The UK retailer’s 2013 Christmas campaign broke records, its TV ad spinning off into myriad other engagement and revenue streams thanks to digital channels, and the release of its 2014 retail report proves that it’s still enjoying success as a key figure as one of the UK’s most digitally innovative established retailers.
After 150 years in business, the company is clearly working towards trying to maintain this image. Speaking at IAB Engage in London, Lloyd Page, Head of online marketing for the company and Tim Pearson, Executive Director, Head of retail, agency development at Manning Gottlieb OMD outline some of the store’s upcoming digital experiments.
“Online business is seeing the most amount of change,” says Page, “It’s now worth a third of our overall sales.” Last Christmas was the first time that mobile sales overtook desktop, and in 2013, 10,000 transactions were made on tablet alone. “But shops remain absolutely key to our success going forward.”
Pearson explains that 50% of online orders are done via click and collect, which is now working in 5000 locations and other retail stores. This is thankfully evolving to Click and Commute services opening at London’s busy train stations, and it’s clear that getting this flexibility and convenience of eCommerce and real-world delivering right for consumers means that retailers will gain more trust.
In-store though, “digital convergence is something we are all trying to get right,” says Page, who refers to a previous failed attempt to use augmented reality, called Magic Mirror.
In balance he says that the company is experimenting using more mobile data in its shops where it opens up Waitrose sections, allowing for more accurate targeting of people and their purchase history.
Page and Pearson also outline the launch of an initiative in November; as an extension of its ‘any shape, any fabric’ scheme customers are able to customise their own sofa and have it 3D printed in store.
Increasing its digital innovation spend by a further 25%, the retailer’s future includes personalisation, more mobile and, exactly how is not covered, it has plans to use Oculus Rift, hopefully to better effect than its Magic Mirror attempt.