In last week’s roundup we spoke to you about the global language of Emojis and how you can use them in your marketing, the potential of storytelling to boost conversion and how retail apps are failing to meet customer expectations (and more). But if you’re just joining us now then we’re about to share with you some tips on how luxury customer service can be translated into eCommerce, how SEO consultants could potentially be replaced and more news on email, digital marketing and mobile. Enjoy!
RankScience Wants to Automate Your SEO
We’ve heard about all types of digital marketing jobs being threatened by automation and the latest is search engine optimisation. Should ‘SEO Consultants’ feel threatened? RankScience is a YC-backed startup fresh from accelerator’s winter 2017 program that has taken a ‘software as a service’ approach to automating thousands of A/B tests in order to identify and make the changes necessary to improve the search engine rankings of a client’s content in organic results.
What exactly does the program do that a human can’t? Well the idea is that you can replace specialised in-house staff with subscription software for automated testing and continuous optimisation. The service claims it can boost organic traffic by 37% within three months. Apparently it works well for “all sorts of different sites” particularly eCommerce, directories, or “anything where companies have a lot of pages”.
The founder of RankScience Ryan Bednar says “Our software identifies areas of opportunity and things that companies should be testing based on where they’re ranking now, what they’re competitors are doing, and what opportunities we see. And also this data that we have from across our network — things that we see that are working elsewhere on similar sites.”
When asked where he got the idea from he said it came from being an SEO consultant himself. “I realized my main advantage, related to other consultants, was that I was a programmer, and so companies could add me to GitHub, and instead of just sending them PDFs with recommended changes I could actually execute the changes myself… Our CDN is an attempt to productize that,” he told TechCrunch. “Almost all of the other SEO software products are analytics tools. They give you insights into how you’re doing with rankings, or they maybe make recommendations around things that you should change,” he adds.
The software requires customers to route their web traffic though its CDN so it can run these concurrent split tests on their behalf but they claim it takes “two minutes” and all you need to really do is a “one-line code change”. It does all the work for you so instead of creating tasks for product managers and engineers the software is supposed to handle and execute the work for you, and it makes the changes to your page itself.
For customers of the service it’s 100% automated, but the people who work for the company it’s “mostly software with some human inputs,” so the fact remains, you can’t ever really replace humans, you can only put humans together with technology. Plus, don’t forget, algorithms, machine learning and AI are all still capable of making mistakes.
3 Ways Luxury Brands Try to Increase Conversions Online
It’s relatively difficult to convey to the VIP exclusive theme that resonates with luxury SEO when you’re online, especially when anyone can get on the website far away from the sales staff. When you take away the ‘human experience’ part of luxury shopping, driving conversions online needs food for thought. Here are some ways luxury brands make up for that:
Customisation and Personalisation – Luxury retailers encourage customers to buy by replicating the service they would receive in store or even further, the service they wouldn’t. Dior for example cleverly uses personalisation to make shoppers feel special. The Dior So Real range is fully customizable meaning customers pick and choose the lens-type, colour and engraving to suit their own taste. Giving the user ultimate control it makes up for that catered-to experience in store.
Online Exclusivity – High street brands aren’t scared of discounts but it’s textbook marketing to know that luxury brands and retailers avoid them so they don’t devalue their brand in the process. Ralph Lauren isn’t afraid to promote discounts though. Throughout December they offered 40% off online. Sure it might put the customers who enjoy premium products off, but it cleverly uses the ‘online-only’ concept to its own advantage.
Extra Special Customer Service – Just how far can customer service go when you’re shopping online? Luxury brands thrive on the in-store experience, so how can this be translated into eCommerce? Many luxury brands are now offering live chat and messenger bots in an attempt to bring the personal touch to their eCommerce systems. Burberry does this, using a chat function to help guide customers. It’s not like your typical live chat though. It has the full names of employees and their friendly and chatty tone reassures the user they’re actually talking to a real person and not a faceless brand.
Cosabella Increases Revenue by 60% with Email Marketing
Web sales for Cosabella.com have grown to account for 15% of the high-end retailer’s lingerie sales – an increase of 8% – according to the Marketing Director of the company Courtney Connell. The rest of the brand’s sales mostly come from wholesale distributors, including Nordstrom Inc and Neiman Marcus.
Last year the brand cut ties with the digital agency it was using to help it with email marketing and began exploring using a vendor to help better personalise their email messages and boost online revenue from its list of about 50,000 subscribers. Connell said “We were collecting a lot of shopper data but didn’t have the capacity to act on it.” she claimed. In October Cosabella signed a contract with Emarsys to work on customising the emails better and sends correspondence to the subscribers three days a week. After implementing it, their email revenue was increased 60% year over year and email open rates increased by 4%.
Furthermore Cosabella’s popular ‘12 Days of Cosabella’ holiday email marketing campaign (offering a different product every day) generated 40% to 60% more sales compared to the year before. For the first time last year they didn’t offer discounts in that promotion – they focused in on editorial content, user-generated content in email and personalised suggestions to pique subscriber interest.
Connell says that the brand have been able to “focus more on lifestyle” and we think that perhaps there’s something to learn from this approach. The case in point here is that during the aforementioned sales period, they did not offer discounts or promotions but instead used peak times to push content on themes like ‘sexy’, ‘trendy’, or ‘flirty’ to categorise the three different sorts of attitudes towards purchasing lingerie. This tactic is the perfect solution for the luxury brands who don’t want to devalue with discounts and yes, it would indeed increase your revenue. Good idea.
EU Digital Privacy Laws: Marketing via Messaging Apps to Get Harder
The European Commission announced last month that there are proposed changes to the ePrivacy Directive – a set of rules that regulate how companies collect data online about residents of EU member states. New proposals that include protocols for email, voice services and messaging are written to force platforms to seek the explicit consent of users before being able to use their data for advertising purposes.
Currently, messaging platforms are pretty much ad-free. Facebook Messenger allows sponsored messaging but only if there’s an existing dialogue between the company and the recipient. The scale and reach of these platforms means that there’s a lot of opportunity for marketers here, but regulatory changes mean any grand plans you might have won’t be so easy. Implications for Facebook in particular are prominent considering how dominant it is as a messaging platform.
Last year, research conducted by Toluna for digital marketing technology company Kenshoo found that half of internet users in the UK used Whatsapp and Messenger – making them the most popular platforms. EU scrutiny of the relationship between Facebook and WhatsApp has been on the rise. According to reporting from the Financial Times, Facebook suspended its collection of user data for advertising purposes on Messenger across Europe as a result of EU pressure. This didn’t stop the European Commission from filing charges against the company for providing “misleading” information in the run-up to its acquisition of WhatsApp in 2015 according to The Guardian. So in a nutshell, messaging has potential, but don’t get your hopes up just yet.
Internet Time in the UK Spent Mostly on Mobile
A comScore MMX Multi-Platform survey conducted in December 2016 revealed that UK female internet users spend over half of their time online via their smartphones. Both male and female internet users spend more time on their phones than any other device but there are differences in how each gender and age group spend their time online overall.
Male internet users spend less of their internet time on their phones (39%) but outpace them by 11% when it comes to desktop or laptop time. Both genders spend less than 20% of their time on tablets. You might see it coming, but younger internet users in the UK spend more time on their smartphones than other devices. 18-24 year olds spend 65% of their online time on a smartphone as did more than half of 25-34 year olds and 35-44 year old’s.
When it comes to the older generation, smartphones account for just over a third of 31% of their internet time. (55 and older) The most senior group was the only group to spend more of its time on a PC than a smartphone. All in all UK internet users spend half of their online time via a smartphone, and almost two-thirds via mobile devices if you factor tablets into this which means marketers and advertisers should optimise their digital campaigns to suit mobile.