How I Developed A Successful Omni-channel Ecommerce Marketing Campaign
Active User Rate
Return on Investment
Bedworks™️is a Sydney-based company that specialises in customised, Australian-made beds and bedroom furniture. It has a wide range of Bedroom product selection including mattress, bed, sofa bed and bedroom furniture. With its 14 years of operation, Bedworks™️ has created well-designed custom pieces and received many 5-star reviews. Its years of experience has equipped itself to make finely crafted, functional pieces that give a stylish statement to any room. However, starting from late 2018, Bedworks™'s experienced a decline in its in-store visits and overall sale due to the market depression. To tackle this issue, an integrated marketing communication plan that contains user acquisition and branding methods was made with the goal of expanding Bedworks™'s brand resonation, elevating online traffic and lifting online sale. During the implementation, three interesting founding are revealed by the market response:
- Women play a dominant role in home & garden purchase decision-making;
- customers are shifting their primary shopping journey into the mobile channel;
- Customer- intent makes a difference in market feedback.
This report demonstrates that the multichannel strategy generates successful outcomes, which overall lifts Bedworks' online sale. This report also narrates the background and strategy process and provides a compelling data analysis of how digital technology innovates and elevates the customer's journey in e-commerce. As such, the report focuses on the e-commerce customer shopping experience and the provision of critical insights.
2.0 Literature Review
There are enormous ways in the market for promoting a product/service (Lane Keller 2001). However, a sole, disconnected marketing strategy would have a minimal effect towards an ideal result, and good business financial and branding outcomes require a comprehensive, integrated marketing communication plan(LaneKeller 2001). According to Biron (2017) from Google Media Lab, customers nowadays interact with business in multiple channels. It is critical to gather and connect the siloed and disconnected strategy and creative (Exhibit 1). Small to medium businesses in Australia still prefer multichannel marketing for reaching their target customers(Brownlow 2019).
2.1 Competitive Advantage and Buyer Behavior
The competition in the market pushes businesses to locate their value, ensuring their market share and winning the customers’ preference(Lindgreen et al. 2012). Core value costs the minimum in terms of financial resources, and it is helpful in building and engaging long-term relationship(Payne & Frow 2014). Accordingto Parnell (2006), a business that identifies its value proposition and advantages will have better core marketing response and financial performance. Competitiveness(Refer to Exhibit 2), the feature of character that other competitors do not possess, delivers customer satisfaction and recognition internally and externally (Müller 1991).
2.2 Search Engine Optimisation
For e-commerce businesses with physical stores like Bedworks™️, search engine optimisation (SEO) is proven to be beneficial to the rank climbing in search engine result page(Sen 2005). The higher of ranking the listing, the more relevant about target content matches the search query(Yalçın & Köse 2010). 87% of shopper begins their purchase journey with an online search (Alaimo 2018). As the fastest reachable way to acquire wanted information, online searching has the highest possibility for leading to an online conversion(Yalçın & Köse 2010). Organic traffic from the organic search result, compared to paid placement, is more cost-effective and purpose-driven in user intent, average time spending in the site, and conversion rate(CVR)(Yalçın & Köse 2010; Sen 2005). According to Sen (2005), the average click-through rate(CTR) of paid placement has declined from about 2 to 0.5 in the studied years. Meanwhile, 90% of advertiser engaged in SEO while only 81% invested in paid placement (Berman & Katona 2019). Additionly, link building is proven to be an effective method for SEO(Yalçın & Köse 2010).
2.3 Branding – Corporate Social Responsibility And Traditional Media
A brand is a name or design intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and differentiate them from those of competitors (Lane Keller 2001). A brand's impact on competition involves (see Exhibit 3): a) Customer perspective - simplify the purchase decision and establish a returning habit. b) Business perspective - signal product characteristics and attributes and lower the search costs for products internally and externally (Keller & Lehmann 2006; Macdonald & Sharp 2000).
Corporate social responsibility(CSR) is an ethical commitment to contribute to society or the environment. It is treated as a strategic tool to differentiate the business and reflect customer value proposition(Kiessling, Isaksson & Yasar 2015). (Refer to Exhibit 4) The cause-related campaign in CSR is proven to be beneficial to outstanding performance, and it helps businesses to gain a competitive advantage in the market(Kiessling, Isaksson & Yasar 2015).(Refer to Exhibit 5) A brand can not sustain solely relying on digital blasting. Traditional media investment is required to overcome the online advertising limitation and create awareness to support online performance (Pfeiffer & Zinnbauer 2010). Usually, 65% to 75% of communication budgets to offline media is allocated to create awareness to drive traffic to their Website and stores (Pfeiffer & Zinnbauer 2010).
3.0 Primary Research
3.1 Positioning Map and Competitor Analysis
The positioning map (Refer to Exhibit 6) creates a vivid image sourcing from the minds of target customers, and the outstanding advantages play an essential role in its competitive advantage against the rivals (Kurt, Füller & Faullant 2019). In order to do so, Bedworks™️ value proposition and the business environment need to be confirmed and identified(A. D’Aveni 2019).
3.2 E-Commerce Performance Analysis
3.3 Brand Performance Analysis
Extracting keywords from customer reaction towards to Bedworks™️ product and service will give out a clear idea of current brand quality. User-generated content demonstrates genuine feedback from the verified customers, and it tells the current brand performance in the furniture market.
3.4 Sales Trend Analysis
Sales analysis refers to Appendix A
4.0 Situation Analysis
All brick and mortar retailers in Australia are brutally influenced by three factors: expensive rents, the highest labour costs, and biased workforce laws and regulations (Gorecki 2019). Bedworks™️ was experiencing a market downturn since early 2018. With the operation and website continually being optimised, it is necessary to explore the external factors that might cause the said situation. Combining with SWOT analysis, the mixed PEST analysis helps in factors visualisation for decision-making and strategic planning (Silva 2019). The gathered information identifies the opportunities and threats caused by external factors and will illustrate the environment where the target business is lying (Silva 2019). (See Exhibit 15)
In order to succeed in the market, competitive advantage benefits the business to differentiate itself from other competitors. With that in mind, a VIRO analysis is favourable in locating sustainable advantages (Barney, 1991). The competitive advantages will be sustainable when they can be valuable, rare, not imitable by competitors, and manageable by the organisation (Barney, 1991). Meanwhile, innovation plays an eye-catching factor inspired by VIRO analysis, and the innovation captures more value for accommodating the fast-paced competitive environment (Aghazadeh 2015). (Refer to Exhibit 16)
The customer-based brand pyramid is sturdy and comprehensive to explain and interpret all kinds of marketing and consumer behaviour phenomena (Keller 2016). For an existing brand, it is essential to follow a structuralised model to build a solid impression for target customers. With the gradual brand infiltration, the possibility of market share expansion and generating conversion will improve (Keller 2016). (See Exhibit 17) The strategies presented below will follow the brand resonance model to achieve a long-term marketing effect (Keller 2016).
5.1 Financial Goal
This business project proposal, based on Australia location aims to achieve 15% growth in overall monthly online sale in 6 months. Meanwhile, creating sustainable sales growth rate for the long run (estimated for 1.5 years). Three scenarios are predicted for alternative results.
5.2 Non-financial Goal
Brand awareness would be beneficial for sustainable sale growth, and it is a key metric to evaluate project performance. The non-financial goal in the project will focus on Bedworks™️ brand awareness and recognition in Sydney. The goal is set to achieve 12% of brand awareness (12 out of 100 people would recognise the Bedworks™️ brand) during the project. Three scenarios are predicted for alternative results:
6.0 Integrated Marketing Communication Plan
6.1 Strategy Explanation
Link building serves as a citation or reference to increase the authority to the site. The search engine will treat this as an authority earning and will direct more organic traffic to the site(Yalçın & Köse 2010; Sen 2005). Low price is always the priority for the shopper. An “everyday low price” strategy will boost the conversion (Refer to Exhibit 18). Meanwhile, digital advertising, especially Facebook paid placement, will cooperate with branding and promotion to increase exposure. The billboards placement and CSR campaigns are beneficial to present the comprehensive brand image to the customer, along with utilising the traffic from the partner side. Bedworks™️ stores located in Stanmore and Greenacre respectively. Placing billboard near the store create convenience to the customers who are willing to pay a visit. In summary, the project will work internally and externally to eject the core brand value proposition.
7.0 Progress and Findings
The proposal is organized as planned for the past 6 months. 4 backlinks are established to build up Bedworks link profile on a monthly basis (Refer to Exhibit 19). In the meantime, the Facebook campaign shows tremendous user engagement, and the return on ads spend (ROAS) is continuously increasing (Refer to Exhibit 21-23). Furthermore, Bedworks initiates user experience survey to evaluate the performance for their billboards and CSR campaigns (Refer to Exhibit 24-27). This effective IMC strategy demonstrates astonishing impacts on Bedworks performance (See picture below). At last, there are 3 intriguing findings and the provision of critical insights will be revealed.
7.1 Link Building
As discussed, Bedworks manages to acquired high-quality backlinks for a better link profile in SEO. 31 backlinks have been established in order to utilise citation to build up expertise, authenticity and trustworthiness for Bedworks™️ domain (Refer to Exhibit 19). The link building plays a key contributor for positive keyword ranking and online visibility improvement (Refer to Exhibit 20):
- Overall, 17 keywords ranking went up.
- 15 keywords rank with high search volume on the first page.
- 27% search engine result page(SERP) visibility growth.
- However, there are some drawbacks that need to be highlighted:
- There are 13 high search volume keywords that went down.
- 5 keywords dropped away on the first page.
There is no significant referral traffic that can be detected from the backlink domains.
With that in mind, it is clear to conclude that link building is not a determining factor that influences the overall keyword ranking, hence the referral traffic. Keyword ranking is dynamic in terms of the measured period, and the sample above demonstrates the quality of the backlink’s domain does not matter unless it’s a trusted, eminent domain. However, a natural link profile is still recognised to beneficial to SERP ranking (Sen 2005). Both Bedworks’ organic traffic and visibility have significant growth in the reported period. As such, it is more practical to track the overall organic traffic impact instead of referral traffic. For more organic traffic analysis please refer to Appendix D.
7.2 Facebook Paid Campaign
Bedworks takes advantage of Facebook’s visibility to advertise itself as well as running a customer survey. With an AU $3000 monthly budget, Bedworks Facebook campaign shows excellent results in terms of impression, conversion, CTR, and ROAS (Refer to Exhibit 21). More than AU $220k online revenue and 69 offline orders attributed to the Facebook ads. The overall online purchases are increasing during the peak season. The CTR is maintained at a steady level (1.75%) and even higher (3-4%) in the objective conversion campaigns while the overall budget and cost per purchase remain stable.
Female group shows an outstanding engagement to Bedworks’ ads (Refer to Exhibit 22). Bedworks’s female audience not only express extra interest in furniture shopping but also contribute the most in the online and offline purchases. This finding matches with Bedworks website overall traffic gender profile and the survey response demographic. It’s worth investigating more for a potentially effective target strategy (Refer to 9.1).
Furthermore, user devices also play a significant role in Bedworks customer purchase journey (Refer to Exhibit 23). The report below shows that more than 70% of click and conversion attribute to mobile devices. However, this is contradictive to the overall purchase profile. Most customers still place the order through the computer, but the mobile order shows an increasing trend. It’s clear that people are moving their first point of internet access from PC to mobile (Cao 2019; Tamiru & Thurner 2019). The reason behind this trend and the counter strategy will be the core of Bedworks future plan.
7.3 Billboards and CSR
Two billboards have been placed in two locations: Catherine st Lilyfield and Crystal st Petersham (Refer to Exhibit 24 and Exhibit 25). Both sites are close to Bedworks™️ Stanmore showroom. And the billboards aim to raise brand awareness and boost foot traffic. In the meantime, two CSR campaigns were launched for supporting LGBT group and environmental sustainability (Refer to Exhibit 26 and Exhibit 27).
In order to evaluate the performance, the online questionnaire and online poll are the primary means for the campaigns above. Bedworks, in total, collects 187 online responses in NSW. In the survey, all the respondents show positive reactions to the CSR campaigns and more than 44% of survey responses have seen the billboards (Refer to Exhibit 28). However, half of the respondents did not recall any impression of the said billboards. This indicates the billboard has its limitation, and the billboard placement expansion is needed. What’s more critical, 3.51% of converted customer are from the billboards impression (Refer to Exhibit 31), which define a monetary return in this advertising spend.
7.4 Branding and Survey
Bedworks conducted a brand update last August to respond to the market change and demand. Bedworks™️ updated its logo to represent a renewed commitment to deeper sleep and comfort for its customers (Refer to Exhibit 29). The new logo is a great opportunity to re-introduce Bedworks™️ to the public and explore public opinion for its unique appearance.
The survey aims to acquire a market response to evaluate Bedworks marketing acts (Refer to Appendix B). According to Exhibit 30, 78.57% of respondents prefer the new look while 100% of respondents show a positive response to the new change. What’s more, 60% of the respondents feel a visual contact of resting eyes and a restful feeling of the colour scheme. More than 50% of respondents think the new logo is natural, simple and friendly. With that in mind, the majority of responses demonstrate positive reactions to the new logo, which means the new launch is a success for the rebranding .
In terms of brand awareness, Bedworks achieves 36.51% recognition in the sample customer base, which is exceeding the original goal (Refer to Exhibit 31). What’s more, Google search engine (organic traffic) and Facebook Ad are the primary channels (66.67%) that attract traffic and convert it to online sales, followed by social media and Google Ad (18.52%). The sample result matches the overall conversion channel profile, and it highlights the direction for Bedworks advertising.
7.5 Survey and Findings
Apart from the branding, Bedworks induced more perspectives from the survey in order to retrieve a holistic view of customer intent and prepare for a sustainable strategy (Refer to Appendix C). Bedworks gains a lot of insight from the rest of the survey:
7.5.1 Comfort, price and free service are the three major selling points
The respondents expressed extensive interests in comfort & quality (39.02%), price (23.17%), and free services (24.4%) for their first impression. Furthermore, price/discounts (34.62%), product range/customisation (17.31%) and service/delivery (13.46%) are the primary reasons for driving sales. The said selling points match with Bedworks value proposition (Refer to Exhibit 2), and it provides valuable insight for the future product management and advertising strategy.
7.5.2 Business is Limited in Metro Areas
According to Exhibit 33, the respondents geographic shows a patterned density in a specific region – Sydney metro areas. This pattern matches the previous sales geo pattern, which indicates a potential for business service area expansion:
- Bedworks engagement and conversions are mostly triggered in the Sydney metro areas
- Female converters are more widely spread across the service area
- Mattresses are more demanding in the service area
As such, there are several suggestions can be made:
- Expand the service area by optimising delivery-supply chain and store locations
- Polish the storefront and online presence to be more female-focus
- Regularly promote mattress offers in different tiers of the price range.
7.5.3 Customer Intent is the Key
During the survey, Bedworks found out that there’s a significant difference in reactions between the customer who has the intent to get involved with a furniture purchase and the others who do not. Bedworks ran a control group survey of 80 responses where 94% of respondents do not have a furniture purchase intent. Several key differences are highlighted as followed:
- Respondents in the control group are more likely to prefer the old logo
- Respondents in the control group are taking comfort and quality more seriously instead of price and discounts
The findings above indicate the importance of audience targeting and the targeting strategy: a traditional, product quality-oriented message would be more suitable for a brand expansion campaign.
8.0 Goal Evaluation
8.0 Finding Summary and Potentials
9.0 Justification and Analysis
9.1 Female and Furniture Shopping
Furniture shopping is more important to females (Cho & Yoon 2009). 94% of home furnishing purchases were decided by women (Silverstein & Sayre 2009). More than 70% of Australia’s home product e-commerce shoppers are women and particularly Millennial women on the age of 30-40 (Morgan 2019). According to Ponder (2013), the furniture shopping intent usually occurs when the customer experiences a significant life change, such as marriage, home-moving, a new member at home, or redecoration. What’s more, the majority of people will get their partner involved, and the partner usually plays an active role in the decision-making process (Ponder 2013). With further research, females show more engagement in the home furniture category, while males are more involved in the purchase process (Ponder 2013). What’s more, Australia online home furniture shoppers tend to be well educated young Millennial mums (Morgan 2019). The following reasons explain the role of furniture shopping in women’s mindset:
· Furniture can serve as an expression of one’s own identity and personality (Ponder 2013).
· The emotional nature of purchasing furniture is evident when consumers refer to their homes as a place to share and make memories with friends and family (Perry 2007; Ponder 2013)
· The pressure of “housewife” stereotype still hassles women’s emotional feeling (Silverstein & Sayre 2009). Furniture shopping fits for this bias, which considers furniture shopping is natural for women. (Morgan 2019).
With that in mind, Silverstein and Sayre (2009) developed six key female customer segments based on their research demographic (Refer to Exhibit 34), and few women fall into just one type. It’s advised to segment the female customer group for better business accessibility, especially the Millennial women mentioned above(Silverstein & Sayre 2009; Shipley 2020). Create products and services that are helpful in life-managing and priorities balancing attract the female group the most, and they are more than happy to get involved with the product that is beneficial to a greater good (Silverstein & Sayre 2009). As such, furniture shopping creates a thrive home image which motivates the whole family members – women are addicted to this feeling.
However, it’s studied that there’s no significant difference in-home product design preference between male and female (Mashao & Sukdeo 2018). Therefore, a clear, woman-focus message and marketing strategy is the key to acquire better customer engagement.
9.2 Mobile-first Experience
The next dominant home furniture shopping customer group is Millennials – a generation of mobile phone (Berridge 2019). What’s more, people no longer chase a predictable and straight pavement to purchase (Cao 2019). With many options both in stores and online, customers nowadays are switching between mobile search and store visit while looking for product information (Shipley 2020). The mobile phone is the first point of contact when Australian seek for furniture shopping (Google 2017; Shipley 2020). The online search contains a massive market as 40% of searches on Google are for broad category queries such as "bedroom furniture” (Google 2017). Google (2017) maps the Australian customer furniture shopping into four moments:
1. seeking ideas
2. searching for information
3. locating available stores
4. Making the purchase
Mobile technology applies across all steps above and plays a critical role in the decision-making process. As such, shift the focus to a mobile-first approach is inevitable and will result in excellent user engagement, along with a financial growth (Cao 2019). With that in mind, Bedworks should treat mobile as the first point of contact instead of a simple channel in the customer journey (Tamiru & Thurner 2019).
9.3 User Intent Makes A Difference
Home product shopping involves a profound thinking (information searching) and cognitive (emotional) process (Roy & Tai 2003). The lifestyle, product features, channel characteristics and business profile are the four primary factors the influence customer furniture shopping choices (Lihra & Graf 2007). This resonates the finding between the surveys in terms of respondent choices. With that in mind, it’s essential to differentiate the marketing strategy in remarketing and market expansion as customer preferences are different.
With the proven results, the strategies applied in the project are all considered successful. It can be concluded that Bedworks should continually perform and optimise the integrated marketing communication. Furthermore, a few recommendations to Bedworks future communication:
10.1 Create a personalized and more woman-centric communication
Personalisation has become one of the trendiest user preferences in the retail sector (Berridge 2019). The personalised product provides high engagement between the customer and the brand (Berridge 2019). Financially speaking, in Bedworks’ case, the custom-made product has more margin in each order. However, personalization is not just the product, but the experience from online to offline. It’s recommended to segment customer group into several primary profiles, and design a customized user journey in website and stores fostering greater brand engagement and loyalty (Lihra & Graf 2007). In the meantime, women are more likely to respond to the home-design message and have an influential emotional impact on their surrounding (Ponder 2013). Design a woman-centric communication strategy will be more efficient in customer response.
10.2 Seek for business Geo-expansion and Supply Chain Optimisation
Bedworks’s store location decides the limitation of its service area, hence the highest converted areas. The customer still tends to see the product in person before making the decision. With that in mind, Bedworks should open more shops in different areas and optimise the logistics to create a seamless, cost-effective delivery experience.
10.3 Combine innovative and sustainable mobile-first online & in-store experience
An environment that is created to be a simulation motivate the furniture shopping intentions(Roy & Tai 2003). It stimulates customer emotion and imagination, which enhance the perceived product value and personal expectation on-site (Sands, Oppewal & Beverland 2020). Bedworks should utilise the storefront and hold relevant, unique in-store events to increase the shopping experience. Furthermore, practical usage of disruptive mobile technology such as augmented reality, mobile-friendly website and QR code scanning for product details will no doubt enhance the said simulation. With that in mind, the combined experience no only improve the success rate of conversion but also encourage the customer to spend more at once (Lihra & Graf 2007).
Bedworks has been running in Sydney for almost 15 years. While earning a good reputation and offering premium products in the local areas, it has yet to be an industry leader for Sydneysiders. There are many reasons to claim the current situation, such as slow internal management, low marketing spend, and so on, but the furious competition requires Bedworks to expand and acquire financial gain. In this sale boosting project, Bedworks establishes backlinks to boost search engine optimization, and its SERP visibility and conversion rate show significant growth. The Facebook campaign gains a lot of engagement as well as referral traffic. It also utilises traditional marketing communication like billboards, cause-related corporate social responsibility campaign to resonate the brand engagement and loyalty. With the stereotype of cost-prohibit and low return, both strategies contribute a certain amount of traffic and financial return.
Bedworks encounter several exciting findings as well as performs some adjustments in terms of customer psychological profile, journey mapping and brand management. Its rebranding is a success and conveys a more explicit message to the audience, and it finds out that female group, personalization, innovative mobile technology are the key to future success. Meanwhile, it’s proven to be a good idea to expand the service geographic in order to acquire a larger market.
With that in mind, the project is a success and Bedworks should keep running this integrated marketing communication along with the recommendations. By identifying the problems and engaging the resources, it’s no doubt that Bedworks will become an agent for building a unique relationship better between Australians and home furniture shopping.
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