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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How to Build Your Tech Strategy

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Technology empowers efficiency in your retail operations, so building a solid tech strategy is critical to effective execution.

See how Earthbound Trading Co is increasing operational efficiency by building their tech strategy with Retail Pro.

Then – book your NRF meeting to talk with us in person about how Retail Pro can help you optimize your retail tech strategy.

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How to Unify Commerce

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Last week we invited you to meet with us at NRF to discover optimized retail with Retail Pro.

Let’s count down the final weeks before NRF with tips on HOW to optimize your retail operations, in step with market trends and proven strategies of retailers using Retail Pro.

Then – book your NRF meeting to talk with us in person about how Retail Pro can help you optimize and unify your commerce profitably.

Book my NRF meeting now

 

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.

 

 

 

3 Tips to Improve Your Loyalty Program

 

What every woman wishes retailers knew

If your loyalty program is lacking luster, it’s likely time for an overhaul or at least a close inspection.

So, you have a loyalty program, but:

  • It’s not attracting new members
  • Its members are not as active as you’d like
  • No one knows about it

Your program is dying on the vine, and it’s top management’s fault. If it’s not top of mind for managers, it won’t be for anyone else, certainly not customers.

Successful loyalty programs are big. Sure, they have plenty of members, but they are vibrant and enticing to customers. Here are three ways to improve your program:

Devote Time To It

Cultivating customer loyalty is a strategy. Retaining existing customers is less expensive than finding new ones, so it’s worth investing the time and effort into making them feel special.

Define specific goals for the program: Do you want to increase memberships? Boost members’ sales? Only then can you forge a roadmap to make those goals a reality.

Improve Your Customer Service

No one wants to be loyal to a place that doesn’t treat them well.

If your customer service isn’t top notch, ask yourself, “Why would anyone return?” Terrific service lays the groundwork for customer loyalty.

73% of consumers say friendly customer service reps can make them fall in love with a brand, according to RightNow.

Furthermore, providing a superior experience not only helps to retain that customer but also to grow your base, because consumers with positive experiences tend to recommend the brand to others.

Go Big

Let’s face it: The value proposition must be extremely compelling.

Many of your competitors have loyalty programs. And if they don’t, they might just be offering something you can’t: Lower pricing, free shipping, certain brands, etc.

Grab Stats notes that the average U.S. household belongs to more than 18 programs, but is active in only 8.4. Therefore, your loyalty program must stand out and offer something irresistible.

Sephora members, for example, earn points with each purchase that they can redeem for rewards. The program is tiered depending on the dollar value of customers’ annual purchases. Spending more is an incentive to get free products as well as entry into exclusive events.

What differentiates a great loyalty program from others is that customers are eager – excited, even – to join a program that meets their needs.

The day someone asks an associate to join your program without being coaxed is the day you know you’ve hit on a winning formula.

But customers’ tastes change. So enjoy the winning formula while you can – and keep innovating.

 

 

 

Customers Welcome Flexible Shopping Options

Ecommerce alone may not perform as well as omnichannel offerings.

Ecommerce alone may not perform as well as omnichannel offerings.

It’s a fact of retail life: Out of stocks can cost retailers not only one sale, but also future sales. Once the customer is disappointed, he or she may never walk through that business’ doors again. The sale is gone, along with any store loyalty. That’s why it’s critical for retailers to implement omnichannel strategies that let customers shop for and take delivery of products in the ways that fit their lifestyles.

According to a new report from AGC Partners, “The Retail Industry Disruptors: Specialty Online Retailers and Marketplaces Take Center Stage,” most shoppers welcome technology that lets them take advantage of retailers’ omnichannel strategies.

A solid omnichannel strategy lets shoppers buy online, buy in-store or do a combination: buy online and pick up in-store (BOPIS), for example. Increasingly, customers are “taking control” of their shopping experiences. They are well researched, both in terms of what products they want to buy, and where they want to purchase. They are “smart shoppers,” who more than ever before are able to dictate how they want to purchase merchandise.

The report notes that now, shoppers are looking for what seems to be the inverse of BOPIS: They want in-store mobile technology that allows them to order a product from a retailer’s e-commerce site, if it is not in stock at the store. 64% of consumers responded that they are more likely to frequent stores that offer such technology, and 73% said that such an offering provides a “superior” customer experience.

Retail is an enormous, $22 trillion market worldwide. Right now, online retail only makes up 7.4% of that total. Retailers that can “rescue” an order that cannot be filled at a physical location by routing it to its e-commerce site, will increase revenue and build customer appreciation. In addition, online sales will grow. A sale is a sale, no matter where it originates or to where it is delivered. As long as a retailer provides the channel, customers have no reason to seek the item elsewhere.

Still, a number of hurdles need to be overcome, according to AGC:

  • Only 33% of all U.S. retailers can order out-of-stock products via a mobile device
  • Only 26% offer free Wi-Fi
  • Only 12% can have customers scan products and have them shipped home

That represents an enormous opportunity for retailers and their technology partners. Increased shopping on mobile devices is likely to drive overall growth in online retail. And many shoppers, particularly millennials, enjoy using smartphones and other mobile devices to shop: Of 2,000 millennials surveyed by Coupofy, 28% reported preferring to shop on their smartphone than on their computers. Therefore, by implementing solutions that allow customers to be flexible in how they shop, where they take delivery – and even make returns – retailers can grow revenue as well as customer satisfaction.

 

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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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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