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Nottingham Digital Summit: Speedo and Experian on finding right formula to engage customers

Speedo and Experian were among the big companies that shared their experiences on innovating to reach new customers at the Nottingham Digital Summit

Ask any business worth its salt will testify, having a good product is only the beginning – finding the best way to convey that to the consumer is the hardest part.

Speedo and Experian are two major companies that believe they have found solutions to customer engagement and shared their experiences and tips with marketers at the Nottingham Digital Summit.

From creating user-friendly shopping platforms to tailoring big data for personalised content, there were plenty of key takeaways for the 600-strong audience at the East Midlands city’s inaugural tech event, hosted by digital marketing agency Hallam Internet.

 

How Speedo boosted sales through goggle selector tool

When it comes to swimming goggles, few companies come close to matching iconic swimwear brand Speedo for product quality and quantity of options.

But with more than 145 pairs of goggles across its range, scale was perhaps one of the British company’s problems as customers were overwhelmed by choice.

It meant Speedo, part of the Pentland Group that also owns brands such as Mitre, Canterbury and Berghaus, had to come up with an easier shopping process for the company’s second biggest product category, behind swimwear.

Rachel Starling, a senior UX designer at Speedo, explained how her team created a digital goggle selector tool that now provides a better user experience.

In her talk, titled Speedo goggles: Seeing through a new digital lens, she said: “If you underpin what you’re selling with a user-centred design process, you’re more likely to meet your user needs and even exceed them in a way you never expected.

“We were able to do that by leveraging user and business insight.”

Ms Starling highlighted the clear link between user experience and performance through statistics, which indicated 88% of consumers won’t return to a website after a bad experience – while 86% will pay more for a better customer experience.

Speedo
Speedo goggle selector tool

The Speedo team, based at its head office in Nottingham, first had to determine how customers were interacting with the existing experience – including what worked well for them and what the challenges were.

“When a user becomes aware of something you’re selling, whether it’s software, healthcare or the finance industry, you need to be aware of how they can access it, and how it compares with competitors,” said Ms Starling.

“If you know what they’re looking for, you can produce a great experience that really matters to your user, giving a higher chance of delivering a return on investment.”

Evaluating the user experience involved receiving qualitative feedback from customers on the existing experience, in-store research, studying category competitors and comparators, and examining data.

The team learned that customers had difficulty choosing from the 145-plus goggles, understanding what the different attributes were across the range and being able to shop according to their preferred type of swimming, such as fitness, open water and competitive.

A good example of a comparator’s service was Specsavers’ buyer’s guide, which included features such as a screen displaying different lens tints for the customer to visualise.

Speedo decided it needed to create the goggle selector tool with a user-centred design.

Users can select who they are buying for, the type of swimming they enjoy and the style of lens they prefer – mirror, smoke, prescription or blue, which carry different attributes.

Since its launch in March 2017, it has led to double-digit growth in online goggle sales.

Ms Starling said: “The reason we know the tool played a big role in that growth was because we had double the conversion rate of users on the site who were now buying something.

“It didn’t mean everyone who used the tool was buying, but it meant more people were engaged with the brand through the tool to then buy from us.”

 

Personalising content will increase revenue and cut costs

Log on to your Netflix, Spotify or Amazon account, and there will be plenty of temptations on offer in the form of binge-worthy TV shows, music and gadgets.

That’s because the tech giants have worked out that “recommended for you” displays are the best way of winning and retaining customers.

And while it may feel like they have really taken the time and effort in getting to know every aspect of our lives to reach such (usually) accurate conclusions about our tastes, the suggestions are merely targeted at similar people who are just like us.

Not that it’s a bad thing, and such sophisticated personalisation holds the key to top-level customer engagement, believes Experian’s digital partnerships manager Ian Coupland.

Nottingham Digital Summit
Experian’s Ian Coupland speaks at the Nottingham Digital Summit

He says: “Amazon has tonnes of customer data – it knows what we’re browsing for and everything about our persona.

“It feels like it’s just for you but the algorithm finds people just like us, and it provides a very personalised experience for us.

“As a user, we now expect a company to know all the different devices and platforms we use, so in terms of a marketing funnel we have to fit all these in.

“We don’t want to be starting again from where we were 20 minutes ago if we switch on to another device for browsing or watching something, we want continuity of service.”

As an expert in big data, Nottingham-headquartered Experian collects and aggregates data on more than one billion people and businesses – covering 70% of households – and sells the information to companies.

Mr Coupland believes this data is crucial in identifying the consumer as accurately as possible, and then using those insights to inform every action along the “marketing funnel”.

“If you do that, then hopefully the user will see more messages,” he says.

“You have to improve your conversion rates so you aren’t wasting your effort on someone who’s never going to convert.”

Experian statistics back up the theory, with a study showing 79% of people are more likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalised, while 88% of companies reported measurable improvements due to personalisation – with more than half reporting a lift greater than 10%.

From an ROI perspective, acquisition costs have been reduced by half for companies through personalisation and revenues have increased by 5% to 15% on average.

Despite this, only 28% of marketers currently personalise their on-site experiences.

Experian says it can identify “prestige persons” who would benefit most from personalised data, returning the information in 150 milliseconds so companies can target the most worthwhile consumers quickly and efficiently.

Mr Coupland adds: “If you have data on your customers, use it to personalise.

“But personalisation isn’t all about the individual – it’s about groups that make you feel personal.”

 

AI does not have to spell the end of marketers, Nottingham Digital Summit told

We’ve all heard plenty about how artificial intelligence (AI) could become so prevalent that it replaces human jobs in the future.

But according to a study by Leeds marketing intelligence service Smart Insights, 73% of senior marketing leaders are excited about the change AI will bring.

Co-founder and content director Dr Dave Chaffey said: “It’s about how we link AI into the top priorities for businesses – how can we use AI for smart innovation?

“There’s so much data available so how can we harness it so we don’t need to go through screens and screens of data?”

Ownership of internet-enabled devices grows all the time.

According to UK communications regulator Ofcom, 29% of households have a desktop computer, 64% a laptop, 58% a tablet, 76% a smartphone, 36% a smart TV and 9% a smart watch – with almost all growing year-on-year.

That means it’s important for companies to target communications across multiple channels, believes Dr Chaffey, adding “multi-channel skills are the way forward.”