Customers expect shopping online to be a breeze, and any sticking points along their journeys increase the risk of cart abandonment. UK-based fashion retailer Seasalt is using Acoustic Analytics to pinpoint customer struggles and improve the experiences — inspiring more shoppers to purchase online and instore.
Challenge: Switching on to retail trends
To differentiate its offering in the competitive fashion retail space, Seasalt needed to deliver a high-quality brand experience and seamless user journeys. How could it gain the insights it needed to enhance the customer experience?
For fashion retailers like Seasalt, the digital channel is a key opportunity to provide the kinds of high-quality experiences that turn casual browsers into loyal customers.
Aron Cody-Boutcher, Chief Customer Officer at Seasalt, begins: “The customer experience is at the heart of everything we do. Whether someone visits us in one of our retail stores or on our e-commerce site, our goal is to make it easy and enjoyable to shop our clothing and homeware collections.”
With revenues increasing swiftly year-over-year, Seasalt wanted to harness its scalable, cost-efficient digital channel to continue its steady pace of growth. To achieve the goal, the company aimed to offer a more seamless and personalized experience via its e-commerce site and email outreach — but gaining the necessary insights posed a challenge.
“In the past, we had only a high-level view of the way customers were engaging with us online,” explains Cody-Boutcher. “As a result, it was extremely difficult to assess how well our marketing strategies were performing.
“We also lacked visibility into the journeys that customers took as they explored our site, which made it hard to identify ways to improve their experience and pinpoint technical issues that might be causing customer struggles.
“To help us make better-informed decisions to improve the customer journey, we looked for a way to deepen our insight.”
Solution: Gaining deep insight into the digital experience
Seasalt deployed a digital customer engagement platform based on Acoustic solutions, enabling it to map customer journeys, pinpoint online struggles and personalize its email outreach.
To help enhance the digital customer experience, Seasalt chose Acoustic Analytics (formerly Customer Experience Analytics) — enabling it to visualize online journeys and rapidly identify opportunities to resolve sticking points. The company also selected Acoustic Exchange (formerly Universal Behavior Exchange), which allows it to feed insights into customer behavior from its e-commerce site to its Acoustic Campaign (formerly Campaign Automation) marketing platform. This information helps Seasalt’s marketing team deliver more relevant, personalized outreach. And thanks to the Product Recommendations capability of Analytics, the company can dynamically populate its emails and website with product suggestions tailored to each customer’s individual tastes and preferences.
“We had already been using Campaign for a number of years before we embarked on our customer experience analytics transformation, and our successes with the platform gave us confidence that Acoustic had the solutions and the expertise we needed to achieve our goals,” recalls Cody-Boutcher.
“We also greatly appreciated the fact that Acoustic could offer us all the capabilities we were looking for without the need for manual integration — Exchange handles all of that work for us. As a result, it’s easy for us to use insights captured in one part of our solution to take action in another.
“For example, if Analytics shows us that some customers have struggled to check out their baskets because of a technical issue, we can send that information to Campaign and invite those customers to come back and complete their journey when the issue is fixed.”
Working together with Acoustic, Seasalt deployed its new solutions into production and restructured its marketing function to take full advantage of the new capabilities.
“We have increased the size of our marketing function from five to 15 people, and many of our new team members rely on one or more of our Acoustic solutions to drive their day-to-day work,” comments Cody-Boutcher. “We’ve appointed a member of our digital innovation development team to use Analytics to track down potential experience issues on our website. We also have two analysts using data from the platform to identify the digital content that our customers engage with most — helping us to make data-driven enhancements to our website and marketing campaign content.”
He adds: “Our work with Acoustic continues to be a valuable partnership. It is fair to say the integration of the Acoustic suite of marketing technology has revolutionized our internal conversations. From opinion to data-driven insights and actions.”
“Our goal is to make the shopping experience as easy and as pleasurable as possible, and our Acoustic solutions offer us the deep insights we need to deliver seamless customer journeys.”
Aron Cody-Boutcher, Chief Customer Officer, Seasalt
Results: High-quality journeys attract sales
With analytics insights from Acoustic to back up the insights of its marketers, Seasalt is already enhancing the digital customer experience — with measurable results.
“In the past, we’d conduct our planning activities ahead of a new season or product launch based on gut feel alone — but today we can bear out those kinds of decisions with hard data,” says Cody-Boutcher. “We can now answer questions such as: ‘What marketing assets for this website banner are going to drive the most clicks?,’ ‘Should we be including more or less text in our marketing emails?,’ and: ‘What’s the optimal copy to include in our email subject lines?’ Making the right decisions is a powerful source of competitive advantage. While open and click-through rates for our industry are dropping, ours have grown significantly year-over-year.”
When Seasalt launched the Product Recommendations capability of Analytics to display dynamic suggestions in its emails, the company needed a way to draw the reader’s attention to the content and inspire them to click. The company was confident that adding a local touch to its emails would drive the engagement it was looking for, and used its Acoustic solutions to test the assumption.
“We changed our description from ‘recommended for you’ to ‘designed in Falmouth, recommended for you,’ and performed an A/B test in Campaign to assess the impact,” continues Cody-Boutcher. “The results were outstanding. Changing just three words is set to deliver a revenue increase of £40,000 this year — something that we would have been unable to measure before. Our journey with the Product Recommendations capability is just beginning, but it is already driving 3.7 percent of all our digital sales.”
By harnessing its new customer experience insights, Seasalt can rapidly pinpoint and remediate sticking points on digital journeys.
“Not only do we get alerted when customers are experiencing friction on a certain part of our site, we can also determine how many users are affected and the estimated impact the issues are having on our bottom line, so we can prioritize what to fix,” adds Cody-Boutcher. “If one of our customers calls our helpdesk reporting a problem with checking out their basket, we can use Analytics to get straight to the root of the issue. We are now able to pinpoint and resolve experience issues that we did not know even existed before.”
Looking to the future, Seasalt sees that its adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies will play a key role in long-term success.
“We see that AI is going to become an integral part of the marketing toolkit for the retail industry, and by building up our expertise in these technologies today we’re positioning ourselves to compete effectively in the future,” concludes Cody-Boutcher. “Our goal is to make the shopping experience as easy and as pleasurable as possible, and our Acoustic solutions offer us the deep insights we need to deliver seamless customer journeys.”
Founded in 1981 in Penzance, England, Seasalt creates beautiful and useful clothing and homeware inspired by Cornwall’s coastal and creative heritage. Headquartered in a design studio that overlooks Falmouth Bay and St Anthony’s lighthouse, Seasalt markets its products through its online store and via 350 retail partners across the UK.
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