Today’s post is guest-written by Anna Skaya, UK Community Manager

I am quickly learning that with its rolling hills and cobblestone streets, UK is the premier place for bikers (rain, wind, hail or shine!) The dominating retailer in the UK biking world is, of course, Halfords, with hundreds of stores on high streets in UK and Ireland.  I recently got a copy of the new Halfords catalog – and if you don’t have one before Christmas, I encourage you to grab one (I don’t know how I ever shopped for my Dad before I found these guys – great site, great gear, lots of reviews!) Halfords used their customer reviews to call out some of their top products – this is one of the first examples of catalog merchandising with reviews from our UK clients. We see this will be a big trend over the Christmas season and coming year, as we’ve seen from US catalogers as well.

Taking reviews multichannel is part of our Acquire, Amplify, Analyze strategy: First, focus on acquiring the highest volume possible by driving community participation. Once you reach your critical mass (and remember, by this point you are sitting on a goldmine of fantastic content that YOU own), start amplifying and using this content across your site, and across your other channels, both on and off line.  Last but not least, don’t forget to always be measuring and analyzing results and ROI.

The Acquire part of this model is where my clients really get creative, especially as they expand multichannel. Halfords is one of our first multichannel examples in the UK (also check out a great EU catalogue example for Wehkamp), and one that really took advantage of their review content. The reviews snippets are across all categories, and vary in size and description – really a great way to sync up your marketing across multiple channels, and feed online content into your high street stores.

Here is a quick tip: when adding product review content to your catalogues, remember a few simple rules:

  1. Choose Right: Highlight the products that you really want to drive sales on. Your customers will pay attention to these call outs – use them wisely.
  2. Make it Shine: Use big, full stars, add ‘Recommend to a Friend’ (‘22/24 would recommend this product to a friend’), or give a rating and total number of reviews (‘4.8/5 stars, 46 reviews overall’).
  3. Less is More: Review snippets should be 2-3 lines max – anything longer and you lose their interests (and eye sight!)
  4. Get Personal: Give the name and location (and/or age) of the reviewer. Connecting with ‘people like me’ is the best way to drive the community feeling.

Remember that catalogues usually go into print months prior to hitting the shelves, so think ahead when adding user comments and ratings, and use your Community Manager to help you identify best content to use. As WOM experts, we have an arsenal of tips and tricks to make this small part of the catalogue drive big value for our clients.

Halfords is doing everything right – dozens of examples, short reviews (“Great ride, brakes are excellent”), bold graphics and stars, full nicknames and locations. Love seeing them pave the way for other retailers to include UGC in their pre-Christmas marketing. Ride on!

One Response to “Top UK retailer sets multichannel in gear in their catalogues”

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