Competitive intelligence: laying the groundwork for better segmentation and targeting


Digital and traditional channels are evolving at breath-taking speed and – as the core goal of any marketing campaign or activity is to be relevant – the race is on to understand your customers better than ever before. If you can deliver the right message, to the right people at the right time then your chance of converting a sale will improve significantly, with the added benefit of providing relevant, welcomed content to the customer.

Competitive intelligence data can help you understand the nuances about your audience and gives you the insight to target them with precision. It empowers marketers with the insights needed to anticipate the behaviour, attitudes and preferences of their customers and reach them on the most effective channels with the best messages.

Competitive intelligence in fashion

The highest turnover in retail is around Christmas, and the fashion industry is no exception to this. By looking at current sources of traffic to the Apparel and Accessories industry, data from Experian Hitwise shows that fashion retailers rely on traffic from search, lifestyle and social channels more than the retail industry in general. Almost a third of all visits also come from The Shopping Channel, which suggests that browsing between competitors is more prevalent in the apparel industry than in other retail sectors.

Fashion retailers experience a high volume of traffic resulting from search, with 33 per cent of visits to industry websites coming from a search engine. This is clearly an area to focus on for marketers, and a strong search strategy should be an essential part of an effective campaign.

Good SEO is all about matching the content on your website to the way people are actually searching for your products. In the run up to Christmas with lots of social occasions on most people‘s calendars, searches for ‘party dresses‘ increase significantly and are an ideal search opportunity for fashion retailers to capitalise on.

Dress for success

Analysing search terms in the fashion industry in November 2013, Hitwise data shows that the peak of searches for all terms relating to party dresses occurs in late November for the week ending 23/11/2013, as consumers plan ahead for their festive occasions. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the time of year, one of the biggest demand areas is for Christmas party dresses. However, the data also shows other factors that are going to influence a consumer to buy, such as the colour (with searches for black, white, pink etc.), size (plus, children‘s) and style (cocktail, maxi, long) of the dress.

Importantly, with this kind of search data each of these variables is quantifiable and comparable. In terms of prioritising content, retailers should be promoting the sizing options available (particularly for plus size garments) and using images of black and red dresses (by far the most commonly searched for colours).

From an SEO perspective it‘s also useful to know that party dress searches including the word

‘Christmas‘ were 10 per cent more popular than searches including the word ‘xmas‘. Interestingly, price was not the defining characteristic when searching for party dresses, with less than 2 per cent of searches including the word ‘cheap‘ – lower down the priority ladder than searches for style or colours.

Seizing opportunities

What the search data also uncovers is niche opportunities that are often easy to overlook or perhaps have never been thought of but nevertheless have a market. One such example is with ‘maternity party dresses‘ which accounted for 1 in every 175 party dress searches in the third week of November 2013. The search data revealed that unlike most party dress search terms with a typical click success rate of 80-100 per cent, only 28 per cent of searches for ‘maternity party dresses‘ resulted in a click throug


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