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Retail CRM provides insights from leading retailers and industry experts that help improve the customer experience at every touch point and across all channels. Some topics covered in CRM articles include customer loyalty, email marketing and promotion optimization. Subscribe to the feed and stay in touch with the latest retail happenings.

Ethan Allen Rolls Out New Store Concept In 300 Locations

Shopping for furniture can be an inundating, time-consuming process. It may take consumers several months, or more than a year, to make a decision.

Ethan Allen is hoping to ease this process and help consumers craft the home of their dreams by unveiling a new content-rich web site and a new retail concept designed to enrich the customer experience. The new initiatives come on the heels of the retailer releasing more than 600 new product designs influenced by rustic beach houses and more chic, urban homes.

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Capital Teas Launches Mobile App With LevelUp

CapitalTeasAppCapital Teas, a specialty tea provider, has selected LevelUp to power its mobile payment and loyalty app. The app is designed to provide one place for customers to access their method of payment and loyalty rewards. The app is scheduled to launch in November and will be available as a free download on the App Store and Google Play.

"Our customers demand high-quality loose teas, herbal infusions and excellent customer service,” said Peter Martino, Co-founder and CEO of Capital Teas.  “They also expect a simple, user-friendly mobile experience, and we intend to give them exactly that. We don't want our customers to have a disjointed payment and loyalty experience by having to open one app to pay, then another app to track their loyalty progress. We want them to simply open up their mobile wallet, see all their payment options in one place and pick the one that's going to provide them with the ability to pay, and get rewarded, with a single tap."

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Only 16% Of Organizations Say They Have Highly Effective Loyalty Programs

Customer loyaltyOnly 16% of businesses believe they have a highly effective loyalty program, according to a recent survey conducted by the International Institute for Analytics (IIA) and commissioned by SAS.

More than half (56%) of respondents said they use a customer retention rate metric to measure loyalty program success, while 27% calculate customer lifetime value. Only 54% of organizations said they could calculate the revenue impact of their customer loyalty programs.

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“Everyday Earners” Prefer High-Frequency Loyalty Programs

RR Pointscom imageMore loyalty program members (83%) earn points and miles on everyday purchases than through any other rewards-collecting method, according to research data from Points. As many as 81% of loyalty members seek out bonus point offers, while 69% make big purchases on reward-earning credit cards.

Retailers that implement loyalty programs have the opportunity to provide customers with extra value and show their appreciation for their ongoing purchases. The loyalty industry currently is valued at $48 billion, according to COLLOQUY, and includes 2.65 billion U.S. loyalty membership accounts.

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A Vote For Apple Pay: How It Will Impact Retail Loyalty Marketing

Zach-Goldstein-Thanx-HeadshotApple made a big splash on September 9 announcing Apple Pay — finally enabling consumers to make purchases with their iPhones at participating retailers.

With such a dramatic entry and a new, imposing entrant into mobile payments, retail loyalty marketers need to grasp the ramifications of how purchasing and retention marketing will evolve.

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7-Eleven Expands Partnership With Belly To 2,600 Stores

Convenience store chain 7-Eleven has extended its partnership with digital loyalty platform provider Belly. By the end of 2014, 2,600 7-Eleven stores will use Belly for customer loyalty and marketing efforts.

Since its implementation in March 2013, 7-Eleven built its Belly network consistently, starting with an initial installation in 85 stores in downtown Chicago and a subsequent pilot of 350 locations across Chicago, Austin and Los Angeles. Starting this month, 465 locations in New York and Vancouver, B.C., Canada, will implement the Belly program.

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Oxford Properties Uses NFC To Engage Food Court Customers

The customer experience in a food court is typically fast and easy. To increase linger time in its food court and generate awareness for its vendors, Oxford Properties executed an interactive contest using technology from Linkett across its Metro Centre, Royal Bank Plaza and Richmond-Adelaide Centre hubs in Toronto.

The “Savour The Rewards” campaign was crafted with guidance from The Mars Agency and technology from Linkett to entice customers and boost overall engagement.

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Shari’s Café & Pies Powers Rewards Program With Paytronix

sharisShari’s Café & Pies, a chain of 24-hour family restaurants, has launched the Café Club Rewards program via the Paytronix Rewards Platform. The rewards program is designed to help the merchant create relevant promotions based on guest interactions.

Paytronix, a provider of loyalty program solutions, enables Shari’s to engage guests through smartphone apps and mobile-friendly guest web pages.


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Moving to mobile was a big step for Shari’s. The company’s previous loyalty programs relied heavily on printed coupons and Free Standing Inserts (FSIs) to drive store visits, but they provided minimal benefits, according to a press statement.

“We were producing a large number of unprofitable checks with our old method of discounting through coupons and FSIs,” said Kevin Bechtel, SVP of Purchasing and Menu Development for Shari’s Café & Pies. “With our new loyalty program, we can leverage the data to show appreciation to our best guests, while using the program’s levers to incent visits during new day parts, drive guests to experience new menu items and more.”

In the first month of the program launch, Shari’s registered more than 50,000 members. As part of the implementation, Shari’s is tapping the Paytronix Data Insights team to help better understand individual customers and to proactively respond to opportunities identified from the new loyalty program’s data sources.

“The restaurants that do the best with a loyalty program rollout are those who set clear goals at the chain, franchisee and store level,” said Lee Barnes, Head of Data Insights at Paytronix. “And where the entire organization from the CEO down to the store manager and wait staff are excited about the program and are held accountable for results.” 

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Jamba Juice Reaches One Million Loyalty Members

jambaJamba Juice, a specialty beverage and food retailer selling health- and wellness-related products, reached significant milestones in two of its technology-based programs.

The Jamba Insider Rewards (JIR) consumer loyalty program passed the one million member mark. The program allows members to enter a phone number into a terminal at the register in order to receive rewards, personalized offers and free Jamba products.

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Capillary Technologies Raises $14 Million In Series B Funding

caplogo
Capillary Technologies
, a cloud-based marketing platform solution provider, has secured $14 million in Series B funding to further improve the company’s marketing platform and develop its partnership ecosystem. Current partners include Blue Label Engage in South Africa and the American Express US Global Merchants Services group.

This round of funding round was led by Sequoia Capital and Northwest Venture Partners (NVP).  Capillary also received $17 million in Series A Funding in 2012.

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Data, Omnichannel And Engagement: 3 Terms That Work Together To Drive Loyalty

VP HelloWorld head shotEquipped with smartphones, mobile apps, email and numerous social accounts, the connected consumer is more accessible than ever. Though these platforms help bridge the gap between business and buyer, many brands are still learning how to leverage an omnichannel approach as part of a cohesive, consistent marketing strategy. With consumer insights available through social networks and the opportunity to communicate throughout the purchasing cycle, brands now have access to a plethora of rich data.

recent IBM study revealed that only 10% of real-time data is effectively used. Brands must utilize the wave of insights available to them to evaluate and improve upon existing efforts. By leveraging data and applying an omnichannel strategy, brands can sculpt campaigns that not only engage with their audiences, but foster stronger relationships.

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Relationships, Not Rewards, Are Key To Successful Loyalty Programs

FEAT Customer Loyalty imageConsumers' overall engagement in traditional loyalty programs has declined consistently over the past four years and retailers are looking to refocus their loyalty initiatives to compete more effectively.

While total loyalty program subscriptions peaked at 2.65 billion in 2012, the overall percentage of active memberships slipped from 46% in 2010 to 44% in 2012, according to COLLOQUY research. The average U.S. household participates in 21.9 loyalty programs, but less than half, or only 9.5 of those memberships, are active, COLLOQUY reported.

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60% Of Shoppers Say Retailers Offer Above-Average Customer Service

RR KANA imageRetailers are constantly looking for innovative ways to provide top-notch customer service to their shoppers. Survey results from KANA Software, a subsidiary of Verint Systems, concludes that shoppers, overall, are happy with their experiences with retailers.

More than half (60%) of shoppers rated retailer customer service efforts at least a seven on a scale of one to 10 (with one being the worst and 10 being excellent), according to the study, titled: Consumers Sound Off On Customer Service In The Retail Sector. KANA Software gathered feedback from more than 100 shoppers during April 2014 to gauge consumers’ perceptions of past customer service experiences with retailers.

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Retail Solution From Salesforce Facilitates Channel-to-Channel Customer Engagement

salesforce1Salesforce.com has released Salesforce1 for Retail, a platform designed for retailers to foster a one-on-one relationship with shoppers across any channel, increase customer satisfaction and drive brand loyalty. The CRM software provider’s global alliance partners Capgemini and PwC have joined the Salesforce1 for Retail ecosystem to develop retail solutions built on the platform.

The retail industry is certainly undergoing a paradigm shift due to the growth of new channels and the infusion of new technologies, and experts at McKinsey & Co. are expecting it to change more in the next three years than it has in the last 50 years. Already, 75% of customers interact with at least two devices during their shopping experience. As many as 69% of customers expect sales associates to be mobile enabled throughout their work day. If these in-store associates are mobile enabled, customers are 50% more likely to shop with them or ask them for assistance.

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Retailers Use Social Media To Build Communities And Strengthen Consumer Connections

Screenshot 2014-06-17 09.31.09Social media has evolved into more than just another advertising channel for retailers to showcase their products.

In addition to solidifying their relationships with existing customers, retailers are increasingly using social media to attract new buyers. More than half (55%) of retail leaders have successfully expanded their customer base using social media, according to a report from Aberdeen Group.

Innovative retailers such as Belk, C. Wonder, Glam Grab and Threadless are incorporating social media into all aspects of the shopper’s journey. These retailers have implemented new social media strategies to better understand their audience, form branded communities and — ultimately — boost sales.

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C. Wonder Uses inSparq To Gain Insight, Leverage Shopper Spontaneity

Shoppers have become more spontaneous, and social media has given retailers the ability to benefit from these behaviors online as well as in the store.

Women’s apparel retailer C. Wonder specializes in creating an experience that transports women into a world of luxury and surprises. The retailer uses the Social Merchandising Suite from inSparq, a social merchandising platform, to create a fun and dynamic e-Commerce site that matches the in-store experience. Features such as the Trending Product Feed allows C. Wonder to analyze its audience’s social conversations in order to provide relatable product recommendations.

Since implementing the Social Merchandising Suite, C. Wonder has seen a three-fold increase in social sharing and a four-fold increase in conversion rates for customers who visit the company’s trending products page.

As with any new technology, certain drawbacks prevent retailers from implementing social in different parts of the company. Retailers often are unable to control what was said and shared about their brand, according to Veronika Sonsev, CEO of InSparq.

But “retailers now understand that it’s much like in-store experiences — they can’t control who walks through the door,” said Sonsev in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Retailers now know to embrace customers no matter how they engage with the brand; and once it’s done well, it pays huge dividends in terms of finding and retaining customers.”

Glam Grab Bridges Social Media, e-Commerce Gap With Soldsie

In the early era of social media, many retailers tested the channel in different areas of their marketing strategies. Now retailers are not only using social media to engage customers, but also allow shoppers to complete transactions through social selling.

Online jewelry retailer Glam Grab currently is using Soldsie, a platform that allows retailers to sell products through Facebook and Instagram, to boost social engagement and sales. Using Soldsie, the brand holds weekly flash sales via Facebook, offering online shoppers the chance to bid on products and complete transactions.

Glam Grab has seen a 355% growth in sales since leveraging social selling. In addition, the company’s Facebook page now has more than 30,000 likes compared to the 2,000 it had prior to implementing Soldsie.

“All social media sites are capable of effectively executing a social selling strategy,” said Bennett of Soldsie. “Many social media sites have gotten a lot more visual, which is a major piece to successfully sell on social media.”

On average, users of the Soldsie platform see a 70% conversion rate for shoppers who comment on social posts and claim an item, and more than half (60%) of the checkouts happen within 30 minutes after the claim, Bennett noted.

Belk Promotes 125th Anniversary Through Multichannel Campaigns

Department store chain Belk worked with HelloWorld, a multichannel, interactive promotions and loyalty solutions provider, to promote its 125th anniversary. The "125 Days of Prizes" campaign included web, mobile and social channels, where consumers were encouraged to participate in a sweepstakes for a chance to win one of 200,000 prizes during the 125-day event.

Belk saw a significant increase in mobile interactions, with 13% of registrants opting in to receive exclusive offers via text message. Social engagement also increased, with Pinterest followers doubling from 7,000 pre-launch to 15,000 post-campaign. More than 61,000 posts about the campaign were added to Facebook. Overall, the campaign saw a significant social lift, gathering 220,000 registrations for the sweepstakes — 80% of those opting in to receive additional information on future promotions.

“Mobile has made social media a form of real-time marketing,” said Matt Wise, CEO of HelloWorld. “Retailers need to have the right message at the right time in order to get shoppers to engage and participate. When done correctly, however, the user-generated content created will make it much easier.”

Threadless And Wanelo Focus On Social Communities

While social media was first used to help retailers deliver messages to their target audiences, it currently is allowing shoppers to have a voice on topics revolving around the brands and products they care the about most. Each social media site has a different audience for each retailer, but the collective feedback is invaluable, according to Kyle Geib, Marketing Coordinator at Threadless.

Threadless is an online retailer that uses the community to create new products and offerings for its shoppers. Artists are able to submit design ideas for various styles of men’s and women’s apparel, as well as iPhone cases and traditional art prints.

Threadless is “based around the artwork, and the brand is lucky that social media has gotten a lot more visual,” Geib explained. “When images are posted through social media, they are performing far more efficiently when it comes to creating the right engagement with each particular audience.”

In the last year, Threadless has had “hundreds upon hundreds” of social interactions through Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and other social channels, according to Geib. The online community submitted more than 32,000 designs throughout the year, and averaged approximately 34,000 votes per day on designs in order to select the products to be produced and sold.

“There’s more to the web site than just T-shirts,” Geib said. “We’re not only sharing designs, but making sure that these artists get the promotion they deserve.”

Another popular online community is Wanelo, which considers itself the “new digital mall.” With more than 11 million members, Wanelo offers shoppers a chance to discover and buy products from more than 300,000 stores — all recommended from other members of the community.

The retail industry is evolving much like the news industry did, according to Rachel Youens, Social Commerce Evangelist at Wanelo.

“Anybody can run an e-Commerce site now, much like how anyone can run a blog,” Youens said. “Social media isn’t traditional anymore, so Wanelo gives users the ability to follow their favorite brands in a single location.”

Of the 300,000 participating retailers, Nordstrom and ModCloth have seen great success using Wanelo in various social media campaigns. In one campaign, Nordstrom asked popular bloggers and Wanelo influencers to create stories on Wanelo with their favorite picks from a recently released Kate Moss collection. The stories would then be curated and reposted to spotlight key influencers and boost their credibility.

ModCloth held a similar campaign, asking bloggers to create stories on Wanelo around an eight-piece outfit. Stories — a great method for promoting new products and enhancing brand awareness — would then be re-shared, much like Nordstrom’s campaign, in order to promote conversation and provide influencers in the community well-deserved exposure.

Social has become an integral part of retailers’ marketing strategies. From providing valuable behavioral data to serving as a transactional platform, social media has the potential to play a positive role at every stage of the shopper’s journey, and ultimately enable retailers to take their customer experience to the next level.

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