How Contentsquare is helping M&S put the customer at the heart of the site experience

author

Nea Bjorkqvist

August 17, 2022 | 5 min read

Creating a great site experience is rooted in understanding your customers and their online behavior. One company investing in their digital experience and optimizing customer journeys is the iconic British retailer, M&S.

So, we sat down with their Head of Online Trading and Optimization, Sreena Jamieson to get the latest on her customer-first approach to the online experience at M&S, how they’re using Contentsquare’s digital experience analytics platform and the impact it’s had on the business.

About M&S and Sreena

Leading British retailer, M&S is known for bringing quality, great value food, clothing and homeware to millions of customers around the world. Founded in 1884, M&S now has more than 1,509 stores and over 100 websites globally.

Sreena Jamieson heads up their Online Trading and Optimization team at marksandspencer.com. She’s been at M&S for around three years and looks after optimization across the entire site, as well as trading for their Clothing and Home products.

Before M&S, Sreena spent six years working at Tesco and ten years at electrical retailer, Comet. Throughout her career, Sreena has done a number of online and marketing roles but has always worked in retail because she “loves the fast-paced environment and putting the customer at the heart of everything”.

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What are some of your key challenges and priorities?

Sreena gives us her three top priorities as Head of Online Trading and Optimization at M&S:

  1. Putting the customer at the heart of everything and “basing all our decisions around this,” says Sreena. “Of course, my role is also commercially focused, but it’s always looking at it through a customer lens.”
  2. Growing customer lifetime value. “We’re not just looking to hit sales, we’re also focused on the longer-term value that we’re getting from each and every one of our customers,” explains Sreena.
  3. Establishing M&S as a credible style-led fashion retailer. Sreena says, “My goal is to ensure we have a healthy balance between hitting our commercial aspirations whilst inspiring our customers on the site.”

From a challenge perspective, she says it’s a mesh between “battling decision-making based on opinions rather than customer data” and “trying to understand and respond to changes in customer mindset”. In particular, Sreena highlights how drastically customer behavior has changed: “The past couple of years have been very interesting because customers have become unpredictable, and their behavior has been unprecedented. Up until that point, retail had been realtively cyclical and predictable,” shares Sreena.

Like many retailers, M&S is also faced with constant fluctuation in trade performance. “All retailers have weeks when they do well and when they don’t do so well. Part of my team’s role is to respond to that in a quick and agile way.”

How is Contentsquare helping optimize the M&S digital experience?

Contentsquare has helped M&S “put the customer at the heart of the website”, says Sreena.  “It allows us to be completely data-led and make evidence-based decisions. And also dispel some of those individual opinions that are out there.”

Another thing that Contentsquare has enabled M&S to do is “answer the why’s that we can’t answer through our other analytical tools,” says Sreena. “It’s easy to get the `whats´  because we’ve got data coming out of our ears. What Contentsquare does is help us get a deeper level of insight into the `whys´, which is invaluable.”

“Contentsquare gives us additional data, helping us find new insights that we’ve never ever had before. We can identify where customer pain points may be and also what customers are engaging with on the site. Features like Session Replays, help us see how different customer groups use our site, which is incredibly insightful.” – Sreena Jamieson, Head of Online Trading & Optimization at M&S

M&S Website

As a trading team, how exactly are you using Contentsquare?

“We use Zoning Analysis on our home page and landing pages to see how they’re performing, what tiles and modules are receiving the most interaction or visits. It also helps us to prioritize page optimizations,” says Sreena. Contentsquare is an important part of the team’s day-to-day work, enabling them “plan landing pages in a more detailed way by attaching visual insights to the landing page planners”.

Using Contentsquare’s Customer Journey Analysis, the Trading team is also able to see their customer journeys in detail and identify key pain points — where customers struggle or drop off. “We can see where visitors exit and from which page all within Journey Analysis. And what’s great about it is, that it helps to visualize our onsite journeys as well,” says Sreena.

Customer Journey Analysis provides a visual representation of what our customers are doing. It’s great when presenting the data to our Commercial teams. Dropping in a table can be boring and flat, so sharing insights in Contentsquare brings the data to life.” – Sreena Jamieson, Head of Online Trading & Optimization at Marks And Spencer

Do you have a favorite Contentsquare feature?

“CS live,” says Sreena “It’s just so intuitive”. CS Live overlays data directly on the site without users needing to leave their browser, allowing for quick access to insights and making it easy for Sreena and her team to present insights in meetings with senior management. “CS Live is probably one of the things that makes me most excited about Contentsquare. It’s easy to use, visual and you get insights instantaneously.”

CS Live on M&S website

“I also really love the Customer Journey Analysis module, which is hard to do with other analytics tools. In Contentsquare, it’s a ready-made visual of your journey. I can just take a snapshot and walk into a presentation and help other stakeholders understand what’s happening in particular customer journeys,” shares Sreena.

Who else has their hands on Contentsquare at M&S?

Contentsquare is being used across digital teams at M&S. “What’s really great about the platform is that it can be used by such a wide range of teams,” says Sreena. Multiple teams at M&S have their hands on the tool using it in various ways:

  • The Product teams use it when they’re designing new features,
  • The Website Optimization, Content and Imagery teams use it to analyze product details pages,
  • The UX teams use it when designing new customer journeys
  • The analytics team uses it to do in-depth analyses to support multiple stakeholders across the business

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What kind of an impact has this had on the business?

Having a shared platform has helped unite digital teams bringing a “level of consistency of data being shown across the business,“ shares Sreena. “It means when we’re presenting to our leadership team, we are all referring to the same data. We’re able to easily show different stakeholders that we shouldn’t be making decisions just based on what we think, but according to data insights,” explains Sreena.

In particular, CS Live has helped the team “combat opinion-based decision making by getting the right data in front of key senior stakeholders in a visual way,” says Sreena.

“Contentsquare has empowered us to be truly data-led without it being a huge analysis exercise. I can pull up the website and press CS Live to see what customers are interacting and within seconds I’ve got the data needed and it’s also impossible to argue against.”

M&S website with Contentsuqare data

Lastly, how was your onboarding experience with Contentsquare?

“It was great,” confirms Sreena. “We were very heavily supported by Contentsquare. We had lots of bespoke training sessions and face-to-face fortnightly sessions where we shared best practices. The team at Contentsquare also gave us lots of useful insight and examples from other retailers to help us kickstart how we could use specific tools.”

Sreena also shares her appreciation for “the level of transparency” in our partnership. “Initially, when we started, we felt the adoption was a little bit slower than expected. So, what our Customer Success Managers, Louise and Camille, did was share our adoption rates and compared us against competitors to show how we were fairing. I really appreciated that candor, so we could do something about it.”

“What’s stuck with me about Contentsquare is that you get much more than just a  platform to use. It’s a strategic relationship. Our Contentsquare Customer Success Managers, Louise and Camille want to understand what our strategic priorities are and how they can help us deliver our objectives.“ – Sreena Jamieson, Head of Online Trading & Digital Marketing at Marks And Spencer

Get insights into your digital customer behavior with Contentsquare

Want to know how Contentsquare’s visual analytics platform can help you optimize your customer experience? Book a demo to find out how you can put customers at the heart of your digital experience strategy with data-led insights. Get your demo.