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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.

e-Dialog Acquires MBS & M3 Mobile

e-Dialog, a GSI Commerce Marketing Services division recently acquired MBS, an established database marketing solutions provider, from World Marketing Inc. MBS offers a mix of knowledge-based marketing services and solutions designed to help marketers innovate, advance and automate their marketing efforts. The acquisition of MBS positions e-Dialog’s to strive and help marketers with an operational, multichannel view of the customer, to understand customer behavior and preferences in real time. The partnership aims to help e-Dialog reveal the best opportunities for consumer engagement and enable marketers to conduct highly relevant customer interactions that lead to increased customer loyalty across all channels. The news came on the heels of another acquisition, of M3 Mobile Marketing, a company that creates and executes mobile marketing programs. e-Dialog President & CEO said the partnership will help the company assist its clients to navigate mobile strategies and create meaningful customer experiences on mobile devices.

Target Revamps Pharmacy Rewards

Target unveiled changes in its rewards program for customers who shift their prescription drug needs to one of its more than 1,580 in-store pharmacies, Drug Store News reports. The new program is a testament to Target’s incentive efforts as the company aims to cut storewide discounts, in addition to the amount of prescriptions required to claim the discount. Currently, customers get a coupon good for 10% off a future day of shopping every time they fill 10 prescriptions at a Target pharmacy with a Target REDcard. Target said customers will receive a coupon good for 5% off a future day of shopping every time they fill five prescriptions at a Target pharmacy with a Target REDcard. The changes will take effect this fall. The new incentive, however, may be eclipsed by the simultaneous launch of the company’s expanded, storewide REDcard program, under which customers "will receive 5% off at check-out every day when they use a REDcard at any Target store or on Target.com," according to the company. That program also launches in the fall, following a test in Kansas City that began in October 2009.

Connecting With “The Recovery Consumer” A Key Theme At CRMC Conference

With mainstream media still focused on the frugality of consumers as a result of the great recession, many retailers are missing out on opportunities to tap into recovery. J. Walker Smith, Executive Vice Chairman of The Futures Company & President of Yankelovich Monitor, shared insights into these new realities during a keynote session at this week’s sold out CRMC 2010 Conference in Chicago. During the session titled, “The Recovery Consumer Marketplace in the Era of Consequences,” Smith pointed out that “consumer balance sheets are looking better.” After bottoming out in the beginning of 2009, he highlighted the fact that consumer net worth has actually increased in every quarter and consumers have also shed much of their debt. Other positive indicators pointing to an upward trend in consumer spending include consistent increases in sales of new cars and homes. Because the recent financial crisis has shed more jobs than any previous recession, Smith admitted ongoing unemployment is causing some “bumpy behavior” for retail sales and “a slower recovery than we might like.” He also pointed out that two broad types of consumers have emerged after the recession: one that is “financially strapped” because they’ve been impacted by job cuts and another…

Game-Based Marketing Author Shares Insights On Scoring Loyalty Points With Funware

In an era where the Internet reigns supreme and social interactions account for a large portion of consumers’ online activity, the ever-present question is how to integrate these trends into marketing. Videogame innovator and entrepreneur Game Zichermann explores the concept of “Funware,” a new model for incorporating and leveraging games and game mechanics to reach today’s customers, in his book “Game-Based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges and Contests.” Retail TouchPoints had the chance to catch up with Zichermann to learn more about what motivates consumers best, content that sticks and how the lessons from Facebook’s Farmville game can be leveraged in retail. Retail TouchPoints: Although the Internet has been established as a place to harvest buzz and social interactions, a marketing model that actually leads to reliable revenue is not in plain sight. What are your thoughts on this? How does game-based marketing integrate?

Overstock Enhances Club O

Overstock.com is striving to offer its club members enhanced benefits, including: Earn 5% in Rewards - In lieu of a 5% discount on limited items, members will earn 5% in Club O Rewards Dollars on every eligible purchase (including Books, Media, Music, and Games). The 5% will go into their Club O Rewards account, and can be used on future purchases. Combine Offers to Maximize Savings - Members will be able to maximize savings by combining their Club O Rewards Dollars with other Overstock.com promotional coupon offers. Free Shipping - Members will keep all former Club O free shipping benefits and receive free shipping on orders over $25 made up exclusively of books, media, movies, and games. Exclusive Shopping Events - Members will receive member-only invitations to product previews, sales, and shopping events exclusive to Club O Members. Priority Customer Service - Members willl have access to the exclusive Club O Rewards Customer Care Team. When members contact Customer Care, the best of the best of our award-winning team will quickly and professionally answer and resolve any questions. When the new program is rolled out, all current Club O Members will automatically be transitioned into it. Current members will also…

Context Optional Announces Social Marketing Solution for Retailers

Social marketing software provider Context Optional recently announced the launch of a new set of tools designed specifically for retailers as part of the company’s Social Marketing Suite, an integrated software as a service (SaaS) solution for building, monitoring and managing brand presence on Facebook. Working with leading retail brands, Context Optional created a solution designed to offer integrated publishing and application creation tools to help clients engage with customers through multiple touch points. The tools are designed to enable retailers to showcase and promote products, distribute special discounts, target customers by location and publish applications to both brand Pages and the News Feed. The Social Marketing Suite retail offerings includes multiple applications that are designed to create dynamic coupons, polls, sweepstakes and product catalogs to publish on a Facebook Page an in the stream. The solutions are designed to give users the power to print coupons from the news feed and send them to their mobile phones.

5 Proven Tips for Winning Shoppers in New Categories

By Brian Ross, President, Precima A bigger basket. All retailers want it, and almost all of them have become adept at persuading shoppers to buy a particular item — whether it’s a new brand of pet food or a line-extension in cereal. But, turning those one-off item purchases into long-term incremental behavior is an all-together different challenge. It takes a deft understanding of shopper needs, brand loyalty and price and promotional responsiveness to win the bigger basket again and again. Most retailers now know that this insight is attainable through analysis of shopper purchasing data, but putting it into practice is quite another matter. Retailers that analyze consumer shopping behavior can identify their most profitable shoppers, learn what motivates them and then get them to buy products they had not even considered. The key to long-term profitable behavior is to complement the understanding of what is most important to shoppers with relevant marketing and merchandising tactics that resonate and increase sales and profits.

Steve Madden Puts Mobile Marketing to Work at Storefront

Mobile madness has struck the retail industry full force in the last year. The potential to lend yet another channel to the customer offers a supplement to the customer experience, both in-store and online. As part of the April 21st Retail 3.0 Virtual Conference & Expo, Andrew Koven, President of E-Commerce & Customer Experience at Steve Madden, shared a case study example of how the shoe & apparel retailer is putting mobile to work. “We believe mobile provides for that unique informational device wherever, whenever and however,” Koven said during his session titled “Engaging the Mobile Consumer: Strategies to Optimize Customer Acquisition, Conversion and Retention.” “We’re supporting the purchase and the confidence building for the consumer to make that investment in our product.”

New Report Spotlights How Retailers Handle Social Brand Bashing

While the social sphere is highly regarded as prime real estate to strengthen customer interactions and engagement, a new report warns retailers of bad buzz, which can test their abilities to market in the dynamic, fragmented and real-time environment of social networks. The new eMarketer report "How Retailers Handle Negative Buzz on Social Media Sites,” found that although many retailers have developed a large marketing presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites, disgruntled consumers are increasingly using them as forums to complain about these companies and their mishaps. As such, retailers cannot afford to take negative buzz lightly when it can adversely affect their reputation and sales, according to the report. “Once a retailer is criticized on Facebook or a similar social venue, it has three basic options for dealing with the situation: respond to the criticism, stay silent (perhaps to allow loyal customers to come to its defense) or remove the negative comments when possible,” said Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the report.

COLLOQUY Names Best Loyalty Marketing Initiatves

In its most recent issue, COLLOQUY magazine celebrates its 20th anniversary with a list saluting the leading loyalty innovations of the past two decades. Highlights from 1990 to 2010 tracing major milestones in the evolution of loyalty marketing include: 1990: The proliferation of the branded rewards credit card begins as AT&T introduces its AT&T Universal Card 1991: The first example of large-scale, Word of Mouth rewards marketing occurs with MCI’s Friends & Family Program, which encourages customers to recruit new members in return for awards

Satisfaction with Top 100 E-Retailers Rebounds to All-Time High

Satisfaction with Top 100 e-retailers rebounded from a dive this time last year, to an all-time high score of 78 points out of 100, a five-point increase, according to ForeSee Results’ annual Top 100 Online Retail Satisfaction Index. The study found that consumers are more satisfied with their online experiences than ever before — nearly every individual retailer registered a score that matched or exceeded previous satisfaction levels. The research is based on surveys of more than 23,000 visitors to the top 100 e-retail websites by sales volume, as reported in the 2010 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. “The state of the economy really forced e-retail to step up their game,” said study author Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results, in a press release. “Since so much of the financial downturn was out of their control, companies turned to those things they could improve, and now they are reaping the benefits. Customer satisfaction is not a byproduct of a healthy economy. Instead, a healthy economy is a consequence of satisfied customers.”

Rite Aid Launches Free wellness+ Customer Rewards Program Nationwide

Rite Aid customers and patients nationwide now can sign up for Rite Aid’s new wellness+ customer rewards program designed to provide members with free health and wellness benefits, in addition to shopping discounts and special prices. The free Rite Aid wellness+ rewards card offers benefits including 24/7 toll-free access to a pharmacist and 10% off Rite Aid brand products. Member-only discounts are listed each week in Rite Aid's weekly newspaper circulars, and there are special member-only temporary price reductions and offers on register receipts, via e-mail and online. Members accrue points with eligible pharmacy and store purchases to get free health screenings and additional merchandise discounts including 20% off non-prescription regularly priced items every day. Members' wellness+ points are tracked automatically, and a tiered benefits structure combines health and wellness rewards with savings rewards.

Viewpoints Acquires Ecoscene; Adds User-Generated Reviews of Green Products

Viewpoints Network, a social technology and media company recently announced that it has acquired Ecoscene, the two-year old Chicago-based consumer reviews Web site focused on green products. Viewpoints’ purchase of Ecoscene offers existing members of Viewpoints.com, the second fastest going product reviews site on the web, with access to authentic and well vetted consumer reviews of hundreds of environmentally friendly products. Further, it encourages and motivates Viewpoints.com visitors to consider trying, buying and providing feedback on the fast-growing sustainable products industry. “We are excited to welcome Ecoscene readers and fans to the Viewpoints community,” said Matt Moog, President & CEO of Viewpoints Network. “There is a huge demand for eco-friendly products as consumers become more environmentally conscious. Those consumers who are already following the category are very active and outspoken individuals - just the type of consumers we want coming to Viewpoints.com to share their product feedback and help other consumers make smarter purchase decisions.”

Shopper Identified Transaction Data Driving Next Gen Retail Ecosystem

The next generation retail industry ecosystem will be driven by relevant marketing to the individual shopper, according to the keynote presentation during by Gary Hawkins at yesterday’s Retail 3.0 Virtual Conference & Expo. Hawkins defined Retail 3.0 as “real-time marketing and supply chain synergies, built on the foundation of shopper-identified transaction data.” The CEO of Hawkins Strategic, a firm that spearheads efforts to gather, understand and use detailed customer data in the retail industry, said customer centricity will become a competitive necessity as part of next generation retailing. To access this and other sessions from the Retail 3.0 event on demand, please click here.

Walmart & Costco Lead Loyalty Pack In Colloquy’s 2010 Retail Loyalty Index

Customers claim the highest loyalty to Walmart in many of the grocery, personal care and department store regional categories, while Costco boasts the highest customer loyalty ratings in three out of five mass merchant regional categories, according to the Colloquy 2010 Retail Loyalty Index. Colluquy’s index ranks the top U.S. retailers according to customer loyalty ratings. The 2010 index was built from a December 2009 survey of 3,500 U.S. consumers in five regions: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and Northwest. Respondents were surveyed across four retail categories that included Grocery, Personal Care, Department Stores and Mass Merchants. “Our 2008 index showed that loyalty marketers worked within a significantly different retail landscape,” said Kelly Hlavinka, Colloquy partner. Customer service, store environment and a wide product selection were the underlying factors for customers' self-professed loyalty. But our 2010 index proves that the Great Recession became the great equalizer,” she said. “Two years later, customers view loyalty differently. We’ve witnessed a profound change among consumers since the recession hit: Low prices have stepped up to become retail’s strongest loyalty lure, according to consumers. That is something which was simply not true in 2008.”
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