Showpo chief marketing officer

Showpo chief marketing officer Mark Baartse.

E-commerce retailer Showpo is known for its social media marketing savvy, successfully winning over millions of millennials with its fashion-meets-humour approach.

That’s not an exaggeration—at last count the Australian fashion brand, which started out as Show Pony in 2010, had 1.3 million Instagram followers and over 1.1 million Facebook fans.

But social media is just one aspect of Showpo’s overall marketing strategy, driven by chief marketing officer Mark Baartse.

Baartse, an experienced digital marketer who has been with Showpo since August 2016, was recently tasked with giving a talk on ‘the one data set every retailer needs to focus on’, but found he was unable to answer the question during his session at the Seamless conference in Sydney.

The problem, he said, is retailers have access to more information about their customers than ever before but don’t know how to use it.

Showpo has 1.3 million Instagram followers.

“We’re drowning in data and numbers, but it’s about focusing on the right numbers,” he said.

Some of the ‘right’ numbers are conversion rate, because it’s a good proxy for important customer metrics like how strong your brand is, and net promoter score (NPS). He also said bounce rate will give some indication of how a retailer’s site is performing.

Quantitative vs qualitative data

One of the main problems with quantitative data like this is that it has to be interpreted, and correlations between your figures and marketing activities aren’t always clear.

In some instances there is a likely connection—for example when Showpo tweaked its returns policy and saw a 40 to 50 per cent uplift in the months following—but the reasons for certain results can be unclear.

“Every time we improve our fulfilment by dropping the costs etc. we see a marked increase in conversion rate…[but] interpretation of numbers is often flawed—we can only guess why certain numbers are happening.”

Because of this, it can be more useful for retailers to focus on actionable, qualitative data, Baartse said. To gather this data Showpo got straight to the point, running a survey asking if anything was preventing its customers from purchasing.

“We got lots of actionable feedback with no interpretation required. When we get customer feedback we get a checklist of things we can do to actually grow revenue, we can act on what customers are saying.

“It’s easy to forget that marketing is about the market—you need to align yourself with what the market wants.”


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