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business data Podcast product Retail Startups

Neighborhood Goods: Making retail relevant

Physical retail traditionally exists in a vortex of information, which doesn’t make sense for brands these days, says Matt Alexander, co-founder and CEO of new department store Neighborhood Goods, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast. 

The company’s inaugural space, which launched in Plano, Texas, in late 2018, carries a selection of new and established brands in an environment that is hyper relevant to both its location, and its customer, through the use of data. 

Alexander’s view? Success lies in information. “If you’re a direct-to-consumer, digital-native brand, you’re going to look at this world, and you’re going to say: ‘We should be able to capture a certain amount of informative data to dictate how we should run that store, and how we should merchandise [it]’.” he explains. “That’s what they do on the web all day long. The moment you land on any of their websites, they know a huge amount about you, and exactly how you’re interacting with that site. And they optimize around it.”

His brilliant phrase: it’s all about operating in an economy of relevance. 

It’s for this reason many legacy retailers are otherwise struggling, he explains. In a basic sense it comes down to them not creating the goods, services and experiences that they know for fact the consumer wants. There is therefore a lot for them to learn from D2C incumbents – from Everlane to Casper – who have placed this front and centre in their strategies. 

Join us for this episode as we also explore why experiential retail needs to go beyond just putting a ball pit in the store, how modern brands are using the physical space for entirely new reasons, and why Alexander believes legacy retailers may still have the ability to play catch up after years of ignoring consumer needs after all.

Listen here: Entale | Spotify |  Apple Podcasts | Android Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RSS

Catch up with all of our episodes of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by the Current Global, a consultancy transforming how consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

Categories
business data Editor's pick film social media

From the archive: Unilever’s ‘All Things Hair’ provides stellar example of big data in action

unilever_allthingshair

In December 2013, Unilever launched a YouTube channel in the UK dedicated to hair. All Things Hair, as it’s called, generated over 17 million views and an average viewing time of one minute and 51 seconds, in its first six months.

Today it has nearly 180,000 subscribers, and remains one of the strongest examples of big data being used effectively.

Created in conjunction with agency Razorfish, it is filled with hair styling tutorials from leading video bloggers (vloggers), including the likes of Zoella and Tanya Burr. That content isn’t arbitrary however, rather selected based on Google searches.

Unilever partnered with the search giant to gain real-time insights into what exactly people are looking for knowledge on. There are 11 billion searches about hair on Google every year – 30 million each day – making it a rich pool to draw from and enabling the company to predict what solutions, problems and styles people care about.

That information is sent to the vloggers – many of whom have several million followers in their own right too – who are paid by Unilever to create the tutorial content incorporating brands including Toni & Guy, Dove and VO5.

Speaking at Cannes Lions last year, Unilever chief marketing and communications officer, Keith Weed, said: “The content is relevant, useful and authentic. It’s a really cool application of big data, based on what is actually big insights.”

It’s also a great example of merging together real-time search data with influencer and content marketing. Cleverly it does so in a way that retains an authentic feel, rather than a hardline promotional one.

Some recent example content:

Categories
business data Editor's pick film

Unilever’s ‘All Things Hair’ provides stellar example of big data in action

unilever_allthingshair

Big data might be one of those phrases we’re all now used to hearing, but finding examples of those truly using it effectively (and willing to talk about it) are few and far between.

Enter then Unilever’s All Things Hair, a YouTube channel from the UK that really speaks to real-time relevance thanks to true data insights.

Created in conjunction with agency Razorfish, it is filled with hair styling tutorials from leading video bloggers (vloggers). That content isn’t arbitrary however, rather selected based on Google searches.

Unilever partnered with the search giant to gain real-time insights into what exactly people are looking for knowledge on. There are 11 billion searches about hair on Google every year; 30 million each day – a rich pool to draw from, enabling the company to predict what solutions, problems and styles people care about.

That information is sent to the vloggers – many of whom have several million followers in their own right too – who are paid by Unilever to create the tutorial content incorporating brands including Toni & Guy, Dove and VO5.

Speaking at Cannes Lions this year, Unilever chief marketing and communications officer, Keith Weed, said: “The content is relevant, useful and authentic. It’s a really cool application of big data, based on what is actually big insights.”

It’s also a great example of merging together real-time search data with influencer and content marketing. Cleverly it does so in a way that retains an authentic feel, rather than a hardline promotional one.

Accordingly, the channel has generated over 17 million views and an average viewing time of one minute and 51 seconds, since it launched in December 2013.

Some example content:

Categories
Blocks business Comment fashmash mobile

Luxury brands must shift from interruption to relevance, says Google

piastanchina_google

The fashion industry needs to focus in on relevancy and personalisation in order to better reach today’s luxury consumer, said Pia Stanchina, Industry Manager of fashion at Google UK, during last week’s #fashmash event in London.

While your average consumer expects to now get what they want, when they want, where they want, the same is doubly true when applied to luxury, she explained to the crowd of 75 guests – heads of digital and social media from across the fashion industry, including designer brands, retailers and relevant technology companies – who were celebrating the relaunch of Fashion & Mash at the all-new Google Glass Basecamp.

She referred to luxury consumers as “more mobile, more demanding and more connected” than ever. The stats back it up: luxury consumers have 2x the smartphone penetration of the average consumer, and 75% of them now research luxury purchases online, according to a study from Google in September 2013 called ” How wealthy shoppers buy luxury goods: a global view”.

In fact, mobile searches in most retail categories are set to overtake desktop searches in mid-December in the UK. But for luxury searches, mobile is due to overtake desktop in just the next week or two. “These consumers now expect to be able to access information at any time and from any device,” Stanchina said.

In spite of this, the luxury industry is still incredibly hesitant to facilitate it. “While no one will argue with the importance of protecting a luxury brand’s equity, a brand is only valuable as long as it is relevant,” argued Stanchina. She outlined mass retailers as having had a more experimental approach in helping them stay up to date with changing consumer behaviour. Macy’s, John Lewis, Tesco and Argos have all set up incubators and labs to test and develop new tech in-house, she said. It’s in this space we’re seeing true omnichannel strategies emerge.

For luxury meanwhile, there remains real caution around taking any missteps when it even comes to communications with customers. This is particularly the case when you look at the seasonal campaign work put out.

“On social, we instinctively understand that as the name implies, it is a forum for engagement. And yet, when it comes to the main communications that most brands produce, these will still be one-way broadcast-style flighted campaigns on TV, in the press, outdoor and online.

“And while we know our customers don’t live in a flighted world and don’t all have the same history with our brand, they all get the same message. The customer that has invested in a piece every season for the last 10 years, sees the same image as someone considering their first purchase from us,” Stanchina explained.

She called for brands to move towards an “Always Ready” approach – shifting from the sometimes on, sometimes off, activity of flighted campaigns, to being ready to interact with consumers at any point that is most relevant for them. Tailoring those interactions then becomes the critical part.

“Digital marketing technology allows us to understand exactly what the previous interactions were that a customer had with us and tailor our communications to deliver the natural next step in the conversation,” she said.

Luxury brands should be taking advantage of this to push relevant messages about products they know consumers love, rather than relying on generic ads showcasing their entire lines. They should also be responding to search queries with personalised answers based on both the content and the context of the question, said Stanchina, referring to whether said consumer is on a mobile, has been to the brand’s site before or has seen a display ad for the product they’re researching.

She added: “As Tom Ford – a man who knows a thing or two about luxury and brand building – has stated, ‘Time and silence are the most luxurious things today’. So let’s not interrupt our consumer’s time or break their silence, unless they are actually asking us to or we have something highly relevant to say to them.”