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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.

4 Reasons Online Retailers Must Listen to Customers, Tips On Tapping Feedback

By Carolyn Hall, Product Marketing Manager, Confirmit The customer experience is critical in today’s highly competitive online retail sector. There are many variables involved in providing a great user experience and keeping customers engaged with your brand. Here are four considerations — with insider tips — as to why online retailers must listen to their customers. 1) Customer Experiences Drive Success Great customer experiences drive retention, word of mouth and loyalty — but what drives those experiences, and are you measuring those drivers? You may be hitting your own targets, but if those targets aren’t valued by customers, your measurements are inaccurate at best, and pointless at worst. Ask customers what they want from you and build metrics that genuinely reflect that — then take action to ensure that you create experiences that will truly delight and excite customers. Ask your happy customers to refer friends, make suggestions and get involved with your business. Tip: Don’t ask customers you’ve disappointed how you can delight them next time. If you’ve failed to deliver on time, it’s not the time to talk about the next experience; it’s the time to fix this one. Create surveys with built-in logic that only ask happy…

Social Sharing’s Impact on Customer Experience Examined in New Strategy Guide

Tactics like “Share Within Your Network (SWYN)” have emerged as critical success factors for reaching and communicating with customers. A new special report from Retail TouchPoints, titled the “Marketer’s Guide to Email Strategies,” offers a compilation of industry-related trend pieces from email marketers, analysts and vendor executives. The Guide features key action items to capitalize on email campaigns to fuel social media strategies. Industry insiders point to the growing synergy between email and social, as 60% of marketers polled are effectively planning and executing on social media, according to Marketing Sherpa’s 2009 Social Media Marketing Benchmark Guide. The Marketer’s Guide to Email Strategies features input from industry experts including Brooks Bell, ReturnPath’s Stephanie Miller, Bronto’s Sally Lowery and Silverpop’s Adam Needles. The Guide’s content offers email marketers a heads up on how email is changing and how to optimize deliverability and rendering. Email communication is critical, as prospective buyers and consumers were inundated with upwards of 247 million emails per day in 2009.

5 Ways to Act on Data Gleaned From Customer Analytics

By Ziad Nejmeldeen, Director of Science, Quantum Retail For retailers, turning customer analytics into actionable business decisions can be a daunting task. This is especially true for the largest retailers, where transaction data streams in for tens of thousands of products in thousands of locations, possibly from across the world. In order for retailers to make use of analytics in targeting an optimal range of products, they need an acute awareness of product behavior. Since each store has dozens of unique product behaviors, retailers need to look at product attributes like package size, brand, value, price point and store attributes including demographics, location type, size, etc. While understanding this information on a store-by-store basis can be downright tedious, it is an essential part of measuring product performance, customer behavior across stores, how products behave similarly and how important they are to the categories in each of your store clusters or grades.

Best Buy, American Eagle, TSA, Macy’s Check In With New Shopkick Mobile App

While Facebook Places, Foursquare and Gowalla have hinted at the potential of location-based apps by having customers “check in” while they are shopping at a particular location, a new mobile application is taking location-based engagement to new levels. The new app called Shopkick has emerged with a retail-centric approach app that ups the ante on “checking in” by synergizing location-based awareness with in-store offers and special rewards. Contrary to typical location-based apps, ShopKick doesn’t tap GPS, but rather utilizes custom hardware created and installed in partner stores, now including Best Buy, American Eagle Outfitters, Macy’s and The Sports Authority.

CRM Optimization: Using The Latest Tools To Make Friends In Retail

By Stanton Kawer, CEO of Blue Chip I don’t want another text message or Facebook update, I want a friend. In the retail industry, our approach to CRM platforms has been extreme. Way back in 2008, the common refrain was “I don’t know what to do with all my data.” Retailers understood that data was significant. They had gotten much smarter about acquiring information; they just didn’t know the best way to utilize it. Since 2009, the evolution of technology models and applications has invited a willingness to try almost anything. From global brands to start-ups, the retail community has been testing and trying to be first to market with texting, mobile couponing, social media initiatives and sales incentives — anything and everything they could throw at the wall to engage consumers.

Murphy's Test New Location-Based Rewards Program

Murphy's USA is testing a new rewards program with Whrrl, a location-based service designed to enable consumers to earn points leading to a wide variety of prizes, including a digital coupon for $50 in free gas, when they check in at the chain's roughly 1,100 stations. Whrrl is a social loyalty program designed to close the gap between a brand's online social media presence and real-world physical presence. Whrrl Society Rewards is the first program to tie together word-of-mouth influence and real world visits, rewarding people for motivating others to visit a business. "Traditional loyalty programs can create the wrong expectations with customers, because discounts based on transactions don't always lead to a deeper relationship," Casey Petersen, Murphy USA’s Social Media Marketing Manager, said in a press release. "We love our customers not only for their business, but positive word-of-mouth and influence on others to try Murphy USA gas. Whrrl's Society Rewards program is the perfect way to reward them for their loyalty."

Sears and Kmart Enhances Customer Rewards Programs

Sears Holdings recently announces enhancements to the Sears and Kmart loyalty programs. A new consumer survey, commissioned by Sears and Kmart, revealed that a majority (81%) of Americans remain generous at heart and admit that if they received a large sum of money, such as a prize or gift, they'd likely donate a portion of the funds to a charity, non-profit or other aid organization. To celebrate the upcoming first anniversary of Shop Your Way Rewards, Sears and Kmart have announced the Shop Your Way Rewards 'What Would You Do with One Billion Points?' contest, to give one lucky, loyal customer the chance to win up to one billion Shop Your Way Rewards points — half to keep and the other half to donate to charity. The contest, which started July 14, offers Shop Your Way Rewards members the chance to enter by submitting a 45-second personal video message describing what they would do with One Billion Points. All videos will be posted online at http://www.billionpoints.com, where America will vote to determine the winner.

Customer Knowledge: The Killer App That Will Never Go Away

By Ben Ream, Retail, Consumer Products & Supply Chain Consultant Remember when the biggest buzz in retail was, “Macy’s Doesn’t Tell Gimbels?” As if these two retail titans would be forever locked in an epic clash of assortments and promotions, with no other developments superseding them. Well the “hush, hush” between these rivals of the 50s and 60s has exploded, via the web, into an onslaught of information. Only this time it is the customer who is the all-too-willing recipient of what was once considered classified information: pricing, assortments, inventory levels, even promotions. Just look at all the web sites delineating “Black Friday” specials up to two weeks in advance.

New Research Finds ‘Fashion Forward’ Consumers Driving Apparel Spending

With retail sales showing slight improvements, new research found that one-half to two-thirds of shoppers surveyed intend to spend at least the same and possibly more than normal on some type of apparel in the next 90 days. The latest Retail Consumer Dynamics study by Acxiom Corporation, based on insights drawn from the BIGresearch Consumer Intentions and Actions (CIA) and Simultaneous Media Usage (SIMM) Surveys, found that it’s imperative for retailers to maintain momentum by targeting the right segment with the right mix of promotional tools.

New Research Shows Online Shoppers Expect Personalized Merchandising

Consumers want to get personal right from the start while shopping online, new research shows. More than 50% of consumers expect personalized merchandising starting with a personalized home page, according to recent research from the e-Tailing Group and MyBuys, a provider of personalized recommendations for multi-channel retailers. The survey also found that 77% of shoppers will make an additional purchase when presented with personalized recommendations, according to the report “Consumer Insights into Multi-Channel Interactions: Practical Tools for Profitable Selling.”

Analysts Applaud Toys “R” Us Savers Club Program As Price Alternative

Editor’s Note: Several comments in this article were excerpted from a recent RetailWire discussion, where the BrainTrust panel of retail experts shared strategic insights on the Toys “R” Us Christmas Savers Club Launch. As retailers prepare their battle plans for the critical holiday shopping season, one retailer has been given high marks for freshening up an age old retail concept in order to optimize its 4th quarter sales. The company recently announced Christmas Savers Club from Toys "R" Us is designed to help families prepare and save on holiday shopping. Combining the basic principles of layaway, with the convenience of gift cards and rewards for spending levels, the program allowing shoppers to begin setting aside money with the added benefit of earning a bonus for saving early, has been recognized as an innovative way for the retailer to avoid price wars. “The launch is a good move, and it’s probably backed up by significant involvement with suppliers and advertising and the timing of promotions and replenishments,” said Richard Hastings, Macro & Consumer Strategist, Global Hunter Securities. “This helps with price stability later this year, something they learned was a big problem during the crisis.”

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?
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