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WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES


Sidestep the supermarket woes. Overall the multichannel & home shopping market is doing quite well by comparison. In its latest Annual Trends Report based


on sales in 2014, published this month, Epsilon Abacus says that sales in the home shopping market had increased by 12.0 per cent year on year with average order values 1.1 per cent up on those achieved in 2013. November sales boomed, up by 14.3 per cent, driven by greater exploitation of Black Friday and Cyber Monday which helped to counter the reduced demand which many experienced in September and October. Te report spans the activity of the 500+ multichannel retail brands which are members of the Abacus Alliance and take into account the 500 million transactions these businesses generated which are estimated to be worth £20 billion. Interestingly mailing volumes for the


year were said to be down by 8.1 per cent year on year but this is widely a result of better targeting. Some home shopping businesses had slashed their catalogue budgets in favour of greater spend online. Mailing costs have, of course, risen significantly and reducing mailing volume has made economic sense for many sector businesses which have found little or no impact on sales as a result of their mailings being more intelligently targeted. Commenting on the year for the report


DCA Multichannel Council co-Chair Katy Ingram, head of marketing for Feather and Black said “Many businesses in the home furnishings sector continue to experience improved trading after the toughest recession in recent history. Investments in digital, social, and supply chain have been areas of priority for many. Customers can research products,


Issue Number 225 May/June 2015 ISSN 2049-8993 www.directcommercemagazine.com


Official Magazine for Members


DIRECT COMMERCE ASSOCIATION


find the lowest prices and quickest delivery terms more easily than ever before. In 2014 at Feather and Black we saw strong growth online driven by increased investment in paid and natural search. We also increased our investment in cold list mailings on the back of positive results in the prior year with a good proportion of customers choosing to shop online as well as in store.” What Direct Commerce magazine


is seeing bears this out. Readers are now taking a more holistic view of their businesses and leveraging whichever combination of media or touch point delivers the best response at each stage of the year. Many say that 2015 is the year in which they must master “joined up” personalisation in all customer interactions and to do this effectively and to a high standard they need first to achieve a single customer view. Most direct businesses have no problem with this as all sales are processed via a centralised order management solution which feeds the customer database but whilst they may masters at personalising promotions they do not always carry that personal touch


through the transactional and fulfilment process. It is when retail stores, trade counters,


pop-up outlets and other face to face selling is brought into the mix that the bigger challenges kick in. At retail POS a good customer experience can never be guaranteed and the opportunity to fully capture customer data is not always exploited as well as it could be. Tere is, as we know, considerably more to it than shoving a store card application across the counter. It is here where the work needs doing as often the front line store staff are not always fully aware of their potential contribution to the wider business. Leveraging mobile marketing opportunities to be able to influence store visits or specific purchases when the customer is in “sight” is reaping dividends but often let down by store staff having no prior knowledge of certain promotions. And woe betide any retailer who does not expertly manage its Click & Collect operations.


Pricing & Margin Optimization


Inside: 8


Catalogues Back in the Spotlight


New Look at this Powerful Medium


Clicks to Bricks 11 12


TV: Time for a 20


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