Whether online or in-store, the sense of discovery is an unquantifiable and undeniably enjoyable part of the shopping experience.
From browsing local market stalls whilst on holiday, to visiting the latest boutique opening on a high street, or unearthing a unique retailer online - all around the globe consumers are searching for hidden gems; those rare items that grab your attention, but in a manner that suggests they wouldn’t have jumped out for anyone else.
Made.com, the homeware and furniture brand, illustrated an effective way to recreate this sense of discovery with its recent digital advertising campaign. Made.com wanted to drive more qualified traffic to its site, enabling consumers to easily discover, browse and buy from the brand’s range of furniture and homeware accessories. While it had previously used product shopping ads, the brand took the decision to test a new approach through showcase shopping ads.
Product shopping ads are designed to advertise individual products. In contrast, showcase shopping ads let advertisers group together a selection of related products and present them together to introduce the brand or business. This gives consumers the chance to discover products in a visually rich, fully curated experience. These ads help the user decide where to buy when they search for more general terms like ‘furniture’.
With showcase shopping ads, Made.com was able to show relevant products together with a selection of lifestyle images representing the brand. Whenever a user clicked one of their showcase shopping ads, it expanded to reveal a host of enticing Made.com products that were most relevant to the user’s search terms. In other words, the data fuelled the discovery.
When consumers are looking for ideas and inspiration, search is a trusted ally. People now believe that answers to their most specific questions are out there, and they trust search to deliver the right response at the right time. There has been a 60% growth in mobile searches for “__ for me” in the past two years, and an 80% growth in mobile searches for “__ should I __” in the past two years.
Understanding and tapping into how consumers are using search allows marketers to get useful insights into consumer intent. For example, when consumers search using broad terms that don’t include a specific brand or product, it often indicates that the person hasn’t decided what product to buy, or where to buy it. Made.com’s new approach, with an emphasis on the brand as a whole rather than specific products, allowed it to engage with customers at a crucial stage of the decision making process. This meant that 59% of those that clicked through the ad were new visitors to Made.com, driving these users to view 18% more pages per session than the average site visitor.
Consumer habits are constantly evolving alongside technology, but the most effective advertising will always be that which can capitalise on curiosity. Made.com’s willingness to test new formats, and to experiment within those formats to find out what worked with their customers, yielded fantastic results. Such results show the importance of continually reviewing marketing tools and refining strategy to ensure different touchpoints are being served in the best way.
No matter the channel or environment, the sense of discovery is a fundamental part of the shopping experience. But just as with that small market stall on holiday, the discovery is rarely truly serendipitous - it is the result of a retailer paying attention to consumer habits and presenting their wares accordingly. Online retailers should pay close attention to advertising formats that enable them to capture the appeal of discovery, seizing the chance to engage consumers at critical moments in their journey through the marketing funnel.