Personalisation is better than discounting, says panel of retailers

Radley & Co and Oliver Sweeney are using personalisation methods to engage with customers, from segmented email marketing campaigns to tattooing designs onto leather shoes. 

Speaking at the Magento Live conference in London this week, Rowan Luckie, head of eCommerce at Radley & Co, described how the retailer has begun to personalise its leather handbags by adding initials to the iconic Scotty dog tags. 

“It’s a great way to incentivise customers with free personalisation rather than discounting and it’s a good conversion mechanic,” she said. 

Luxury mens’ fashion retailer, Oliver Sweeney, is also personalising its shoes, thanks to an in-house shoe tattooist. 

Speaking on a panel at Magento Live, Alex Barbier, digital marketing director at Oliver Sweeney, said the personalisation of products generates a lot of engagement.

“We do not necessarily get a lot of orders on those shoes, but showing the fact we can personalise and make those shoes your own shoe, increases the sales on every single product line – to create engagement, that’s our secret weapon.”

He added: "Customers are beyond collecting points to get discounts, that’s the past, what they want is a one-on-one personalised relationship. In luxury you can’t build loyalty by giving away discounts or else you’ll kill your brand."

Personalised online campaigns

Both retailers are also personalising their eCommerce websites and email marketing campaigns. 

Luckie described how the Radley brand is trying to acquire a new customer base, beyond its loyal customers who have loved the brand and its Scotty dog logo since it launched 15 years ago. 

“They’re obsessed with the handbag and to them it wouldn’t be a Radley without the dog,” she explained. “But we’re looking acquire new customers and the dog for them doesn’t resonate as it does with our core loyal customers.”

Luckie said the retailer rolled out a marketing campaign in Grazia magazine, where the handbags were cleaner and did not feature the dog as prominently. Radley then followed up the campaign on its website using Monetate to personalise the customer journey. When new customers arrived they were served homepage content to resonate with the Grazia customer, but customers who came via social media and email – who loved the brand – would be presented with bags featuring the Scotty dog which they expect to see.

Similarly, Oliver Sweeny finds its new customers tend to buy a certain iconic pair of shoes when they are first introduced to the brand, whereas loyal customers are less interested in a pair of shoes they already own. 
“When customers log in we will show these customers how to style their shoes with trousers or a blazer,” Barbier said. “Segmenting customers doesn’t need to be complicated – whether it’s a known or unknown customer, it’s simplicity that increases engagement and conversion rates online.”

Meanwhile, Oliver Sweeney – which is about to launch on the Magento platform in the next two weeks – also created personalised videos which it sent to customers via email. The videos were personalised to a customer’s location, weather and styles they had recently bought, so the local store manager could provide personal styling tips on camera. 

“We sent it to 25,000 customers and had a staggering click-through rate,” he said. “Usually click-throughs are 2,500-3,000, but we had 8,500 clicks. Now we’re going to deliver that on Facebook, based on where you are, the weather and your purchase history with us.”

But Barbier said in order to deliver personliased campaigns, retailers must have a single view of customers. 
“What it takes to deliver engaging content is data,” he said. “I don’t want to use the buzzword, big data, because it doesn’t mean a lot. But we collect data in store, and from customers ringing us and online. So the first step is getting a single customer view.”

Barbier said retailers must have one account for each customer and see their purchase history from every channel. “We don’t reinvent the wheel, it’s a fairly simple segmentation strategy.”

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