May 2018

View all on this date written articles further down below.


The rapid pace of change within the industry along with consumer demands means that regardless of how we try; as retailers, our work is never really done. The Omnichannel Retail Index (ORI) was recently published, and we’re sharing key insights from 2017, across several blog posts in the coming weeks.

In this post, we highlight four key features that present as opportunities for retailers to improve loyalty, increase online sales and heighten the customer experience overall.

Convenience IS King

Making it easy for consumers to find what they want is key. Smart retailers are leading the way in providing a range of services that go part way to achieving this. However, even with the biggest brands, there are still many opportunities to improve the overall customer experience.

1. The Most Implemented Cross-Channel Functionality is BORIS – 92% ADOPTION RATE
Buy Online and Return In-Store (BORIS) is now A MUST HAVE. Customers want to buy their products on the channel that suits them most, with the option to return wherever is most convenient for them to do so.

By offering a seamless experience to customers can switch their buying channels increases loyalty and customer satisfaction.

2. Buy Online – Pickup In-Store (BOPIS)
Adoption is still lacking. In 2017, there were only 41% of retailers across the ORI who offered this service. Although this has increased on the previous year, this is a service that customers are demanding and a huge opportunity for the year ahead for those who are not providing this service to their customers. The reason shoppers love this service is due in most to the discounted shipping costs, the instant availability of the item, and the easy-return options that are linked with BOPIS purchases.

Retailers are also benefiting from add-on sales and impulse buying instore with this particular type of purchase.

3. Reserve Online – Pickup In-Store (ROPIS)
In 2016, only 9% of retailers within the ORI offered this service. In 2017, there are now 14% who offer this service. It is still a huge opportunity to those looking to be part of the early adopters.

It is ideal for customers who want to view or try out a product before they buy and not surprisingly, apparel retailers are leading the way with this initiative.

4. Real-Time Inventory Lookup
While the achievement of multichannel inventory lookup is not always easy, customers expect the ability to be able to quickly identify where the product they want is available at any particular point in time. The more information they have about this, the more likely they are going to be to make a purchase. This is all part of the seamless shopping experience that customers expect. 56% of retailers have adopted this, leaving another significant opportunity for those who haven’t, to make changes in the year ahead.

A subcategory within this point is the ability for people to search/filter out results based on their availability. With only 27% of retailers onboard with this functionality, another huge opportunity exists.

Whatever the size of your business, adopting these key functionalities within your business is essential to remain competitive in the future of online retailing. They will also endear your customers to your brand which as we all know, is crucial to the success of any business.


On May 25th, new data laws will be coming into force across the EU with the purpose of giving people more control over their data. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) addresses the issues surrounding the export of personal information outside of Europe. In this post, we discuss what this means for Australian and what you need to do to get your house in order.

The purpose of this new regulation is to boost the digital economy in Europe through the harmonisation of the regulatory scope for businesses that trade internationally. It is also going to provide individuals with more control over their personal information.

If this is an EU Law, why does it affect businesses in Australia?

First of all, while this is not a new law outside of the EU, it is a regulation. This means that it does not need our national government to pass any legislation for it to become applicable and binding. So, for those of you who thought it would only affect businesses and individuals in the EU, that is not accurate. You need to make sure that if your business processes information for citizens or companies within the EU, whether you have an office there or not, that you are compliant.

The penalties for those who do not comply could be anything up to 4% of your worldwide turnover or 20 million Euros, whichever is greater.

Who Does This Apply To?

If you aren’t sure whether GDPR applies to you, then read on to find out exactly what businesses the GDPR will impact.

GDPR applies to organisations in Australia that:
• Incorporated or established within the EU.
• Not established within the European Union but offer services or goods to individuals based in the EU, whether these are free or paid services.
• If your organisation accepts payment in Euros.
• Not established within the European Union, but who watches, oversees or monitors the behaviour of EU residents.

Practical Examples for online businesses in Australia would be:
• Delivers products anywhere within the EU
• If you handle personal data of an individual located in the EU.
• If you give advice to Australians who are located in the EU, this also applies.
• If you sell a device OR app that monitors the actions or any individual within the EU.

It is for these reasons that we know there are many businesses in Australia who need to take action and ensure they are compliant with this new legislation.

What Are Your Obligations?

This new regulation puts several obligatory requirements into force for those who control and process data. In the specific policy, these individual roles are defined as Data Controllers and Data Processors.
• A Data Controller is an organisation that decides how information will be used or processed.
• A Data Processor is an organisation that is tasked with processing the information on the controller’s behalf.

There are many different principals that need to be complied with. To make it easy to understand what practical actions you can take, each of the principals is associated with an example of a typical action that would fulfil your obligatory requirements.

Principal Description Typical Action You Can Take to Fulfil Obligations
1 Use the personal data for legitimate purposes only. Only utilize the information you obtain for the original intended purpose.
2 Process information in a manner that is fair, lawful, and transparent. Tell people how you will utilize their information.
3 Limit the use of the data to only what is necessary. Do not ask for data that you do not need.
4 Process the information in a way that retains its accuracy. When information is outdated, correct this to ensure it is accurate.
5 Do not store the information for any longer than is required. Delete or remove information when you no longer have a need for it.
6 Data must be processed in a secure manner. Use encryption or other information security protocols, alongside a robust and enforceable privacy policy.

Your Privacy Policy

If you decide you want to make changes to your company privacy policy, for example, you want to use data for another purpose, other than what it was originally intended for; then GDPR means that you must be transparent and inform your contacts of any changes as soon as you can.

Transfer of Information and Disclosure

From time to time, you may need to disclose personal information to a third-party. This isn’t always about selling on data; it could be something as simple as giving information to a marketing company or even your accountant. In these instances, you are only allowed to provide the required data for their specific purpose. The other party must also sign an agreement of confidentiality.
If this third-party discloses the information and breaches GDPR, then your business could still be liable for this. To avoid such an issue, you need to be able to clearly demonstrate you investigated the data protection capabilities of the third-party.

Data Protection Officer

If your organisation undertakes systematic or frequent monitoring on a large scale, you would be required to appoint a designated data protection officer. This could apply to online retailers with large global marketing capacities. This person would need to be available as a point of contact for any requests that could be made by a GDPR authority supervisor.


Organisations need to clearly request the consent to either process, or control personal information. The request must be made clearly and via a form that is easy to access. Companies are also required to:
• Make separate requests for every collection
• Make it easy to remove consent
• Send a ‘just-in-time’ notification prior to data collection or processing

These specific points will mean that many businesses will need to review their processes and perhaps the communications software that they use.


If your organisation collects personal information, the individual has a right to obtain and request copies of that information. They can also request that you delete information or even dictate that a restriction is placed on how their information can be used.

If an individual makes such as request, your obligations are to:
• Provide details about the length of time you intend to store their information
• Provide copies of all data held, and an explanation as to how you use that data
• Provide information about who that data is shared with

If you are asked to erase data, then unless you no longer need that information, you will need to comply with such a request in a timely manner.


If a personal information data breach occurs, then you are required to inform a supervisory authority. The data breach is only considered to be of importance if the rights of the individuals involved are at risk. For example, if you lose a list of names, this would be fine as no negative effects could come from such an action. However, if payment card information was compromised, this would be classified as an instance where the rights of those individuals would be affected. Notifications must be made within 72 hours so having these contacts ready in advance would be prudent.

While this is solely an EU regulation, for now, it is thought that other nations will likely be influenced by this. By achieving compliance with GDPR standards now, you are putting yourself in a stronger position to be compliant with any other future regulatory changes of this nature. This is also a reassuring confirmation to customers that you value their privacy and go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure their information is secure and protected at all times.

For further reading or information on GDPR, you can visit OAIC Guidance or the UK’s ICO GDPR website.As a final note, as you are preparing your business for GDPR, as per your obligations from 25th May, you need to ensure that anyone you work with who accesses or processes data for your business is also GDPR compliant.

In the dynamic world of eCommerce, IT capability can outstrip a retailers’ ability to maximise the effectiveness of the tools they own or are about to select. Playhouse commercialises the eCommerce proposition for its clients and manages their digital journey in four key areas – Strategy, Design, Mentoring, and Implementation.

How to fix Drupalgeddon2 vulnerability (CVE-2018-7600) in Drupal 7.x and 8.x

On March 28th, Drupal disclosed Security vulnerability called Drupalgeddon 2.  More information on this Highly Critical vulnerability in Drupal core (CVE-2018-7600) here.

Drupal versions 7.x and 8.5.x were affected by this vulnerability and if exploited will allow remote attackers to infect the site with malicious code. Reports are surfacing of Hackers using this exploit to install malware on the vulnerable websites in the form of cryptocurrency miners.

Am I vulnerable?

If you think your site is hacked and might be vulnerable then email Barry Marelli at hello@theplayhousegroup.com.  Our security team can do a security audit of your website and apply any security patches as needed.


You’ve spent the last few days furiously searching online for the perfect Mother’s Day present and you finally strike gold. In a hurry, as your lunch break is coming to an end, you add the product to cart and head on to checkout.

You fill in your bank details and go to select your delivery option, then BANG, it hits you – Free Delivery on Carts over $200 or “Express Delivery” that takes 5 days and costs $20.

Reluctantly, you abandon your cart, and Mum gets flowers from the local Coles servo.

Delivery methods need to be customisable, allowing customers to tailor the experience to suit their individual needs. Customer expectations have increased, and so should the options available to them.

As recently discussed at Magento Imagine, shipping is not just delivery anymore, it is part of the customer journey. Too many retailers are falling short at the last mile, and this is leading to either dissatisfied customers or a big increase in abandoned carts.
Some key notes include –

  • Simple tweaks to UX with introducing shipping costs and options earlier can have a positive impact on customers completing their orders.
  • Optimised warehousing, via automation, leads to faster processing and an improvement in delivery times.
  • Providing customers with the ability to select alternative delivery locations is a feature that has steadily increased, increasing customer satisfaction.
  • Improvements to the “return process” by offering it free of charge encourages customer loyalty.

Leading retailers are now offering their customers flexible delivery options like same day delivery before 12pm, next day delivery, free in store click and collect and pick up via parcel lockers. This is a growing expectation from an Australian consumer and we see retailers losing customers as they don’t offer offer these services. (Luke H , Online Strategy Consultant)

In the dynamic world of eCommerce, IT capability can outstrip a retailers’ ability to maximise the effectiveness of the tools they own or are about to select. Playhouse commercialises the eCommerce proposition for its clients and manages their digital journey in four key areas – Strategy, Design, Mentoring, and Implementation.


Knowing your Customers is absolutely fundamental if you want to understand the right way to talk to them, and what to talk to them about. Flooding your customers with useless information can be a real turn-off when it comes to marketing; sending the wrong messages at the wrong time can result in losing their trust, interest, and ultimately losing their business.

In this post, we talk about the best way to provide an end-to-end marketing solution that will heighten your customer experience and help you to deliver a more relevant and personalised approach to customer communications.

What is Dynamic Content?
This is a type of content that adapts depending on their access time, personal preferences, and their individual information. Some of the most powerful content is that which is tailored to the individual.

Three of the biggest benefits of dynamic content are listed below:

  • Seamless – The user will be able to receive the dynamic content in such a way that goes completely unnoticed.
  • Interactive – It increases the interactions between the site and the customer.
  • Personalisation – Content can be tailored to the individual based on their previous visit to the website or specific request.

Does Dynamic Content Work?
For Dynamic Content to be effective, is to ensure that it is relevant. Whether we are looking at email marketing or content that is hosted on your website, there is no doubt whatsoever that the more personalised it is, the better results it yields.

According to Jupiter Research, personalised content that is relevant to the recipient is almost 20 times more likely to generate revenue compared to generic non-personalised content. Wow!
Another important point is about nurturing your leads. If you nurture your leads or customers with relevant content, then you can expect to see a 20% increase in revenue as a result of that activity.

How to be relevant comes with having customer data, and using that information in the right way, to result in delivering content that is appropriate to the customer, at the right time, in the right way.

Dynamic Content Suggestions
Ok, so now that we have outlined what dynamic content is and how it can help your business, here are some ways you can start to implement this with your marketing.

Dynamic Content ultimately needs to be intentional, targeted and purposeful. If you would like a few tips on where to start and how to start implementing dynamic content into your end-to-end marketing, then please read on!

Tailor Your Content to The Relevant Stage in The Buying Cycle
The lifecycle of a lead essentially refers to what point in the decision-making process a customer or prospect is at. Are they at a point where they are ready to buy a product or is this their first time visiting your store?

Having this information and tailoring your content to suit the precise point of the buying cycle they are at can help you to avoid over-selling or missing out on an opportunity to position your product to sell. There is a range of dynamic content tools we can help you with, which allow you to get the right information that will help you tailor email marketing or website content to your customers.

Eradicate Repetition
If someone has already downloaded a resource or a particular offer, then repeating that content will serve no purpose whatsoever. You can use specific tools that work to remove repetitive content and prevent it being shown to your customers. This helps to make their visit more purposeful as you can serve them with a fresh offer or new information that could help to increase your conversions and sales overall.

Looking After Loyal Customers
If a customer has already been captured as a lead, hiding content behind a form can be a real sticking point. Why would you make them fill in their details again and again to access content on your site?

You can harness the power of dynamic content to ensure that those customers are recognised and give them a better experience by never asking them to continually enter their personal information to your site. It also helps with the problem of creating duplicated leads in your system.

Relevant Customer Sector or Segment
It is perfectly normal that any company will have a number of different customer personas or target sectors that they frequently deal with. By using dynamic content, you can adapt the content and its relevance to the different sectors that you typically deal with. This gives your target audience a completely tailored experience that really delivers content that is personalised for their needs. You can even serve up images that relate to their specific sector, making them feel like your product was specifically designed for their individual needs.

Pet peeves of mine are when I see retailers not using the customer data a customer has shared to personalise the customer experience. If the customer has setup an online account with a saved shipping address, then use the post code to only show Stores which are nearby. If a customer has subscribed, then don’t use valuable homepage real estate for an email subscription block. Competition is fierce and these touches of personalisation add up to a great customer experience and a retained customer base. (Luke H , Online Strategy Consultant)

Dynamic Content using information that is collected about your visitors helps you to deliver a better customer experience by serving up content which is tailored to their specific needs. When a customer feels important, when they are giving information that speaks to their individual pain points, it will result in more sales and an overall improvement in your customer’s experience.

Need help with platform selection to deliver on a personalisation? Contact our team via our contact form below.