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IRC 2019 INTERVIEW Emilie Mouquot of notonthehighstreet on the changing nature of customer loyalty

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We’re looking ahead to IRC 2019 in a series of interviews and previews. Today, in our final interview ahead of Thursday’s event, we hear from Emilie Mouquot, customer and growth director at notonthehighstreet.

InternetRetailing: At IRC 2019 you’re speaking in a session on how customer loyalty is changing. Who is the typical Not On The High Street customer?

Emilie Mouquot: Our customer base is predominantly female and, interestingly, 80% of our partners are also female. Our customers are primarily 35 and over, however we have recently seen it diversify to a younger audience, aged 25-35 and male as well. 

In terms of geography, the large majority are based in the UK, with London representing approximately 20% of our audience. We find that a lot of our customers start to shop with us at different life stages, so we find a lot of customers using us to plan and gift for weddings or when having babies. Christmas is a crucial time of year for us and that’s where we find that we welcome quite a lot of new customers. We also find that we get a lot of people coming at other times of year to our site for self-gifting.

IR: Tell us about one or two challenges that you’ve encountered in understanding and retaining your customers?

EM: The ability to efficiently track customer behaviour and create scalable communication flows powered by technology that will allow us to create better retention. This means an efficient integration of customisation and personalisation for us.

The other challenge, which probably a lot of businesses will have talked to you about, is around business transformation at speed and how fast we are able to shift from a siloed channel approach to creating an omnichannel experience. Creating a seamless experience for the customer in an end-to-end journey can also be challenging at times but we are working towards constant improvement in order to boost loyalty and retention.

IR: Is that partly because customers are changing the way they are buying in the longer term?

EM: Absolutely. With the dominance of social media, mobile usage and increased level of competition, customer behaviour is changing. So it is about creating relationships through content, relevance and frequency at the right time. 

IR: What one or two approaches have you found that work? Do you have one piece of advice for other retailers trying to get to know their customers?

EM: Firstly having solid customer and behavioural data that flows into our marketing engines is pretty key. It allows us to make better decisions. Focusing on the quality and depth of data and the technology and business structure is important in allowing us to move from a multichannel to an omnichannel approach. It’s very much about creating an experience for the customer that we have found has helped significantly not only in acquiring new customers but also in creating loyalty, improving frequency of purchase, and recall of our brand. 

My advice to retailers is to think about acquisition, behaviour and cross-functional team work. Those three steps are crucial in order to get improvement in loyalty and retention. 

Acquisition is about gaining permission on opt-ins but also thinking strategically what information you want customers to give you. Customers really understand now that brands have a lot of information about them and they expect us to provide a customised approach and content to them. 

The next step is really delivering that personalised approach. Customers are quite happy to give data if they know that a brand will be able to provide a personalised experience. Really thinking about all these steps, and what information is important, and capturing the customer emails as and when they come to your site. 

When it comes to behaviour it’s about using the wealth of data you have on your site, through designing communication workflows that will capture the state of the mind of the customer. It’s about thinking about the path to purchase, the ‘where next?’ considerations, the purchase, and finding the right technology that will come hand in hand with those workflows. 

There are lots of ways to stack the technologies that will allow you to create communication workflows that will use email, push and social media all in one workflow, so then it really provides that great experience. Thinking beyond the technology and data, it’s about how the business is structured internally to work in a very agile way, and creating these cross-functional teams. What we find is that partnerships across tech, products, marketing, creative and content teams are very important to really deliver that great journey for the customer. 

IR: Aside from your own presentation, what are you most looking forward to at IRC 2019?

EM: I’ve been in retail for just over a year now, so I’m always very excited to attend retail events and really discuss and network with peers. I’m interested to hear more about some of the panel discussions – in particular the one on partnerships between brands, consumers and marketplaces. I am keen to see how it could bring more opportunities to businesses in retail. I’m looking forward to hearing more and seeing if there are some takeaways, something that we can think about for the future with notonthehighstreet.

Emilie Mouquot of notonthehighstreet will be taking part in two panel sessions at IRC 2019. Loyalty transformation in a fast-paced disruptive market: defining, measuring and committing your customer is at 14.15 in the customer engagement and loyalty conference. Omnichannel experience: becoming customer focused rather than channel focused is at 11.40 in the omnichannel conference.

IRC 2019 takes place at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London. A full-price retailer delegate ticket costs £495, but as an InternetRetailing reader we can offer you 75% off full price tickets if you use discount code IRMSEB100 (for retailers only).

Image: InternetRetailing Events

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