Incubeta Ignite: M&S and Shopping

Read Time: 2 mins

M&S have been working on Shopping for 3 years and, like many retailers, they’ve had their share of challenges when it comes to setting up and maintaining the channel. In a highly insightful presentation, Samira Hassam talked us through some of the challenges M&S has faced and how they’ve managed to get around them.  You can download her slides here.

The Volume of Inventory and Multiple Data Sources

Marks and Spencer have a sizable product range, with over 100,000 SKUs per region. In order to create their feeds, data has to be extracted from 3 entirely separate internal systems. To make sure this information is kept up to date, the systems in place must be able to handle scale whilst also being agnostic to format. 

Stock Availability and Sell Through

Stock availability is often a challenge, especially for Shopping. During promotional periods such as sales and campaign launches – for example, Holly Willoughby Loves – stock often sells out, and it’s often difficult to overlay stock information with sell-through. Using floodlight data in SA360, M&S and NMPi have developed a method to determine how quickly a product sells through, allowing them to advertise effectively by setting rules based on this information.

Establishing Core Sizes

It can be incredibly frustrating when a customer clicks on an ad for a dress that they’ve fallen in love with only to find that the only size available is an XXL. In order to get around this – and create a smoother advertising experience – establish your ‘Core Sizes’ by working with your online trading team. If this information differs by age group or gender, you can also set stock rules based on the demographic.

Promoting Profitable Products

There comes a point where it stops being profitable to promote sales items. Similarly, there will be products that you naturally want to prioritise because they have the highest margins. Using custom labels to give yourself control over the higher-margin products can greatly improve your profitability. Working with internal stakeholders is vital in order to get the sign off you need to implement this strategy with your agency. 

User experience on PDP’s on mobile 

Be mindful of the experience on your Product Detail Pages, as we often see a high bounce rate off these pages due to a poor experience on mobile. Customer navigation capabilities from PDPs on mobile aren’t as simple as they are on desktop, so it’s hard for a customer to get back to the category page. To combat this, M&S added related links to these pages to help with the navigation.