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Nielsen: Only 26% of global marketers are confident in their audience data

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

With consumer buying habits very much a focus following the enormous change that COVID-19 has left on their behaviour, Nielsen has for the very first time conducted a global survey that includes insights incorporating EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) marketers.

Respondents surveyed came from manager-level and above, overseeing marketing budgets of US$1 million upwards, working across a variety of industries, from the retail and ecommerce, auto, financial services, FMCG, technology, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, travel, tourism and retail industries.  

The research conducted by Opinium Research spanned the regions, asking marketer participants a range of questions from how they access marketing campaigns; reporting systems; measurement; data accuracy; and their overriding concerns regarding ROI (return on investment). 

The report both revealed a digital dominance in how dollars are being spent and exposed marketers’ lack of confidence in the data behind those decisions. With continued digital fragmentation, marketers report data accuracy, measurement, and ROI are paramount. While 69% of marketers believe first-party data is essential for their strategies and campaigns, and 72% of marketers believe they have access to quality data, only 26% of global marketers are fully confident in their audience data.

The Era of Alignment found marketers around the world are experiencing similar areas of success and challenges, as shown by:

  • Brand awareness is marketers’ top objective. To reach this goal, brands need to leverage an array of channels to reach the widest audience. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents stated that social media is the most effective paid channel with TikTok and Instagram dominating spend. Comparatively, TV and radio spend is significantly less with an aggregate increase of 53% across global marketers. Customer acquisition is their second objective, showing that marketers must focus efforts on the entire customer journey.
  • Increased media fragmentation amplifies the need for holistic measurement. Marketers’ confidence in measuring ROI of the full-funnel is only 54%. Remove online and mobile video and confidence in measuring ROI across all other channels is under 50% globally, and while nearly half of marketers plan to increase their spending on podcasts, their confidence in measuring the ROI of that investment is 44%.
  • It’s vital for marketers to use data to champion personalized marketing strategies. The increasing proliferation of channels produces an abundance of unique data sets. However, 36% of marketers still claim that data access, identity resolution, and deriving actionable insights from data is either extremely or very difficult. With the rise of connected TV (CTV) this presents new challenges to traditional targeting solutions. CTV is a growing focus for global marketers, with 51% planning to increase their over-the-top/CTV spending in the coming year. To wit, Americans streamed almost 15 million years’ worth of content across subscription- and ad-supported platforms.
  • By placing a greater emphasis on purpose-driven initiatives, marketers can better connect with consumers. Nielsen Research shows over half of U.S. consumers (52%) purchase from brands that support causes they care about; similarly, more than 36% expect the brands they buy to support social causes. While global marketers say their brands are emphasizing purpose, Nielsen data shows that 55% of consumers aren’t convinced that brands are fostering true progress.

“Our work at Nielsen is to provide the most complete view of consumer behavior regardless of industry, and our longtime experience in measurement and comprehensive view of the media universe gives brands a 360-degree view that can’t be found anywhere else,” said Jamie Moldafsky, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Nielsen. “This research showcased that marketers want to put money into channels to deliver immediate ROI, however we also see that they must be agile in the year ahead and work across the entire marketing funnel to reinforce brand awareness and acquire more customers. With the upcoming elimination of third-party cookies, it’s understandable to see marketers prioritizing personalization and aligning their brand with causes their customers care about. Through our solutions – and this report – we’re continuing to help brands and marketers get actionable insights to make more informed, and quicker decisions.”

This is the fifth Annual Marketing Report produced by Nielsen. The report is fueled by survey responses of marketers manager-level and above, who manage marketing budgets north of $1 million, who work across a variety of industries (auto, financial services, FMCG, technology, health care, pharmaceuticals, travel, tourism, and retail), and whose focus pertains to media, technology, and measurement strategies.

Top UK retailers’ customer service quality ranked

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

A new report has reviewed the customer service offering of major high street and online brands to determine who is providing the best service on the market.

The mystery shopping data, conducted by FM Outsource, has been condensed into a report to highlight how customer service is being done effectively in the modern landscape, and where there is still room for improvement.

Key findings include:-

  • Pretty Little Thing, Primark, and Waitrose all highlighted as underperforming in customer service channel availability, response times and contact resolution.
  • The average telephone response time for supermarket brands was5 minutes, over 1.5 minutes longer than the accepted industry standard average.
  • 100% of e-tailer websites had webchat availability, compared to under 30% for supermarkets.
  • Less than 12% of retail brands offer SMS or Whatsapp as a customer communication tool.
  • Less than half of the brands analysed had a first contact resolution (FCR) rate of over 50%, meaning queries were left unresolved.

The first element of customer service that FM Outsource’s research deck covers is the channel mix that businesses offer. They cite that most brands are beginning to see the benefits of diversifying their customer service channels. However, there is still a bias towards certain channels, depending on the category a company falls under.

E-tailers, for example, outshine the competition in digital customer service channel adoption. Of those FM Outsource examined, 100% use webchat and also have customer service coverage on social media platforms. When it comes to telephone and email capabilities traditional brick and mortar retailers lead the way, with 60% offering both of these channels.

Of all the brands FM Outsource researched, only two are currently offering SMS or WhatsApp as a customer service channel: Tescoand Pretty Little Thing. This means there is a huge opportunity for brands wanting to go the extra mile with their customer service. FM Outsource explains that adding this additional channel to a brand’s customer service offering could be the key to standing out from the competition and winning over more customers.

FM Outsource’s Mystery Shopper research deck also covers response rates and times. On average they found that all three categories delivered similar response times of 11 minutes (supermarkets), 11.5 minutes (brick and mortar) and 12 minutes (e-tailers).

However, some brands stood out in particular. Currys performed extremely well across all their available customer service channels with an average response time of less than four minutes. On the other end of the spectrum, IKEA didn’t respond at all on three out of their four customer service channels, despite multiple attempts by mystery shoppers to reach them.

Almost across the board, brands performed poorly in social media response times. An overwhelming 76% of responses were either sent over an hour later or not at all.

Finally FM Outsource evaluated whether brands were successful in resolving customer queries in their first attempt. They found that only six out of the 17 brands they investigated had a first contact resolution (FCR) rate of more than 50%.

And when comparing the three categories as a whole there were no major differences; e-tailers took a minor lead with an average FCR rate of nearly 49%, closely followed by supermarkets at 45% and brick and mortar retailers at 38%. That being said, e-tailer, Missguided, was the one exceptional performer with a notable FCR rate of 83%.

Martin Brown, General Manager at FM Outsource, said: “We earmark being able to resolve a customer’s query when they first get in contact as a gamechanger – the less friction and frustration shoppers have to experience when dealing with customer service, the more likely they are to remain loyal to that brand. We hope our findings can give businesses some direction on where to focus their customer service efforts and avoid the pitfalls that even major e-tailers, brick and mortar retailers and major supermarkets have fallen victim to.”

Delve into the entire data here: https://fmoutsource.com/landing-mystery-shopper/

In data we trust: Building customer confidence in a digital economy

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

By Richard Menear, CEO, Burning Tree

In the modern, digital world, online shopping is becoming the norm within the retail market. Accelerated by the pandemic, the UK’s proportion of online retail sales soared to the highest on record, reaching 35.2% in January 2021. And with digitisation continuing to evolve the online shopping experience, it is unlikely that we will see a shift back to pre-pandemic norms anytime soon.

So, what does this mean for business-customer relationships in the digital era? Without the experience of in-person shopping, online user experience has a strong influence over consumers’ buying decisions. As a result, brands must define their reputation as trustworthy and reputable providers by shaping their processes around customers’ online behaviours.

‘Digital trust’ is defined as the confidence users have in the ability of processes, people and technology to create a secure digital world, dividing the dependable services from the corrupt ones.

In a world where most people understand that not every online service is legitimate, establishing digital trust helps users decide which companies will keep their personal information safe. So, how can businesses gain the trust of their digital customers — and what will happen if they do not?

Why should businesses build digital trust?

When people make a purchase or interact with an online retailer, they demonstrate their digital trust in that business. However, the quality of the service is no longer defined by how an interface looks or how easy it is to navigate.

Customer expectations have evolved with digitisation. Driven by rapid device proliferation and improved internet connectivity, the modern online shopper expects to encounter seamless digital processes from sign-in to purchase — particularly since the pandemic, which increased the number of people using online services regularly.

Today, customers are more aware of how their data is being used and stored and base their shopping behaviours on a provider’s ability to ensure security. The Okta Digital Trust Index (2021), which surveyed 13,000 office workers, found that 88% of people in the UK were unlikely to purchase from a brand they did not trust. And according to a recent report on the 20 most-trusted UK retailers, 58% of consumers are highly conscious about their safety when shopping online, citing identity theft as a significant concern.

Plus, with most businesses working online in some capacity, the government is introducing more regulations for using technology to use and manage digital identities. A new digital ‘trust framework‘ was announced earlier this year to make sharing digital identities between users easier and safer, allowing more control over what personal information is available to different services and organisations.

There are several ways businesses can generate a loyal digital customer base — from generating positive customer reviews to providing excellent customer service. But when it comes to digital trust, three main factors make people in the UK more likely to trust a brand: its service reliability, good security policies and quick response times — all of which can be facilitated by successful digital transformation.

Building digital trust with digital transformation

Cyber security is an essential consideration for organisations undergoing digital transformation, which involves implementing technology to automate processes, encourage a more cyber-aware business culture, increase security and refine the user experience. As such, retailers must ensure data is protected from a cyber breach to remain compliant and secure digital customers — and keep them coming back.

According to Okta’s survey, 47% of UK people permanently stopped using a firm’s services after hearing of a data breach. As such, IT professionals are harnessing advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning to support existing traditional threat models and automate risk management to reduce the overall probability of falling victim to a cyber attack.

Many organisations are also taking a ‘zero-trust’ approach to cyber security, which means that no activity within a network is trusted straight away. Every device, service, application or user connected by a network must go through a robust identity and access management process to gain a least privileged level of trust and associated access entitlements. As such, implementing a zero-trust framework helps bolster cyber security and minimises the likelihood of a breach.

Effective customer identity and access management (CIAM) solutions will also enable organisations to capture and interpret customer profile data to inform customised user experiences whilst controlling secure access to services and applications. A robust CIAM solution may involve implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA), self-service account management and single sign-on (SSO) to minimise friction, increase engagement and develop trust in business processes over time.

In data we trust: Building customer confidence in a digital economy

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Richard Menear, CEO, Burning Tree

In the modern, digital world, online shopping is becoming the norm within the retail market. Accelerated by the pandemic, the UK’s proportion of online retail sales soared to the highest on record, reaching 35.2% in January 2021. And with digitisation continuing to evolve the online shopping experience, it is unlikely that we will see a shift back to pre-pandemic norms anytime soon.

So, what does this mean for business-customer relationships in the digital era? Without the experience of in-person shopping, online user experience has a strong influence over consumers’ buying decisions. As a result, brands must define their reputation as trustworthy and reputable providers by shaping their processes around customers’ online behaviours.

‘Digital trust’ is defined as the confidence users have in the ability of processes, people and technology to create a secure digital world, dividing the dependable services from the corrupt ones.

In a world where most people understand that not every online service is legitimate, establishing digital trust helps users decide which companies will keep their personal information safe. So, how can businesses gain the trust of their digital customers — and what will happen if they do not?

Why should businesses build digital trust?

When people make a purchase or interact with an online retailer, they demonstrate their digital trust in that business. However, the quality of the service is no longer defined by how an interface looks or how easy it is to navigate.

Customer expectations have evolved with digitisation. Driven by rapid device proliferation and improved internet connectivity, the modern online shopper expects to encounter seamless digital processes from sign-in to purchase — particularly since the pandemic, which increased the number of people using online services regularly.

Today, customers are more aware of how their data is being used and stored and base their shopping behaviours on a provider’s ability to ensure security. The Okta Digital Trust Index (2021), which surveyed 13,000 office workers, found that 88% of people in the UK were unlikely to purchase from a brand they did not trust. And according to a recent report on the 20 most-trusted UK retailers, 58% of consumers are highly conscious about their safety when shopping online, citing identity theft as a significant concern.

Plus, with most businesses working online in some capacity, the government is introducing more regulations for using technology to use and manage digital identities. A new digital ‘trust framework‘ was announced earlier this year to make sharing digital identities between users easier and safer, allowing more control over what personal information is available to different services and organisations.

There are several ways businesses can generate a loyal digital customer base — from generating positive customer reviews to providing excellent customer service. But when it comes to digital trust, three main factors make people in the UK more likely to trust a brand: its service reliability, good security policies and quick response times — all of which can be facilitated by successful digital transformation.

Building digital trust with digital transformation

Cyber security is an essential consideration for organisations undergoing digital transformation, which involves implementing technology to automate processes, encourage a more cyber-aware business culture, increase security and refine the user experience. As such, retailers must ensure data is protected from a cyber breach to remain compliant and secure digital customers — and keep them coming back.

According to Okta’s survey, 47% of UK people permanently stopped using a firm’s services after hearing of a data breach. As such, IT professionals are harnessing advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning to support existing traditional threat models and automate risk management to reduce the overall probability of falling victim to a cyber attack.

Many organisations are also taking a ‘zero-trust’ approach to cyber security, which means that no activity within a network is trusted straight away. Every device, service, application or user connected by a network must go through a robust identity and access management process to gain a least privileged level of trust and associated access entitlements. As such, implementing a zero-trust framework helps bolster cyber security and minimises the likelihood of a breach.

Effective customer identity and access management (CIAM) solutions will also enable organisations to capture and interpret customer profile data to inform customised user experiences whilst controlling secure access to services and applications. A robust CIAM solution may involve implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA), self-service account management and single sign-on (SSO) to minimise friction, increase engagement and develop trust in business processes over time.

Credential spill incidents double as hacker sophistication continues to rise

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The number of annual credential spill incidents nearly doubled from 2016 to 2020, according to F5’s latest Credential Stuffing Report.

The most comprehensive research initiative of its kind reported a 46% downturn in the volume of spilled credentials during the same period. The average spill size also declined, falling from 63 million records in 2016 to 17 million last year. Meanwhile, the 2020 median spill size (2 million records) represented a 234% increase over 2019 and was the highest since 2016 (2,75 million).

Credential stuffing, which involves the exploitation of large volumes of compromised username and/or email and password pairs, is a growing global problem.

Attackers have been collecting billions of credentials for years. Credential spills are like an oil spill, once leaked, they are very hard to clean up because credentials do not get changed by unassuming consumers, and credential stuffing solutions are yet to be widely adopted by enterprises. It is not surprising that during this period of research, we saw a shift in the number one attack type from HTTP attacks to credential stuffing. This attack type has a long-term impact on the security of applications and is not going to change any time soon,” said Sara Boddy, Senior Director of F5 Labs. “If you are worried about getting hacked, it’s most likely going to occur from a credential stuffing attack.”

Sander Vinberg, Threat Research Evangelist at F5 Labs, and report co-author, urged organizations to remain vigilant.

While it is interesting that the overall volume and size of spilled credentials fell in 2020, we should definitely not celebrate yet,” he warned “Access attacks – including credential stuffing and phishing – are now the number one root cause of breaches. It is highly unlikely that security teams are winning the war against data exfiltration and fraud, so it looks as though we’re seeing a previously chaotic market stabilize as it reaches greater maturity.”

Get the full story (and download the report) here.

REPORT: Fixing failed deliveries, make faulty fulfilment a thing of the past

940 640 Guest Contributor

In its latest report, loqate takes a deep dive to understand the true business cost of faulty fulfilment and discover the simple steps to help stamp out failed deliveries for good….

The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted a surge in consumers buying products and services online, accelerating a trend that was already well underway.

As a result, business is brisk across borders, with 54% of firms reporting an increase in international orders during the past 12 months.

But this boom in business has posed certain challenges for retailers – most notably, the issue of late or failed deliveries.

To get to the root of this all-too-common frustration, Loqate has surveyed 3,000 global online shoppers and 300 retail executives to bring you its latest report: Fixing Failed Deliveries.

The report reveals:

  • The financial impact of faulty fulfilment for retailers across the globe
  • The problems posed by disgruntled customers and the top five retail categories that are most likely to let them down
  • The top five frustrations customers face when buying online
  • Tips to help retailers deliver to customers first time, every time
  • 10 questions retailers should be asking when talking to a potential addressing provider

Download your copy of the report here.

Online spending hit record highs in January

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

All types of UK retailers have reported an increase in their proportion of online spending in January 2021, with food stores reaching an historic high of 12.2% of sales conducted online.

That’s according to the latest data from the ONS, which reveals that in January 2021 total retail sales volumes decreased by 8.2% when compared with December 2020 as tighter nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions affected sales.

In terms of online specifically, other non-food stores recorded the largest monthly growth of 31.1%, while household goods and food stores also saw significant monthly increases of 22.6% and 11.5% respectively. Department stores were the only sector to see a decline on the month of negative 9.1%.

The proportion of online retail increased to a record level in January 2021 reaching 35.2% up from 29.6% in December 2020 and was far higher than the 19.5% in January 2020, reflecting the impact the pandemic has had on consumer behaviours.

Food stores also reported a record proportion of online sales this month of 12.2% with anecdotal feedback from retailers suggesting that click and collect food orders had boosted online sales.

As a whole, retail sales volumes were 5.5% lower than before the pandemic in February 2020 indicating that the impact of restrictions on the retail sector was not as large as that seen in April 2020 during the first full month of retail restrictions when sales fell by 22.2% when compared with levels before the pandemic.

All sectors saw a monthly decline in volume sales in January 2021 except for non-store retailers and food stores, who reported growth of 3.7% and 1.4% respectively when compared with December 2020.

In the three months to January 2021, retail sales volume fell by 4.9% when compared with the previous three months, with strong declines in both clothing stores and automotive fuel.

Switzerland leaps to top of UN global ecommerce index

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Switzerland has replaced the Netherlands at the top of UNCTAD’s Business-to-Consumer ecommerce Index 2020, which ranks 152 countries on their readiness to engage in online commerce.

Europe remains by far the most prepared region for ecommerce, according to the report, but wide gaps with countries with the lowest level of readiness need to be addressed by tackling weaknesses in those nations to spread the benefits of digital transformation to more people.

For the first time, Switzerland leads the UNCTAD B2C E-commerce Index, just ahead of the Netherlands. In 2019, 97% of the Swiss population used the internet. The only non-European economies among the top 10 are Singapore, ranked fourth, and Hong Kong (China) in the 10th position.

The index scores 152 nations on their readiness for online shopping, worth an estimated $4.4 trillion globally in 2018, up 7% from the previous year.

Countries are scored on access to secure internet servers, reliability of postal services and infrastructure, and the portion of their population that uses the internet and has an account with a financial institution or a provider of mobile money services.

Developing countries: Asia leads the pack

The 10 developing countries with the highest scores are all from Asia and classified as high-income or upper-middle-income economies.

At the other end of the spectrum, least developed countries occupy 18 of the bottom 20 positions.

The two largest B2C e-commerce markets in the world, China and the United States, rank 55th and 12th respectively in the index. Although both countries lead in several absolute measures, they lag in relative comparisons.

For instance, internet penetration in the United States is lower than in any of the economies in the top 10, while China ranks 87th in the world on this indicator. As for online shopping penetration, the United States ranks 12th while China takes the 33rd slot.

“The e-commerce divide remains huge,” said Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s division that prepares the annual index. “Even among G20 countries, the extent to which people shop online ranges from 3% in India to 87% in the United Kingdom.”

Also, in Canada, the United States and 10 European nations, more than 70% of the adult population makes purchases online. But that proportion is well below 10% in most low- and lower-middle-income countries.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more urgent to ensure the countries trailing behind are able to catch up and strengthen their e-trade readiness,” Ms. Sirimanne said. The index, she said, underscores the need for governments to do more to ensure more people can avail of e-commerce opportunities.

“Otherwise, their businesses and people will miss out on the opportunities offered by the digital economy, and they will be less prepared to deal with various challenges,” she added.

Changes in the 2020 rankings

The 2020 edition of the index includes a few notable changes from the previous year. In the composition of the top 10 positions, Hong Kong (China) replaced Australia. Among the top 10 developing economies, Oman replaced Turkey.

The four largest increases in index scores were recorded in developing countries – Algeria, Brazil, Ghana and Lao People’s Democratic Republic, whose scores surged by at least five points, largely due to significant improvements in postal reliability.

Costa Rica became the best performer in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region, replacing Chile. Mauritius retained the highest score in sub-Saharan Africa, while Belarus again got the highest score among transition economies.

Special focus on Latin America and the Caribbean

The 2020 index takes a closer look at the LAC region, which accounts for 9% of the world’s population aged 15 and older and as much as 11% of the world’s internet users. However, the region’s share of global online shoppers was only 6% of the global total in 2019.

The UNCTAD report notes that five countries account for 92% of online shoppers in LAC, much higher than their share (72%) of the region’s population. Postal unreliability is the region’s biggest e-commerce infrastructural weakness, particularly in the Caribbean.

As seen globally, COVID-19 has boosted online shopping in the region. For example, 7.3 million Brazilians shopped online for the first time during the pandemic. And in Argentina, the number of first-time online buyers during the pandemic was equivalent to 30% of the 2019 online shopping base.

Third of UK consumers have ‘stopped purchasing EU goods’

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

A survey has found that 34% of UK consumers have stopped purchasing goods and services from the European Union since the UK officially left the world’s largest trading block.

Eskenzi PR & Marketing, which carried out the research, highlights that since Brexit’s historic change in the relationship between Europe and the UK, stories have circulated – anecdotally and in the media – about the changing relationship between EU retailers and British consumers, with Mastercard reportedly hiking fees on UK consumers purchasing goods from the EU, and the Guardian reporting in January about £100 custom bills for UK consumers.

However, these it says the survey results indicate that the mass exodus of UK consumers from Europe appears to be moving at a slower rate than many experts predicted.

“Following all the bad publicity around buying products from the EU post Brexit, it is clearly having an impact on consumer buying habits”, said Yvonne Eskenzi, co-founder, and Director at Eskenzi PR. “It is evident to see that UK consumers are being put off buying goods from the EU due to the various complications Brexit has created. We can only hope that this is a temporary measure: Post-Brexit Britain is still in its embryonic stage, and the true nature of our new relationship will have to be measured across the course of the following months – and indeed, years.”

The survey also revealed the following trends:

  • Costs and delays were the biggest concern for younger consumers, with 24% of 16–24-year-olds suggesting an increase in cost had put them off, and 26% suggesting increased delays were behind the decision to stop shopping with Europe.
  • Men appeared to take a more ‘combative’ stance to EU relations than women, with nearly double the men indicating they would not buy EU goods for ‘ideological reasons’ as opposed to their female counterparts.

The survey was conducted online by Censuswide with a representative sample of 1,000 UK consumers, between February 1st 2021 and February 3rd 2021.