After spending decades steadily building a multi-channel retail business based on customer centric principles and a brand that is a household name for service and innovation, it must be tempting to sit on your domestic laurels. But Life Style Sports resisted the urge.
Founded in 1979, Life Style Sports is Ireland’s biggest and best loved sports and fashion retailer with stores across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Having built a solid online business domestically, they saw the opportunity to expand.
An increasing number of Irish retailers have grabbed the opportunity presented by the mature and relatively large UK eCommerce market. But like others before them, Life Style Sports faced a dilemma: Was it worth taking the risk of expanding in a country where the people don’t know you from Adam and all that brand equity counts for nothing? Would it distract and endanger the domestic business?
Life Style Sports realised finding ways to transfer that hard-won domestic reputation to the skeptical UK consumer was key to expanding without expensive brand building. As Gordon Newman, Head of Multichannel at Life Style Sports, explains:
“Our reputation in Ireland is built on offering great products along with innovative services that benefit our customers. We wanted to be able to use our reputation to gain customer’s trust in newer markets where they may not have heard of us. The UK is now our fastest growing market.”
Measuring trust performance
In Ireland, Life Style Sports had been using Trustpilot for several years across their business. The ten thousand reviews they had collected were leveraged across the business and their TrustScore had become a critical success metric to the business:
“Our TrustScore has been embedded into our overall channel performance KPI’s, we monitor the score on a weekly basis and track the impacts of projects on the score when they are released.”
In fact, Life Style Sports have such confidence in the feedback and insights they gain from Trustpilot that further customer surveys such as Net Promoter Score tracking simply aren’t required.
They take Trustpilot very seriously.
Put simply, Gordon explains that the raw immediacy of Trustpilot reviews surpasses the delayed and filtered feedback of surveys for the business:
“We’ve seen some great benefits across the business from using Trustpilot. First and foremost Trustpilot gives us live feedback from customers in the 7 days immediately after buying from us, telling us what we are doing right and any trends that we may need to investigate. Trustpilot is also directly connected to our Customer service team, so our service team members are able respond directly to both positive feedback and any complaints or issues raised by customers.”
Immediate insights from a customer’s journey
As a multi-channel business in Ireland, this active focus on customer feedback and real-time response also helps other teams across the business to improve. As Gordon says:
“Operations gain visibility as to which issues customers are experiencing and any logistical issues arising plus prioritisation of key fixes for the customer journey from website through to delivery. Our Store Teams use the feedback to identify which in store sales team members are performing well or have performance challenges when selling using our in store iPad service.”
Focussing on the eCommerce side of the business, a challenge very familiar to Trustpilot, has become critical for Life Style Sports. In particular satisfying consumers’ ever increasing impatience for their products is a priority:
“Customers have told us through Trustpilot that delivery is the most important thing, like all of us, they don’t like waiting. We’ve made significant investments in systems, processes and training our service team members fix delays, and proactively reach out to customers where delays occur.”
This approach of identifying key areas, taking immediate action and the incremental gains that it can bring are reflected in the Trustscore itself:
"We’ve taken direct action in response to feedback from customers which has resulted in an increase in our TrustScore from 8.0 to 8.4 in 2016."
Conquering Google and increasing CTR over 20%
So that’s all well and good. Well done us and well done them. However, UK consumers don’t know any of this. So how can Life Style Sports show them all this good work and convince them to choose a new kid on the block from across the Irish Sea?
As always, the first part of this job starts with search. In an incredibly competitive category, full of well known and loved UK retailers, Life Style Sports had to find a way to stand out in both paid and organic search results.
Once Life Style Sports had achieved Rich Snippet Stars and Google Seller Ratings in their paid and organic search by collecting Trustpilot reviews, results followed swiftly. The positive ratings provided additional verification for prospective customers, and once customers landed on site, the increased trust that exhibiting Trustpilot reviews gave UK consumers has also been critical:
“We particularly liked the Trustpilot integrations with search platforms that allow us to put our reputation at the forefront when new potential customers first discover us. Since implementing our Trustpilot Trustscore within our search advertising and on-site, we’ve seen improved click thru and conversion rates. Measuring the impact pre and post introduction, CTRs in the UK have increased by over 20% and we’ve also seen uplifts in general return on investment across all advertising campaigns.”
Building the brand in new markets
As Gordon also mentions, Life Style Sports has leveraged the UK consumer’s familiarity with the Trustpilot brand across their communications channels from email to social as well as throughout the retailer’s own site.
This constant reassurance of reflecting their customer’s feedback at every stage of the journey has helped make an unfamiliar brand seem just a little more familiar. Trustpilot has played a key role in making their UK adventure a success and will hopefully see this great business expand to new markets very soon:
“Life Style Sports have no stores in the UK outside of Northern Ireland, using of Trustpilot in newer markets, lends credibility to our brand and gives customers who may not be familiar with the brand confidence and reassurance before they buy with us. Showing that our reviews are recent and that we respond to all customer reviews really helps to build confidence that we’re here just in case of a problem. This removes some of the barriers to conversion.”