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Fresh Ideas Live: Social proof, testing, and taking control of data

Fresh Ideas Live: Social proof, testing, and taking control of data Headshot

By Jeannie Corfield, Content Marketing Manager

Fresh Ideas Live at The Shard event, November 2019

November’s Fresh Ideas Live was hosted in collaboration with our partners dotdigital and Trustpilot at The Shard, London.

The event was an opportunity for digital marketers to network with peers from top brands in retail and travel.  

Attendees were inspired by real-life personalization examples, and practical advice to get ahead this holiday season. Along the way, we learned about:

  • How to fine-tune personalization with split testing
  • Using data to create a marketing strategy fit for the future
  • How to turn browsers into buyers with social proof
  • Effective tactics for Black Friday and peak trading season

If you didn't make it on the day, keep reading for a summary of the key takeaways.


Fresh Relevance partnerships

The afternoon kicked off with an introduction from Fresh Relevance co-founder and CRO, Eddy Swindell.

Eddy emphasized the importance of building relationships with technology partners, including dotdigital and Trustpilot.



For marketers using best-of-breed technologies like these, it's crucial that platforms can all work together.

Fresh Relevance integrates with dotdigital to automatically personalize emails with contextual content and real-time triggers. Crucially, marketers can choose how to balance HTML and image content to optimize for email deliverability.

Shoppers are increasingly discerning, and actively look for social proof when making a purchase. That’s why Fresh Relevance works with Trustpilot to automatically pull ratings and reviews into email and website content.


Testing strategies for personalization

Fresh Relevance’s Alistair Milne took to the stage to share real-life testing examples – including some unexpected results.



Alistair’s first example highlights the power of knowing how customers respond to different types of messaging.

One consumer electronics retailer needed to recover more sales from browse abandoners. The marketing team hypothesized that customers at this stage of the buying journey would respond well to social proof messaging. So including peer recommendations in browse abandonment emails would increase click throughs and conversions.

Extensive split testing revealed that Average Order Value (AOV) was significantly higher when product ratings were included.

The conclusion: This retailer’s customers are highly receptive to social proof messaging, so including product ratings is a great way to drive sales. 

A more surprising example concerned the use of incentives in cart abandonment emails.

Including a discount in a cart recovery email is a common tactic to nudge potential customers towards a conversion. Who wouldn’t prefer to spend less money, after all?

But a thoughtful test performed by one beauty retailer demonstrated that blanket incentivizing isn’t the best way to recover revenue.

For many abandoners, a simple recovery email was enough to win the sale. Where an incentive was offered, customers were essentially trained to abandon their cart in the hope of receiving a discount.

The conclusion: Rather than saturating the customer base with discounts, the retailer needed to work out which customers required an extra push, and use incentives in targeted campaigns.

Luckily, Fresh Relevance makes it easy to test how different customer segments respond to different content.

Marketers can use intuitive drag and drop rules to try out multiple variations of content for each customer segment.



The future is now. Are you ready?

Dotdigital Engagement Cloud is a marketing automation platform that helps ecommerce marketers build long-lasting customer relationships.

Gavin Laugenie, Head of Strategy and Insight, showed us how getting back to the basics can help marketers prepare for the future.



First, Gavin touched on the new technologies and channels that are already changing the ecommerce space.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is making it easier to automate monotonous tasks. Text messaging is evolving as Rich Communication Services (RCS) make it simple to share media with customers. And established channels such as WhatsApp have huge potential to improve brand communications.

All this means that the future is now. So what’s stopping marketers from taking the leap?

In the DMA’s latest marketer tracker report, data was identified as the second biggest challenge, after budget and resource. Lack of strategy came in third place.

But as Gavin pointed out, data and strategy go hand in hand: you can’t have one without the other.

Marketers need to strip it back to basics. That means looking at the five stages of the eCommerce buying cycle, and providing a great customer experience at each stage.

  • Data: Syncing customer, order and product data so it can be turned into actionable insights.
  • Insight: Being able to recognize, remember and recommend to your customers.
  • Engage: Reach customers across channels with memorable, personalized content.
  • Convert: Make transactions seamless, and drive revenue with retargeting.
  • Retain: Encourage reviews, and use data to send the right message at the right time.

For more insights on personalizing the customer journey, check out this dedicated webinar from Alistair and Gavin.


Turn browsers into buyers with social proof

Trustpilot is an online ratings and review platform, open to all consumers and companies. The company was born when the CEO’s mother was shopping online, and couldn’t find enough information to make an informed decision.



Ffion Thomson, Lead Business Development Manager, examined how eCommerce marketers can improve the customer experience with social proof.

Why care about social proof?

Today’s customers are empowered by the internet to extensively research purchase decisions. In a survey by Trustpilot, 93% of consumers said they read reviews before buying online from an unfamiliar company.

Fresh Relevance has also found that 61 percent of customers look for product reviews when making a purchase, while more than half find star ratings helpful. Only product details and shipping information were ranked as more useful.

What impact does social proof have on the customer journey?

According to Trustpilot’s research, customers are most likely to make a purchase when they see a positive star rating and reviews on the homepage and product pages.

But reviews are also impactful in emails, Facebook advertisements, display ads, and checkout pages. This means that customer reviews carry more weight than influencer endorsements, celebrity endorsements, or the company’s social media presence.

By incorporating ratings and reviews throughout the customer journey, retailers empower buyers to make informed decisions. That means more conversions, and more happy shoppers.


Holiday marketing and personalization strategies

As discussions came to a close, speakers formed a panel to take on attendees’ most pressing questions.

At the top of the agenda was the holiday season. Specifically, the best tactics to drive sales over Black Friday.

Panelists were in agreement that marketers need to start planning well in advance, and let shoppers know to look out for deals. By building up excitement before promotions, you can make sure that customers are actively looking for you. That makes it a lot easier to cut through the noise.

Once shoppers make it to your website, you can use social proof messaging to build trust and get them over the line to conversion.

Our audience also wanted to know the best way scale personalization, without putting a strain on resource.

Alistair suggested that marketers can start small with automatically personalized content, such as dynamic product recommendations. These can be used in generic marketing campaigns to ensure that each customer sees content tailored to them. And there’s no need to create multiple elaborate creatives.


eCommerce networking with a view

With the sun already setting, attendees headed to the top of The Shard to take in the view.



We'd love to see you at the next Fresh Ideas Live! But if you can't wait to find out more about eCommerce personalization, get in touch today:


Fresh Ideas Live: Social proof, testing, and taking control of data Headshot

By Jeannie Corfield

Content Marketing Manager

As Content Marketing Manager at Fresh Relevance, Jeannie manages, writes and edits user-centered content that helps marketers in the eCommerce and travel spaces get their jobs done.