New year, new retail! 5 ways to use mobile in your stores

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Each new year comes with new excitement, new potential, new initiatives – like mobile in your stores!

Start 2017 off right – see how one fashion retailer uses mobile in their stores. Then, book your NRF meeting to talk with us in person about how Retail Pro can help you go mobile!

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7 Retail Resolutions for 2017

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As 2017 quickly approaches, here are 7 New Year’s resolutions for retailers to consider.

 

1

I will think of and connect all our digital and physical channels as one whole so we can unify commerce.

2

I will use our retail data to plan inventory better so customers always get what they want and I always sell down to zero.

3

I will reach higher to grow my business, whether that’s expanding my merchandise, my team, my tech, or my operations – globally.

4

I will use my retail management tech to its full capacity to automate more and operate more efficiently.

5

I will leverage mobile POS to liberate my sales staff from bondage to the cash register, and empower them to better engage our customers and sell more with hyper-relevant data insights.

6

I will attend to my most important customers better and create a smooth and consistent experience however they choose to shop with our brand.

7

I will optimize retail.

 

 

Keep your 2017 resolutions with Retail Pro

 

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3 Tips for Using Your Retail Data to Attract More Customers

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For retailers, much of the work that goes into making a sale is done before your customer ever sets foot in your store. Here are 3 tips for using your retail data to attract more customers.

 

1. Use outbound marketing as a targeted follow-up to inbound marketing.

Fresh, high-quality content is available to sales prospects 24/7. Whether it’s on the web, in stores, or via email, information is out there, waiting to be consumed by eager customers. Savvy retailers are using their content assets to attract customers, and it’s working: Interesting, relevant material attracts leads to a business’ site, social media presence and/or store. That content must position your company as a market leader. Valuable content that informs the customer is key. The more specific your content, the more focused you can be.

2. Collect data on your customer.

To really provide such highly focused, relevant content, you must understand customers’ interests and tastes, as well as their demographic information. Only then can you tailor both your content, which attracts customers, and the message, which will be used to close the sale. Outbound marketing only succeeds when it reaches the appropriate audience. Personalized campaigns can go a long way when you are courting a customer. Let the data you gather help inform the way you engage with customers.

3. Use predictive analytics.

Look back and use past performance to gauge future sales. Predictive analytics examines a variety of data and then systematically offers the makeup of the best leads. Big data crunching can help find those sweet spots invisible to the naked eye. In addition, sales teams knowledgeable in the science of data analytics can gain insight into purchasing triggers. Paying attention to small triggers can get your retail marketing campaigns out ahead of the competition’s.

 

 

 

Millennials and the Importance of Authenticity

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Millennials are coming on strong. Retailers expect Millennials – who were born between 1976 and 1994 — to spend more than $200 billion annually starting in 2017. Further, they are projected to spend more than $10 trillion during their lifetimes, according to Advertising Age.

Millennials currently account for $1.3 trillion in consumer spending, and with 80 million potential millennial customers, retailers will be rewarded if they can attract this segment.

AdAge estimates these young adults spend 25 hours online weekly. They are gathering information — retaining what is appealing, discarding what is not. To avoid having your content in land in the virtual recycle bin, it must be authentic.

Authentic means more than just being unique or having originated from your store. Rather, authentic means that the content “rings true” to the consumer. It is written in a manner that is familiar to the millennial, and that gives it credibility. Content that is not authentic sounds phony or forced and turns off this age group.

What that means is that most traditional advertising sounds fake to Millennials. According to Forbes research, a mere 1% of millennials surveyed said that a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more. One percent. Clearly, advertising budgets for this group need to be rethought.

However, remember all that time spent consuming content on the Web? Much of that is spent doing research on future purchases. Forbes said 33% of millennials rely mostly on blogs before they make a purchase, compared to fewer than 3% for TV news, magazines and books.

If you are looking to invest in TV commercials, you’re looking to attract baby boomers, not millennials.

In addition, millennials check sources of material for their authenticity as well. If they trust the content creator, they’ll trust the information.

All of that is great information to keep in mind when creating any marketing collateral for your company — and that includes social sites. It’s imperative to have a presence on the networks that make sense for your business, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

And millennials expect nearly instant responses to their comments: Getting back to a complaint on Facebook two days later is not acceptable. In addition, those responses must be personal and respectful.

Whole Foods offers a great example (click to enlarge):

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Seriously, if Whole Foods can reveal itself as truly caring about a customer’s trash bag selection, you can surely create authentic content about your product as well.

Hispanic Shoppers Embrace Omnichannel

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Hispanic shoppers are more likely to have smartphones than the population as a whole, and they rely on their phones and computers to make purchase decisions.

It’s not just Millennials that appreciate the ease and convenience of online shopping. Hispanic shoppers are more likely to have smartphones than the population as a whole, and they rely on their phones and computers to make purchase decisions. They embrace the omnichannel experience.

In particular, Hispanic shoppers plan to increase their online purchases of grocery products from large retailers at a significantly faster pace than non-Hispanics, according to a recently released IRI Hispanic Shopper Study. At Amazon, for example, the grocery uptick is expected to be more than 40%.

That’s in large part because the Hispanic population has taken to the convenience of online grocery shopping. And even when they don’t place their orders through a website, 38% look online for deals and coupons before making a shopping trip, and 33% look to blogs or social media for beauty product recommendations.

The Hispanic segment is hugely important to retailers: U.S. Hispanic spending is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by 2020, according to the Latin Post. And a large part of that is going to go to groceries. The segment generally has larger families than the other parts of the population, so it tends to spend more on regular, routine trips to the store, as well as “quick runs to the corner.” And, according to Retailleader.com, Hispanics often bring their children along when they shop, so the youngsters influence purchase decisions, further increasing the value of their shopping carts.

With such a large market opportunity, retailers should implement a plan of action to attracting Hispanic customers online, whether to complete the transaction using e-commerce or to entice them into a brick and mortar. Social media is particularly effective with this group: According to a Pew Hispanic Center Research study, 68 percent of Hispanic Internet users are active on Facebook, Twitter, and other social network sites, compared to 58 percent of all U.S. Internet users. The audience is there – but how to engage it?

The EC Hispanic Media report U.S. Hispanics and Facebook: The Generation of Growth found that one of the best strategies to motivate Hispanic customers was to offer discounts and promotions. Not all interaction needs to be coupon based, however. By asking for ideas, comments, and opinions, retailers can connect effectively with the second-largest consumer market in the United States.

 

 

Going Omnichannel?

You know it’s critical to create a consistent customer experience across all sales channels – but you can’t afford for your omnichannel efforts to be seen as omni-failures. 

Get this whitepaper to discover how to simplify omnichannel!

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Are You Making the Most of Social Media?

The importance of social media is not lost on retailers - many businesses are on the sites to promote their products and help consumers resolve their service issues.

The importance of social media is not lost on retailers – many businesses are on the sites to promote their products and help consumers resolve their service issues.

Many retailers have a presence on social media, at a minimum in an attempt to get the word out about their brands. Some – a few – go the extra mile and parlay their presence into a real relationship with customers, answering questions and offering feedback.

One of the main reasons retailers use social media networks is to reach new customers, According to CustomerThink.com, social media use is pervasive: 75% of all Internet users are on some type of social network. Retailers need to communicate with shoppers through every available channel.

Research has found that once an in-store customer posts on social media about a brand or store, a store representative  has only a very short period of time – say, two to three minutes – to send a response. Is that window closing on your responses? It likely is.

Still, according to a Boston Retail Partners report a whopping 69% of retailers see opportunities to use social media to enhance their customers’ experiences. However, many are likely to be short on time and resources to act on this action item.

Social media monitoring tools are available that can help organize this new chore. They can track online conversations that mention brands and retailer names, which can have very real consequences. However, the Boston Retail Partners study found that a large number of retailers using social media to interact with customers — 81% of respondents — indicate that their processes need improvement.

Participating in social media provides information to the retailer enabling them to understand who customers are, what they want, as well as when and where they want it. Responding to individual’s posts and offering appreciation for their patronage — such as coupons for “liking” a page — aim to improve the customer experience for all their guests.

But what about when posts are not glowing and may even be negative? Retailers can that take the opportunity to respond and get ahead of the situation. By posting a quick response, a retailer demonstrates not only that they are aware of the problem but are eager to fix it. That leaves customers feeling empowered, happy with the outcome, and secure with the knowledge they can return to the store and not face the same problem.

The implementation of social media monitoring tools, lets retailers easily understand their customers’ desires, and tailor their products and services accordingly, a crucial competitive advantage in the current global retail world.

 

How well do you know your customer?

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Ensuring retail success in the post-peak era

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Retailers have been pushing to extend peak seasons like Christmas to gain more sales, but modern consumers shop on their own schedule and retailers must adapt and cater to their off-season needs.

By Kerry Lemos, CEO, Retail Pro International

 

Christmas coming earlier every year might be a cliché for most people, but for the retail industry it’s a simple fact.

We’re already seeing retailers prepare for the festive season, identifying the key products that will be this year’s must-haves and gearing up their Christmas campaigns.

This is very much in line with the traditional retail business models built around spikes in activity brought on by peak shopping periods. With stock piled high and temporary recruits boosting numbers on the shop floor, activity can be ramped up for a few weeks before returning to normal levels.

In recent years, however, these peaks have become much less well-defined.

Take Christmas, for instance. The season now covers much more than just a few weeks. It now spans the extended period from the build-up to Thanksgiving through to Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the January sales, where some retailers might hope to do half of their annual business.

This period of retail chaos means retailers are in direct competition for the same limited number of festive shoppers for an increasing amount of time, with both shoppers’ attention and supply chains becoming squeezed.

 

A new world

At the same time, Christmas is no longer the only peak period retailers need to be aware of.

In the UK, the growth of festivals such as Eid, Diwali and the Chinese New Year has introduced new periods that retailers may need to prepare for. Beyond these major festivals, there are other times of the year that could be seen as a peak period to some, or all, of the population, from the first day of spring to the beginning and end of the summer holidays.

What all of these periods show is that many retailers’ approach to consumers needs to change. Customers cannot be treated as a single mass who all shop at the same time, in the same way, and for the same things.

Focusing attention on a single, defined peak period is a strategy that retailers must move on from: individuals have their own approach to shopping, and as such have developed their own personal peak shopping periods.

 

Giving the public what they want

 

The question for retailers then is, how do they support these individual peak periods without losing the ability to maximize the potential of established shopping seasons?

Here are 3 actions retailers can take that will tip the odds in their favor.

 

Cross channels

We haven’t just seen an evolution in when people shop, but in how they shop. Customers won’t restrict their peak shopping period to simply visiting a select number of brick-and-mortar stores.

On the other hand, few consumers will do a hundred percent of their shopping online, instead welcoming the opportunity to browse for certain items in the flesh. Retailers should ensure these customers have a seamless experience, whether shopping online or in-store, with access to the same information and interactions however they purchase their products.

Ideally, a customer should be able to begin their shop in-store and complete it online, or vice versa, in a consistent, omnichannel exchange.

 

Map the landscape

With “peak” periods becoming more of a constant presence, it’s important that retailers understand exactly when these periods happen.

For instance, the Christmas period now begins in November and ends in January; but within this, there are individual days which show still-increased activity or relative slowdowns.

Not only this, but retailers must decide how they switch to peak periods; does activity accelerate overnight, or is there a slow build-up and deceleration to ensure they can attract shoppers who are operating on a slightly different timetable?

 

Build profiles

While predicting and supporting the shopping habits of every single individual is beyond the reach of retailers, they should still ensure they have categorised how their customers behave in peak periods and act accordingly.

For example, what proportion of shoppers do their holiday shopping early, and which wait until the last minute? How many spread their shopping across the whole period, and how many spend everything on one or two occasions? And when exactly do their customers flock to the store?

Using this information, retailers can build profiles of their customers and anticipate their needs throughout the year as appropriate.

 

By offering an omnichannel experience, mapping out the peak calendar and ensuring they have profiled their customers, retailers can ensure that they are supporting peak shopping for all their customers; whether it happens at Christmas or Candlemas.

 

Building your omnichannel strategy?

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“Omnirelevant” Experiences Are Key to Building Brand Loyalty

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Retailers must deliver more effective digital interactions between consumers and their brands through omnirelevant strategies, said Globant, a digitally native technology services company that creates digital journeys for its customers, in its quarterly Sentinel Report.

Brands must focus on asserting and maintaining relevance to consumers, who are constantly inundated with technologies that compete for their attention, explains the report. Companies that are in tune with their users can identify important moments in the customer journey, and leverage this insight to deliver more relevant, impactful interactions.

“Without awareness of the digital journey, brands will fail to impress consumers and win their trust and engagement,” said Martín Migoya, Globant CEO and co-founder. “Focusing on relevance and quality of user interaction over quantity of touch points is at the heart of effective digital strategy. This requires consumer-centric thinking from the outset.”

The report highlights five elements that must exist in equilibrium in order to achieve omnirelevance:

  • Harmony  - The deeply-rooted connection and affinity that this series of interactions has with a user’s flow, producing a pleasant effect
  • Familiar Security  - The feeling of familiarity and trust customers experience at each moment of their journey, fostering an intimate and sage relationship between the customer and the brand
  • Contextual Content  - Content that is able to fulfill a user’s needs at any given moment
  • Sensory  - Creating brain stimulus that will give a physical reality to the experience
  • Surprise  - The level of unexpected momentum to an experience or an interaction must have to catch the user’s attention and leave a lasting, positive impression

“Omnirelevant Experiences” represents the fifth edition of Globant’s Sentinel Report – a quarterly analysis on global market trends and consumer behavior insights and their application to various industries. Furthermore, the report includes stories and business case studies that show how omnirelevance is already being pursued in the technology, retail and entertainment sectors.

Adapted from Erie TV News.

3 Tips to Turn Out-of-Stocks to Your Advantage

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By Bruce D. Sanders | Consumer Psychologist | Retailing in Motion

 

What are the effects on your shoppers when you run out of an item shoppers expected to purchase from your store? How might you turn those effects to your advantage?

Here are 3 tips, using research findings from Indiana University-Bloomington, University of British Columbia, and Northwestern University.
 

3 tips to turn out-of-stocks to your advantage

 
1. Consumers who have repeatedly purchased a small set of items from you will desire some of those items even more strongly when they discover other items in the set are out-of-stock (OOS). The more general finding is that loyal customers who encounter an OOS become more likely to come to your store promptly when sales on high-demand items are announced. Coach your store staff to sincerely empathize with the shopper and give helpful guidance, such as telling the shopper when the next shipments are due.

2. For consumers who purchase a particular item at regular intervals, encountering an OOS repeatedly will lead the consumer to change item preferences. When an item is OOS in your store, use signage to suggest an alternative which you do currently have in stock.

3. Shoppers’ price sensitivity increases when they encounter out-of-stock items. They dislike the feeling they are being required to buy a substitute for meeting their needs. To lessen the negative feelings, offer alternatives at a range of price points.

 

Be ready to offer a better alternative

 
Researchers at American University in Washington, D.C. and University of Arizona suggest you be ready for a shopper to veer off to a wholly different choice after learning an item the shopper has carefully chosen is OOS.

Say a shopper comes into your store and looks at expensive ink pens. The shopper narrows the choices to two, both of which have an extra-fine felt tip. The only difference between the two is the ink color, which the shopper decides is not that important.

Then when the shopper asks for the pen with the blue ink, he’s told it is temporarily OOS. He’s asked if he’d like to place an order, and he’ll be notified when the pen arrives. He declines. The salesperson—knowing the value of selling substitutability—offers the shopper the extra-fine felt tip pen with the black ink.

But, like a majority of the participants in the American University/Arizona study, the shopper goes off in a different direction, such as purchasing a fancy ballpoint pen with blue ink. Because of the OOS, the blue ink color becomes more important than the felt tip.

See more posts from RIMtailing.

How platform tech helps you see retail customer needs

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Your retail software runs through oceans of discrete and inferred data at every moment.

  • Point of sale transactional data
  • E-commerce sales data
  • Browsing behavior data

In its disconnected state, the data is useless – just a torrent of numbers, sales figures, totals, and percentages. It tells you very little about the people who shop with you.

Many retailers today are still using software that keeps their data segregated by channel, which means they can’t see how the same customer is interacting with your online store versus your physical store. It means they can’t see whether their promotions are reaching their targeted customer to increase their shopping frequency.

That is what we at Retail Pro International call retail chaos.

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But when those various data points are unified, they create a single, 360° view of your customer – the numbers become an individual with actual likes, loves, and needs.

It also gives you a total, 360° view of your target customer base as a whole – which gives you a more complete understanding of how you can better meet and anticipate their needs with the products you sell.

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Platform software like Retail Pro is different from your average retail tech.

A platform is a digital foundation that connects data from every point at which it’s generated, including:

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  • Your mobile and stationary POS software
  • Your product planning, assortment, and merchandising software
  • Your business intelligence, loyalty, marketing, digital receipts applications
  • Your payments processor
  • Emerging tech like beacons, RFID, and footfall
  • Your e-commerce data
  • Your in-store endless aisle kiosk
  • And any other tools or applications you use

This means that:

  • You can see where all of your inventory is (at the warehouse, in transit, across the globe, on the shelf, in the bin, out of stock)
  • Your brick-and-mortar stores can see inventory availability at different locations
  • Your e-commerce store can see and use inventory from your physical stores
  • Your loyalty applications can tap into transactional data for initiatives targeted to a particular customer’s buying habits
  • Your marketing team can send emails personalized with a customer’s likes and dislikes
  • You can package slow and fast moving items for promotions across channels

…which means you get a complete picture of your customer’s interaction with you – and you retail smarter.

#stopretailchaos