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The Social Slice: September Innovations

Want to stay on top of the latest social media trends? We can help you with that!

In collaboration with Social Circle, we’re here to keep you in the loop when it comes to the latest digital innovations. 

With the next event just around the corner, let’s take a look back at our September innovations roundup: 

Could Instagram be the new TikTok?

If there’s one thing you can guarantee in the world of social media, it’s replication. With each new trend, you can be sure that every social platform will find a way to adapt these new features for their own purposes. If you can get an exciting new feature on one of your favourite existing apps, then why would you download a new one that does exactly the same thing?.

This time, it’s Instagram that is looking to fend off the competition, with the platform currently working on a new toolset to rival TikTok. This new tool will be called ‘Clips’ and will allow users to record segments of videos into a single video story and will allow you to adjust the speed and timer of each clip. With TikTok claiming to have over 500million active users, it makes sense that Facebook, through Instagram, would like to capitalise on this market.

Facebook to offer new ad features to advertisers

Three new features are set to be making their way to ads in the coming months. Poll, playable and augmented reality ads will be available to allow advertisers to create more playful and immersive content in a bid to win over customers without the need for additional software development.

These new features will be rolled out under the banner of ‘Advertising You Can Play With’. Poll ads will allow users to vote between two options and can give advertisers more insight into what their customers want to see. Playable ads, in comparison, will allow advertisers to create gamified content, and AR ads will let consumers interact with brands through their smartphone camera.

These new updates reflect a movement towards content that allows audiences to also be content creators and a shift away from simply marketing at people.

Facebook x Rayban

As far as brand collaborations go, this new project from Facebook is one that we’re going to be keeping a keen eye on over the next few years! Facebook is currently working with RayBan on a pair of glasses which have been codenamed ‘Orion’ and are being designed with the intention of replacing smartphones.

These augmented reality glasses are being created out of the Facebook Reality Lab, who have sought a partnership with Raybans parent company, Luxottica, to get this new product out to consumers between 2023-2025. This product will allow users to take calls, show information using a small display, and Livestream their vantage point to social media friends and followers. At present, Facebook is working on a way to reduce the size of these glasses to a wearable size that consumers will be happy to wear. 

Facebook is introducing collaborative stories for public figures

In a bid to help public figures use Facebook to reach new audiences, engage with their communities and reach new audiences, the platform has recently started to test out a new function which will allow multiple public figures to contribute to the same Facebook Story during specific events.

This new function will help public figures increase their reach and engagement as users that do not yet follow their accounts, but are following the Facebook Story, would be able to view their content when clicking on these collaborative stories. Another feature that public figures will have access to is a fan reply sticker, which will enable them to create calls-to-action and prompts for followers to encourage them to engage with this content. These replies can then be reshared within the Story.

Is Facebook about to read your mind?!

Facebook has reportedly spent over $500 million purchasing a mind-reading technology startup! The company in question, CTRL-Labs, make wristbands that are said to decode electrical signals from your brain and in theory will allow you to control a computer using just your thoughts.

As Facebook isn’t currently in the consumer electronics business, it is believed that they may be using this tool as a new way to gather user data. However, with a varied history and reputation when it comes to data privacy, many Facebook users aren’t particularly happy with this news.

Facebook is looking to crack the teen market with new apps

For a while, Facebook has been trying to tackle the teen market and has recently launched two new apps to try and increase their popularity with this demographic. The first of these apps, ‘Bump’, will be a matchmaking app designed to connect students from the same school. The second app is called ‘Aux’ and will integrate with Spotify and Apple Music to let users listen to the same music with their friends.

However, since being released in August, both apps have failed to draw in more than 1,000 downloads and Aux has already been removed from the App Store. But according to Facebook, this is by design, as these kinds of apps will be shut down if they are found to not be useful to people.

LinkedIn will help you ‘find an expert’ with their new functionality

LinkedIn has recently added a new function to their platform with a new post option that allows a user to put out a call for help from experts. This new feature seeks to simplify the process of finding relevant freelancers and professionals that work within your industry.

With this new tool, LinkedIn is shifting the focus towards helping freelancers find work opportunities. It also means that you will easily be able to find relevant specialists to connect to from your industry.

Social Circle will be back for their next event, a Halloween special, on October 31st at Digital Cake HQ. Click here to book your tickets if you fancy meeting the team, handing out with awesome social media people and learning something new!

Email Marketing – 5 Quick Wins

Sick of spam? Here are 5 quick wins for your CRM marketing strategy.

While email marketing may be considered old-school in a world obsessed with social media, online influencers and viral video content, don’t move this method to your junk folder just yet! 

Emails are still a crucial part of the purchase path for many of your customers. Think about it – not everyone is going to be active on every social media channel, but chances are that anyone is who active online will have a working email address that you can retarget to. 

If you don’t already have a CRM marketing strategy in place then chances are that you’re missing out on major opportunities to convert website visitors into customers. Emails can be an effective way to send exclusive content, offers and discounts to people who already have a high intent to purchase. 

If email marketing is something that you are considering, here are our five top tips to consider for creating an effective strategy:

Find your perfect platform

Review which email-marketing platform best serves your needs. For many ecommerce businesses, you will want a platform that gives you all of the essential customer information that is needed to be able to later segment your audience based on product interests and those who have already made a purchase with you. 

For example, Klaviyo works incredibly well with stores on Shopify as this platform offers the ability to highly segment your audience so you can create bespoke email flows for customers based on how they have previously interacted with the brand. On average, those that use Klaviyo see an average increase of 46% in-store revenue after switching from other platforms.

Automation is key

Automated email journeys are triggered based on consumer behaviour, meaning that each customer will receive relevant emails which have been tailored specifically towards their unique position in the customer journey lifecycle. 

The great thing is, once you have these flows set up and optimised, that’s it! They will trigger automatically and fire to any customers who fall within the set criteria established for each email flow.

A study by Klavio found that abandon cart emails, which are extremely time-sensitive and highly targeted towards an individual subscriber, generally have a conversion rate that is 3x greater than other automated email flows. So if you don’t have an effective abandon cart email in place, you’re getting a lot of conversions slip away…

Segment, segment and then segment some more

The most effective way of standing out in someone’s inbox is all in the level of personalisation. By having clear audience segments in place you will ensure that all of your email campaigns are using effective messaging which appears to customers on an individual level rather than a generic blanket message that ends up straight in the junk folder.

Put your emails to the test

Have a testing plan in place. A/B testing allows you to test different subject lines and email content so that you can refine your messaging and optimise your most sending times for the most successful CRM campaigns.

At the start of your CRM journey, things such as the most effective creative for your campaigns will be unknown. Testing allows the audience to decide this information and feed it back to you, rather than you doing all of the guesswork.

Make sure that you are keeping a record of everything that you are testing along with the results of each test so that you can implement this to your email comms moving forward. Also, remember to test one element at a time so you can be 100% confident with the data that you get from the results

It’s what’s on the outside that counts…

Ok, maybe this isn’t exactly true, but email design is incredibly important none-the-less. If your email is going to be sent to your most engaged customers and those who are on the brink of purchasing.

Email design is important for building brand loyalty and reinforcing your brands’ visual identity. When it comes to email design, it’s important to consider a design that is optimised for mobile as most people now view emails on their smartphone.
It’s essential that any emails that you are sending out look attractive when viewed on a phone screen, especially as emails that display incorrectly on mobile may be deleted within three seconds, plus as many as 15% of users will even unsubscribe from your entire database!

So, are you ready to hit send on your CRM marketing strategy? If you want to know more about how email marketing and how this could be just the boost that you’re looking for, contact us today!

Is your website award winning? Follow these steps to find out

Everyone wants an award-winning website, but what exactly makes a website award-winning? 

Earlier this year, our client P&Co won the “Best Website Design” award at the Drapers Digital Festival 2019, so we have a pretty clear idea of which essential key features you need to look out for when reviewing the design of your own online store!

The foundation of every successful ecommerce business is a kick-ass and well-designed website. 

A well-designed site needs to deliver on certain expectations; it needs to be an accurate representation of your brand, create an engaging user experience, be easy to navigate, and most importantly it needs to convert customers.

A well-designed site won’t just ensure that people visit on your page, it will encourage them to stay there and then come back again for more. It will give your brand an authoritative online presence and make your store a trustworthy place to shop.

We’re going to let you in on a few insider tips and tricks that will boost the performance of your website and even help it win a few of its own awards:

Website Checklist

Use high-quality images

  1. You want your customers to be instantly visually engaged from the moment that they hit your site, so make sure that you’re using eye-catching, high-resolution images and videos consistently across your online store. The photography and imagery that you use will play a vital role in successfully immersing your customers into your brand and help them buy into the lifestyle and products that you’re selling.

Think about navigation

  1. Subtle hover and transition effects help create a seamless user experience and allow for smooth, easy navigation on your website.

Be consistent

  1. Make sure that you remain consistent with the visual brand guidelines that have been set up and established for your business. Doing this ensures that your business maintains a clear visual identity across platforms and allows customers to easily identify your site and content against competitors. 

Avoid too much white space

  1. Keep an eye on the padding/margins whitespace around the website elements on your store. Ask yourself, does this element need all of this whitespace, or can it be reduced?

Format your text correctly

  1. The average reader only reads around 20% of the text on a web page, so make sure that the copy on your website is easy to read, formatted correctly and that long body text is broken down into easy-to-digest chunks. This will help ensure that any visitors on the site can easily read the page and identify the relevant information that they need.

Is your site mobile responsive?

  1. Not everyone has the time or opportunity to browse the web on their desktop, and with most people visiting sites via their mobile, it’s essential that your website is responsive and has been designed so that it is able to cater for devices of all sizes.

Test your page speed

  1. Before people even start to navigate through your site, you need to know that it actually loads for them! Make sure that you test your page speed first as all other optimisation projects will fail to generate results if you find that your page doesn’t even load correctly. Nothing can annoy a user quite like slow page speed, and having a slow loading time and will often cause users to bounce from a site before navigating through any of its content. 

Is your site confusing customers?

  1. How easy is it for a user to navigate your site and find the key information that will convert them into a customer? Visit your site as if you were looking to purchase something and establish how clear the navigation is – if your website is confusing for you then it’s likely that it will also push potential leads away and straight towards a competitor.

Don’t just focus on one browser!

  1. Don’t leave your customers in the dark by building a website that focuses primarily on one specific browser, as doing this will only exclude a potentially large section of your customer base. As a growing business, this could become quite a costly downfall. Luckily, to help with cross-browser compatibility issues, developers can now use Gulp which will provide support when it comes to writing out the extra code for additional browsers. The top browsers that you will need to check your website in are; Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer & Edge

If your site doesn’t deliver, you can be sure that a competitor will. How many of the above have you considered and addressed with your own website? If you’re looking for additional ecommerce support then get in touch with a member of our team today and book in your own ecommerce review to see how we can work together to create (another) award-winning site!

The Social Slice: August Innovations

In the world of social media, nothing stays the same for very long. From emerging trends to new technologies and platform innovations, it can be hard to keep up with all of the latest information.

But we are here to solve that! In collaboration with Social Circle, we are starting a series of monthly blogs to make sure that your digital strategy is positioning your business at the forefront of the digital industry!

Here are our top 10 new innovations that happened during August:

1. The chat feature is being removed from Facebook groups.

Do you use Facebook Groups as a part of your social media strategy? You may have noticed that the chat feature has recently been removed from these pages and that you are no longer able to initiate group chats via Groups. 

It is suspected that the decision to remove this feature has been in an effort to limit spammers and those that used the feature as a way to “chat blast” group members with a particular sales message.

Facebook removed this feature on August 22nd. However, this does not affect regular Messenger Group Chats with friends via personal accounts.

2. Facebook is reportedly developing a new messaging app called ‘Threads’

A new stand-alone app is being developed by Facebook which is designed to help people communicate with their close friends. 

Unlike other apps, ‘Threads’ will allow users to share more information, more often, with their closet friends. The app is being designed to act as a companion to Instagram and is intended to be used alongside your Instagram ‘close friends’ list, allowing you to share intimate details such as location, speed and battery life. 

3. The direct message functionality is being removed from YouTube

After initially rolling out direct messaging in August 2017, Youtube will be removing this function from September 18 to shift their focus towards creating public conversations instead.

Originally designed as a way for users to share videos directly within its mobile app, users will now have to share videos by clicking the option “share” on a video and then clicking on the “social network icon” to choose which platform you want to share a video on.

4. Facebook introduces a  ‘clear history’ update.

As a way to increase transparency on their platform and give users more control over their data, Facebook is introducing a new ‘Clear History’ tool which will allow you to see the off-Facebook browsing data that the site has stored for you, and will allow you to clear this Facebook history.

Once this tool is available you’ll be able to view the sites and apps that you’ve interacted with, block them from sending the tracking data they collect on you to Facebook, and dissociate all of your off-Facebook browsing data from your profile. 

This doesn’t mean that Facebook will remove your history from its servers, just that your data will be unidentifiable and not associated with you.

5. Facebook update their ads to allow for placements in search results and back-to-back Instagram stories.

Facebook has been updating its ad capabilities and has recently introduced two new significant changes for social media advertisers. 

The first big change is that you are now able to place ads in Facebook’s search results when setting up ad campaigns. Businesses that want to select this placement will not be able to do so without also placing ads in the newsfeed. Similar to newsfeed ads, search ads will be clearly labelled with a sponsored tag, and can appear as either a static image or in a carousel format. 

The second change comes from Instagram, as it is reported that the platform is currently experimenting with running back-to-back Story ads for advertisers. Although only a small number of users are currently being tested, it indicated that Instagram is making way for more ads in Stories and that marketers should take full advantage of this increased ad inventory. 

6. Instagram is testing a built-in AR background

As Instagram Stories continue to grow in popularity, the platform is looking to increase activity on this feature and are introducing something called “background” which will give users the ability to choose an image from their camera roll and use this as the background for their Stories camera.

Following this development, Facebook has also introduced Spark AR, a new tool which gives anyone the ability to create AR experiences that they can then share on their Stories.

7. Instagram is working on a Stories ‘About You’ section

Instagram is looking to boost engagement among users around stories with the introduction of a new ‘Stories About You’ activity section. This new feature will show users when they are @mentioned or tagged by another Story creator, and simply means that Story notifications will be separate from other notifications on the app.

8. Snapchat introduces an instant create tool 

Snapchat has announced ‘Instant Create’ which will allow advertisers to easily create ads on the platform via Snapchat Ads Manager. All you have to do is sign up for an ad account, select an objective, enter the business website and then choose the targeting for the campaign.

The platform is also making it easier for smaller advertisers to create their assets, the instant create tool pulls images from the destination URL and the snap text can be overlaid on top. 

9. LinkedIn is expanding its success hub for marketers

LinkedIn has recently announced a new Insights and Research feature which will be a new centralised hub to help marketers enhance their paid social advertising strategies with LinkedIn insights.

This new hub will help marketers enhance their social media marketing strategies with insights such as new data on their audiences, industries and the advertising landscape on LinkedIn.

10. Instagram scheduling is now available using Creator Studio 

Marketers and Facebook admins are now able to now schedule Instagram feed posts and IGTV videos from their desktop using the Facebook business manager Creator Studio

This new feature gives you the options to add image ad video posts (not multiple images), captions, location tagging and hashtags. You can’t yet tag people or products in the posts, and while you can publish or schedule you can not yet not save posts as drafts.

Check out our latest YouTube video to find out more about the key innovations highlighted above, and let us know what you think! Will you be using any of these new social features within your online marketing?

Designing an identity for your brand: The benefits of a brand workshop

If you want to gain a deeper understanding of what makes your brand unique in its field and subsequently tell a more compelling and authentic narrative about your business, a brand workshop could be the next step that you’ve been looking for.

Whether you’re a new business that is looking to define their unique identity or a long established company that needs to overhaul their image, participating in a brand workshop will allow you to redefine your business objectives and position yourself towards success.  From defining your brand’s digital marketing strategy to agreeing on the structure and functionality of your website, a brand workshop is an ideal catalyst to facilitate collaboration and fast track decision making.

Brand workshops are an invaluable tool for helping people re-energise their company at any stage of the ecommerce journey. For instance, if your existing branding is starting to feel stale and out of date and you’re looking to reach out to a new audience, a brand workshop could be the key to identifying what steps need to be taken to create a new identity which reflects your authentic vision and core values.

Taking part in a brand workshop also allows clients to create bespoke and individualised marketing plans that are based on their specific needs, weaknesses and challenges. They also offer business owners the unique opportunity to work on their business as opposed to in the business. The strategic plans laid out during a workshop can provide an overview for business owners for the next 6-12 months of their marketing strategy.

During a brand workshop the four following key areas will be covered:


This will include a market analysis to determine where your brand currently stands, where you are in relation to your competitors, and what you can do to better position yourself and your business in the market. Part of this may also include identifying the key audience personas for your brand

Brand Messaging:

Now that there is a clear insight into what your brand represents and what key messages need to be conveyed, you can make sure that this is consistent across all channels and that each persona is effectively targeted on the right channel.

Strategy Analysis:

Using the information generated from the above, the next step is to create a bespoke marketing strategy that works for your specific business and industry sector. Part of this will involve creating a series of marketing campaigns to carry over the next quarter to ensure that all key trading periods are effectively covered.

Execution of Ideas:

Now that you know what messages you want to convey and who you are speaking to, the next stage is to establish what your “always on” approach is and which campaigns you will run alongside this to further boost your brand during key periods. Part of this will also include establishing what your exact messaging is, and how often you will refresh this so your audience doesn’t become blind to your messaging.

The key element to any brand workshop is to make it fun! This should be an opportunity to have an open, collaborative and energising discussion about your brand and uncover your companies core beliefs, purpose, vision, values and personality.

By exploring your brand’s core identity in this setting we can cut through all of the clutter, pull you from being overwhelmed with the scope of possibilities and create a list of actionable ideas and insights which address the key business objective for the next quarter and beyond.

Interested in taking part in a brand workshop? Contact our team today to see how we can help you move to the next phase of your ecommerce journey.

Flavour Of The Month: Everything You Need To Know About Instagram Stories

Instagram Story Highlights are a great way to place important information front and centre on your profile…These added insights offer a holistic view into who you are, what you do and what you stand for.

Instagram is the current flavour of the week in the world of digital marketing and whether you’re active on Instagram for personal or professional reasons, you’ve likely noticed the growing influence of the ‘Stories’ feature on this platform as more and more brands tap into the potential of this new content format.

A recent report from Facebook revealed that Instagram Stories are now viewed by 500 million users per day, making this channel a prime location for engaging and connecting with your audience. Plus, with 2 million advertisers already investing in promoting their content across Instagram and Facebook Stories, if you want to harness the potential of this new format before your competitors do then you need to have an optimised strategy in place now.

Making your relationship Instagram Official

If only making an impact on Instagram was as easy as simply boosting your best image… However like any successful marketing campaign, creating an Instagram strategy that delivers results requires knowing, understanding, and wooing your audience over a period of time.

Think of your instagram page a bit like your dating profile; you should use this platform as an opportunity to showcase your best bits and highlight all of the great reasons why customers need to invest in your products over a competitors. Our client Made Clo are a great example of how harnessing Instagram can elevate your brand and push for conversions within a community of engaged users. By combining high quality product and lifestyle images with optimised paid social campaigns (that run across both Instagram feeds and Instagram stories), we have successfully pushed consistent conversions through the site and maintain a ROAS of £5+.

Another interesting report from Facebook revealed that many businesses find it difficult to initially build their audience on Instagram as users tend to be more selective regarding the pages they follow. The mentality of the average Instagram user is grounded more in curating your own feed, rather than following any and every account that you come across like you might have historically done with Facebook and Twitter.

Whilst this may make it more difficult to initially attract new followers, it places a higher value on the followers that you do generate as these have already expressed a genuine interest in your content therefore will have higher chance of converting into customers.

Telling Your Story

So how exactly do you utilise Stories? What does a successful strategy look like? And how do you measure the success of your performance?

While the old techniques of interacting with users that follow a certain hashtag and the classic ‘follow/unfollow’ approach may work to some degree, this doesn’t give you an accurate measurement of how engaged users are with your content or how they organically interact with it. However, with Instagram Stories, you can gain more insight into which of your content performs well and create an open dialogue with your followers to nurture this relationship.

The two main metrics you’ll want to look at first is the reach and impressions of your stories. Reach refers to the number of unique accounts that view each slide in your story, while the impressions refer to the total number of views on each individual story. Impressions offer you a deeper insight here and tell you when someone has watched your story more than once. If your impressions are higher than your reach, it means that your story has been viewed more than once by profiles.

Other metrics that you can analyse here is the navigation of a user when they hit your story. You will be able to see whether they tap forward, back, to the next story or exited stories entirely. Here you can more accurately assess which content performs the best depending on how people navigated away from your content. For example, if a person taps back this could show that they are rewatching your story as they are highly interested in your content and want to view it again.

Getting Engaged

Last year Instagram released an update which allowed verified profiles and business accounts with 10,000+ followers the ability to add links to their Instagram Stories, providing your followers with another route to your website by simply swiping up. While not everyone has access to this feature, it does play to the growing role that influencers on social media have when it comes to directing attention towards a product or brand, and is something to keep in mind as you grow on this platform.

It’s important to note that regardless of your current following, something that all profiles can and should do is create content that is designed to engage your customers. The data generated from this can still provide a  valuable insight into your consumers and how successful your profile is in putting them on the purchase path towards a conversion.

Interestingly, data shows that Instagram will reward accounts that successfully generate replies on their stories from their followers. If you continuously produce content that elicits a reply, or some form of engagement from your followers, that this will boost your chances of appearing at the start of their highlight feed at the top of their Instagram, meaning that you’ll be able to capture their attention before they get swept up by a competitor.

Appearing at the top of a users Instagram home feed not only keeps you at the forefront of their mind but also increases the opportunity for you to forge a deeper connection with your audience. But getting user engaged in this specific content stream requires an entirely different approach than your normal content plan…

Creating A Kick-Ass Plan Of Action

Instagram Stories are a great tool for building anticipation with your audience, if you have a new product launch coming up then this is a key platform to offer behind the scenes footage and preview images of your items before they are released to the public. This will also offer you a key insight into your followers’ initial thoughts and help you understand what type of content gets them excited for a product launch.

Maintaining your brand aesthetic is something that can be carried across to your Instagram stories by simply creating a batch of templates using your brand imagery, fonts and colours to create a seamless flow of content across social channels. As Instagram continues to invest in their Stories, new in-app features are frequently being added that allow you to add engaging extras to your content such as music, polls and gifs. These features offer your followers a new way to interact with your account and gain crucial insight into their behaviour on your page.

Story Highlights are a great way to place important information front and centre on your profile and can be broken down into categories such as Q&A’s, information about the company/team, key product facts and behind-the-scenes footage. These added insights into your company create a rich batch of content for followers to engage with and will also help to establish trust and authenticity as you are offering a holistic view into who you are, what you do and what you stand for.

Are you looking to invest in your social media strategy and utilise the growing popularity of Instagram stories? Head over to our social media marketing page and then get in touch with our expert team today!

The Shopify Story: From The Frontline of Ecommerce

Whatever your product or unique selling point might be, you will start your ecommerce journey with a question that all e-retailers must answer; which platform should you host your store on?

Your chosen platform will act as the bedrock of your online offering and will form the foundations that you build you tech stack on. It will also determine the future scalability of your site and how your store will behave in the future.

When done correctly your users will be completely unaware of what’s in your tech stack, as this will make up the hidden elements of your store, they will however be able to see its effects and how successfully it works.

Shopify vs Magento

There are countless articles online which break down the key similarities and differences between each of the main players, however none of them give much insight into the realities and implications of choosing one platform over another other.

When initially deciding which platform to host on, what is it that lures someone in? And what role do these factors ultimately play when it comes to the longevity of a business and total cost of running an online store?

When Is A Fixed Cost Not A Fixed Cost?

Platforms like Magento lean more towards a larger upfront investment to build your website and lower fixed running costs, so as you grow the investment gets more cost-effective . Sounds good doesn’t it? However, our experience with an array of clients reveals that this initial cost rarely ends up being the end of the development, and their comments reveal that the final development bill can often snowball quickly into a much larger cost.

Other costs that have to be taken into account include the ongoing cost of hiring a specialist team who will be responsible for maintaining and running your website. It’s important to note that with this, you will also have to consider the total time that will be spent waiting at the hands of your developers and having to pay for features that Shopify allows at the click of a button. Do you really want to be sat waiting around for something when your Shopify competitors made this change without even blinking and have already started to profit…

But what if you already have your own hosted ecommerce store and you’re exploring your options?

As we are operating in such an incredibly fast-paced industry, adapting your store to work alongside each update will result in extra fees that fall outside of your initial proposed cost. And after already investing a large amount of money into optimising your existing store, it can become increasingly difficult to justify further development each time an update is released.

However by failing to embrace to these updates, your store will fall behind. Leaving you in the difficult position of spending money on running and maintaining a store which is no longer optimised towards an engaging customer journey or converting visitors.

Adapting To Change

Let’s take the impact of Social Media as an example. Social media has had an undeniable role in shaping our current consumer habits, in particular how we interact with ecommerce stores and brands. Being able to adopt social media into your ecommerce offering is therefore crucial for keeping consumers as engaged participants in your sales funnel.

For example, consumers are now able to shop directly via Instagram Stories, and while those with a bespoke built store (like Magento) had to work around this development in order to implement these change, whereas a hosted ecommerce solution such as Shopify, instantly provided a solution and created an update which allowed for stores in their ecosystem to adapt to this change and offered it to their customers straight away.

The above example also relates to a frequent issue that ecommerce vendors face; not being able to edit the core code of your site. Leaving you vulnerable to change as the industry develops at a pace that you are unable to keep up with, and frustrated at a site which costs a lot to maintain but simply doesn’t deliver results.

My past experience with Cloggs is a prime example of this, as I remember trying to add ‘Amazon Payments’ to our checkout and spending literally 2 years discussing the change with our platform provider, only for this process to take so long that so it never actually happened! We were stuck due to technical onboarding issues and the increasing cost that it would take to implement this change. Now seeing how Shopify allows you to add new payments to your checkout by simply checking a box in the backend and it makes me chuckle…. Etailers of today don’t know how easy they’ve got it!

Quantifying Additional Costs

In order to have a successful store, you need a site which is equipped to develop and adapt alongside changing consumer shopping habits. The brands which have continued to generate steady business and make retail work despite current trading conditions can attribute a percentage of their success to their sites ability to adapt to industry change and use social to engage their customers and being able to do so in a low risk, low cost manner.

Costs which are difficult to quantify in a simple comparison blog include the cost of your time. With Shopify, retailers are left to focus on what they specialise in; product and proposition. Their time isn’t spend chasing a team regarding an endless list of updates that need to be implemented into their store.

Another cost which is often left out of these blogs is opportunity cost. As Shopify works to create solutions as soon as a new update is released, you don’t have to spend time worrying about future proofing your store as Shopify is already doing this for you automatically and you don’t lose out waiting to justify the expenditure or for your development partner to get round to the development. The retail industry is packed with short windows of opportunity to make the sale, missing out a key piece of development pre-Black Friday for example could make or break the retail year.

The Real Price Of An Ecommerce Store

There is a real cash pressure of running an ecommerce site, and being able to keep up with changing consumer habits is vital. You want to know that the ecommerce platform you have chosen is able to deliver on your expectation of having a store that is future proofed for the success of your business.

Taking a look back at which platform historically has the best track record for keeping up with change, Shopify comes out on top. And looking to the future, Shopify again has the best reputation for being able to effectively future proof your store. The bonus of choosing a platform which is able to deliver on these expectations and accommodate industry changes is that any stress is being taken out of your hands in a cost effective way.

Shopify works on a shared success model, so as the platform improves and more stores choose to invest in it, this will be return in the development of your store in terms of keeping the platform fresh, innovative and adaptable to industry change. Most importantly, it allows retailers time to focus on what they’re good at.

If you want to say goodbye to unnecessary costs and investing in a store which is geared towards the future success of your business, take a look at our website to see how we can get you set up on Shopify and even manage your ongoing digital marketing.

Influencer Marketing: Has It Been Burned By Fyre?

Where were you back in April 2017?

Whatever you were doing, if you had internet access and a Twitter account then it’s likely you were watching the implosion of Fyre Festival unfold through a series of Twitter threads and hashtags.

There’s No Smoke Without Fyre

For those that aren’t aware of Fyre Festival, this was an event which had been marketed as a luxury music festival and originally gained viral fame after a social media campaign that starred Instagram’s most trending models.

Tickets for the doomed event sold online for thousands of dollars and were almost immediately snapped up by influencers and rich socialites alike. However, far from the luxurious escape that consumers were promised, what ensued was more akin to a millennial rendition of Lord of the Flies than a private island getaway.

It seems quite fitting that an event which promised to be ‘Instagram come to life’ was ultimately shattered by a single image of a cheese sandwich in a styrofoam container that was Tweeted by one of the guests, creating a glaring contrast between the fiction that was sold and the reality that was experienced.

We Didn’t Start The Fyre

Fyre festival has since become a cautionary tale in the world of influencer marketing and has forced the industry to place itself under an intense microscope.

Operating as a modern form of word-of-mouth advertising, there’s no reason why companies shouldn’t harness the power of influencers to help sell their products. What needs to be established however is the distribution of social responsibility that brands, social media agencies and influencers have when selling a product or lifestyle to a consumer.

Jerry Media, the agency behind the popular meme account @FuckJerry, were responsible for marketing of the festival and the orange tile campaign that initially catapulted Fyre into the public sphere. The question here is how much responsibility should we ascribe to Jerry Media for the scam that Fyre Festival turned out to be?

While they aren’t responsible for the event itself and had no authority regarding logistics or decision making, they did play a significant role in getting consumers to part with their cash and contributed to a false image of an event that turned out to be nothing more than a failed trick of smoke and mirrors.

The ethics surrounding influencer marketing is a topic that requires deeper discussion, for example, where is the line between promoting a product to an engaged audience and outright exploiting them? How much due diligence should an influencer do to ensure that the product they are promoting is what customers will receive? And what are the wider implications that come from selling a product as a result of a swipe up from someone’s story?

Ultimately, what the recent Fyre Festival documentaries expose is the hold that influencers have over their followers and how easily they can turn them into a pool of eager consumers.

Selling A Dream

What initially looks like a documentary that serves to feed our morbid curiosity surrounding a festival gone wrong actually becomes an interesting exploration on engaged audiences and how willing many of us are to buy into the narratives that we are sold on our timeline. One of the event organisers in the Netflix documentary event even says; “We’re selling a pipe dream to your average loser.”

What makes Fyre Festival so interesting for those that work in the digital marketing sphere is that an entirely social media-based marketing campaign was responsible for enticing thousands of rich millennials to part with an extortionate amount of money for what is now known to be a fraudulent scam. The organisers of Fyre Festival exploited the potential of social media to sell an experience which never actually existed.

Despite the now infamous nature of Fyre Festival, influencer marketing is still as strong as ever, with brands routinely paying big-name influencers hundreds of thousands of pounds to post product reviews on their Instagram and mention their products in YouTube hauls. One noticeable consequence that you will see when scrolling through Instagram is that the crackdown on more open transparency in regards to influencers explicitly stating whether their content is a sponsored post or not. Even an item that has been ‘gifted’ by a company must be labeled as a sponsored post.

If working with influencers is something that you want to pursue, it is essential that you work with an agency that understands the role this modern type of marketing will play in your digital strategy and who is responsible for delivering what result. Contact our team today to find out more.

The Need for Speed

Website Speed White Paper

It’s all too easy to get carried away with how your site looks, we all want to have a nice shop front.

But don’t forget about the health of your site underneath the bonnet. You need to make sure your site is first of all being found in order to drive traffic to your shop front.

Here we look at the importance of site speed in being found online and converting your browsers to customers.

Please fill the form in opposite to read your FREE copy of our “Need for Speed” White Paper

I know The High Street Is Suffering, But Don’t Blame Digital

Another festive season has come and gone, and the latest sales data released on ‘Retail Super Thursday’  tells us stories of a number of former high street heavyweights who are struggling and whose traditional business models are now inadvertently causing their downfall.

Winners and Losers

But how are stores, that used to be the pinnacle of British retail, now suffering their worst Christmas since the height of the financial crisis? Before the results of Retail Super Thursday had even been released, the growing disparity between traditional bricks and mortar retail and ecommerce retail had created a backdrop of tense trading conditions.

Some of the losers from the 2018 festive period included HMV, who have recently been called into administration for the second time in six years as a result of changing consumer habits and a (no longer recent!) shift to online streaming, and Debenhams, who have been struggling for some time, reported like-for-like sales falling 6.2% in the 18 weeks to January 5th.

Many retailers are referencing volatile and increasingly difficult trading conditions as the cause of these disenchanting results, with retail correspondents confirming that our high streets have been left exposed and vulnerable thanks to the spiralling cost of keeping a bricks and mortar stores open, the decline in consumer footfall during November and December and of course the increasing competition coming from online giants such as Amazon.

A Shift Towards Online Shopping

Each year Christmas shopping increasingly shifts more towards being an online event, but is it fair to ascribe the rise in ecommerce businesses as the main catalyst for this trend and the causal reason for the downfall of the great British high street? This narrative that the high street is suffering because digital has an unfair advantage and are stealing away customers is a tired one and requires unpacking.  Let’s take the often cited ‘rates’ debate for example.

Ecommerce businesses and traditional bricks and mortar stores are both competing for consumer interest in a crowded marketplace, however operating a successful online store requires a completely different business model and involves a widely different distribution of running costs.

Distribution of Costs

In a recent article, Amazon confirmed their UK business rates of £63.4m, which is roughly £40m less than Next despite generating over double the number of sales compared to the UK retailer. Looking further into these figures, only £2m of Amazon’s rates bill (3%) comes from the seven Whole Foods Market stores that they own, and the business rates for their High Street Kensington flagship amount to nearly £1m. Amazon commented that: “Online sales are still less than a fifth of total retail sales in the UK”.

The additional tax burden for high street retailers plays a significant role in the growing imbalance between ecommerce and high street stores and adds additional pressure to already tense trading conditions. However, as noted above, the two operate using two completely different business models which require two completely different distributions of costs. To simply accredit the troubles facing the high street to the rise in ecommerce and its supposed advantages is both irresponsible and inaccurate and adds fuel to the notion that digital businesses should be taxed more.

The two largest costs for a high street store are likely to be their rent and their stock, both of which are governed by the private sector. Rates bills come under focus because they are legislated by the Government and are not insignificant of course, but small relief on this one cost alone will do little against poor gross margins on the long term performance of a business.

Furthermore, rates on a high street should be high as they cost more to maintain! We need to invest in and improve our city centres, a central government decision to cut costs here would only serve to put an increased strain on local government and could consequently result in our shopping districts becoming even less desirable places to go. Rates may be an easy target, but they are ultimately unlikely to reverse the current market trends.

The Price of A Ecommerce Store

So why does digital still get the blame for this cost being different when it comes to running an online store? Let’s look at this from the ‘etailers’ perspective, there are no barriers to entry when creating an online store, for example, competition is rife and can come from nowhere. In order to run a successful business and generate sales online, a large percentage of your costs need to be spent in driving traffic to your site as there will be virtually no organic footfall on day 1 without prior funding or investment in your online footprint via SEO, PPC and social media.

A retail store on the high street, on the other hand, may be paying a higher percentage of rent and rates, but they get a guaranteed or the very least a predictable level of footfall on day 1 and every day thereafter, making these figures effectively a part of their marketing cost. Comparing marketing costs, rent and rates across the industries would be a far more revealing analysis to undertake.

Etailers do benefit from a tax system geared towards encouraging research and development where there are notable reliefs available, which no doubt contributes to the low rates of tax that these digital businesses pay. We should look to similar reliefs for the high street, rewarding innovation and those businesses genuinely investing to improve the nature of their retail, rather than un-targeted and blunt measures to reduce rates.

Next Steps

When it comes down to it, an ecommerce store is the same threat to a high street store as an escalator is to a set of stairs. One is seen as more convenient than the other, but preference will always come into play and really they are both just different means to the same end – to sell a product to a consumer. The next step for stores hoping to survive the changing retail landscape rests in their ability to innovate their customer experience and integrating a seamless multi-channel approach which will make it easier for customers to shop their products.

Chris Thomas

CEO& Founder, Digital Cake

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