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Retail Executives, Industry Experts Deliver Cross-Channel Industry Insight During Customer LifeCycle Conference

Highlighting the increasing focus on cross-channel engagement, Retail TouchPoints welcomed retail and industry expert presenters to the Customer LifeCycle Conference (CLC). Sessions offered  insight on how to effectively reach shoppers through every step of the buying process, during this unique online event held on June 22, 2011.

Some of the industry leaders who presented during the CLC included: Jerry Lewis, VP of Technology for Moosejaw, Jessica Rotnicki-Magaro, VP Ecommerce North America for Estee Lauder Companies and Brad McDonald, Director of Store Operations and Systems at Sprint Nextel. Conference attendees also received in-depth information on Apple’s customer experience strategies, the future of the mobile wallet, and effective tactics in adopting a strong social commerce initiative.

The Customer Lifecycle Conference offered a convenient, no-travel experience and attracted close to 900 registrants.  During the day, there were 657 webcast views of the eight conference presentations, which are now available on demand.

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Following are highlights of the eight Customer Lifecycle Conference presentations:

The Moosejaw Experience: Engaging With The Brand Across The Customer Lifecycle

Presenters: Jerry Lewis and Jason Goldberg

Named this year’s Channel Innovation Award Winner for Loyalty, Moosejaw’s VP of Information Technology, Jerry Lewis, and Jason Goldberg, VP of Business Strategy and Customer Experience of CrossView, provided an overview of strategies the retailer has initiated in order to form a strong bond with customers.

With admittedly “whacky” promotions including the “Free Chinese Food” offer, which promised free takeout to customers who mailed their POS receipts to Moosejaw, the retailer has gained a loyal following through humor and pure “Moosejaw Madness.” Another notable campaign designed to increase spending was: “My Mom Is Cooler than Yours,” which shipped Mother’s Day purchases with stickers featuring the slogan.

Focusing on social networking, Moosejaw employs a team dedicated to tracking and interacting on the retailer’s Facebook page. Shoppers also interact with each other through the platform and trade Moosejaw Loyalty Points, which are redeemable for free catalog items. The retailer’s Twitter and SMS initiatives opt for strong calls-to-action to engage shoppers, including quiz questions that are redeemable for free merchandise and coupons. During a recent SMS campaign, called “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” the company “threw” rock, paper, or scissors to subscribers. If a customer won the cyber game, they were rewarded with a coupon or Moosejaw Points. According to Lewis, the campaign had an overall 80% subscriber response.

Consumer Implications Of The Mobile Wallet

Presenter: Howard Wilcox

Juniper Research predicts that by 2016, NFC ticket and retail payments will reach $113 billion worldwide, including item cost. During this CLC presentation, Howard Wilcox, senior analyst at Juniper Research, discussed constraints for the market, including overall service complexities and limited phones currently compatible with the technology.

Currently, mobile allows customers to access product information and reviews, browse, and receive coupons redeemable at POS. Adoption of the mobile wallet can further the platform’s potential and allow customers to track rewards programs and pay via mobile and pick up in-store, creating a more integrated customer retention process. With NFC, Wilcox explained, customers and retailers can obtain a streamlined purchasing experience. Retailers also can increase overall transaction efficiency while reducing wait time in-store.

Wilcox provided in-depth case studies of NFC success, including Turkey’s adoption of the Visa Europe and Wireless Dynamics solution for the iPhone, and McDonald’s locations in Japan that have implemented Kazasu Coupons, which are equipped with FeliCa readers to allow mobile purchases and coupon redemption.

What Every Retailer Can Learn From Apple

Presenter: Jim Dion

In fiscal year 2010, Apple surpassed Microsoft in revenue, reaching $65.2 billion compared to $62.5 billion, even though Microsoft maintains a 92% share of the desktop PC market. Apple also has been named the most admired company by Fortune magazine for the fourth year in a row. Dion pointed out these facts in order to emphasize Apple’s increasing hold on the hearts and minds of consumers.

During his presentation, Dion referenced the “Six Rights of Retail” and the fact that Apple excels at all, including: right product, right place, right time, right price, right quantity and right service. Apple “leaves nothing to chance,” noted Dion and is committed to “Retail is Detail.”

Dion described the three primary elements of Apple’s overall strategy including the product, the store and the human element. Apple is so committed to “detail,” Dion pointed out, that they also provide upscale public restrooms that reflect the brand’s overall design focus. He noted that one Apple blogger called it the “iRestroom.”lobby_clc

Meeting The Multi-Channel Needs Of The Next-Gen Customer

Presenter: Lauren Freedman

Sharing insights on the methods merchants must use to connect with consumers, Lauren Freedman, President of the e-tailing group, discussed the next generation of retailing based on three areas: The Plumbing, The Innovation Revolution and Greater Access Technologies.

To illustrate how retailers can connect to their audience, Freedman used data from the Annual Merchant Survey conducted by the e-tailing group. The survey noted most retailers are using the internet (98%), email (78%), store (52%) and catalog (44%) to reach their consumers. Freedman reminded retailers the reason customers prefer to shop online is to save time and the convenience. “Price is an important factor, but it’s never been number one,” Freedman said. 

Freedman offered predictions for next generation retailers:

  • Top merchants will create a tough competitive landscape based on the investments they will make;
  • Merchants will develop exemplary cross-channel experiences, executing whatever plans they put forth to keep customers experience positive; and
  • Consumer comfort with a myriad of mobile experiences and devices.

Estee Lauder Creates Excitement For Cosmetics With Mobile Technology

Presenters: Jessica Rotnicki-Magaro and Gary Schwartz

The rapid adoption of smartphones is spreading like wildfire, presenting retailers with the opportunity — and challenge — to leverage the mobile channel to connect with consumers on-the-go, and on their terms. Estee Lauder Companies and its various portfolio subsidiaries, including Mac and Origins, have brought brand engagement to the mobile channel successfully.

Jessica Rotnicki-Magaro, VP of E-Commerce at Estee Lauder Brands, discussed the company’s overall mobile strategy and objectives — to serve the customer whenever and wherever she needs. “One of the most critical aspects of mobile is starting with the right optimization and asking yourself how your consumer wants to access your brand,” she said. Noting the need to activate brand awareness across all devices, Rotnicki-Magaro advised attendees to consider content optimization first, and then dive into content development. “Ask yourself what piece of your brand experience will be meaningful and have the best payoff on the mobile device.”

Gary Schwartz, President of Impact Mobile, also shared the stage and focused on the value of mobile applications, which, he said, should help retailers accomplish overall business goals rather than a short-term solution. “That’s what is critical about apps — we as brands have to look at how to create an app around meeting consumer’s desirability or need,” he noted. “It’s about an in-store game and reengagement.”

Transactional Message Musts and Missed Opportunities

Presenter: Emily Keye

Bronto Software Marketing Strategist Emily Keye discussed the importance of transactional messages and ways to implement these messages with email marketing solutions. Keye mentioned how most online retailers have little to no visibility into the performance of transactional emails. She also discussed the 80/20 rule in emails which states that 80% of the email content is transactional and 20% is promotional. She explained that the simplest way to determine if a message is transactional is to think of it from an end-user perspective based on who the message will benefit and determine the purpose of the message.

Keye presented five ways to optimize transactional messages.

  1. Get recognized in the inbox
  2. Put the necessary information first
  3. Leverage data to create compelling content
  4. Real-time delivery
  5. Track results & test

Transactional messages can be a significant revenue-driver for businesses, according to Keye. Keye also warned that businesses must be careful with the type of content used in messages and how the content is displayed. Transactional messages that show personality and work to further the relationship are important as well as seeking opportunities to promote products relevant to customers’ demonstration interests.partner_pavilion_clc

Social Commerce: The Door To The Store

Presenter: Lora Cecere

Given the budding growth of social commerce, many retailers are trying to develop a greater understanding of how to integrate social channels into their overall marketing and customer engagement strategy. Lora Cecere, Partner at Altimeter Group, explored 7 key trends in social commerce during her presentation titled “Social Commerce: The Door To The Store.” Cecere explored the value in group communication and peer experiences, and noted how retailers including Starbucks, Hallmark and Wet Seal have successfully developed engagement strategies by harnessing the power of social via Facebook and other communities.

“We have to ask ourselves as retailers how to give up control but still be in command [of customers on social channels,” Cecere said. “As we think about social commerce, we need to think about what we can do at the unique intersection for each brand at the social and interest graphs.” Noting the phenomenon that is, Facebook, or “F-Commerce,” Cecere said success on the social network should be based on direct revenue from the commerce activity. and social commerce activities to shape demand and excitement across the channels.

The Store Is Still The Star

Presenter: Brad McDonald

During this presentation, Brad McDonald, Director of Store Operations and Systems at Sprint Nextel, explained tactics the retailer has adopted to reaffirm that, although many shoppers are browsing through Web and mobile, the store is where brands truly come to life. In turn, retailers must investigate how they can adopt new technology to connect with users throughout the in-store shopping experience.

Sprint has adapted to the increase in cross-channel browsing and shopping by implementing a shop online/buy and reserve in-store initiative. This solution is supported by the in-store reservation system, which is utilized to service customers seeking to make purchases or receive technical assistance. Sprint’s POS system is fully integrated with customer account information, as well as notes inputted by store associates following customer interactions, and is synched to inventory management information and reports.

With the retailer’s new desktop feature, in-store associates can view all customer service and management information in order to keep track of any issues or complaints. Performance management tools also record and conduct observation and coaching for store teams, and simultaneously tracks key metrics and performance. This solution is now available via tablet device to all in-store associates to compare item prices with other brands and access Sprint’s web site while consulting with a customer.

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