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360° Customer View: Why Knowing Your Customer is Mission-Critical

 

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Retailers today need to know just about everything to stay ahead. Not only do they need to know who their customers are, but they need to know when they shop, how they shop, and what exactly they are shopping for. Understanding their customers and providing them with tailored experiences allows them to strengthen customer loyalty – a hallmark of greater revenue.
Historically, retailers based decisions on intuition, often planning campaigns around what they thought the customer wanted. Today, data and analytics has taken the place of these gut instincts, and retailers now have factual data observing patterns of behavior. Using in-store data such as past buying behavior can help retailers create targeted campaigns, and accurately cross sell and upsell.

Customer satisfaction is critical to business success. With so many options out there for customers, having accurate data about how to make customers happy is becoming increasingly important. Developing relationships with customers, and providing them with relevant promotions and discounts can help boost loyalty. Having the right tools in place to mine through data allows retailers to better understand where customers are in the purchase funnel and develop programs and offers to meet their needs.

Retail Pro International has written 360° Customer View- Why Knowing Your Customer is Mission Critical. This whitepaper provides insight into how data and analytics can help retailers create meaningful relationships with their customers. It outlines the importance of using data to drive sales by growing relationships, boosting retention and improving customer satisfaction.

Get the 360 Degree Customer View whitepaper today to discover how a 360° customer view can help you:

  • Improve campaign effectiveness with an omnichannel view
  • Create more up-sell and cross-sell opportunities with purchase history
  • Boost retention with relevant offers and special deals
  • Increase customer satisfaction — give shoppers what matters most

 

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Effects of Omnichannel Promotions on Retail Profitability

 

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Amazon is saturating the market with new ways to keep customers shopping with them. The recently passed shopping holiday, Amazon Prime Day, garnered record sales numbers, surpassing Amazon’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Results like these are causing brick and mortar retailers to think more strategically on how they compete against Amazon and other online-only sellers.

Many retailers are looking to omnichannel selling as the next differentiator. Retailers like Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Home Depot regularly leverage promotions and coupons to encourage in-store-only customers to shop their website and vice versa.

Harvard Business Review, in an article on making the most of omnichannel retailing, discussed research from a Temple University team to gauge profitability of omnichannel promotions, with special emphasis on one particular variable influencing customers’ decision to shop in-store or online: proximity to the nearest store.

The researchers randomly selected 56,000 members of a Chinese department store’s loyalty program and sent targeted coupons based on their shopping history:

  • Coupons redeemable in-store only
  • Coupons redeemable online only
  • Coupons redeemable in either channel

The control group was sent no coupons.

For a week, the researchers monitored the targeted group’s purchases and their effects on the retail chain’s profits, net of coupon costs, etc., segmenting customers based on their distance from a physical store location.

Shoppers who live within 5km of a store were found to be insignificantly impacted in their shopping behavior by coupons.

For shoppers who live further from stores and who had previously only shopped online, profits doubled with the in-store-only coupon, and increased 800% with the omnichannel coupon.
Profits fell by 51% from commuting shoppers who previously purchased only in-store but were given coupons redeemable online only.

The study concluded that omnichannel promotions are more profitable when drawing online-only shoppers to stores, where environmental influences like impulse buys and the ability to try on and experience goods like apparel, makeup, and shoes increase purchase likelihood. Comparing prices, too, is more tedious in stores than online, so shoppers are more likely to purchase what’s in front of them in the aisle.

Another effective strategy for using coupons to bring shoppers in-store, as seen at Walmart and other retailers, is offering free shipping for in-store pickup options rather than home delivery.

“If customers come to your [physical] stores regularly, you should not encourage them to shop online,” said Xueming Luo, marketing professor at Temple University who led the research team.
In light of retail commentators recommending store closures to deal with lost profitability against ecommerce, this research brings surprising good news to retailers looking for ways to optimize their omnichannel retail strategy. Retailers recognize a key factor that observers overlook: it assumes sales from a closed store will become online sales – but those sales are in fact extremely difficult to win back.

Luo point out marketplace evidence reinforcing advantages of physical retail for an omnichannel strategy: formerly online-only retailers (Amazon included) are investing in brick and mortar locations. “Online shopping is very goal-oriented and transactional,” Luo says. “Traditional retailers’ strength is the in-store shopping experience, and they need to play that up.”

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Going omnichannel?

See how you can unify your data and retail technologies with Retail Pro to get a 360 degree view of your business and build your omnichannel tech strategy today.

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3 Tips to Simplify Omnichannel

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More than ever before, today’s multi-channel retail environment is becoming increasingly faced with tougher competition and technology constraints. To add to the pile, the prevalence of online shopping means that growing retailers must also deal with changing buying behaviours and customer attitudes.
 
Customers expect to get product information, consider their options, and make their purchases with ease. They bounce between channels throughout their shopping journey, so they want an experience that is complete, seamless, convenient, engaging and consistent.
 
It’s a tall order, but one that needs to be filled. Otherwise, customers will find another retailer that will deliver exactly what they need. With all these challenges in play, how can you manage to concentrate on closing sales and driving profit for your business? The answer is, by creating and maintaining a consistent customer experience and across all sales channel.
 
Get the 3 Tips to Simplify Omnichannel whitepaper today to see three important questions to ask when you are evaluating and implementing an omnichannel strategy, and most importantly, how you can do it in a streamlined and efficient manner.
 

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What Mobile 2.0 Means for the Omnichannel Retailer

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Shopper expectations impact retailer tech choices

For progressive retailers in 2017, it’s clear that the brick and mortar and traditional POS aren’t going anywhere. Nonetheless, advances in mobile technology have created an expectation from today’s savvier smart phone shopper for an omnichannel experience.

Everything from local store inventory visibility, in store pickup, loyalty programs, and social media demonstrate how the instore retail experience is being redefined.

Mobile 2.0 then marks the evolution of mobile technology from an accessory to traditional sales channel to now the driving principle within retail sector.

Redefining the retail experience

Mobile 2.0 technology is redefining POS and the brick and mortar experience for the shopper.

To be competitive today requires retailers to meet customer expectation for how, when, and where they will transact with their business.

In the whitepaper Retailers: Welcome To The Mobile 2.0 Platform, we outline expectations of the modern shopper and how retailers are leveraging mobile 2.0 to provide them with an even greater omnichannel experience.

Learn more about the mobile 2.0 technology that is redefining the customer experience so your business can achieve a successful omnichannel retail strategy.

 

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Introducing the new Retail Pro Webcast: All Things Retail

Have you wondered what will you gain by switching to the latest Retail Pro software?

Regardless if you have been a Retail Pro user for years or are a retailer looking to retire your other tools in favor of this world-class software to improve your operations – either way – our new webcast series was made just for you.

Every other week we will get together for a quick 5 minute chat on how your team can accomplish their daily retail operations more efficiently with powerful functionalities in the latest Retail Pro software.

  • Replenishment
  • Promotions
  • Orders
  • Disbursements
  • Customer management
  • Send Sale & Fulfillment
  • Open & Close Day Procedures
  • And many others….

Tune in to our Retail Pro YouTube channel, subscribe so you never miss a webcast, or just watch Episode 1 here today! First webcast is on Open Day procedure.

 

 

 






2 Customer experience challenges retailers face

 

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This blog post contains excerpts from the whitepaper Using Artificial Intelligence for Effective Customer Retention, by Retail Pro®and AppCard.  Download the whitepaper to learn more about how artificial intelligence can help retailers improve customer experience and retention.

 

The era of customer experience

In the past 4-5 years, the retail industry has undergone major changes and retailers are acknowledging that it is 6-7 times more costly to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. This same research shows that boosting customer retention rates by as little as 5% can increase profits up to 95%.

 

With such incentives at hand, brick and mortar retailers are urged to leverage eCommerce-like data collection and analysis to create a unique customer experience that will keep customers coming back for more.

 

But this is often easier said than done.

 

The evolution of customer loyalty

For years, retailers have looked for ways to influence customer behavior, from the early days of paper punch cards to sophisticated, big box SAP and SAS based CRM and ERP systems.

 

Some retailers pinned their hopes on daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, only to find out that customer acquisition is significantly more expensive than customer retention and once acquired, they have virtually no useful information about the newly acquired customers.

 

Since then, loyalty programs have evolved from basic check-in solutions to more sophisticated check-in solutions that were able to communicate with customers via mobile app, text or SMS messages, and email.

 

While such solutions garnered some initial traction, retailers still yearned for a greater understanding of their customers, including SKU-level transaction details.

 

Related Article: 3 Generations of customer loyalty & rewards technology >>

 

Top 2 customer experience challenges faced by today’s retailers

Retailers face two critical challenges in their quest to leverage data for better customer experiences: increasingly demanding shoppers and technology limitations.

 

1. Generation E (Expectations)
Customers—particularly Millennials—have become more informed, less tolerant, and increasingly demanding.

Their ever-increasing ability to shop around, research, compare, share, and explore alternative products, prices and options forces retailers to truly know their customers and understand their shopping motivations.

69% of consumers say their choice of retailer is influenced by where they feel most appreciated and can earn loyalty or rewards program points (Maritz).

Regardless of whether the shoppers are Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials or even Generation Z, retailers must realize that all of their customers belong to Generation E (Expectations), where they expect to build a relationship with their favorite brands and be appreciated for their business in exchange for their loyalty.

 

2. Tech limitations
The retail industry’s technological landscape is comprised of web developers, CRM and ERP providers, payment processors, network providers, and many more.

But the technology upon which nearly all brick and mortar retailers are still fully dependent is their Point of Sale (POS) systems, which are often highly fragmented and cumbersome. With thousands of different POS providers in the market, and no true standardization, many retailers struggle or fail to integrate multiple data sources and retail channels (Mobile, eCommerce, In-store).

Furthermore, while the POS gives retailers access to critical KPIs like daily sales numbers, top selling products, and returns by cashier, but retailers need the ability to associate transactions to an individual customer in an actionable way. This level of insight is integral for retailers to provide a truly personalized customer experience.

Related Article: How to use POS data to achieve personalized marketing like the big guys >>

 

To continue reading more about the challenges and opportunities of improving the retail customer experience, Download the whitepaper now.

 

 






Brick and Mortar Retail Is On Its Way to Becoming a Media Channel

 

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Many brick and mortar retailers have invested in providing customers exciting, engaging and satisfying shopping experiences in order to effectively compete against e-commerce.

Online retailers have done a remarkable job of offering shoppers the goods, pricing, and availability they want. The most recent figures available show continued strength for e-commerce sales: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, total e-commerce sales for 2016 were estimated at $394.9 billion, an increase of 15.1 percent (±1.8%) from 2015. Online orders increased 8.9% in the third quarter of 2016. 

Retailers with a base of operations in the physical world are now not only deftly entering the e-commerce arena, but they are leveraging their physical presence as well.

Brands becoming part of the in-store experience

Today, brick and mortar retail is on its way to becoming a media channel. In fact, some have suggested that retailers will not simply offer products for sale, but actually charge brands an upfront fee for the privilege of being a part of the in-store experience. So retailers might have a larger selection available online to customers, but a few, select lines are actually available to see “in person” on the showroom floor.

Think of brand boutiques in larger stores as a similar example of the strategy, but more curated, and the brands pay the retailer for the privilege.

Beacons used for personalized suggestive selling

Beacon technology is another way retailers can learn about shopper behavior.

These devices can learn where shoppers linger within a store and also provide shopper-specific information if a client agrees to opt-in to that type of data collection. That information can then be used by retailers to personalize the in-store experience, for example, suggesting available merchandise. 

Beacons can also remind shoppers of products they may have overlooked during the current shopping trip that they have previously bought. Beacons can also spotlight products a customer has previously expressed interest in, as the technology detects customers’ lingering in particular locations. 

Instead of associates spending all their time and energy on duties such as stocking shelves, counting inventory, cleaning, etc., they can instead focus on providing the best customer service possible. Managers can then invest more time learning how the store functions as a destination and how it can improve to exceed customer expectations.






The 10 Highest-Rent Shopping Strips in the World

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Reposted from SMS Storetraffic.com






2 Things Retailers Forfeit By Foregoing Employee Training

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Providing customers in-store experiences that are unique, fun and yet still profitable is the challenge retailers with physical stores continue to face. The cornerstone to providing that vision to shoppers are employees.

Good employees keep a retailer running; great employees are its heart and soul. They believe in the product, brand or mission of the company. And they are customers themselves, so the know how to make shoppers feel special, convert browsers into buyers and cultivate loyalty.

But too many retailers underestimate the value of trained employees.

Just 35% of employers trained low-skill workers and hired them for high-skill jobs in 2015, and slightly fewer — 33% — plan to do the same this year, according to CareerBuilder. And while 68% of firms say they offer training programs, 50% say the budgets have not changed and 11% say budgets have decreased.

Here are 2 things retailers forfeit when they do no invest in training.

 

1. Cost Savings

Training can save retailers money. It reduces turnover, and staff retention reduces costs. It’s expensive to hire staff. It also provides the worker with the precise skills needed for his or her current position. It’s obvious that higher-end retailers, such as Nordstrom’s, think of service as a culture and use training to reinforce that ethic.

But smaller and lower-margin retailers are also embracing training for employees.

For example, Dollar General this month announced its full-year sales rose nearly 8%, and noted part of the reason for the sales bump were its managers.

During a conference call, CEO Todd Vasos said: “To strengthen our position for the long-term, we are making significant investments, primarily in compensation and training for our store managers given the critical role this position plays in our customer experience, as well as strategic initiatives.”

Dollar General saw a nearly 1% increase in same-store sales in 2016, and the discounter plans to open 1,000 more outlets this year. “In fiscal 2017, these investments will be focused on an increased compensation structure and additional training for our store managers, as they play a critical role in our customers’ experience and the profitability of each store.”

 

2. Staff Loyalty

Investing in employee training is a great way to improve your in-store service and get employees “on the same page” about what is expected, desirable, etc. In addition, employees expect some sort of training – Accenture found that 80% of 2016 college graduates expect some formal training from their employers.

Unfortunately, only 14% of employees would grade their company an “A” for the availability of training resources, according to another study from Spherion.

Training can make workers feel more marketable, which is appealing to staff but is often the reason employers shy away from it. Too many are concerned about training staff who will leave for a competitor. Given the high turnover rate at some retailers, it’s a valid concern.

However, while we think of providing high-quality service as driving customer loyalty, offering relevant employee training as a central benefit of a customer-service driven, flexible and creative work culture may be just the way to increase staff loyalty as well.






Embrace Social – Or Else

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Social media is no longer the purview of newlyweds, new parents and kitten videos. It is increasingly used by retailers looking to strengthen their brands. Conversely, as mobile shopping continues to grow, social media is putting new power into the customers’ hands. Customers not only are using their mobile tools to purchase online or even in-store, but also to communicate with retailers. And the majority of them want responses. Now.

Most businesses use social as a way to promote their brand rather than as a true channel for facilitating two-way communication.  But consumers view social media differently: They see it as a way to have a dialogue with the store or brand. According to research from Sprout, 90% of people surveyed have used social in some way to communicate directly with a brand. Retailers are faced now with a very public airing of customer concerns. Email and telephone calls are no longer top-of-mind for the disgruntled customer. Instead, their gripe is online for all the view to see – and, potentially – agree with. Social media is the first option customers turn to when they have a problem with a product or service.

The first option.

One social media complaint can quickly turn into a disaster. Retailers, therefore, must respond quickly and publicly, because the response isn’t just aimed at the unhappy customer, it also must show potential customers and loyal shoppers alike that you care about all of their business. How quickly? Very. According to Convince and Convert, 42% of your customers will expect a response within 60 minutes, and 57% expect the same response time at night or weekends as during regular business hours. There is no rest for the socially weary.

How to respond? Be polite. Don’t try to be cute or funny in most cases, because it’s easy for that strategy to backfire. Then, simply apologize and invite the customer to private message you. Do not remove their critical comment or others’. (Trolls are different. Abusive or irrational commentary should be deleted and the poster banned.)

Once you have established a private dialogue, discover what the issue is, apologize and offer an explanation if appropriate and then come up with a plan to rectify the problem. Follow up to ensure the fix was implemented and satisfactory. The last thing you want is for a second complaint to be lodged on social media.

Unfortunately, brands generally do a poor job of responding to customer criticism. On average, brands reply to only 11% of those posts. And, to compound customers’ frustration, brands send 23 promotional messages for each response provided. That’s a recipe for louder complaints and reduced customer satisfaction.

Retailers face enough competition; they should not be fighting their own social media policies as well. By getting on top of negative posts in an honest and open fashion, they can take negative situations and turn them into positive ones. Even a service problem can be used to improve customer satisfaction, if handled promptly and in a manner in which customers feel is aimed at genuinely helping them.

 






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Countries

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Countries

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Customers

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