Women in technology: Dream Corner interview with Clear Returns’ CEO Vicky Brock

Clear Returns’ CEO Vicky Brock talks to broadcaster Viv Oyolu about why reducing returns and increasing the impact of women in technology matters: http://www.dreamcorner.co.uk/vicky-brock/ As Viv explains:

I’m always excited to interview a woman in Tech because I know there are more women paving the way for younger women to become interested and involved in technology. Loved hearing Vicky’s journey into tech, proving that the journey can be early or later. Fabulous! Listen in here

IMRG Connect – it’s all about the customer

Some of the UK’s leading fashion retailers joined industry association IMRG and their members for IMRG Connect this week – here Clear Returns deliver their round up of the event.

One key focus throughout the day emerged – the customerHow should customers be measured – in terms of margin or overall value?

There was debate over how customers should be measured – should it be in terms of margin or overall value? WhileQubit discussed customer lifetime value – however this was based only on customer’s purchase history. Astley Clarkethen discussed the work they have undertaken to personalize the online experience for their customers, including personalised product recommendations based on purchase behaviour – which now account for 6% of their online sales.

The day closed with some retailer case studies from ASOS and Moss Bros, where again the customer was the key priority in terms of providing multiple options and tailoring communication. Moss Bros’ Ecommerce Director Neil Sansom told the audience how close they were to achieving a single customer view, thanks to joined up systems delivering real-time information to a their new CRM. Very soon, a customer will be able to walk into their store and the staff will be armed with their full profile and purchase history.
For a true picture of customer value retailers must take returns into account

Clear Returns propose that for a true picture of customer value retailers must take returns into account. A sale is not a sale until a customer decides they are going to keep an item. Therefore by basing recommendations and marketing on purchase history only, you could be missing the full picture.

Certain customer segments, while purchasing full price items regularly, actually return between 80-90% of what they buy. Therefore while they may appear to be your most important customers, in reality they are the least profitable – taking advantage of free shipping offers and promotional codes and costing you more money in the long run. By utilizing this kind of information within your CRM system, you can tailor your marketing much more effectively and profitably.

The new Quarterly Fashion Returns Review in partnership with IMRG was launched

Clear Returns also launched their new Quarterly Fashion Returns Review in partnership with IMRG at the event. This report is designed to give retailers the ability to regularly track a range of key benchmark metrics to help you monitor, assess and address the issues surrounding returns and their effect on profits and logistics. If you would like to receive an exclusive preview of the report then get in touch, and all IMRG members will receive full access.

Internet Retailing returns research results

In partnership with Internet Retailing, Clear Returns have taken part in a three month research project to uncover retailers current challenges and concerns around returns. Here we give our verdict on the results.

42% of retailers return rates have risen over the last 12 months, which is unsurprising as retailers online sales continue to grow, so will their rate of returns.

While free returns can build trust and encourage bigger baskets it may simply be increasing your returns, since people can easily over order and return items

One key challenge all retailers face with returns are the costs involved. One third of retailers surveyed offered free returns on all sales, and while this can build trust and encourage bigger baskets it may simply be increasing your returns, since people can easily over order and return items. Clear Returns have identified certain segments of customers,’overbuyers’, who deliberately buy large baskets with no intention of keeping all of the items. While free returns is an essential part of retailers’ online offer, you should be aware of customer groups who abuse these policies and tailor your targeting to these customers accordingly to help minimise returns and maximise profitability.

Getting the sale right in the first place is critical to minimising returns.

“We want people to get it right first time so give as much information as possible to ensure they have ordered correctly. Processing returns is costly and a hassle.”

Failure to meet customer expectations was the main driver of returns for 47% of retailers, more so than poor fit. Retailers are currently searching for ways to combat this expectation gap, such as tailoring the amount and quality of product information onsite. This is where Clear Returns has helped retailers take proactive action by automatically alerting the appropriate teams to content issues after only a few returns are made, and delivering recommended actions to solve specific issues.

Another worrying result from the research is that 43% of retailers track returns and capture the data, but do nothing with the information. This is a crucial area for retailers to address in 2014. Making the most of the data you capture will ensure your returns process are more efficient and get stock back on sale faster – maximising profits as a result.

Keep an eye out for the February issue of Internet Retailing for more insight from the survey, and join us at the upcoming Returns Research Briefing on March 5th to hear from all the expert research partners involved.

Are you targeting the right customers with your email marketing?

Recent studies revealed today indicate that customers are increasingly receptive to email marketing techniques, but are you targeting the correct groups?

A recent study by marketing firm Alchemy Worx shows that consumers are highly responsive to email marketing, estimating that for every extra monthly email sent to a pool of 5 million customers, retailers can make an additional £1.8 million. Better still, the Direct Marketing Association has found that customers have become more receptive to email marketing, especially when the email contains information about coupons or special offers.

To maximise this marketing opportunity you need to be able to identify your best customers

To maximise this marketing opportunity, however, you need to be able to identify your best customers. Not just in terms of what they buy, but what they actually keep. Your normal and high-value customers, who make up almost half of your customer base, keep the majority of their purchases and may welcome a chance to stock up on their favourite brands, especially if they know they’re being rewarded for their loyalty. Other shoppers, specifically the over-buyers who buy large baskets with the intent of returning the majority of items, may simply use special offers as an excuse to place enormous orders– which then turn into a big pile of costly returns for you to deal with.

Being able to distinguish types of customers and exclude expensive, over-buying shoppers from certain campaigns allows you to maximise profitability

Being able to distinguish these types of customers from each other and excluding those expensive, over-buying customers from certain email campaigns allows you to maximise profitability. Plus letting your high-value shoppers know you reward their loyalty by offering special perks means a better shopping experience for them. Finally, the receptiveness of customers to email interactions means customer service has the opportunity to contact these over-buyers to help direct them towards less costly options, such as exchanges or personal shopping services to help them find the products they want.

Posted by Shaylon

Predictive analytics is a top priority for retail

A recent study of more than 300 retailers released by SAP revealed that predictive analytics is almost universally seen as a competitive necessity in retail. At the same time, retailers noted that the pressure to keep up with big data has created a strain on employee knowledge and resources.

So what can retailer’s do? Installing analytics software can help, but that creates the additional task of training employees to interpret and apply predictive modelling tools to the business. This means costly and time consuming training in a highly specialist area, at the expense of these employee’s usual responsibilities.

Experts interviewed by Retail Times suggest that the increased need for predictive analytics expertise may cause businesses to selectively hire employees with knowledge of statistics and predictive analytics software and techniques. However, a shortage of specialists in this field makes this solution difficult to implement in the short term, plus these individuals may not have the necessary retail knowledge to interpret data in the most relevant manner.

Alternatively, the next step is to make use of new breeds of analytics software that turn big data into big insights, or more importantly actionable insights. Innovation in this space has led to more cloud-based, accessible tools which combine the advantages of big data with convenience, extracting the most important and relevant information - such as Clear Returns’ software.

This is one area to watch in 2014, as more retailers will continue to adopt new solutions to help them interpret their data faster and in more meaningful, actionable ways.