The Countdown to Christmas

Christmas is upon us and unless you have been living under a rock for the last month or so you will by now be familiar with the Christmas messages from the big brands. John Lewis have unleashed their bouncing Boxer, Marks and Spencer have sprinkled a touch of sparkle over Mrs Christmas and Sainsbury’s have given time-strapped Dad the gift of family time this festive period. Just three of a huge sackful of brand campaigns designed to delight and inspire shoppers.


Executed correctly inspiring shoppers is just what Christmas can do, and its often essential for the success of the brand to increase sales at this time of year. In fact, according to Retail Research sales generated during this period represent more than 20% of total retail sales for the year. The consumers appetite is there and people are more receptive to Christmas marketing but it is imperative not to become part of the barrage of communications that get lost in the crowd, especially when email marketing alone increases by 25% at this time of year (MarketingTech).

The key to keeping consumers engaged is to intuitively update your message to their
changing needs, taking the stress of out present shopping and making it as easy as possible for them. Here are some examples of how to make the most out of your festive content and keep your customers inspired:

Early bird offers
Once you have pressed the button on your Christmas marketing message its time to tailor it to those early bird shoppers who like to have Christmas wrapped up by the beginning of December. One of the key dates for this is Black Friday and you can let your customers know in advance your top deals, time frames for discounts and special loyalty offers.

In-store events
There are lots of events planned in the run up to Christmas and its the perfect opportunity to draw your customers in from the cold, enticing them with complimentary in store services and goodies. Invite them to their nearest store through their preferred marketing channels whether that’s email, social or post.

Last minute solutions
For all those early birds there are the same amount of people who wait until the last minute to blitz their gift list. Offer gift suggestions based on their purchases last year along with customer reviews and make sure they know your express delivery services, last ordering dates and gift wrap options.

Christmas is a lifecycle in itself and those brands that reach out at every stage of the Festive shoppers journey with relevant, intuitive content will reap the rewards.

Customer Engagement – The What, When and How

“Customer Engagement” is a cliched term that you’ll find heavily used in reference to all aspects of sales and marketing. However, truly understanding how customers engage with your business has never been so important and will be a major factor in determining if you are still in business
in five years time.

Different customer groups have different needs and behaviours and how these groups interact with your products and business is changing all the time. The starting point in understanding what customer engagement means to your business is defining what each customer group wants, when they want it and how do they want it delivered.

customer-engBrands that have successfully learnt what their customers needs are have moved away from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to engagement to a ‘one-to-one’ personalised model. Today’s customers expect tailored messages that are relevant and specific to them – and why not? The days of generic, standard marketing messages are over. The brands that are succeeding offer their customers useful information that has meaning and makes their day just a little bit easier. Whether that’s offering style advice in relation to the weather that day or sending user guides for products they have recently bought, every communication needs to be reactive to your customer and add value.

Engagement should be intuitive, it needs to react to customers needs before they are even aware of what that need is. There are multiple stages throughout the customer journey when you should reach out with reactive content and should view personalised communications as an ongoing conversation and not just a one off that ticks the box. From welcome messages to event invites to post purchase advice and abandoned basket reminders every message needs to add value exactly when your customer requires it.

solution-brief-shopper-engagement-e1445462828673Today’s consumers interact with brands in a variety of ways that involve more than one touch point. It is vital to understand how customers behave across all channels so that communications can be consistent, fluid and clear. Targeting the right channel per customer is key to maximising the impact your communications have. Sending an email when the recipients preferred channel is social will waste valuable time and budget and you will not get the interaction and engagement your business needs.

Reaching out to customers with relevant, personalised information through the right channels before they have to ask for it will keep them engaged, make it easier to be your customer and improve their experience of your brand. Customer engagement might be marketing jargon but ignore it at your peril.

Photospire gives brands the power to engage with their customers through smart, reactive videos that are intuitive to each individual customers needs. 

Photospire showcases its platform at Millennial 20/20

The Photospire team are heading to Millennial 20/20 today to showcase their personalised video technology platform to some of the worlds biggest brands and retailers.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 09.11.24The Millennial 20/20 Summit in London brings together over 3,000 brands, retailers, start-ups and corporates to focus on the future of business from the perspective of the digital savvy consumer. The summit shines a light on the innovation, disruption and technology that is required to meet today’s complex and ever-evolving consumer.

Photospire will be based in the Accenture World of ME which brings to life the consumer experience and store of the near future in an immersive environment. Visitors can explore how to capture the heart and loyalty of the Millennial through products and services that will influence the retail and consumer landscape.

CEO Ger O’Meara is looking forward to promoting how Photospire meets the needs of todays consumer: “Millennials have really upped the anti in terms of what they expect as consumers. With a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips they want relevant content that is personal and intuitive to their needs. Photospire’s platform allows brands to create short data driven videos that are tailored to each individual, and tells the brands story in the most engaging way.”

Photospire changes the way that Millennials consume content by giving brands the power to communicate through personalised, engaging video.

How retailers are engaging customers with digital displays

Retailers have long known that to keep up with their customers’ demands they need to offer an exciting and innovative experience to in-store visits. Today’s shopper wants a more engaged, personal experience when they shop in store and have come to expect the same resources that they have available when shopping online. Oracle’s 2015 Consumer Research report found that 76% of respondents wanted retailers to invest in new technologies that specifically engage customer experience, with 54% saying that converged commerce is key to this.

In answer to this demand digital displays have come to the forefront in helping retailers bring the online and in-store shopping experience together, allowing consumers to interact and connect with brands whilst enriching their shopping experience.

One of the great advantages to in store digital displays is the ease in which they can personalise and add value to a shoppers visit. They can either be controlled by staff on site for a more relevant, customised experience or externally to offer consistency and increase brand loyalty.

Here are some brands that are using this technology to really stand out from the crowd and offer their customers a new approach to how they shop in-store:

Audi City

An early adopter of digital displays, Audi have rolled out digital showrooms in cities such as London and Berlin. This innovative format uses state of the art technology that enables visitors to experience every possible combination of the Audi range in one place. The London dealership has four ‘powerwalls’ – floor to ceiling screens that display the customers chosen car after identifying the model, colour, engine and other specification from touch screen tables. They can then spin the car around, peer inside, open the doors and trunk and even watch it drive off, complete with authentic engine noises.


Argos have opened their first tranche of new digital concept stores. The shops use digital technology to make the customer experience more interactive.  Customers can use tablets in store to browse products (where once was the catalogue) and the mounted screens welcome the customer, showcase the staff on duty and display new products and promotions. The company’s Twitter and Facebook feeds can also be directed to screens, which provides additional content for customers to read while they wait.

The technology displays current pricing and uses live, local stock data to decide which products get promoted. In addition, each store is linked to the local weather station, which enables Argos to promote weather related products on-screen as appropriate.

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren successfully integrates engaging graphics within their store displays. They recently showcased an energetic and engaging Polo Sport display in the window of Macy’s New York and at their flagship store on Fifth Avenue. Using props, mannequins and graphic content they grabbed shoppers attention in an energised and theatrical way. The digital displays ran a video loop with fast-paced edits, featuring athletes wearing the apparel that the mannequins were sporting in action poses.


A lot has already been written about Burberry’s flagship Regent’s Street store and it continues to be one of the most innovative shops in the world. The concept has been taken from their web user-experience and applied to the in-store retail space to create a bricks and mortar version of the website. Concentrating on the digital display aspect, customers are greeted by a huge digital screen (the largest of its type worldwide) giving the sensation of physically landing on the home page.

The most highly innovate concept is the stores mirrors that transform into digital screens. A chip hidden inside each product triggers RFID (radio-frequency identification) enabled mirrors on the shop floor and in changing rooms to transform into digital screens, displaying product information and inspiration.

The beauty of digital displays is that they enable brands to impress with fast moving content that can be updated at the press of a button. Used well they can bridge that elusive gap between on-line and in-store shopping and the overall result should be designed to enhance the store experience and assist customers in all aspects of the buying journey.




Why Email Personalisation is Key to Click-Through Rates & High Returns

Email in a rut

Although still the best marketing channel for return on investment, email has slowly seen a decline in productivity.  A recent report by Venture Beat Insights found a decrease in click through rates and an increase in unsubscriptions. It did, however, highlight that email is still the preferred marketing channel for customers.

This decline is due to irrelevant, generic content being pushed out to recipients who have less time and patience and are seeing higher volumes of marketing emails crowding their inbox.

Personalisation works

PER EMAILHowever, the report also showed overwhelmingly that personalised emails counter this trend with companies continually reporting an increase in open rates and click-through rates when sending emails that are personalised to their customers. In fact this technique also affects their revenue and has shown to increase transactions by 500-600%.

Personalisation works because recipients like to receive information that is relevant and of personal interest to them. When conducted properly this type of communication has been proven to prompt sales, increase engagement and generate loyalty.

To find out how Photospire can help you benefit from personalised email marketing then please get in touch here.


5 Reasons Mobile Video is the Ideal Marketing Tool for Brands

Video consumption on smart phones has sky-rocketed over recent years. In fact 50% of global viewership on YouTube comes from mobile devices (YouTube Insight Team). A recent study by Google and Ipsos found that the mobile phone is the number one screen choice for millennials wanting to watch video and once engaged they are twice as likely to remain focused as opposed to viewing it on other platforms. The study also reported that more than 50% of the smartphone video viewers said they used video to help them make product decisions in stores and online.

Here are five reasons your brand needs to join the video mobile craze:

Maximise Space
Video allows you to maximise your content delivery on the smaller mobile screen space. When customers access a website or landing page on their mobile devices the text is either readable but very abbreviated or else difficult to navigate and read.

In contrast video is automatically delivered in full screen mode on mobiles and enables on-the-go users to gather the information they need quickly and clearly.

Instantly Engage

mobile-video-and-tabletVideo grabs your customer’s attention and shows content in a quick, concise and engaging way. Through mobile videos, you can add powerful visuals and branding elements to your content. A well-crafted video is easy to consume and enjoyable to watch, something that can be difficult for many websites to accomplish on a mobile device. Its important to include a call to action to use this engagement effectively.

Turn up the Volume
Sound adds another dimension to your marketing content to make it more memorable. The audio in the video can deliver your marketing message, even if the video is not closely watched. Clever use of music, voice-over and sounds really helps to promote your brand and message. Busy consumers are able to gather the content through audio even if they can’t focus intently on the visuals.

Just Press Play
Everybody knows what to do when they see the play button therefore it makes it very easy for consumers to engage with your marketing message. Not having to navigate or scroll makes it much more likely that your message will be understood

A high quality marketing video can be very cost effective to produce. By leveraging your current marketing assets, you can have a highly effective video produced for a relatively low cost. It’s easy to re-use logos, images, video footage, etc to create an engaging and successful marketing video.

Photospire can help you deliver exciting, personalised videos to your customers at scale. For more information please contact the team here

Six ways to increase sales with personalised emails

Everybody likes to feel special and marketeers know that that personal touch can have huge effects on customer engagement, loyalty and sales. With the high volume of emails people receive on a daily basis, those that are personalised to each recipient really stand out. Research has shown that 80% of customers prefer receiving personalised emails with product recommendations based on previous purchases.

Here are a few tips to make personalised email marketing work for you:

1. Catch the eye and set the tone
Such a simple thing but nothing can seem more personalised to customers than a customer’s own name. It immediately makes them feel that the information they are being sent is relevant to them. It essentially sets the tone to your message in a positive way.

2. Showcase relevant products
Once a customer has bought something from you then it is the perfect opportunity to show them other products that relate to their purchase. You are not hard selling, just making suggestions that you know they will be interested in.

3. Reward with tailored offers
Research shows that personalising your offers increases conversion to sales. From sending out a birthday ‘gift’ to offering a special deal for a category that they have been browsing, personalising your offer will increase their use. Cart abandonment can be reduced and sales increased by sending a personalised offer for products that have been put into a customer’s cart but not purchased after a set time.

4. Ask for customer reviews
Making customers a part of your marketing strategy is a powerful tool. By asking your customer what they thought of a recent purchase you are giving them a sense of importance. You want their opinion so that you can keep improving your service as well as getting to know them better.

5. Remind customers of their purchase history
Providing customers with their purchase history makes them feel that their purchases are being cared for and their custom appreciated. Having their history easily accessible will also remind them that they already have a relationship with your brand which all adds to their sense of loyalty.

6. Targeted invitations and previews
The more special a customer feels, the brighter the chances of a sale. Send them previews of new collections, invite them to store openings in their locality, keep them up to date on new products they may be interested in and share with them your news.

Photospire enables retailers to create high volumes of personalised, automated, shoppable videos at the press of a button for use across all platforms including email. Contact us today for more information

Increase Sales through the Power of Video

Currently in the UK one in three people view at least one online video a week – that’s a weekly audience of over 20 million and that audience is growing daily. By 2017 video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic according to Cisco. In fact, research suggests that consumers are more likely to view video than any other resource online. The message is clear, if you haven’t done already, you need to make video a priority if you want to engage with customers and increase sales.

Video is a great waFacts 3y to get consumers thinking about you, and talking about your product or service. It also encourages prospective consumers to engage with your brand and products as it enables them to get a better understanding of who you are and what you are offering. This increases engagement and brings prospects a step closer to being your customer and encourages your customers to become lifelong customers.

So what does video do that text cant? It creates intimacy with the audience and they connect more easily with what they are watching compared to text that can seem distant and detached. Video also conveys you message more clearly and quickly creating an instant understanding between content and viewer. Most people are visual learners and do not want to read for long on their computer screens be it on a website or in an email. Video allows them to absorb the same information but in a more engaging way.

According to comScore consumers are 64% more likely to buy items after watching a product or brand video. Now is the time to harness this power to increase your sales.

Photospire enables companies to auto generate video content at the click of a button. For information on how we can help your sales and customer engagement please contact us.

Why Personalised Video is the Future of Direct Marketing

The demand for video content is at an all time high driven by more powerful devices and faster internet connection. Brands are gathering more and more valuable data about their customers making the ability to personalise marketing communication more achievable than ever. Here are three reasons why personalised video is the key to effectively engaging your customers and strengthening your brand:

3 reasonsDevices– With such a large increase in the accessibility of online content, marketing videos will only get more exposure and create an even larger return on investment. Strategy Analytics expects the amount of devices that can access the internet per person to rise from 1.7 today, to 4.3 by 2020.

Video Engagement– Due to a continuous decline in attention span amongst internet consumers, video has proven to be the most successful way to keep people engaged. Cisco agrees and has predicted that video traffic will make up 80% of total internet user consumption by 2019

Personalisation– Experts are forecasting a 4,300% increase in annual data generation by the year 2020( The future of big data provides endless possibilities for personalisation. This is pivotal because 74% of online consumers state that they are frustrated with websites offering content that has absolutely nothing to do with their interests (Jonrain).

All of this points to the future of internet consumption being dominated by video content with easy access through the multitude of devices consumers will own. More big data will be produced and collected than ever before resulting in personalisation not only being expected, but becoming the norm. If these trends continue as they are predicted to do, personalised video will emerge as the future of direct marketing.

Photospire is a web based platform that enables companies to auto generate video content at the click of a button incorporating real time data, user generated content, brand identity and more.  For information on how we can help your sales and customer engagement please contact us.

Author: Jon Goldenberg – Photospire Marketing Executive

5 Key Trends for Retailers in 2015

1) Social networks as shopping platforms

Brands have been using social media to market their products and communicate with their customers for years, however 2015 will be the year that they add ‘selling’ to the list. Facebook and Twitter now have ‘buy’ buttons and Instagram teamed up with Curalate to create their Like2Buy platform. This selling route will continue to grow and become more sophisticated and widespread.

2) Focus on customer loyalty

Retailers need to offer more than loyalty points to keep their customers coming back by delivering more imaginative rewards and incentives. Loyalty programmes of the future will reward shoppers for their engagement and actions rather than just purchases. These rewards will be customised to each individual in the form of offers, services and experiences and in doing so the customer will feel more cherished and will be more inclined to engage and remain loyal.

3) Growth of in-store technology

We are already seeing retailers adopt in-store technology such as beacons, wearables, POS systems and virtual platforms and this will continue to grow in 2015. Cloud based point-of-sale systems have proven to be more efficient than till points in all respects and more retailers will make the switch. Although there has been a lot of talk about Beacons retailers are still finding their feet as to what this technology can do for them. The early adopters of platforms such as virtual fitting rooms and interactive widow displays have lead the way in improving the in-store experience.

4) Continued mobile growth

Mobile devices will account for 30% of global retail e-commerce spending by 2018, according to Adobe. Retailers who know the importance of smartphones and tablets in the shopping journey are starting to introduce mobile loyalty programs where customers can track and redeem their rewards straight from their phones. The number of consumers turning to mobile payments will also increase due to solutions from the likes of Google, Softcard and Apple. Retailers will have to respond to this trend and adopt the technology to offer their customers.

5) Retailers with omnichannel strategies will prosper

Retailers that understand the importance of offering multiple shopping channels to their customers will continue to grow and prosper. Many studies have been carried out showing that consumers are now much more informed on products before they purchase. They expect to be able to research the product online, view and try in-store, talk to sales people who are knowledgeable on the product and then buy from a host of different channels for their convenience. Retailers who can keep up with this and provide a seamless service will continue to reap the benefits.