Monday, 25 July 2016

Not-so-fast fashion at Urban Outfitters

The US-based clothing retailer Urban Outfitters has been expanding across the pond in the UK and continental Europe.

The European managing director of Urban Outfitters says this about the retailer's merchandise:
Currently around 20% of our offer is our own-brand edit and the rest own buy. The mix of both is really important.
Contrary to the trend of outsourcing production and encouraging fast adoption and fast disposition of fashion, Urban Outfitters is promoting an own-brand label that is sourced and made in the UK from fabric remnants. Not only does the ReWork brand represent up-to-date fashion, it makes the most of UK design and materials. The result is, therefore, a bit experimental and feels like a limited-edition product line because the clothing items are made from remnants--with the actual remnants inspiring the designers, rather than the designers searching for material after creating a style. ReWork also helps the retailer polish its sustainability credentials.

Urban Outfitters reaches its European and UK target audiences through a variety of social media, including Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Speedier self-service at McDonald's

McDonald's UK wants to speed up ordering by having customers touch a screen just inside the entrance to its UK outlets. Tap to order meals or a coffee, insert a payment card and retain the receipt so you can collect your order by number. Those cashiers who previously staffed the till are now working behind the scenes or delivering meals to the table. Also being tested: delivery to home or office.

Amidst intense competition for the 'fast casual dining' customer, McDonalds needs to differentiate itself and refine its positioning. Self-serve ordering is one way to appeal to customers who habitually tap screens (smartphone or tablet) to order all kinds of products. The screen also updates the look of the outlets, adding a modern touch to a brand that has been in business for decades. The Aberdeen McDonald's, soon to open, is being promoted as 'high tech' because of its proliferation of screens and its table service.

Liverpool, interestingly, has a high concentration of McDonald's units, much higher than the national UK average.

Despite the high-tech updates, McDonald's UK continues its low-tech frequent-buyer reward scheme to encourage loyalty amongst coffee buyers. Every coffee cup comes with this peel-off loyalty card, good for a free coffee after the purchase of 6. This is an easy way to keep coffee lovers loyal without a lot of technology to slow down transactions.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Marketing results of second annual Amazon Prime Day

Amazon's Fire TV Stick, a best-seller on Amazon Prime Day
Despite some technical problems that prevented shoppers from clicking to buy a few of the deeply-discounted items, the second annual Amazon Prime Day was a huge success. Reportedly the online retailer's UK division received the most orders ever in a single day. Just as important, Amazon gained new Prime memberships and promoted the use of its exclusive shopping app.

Amazon's proprietary products were prominently featured and shoppers clicked to buy. The Fire TV Stick gadget was a top seller, and Alexa was also popular--being used to order other Amazon products, as well. Overall Amazon customer sentiment was positive and customer engagement was high.

From a marketing standpoint, Prime Day reinforced brand loyalty, attracted new Prime members, showcased Amazon's unique products and shaped customer behaviour by providing a mid-summer shopping 'holiday' branded by the world's original online retailer.

Amazon plans to continue Prime Day because it is achieving so many key objectives, both in customer relationships and in financial results. Not to mention good publicity for the brand.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Second annual Amazon Prime Day

Today is the second annual Amazon Prime Day, a day when the pioneering online retailer offers special price promotions for current Prime members and to attract new members. The first Prime day in 2015 created a lot of publicity for Amazon and resulted in a huge number of purchase transactions. In fact, Prime Day exceeded Black Friday's usual results.

The idea is to encourage shopping during the summertime, and make members feel like insiders when they get special deals that aren't available to everyone. Of course, since Amazon allows shoppers to sign up for a free 30-day Prime membership trial, everyone can, in effect, try and buy. So another objective is to attract new Prime members and convince them that the expedited shipping and access to streaming entertainment are worth the price of membership.

Amazon is promoting its Dash buttons at a discount, because once consumers install them, they simply press and presto! Replacement products for frequently-purchased items like laundry detergent will arrive quickly and automatically. Shoppers who grow accustomed to such convenience will be unlikely to switch to other retailers.

This year, as in 2015, the most coveted products being discounted are electronics, which lead the way in promotions. Amazon also encourages its sellers to get in on the promotion by offering deals to their customers via the retailer's website.

Will the number of transactions on 2016 Prime Day surpass the 2015 record?

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Top brands in China

In this final post for my 'marketing in China' series, a look at the top brands in China. Not surprisingly, different groups rank brands in different ways.

According to BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Chinese Brands 2016, the top brands are: (5) Baidu (a tech brand), (4) ICBC (financial services), (3) Alibaba (e-commerce), (2) China Mobile (telecomms) and (1) Tencent (e-commerce and technology, owner of WeChat app). Market-driven brands are gaining ground compared with state-owned company brands.

Campaign Asia ranks the top global brands active in China, with this result: (5) Sony (electronics), (4) Apple (electronics), (3) Chanel (fashion), (2) Nestle (food) and (1) Samsung (electronics). The 2016 ranking was unchanged from 2015.

Kantar ranks China's 'most chosen' brands amongst fast-moving consumer goods, with this result: (3) Mengniu (ice-cream and other dairy products), (2) Master Kong (instant noodles) and (1) Yili (yoghurt and other milk products).

Five fast-growing Chinese brands to keep your eye on are: ZTE (smartphone manufacturer), WeChat/Tencent (messaging/e-commerce), Huawei (appliances and technology products), (e-commerce) and LeEco (entertainment content and devices).

Friday, 1 July 2016

Western brands market on China's WeChat

WeChat QR code
China's wildly popular mobile text/messaging app WeChat serves more than 700 million users (the number will probably be even higher when you read this).

Users are so glued to the WeChat app that brands, naturally, want to be part of the experience. Here are just a few ways that Western brands are marketing via WeChat:

  • Burberry announces new products and showcases classic styles, as well as using WeChat for customer service.
  • L’Oréal Paris uses WeChat as part of its frequent-buyer rewards scheme.
  • Procter & Gamble's beauty brands have advertised on WeChat to engage consumers and build buzz.
  • Mulberry has used WeChat to target gift-givers on special occasions.
The marketing lesson: Brands have to be where their customers are, and adapt quickly to digital media or whatever new technology is on the ascendancy.