THE OUTNET.COM Case Study 2017

SHORTLISTED 2017

LIFESTYLE & LUXURY

Brand

THE OUTNET.COM

Lead Agency

HAVAS MEDIA INTERNATIONAL

THE MOST FASHIONABLE FASHION OUTLET

The Challenge

THE OUTNET.COM was launched in 2009 by the people behind NET-A-PORTER.COM, and has since established itself as the go-to online destination for the global, style-conscious shopper looking for an unparalleled selection of
previous-season designer fashion from over 350+ brands at up to 75% off, as well as exclusive collaborations with high-profile designer labels and its in-house label, Iris & Ink. THE OUTNET values style as self-expression, offering
customers the opportunity to express their individuality and creativity through balancing the classic and the current, and looking to trends but wearing them in a unique way. This focus on personalization highlights THE OUTNET’s
consistent ‘customer first’ approach – and that while advertising campaigns aim to drive brand awareness and growth KPIs on a global scale, it is vital they also reflect market-specific nuances to ensure local relevance. In 2016, the chief objectives for THE OUTNET’s advertising campaigns were two-fold: a) Continue to drive new customers and new subscribers in key territories b) Remain front of mind for existing customers to grow spend and establish loyalty

The annual global new customer target for this activity was ambitious at 25-30%, as was the global new visitor target at +25% year-on-year. Added to this was the need to ensure advertising campaigns spoke with a global
voice and communicated a consistent brand message – one that focuses on individual and self-expression – while also reflecting local market learnings and regional specificities. Our tactics for each market therefore needed to
respond to these local nuances, with reference to the global brand proposition.

The Strategy

An understanding of THE OUTNET’s target audience in specific markets – from key media touchpoints and shopping behaviour to designer/product preferences and local fashion industry authorities – was essential for us to achieve the required cut-through and meet the ambitious targets set for THE OUTNET’s 2016 advertising campaigns. Our approach was to group these specificities into strategic tactics that could be dialled up or down in relevant markets as required. A selection of these is outlined below:
• Consumer confidence & mobile usage: A mobile-first approach was essential across all territories given THE OUTNET’s online-only proposition; however, we sought to maximize this in the US and the UK in particular given the elevated level of consumer confidence in purchasing high-end items using mobile devices in these regions. In addition, in Hong Kong and Singapore, where mobile is often the first access point to the internet, mobile devices are fundamental in driving brand consideration by consumers, making a strong presence here key.
• Localized shopping preferences: Bricks-and-mortar sites are the primary location for shopping amongst THE OUTNET’s target audience
in markets such as the Middle East; therefore it was imperative that THE OUTNET’s strategy in these markets prioritized brand awareness
and positioning efforts in an offline environment in order to grow consumer trust, before then directing potential customers online. As such,
securing presence in local print titles positioned THE OUTNET alongside relevant in-market authorities and helped build brand confidence.
• Regional targeting: Vast markets such as the US require highly targeted media to maximize efficiency and drive cut through and relevance.
We therefore approached THE OUTNET’s core cities of New York, Los Angeles and Miami from a regional perspective, pushing the brand
message in areas of high audience concentration via publishers with an established, local voice to drive engagement and conversion.

Applying and adapting these strategic tactics across THE OUTNET’s key markets ensured we balanced the brand’s global voice while effectively
addressing local nuances. THE OUTNET’s 2016 advertising campaigns therefore efficiently and effectively drove acquisition efforts while
reinforcing retention activity, with results that not only provided further insight into levels of brand awareness, but also granted a deeper
understanding of how THE OUTNET’s target audience consumes media on a local level, ensuring clear actions for future campaigns.

The Implementation

Given THE OUTNET’s online-only, e-commerce proposition, our 2016 advertising campaigns focused on digital activity, reinforced by offline initiatives. The campaigns prioritized an “always on” approach based on annual investments to bolster brand recall while generating new customers and sales in the longer term, with two seasonal up-weights for spring/summer and fall/winter in line with the key fashion months.

In each market, local audience insights resulted in a targeted mix of print and digital media investment, with branding and performance activity blended to achieve global acquisition and retention objectives:
• US: Partnering with Goop ensured THE OUTNET strengthened its foothold nationally through native and editorial advertising, as well
as a bespoke event in San Francisco. A high-impact luxury bus wrap travelling between New York and the Hamptons secured cutthrough during a key period in the regional calendar, bolstered by THE OUTNET’s increased customer service proposition and its presence at the Hamptons Film Festival.
• UK: Native executions with select publishers were designed to enhance consideration and showcase THE OUTNET, with longer-form
brand content supporting product and acquisitions-focused buys. Prospecting activity used programmatic targeting to drive new customers/subscribers. High-impact taxi wraps in affluent London post codes and a Knightsbridge underground station domination further showcased THE OUTNET to a shopping-focused, affluent audience.
• Germany: With print still the predominant means of building brand trust here, an on and offline partnership was forged with Vogue DE around ‘Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out Online’ which saw THE OUTNET offer participants an exclusive discount, leveraging this initiative’s strong following and communicating the brand’s key value proposition. This was underpinned by a collaboration with leading German influencers, hey woman! to increase brand resonance.
• France: Due to the importance of publishers’ authority within the French market, native partnerships with ELLE FR and Garance Doré reinforced THE OUTNET’s local appeal. Combined with a focus on THE OUTNET’s in-house label ensured a fresh approach. Outdoor advertising in Nice airport, including mobile retargeting of those viewing the sites, provided further opportunity to speak to this audience.

Underpinning all 2016 advertising campaigns was mobile, notably through first-impression overlay in Australia and high-impact interactive displays in the US and the UK. The latter buy saw 3D unit, Widespace, appear seamlessly within the web-feed as a full-screen cube which pivoted on an axis, encouraging users to interact with the campaign creatives – and in doing so, deepening brand engagement while maximizing on mobile functionality.

The Result

The insights and learnings during 2016 were as varied as the regional, strategic tactics employed. Each tactic was designed to ensure relevance on a regional level, and the advertising campaign enriched THE OUTNET’s understanding of the local nuances in key markets and provided further clarification of the diverse preferences and behaviours amongst target audiences.

Moreover, up-weighting digital investment enabled the brand to enhance the data set, strategically positioning THE OUTNET’s media buys now and for future campaigns.
• US: THE OUTNET’s national digital campaign with Goop, along with the targeted, west coast pop-up with the partner, proved to be phenomenal in terms of targeting the audience and qualifying its relevance to THE OUTNET given the elevated ratio of return. During FW16, this publisher emerged as the strongest revenue driver in this market, generating 15% of total US revenue, and the second strongest traffic driver, securing 25% of total US landings.
• UK: Display prospecting in the UK performed exceptionally well, achieving 62% of this market’s new buyers during FW16, and the highest amount of the campaign overall. In the same period, the innovative 3D mobile units also performed significantly above benchmark, with an extraordinary interaction rate of 6.93% above the benchmark of 1.5%. This demonstrated the pivotal nature and validated our strategy in providing a rich, device-specific experience in pushing customers through to consideration.
• Germany: During FW16, the Vogue DE partnership across print and digital achieved 63% of this market’s traffic metrics and 69% of its new buyers, reinforcing the importance of partnering with authoritative titles in markets where industry credibility is vital in making an impact.
• France: THE OUTNET’s success in Germany was mirrored in France, with the display activity running on Garance Doré outperforming programmatic prospecting in new buyer figures by 42% and homepage landings 26%.