Country Road's path to programmatic

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 6 July 2016
80% of Country Road's sales come from its loyalty program

Country Road is aiming to create a single view of its customers as the retailer works towards personalisation at every touch point along the path to purchase.

The Australian fashion retailer recently teamed up with Facebook to identify how ads on the social platform impacted the online and in-store sales. The case study found for every dollar spent on Facebook advertising, Country Road generated an additional $18.20 in revenue of which $15.40 was attributed to in-store sales.

Country Road marketing manager Paul Conti told AdNews the study has changed the perception of the online and offline customer as separate entities.

“Every touch point should be as personal and relevant as possible,” Conti says. “Personalisation at scale is something we are focusing on, from looking how we segment our customers to what we can do programmatically at all touch points.”

Conti explains Country Road’s biggest asset is its loyalty program, with 80% of sales coming from members. It’s the rich data the loyalty program delivers that has enabled the retailer to pair with Facebook for the case study, he says.

“Our loyalty program is the most important asset,” Conti says. “The customer purchase is not linear anymore. With the rise of online and the information economy, every channel has to work together to track the customer.”

But, being completely programmatic is the wrong answer, Conti says, rather it’s about balancing discovery with a programmatic data-led approach.

“Just because a customer hasn’t bought a certain colour before, doesn’t mean they never will. So if you can balance discovery and personalisation together, that’s when you nail it," he says.

Conti believes the next phase for Country Road is integrating in-store behavioural data and online behavioural data, which will benefit from the development of attribution tools.

The mobile/social mix

The growth of mobile for fashion retailers is nothing new, with social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest helping brands use mobile devices as miniature showrooms.

Nielsen found speciality retailers such as Country Road had increased digital adspend by 64% year-on-year in Q1, the most growth in any category of adspend.

Country Road's move towards digital reflects a wider industry trend.

“In the last five years we’ve come from a traditional media mix, such as print and TV, to a marketing strategy that is digitally led,” Conti says.

He believes the main share of the advertising budget will only move more into digital as the attribution measurement model allows the better tracking of digital’s impact, like he’s seen with Facebook’s case study.

“Facebook is the biggest channel, Instagram is huge – they are no longer competing with media types, they are beating them,” Conti says.

At Country Road, 41% of customers are on Instagram, 80% are on Facebook and 15% are on Snapchat.

Country Road sees 50% of its web traffic come from mobile, a figure that is increasing 16% year-on-year. In terms of revenue, mobile transactions accounts for 35% of online sales, with a growth rate of 36% year-on-year.

“[Country Road] knows mobile is the way our customers want to shop and we find people use their mobile as a pre-shopping tool and increasingly it’s becoming a tool in stores. As Country Road improves the mobile experience and finds ways to innovate in that space, we expect it to be a seamless experience from mobile, tablet, desktop to in-store,” he says.

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