Takeaways from DCA Annual Summit 2016 inc mobile tips, webchat, B2B eCommerce and more (episode 053)

I’m really pleased to be bringing you another hot of the press Takeaways episode.

Last week I was lucky enough to be speaking at the Direct Commerce Association’s Annual Summit in London. So I stuck around for the whole day to see what I could learn and bring to the podcast for all of you!

I’ve been attending Direct Commerce Association events for over 10 years now, and you get discussions and education there that just doesn’t happen anywhere else. Due to the traditional mail order core of the organisation there’s always a lot of great discussions about attribution, data selection, and print mailings. Whilst I am a big fan of print I’ve resisted spending the podcast waxing lyrical about all the new inline personalisation that’s available. Simply because there was other content that I feel would be more impactful and relevant to many more of you.

I’m covering:

  • Selected mini-updates about new reports
  • Highlights from B2B eCommerce master Andrew Nisbet
  • Top mobile commerce tips from the legendary Amy Africa
  • Fascinating info on Web Chat it’s power and how to do it well from Dixons Carphone
  • Key points from my session on Growing your Sales with Social Media

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dca annual summit 2016 takeaways

Full Script:

Mini updates

Epsilon Abacus gave us an update on their annual Home Shopping Trends Report – in my opinion a must read because it shows how sales and marketing effort have changed in key product categories year on year. There’s also some fascinating insight into how the weather affects sales…

Abacus Weather2
Abacus Weather

Royal Mail updated us on their Lifestage data research. Which is all about finding out how different demographics react to marketing materials that come through the post. Of course Royal Mail have a vested interest in getting us to send more post, but the data is really interesting.

RoyalMail everyone
RoyalMail everyone2

Highlights from B2B eCommerce master Andrew Nisbet

For those of you not familiar with Andrew Nisbet and his B2B eCommerce business Nisbets….

He started it in 1983, selling equipment for chefs. They now turn over £250m, with a profit of £32m, 2,000 in the team, trading in UK, Europe and Australia, and are growing at 10% per annum.

I wanted to bring you a couple of really interesting thoughts from Andrew’s story:

A key part of building the business was to create their own branded product ranges.

EG “Polar” which is fridges and freezers; or “vogue” which is saucepans. These are entirely designed, managed and manufactured by Nisbets.

They don’t seem to let anyone else sell them, although several have their own branded eCommerce sites.

These are not to replace the brands offered by their suppliers, but to complement them, and they’ve proved to their suppliers that it’s worth still supplying them even thought they are ‘competitors’.

Key reasons Andrew thinks this is a great strategy:

  • Puts you in control of your products
  • Creates a 2nd layer of identity. So if the customer decides they don’t want to be a customer of Nisbets anymore they may still want to be a customer of one of the brands. Giving customers a reason to return, and maintaining their sales.
  • To do it well you need to go for a strong mid-market positioning, so you have the volume of sales to make the product cost effective
  • To do this they put very little effort into the “brands” just came up with a name, did a logo and went with it!
  • He feels this will help protect their business as Amazon enters their space

International tips:

  • Logistics will be the biggest challenge- so really focus on that. Where is the warehouse going to be, how can you ship cost effectively.
  • Entering a foreign market is much more successful is you do it via acquisition

He finished with his 3 top pieces of advice:

  1. Learn and don’t be afraid to copy
    (well done to everyone listening and reading – you’re already doing this one!)
  2. Invent stuff.
    Products / prices / services. Because you have to find a way to differentiate yourself from your competition
  3. “uncomfortable enjoyment”
    If you’re too comfortable it’s a bad thing, if you’re not enjoying it, it’s a bad thing.

Top mobile commerce tips from the legendary Amy Africa

If you’ve not come across Amy Africa before she’s a Texan force of nature.

In the UK I have only ever heard of her via the DCA, where she was a regular speaker about 8 years ago. It was great to have her back this year, and definitely on form.

Amy Africa on form means ridiculously quick fire, incredibly useful and well-founded tips. A lot of writing and a sore wrist.

That’s because she does amazing things with user testing, and does a great job of really drilling into what is important.

The title of her session was “38+ sure fire mobile tips that you can implement today without breaking the bank”. I’m not bringing you all 38, I’m going to bring you my top takeaways from her session instead (not least because I didn’t manage to grab all 38 as she ran through them!).

  • Navigation and speed are the critical mobile success factors – the customer wants the answer fast
  • Mobile is the great equaliser. No one is doing it especially well right now. It’s not hard to get it right, and if you can get it right then you’ll create a competitive advantage.
  • The key to being successful on mobile is adoption – you need to get the customers using it, and don’t worry about conversion rates.
  • So don’t just look at your mobile stats separately from your desktop stats, look at your mobile stats split out into which channels the customers came from, specifically into 2 groups:
    • Those who you sent to mobile (eg email)
    • Those who happened to find you on mobile (eg SEO)
  • Then focus your testing and effort on the email customers. Because “if you can manipulate your email customers you can manipulate your mobile performance”.
  • (if your mobile performance is shocking, and you are currently unable to improve it – then send your emails at a time when your customers are more likely to open on a desktop)
  • To make that navigation fast consider creating mini-sites within your mobile offering, which strip the pages back to just what is relevant to that interaction. EG if you want their email address, strip it back to just the sign up info. Or if you’re targeting adwords based on proximity to store send them to a mini-site that just has a great stockist finder. Each of these might be 1 page or 100 pages. You may even have a different one depending on the traffic source. Or it might be one that just features your bestsellers.
  • Remove pages with a bad mobile experience from the mobile site. Amy finds this is usually 20-30% of the site’s pages
  • Have your own set of coupons readily available on the site – so a page with voucher code offers, to keep the customer there.
  • Start collecting mobile numbers as well as email (even if you don’t plan to send SMS for some time)
  • Customers experience a mobile site screen view by screen view. So
    • Each screen view should be cohesive
    • The buy CTA should be in every screen view on the product page
    • Keep forms to one view at a time
  • Focus testing and CRO (conversion rate optimisation) on the top mobile entry pages – this is where you will succeed or fail
  • Include clear availability
  • When you identify where the customer is struggling – do something to help them. Trigger live chat, or implement a popup telling them to call and how your team can find their basket and check ‘em out over the phone.

Web Chat – using technology to increase customer satisfaction and engagement

Amy added a warning about this – it may take 9 months of testing to get this right, so be patient and keep optimising! Oh, and don’t just put your best reps on it, because it’s a different skill. Rather find the right reps for it.

Ok, the session was by Angela Downes the Webchat Channel Manager at Dixons Carphone. As a group this year they won the Retail Week Retailer of the Year Award, and they’re Europe’s leading specialist electronics retailer employing over 40,000 people in 9 countries. Including various retail brands – In the UK multichannel electronics retailers Currys PC World, and Carphone Warehouse and more; In the Nordics Elkjop, Lefdal, Elgiganten, and Gigantti; Phone house in Spain and Kotsovolos in Greece.

Despite the huge scale of the business the great majority of Angela’s tips can be implemented by a business of any size. I really enjoyed hearing a session entirely devoted to this really important part of customer service – and one that (I learnt) is really a powerful sales channel.

They are one year into a project to fully adopt the use of webchat as a key channel. The reason they’re investing heavily in webchat is because the customers prefer it to phone calls.

Results so far:

  • 16,000 chat interactions per week
  • Conversion is 1258% better than online
  • AOV is 58% better than online
  • NPS is 6247% better than online

And it’s all trending upwards

It also gives them their lowest customer acquisition cost because

  • An agent can deal with 3 conversations at once, saving on man power
  • They are also able to use homeworkers which saves on office space

It’s performing so well they’re looking at how they can add the service to the physical stores.

Her theory is that it should be like when you walk around a store:

  • You don’t want to be accosted the moment you walk in, you should be able to walk around for a bit first.
  • You want to be approached by someone who’s knowledgeable, friendly and personable

However perfect you make your store customer will always want help. So don’t be afraid to offer it, it’s not a failing on your part if the customer needs help.

Her tips for you if you’re going to go into this:

  • Read the transcripts and feedback lessons to the team, and fix the problems
  • Focus on your customers and what they want
  • Focus on your agents, look after them, listen to them and train them well
  • Set clear strategic goals and avoid scope creep – if this is to be a sales channel, be a sales channel
  • Continuously improve – key areas with the actual chat pop ups: (thanks to Angie from Fur Feather and Fin for asking the question that let more detail on this one!)
    • The rules that trigger the proactive chat pop up
    • Where the chat pop up happens (in previous roles she’s found higher up the page works, at Dixons Carphone they started bottom left, and tested moving it up – not good!)
    • Make the opening line relevant – e.g. if the customer is looking at Apple Macs – “What some help picking the right Mac for you?”
  • Align the web chat activity with the marketing calendar

Given Angela has implemented over 36 webchat programs – this is great advice! And very easy for anyone to start testing and using.

Key points from my session on Growing your Sales with Social Media

My session focused on helping the attendees to understand how to work out how to use social media to grow your sales. To help with this I offered 3 theory points, and 11 examples, in this podcast I’m going to run through the 3 theory points, and you can grab those slides with all the examples.

1. Social Media is full of bright shiny objects

BSO’s are the things which distract you from what you should be doing – there are 100s of them in social media. From new social media platforms, through to tactics you can use.

So by all means pay attention to what others are doing and recommending by always consider how it might work for your business, and fit in with your current areas of focus.

To help you work out where to start there’s a couple of slides of stats about which platforms work for eCommerce in the slide deck – but please remember these are aggregated and so just because Facebook works great for many people doesn’t mean it’s going to be great for you.

2. Social media is a 2-way conversation

It’s not blast marketing, we all expect to converse on social media so…

  • You need to be ready to chat – this isn’t just about marketing, it’s also about customer services
  • You need content that people are going to want to chat about!
  • You have to measure it differently – you can’t compare the performance directly with that of Email or Adwords – it has a different job to do

3. Stop thinking “we need social media” start thinking “what type of social media will help me with the current problem”

This point relates straight back to the customer masterplan model I’ve introduced in my new book Customer Manipulation: How to Influence your customers to buy more and why an ethical approach will always win.

The key is to work out which of the 5 Stages needs to be improved next, then take the right actions to fix that.

The examples on the slides cover how to improve Stage 1, Stage 2, and combined Stage 3-5.

Thanks for listening today to my takeaways from the DCA Annual Summit, I hope you’ve found a few nuggets to help your business grow.

Make sure you keep listening too as we have some great interviews coming up for you over the next few weeks. Including Alastair Broom from Garageflex explaining his B2B eCommerce approach; Tamara Duschl the Head of Brand at Tesco (one of the world’s top 10 largest retailers), and Liam Jennings from Regal Gentleman – Ellie in the eCMP team says this one is her favourite ever.

Have a great week, and keep optimising