technology, programmtic, AI, but also in terms of soft skills like agility and inclusivity. What is your business doing to address the evolution in talent requirements?  This is actually a very big challenge for us at this moment. The airline industry is becoming the new banking industry, in the sense that we start being seen as a not so sustainable industry, especially in Europe. This is not helping us attract the younger talents. For our brand it is very important to explain that we are the most sustainable airline in the world and that potential recruits can help us move forward. This story, and how we position ourselves on this topic, are key. Besides our brand, the growth potential for people in the company is crucial: trainings, onboarding, career potential, development programs, all of  Let’s focus on the evolving role of agencies in that moving landscape. The dynamic between agency and client does change. We are more and more involved in discussions around in-housing and consultancy, from media to data and technology. We have observed it improves our relationship, and this increased trust leads to better business performance. What is your perspective on the changing role for agencies in the next years? In the 1960s to 1980s, agencies were some sort of advisors to the CEO, giving new growth ideas on profitability and efficiency. In the 1980s, agencies became experts in how TV ads worked, but this expertise could be copied across the industry. In the 1990s, a new mantra appeared: more technology is more profitability. Now we get verticals of industries and verticals of profession, and consultancies and agencies are connecting these verticals and telling me they can build, run and even own our customer experience! Maybe I’d prefer to go back a little bit to the 1960s, to have people help me with new growth ideas on how I can create new profitability. The agency world has shifted away from being rewarded for growth ideas, profitability and efficiency, and it would be very interesting to go back a little bit into that disrupting mindset. This article is excerpted from the report Data-Driven Commerce. Download it now for key insights on winning at commerce in the new digital economy.   0

6 mins read

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