Defy Customer Defection: 3 Steps to More Relevant Customer Communication

By Connie Hill, Founder and President, VeraCentra

Lack of relevancy advances customer defection. A recent study revealed that 63% of consumers have abandoned, or are considering abandoning a brand altogether because of irrelevant emails and junk mail. Failure to master relevancy can have a devastating effect on a retailer’s ability to acquire, serve and retain customers.

Executed well, relevancy can prevent customer defection, improve customer satisfaction and increase customer spending while reducing marketing cost. Retail marketers must understand the relationship between relevancy and customer defection and offer prescriptive recommendations for defying defection.

What is Relevancy?
Relevancy in marketing communications is commonly referred to as creating personalization or customization for potential customers. But relevancy also includes presenting customers with unique offerings, identifying channel preference and coordinating precision timing for marketing communications. In a nutshell, for both strategic and tactical application, Adam Sarner, CRM analyst at Gartner Group defines relevancy as: “basic demonstration of customer memory.”

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Top Stories of 2010

As 2010 comes to a close, we wanted to thank you for your continued support and interest in Retail TouchPoints. 2010 was a telling year for the retail industry. The economy has begun a recovery, albeit a slow one. Mobile and social channels remain front and center, as new applications and technologies emerged to empower customers and give retailers an additional touch point through which to engage loyal shoppers. Facebook storefronts came to life for stores like JCPenney and Steve Madden. To top off the year, U.S. shopping expenditures grew approximately 3.3%, close to reaching the record numbers of 2007, according to the National Retail Federation.

As always, we welcome your feedback on our content and encourage suggestions for editorial topics in 2011. In order to keep pace with the changing environment, we are committed to reporting on the latest trends, solutions and technologies to provide cutting edge content to our readers.

For the final week of 2010, we have compiled a special edition of the top 10 most-read Retail TouchPoints stories of 2010. If you’re attending NRF’s Big Show in January in New York City, we encourage you to stop by booth #3122 to meet the Retail TouchPoints team and share your feedback with us. We’re also co-hosting a unique evening networking event for retail executives at Hudson Terrace on Mon. Jan. 10. Click here to learn more and RSVP.

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Improving Revenue and Customer Engagement With Social Media Analytics

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wp_drc_sasSocial media possesses tremendous potential to drive incremental revenue for retailers. With the help of advanced analytics, retail organizations are gaining insights that allow them to more effectively promote their products to individual consumers. With access to close to 700 million combined Facebook and Twitter users, retailers are not only learning about shopping preferences and offering promotions to consumers, they are using social sites as a new shopping channel. Fill out the form below to download this whitepaper to explore advances in social media analytics and how retailers are tapping into the fast-growing segment of shoppers that get buying advice from friends and peers.

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Meet the Enemy: Price Comparison Apps

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By Tom Ryan, RetailWire

amazon_price_check_capAccording to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, a growing number of consumers are using smart phones inside retail stores to compare prices in cyberspace,  “threatening to upend the business models of the biggest store chains in America.”

The more than 2,000-word expose concluded that in-store mobile shopping will only steadily increase as more Americans purchase smart phones and as shopping applications become increasingly sophisticated. The article points to recent statistics from IDC Retail Insights, which showed that approximately 45% of customers with smart phones had used them to check on a store’s prices. Also, Coremetrics found that consumers using mobile devices accounted for 5.6% of visits to retail web sites used on this year’s Black Friday, up from just 0.1% in 2009.

But the article particularly focused on the many threats to retailers due to greater consumer visibility into the value of both deal and regular-priced goods.

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Top 11 Supply Chain Priorities For Retail Companies in 2011

Supply chain consultant Tompkins Associates has released its Top 11 Priorities for Profitable Growth in 2011 report, citing three key strategies retailers should focus on in the coming year: a renewed focus on supply chain best practices, a continued need to keep inventories in check and a push to reach more online customers.

The complete list of Tompkins’ Top 11 Priorities is below:

  1. Retail Best Practices: Best practices can have significant impact on a retailer’s bottom line, as well as their customer service. Leading practices in sourcing, transportation, inventory policies and distribution will provide significant value and increase competitive advantage.
  2. Speed to Market: Retailers around the world are striving to reduce the amount of time between product design and placement on a store’s shelf. Competition, consumer taste and trends all increase need for speed to market. To improve speed to market, design effective and efficient supply chains – from planning through transportation to the destination. Continue reading “Top 11 Supply Chain Priorities For Retail Companies in 2011”

    The Changing Face of Retailer-Customer Engagement

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    By Patrick Simon Bouaziz, Chief Visionary Officer, ILoveVelvet

    patrick_bouazizIn recent years, we’ve seen the Internet move from a communications medium in our side view to the forefront of everyday life, becoming the most heavily used means of information sharing. A recent Forrester report stated that for the first time, time spent on the Internet now equals time spent watching television. As 2010 comes to a close, it is clear that the social web, in particular, has fundamentally changed the way individuals seemingly do everything — from how people talk with their friends and family, to everyday business activities, to buying clothes and music. And now that social outlets have expanded themselves to include mobile-specific elements, consumers are increasingly surrounding their entire days with social connectivity.

    The Social Aspects
    Retailers have not been blind to these changes, adding embedded sharable elements to their web sites, but does this web site-only functionality lead to true, valuable word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing via the social web? Currently, online consumers are finding products on their own. The impetus to use social media to tell their friends and family about the products is largely contingent upon the product itself, or how active that person is within social channels. So how can retailers keep the conversation moving for more people over these evermore-important social channels? The answer is integration.

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    JCPenney Extends E-Commerce Functionality With New Facebook Application

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    jcp_sweater_capThe next frontier of social shopping has arrived. While retailers have been capitalizing on the thriving communities within Facebook and Twitter for enhanced customer engagement, JCPenney announced this week that customers will be able to purchase items directly from the company’s Facebook fan page, without having to click through to JCPenney.com.

    Facebook, traditionally relegated as a community for shopper enthusiasts, is now a place where commerce can thrive. In July 2009, 1-800-Flowers.com became the first retailer to launch a Facebook storefront, enabling shoppers to purchase items directly from the retailer’s fan page. In February 2010, the florist announced the capability for Facebook fans to purchase items directly from its news feed (the community aspect of the page) without leaving the page.

    JCPenney’s new integration will support a full e-commerce experience within the retailer’s Facebook page, including add-to-cart and checkout, among other key functionalities. By utilizing the “Shop” tab on JCPenney’s Facebook page, users can search all products currently included in JCPenney’s product pages. Shoppers also can “Like” and share items and purchases with their friends within the community.

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    Bridging the Gap Between the Web and Store to Improve the Physical Shopping Experience

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    wp_drc_cap_tekserveAs competitive differentiation has become more important than ever, retailers are challenged with “bridging the gap” between online and offline shopping channels. This white paper analyzes the results of the recently published Customer Experience Benchmark Survey conducted by Retail TouchPoints, tekservePOS and IBM. The research uncovered the tools, technologies and techniques retailers are utilizing to enhance the in-store shopping experience. Download now to learn more about retailers’ priorities for automating the in-store shopping experience in 2011, as well as some of the limitations in “digitizing” the store to make it comparable to the web experience.

    To access this whitepaper, please fill the form below.

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    Motorola Solutions Unveils Mobile Computers Designed To Improve Workforce Efficiency


    Motorola Solutions
    recently introduced the MC55A0 series of Wi-Fi mobile computers, designed to improve workforce productivity and efficiency in the retail, hospitality, manufacturing and healthcare industries. Part of the company’s mobile knowledge worker portfolio, the product line is targeted to managers, task workers and clinicians.

    The MC55A0 series offers a number of key features:

    • Quick and accurate information capture
    • Ability to scan 1D and 2D bar codes
    • Integration with small business applications
    • Image capture
    • Video viewing
    • Internet and email access
    • Ability to receive private push-to-talk voice calls

    Built to sustain indoor and outdoor conditions, the MC55A0 features the Total Enterprise Access and Mobility Express (TEAM) solution, which provides push-to-talk capabilities between the model series with other Motorola devices. In turn, communication between in-store and out-of-store personnel is fast and efficient. The series also is designed to offer support for current wireless authentication and encryption protocols to elevate retail security to a government grade level.

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    8 Tips To Maximize Loss Prevention During the 2010 Holiday Season

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    By Derek Rodner, VP, Product Strategy, Agilence

    Derek_Rodner_Agilence_smallThe holiday season is upon us again. As retailers stock their shelves and hire extra help, they need to consider the fraud and operational errors taking a big cut at their profit margins. Here are a few quick loss prevention tips that can save retailers substantial dollars this holiday season:

    1. Ensure Proper Training

    Most retailers hire temporary associates during the holiday season to help with the extra demand. Not only do temporary associates lack a commitment to the company, but they are also more likely to unknowingly make costly errors, such as improperly scanning promotional coupons or not adhering to return policies. And if one cashier is making a certain mistake, then it is likely that all are making the same mistake repeatedly each day — meaning that each small loss very quickly adds to substantial losses for the entire chain.

    2. Coupon Fraud

    During the holiday season, retailers distribute a significantly greater number of coupons. With this comes an increase in coupon fraud — an issue costing retailers and consumers $500 million a year. Train employees on which tips to be on the look out for, such as “free” and “high dollar” coupons. See the Coupon Information Corporation for more information on counterfeit coupons.

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