Saturday, 27 May 2017

Industrial Investigation Primary Research

So, I made it to blog post number 7, yay!  That means however, it’s almost the end of second year and almost the end of college – scary stuff.  For my last post, I thought I’d do a roundup of the findings from the rest of my primary research for my industrial investigation – if you read my last two previous posts you will have seen I gave an overview from my focus group findings, so I won’t go over all that again!

The rest of the findings for the primary research was undertaken by conducting a survey and two observations.  All research undertaken was to help achieve one of the objectives set out. 

Survey Findings
So, as part of the primary research, I created questions for a survey and put it online.  This survey helped fulfil the objective ‘the number of consumers buying in-store versus online’ that was set out in the original rationale.  This survey showed that where consumers preferred to shop was almost split halfway, as 53% said they preferred online shopping and 47% said they preferred shopping in-store.  They were then asked which method they used most often, and these results showed that 53% said that they used a mixture of both.  The findings from this whole survey suggested that even though consumers prefer to buy things online nowadays, there is still room for in-store shopping as both methods have positive and negatives to them.

Observation Findings
For the final part of the primary research, two observations were carried out in the form of a communications audit.  This was to achieve the objective ‘to find out how different industries use online platforms and social media to promote themselves’.  The observations were based on the online company Missguided to compare the number of posts on their Instagram page versus the number of their adverts seen on TV – to see how an online company makes use of the promotional mix.  As I suspected, Missguided made much more use of social media than they did with the likes of traditional media.  Their Instagram page – which was what was being recorded – had multiple posts per day, promoting their products and reposting pictures of their customers in their clothing.  Missguided’s TV advertising however, was much less frequent, and the only channels that they were seen advertising on was E4 and MTV.  This works well for them though with the little TV advertising they do as their viewer are mainly younger who fit to their target market demographic.  From these findings, it showed that Missguided – an online company – are more likely to promote themselves using online platforms such as social media.  Since doing this investigation, I have also seen that Missguided are now doing Snapchat advertising.  This is a fairly new way of advertising and allows Missguided to reach their target market.

Throughout this whole investigation, I found the research, and specifically the primary research, fun to undertake.  I enjoyed finding out what different people and age groups had to say about the way they like to shop and it was interesting to compare how an online company uses their promotional mix versus a traditional company uses theirs.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Do You Prefer to Shop In-store or Online? Part 2

If you read my last blog post, you will have seen that I looked into the findings from one of the focus groups I conducted as part of my industrial investigation.  This week, I will be doing the same but with the 25 and over age group that I asked.

For this focus group, there was six 25 and over participants who were asked their opinion about how they like to shop nowadays.  Unlike the 16-24-year-old age group, the 25+ age groups answers were much more split.  The group was quite split with their answers so it made for an interesting discussion to find out their views against the younger age group.  As before, the same questions were asked to compare the results to help with my industrial investigation.

The first question that was asked was to find out participants preferred method of shopping.  This question was very split as three said in-store, whilst the other three participants said online.  The main reasoning for preferring to shop in-store was due to the fact the three liked to try products on/out before they bought them to ensure they would actually like it.  For the three that preferred to buy things online, they had varying reasons as to why.  One participant said that there was a lot more choice to choose from and they get quite addicted to looking at clothes online.  Another said online shopping is more convenient for them as they don’t have much time to go shopping in-store often.  The third participant said they prefer it as there is usually good deals on – which encourages them to spend more.  They also agreed that they didn’t have much time to go in-store as often as they would like.

Participants were then asked what could persuade them to shop the other opposite way.  The answers here were, again, quite varied.  Two participants said they would be persuaded to shop in-store more often if shops were open longer.  The third participant who said they prefer to shop online said that they still shop in-store regularly but would be more likely to go if shop sales weren’t so messy and if staff weren’t so pushy to you in-store.  The three who were more in favour of shopping in-store said they would be persuaded if they could physically see what they’re buying, if delivery was quicker and if they knew clothing products would be the correct size for them.

Participants were then asked their thoughts on the biggest benefit and drawback of shopping in-store.  For the biggest benefit, all participants agreed that it was the fact you could actually see and try the products out/on before you bought them.  For their thoughts on the biggest drawback, three participants agreed that it was the fact they felt shops weren’t open long enough as they don’t have time to go shopping much.  Other drawbacks included the fact the shops were an issue to get to as the bus takes a long time to get into town, shopping takes a lot of time out of your day as you have to walk around the shops and the fact that shops tend to be busy a lot so it takes a lot of time to get around them.

As before, the group were then asked what they felt was the biggest benefit and drawback of shopping online.  Participants all agreed on the biggest benefit to online shopping was that it is available all the time so you can shop to when it suits your schedule.  Their thoughts about the biggest drawback were also fairly similar.  The answers here were that it takes a few days to arrive/return and the fact you can’t actually see/try what you’re buying.

The results from this focus group came as quite a surprise to me.  I thought that all or most of the participants would prefer to shop in-store, so I wasn’t expecting half of participants to prefer to shop online.  The data from both focus groups showed that most participants agreed on the benefits and drawbacks of both in-store and online shopping and I myself would agree with what they had to say.

I personally prefer to shop online as I find it easier and like the variety of products and shops that you can access online, but I do agree that sometimes it’s better to be able to see or try products before you buy them.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Do You Prefer to Shop In-store or Online?

In this week’s blog post, I’m going to be writing about something a little bit different than in my previous posts.  This week, I will be discussing the findings from one of my focus groups for my industrial investigation to give you a little insight into what I have found out. 

With the two focus groups that I held, I wanted to find out how people want to shop nowadays – is it in-store or online?  I took two different age groups – 16-24 year olds and 25+ – to find out their thoughts and opinions so I could compare to see if there was a difference between the age groups.  For this post, I will be focussing on the 16-24-year-old age group and what they had to say about how they prefer to shop. 

For this focus group, six 16-24 year olds were questioned to find out if they prefer to shop one specific way over another.  All the responses from each participant were fairly similar, and it was easy to see that they all agreed with one another in their answers.

When asked what their preferred method of shopping was, each participant agreed that they preferred shopping online to shopping in-store.  Their main reasons for preferring to shop this way was because it is convenient, there are more options and you can get it delivered straight to you.  I felt that these responses were expected from this age group as they have grown up around technology so it is something that they are used to and have always known.  They also said that what influenced them to shop this way the most was because it doesn’t involve a lot of effort and it is easy to do. 

Then when asked about what would persuade them to shop more the other way, their responses were more mixed but again, they all agree with what of them had to say.  One participant said they would shop this way if there were less queues when shopping, whilst another said if the staff weren’t so pushy towards you.  Other responses included if shops weren’t so far away from where they lived, if there were more sales and offers, if they had longer opening hours and if it wasn’t so expensive to catch the bus or for parking.

Participants were then asked to give their thoughts on the biggest benefit and biggest drawback to shopping in-store.  The main benefits here were that you could physically see and try on the products before you buy them – all participants agreed here saying that sometimes seeing the products is better before buying then.  The drawbacks here were similar to their answers in the previous question – as a whole they didn’t like to have to pay for travel, sales staff are often pushy, there is more variety online and shopping takes out quite a bit of your day.  Again, all the participants seemed to be in agreement with each other on their thoughts about the benefits and drawbacks of shopping in-store.

They were then asked what they felt the biggest benefit and biggest drawback to online shopping was.  The answers were fairly similar here again – online shopping is easier and convenient and there are more choices online to choose from.  The biggest drawbacks here were almost identical as participants didn’t like the fact you can’t see/try the products before you buy them and it takes a while to arrive/return the products.

Overall, the data gathered from this focus group seemed to show that these participants all think in a similar way about the way they shop.  It didn’t come as a surprise to me when they all agreed they prefer to shop online as I expected it from this age group. 

Leave a comment and let me know what your preferred method of shopping is – is it in-store or online and what factors influence you to shop this way?

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

John Lewis and the Promotional Mix

If you read my previous posts, you will be aware that I looked into Missguided’s promotional mix and how they use it.  In this post, I am going to be looking into a more traditional store to see how their promotional mixes differ.  This store is the UK’s biggest department store, John Lewis.  Before I jump right into their promotional mix, here is a little insight to who John Lewis are – if you don’t know who they are or what they do. 

John Lewis was set up in 1864 by John Spedan Lewis and was originally based in Oxford Street, London.  In 1928, after the death of the owner, the department store was left ownership to John Lewis’ son, Spedan Lewis.  With his son in charge, the partnership was reformed into a public company.  As owner, Spedan ensured that his employees would receive the profits that the company made.  This vision is still present today as sales people are ‘partners’ of the store and receive a percentage of the department stores annual gross sales, additional to their salary.  With over 30 department stores, 11 John Lewis at home shops, their online website and catalogue, as well as 343 Waitrose supermarket stores, John Lewis is the UK’s leading department storeAs a department store, John Lewis sell various different products.  The products they sell range from home, fashion and technology – whilst also selling food through their supermarket, Waitrose. 

John Lewis’ main form of advertising takes place in the form of TV advertising.  Every year – since around 2007 – John Lewis have been well-known for their Christmas adverts.  These adverts are usually released on their social media – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – a day before they are aired on any TV channel.  Unlike a lot of companies, John Lewis’ adverts aren’t there to promote a new product.  Their adverts are simply there to promote the brand/remind customers of the brand, and at Christmas time this is increasingly important to do, so customers buy with them over their customers.  Their Christmas adverts more recently have been teased online before the release with the use of hashtags and Twitter accounts being made relating to the advert.  The John Lewis Christmas adverts are always eagerly anticipated by consumers who want to find out the story in their ads.  You can watch their previous Christmas ads from 2007 – 2017 below.  (My personal favourite is Monty the Penguin).

Direct Marketing
John Lewis do not make use of direct marketing as much as they do with advertising.  They use it to a certain extent but not as much as they could.  The form of direct marketing that they use is emails.  They send these emails to customers who have previously bought products from them online or customers who have signed up to their newsletter.  John Lewis use this to send news and offers to customers to make them aware of things that are happening within the business or to inform them of new products/sales that they have on at that time.  That is the extent of their direct marketing that they use.

Personal Selling
Personal selling is used by John Lewis every day as the partners of the store try to ensure that each customer receives a personal experience.  Partners will help customers with any queries they have about a product and ensure that they focus solely on that customer to try and get them to buy a product.  John Lewis customers have excellent knowledge and expertise in order to gain a sale from a customer.  The biggest personal selling tool that John Lewis make use of, however, is the use of personal selling in woman’s wear.  In this department, the store has personal shopper which is used to give customers a unique shopping experience.  With the personal shopper, the customer tells the employee within the personal styling team what kind of clothing they are interested in and the personal stylist will try find outfits based on what they think they will like.  This personal selling technique gives the customer a different experience that is unique to them.

Public Relations
John Lewis make use of press releases as part of their public relations strategy.  The company will release these to give information about new products they have on sale, things that are happening within their stores or if they are planning on refurbishing/opening a new store.  These press releases are to give the public information as to what the store is doing to keep them up-to-date on everything that is going on.  Journalists will often write reviews or articles based on the press release provided by John Lewis.  They also make use of social media as part of their PR strategy.  Customers can leave comments and reviews about their experience which allows John Lewis to interact with their customers and help with any queries.  Social media is also a key tool used alongside their advertising as consumers will often share their Christmas adverts and get the word out about it.  Another form of PR used is in the form of reviews on their website.  Customers can leave ratings and comments about products on the website which can often encourage or put off customers from buying products with John Lewis.  PR allows customers to give their honest opinions and views about John Lewis. 

Sales Promotion
John Lewis make use of sales promotion also.  They often have seasonal sales, for example at Christmas time, to encourage consumers to buy with them instead of their competitors.  Their Christmas sales are amongst the most popular sales they have in store because consumers are often drawn to them from their Christmas advertisements.  John Lewis also make use of price matches.  This is when one of their competitors is offering a product at a lower price, John Lewis will try to match their price to encourage the loyalty of their customers.  As well as this, John Lewis have a ‘special offers’ section on their website which tells customers all the offers that they have on at that time.  This encourages consumers to buy with them because they can always see what deals and offers John Lewis have on at that time.  Customers love getting products for a cheaper price/on a deal, so buy having this function it will encourage sales on the website.

So that is all for this week!  Do you think John Lewis promotional mix work for them or should they change it to keep up with the times?  Feel free to leave a comment - and let me know your favourite John Lewis Christmas ad!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Missguided and the Promotional Mix Part 2

If you read my previous post, you will have seen that I started to look into Missguided’s promotional mix and what they do to interact with their customers.  In this post, I’ll be looking into the rest of their promotional mix and how they make use of personal selling, public relations and sales promotion. 

Personal Selling

Missguided live chat
As Missguided are an online shop, they cannot make use of personal selling the same way as stores on the high street can.  However, this doesn’t stop them from doing so as new methods of personal selling are now available to online companies.  Missguided make use of this factor with the use of a live chat through their website.  This chat allows customers to ask queries that they have.  This chat allows them to get an instant and personal response as they are being contacted directly by the company.  Having this chat option makes interaction between the customer and the company a lot faster and customers will feel valued as they are getting an instant response.  Missguided also make use of personal selling through the use of their social media sites as their customers can get customer service almost instantly.  Through these social networking sites, customers can ask anything, from fashion advice to how long their delivery will be.  A recently new feature of personal selling that Missguided use is the use of the swipe function on their app.  This function takes into consideration clothes that customers have looked at/bought/added to their wishlist before and suggests clothes they think that the customer would like.  Customers swipe left if they’re not interested in it, and right if they are – this will then add the clothes to their wishlist.  This function has becoming very popular on the Missguided app, and it is unique to each customer depending on what they have looked at before.  Personal selling is personal and unique to each customer, so encourages them stay with the brand as they feel valued.

Missguided swipe function

Public Relations

Missguided collab with Jourdan Dunn
Currently, Missguided are using a key media tool as part of their public relations.  The brand is making use of celebrity endorsement with English fashion model Jourdan Dunn who collaborated with Missguided to create a line of clothing called ‘LONDUNN’.  The model is very popular amongst young women and on social media so collaborating with her has been a smart move for the brand.  This has also kept up Missguided’s reputation of being a modern brand as Jourdan Dunn is a very relevant model today.  This celebrity endorsement has widened Missguided’s audience as fans of Jourdan Dunn will be interested in the clothing range as she has been promoting it on her social media platforms.  To link in with this, Missguided’s social media sites are also a method of public relations that is used by the brand.  Social media has allowed brands, and especially online brands like Missguided, to interact with their customers on a day-to-day basis.  Customers can post about their engagement with the brand and how they were treated.  Missguided are always interacting with their customers and replying to comments to help them out.  However, social media has not always been a good tool for Missguided as customers often complain about the service they receive in terms of delivery with the brand.  This bad PR tool can often have a negative effect as customers will often express their bad experience to try put others off from buying with them.  Social networking is one of the most important factors for Missguided to use as they can respond to these comments to regain their reputation. 

Missguided twitter help page

Sales Promotion

Missguided sales promotion 
Missguided also make use of sales promotion as the final part of the promotional mix.  The brand often has discounts and sales on offer to their customers.  As of writing this post, they currently have five sales promotion offers on the homepage of their website.  These include; free UK next day delivery when order before 10pm and use the code ‘nextday’, 20% off everything including sale using the code ‘lucky20’, 20% student discount (excluding sale) with the UNiDAYS app, 50% off selected clothing lines and 20% off your next order using the code ‘get20babe’.  Having all of these promotions on at once is likely to encourage different types of customers to buy something as there is a discount for everyone.  Consumers are always looking for deals and discounts on products, so using all of these sales promotion deals is likely to get new and existing customers to buy from Missguided.  Missguided make use of these promotions to encourage existing customers to continue to shop with them over their competitors and to also encourage new customers to buy with them as they have more/better promotions on over their competition.  They want consumers to brand switch to them so ensure to make use of these sales promotions to encourage them to do so.

Overall, Missguided make great use of their promotional mix to interact and engage with their customers.  The brand uses elements that fit well with them as a brand and do things that they know their target audience will like and want to buy.  Missguided are a good example of how an online company can make use of the promotional mix to get more popular and well-known across the world.

If you have any comments feel free to leave them, and let me know your thoughts towards Missguided.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Missguided and the Promotional Mix Part 1

If you’re a female between the ages of 16 to 35, you will more than likely have heard of the company Missguided.  If you’re not aware of who Missguided are, here is a little insight of who they are and what they do. 

Missguided are fashion company based predominately online.  As you may have guessed, their target audience is 16-35-year-old females.  Established in the UK in 2009, the brand has grown rapidly in recent years and they now sell to countries across the globe including the USA, Australia, France and Germany.  Missguided have a huge online presence, which makes sense considering they are based online.  With over two million Instagram followers, one million Facebook likes, over 400,000 Twitter followers and a Snapchat account posted on every day, Missguided know exactly what their target audience want.  The company also know exactly what they want their brand to be, and on their website, they have stated their mission as;

Our mission is to empower females globally to be confident in themselves and be who they want to be. Missguided is a bold, straight talking and forward thinking fashion brand inspired by real life that aims to do exactly that. Everything we create is informed by our customer along with global influences like social media, street style, and popular culture, creating a destination that delivers and encompasses everything it means to be a girl on the go in the world today.

“So, what does Missguided have to do with your course?” You may be wondering.  Well, as Missguided are one of the most popular online retailers, I’m here to dive into their promotional mix and show you how they make use of it.  This will also link into my industrial investigation.

The promotional mix is made up of five factors.  These are; advertising, direct marketing, personal selling, public relations and sales promotion.  Missguided make use of each factor of the mix.


Missguided’s advertising takes the form of TV, outdoor and online advertising.  Their TV adverts are based mainly on E4 and MTV in the UK.  This works well for them as their target audiences are both within the 16-35-year-old age range.  Their adverts feature models who showcase the new season styles to encourage consumers to go to their website to stay with the trends and buy their new clothes.  The adverts also usually play a new/popular song that their target audience will know, or will want to find out what it is due to the catchy beat.  You can watch one of their previous TV adverts here
Missguided outdoor advertising 
Their outdoor advertising is used slightly less, but it is still there.  Missguided make use of outdoor advertising at bus stops, in tube stations and outside busy stores.  This advertising is usually placed in bust places such as London – which works well for them as London is full of fashionable consumers.  
Missguided’s most popular method of advertising, however, is of course online advertising.  In recent years, online advertising has increased significantly – and for a company like Missguided who are based online, this has become a huge bonus.  I personally have seen Missguided adverts online far more than anywhere else.  I frequently see adverts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  Online advertising is becoming more and more popular.  Facebook adverts will appear at the right-hand side of your newsfeed or just like a normal post on your news feed.  Instagram and Twitter advertising has increased significantly in just the last few months.  Businesses can promote their photos/tweets on these sites for a fee to reach people who would be likely to buy their products.  Missguided’s online advertising, from what I have personally seen, is promoting new season trends or sales/discounts that they have at that time.  Using online advertising allows Missguided to target more people than they usually might and they can aim adverts at their target audience specifically.
Missguided Facebook advertising

Direct Marketing

Missguided make use of direct marketing through the use of emails, texts, their app and as stated before, social media.  Missguided send out emails to customers who have bought from them before.  These emails will try to encourage customers to buy new season clothes, buy something they’ve left in their basket or try to get them back to the website if they haven’t bought something from them in a while.  They also use email and texts to send out offers and style advice to customers.  Missguided send notifications through their mobile app to customers.  These notifications will often alert customers – if they choose to turn their notifications on – about sales and offers they have and will encourage them to purchase products left in their basket.  Finally, Missguided make use of social media, where, they constantly engage with their customers and help them with their queries.  Using direct marketing for any company is always a bonus, however for an online company such as Missguided it allows them to interact with their customers as much as possible.  Interaction with customers is key for a good relationship with them, and because Missguided are based online they need to interact as much as they can to maintain this relationship.
Missguided email direct marketing

Well that is all for now.  I didn’t want to cram the whole promotional mix into one post as it would be a lot of information to take in at once!  Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts and whether you like Missguided or not.  I hope you enjoyed reading this and keep an eye for my next post with the rest of Missguided’s promotional mix.

Monday, 20 February 2017

A Little Introduction...

Hi there and welcome to my blog!  This is just a little introduction about me and my blog so you can get a little idea of who I am and what I am doing.  So, hi, my name is Alex Brown, I am 19 years old and currently a second year at North East Scotland College (NESCOL) studying Advertising and PR.  This blog has been created as part of my course and will be used to write about my industrial investigation, as well as topics that are relevant to my HND course.  Hopefully it will give you a little insight as to how I am getting on with my investigation as well as what my course involves.

My industrial investigation has been set to find out how have companies adapted their promotional mix to accommodate the digital revolution?  Throughout this investigation, as well as this blog, I will be looking into how companies have had to change themselves to stay with the times through using platforms such as social media and the use of online shopping.  With the rise of social media and companies having their own websites it will be interesting to find out just how much companies have had to change themselves to keep consumers interested in them and buying their products.

My main focus on this blog will be to look at different companies and investigate how they have changed and now use their promotional mix to interact with their customers.  The promotional mix involves advertising, public relations (PR), sales promotion, direct marketing and personal selling and I want to find out just how much these factors of the mix have had to change in recent times.  Many clothing stores, such as Topshop and River Island, have all changed the way they promote and sell their products because more and more people like to buy things online.  With the rise of online shops, such as ASOS and Missguided, there is now even more competition for walk-in stores so they have had to accommodate this and update themselves to keep up with the competition.

This blog and my industrial investigation will also factor in which way consumers prefer to buy their products from.  Is it online or in store?  Or is it both?  I want to find out why people prefer to buy from either in store or online and what they find appealing about their chosen method.  I want to make use of interviews and focus groups to find out how people feel about the way we shop nowadays and if this new way of buying products online is a good or bad thing for them.

Well that is all for now.  I hope this first post gave you a little insight into what I’ll be investigating and hopefully you’ll want to read more of my posts in the future.  If you have any comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment on any of my posts with your thoughts and opinions – I would love to hear what you think. 

Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for posts in the near future!