Changing Consumer Habits

Changing Consumer Habits

16th October 2012

One of two opening A4U London sessions was ‘Changing Consumer Habits’, a panel reviewing the growth of new technology and what this meant for the consumer over the next two years. It featured:

This session was moderated by Andrew Copeland, the Head of Affiliates at Tradedoubler.

What trends have you seen in the last 18 months where the actions of your consumers have changed?
The clearest change appears to be in mobile technology, which was mentioned by all three panellists:

  • Luke Burr mentioned that 39% of people who use phones instore are looking to discover better deals online.
  • Michelle Coulson commented that Mothercare has 30% of customers now coming through mobile (a high number vs. the 20% standard). Mums to be, a huge online market, use a variety of devices and media.
  • For Patrick Lynch, the big change was in big data – how you could capture browsing habits and be smart with that, particularly with regards to predicting what consumers want next.

Mobile is now clearly mainstream – what key observations are there on this relatively new channel?

  • Patrick Lynch said that shopping on mobile is still difficult in some verticals – particularly in multi-item shopping such as groceries. On the other hand, there is high conversion on tablet devices.
  • Additionally, the more fragmented media landscape presents a challenge to advertisers due to the multitude of possible ad formats.
  • Michelle Coulson noted the importance of different devices for different customers at different times to stay relevant. While mobile might not be the most effective channel for multi-item shopping, it is a vital component for local store marketing.

Retargeting is a sometimes controversial topic, but how do you see consumers interacting with advertising when retargeted?

  • Patrick Lynch was keen to point out that the data used by many services in retargeting was anonymous, and far less intrusive than most sales calls! Consumers (if they are aware of it) are getting more used to the practice and they do have the choice of opting in or out. The most important point is that advertising needs to be useful and relevant. When it is, you can expect higher returns.

Brand Advocacy is a hot topic, how do you use your advocates most effectively?

  • Mothercare have over 100,000 Facebook likes and can ask these people for their views on products and design feedback. It’s also an important sounding board.
  • Quidco offer customers bigger discounts if they share on Facebook and Twitter. 45% of app users are also premium customers, shopping ever 8 days and spending £340 per month. By working with retailers instore on their retargeting efforts, they’ve seen significant returns.
  • 45% of Quidco’s app users are premium users – shop every 8 days, spend £340 per month. Working with instor retailers to do retargeting, we’ve seen massive increase.

Should you have a mobile site or an app?

  • Phase 1 for Mothercare was to ensure they had a mobile optimised site, and phase 2 was having an app. The most important emphasis here was on speed – consumers don’t have a whole lot of patience anymore, and if you’re going to have poorly functioning apps or slow load times, it’s counter intuitive.

What do you see as the next technology?

The unanimous agreement was around BIG DATA. How to use large amounts of data most effectively is the next phase of digital marketing.

  • Patrick Lynch commented on customer experience getting much better as predictive algorithms informed them of next potential purchases with greater relevance than previously.
  • Luke Burr mentioned mobile payments – Starbucks now allow customers to pay via an app and tip baristas.
  • Michelle Coulson said click path attribution was having increasing emphasis, and that last click is no longer dominant.
  • Content other than text was also seen as important. Image technology on the web is likely to improve and the text based nature of search will almost certainly change with it. For Mothercare, with a large store of products and potential advertising methods, video was seen as an important medium.

And finally… online advertising and instore attribution is now being seen as a more complete loop – how important is this?

  • For Quidco, it’s ‘their number one priority’.


Written By
James Carson is a freelance Content Strategy consultant based in London. Having previously worked for Bauer Media on major lifestyle brands such as FHM, heat and Grazia, he now offers consultancy services in Content Marketing and digital publishing.
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