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CRM / Loyalty

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.

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.”

GameStop Revamps Loyalty Efforts

Video game retailer GameStop said it will begin testing a revamped loyalty program in May. It will also expand its downloadable offerings, according to a March 18 earnings call for Q4 2009. As part of the revamp, the video game retailer will integrate elements of the MegaCard loyalty program by MicroMania, a French video game retailer purchased by Game Stop in 2008. GameStop now runs a loyalty program called Edge. GameStop recently surveyed its customers to see how a loyalty program could improve its business, Raines said on the earnings call. The company will test the initiative at first in four markets, which Olivera would not reveal. The program's budget will come from $125 million set aside by the company for “improvements, information system support, refurbishment upgrades, distribution expansion and loyalty program enhancements” in fiscal 2010, according to a statement. During the call, GameStop execs said that point cards, digital game downloads and other digital products and services generated $170 million in sales for the company last year, representing a 55% growth rate over 2008. GameStop will promote downloadable content through test kiosks in 30 stores this year. GameStop's total sales for Q4 2009 increased 0.9% to $3.52 billion from…

New Research Says Social “Fans” Spend More

Social media marketers looking for an indication that their efforts are helping the bottom line will be encouraged by findings that social friends and followers feel more inclined to purchase from the brands they are fans of. More than one-half of Facebook fans said they are more likely to make a purchase for at least a few brands, and 67% of Twitter followers reported the same, according to new research from Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate. The power of social media is clearly impacting brand identity and word-of-mouth. 60% of respondents claimed their Facebook fandom increased the chance they would recommend a brand to a friend. Among Twitter followers, that proportion rose to nearly eight in 10. The researchers also explored why social media users become brand fans. The top reason to friend a brand on Facebook was to receive discounts, followed by simply being a customer of the company and a desire to show others that they support the brand. On Twitter, discounts, up-to-the-minute information and exclusive content were the main draws; only 2% of respondents followed brands on Twitter to show their support. Researchers asked respondents about why they had first decided to follow brands. Among Facebook fans,…

Power Reviews Launches Review Champion to Optimize E-Commerce Search & Traffic

Customer Reviews and Social Commerce solutions provider Power Reviews has launched a new addition to its product porfolio, Review Champion. The new solution was designed in partnership with site search leader SLI Systems to create searchable product review landing pages that enable customers to streamline search results, while driving more traffic to the retailer’s site. Review Champion complements and expands on PowerReviews’ In-Line SEO solution. Wine Enthusiast an online source for wine accessories, storage, information, wine education, events and travel, is an early adopter of Review Champion that has seen a 5% increase in organic search traffic on its site. PowerReviews and SLI added new search and filtering capabilities to nearly 10,000 reviews on Wine Enthusiast’s site. Now, consumers can easily search and sort reviews for details specific to what they are looking to purchase. Wine Enthusiast shoppers can also now buy products directly from the user review landing pages, as well as from the main product page. Review Champion delivers in-depth data to Wine Enthusiast, enabling it to track sales made from Review Champion-enabled pages and make adjustments to further augment sales and marketing efforts, such as utilizing particular keywords and descriptions on their product pages that can be…

New Research to Highlight Key Loyalty Program Objectives

In an effort to assess the increasingly important concept of customer loyalty, Aberdeen Research recently previewed its upcoming study, focused on re-examining and optimize cross channel loyalty offerings. An advanced research preview of the report, titled “Cross-Channel Customer Loyalty: Rewards vs. Promotions, and the Battle for ROI,” indicates that there is a growing need for retailers to assess how cross channel loyalty offerings and reward plans compare with promotions, for a clearer understanding on how to increase customer recency, frequency and monetary (PFM) performance. Best-in-Class retailers are testaments to the positive effects of proper blend of cross channel loyalty offer optimization (customer-segment based point perk or dollar rewards and multi-tier, multi-channel offers or promotions), which are necessary to achieve higher customer retention rates (profitable), as well as reduced customer attrition rates of those with the highest profitability, the report said.

Circuit City Sets Sights on Loyalty With New Payment Option

In an effort to drive customer loyalty, CircuitCity.com has launched a new payment option, the CircuitCity Preferred Account. Through the new option, customers will be able to finance their purchases and receive account-specific offers and promotions. CircuitCity.com is promoting the option on its Web site and emails by offering preferred account holders $20 off a purchase of $100 or more when they use the account. Shopper can apply for the account at checkout. Account holders pay no interest for up to 12 months on orders of $1,000 or more and up to six months for orders of $250 or more. “We think there is a loyalty factor here,” Bruce Leeds, Vice Chairman of CircuitCity.com parent company Systemax Inc told an online retail magazine. “The people who apply are likely to come back more often and use the card. That’s a big positive.” Systemax, which offers similar programs with some of its other brands, such as TigerDirect.com, uses BillMeLater’s back-end infrastructure for the program.

1800Flowers.com Extends Customer Engagement With Web Video Assistance

Focused on providing online customers with an enhanced service offering, 1800Flowers.com will tap Howcast’s technology to give customers quick answers to commonly asked questions. As online and mobile video channels become more powerful for brand communications, Howcast, a provider of engaging instructional online video solutions, partnered with the florist to further enhance the shopping experience on www.1800flowers.com. "1800Flowers.com has built its trusted reputation by leveraging innovative technologies and tools to further enhance the customer experience," said Jim McCann, Founder & CEO, 1800Flowers, in a recent press release. "We recognize the power of online video to engage and educate customers and we will continue to work with Howcast to focus on our new media strategy, as it pertains to effectively communicating with our customers."In an effort to streamline customer’s purchasing decisions with education and shopping advice, the florist will integrate Howcast’s online video offering into its Web site and be available via YouTube and AOL, among other partners.

The Pathway to Customer-Centric Direct Digital Marketing

By Brian Deagan, Co-Founder & CEO, Knotice Approaching an audience as customers with common attributes instead of data on a list, is crucial, and easy with a universal profile management system. “Customer-centric” is a favorite buzzword in marketing. While the term is often bandied about, finding the pathway to transform traditional methods into customer-centric marketing is elusive. Perhaps it is even intimidating. A customer-centric approach in marketing sounds great, but what is a pathway to achieving it? The pathway starts with a new way of thinking and the software that supports a new approach. The new way of thinking is direct digital marketing; the supporting software is a universal profile management system. Traditional direct marketing often has relied on a list-based mentality. The data on the list is used to inform relevant, personalized marketing through a single communications channel. Direct digital marketing uses a profile-based strategy. The myriad customer attributes contained within a profile inform a deeper, richer relevant and personalized marketing communication delivered through the primary direct digital marketing channels of email, Web and mobile. To leverage the capabilities of direct digital marketing best, a universal profile management system is recommended.

New Mobile CRM Solution From Sybase 365 Tracks End-to-End Shopper Impact

Retailers and consumer goods companies looking to take their mobile marketing programs from text message through post-purchase analytics have a new alternative with the launch of expanded Mobile Customer Relationship Management (mCRM) services from Sybase 365. “We have focused on the customer lifecycle and putting in place a set of tools that are tied into analytics and data management,” explains Scott Miller, Director of Product Management for Sybase 365. “What is really important is having the ability to track how customers progress through the lifecycle and how their purchasing decisions change over time.”
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