We’ve interviewed Graham Johnston, Head of Omnichannel & Digital First at Three UK. He is looking after Three’s 5 year omnichannel strategy, how their customers will interact with the brand through all of their channels and ultimately spinning up test-and-learn activities to see how they can start to bring together some of the assets of the channels that they have.
The omnichannel strategy at Three is about having a seamless experience across all of their channels but appreciating that every channel has its own nuance. What Three Live does is start to knit together the best assets of Three’s digital and physical channels.
What is Three Live?
Three live is an on-site broadcasting facility that we have at Three. It’s pretty unique, certainly within UK Telco, nobody else does it; I think there are only a few brands that do it in the UK. What it [Three Live] enables customers to do is, when they are on our website, they can watch a live product broadcast, and not only just watch it but interact with it as well. They can ask live questions to the presenters, who are able to see those questions coming through and it gives the presenters the power to customize the broadcast based on what the viewers want to see/know.
How has Whisbi improved the image of Three UK as a brand in terms of innovation and positioning?
You just have to look at some of the customer comments that have been left from people that have watched and interacted with our broadcast, saying things like “this is so innovative”, “I wish I knew about this earlier”, “how long have you been doing this for?”, “when can I come back?” – some great comments about the fact that they can interact live. If you look at the traditional way that the customers buy on an ecommerce site: you can look at the pictures of products, you can read information, you might even be able to look at customer reviews. But sometimes in a decision-making process a customer needs to actually take that next step and speak to somebody to get some advice (a friend or phoning the company). But sometimes customers don’t want to do that or don’t have the time to do that and if the convenience was there to speak to an expert at that moment – that’s what Three Live does.
It’s something that pops up, it’s a surprise and delight and they are able to, as part of that e-commerce journey, speak to one of our people about the product or service they’re looking to buy. And the core of the omnichannel strategy at Three UK is to build confident purchases with our customers. I think what Three Live (supported by Whisbi) does, is it brings to life that element of being able to have a confident purchase by asking questions, finding out a little more details about the device, a little bit more detail about the preposition, or a reason why customer should choose Three as opposed to one of our other competitors. I think that it really does innovate and the fact that we were short-listed for the World Retail Awards, in the category of “The most innovative customer experience” last year, kind of really confirms this as it is being viewed outside of our industry as a really innovative way of interacting with our customers.
The core of the omnichannel strategy at Three UK is to build confident purchases with our customers.
What impact has Whisbi had on the online conversion rate? Does it have a positive impact on your customer experience?
The way we measure our performance on Three Live is that we look at attributable conversion. We take a conversion percentage from the pages that Whisbi appears on and the conversion we have for the web visitors that have watched the Three Live broadcast. And the difference between the two is what we can attribute to Whisbi. And that started at 2-3% and has gone as high as 5-6%. Obviously, what that demonstrates is that the people who have watched the broadcast are more likely to purchase. Which I think stands to reason the fact that you are able to make a more confident purchase having got the expert advice from our presenters and ask the questions that customers want to ask and then they can go ahead and purchase.
One of the most telling examples of conversion and performance was when we started to sell bundled accessories as part of one of the iPhone launches. Normally the attachment rate online would be single figures, maybe 4-5% of conversion from customers buying a phone and adding an accessory on top. However, customers that watched the Three Live broadcast 26% of them purchased an accessory bundled with that purchase. This shows you the power of conversational marketing, being able to show the product to the camera, demonstrate it, talk about the lifestyle benefits of having that product or service attached. There are loads of examples like that, but I would like to mention that we are now in a situation where consistently, Three Live outperforms the standard pages, by up to 5X in terms of conversion rate.
26% of customers that watched the Three Live broadcast purchased an accessory bundled with that purchase. We are now in a situation where consistently, Three Live outperforms the standard pages, by up to 5X in terms of conversion rate.
How does the Three Live fit into your omnichannel strategy?
Three Live fits into our omnichannel strategy because it is a vital element of how we interact with our customers. The core principles of our omnichannel strategy is that we apply a human feel to all journeys, whether it is a physical retail store or a digital experience. We want that human element in each interaction and Three Live creates that, because literally, we are bringing a human into the digital journey.
We did go through a test and learn phase with Three Live, where we started quite small, with a limited number of broadcasts and products & services that we would promote. And as we learned through time, where it best sits on the site, how it best appears, what to bring to life, how to deal with the broadcast, etc. We have learned a lot and Three Live has now become a permanent channel within our business and we are treating it like a channel that stands alone. So right now it’s brilliant for being a surprise & delight for our online customers, and we are able to pop up when customers are not expecting us to and provide that human element, which increases conversion.
What we’ve also done over the last year and started to ramp up recently is bespoke broadcasts that are about a particular handset launch or a particular proposition launch. And what we are able to get from that is promote these broadcasts through our social media channels, where customers that were not even considering joining Three or experienced coming on our website are being driven to a Three Live broadcast to see what it is that we’re doing and the type of product or service that we are bringing to life.
What we’ve done up until now is really impressive and has got the backing of the business and the board. We are moving forward with Three Live as our permanent channel and it will be a vital part of our omnichannel strategy.
We are also getting manufacturers to work with us on bespoke channels for their device launches. And I don’t think we can just stop at mobile devices, I think we can go a lot further than that, speak to other brands that may have complimentary products that would suit our customers. They could have their own bespoke channel with their branding that our presenters can bring to life and tie into their connectivity needs. I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of what Three Live can do for our omnichannel ambitions, but certainly what we’ve done up until now is really impressive and has got the backing of the business and the board. We are moving forward with Three Live as our permanent channel and it will be a vital part of our omnichannel strategy moving forward.
We analyzed Three Uk’s results from October to December in 2019 and it is evident that the brand continues to achieve incredible results:
• 1 in 4 viewers are asking questions to Three´s expert presenters, guiding consumers through sales processes, product promotion and answering general customer questions, this solution is fundamentally changing the way brands connect with consumers online.
• 16% were engaged viewers – viewers, who watched the broadcast for more than 3 minutes.
• Over 2700 hours of viewing time in the same period – Three offering a unique innovative solution that has a demonstrable impact in terms of brand & audience outreach with viewers connecting directly with experts.
• Over 20K questions asked.
• 26% attachment rate on bundled accessories – increasing up-selling and cross selling on device purchases.
• 6% attributable conversion rate – we looked at conversion percentage from the pages that Whisbi appears on and the conversion we have for the web visitors that have watched the Three Live broadcast. And the difference between the two is what we can attribute to Whisbi.
• 5X increase in conversion rate.
Considering that Broadcast by Whisbi is a customer engagement solution made for building brand awareness and widening the top of the funnel and was not built as a lead generation or a sales solution, these results have surpassed all of Three’s expectations and set a new standard for new device launches in the telecommunication industry globally.