Consumers in the United Kingdom are not happy with their shopping experiences and think brands aren’t doing enough to anticipate their needs. Consider these eye-opening statistics from a recent Zeta Global survey of 3,000 U.K. shoppers:
- 46% of U.K. shoppers say the experience is just average.
- Only 40% said retailers anticipate their shopping needs “very well” or better.
- 48% agreed with the following statement: “I have to hunt around for things I like and they don’t make me feel especially special as a customer.”
- 81% would be more likely to buy from stores if they recognized them as previous customers and offered discounts. Almost two-fifths of these customers would be less likely to shop with other stores as a result.
Clearly there’s a disconnect between the types of commerce experiences people want and the experiences that brands are providing.
To learn more about the U.K. commerce landscape, I spoke with Curalate’s new Director of Sales for EMEA Frank Lombos. Frank has more than 20 years of technology sales development experience in the area of SaaS Performance Marketing Software. He also has a long track record of successfully ramping the European businesses for a number of U.S. based software companies. He’s held leadership positions at Peerius, an Episerver Company, YouSendit (now called Hightail), SDL Fredhopper and Coremetrics, which was acquired by IBM.
Commerce is changing in fundamental ways. What are the biggest problems for European brands trying to adapt?
It’s a very competitive landscape. Big fashion retailers in Europe like Zara, ASOS and Mango are trying their best to gain market share and stay one step ahead of the competition. They’re constantly trying to improve their services and are exploring features such as next-day delivery, free shipping (irrespective of spend) and enclosing return labels — with no questions asked. All this is driving the consumer to feel more comfortable shopping.
Another emerging initiative is to connect the offline experience with the online. Tommy Hilfiger for example is leading the way with its use of ‘digital mirrors’ in selected stores. All items in the ‘test’ stores have RFID chips embedded, so when the shopper takes the garment into the changing rooms, the digital mirror recognizes this and, via a variety of APIs, can connect to a number of data-rich sources such as the e-commerce platform, CRM systems, user ratings, product recommendations and other inspirational content. It also connects their in-store purchases with their web browsing history to give as personalized and rich an experience as possible. Additionally, if the shopper expresses interest in a garment, it interacts with the sales assistant outside of the changing rooms in order to bring any additional products the digital mirror recommends. The goal of this type of application is to provide a complete and controlled end-to-end experience that’s consistent both online and in-store.
What commerce trends do you think will resonate in the U.K. over the next few years?
There are two themes I’ve been hearing a lot about recently:
- Personalization. I think understanding the consumer on a one-on-one basis is really important. Getting a 360-degree view of that individual from all commerce touchpoints is a major game-changer.
- Bringing an understanding of social to the ‘on site.’ The experiences people are having on social are fundamentally changing their expectations of website interactions — and particularly the world of e-commerce. The content should be more engaging and the experiences more intuitive. Smart brands will capitalize on this to transform their e-commerce sites accordingly.”
Why is the Curalate platform uniquely positioned to help U.K. brands succeed?
We extend the buying experience beyond the website and make it consistent in offsite channels such as Facebook and Instagram. Commerce experiences are currently not optimized when you click through from places like Instagram or Facebook and we solve for that. It’s all about making the commerce experience more inspirational and relevant to the user. The challenge now is to go even further and bring the offsite channel user behaviors to the commerce site to maximize the experience for the consumer — which inevitably leads to increased conversion rates.
Curalate connects moments of discovery to commerce. By creating a compelling commerce experience that adapts to how your consumer discovers your products, we enable a seamless transition between offsite discovery and onsite conversion. The result? Greater order values, conversion rates and customer loyalty. Curious about how Curalate can help your business? Request a free demo.