Coming off the most critical selling period of the year in e-retail, U.S. retailers have been given an unexpected gift — an uptick in customer satisfaction. The 2009 ForeSee Results E-Retail Satisfaction Index, based on the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), found that visitor satisfaction with the top 40 retail Web sites (by sales volume, according to Internet Retailer’s June 2009 issue) has reached an all-time high the U.S., up 7% from last year.
“Online retail continues to experience significant expansion in the U.S., fulfilling the growth expectations of many in the industry,” said Larry Freed, President & CEO, ForeSee Results. “…The online channel continues to be one of the few success stories in the retail economy, meaning that retail Web sites are more essential and capable than ever before.” Continue reading “Macy’s, HSN, Sony Top Online Customer Satisfaction Charts From Foresee Results”
Apparel & accessory specialty retailer Wet Seal recently launched the Shop With Me application from Sesh, Inc., a real-time, interactive social shopping application on www.wetseal.com. Sesh’s technology platform is designed to break down one of the biggest barriers for online retailing, the inability for shoppers to easily and quickly get opinions from friends and family on potential purchases.
While online shopping has proved to be the bright spot in retail in Q4 2009, it’s traditional a solitary activity. “The Web made shopping convenient, but the face-to-face mall experience was lost,” said Jarrod Rogers, CEO, Sesh, Inc. “For The Wet Seal’s demographic, young women, shopping is social. Their friends’ opinions matter most. They want those opinions now.”
The digital signage market reached $3.9 billion in total revenue in 2009 and is expected to continue to grow at a rate of 20% annually, according to IMS Research. Retail is a primary component of the digital signage market, and companies such as Microsoft and Intel are striving to become a leader in this expanding arena.
To capitalize on this growing marketplace, Microsoft Corp. announced a strategic alliance with Intel Corp. to deliver a platform optimized for the digital signage industry. As a validated platform, the Windows 7-based Windows Embedded Standard 2011 operating system powered by 2010 Intel Core microarchitecture.
The new product is a 7-foot-6-inch multi-user, multi-touch Intel Intelligent Digital Signage Concept that features a virtual brick-and-mortar store setting where customers can use the multi-touch holographic screen to explore merchandise, find out about promotions, submit feedback on products, read customer reviews, view past purchasing histories and share what they have discovered with their friends via social media and mobile phone integration.
By Terri Goldstein, CEO, The Goldstein Group
Editor’s Note: This is the first installment in a new monthly series by shopper marketing specialist, Terri Goldstein. With more than 20 years of experience in brand strategy and package design, she is well versed in appealing to consumers’ senses in order to trigger their impulsive purchasing power. The column will explore developments in consumer spending patterns along with sensory branding tactics for high jacking consumer emotions at retail.
In spite of our struggling economy, Americans are still spending an average of 27.5 minutes two times per week shopping for household items. No matter how bad the economy gets, we will continue to define ourselves according to the brands we buy – from cars to clothes to ketchup. When we go to the grocery store for one thing – say, a carton of milk – and walk out with a bag full of items, it’s no accident. Our senses have been engaged in a very specific way by the retail environment to trigger our purchasing impulse.
From the moment we enter the grocery store, we are lulled by the soothing, slow tempo of familiar “soft hits” on the overhead speakers. Because the produce and flowers are placed nearest the entrance, we subconsciously assume that everything in the market is fresh. The carton of milk that prompted our trip in the first place is deliberately placed in the very back of the store – forcing us to run a gauntlet of temptation as we pass by several other aisles to and from the dairy section.
Retailers need to step on the gas to keep up with competitors in today’s fast-paced world. One way to accelerate success is by teaming with a solution provider that can connect you with more customers and use technology more effectively across sales channels. CrossView can help. In launching CrossView Web Store, for instance, Advance Auto Parts is bringing to market an online inventory of 100,000-plus SKUs along with turbocharged customer service. Click here to download a case study on how CrossView and Advanced Auto Parts are putting shoppers in the driver’s seat.
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During the checkout process today, consumers often leave the store with a paper receipt longer than their arm. Not only does this process fly in the face of the green movement, it is also inconvenient for consumers to store and manage reams of paper from different merchants.
Apple and a few other retailers have started to shorten the paper trail by encouraging consumers to have a PDF of their receipt emailed to them. However, the entrance of software giant Intuit into the digital receipt space could usher in a more dramatic shift to paperless checkouts. During this past holiday season, Intuit launched a pilot program in the Scottsdale, AZ market to test the waters for the launch of QuickReceipts.
By analyzing customer-driven data from market basket analysis and sales by category Target Corporation is learning new ways to market and merchandise products within its 1,700+ big-box stores. The fifth largest retailer in the U.S. shared its customer-focused strategies in a standing-room-only Big Ideas session at the National Retail Federation convention in New York in January.
A primary component in the quest for customer-focused merchandising is implementing optimization technology, noted Eric Bibelnieks, group manager for guest data and analytical services at Target Corp. Most recently Target has focused its efforts on Planogram Optimization and Space Optimization provided by SAS.
By Doug Erickson, EVP Global Sales & Marketing, Galleria
The goal of every NFL coaching staff is to surround its franchise players with the right mix of position players and supporting characters. While the franchise players often garner much of the media and fan attention, without the right mix of position and special team’s players, the results would be poor no matter how dominant the team’s franchise player is. In the same way, retailers need to identify their ‘killer’ categories – those which they will be known for – and also develop and support a variety of complimentary categories that will play a key role in their overall success. Retailers generally assign each category a role such as ‘Destination’, ‘Core’, ‘Traffic Builder’ and ‘Profit Generator.’ Each category’s role will then determine the strategy for the category, the amount of time and resources that will be invested and the measures by which it will be evaluated.
Some retail and consumer brands now have more than one million “fans” and “followers” via social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. These numbers don’t always add up to active purchasers, however. Which is leading many brands to look for tools and tactics to integrate their loyalty programs with their social media communities.
Borrowing a page from the store-based loyalty card programs, some of the social CRM strategies are adopting points-based points platforms. For example, social technology and media company ViewPoints recently added a Social Loyalty Engine to its technology platform.
The engine is designed to help brands establish a reputation and rewards program to motivate customers to contribute content and become leaders and brand advocates in the brand’s online community and across the social Web.