While 92.9 per cent of Australian retail spend is still spent within bricks and mortar, increasing Australian mobile phone usage is not a figure that we can ignore.
Consider that 84 per cent of Australians own a smart phone. One in four Australians are preferring to communicate through social media, instant message, voice over IP and video, rather than place a call.
Our research shows us that currently there are 17 million smartphones used in Australia alone with over 40 per cent of millennials actively using their smartphone in retail purchase decisions.
Mobile has changed the way people shop. We browse products while waiting to be seated for dinner, make purchases on our commute into work, and compare prices online when we are instore.
So what role as retailers can we play in this interaction? As the retail ecosystem has evolved and grown, social media has become an extremely accessible touch point allowing all retailers to intimately engage with their customers via mobile.
Today, many retailers are moving beyond just posting to their audience via a photo on a timeline or in 140 characters on Twitter, but utilising the power of video messaging on the likes of Snapchat and Instagram stories to provide unique added value content for their customers. Video messaging allows for education, open dialogue, personalisation and customisation of the brand experience.
When Instagram stories first launched in 2016, Nike, Starbucks and J Crew all utilised the platform to run behind-the-scenes content, with beauty giant L’Oréal using it to provide a tutorial on its YSL Touche Éclat products to the brand’s 1.5m followers
Interestingly, Mercedes-Benz says it had five million more impressions than usual when it first posted a story showing how a shot for its main Instagram feed was put together. Many retailers tied content to live events such as London Fashion Week, letting viewers see their “raw” side, with images shot from the hip rather than being beautifully polished.
Hugh Pile, L’Oréal’s west European chief marketing officer said Instagram Stories increase engagement with Instagrammers, for example, Kiehl’s sees 8 per cent of its followers click on its Stories posts versus two per cent who like its traditional Instagram updates.
For Mercedes-Benz, like many retailers, Stories and video messaging has been more about brand awareness than hard sales.
However with Instagram trialling shoppable tags with a limited selection of 20 US retail brands in November 2016 including Kate Spade, JackThreads and Warby Parker, this may be set to change as the move to social becoming commerce is imminent.
For those that can’t wait for this technology to broaden its reach, British retailer Ted Baker is proving that there are alternative ways to convert the power of video messaging into sales by integrating seamlessly within a larger content strategy. In this case the brand is utilising interactive store windows, Instagram stories and a 360-degree shoppable film.
The innovative disruptor, famous for its irreverent approach to retailing, store and clothing design, has launched a new episodic campaign which will run on Instagram Stories.
The campaign, titled ‘Keeping up with the Bakers’ focuses on a fictional family who move into Tailor’s Lane, a fictional suburb which is hiding dark secrets.
The new campaign’s main feature is a fully shoppable short film. Viewers can click straight on the clothes in the film to buy individual items or a whole outfit, as well as being invited to poke around the Baker family home and reveal hidden content.
Instagram Stories are then being used to complement this, acting as a ‘gossip channel’ with daily episodic content revealing more about the different Baker family members. Followers are invited to become a Tailor’s Lane nosy neighbour by completing daily challenges, and new content and details of winners will be revealed on Instagram Stories. People are also able to click through a selection of five different ‘TV channels’ in Stories.
Craig Smith, global brand communication director at Ted Baker has said that each of the campaigns advertising channels will have original content to avoid replication and that Instagram Stories was chosen over Snapchat because of a matter of functionality.
Ted Baker is a retailer who treats every season as a new opportunity to delight and excite their customers. The marketing campaign from the previous season goes out the window, and the new campaign is always new, fresh and engaging. When working with clients on seamless integrations across vast retail ecosystems, we regularly use Ted Baker as a case study of a ‘fit’ retailer who manages to ensure that each new season’s marketing campaign (which encompasses multiple channels), always holds a tight and strategic story, to enable greater conversion into sales. With a strong strategic direction, and all channels seamlessly working towards that same goal, not only is the customer having a great experience from any brand touch point they are coming across, your retail business is able to have the best chance of converting into the valuable sale.
Think mobility, coverage, flexibility, social, experience and community when designing your retail ecosystem, after all, Ted touches all his community at once.
Brian Walker is founder and CEO of Retail Doctor Group and can be contacted on (02) 9460 2882 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Vikki Weston, co-author of this column, is part of Retail Doctor Group’s Retail Insights team and can be contacted via email at email@example.com.
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