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Is your omnichannel meeting customers’ expectations?

 


 
Today's customers often want a fast, efficient shopping experience, and retailers are increasingly providing omnichannel experiences that are refined to meet those needs.

While retailers hope to gain revenue and gain efficiencies in marketing, what do customers view as a successful omnichannel experience?
 

Origin of omnichannel

 
Ten years ago, a retailer might offer an online as well as a brick and mortar experience, hoping to catch shoppers who couldn't make it to the store.

In essence, e-commerce began as a way retailers could extend their shopping hours.

Today, for many, e-commerce has evolved into a preferred means of shopping for many common items, but it doesn't replace traditional shopping entirely.

That's where a strong omni-channel strategy comes into play.

Clothing, electronics, furnishings — those are items that customers typically want to see in-person before buying.

They may not want to purchase them in-person, however.

Additionally, shoppers often want opinions of their friends before committing to those types of purchases.

Best-in-class omnichannel retailing serves shoppers through multiple sales channels—primarily online, in-store and social media — in a way that is presented cohesively, no matter how or where the customer journey began.
 

The reality today

 
From the customer's point of view, most businesses currently provide a multi-channel experience.

There is a brick and mortar store, a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and, perhaps, a blog.

Those platforms engage and connect with customers, but rarely as a cohesive unit.

In most cases, there is no seamless experience or consistent messaging across channels.

Many times, "buy online, pickup in store," or BOPIS, is unavailable, because inventory systems are disparate.
 

What it takes to do omnichannel well

 
A successful strategy should build a coherent, aligned experience across multiple platforms and involve stakeholders including the product, marketing, sales, customer support and customer journey teams.

Each shopping channel should work concurrently to provide a truly powerful experience through many shopping touch points.

Among the most important areas to align include:

  • Inventory: Online reflects in-store stock
  • Rewards programs: Use and earn points online and in-store
  • Shipping and delivery: Delivery status can be checked in-store or online

While the biggest changes have come primarily from the largest retailers, many smaller companies have actually driven the customer experience crusade, using social media platforms to engage directly with shoppers.

Start-up retailers generally have omni-channel "baked in" as a foundation, leaving larger companies challenged to compete.

Retail consultant McKinsey notes that an omni-channel transformation is the only way for a company to address rising complexity, provide an excellent customer experience, and manage operations costs.

A true omni-channel strategy improves communication within the retailer itself, because different departments are routinely updating statuses that are then reflected throughout the internal supply chain.

As a result, the strategy better meets the needs of today's customer.






Innovating millennial loyalty

 

 

Regular customers appreciate being recognized and rewarded for their repeat business, and loyalty programs typically offer discounts or exclusive deals to a retailer’s regular customers.

Many programs pretty much follow the same tried-and-true script: Make a purchase, get a reward.

Generally, those rewards are points that can be accumulated and spent or applied as a discount.

The oldest loyalty program is Betty Crocker's box top program, which debuted in 1929, and laid the foundation for today's loyalty programs.

But the times they are achangin', and brands know that the loyalty rewards programs of yesterday may not have what it takes to compete today.

 

Easier to earn, more fun to spend

 

Innovation is key to attracting and retaining customers, especially millennials, with rewards programs.

The hospitality segment has several creative programs.

For example, the Marriott Rewards program gives guests opportunity to earn loyalty points just by posting about their visits on Twitter, checking in on Facebook, or posting a picture on Instagram using a predefined hashtag.

Hotel chain Citizen M offers extras such as free on-demand movies, 10 percent-off each booking, free Wi-Fi and drink tickets which can be exchanged for free libations at the lobby bar.

 

Changing consumer sentiment

 

Whereas earlier generations may have had patience for collecting Betty Crocker's box tops, a majority of millennials do not.

Kobie Marketing's report, Loyalty in the Age of the Connected Consumer found that 4% of millennials won’t join a loyalty program if they consider the enrollment process for a loyalty program too time consuming.

They also want to reap the benefits quickly.

Accenture estimates the generation spends $600 billion annually, so crafting a loyalty program that appeals to millennials could indeed be profitable.

Traditionally, these programs have regarded customers with discounts.

But today, brands are learning that millennials prefer "experiences" to a discount punchcard.

Exclusive events or promotions are particularly attractive to young adults and is what drives successful loyalty programs such as Starbucks.

The coffee purveyor delights shoppers with music downloads, games, exclusive deals, advance notice of seasonal products and, of course, the occasional free coffee.

The variety and frequency of rewards encourages repeat customers.

 

Future of loyalty

 

Loyalty programs have enjoyed a long, rich history primarily because retailers have recognized shifting customer priorities and have adapted their rewards as appropriate.

While loyalty programs of the past have been viewed as a system to reward shoppers for simply making a purchase, the loyalty programs of the future leverage historical customer shopping patterns to entice repeat purchases and increase ticket values.

For many Millennials and Gen Z customers, even that won't be enough.

These customers have been exposed to social media, streaming digital media, and online shopping for nearly their entire lives.

With this comes an expectation to not only receive offers, rewards, and content personalized to them, but also that these offers be delivered via their preferred touch points (i.e. email, text message, social media, etc.)

Brands that want to continue to grow and include the millennial shopper will expand their loyalty strategies that highlight engagement, personalization and convenience.

 
 






2019 Holiday game plan: 3 ways to help shoppers find the perfect gift and get on with their holiday parties – faster

 

 

Let’s face it – even if you’re someone’s absolute FAVORITE retailer, they still don’t want to spend their holiday season with you.

What your customers want most is to find fun gifts for friends and family fast – and get on with the white elephant and ugly sweater parties.

Don’t be offended. You know the feeling is mutual.

So this holiday season, give your shoppers the gift that matters most to them: time.

Here are 3 ways to help your customers find what they need and get on with the festivities – faster.

 

1. Send gift ideas and personalized offers

 

The biggest challenge in holiday shopping is actually deciding what to buy – so use your data resources to help your shoppers out.

Their past purchases will give you an idea of their unique style and will help you extrapolate from those qualities to tie in with the new items you’re carrying for the holiday season.

AI-powered personalized marketing and loyalty platform AppCard for Retail Pro listens to your transaction data for you, watching for trends for each individual shopper.

Use it to send personalized offers tailored to your shopper’s style so it piques their interest and brings them into your store to find that perfect gift.

The offers will help you get your customers in the store, and their purchase will get them more loyalty points.

It’s a win-win!

 

2. Give them all the options with endless aisle

How about those shoppers who just walked in your store and don’t have a shopping history with you?

Show ‘em everything you’ve got with an endless aisle!

You’ve already got full visibility into inventory at each location in Retail Pro, and you have the inventory pictures, so make it available for shoppers to see your full collection.

Give shoppers free reign to browse and find what they’ll love on a secure touchscreen tablet or kiosk in your stores.

With an easy to use interface, customizable workflows, and detailed permissions settings, you can control the experience to ensure customers find what they need – without finding POS screens not intended for their use.

Plus, sales associates can be on hand to answer questions, offer suggestions, or for help navigating for first-time users.

 

3. Get them out faster with efficient mobile checkout

Shoppers can spend all evening browsing your store but once they’re in the checkout line, they want out.

Get them through the queue faster by setting up extra points of sale on mobile tablets.

Sales associates can be available anywhere your customers are on the sales floor to help them find what they need and wrap up the conversation right there by completing the transaction on a mobile POS.

Because Retail Pro is browser-based software, you can access it on any mobile or desktop device, so you can ramp up more points of sale for the holidays to keep lines short and customers happy.

Don’t have time this season to invest in mobile printers and accessories for mobile POS?

Send email receipts!

Or, for customers who prefer paper receipts, you can ring up all the items while clienteling and hold the transaction for associates at an express counter to pick up and finish off to get customers on their merry way faster.

 

This holiday season, help your shoppers find gifts for every person on their list – and then just let them enjoy the holidays.

Your customers probably won’t thank you for it.

But they’ll be back in January to redeem their loyalty points, and that’s pretty much the same thing.

 






Retail Pro ranked #1 POS for midmarket retail

 

 

We are honored to announce that the cross-platform, cross-channel POS and retail management software Retail Pro® was ranked number 1 retail mid-market POS in market share, global reach, innovation, and growth in the latest Retail Executive Advisory Program Research Study from IHL Group.

The study evaluated retail technology providers from all over the world based on relative strength, growth, direction, resilience, and market share.

“Over the years we’ve amassed a tremendous amount of primary and secondary-source data in this pursuit to assist retailers in vendor selection and to help understand the trends transforming our industry,” said Jerry Sheldon, Vice President of the IHL Group.  “The study considers primary and secondary source data to evaluate and rank on-premise and SaaS POS for retailers with chains ranging from 1 to 100 locations – representing over 9 million POS locations installed POS units worldwide.”

In this hyper-competitive context, Retail Pro holds 5.9% market share in the midmarket slice for general retail and also ranks as a top performer in IHL’s positioning map which measures vendors by innovation and market strength dimensions.

Kerry Lemos, CEO of Retail Pro International, comments, “We thrive in the highly creative and demanding environments in all major markets worldwide. Striving together with our loyal customers drives us to keep honing our technology to be more efficient, more innovative, and more adaptable to the diverse retail brands using Retail Pro worldwide.”

 

 

As retail in emerging markets continues to expand and enterprise retailers are rearchitecting systems for unified commerce, IHL projects the POS software market will grow 53% from $3.2 billion in 2018 to $4.9 billion in 2023, implying further growth opportunity for top POS providers.

“In spite of economic condition setbacks in some markets, retail continues to advance in North America, EMEA and APAC. This presents our retail technology solution providers with an opportunity to move forward and prosper in the era of intentional innovation,” commented Greg Buzek of IHL.  “These companies, ranked above all others in our study, represent a cohort of movers who push and help organizations drive growth. We congratulate the top-performers who move our industry forward.”

We are humbled at the significance of being ranked top POS at a global scale, and it is not by our efforts alone that this achievement was earned. Thus, we would like to recognize the people who work so hard every day, everywhere in the world, who are the hands, feet, minds, and retailers behind this triumph:

Our brilliant retailers who are always optimizing for more beauty and efficiency in retail experiences – and are using Retail Pro to do it.

Our forward-thinking designers, architects, engineers, and developers who create and support Retail Pro, and our dedicated team of business staff who keep the company on an upward trajectory.

Our skilled Business Partners who labor day and night to serve the 9000 retailers worldwide entrusting their operations to Retail Pro.

Our innovative Strategic and Development Partners who augment Retail Pro with the plugins and integrations they create.

All striving together for opportunities to push beyond what we thought we could do yesterday. All uniting to make retail what it is today.

THANK YOU.

 

 






7 Ways to get your store tech and staff ready for the holiday rush with Retail Pro POS

 

 

Holidays are fast approaching. With them the masses flock to your stores and website.

Every retailer’s goal is, of course, to capitalize on the increase in foot traffic and do whatever it takes to be in the black by New Year’s Eve.

The pressure is on – especially given the retail industry’s globally lackluster YTD performance.

But the happy increase in foot traffic to your stores and sales opportunities inevitably brings with it a not-so-favorable descent in chaos and disorder, even to the sharpest of managers.

Entropy at its finest.

But a little preparation goes a long way in combat against chaos. It’s in finetuning the details that you’ll find compounding efficiency gains, and a little sanity in the staff goes a long way toward keeping up good customer experiences.

So here’s a quick checklist of ways to get your store tech and staff armed and in shape for the holiday rush.

 

1. Think through your POS workflows

Tighten up your POS workflow for faster, more efficient checkout. Shave off critical seconds from each transaction by getting rid of unnecessary clicks and integrating steps you need for smoother returns with tracking for return reasons, easier customer and inventory lookup, and faster loyalty enrollment.

In Retail Pro POS, you can use HTML files to customize your workflows in the user interface to mirror the workflows your staff would use in real life. Tailor both the transaction workflow and pop up prompts for your staff to hit all the points on your customers engagement check list at checkout.

 See documentation: Customize workflows with HTML files | My Retail Pro 

 

2. Ramp up employee training for faster checkout experiences

Build up employee product knowledge so they can be quicker at looking up items by their alternate names or numbers at the POS.

Retail Pro Prism gives sales associates flexibility to look up inventory using not only the SKU but by description as well.

 

 

This will help associates save time and find the product in the system if a barcode is missing, rather than having everyone wait while another sales associate finds the product on the sales floor.

 Watch video: Advanced Item Lookup | My Retail Pro 

 

3. Train employees to collect customer emails

Incentivize your employees to collect emails for in-season and post-holiday deals. Now is the time to capitalize on the increased foot traffic to build connections with customers and invite them back for more after the holidays.

You can train your associates to a workflow that includes taking down a customer’s number in the integrated AppCard for Retail Pro loyalty and personalized marketing platform.

 

 

Because the technology is integrated, your staff won’t need to navigate between applications to enroll customers, saving time for your team and for everyone else in line.

 Watch video: POS flags setup | My Retail Pro 

 

4. Simplify inventory lookup on the sales floor

During the holidays the store fluctuates daily between chaos and order, so having a centralized inventory system that keeps detailed accounts of what is on the sales floor, in the back room, or in transit will help associates get customers what they need.

They can easily look up what the customer needs and place an order for them if the item isn’t in stock. You’ll save the sale and your customer will go home with one more person checked off on their holiday gift list.

 Watch video: Checking On-Hand Quantity | My Retail Pro 

 

5. Set up stations for self-serve inventory lookup and send sales

Set up a mobile POS station for self-serve or staff-assisted inventory lookup and send sale. If a customer needs something you don’t have in store, help them find and order it on your website or at a different location.

Send sale functionality in Retail Pro lets your sales associates send the sale (just like it sounds) to a nearby store that has what your customer needs in stock, so that item is put aside for them when they come to pick it up.

 Watch video: Creating and Fulfilling Send Sales | My Retail Pro 

 

6. Get your best staff on mobile POS for clienteling & line busting

Clienteling is extremely effective for engaging with customers in a way that leads to loyalty and a better overall experience with your brand.

Help customers find what they need faster and finish the transaction on the spot, without waiting in line. You can email receipts to decrease the need for ancillary mobile hardware like receipt printers.

And when checkout lines start to wrap around through the store, ramp up more points of sale on mobile to ring up transactions faster and get customers on their way before frustrations rise.

 Read blog: 9 tactics to borrow from luxury retail’s clienteling strategy to improve your omnichannel CX

 Get whitepaper: Is Mobile POS Right for Your Enterprise?

 

7. Track sales performance with KPI reporting

Use real-time KPI reports to stay on target and ramp up sales efforts when you’re falling behind. With Retail Pro Decisions, powered by the Targit BI and visual analytics platform, you can analyze your data from every angle based on KPIs important to your strategy.

And with Retail Pro Reports, you can pull the data you need to monitor performance on the go. With clear dashboards and easy filtering, you’ll have an on-the-minute update whenever you need it, so you can keep your finger on the pulse and make sure you’re hitting targets.

 Read blog: What are the Most Important KPIs for Retail?

 Get whitepaper: From KPIs to Profit 

Yes, there’s very little time left, and more to do than there are scheduled hours to do them. Focus on implementing a handful of optimizations that will help your team most to work more efficiently and ring in more sales.

They might not thank you for it, but your bottom line will.

 

___

 

Need access to the My Retail Pro user portal?

As part of an active Retail Pro Software Assurance plan, you have full access to all training, documentation, and knowledgebase resources available on the My Retail Pro user portal. Get access from your company MRP administrator or contact mrprequest@retailpro.com

Not current on Software Assurance? Contact your Retail Pro Business Partner for a quote today, or email in to customercare@retailpro.com to get connected with your Business Partner.

 

 






The rise of voice-enabled commerce in ubiquitous retail

 

 

Shopping is an increasingly “invisible” activity, embedding itself seamlessly into new digital and physical channels, using ever-more natural gestures and simple conversations.

 Gesture recognition helps retailers gauge shoppers’ real interest 

For example, a mom goes for an afternoon walk with her child. She notices she could use some silicone straws for their water bottles, and asks Alexa to place the order.

As they walk to the park, Mom sees an ad for a pair of running shoes. She takes a picture on her phone, successfully searches the Web and finds the item for sale, and makes a purchase just before greeting her friends at the playground.

On the way home, she sees a local restaurant is having a farm-to-table event that evening, so she sends invites to her husband and another couple to meet there.

The idea that people can shop virtually all the time from any location with an Internet connection is referred to as ubiquitous shopping, and is seen especially in the rising use of voice-enabled commerce.

According to Accenture, 94% of retail executives believe ubiquitous shopping represents a complete transformation or significant change for the industry.

The survey found that while two-thirds (65%) of industry executives view online commerce as the driving characteristic of ubiquitous shopping, and over half (53%) cite mobile purchases as key. Just one third (33%) say new technology such as voice commerce is top of mind.

However, Accenture forecasts that the next big thing in shopping is voice recognition technology, and suggests that retail executives are under-estimating voice-enabled commerce.

In the U.S., one in every five households with a wireless internet connection is already using a smart speaker, making nearly 19 million homes ready for voice shopping.

 The first step to recognizing customers with AI 

However, last August, TheInformation.com reported that only 2% percent of people with Amazon-Alexa enabled devices made a purchase via voice and of those, “90% didn’t try it again.”

Still, the technology is there, ready and waiting. It may just be slightly ahead of its time.

Considering that today it's possible to jump into a Ford, have Alexa ask Starbucks to start an order, swing by the drive-thru, pick up and be back on the road, it seems as though that 2% will grow to a far greater number in a very short time.

 

 






3 Ways to reinforce your brand’s authenticity

 

 

Authentic brands project sincerity and approachability, and their stories resonate with customers.

Customers enjoy supporting businesses that have compelling histories, remain true to their roots and have a relatable brand message.

Shoppers buy more from authentic brands

Communications agency Cohn & Wolfe recently conducted its Authentic Brands study, in which it surveyed more than 15,000 consumers across 15 markets.

Consumers rated more than 1,400 brands on the three key attributes that comprise authenticity: reliability, respectfulness and reality.

 Read blog: 3 qualities of authentic retail shoppers value most

Globally, 91% of consumers said they'd recognize a brand for its authenticity by purchasing from, investing in or endorsing a purchase.

The number is less in the United States but is still an impressive 62% of respondents who say they'd be apt to purchase from a brand that they viewed as authentic.

Building your brand's authenticity is, therefore, an important strategy for cultivating and engaging customers. A few items on the to-do list would include alignment, commitment and storytelling.

 

Align your brand and messaging

Align your business slogan with the way you actually how you do business.

Dust off your company slogan. Consider how it impacts your current customers, what it says to them about your brand and the ways in which it evokes an image.

Then, think about whether those answers line up with your business strategy.

For example, Audi's slogan is "Truth in Engineering," which makes little sense. That begs the question, are there lies in engineering?

Compare that to Ford's "Go further," which is appealing to customers who want to be adventurous, do a little more, etc. In addition, the company has stated the slogan performs double-duty, acting as a motivator for employees as well.

A slogan is not a vision statement, but the two should complement each other.

For example, Ford's vision statement is: People working together as a lean, global enterprise to make people's lives better through automotive and mobility leadership.

The slogan ties into the vision by underscoring the company's resolve to "go further" for its employees and customers through exemplary leadership.

 

Commit to innovation

Your customers grow, change, move and evolve. To survive all that movement, your brand needs to keep up.

Understanding who your customers -- are as well as their goals -- is critical.

 Read blog: Digital innovation is not about technology. It’s about people. 

For instance, outdoor apparel company Patagonia was founded as a clothing and hardware shop for mountain climbers in 1973.

Today, Patagonia sells outdoor gear for a variety of hobbies and was instrumental in the development of a number of fabrics, notably Synchilla, which doesn't pill, and Capilene polyester, which withstands the heat of a dryer better than polypropylene.

In addition, the company uses its popularity to raise awareness around environmental issues and climate change and also provides an in-depth history -- including its trials and tribulations--on its website.

 

Tell your story

Like Patagonia, Yankee Candle's history builds a story that is complementary to its brand.

The company's founder was a broke teenager who melted crayons to create a Christmas candle for his mother.

A neighbor asked to buy it and thus began the company's first sales cycle.

That one-man business gradually exchanged the crayons for paraffin and the operation moved from a residential kitchen to a former paper mill and then to a 1,600 sq. ft. factory store in 1983 which remains the company headquarters.

That loyalty to its roots coupled with a heartwarming inception story appeals to customers and sets the brand apart from its competition.

 

Being authentic, sharing history and providing transparency helps brands retain customers and improve loyalty.

As Millennials become a driving retail force, taking this kind of conversational, inclusive approach with marketing will be much more effective than traditional advertising strategies.

 

 






Brick and mortar’s latest AI experiment: Smart shopping carts

 

 

Today, traditional retailers are competing not only against each other but also against e-commerce — as well as online companies that are opening brick and mortar outposts.

Compounding the pressure is the breakneck pace of technological change.

Customers have experienced self-checkout and the cashless store concept of Amazon Go, and now artificial intelligence attached to the old, familiar shopping cart could reshape the shopping experience.

 

Are smart carts worth it?

AI designed into the cart may be the next trend that will help customers be more efficient by scanning and identifying goods, suggesting products, storing shopping or "punch" lists and directing customers to items.

Stores profit from the AI-driven carts, because more efficient shoppers take less time in the store, so the more customers can be served in a given time period.

 Read blog: Your retail data determines AI effectiveness 

Smart carts from Caper tackle the job with barcode scanners and card swipers, mounted cameras that use image recognition and weight sensors.

The company additionally claims the tech has raised consumers' average basket size by 18 percent.

And that's not to mention the positive word-of-mouth marketing about "the store that has no register lines," because payment is completed cart-side by the customer.

Although currently customers must scan products before placing them in the cart, the company's goal is to depend solely on cameras and weight sensors in the carts to automatically recognize products when they're added.

So far, the technology is at two NYC chain stores, but its potential is far reaching.

 

Built in cross-selling

AI is particularly helpful for cross-selling: For example, at a home improvement retail specialty store, sheetrock is placed in the cart, and the screen asks if the shopper would like to add paint.

If so, it provides direction to the correct aisle — as well as displays on-screen any related products that are on sale in the store.

The ease of obtaining additional related products enhances the shopper's experience, and strengthens the retailer's bottom line.

While cross-selling is not always viewed favorably by shoppers who sometimes perceive associates as "pushy," incorporating this type of "gentle reminder" feature at a specialty retailer, such as a drug store, may be viewed as helpful — a purchase of cough syrup may lead to a reminder to buy cough drops and menthol rub.

According to Caper, the carts aren't much more expensive than new, traditional models.

And they are less costly than retrofitting a retailer with Amazon Go-type technology.

 Read blog: 2 years later, Amazon’s retail experiment is still unmatched 

They are also an excellent means of gathering shopper data, analyzing information such as product popularity and floor plans.

Just as a chatbot can be programmed to help an ecommerce retailer increase the size of a shoppers "basket," smart carts are another method of integrating AI into the customer experience.

 

 

 






How to lift retail revenue with product drops

 

 

Retailers are challenged with making their product selections more exciting, alluring and sexy than those of the competition.

Having that certain product or designer that is unique to a particular brand can make a retailer a shining star, at least for the season.

"Drop culture" is a trend that is propelling some retailers to the heights of fame and, sometimes, fortune.

 

Create urgency

Product drops are special releases that will only be available for a limited time.

Customers are excited to be a part of the "in" crowd, getting something exclusive early.

For retailers, the buzz that's created around these events promotes their brands even before the product is launched.

While it can be an opportunity to test new products quickly, product drops are really an event employed to encourage the competitive shopping mindset.

The product that’s dropped is special in some way: a limited edition, something new from a famous designer, a bleeding-edge fashion trend, etc. The value of a “drop” is therefore earned, not assigned.

 

Show scarcity

Today, many luxury products are devalued due to over-exposure in the market, which means that the most desirable items require a level of effort or cleverness to obtain.

For example, U.S. streetwear brand Anti Social Social Club (ASSC) partnered with product release app Frenzy (created by Canadian small business shopping platform Shopify ) on an event where fans had to check-in to a physical location at a designated time to buy a limited-edition sweatshirt online.

But figuring out the exact location of the drop required significant detective and riddle-solving skills. Those who solved the puzzler were automatically logged in, triggering the product to appear on-screen to purchase — but within a certain amount of time.

 

Sell them a spot in the in-crowd

Product drops take advantage of the basic human desire to be included. No one wants to miss out on being part of something special.

The excitement tends to prompt customers to make decisions faster and more impulsively than if they have time to think about the purchase.

Often, quantities are limited and therefore sell out, adding to the "limited edition" mystique.

Although more products often become available in the months following the first drop—and shoppers are well aware of that—the excitement of purchasing these items ahead of the pack is too alluring to ignore for many.

Product drops are a good way to stir up excitement especially during a lull in the shopping sales cycle — such as post-holiday.

By creating a "buzz," a retailer raises the desirability of a product, and the "lucky" purchasers can enjoy basking in the afterglow.






3 ways to invest more in shopper relationships with 160 characters or less

 

 

SMS messaging — texts — are great to get the word out to customers about special events, sales and discounts. Retailers large and small can benefit from the marketing strategy primarily used to drive sales and foot traffic.

The trouble is, the limited space for content mandates writers use extremely concise verbiage.

With a character count of around 160, it's difficult to create content that will strengthen customer relationships and drive business.

Conversations nurture relationships, and relationships can grow sales.

Texting is a great way to have conversations when your customers are not in the building or on your site, especially because 95% of Americans have cell phones.

However, to reach shoppers quickly and grab their attention enough to entice them into your store, content has to be engaging.

Your interesting offers, information, discounts and coupons were attractive enough for them to sign up to receive messages. Now it's time for them to take action.

Here are 3 tips for creating strategic content in 160 characters or less.

 

1: Determine your goal

If your texts are meant to encourage sales, they should be inviting, not demanding.

SMS texting can be rather intimate, one-to-one conversations. Let your sales team establish a position of a trusted advisor.

For example: "Hi Steve. Remember the Sky-Dweller that caught your eye? We're having a Rolex sale Saturday. Let me know if you’re interested – Leah @ Hughes Jewelry".

 

2: Offer help consistently

Texts from trusted advisors should maintain a fairly regular cadence: Not too frequent, but not "out of the blue" either. Be authentic; customers can detect insincerity a mile away.

Try basing the timing of texts on the number of times per month or week customers are actually purchasing.

For example: "Hi Renee, thanks for attending the install demo. Sound system installation is Thursday, 10/10. Sign up: xyz.com/nmk. Let me know if you have questions - Rob".

 

3: Include a call to action

While "Thank you for your business," is a polite ending, it's not the most effective use of 160 (or fewer) characters. Ending with a link or phone number shows you mean business.

For example: "Hi Fiona, the 20% discount on Natural Kat ends this week @KitsCorner. If you come in today, you’ll get a BOGO deal with this msg. Hope to see you later – Piper".

Remember, a customer can easily call you from a text message, because the SMS is generated from a cell number. So using precious character space to include a phone number may not be the best use of the space.

 

Texting after contact has been established with a prospect can help significantly improve conversion.

Sales prospects who are sent text messages convert at a rate 40% higher than those who are not sent any text messages, according to research by Velocify.

It is also a effective way to keep your brand top-of-mind and to build strong, lasting, customer relationships.






130

Countries

9000

Customers

54000

Stores

159000

Points of Sale

130

Countries

9000

Customers

54000

Stores

159000

Points of Sale

130

Countries

9000

Customers

54000

Stores

159000

Points of Sale