April Fool’s Day: Five of the Best Pranks from Brands

You’d be a fool to believe everything you read online – and this is particularly true on April Fool’s Day.

While the day may have been around for centuries, it’s become something of an internet phenomenon of late, with brands competing to create the funniest hoax.

And some brands go to great lengths. From giving away free cars to redesigning their store to include trampoline aisles, all the effort is completely worth it, as the day is an opportunity for businesses to show their funny side and engage with their customers.

Did you read anything you simply couldn’t believe this April Fool’s Day? Here’s five of the best April Fool’s from brands this year:

1. Sealy’s Neuro-Corder to record your dreams

Best April Fool’s Day pranks – Sealy Neuro-Corder

 

Pictured above: the amazing Neuro-Corder to capture your dreams. Image from Sealy

Have you ever had a dream so good that you’d like to watch it again? Or even share it with your friends? Well, the bed manufacturer, Sealy, announced a product this April that would let you do just that: the Neuro-Corder.

Setting yourself up for a night of dream-recording is simple – the Neuro Corder works as a bio-sensing headband, which connects to your phone to record your dreams. In the morning, you can revisit your dreams and even share them on social media (if you want to!). 

2. Tesco’s bouncy aisles

Best April Fool’s Day pranks – Tesco’s Bouncy Aisles

 

Pictured above: Tesco’s bouncy aisles. Image from Tesco Twitter

Tesco joined in the joke party with the launch of their bouncy aisles. Designed to help customers reach the top shelves more easily, the trampoline walkways will apparently still leave space for trollies to pass through the middle. How convenient!

3. Ant Watch by Analog Watch Company

Best April Fool’s Day pranks – Ant Watch by Analog Watch Company

Pictured above: the Ant Watch. Image from Analog Watch Company

With everyone talking about smart watches, why not get back to nature with the Ant Watch? The Analog Watch Company launched this new watch design on April 1st, with the aim to remind wearers of ‘the elegance and the complexity of the natural world every time it’s worn’.

The end result is like a live ant farm, which you can carry around with you, wherever you go.

4. BMW give away a free car in world’s first reverse April Fool

Pictured above: the moment when one lucky person received a free BMW.  Image from BMW YouTube.

This year, BMW launched a campaign, which was an unexpected twist on the traditional April Fool.

The manufacturer placed an ad in a New Zealand newspaper, saying that the first person to come into the local dealership and ask for Tom could swap their old car for a brand new BMW.

The twist was that the ‘hoax’ was true and whoever was clever (or foolish) enough to go for it, got the car. The finishing touch was the ‘NOFOOL’ number plate.

5. Marmite Clear – the translucent spread

Best April Fool’s Day pranks – Marmite Clear

Pictured above: Marmite Clear. Image from Marmite Twitter

Ever fancied an invisible spread? Well, whether you love it or hate it, Marmite’s April Fool’s hoax certainly was impressive.

Plus, it could mean that you could sneak marmite onto the plates of unsuspecting marmite-haters.

 

April Fool’s Day is a great way to engage with your customers. If you can do something ridiculous, you can capture the imagination of the public, bring a smile to your shoppers’ faces and even reach a new audience.

Did you play an April Fool’s prank on your shoppers this year?  We’d love to hear any pranks you saw go down, leave us a comment below.

 

Movers & Shakers Q&A – Alison Lancaster, Interim Marketing Director, McArthurGlen Group

shopping

The very experienced Lancaster is presently holding an interim position at McArthurGlen that is calling on her broad set of digital and marketing skills that she has picked up at numerous retailers including White stuff, Feather & Black, Harrods and John Lewis.

Read the full Q&A with Alison Lancaster, Interim Marketing Director, McArthurGlen Group.

How to Provide a Personalised Service in the Home & Lifestyle Sector

bowls and jugs

It’s not a surprising fact that the more relevant something is to your life, the more interesting it becomes.

The same principle applies to shopping – products or promotions based on what you like, what you need and what fits with your lifestyle are sure to be more interesting.

This is particularly true in the home and lifestyle sector. Buying anything for your home is a deeply personal choice – so a personalised shopping experience in this sector makes perfect sense.

But this also raises the stakes for retailers. Personal taste is so hard-to-define – get it wrong and retailers could alienate customers.

Anyone who’s ever tried to buy a gift for a friend’s home will know the challenge well. Our taste is personal and what some people would put centre stage in their living room, others would banish to the attic in an instant.

So, how do you provide the personal touch in the home and lifestyle sector? Here are some great ideas:

 

Personalised recommendations, messaging and offers

man with phone

Recommendations work on the principle that if you point shoppers in the direction of the most relevant product, they’re more likely to make a purchase. Unsurprisingly, this theory works – retailers that personalise web experiences are seeing an average increase in sales of 19%.

While the principle may be straightforward, getting it right is often trickier. Before you can personalise any interaction, you need to build up a 360° view of your shoppers. From shopping habits to social behaviour, you need to truly understand your customers.

Alongside understanding your customers, you also need to really understand your own products. Or, to get more specific, you need to understand the connections between your products.

For instance, someone who bought a new tablecloth might also be interested in cutlery that compliments this purchase. However, they might also be interested in scatter cushions in a similar style to the tablecloth, because perhaps that’s their favourite colour, or they love stripes.

Whatever it is, there are connections between lots of products and with the right customer data and product segmentation, you can make the connections between what your customers have bought or browsed and what they might also like.

Armed with this information, you can personalise homepages, promotions and messaging, to create an insightful ‘people who like this also like’ feature.

And it’s worth getting it right – 75% of consumers like it when brands personalise messaging and offers.

 

Ikea’s ‘Home Planner’ and in-store tech

Ikea card

Ikea is a great example of a home and lifestyle retailer, which provides a personalised and relevant product experience.

The online ‘Home Planner’ feature allows shoppers to design their dream home using Ikea furnishings and furniture. This is not only a way for shoppers to explore the products in an engaging way, it’s also a way for Ikea to drive uplift in sales and gather data about what their customers like.

And it’s not just the Ikea website that’s personalised, the retailer uses in-store technology to personalise shoppers’ visits within the store. The ‘Ikea Family’ kiosks allow shoppers to browse on their own account or pre-saved baskets in-store, where they can deliver relevant promotions in-store.

 

Made.com’s ‘Unboxed’ feature

map of europe

You can also personalise the shopping experience by how you engage with your customers. Made.com’s ‘Unboxed’ feature is a great example.

‘Unboxed’ is an area of their website where shoppers can showcase what their new purchase looks like in their home. The end result is something that feels personal to those involved, but is also really useful for new customers looking to visualise the furniture in their homes.

 

It’s clear that personalisation is the future of retail, and the home and lifestyle sector offers plenty of scope for adding the personal touch. Find out more by downloading our whitepaper, Personalisation: Why it’s the Future of Retail.

How do you think shopping in the home and lifestyle sector can be personalised? Share your thoughts below.

 

Image credits:

Image 1 by Craft Scotland
Image 2 by Pixabay 
Image 3 by monoooki
Image 4 from Made.com

 

Fashion Retailers: Why the Personal Touch is Key to Multi-Channel Success

Why the personal touch is key to multi channel success

There was a time when allowing customers to pick & mix their shopping channels was considered ‘personalised shopping’. After all, shoppers were able to tailor the shopping experience to suit their lifestyle.

But that’s no longer enough. There’s an expectation among shoppers that every product recommendation, voucher and interaction will be tailored to their interests. And if it’s not, well, they’re just not interested.

The figures speak for themselves – 75% of consumers like it when brands personalise messaging and offers.

This is particularly true in fashion retail, a sector dominated by personal taste and style; retailers need to get it right

Nick Robertson, CEO of ASOS, explains in a Telegraph interview the importance of making sure fashion retail is relevant and personalised. To get through to today’s shopper, you need to make your brand relevant to their life, interests and tastes.

Personalisation is also a way to join up the dots between online and in-store shopping, creating a great multi-channel experience. Here’s how:

Build an individual shopper profile

Build an individual shopper profile

 

 

While gathering customer data is nothing new, for years it’s mainly been used to build up archetypical profile consumers and not individual profiles.

Customers aren’t so easily fooled these days by the more generic types of personalisation. Fashion retailers need to gather a huge range of data – from social profiles to browsing and shopping habits.

Armed with this data, retailers can customise messaging in landing pages or advertising, so that every interaction with the brand is relevant.

It’s not surprising that personalised interactions boost sales by up to 19%, as its only human nature that the more relevant something is to your life, the more interesting it becomes.

Fashion Retailer, Net-a-Porter has seen success with a personalised approach, combining customer shopping and browsing data with customer surveys to get a complete picture of customer likes and dislikes.

The data you gather online also has the potential to enhance your multi-channel strategy. Say a shopper browses your website for several weeks without making a purchase; you could send them highly targeted offers to tempt them either into your store or back online.

Mobile

Mobile
Mobile is the dominant connector between online and in-store shopping, and of course a very personal device.

For most of us, our entire life is on our mobile – and it’s nearly always with us. Making it the perfect device for personalised interactions.

Plus, the fact that customers are always connected to their mobile means that geo-targeted interactions make it a smart marketers dream, enabling you to personalise messaging dependant on location.

Mobile is now used to intelligently gather data. It can show retailers how their customers shop and browse on-the-go and in-store.

Apps for use in-store or QR codes are innovative ways in which retailers can personalise in-store shopping, while gathering insightful data.

In-store technology

In-Store Technology

Aside from the technology that shopper’s carry around, many retailers are embracing in-store technology in order to compete in the customer experience battleground.

Burberry is a great example, with their ‘One to One’ iPad application. Using this, in-store sales assistants can build and maintain customer profiles – with information ranging from transaction history to a visual wardrobe for shoppers.

Get personal with delivery

Get Personal with Delivery

Customers expect convenience, which of course has driven the rise of click & collect.

Naturally, click & collect is evolving. Not only can you choose from a retailer’s stores as a collection point but coffee shops, post offices and now even tube stations too. House of Fraser has invested in its in-store technology and supply chain to allow shoppers to collect purchases at Café Nero – so you can open a parcel while sipping a cappuccino.

 

For more information, read our whitepaper, Personalisation: Why it’s the Future of Retail

 

Image credits:

Image 1 by pixabay
Image 2 by pixabay
Image 3 by pixabay
Image 4 by pixabay
Image 5 by pixabay