The Essential Guide to Personalisation in the Hobby Industry The UK hobby industry is growing fast. Revenue generated from the market amounted to $11,805m in 2021. And is expected to continue to grow annually by 1.02% (CAGR 2021-2025). With industry giants such as Hobbycraft reporting a 200% boom in online sales over Covid-19. It’s clear that the British love affair with hobbies, crafts, and toys remains strong. But with an increase in sales comes an increase in competition, activity, and consumer expectations. Brands in the hobby industry need to up their game to stand out from the crowd. And personalisation is key to achieving this. In this guide, we will take you through some of the common challenges that the hobby industry is facing, and how to solve them with personalisation. For hobby brands, better starts here. Challenges As mentioned, whilst the hobby industry is flourishing and predicted to continue growing, this doesn’t come without challenges. Particularly for smaller brands in the industry, with limited resource. Here are some of the main challenges facing the industry: Increasing demand An increase in demand may not initially seem like a challenge for the hobby industry. But with an increase in demand comes an increase in activity. Particularly in terms of communicating with new and current customers. This increase in activity can put pressure on brands, particularly smaller ones, to ensure that the customer experience is a positive one from start to finish. Therefore, hobby brands should focus on the following: Improving processes When dealing with an ongoing increase in demand, the last thing brands want is for the processes which hold the business and marketing together to fail. If they haven’t already, brands need to focus on getting their processes in place. Particularly when it comes to communicating with their customers and keeping product prices and availability up to date. Connecting data Data is key to the smooth running of a business and these processes. Whether it be product data, purchase data, or audience data. Without solid data management and processes in place, information, communication, and marketing in general will soon start to deteriorate. Automating communications Hobby brands should look to limit the amount of time-consuming, manual tasks that they need to execute. And automation can support this. Automated communications ensure that potential purchasers and customers are continually engaged and communicated with. Automatically. Meaning that hobby marketers don’t have to spend time manually creating, updating, and sending their communications. AI and automation platforms can help to pull marketing processes and data together to streamline these communications. Ensuring that messaging is accurate, timely, and not resource-intensive. Digital disruption Despite its recent increase, the hobby industry landscape has seen a transformation over the last few years. And much of this is down to digital disruption. For instance, The British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) previously released figures that show sales of toys – which represents more than 80% of the hobby industry in the UK – had decreased by 6% to £3.2bn in 2019 as high streets lost popularity. However, online sales of toys and games were up 2% over the 12 months, resulting in a 37% market share. To keep up to date with digital disruption, brands should look to achieve the following: Improve online presence Brands in the hobby industry need to make sure they are where their customers are. In this case, online. And their presence has to be impressive to stand out from the crowd. Their website should be eye-catching and user friendly. And their online marketing should be flawless. Execute a seamless buying journey And most importantly, if a website is difficult to buy from, purchasers will go elsewhere. Brands should ensure the buying journey is seamless. And purchasers are communicated with properly. Both pre and post-purchase. Improve online communications Which is why online communications should also be reviewed. To make a success of eCommerce, hobby brands need to ensure they are communicating to their potential purchasers and customers regularly to keep them engaged. And ensure that they are at the forefront of purchasers’ minds when they want to shop. Changing demographics The stereotypical audience demographics for the hobby industry are changing. More younger people are getting involved in crafts and hobbies such as knitting. Whereas “kidults” – a mixture of adults and teens – now represent 27% of toy sales. With more time on their hands recently, kidults are distracting themselves with complex build sets, playing more games, and keeping themselves entertained with puzzles. And interestingly, this group has more disposable income and therefore are prone to spending more. Therefore, hobby brands need to focus on: Understanding their audience With audiences changing rapidly, brands need to first use their data and analytics to gain a solid understanding of who their audience are. This will help them to tailor their products, communications, and marketing accordingly Better targeting And with a varied audience, one message doesn’t fit all. Brands in this industry need to ensure that the targeting of all of their marketing and communications is spot on. For instance, promoting a toddler’s puzzle to someone in their 20’s may not be the best use of an email. Challenger brands When searching for hobby items online, you may come across a lot of brands and stores that you don’t recognise from the high street. These challenger brands are increasingly popping up. Largely because barriers to entry for online stores are so low. And smaller brands are able to engage with more consumers without the complications and overheads that come with bricks-and-mortar stores. This means if a hobby brand isn’t online, or even if they are not paying attention to their online presence, these smaller challenger brands will soon become an issue. Increase brand awareness If a hobby brand is doing all of the above, then they should be well on their way to making a good impression with their audience. But brand awareness is also necessary to ensure they are in front of new potential customers who may not be aware of their brand. Or, to keep their current customers from shopping at a competitor brand. Boost loyalty It costs 5 times more to sell to a new customer than an existing one. Therefore, in an increasingly competitive landscape it’s essential that hobby brands boost their customer loyalty, and encourage repeat purchasers from their audience. This means not only focusing on capturing new customers. But also making efforts to engage with their current ones. And making them feel special. Solutions So now we have identified common challenges facing the hobby industry, and what they should do to solve them. Let’s look at how brands can achieve these objectives. Consolidate data Before marketers in the hobby industry can execute any kind of personalisation, they need to get their data in order. And that’s for two reasons: so they can understand their audience, and so they have the necessary information to feed personalisation. Consolidating various data systems, from CRM to ESP, spreadsheets to hard copies, is essential to achieving this. And according to 37% of marketers, successful personalisation needs to utilise data from one single source. One that is developed and utilised across the entire business. Increased data enables marketers to build a fuller, holistic view of their audience. Which can be utilised across the business, and both online and offline. Here are four ways that brands can consolidate and utilise their data for personalisation: Combine data sources Separate business systems are a thing of the past. By combining all audience data into one accessible place, hobby marketers can offer the right content. To the right person. At the right time. Data analytics Once all data is collated, marketers can start to analyse and understand what their audience looks like. This will help them to identify their ideal customer and those who are most likely to buy their products. Segmentation Additionally, marketers can use this information to create specific segments to automate highly targeted and personalised campaigns and content suggestions based on demographics, behaviour, preferences, and previous activity. Image Source – Pinterest RFM modelling and reporting With all of their data in one place, hobby marketers can also conduct RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) modelling and analysis. This helps them to identify customers who are most likely to buy, or those they are most likely to lose. Marketers can then use these segments to communicate accordingly. Behavioural targeting Brands can utilise the data they have on their potential purchasers and customers to automate highly targeted, relevant communications. This saves marketers time and resources from sifting through data, or creating endless emails to offer a personalised experience. Instead, behavioural targeting and automated email does all the hard work for them. Saving marketers time to focus on more important things, like strategy. Behavioural segmentation Let’s begin with behavioural segmentation. This process enables brands to build granular segments of their audience based on factors such as demographics, behaviour, or stage in the buying cycle. These segments can then be used to send specific content tailored to their needs. For instance, brands could set up a segment for recipients who frequently browse a specific range, but are yet to make their first purchase. They can send these recipients offers and discounts on their frequently browsed ranges, to give them that extra nudge to purchase. Basket abandonment Or, maybe a shopper had almost finished their purchase by adding an item to their online shopping basket. But just didn’t make it to the final stage. Remind these consumers of what they’re missing out on with abandoned basket emails. These should clearly promote the item they have left in their basket. And can include additional useful information to encourage them to purchase. Such as the price, user reviews, or even a discount especially for them. After all, 54% of consumers will purchase products left in their basket if they are offered at a lower price. Post-purchase follow-ups Post-purchase marketing automations are essential for communication with your customers at every stage of the buying journey. These can include purchase confirmation, delivery updates, post-delivery check-ins, and review requests. The benefit of these emails is that they reassure your customers and will save your support team hours of answering queries. In-stock notifications Don’t lose your potential purchasers because an item is out of stock. Instead, turn this negative experience into a positive one by sending automated notifications when their previously sold-out product has come back in stock. Dynamic content Dynamic content is one of the most useful features that marketers can use to improve their personalisation. With dynamic content, marketers can automatically generate engaging creative that is up-to-date and unique to the recipient. By adapting their emails and website based on individual shopper’s behaviour and preferences, marketers can offer a truly personalised experience. Throughout the entire customer journey. Personalised banners and content One-size-fits-all eCommerce stores and emails are a thing of the past. Instead, real-time banners allow marketers to engage with consumers by showcasing the content that is most likely to grab their attention. Marketers can put consumers into buying mode by tailoring banners with relevant data. Such as first name, preferred products, or even one-off discount codes specific to the recipient. Product recommendations 80% of consumers like to receive product recommendation emails based on past purchases. But this tactic is also great to encourage shoppers to finally make their first purchase. Based on behavioural data, product recommendations will automatically populate items based on categories and products that the recipient has viewed the most, or have purchased in the past. This could include a reminder of the product they were viewing, related and add-on products, or even alternative products that may be more tempting to them. Image Source – Marketing Sherpa Pricing and availability Finding out a product that you are about to buy has increased in price or sold out is incredibly frustrating. Brands can avoid this disappointment by utilising behavioural data alongside their data feeds to automate real-time pricing and availability for products the consumer is more interested in. Which will be updated every time a viewer opens their email or refreshes the landing page. This tactic is also great to add urgency to the buying process. If a consumer can see their chosen product is in high demand, they are more likely to make that purchase quickly. Are you a brand in the hobby industry? We understand that an increase in demand can be overwhelming, and can really put the pressure on your business. At Pure360, we can help. We have supported other brands in the hobby industry to attract, retain, and engage customers with the use of personalisation, our all-in-one AI marketing platform, and our Customer Success Team. Get in touch today to find out more.