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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.

Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister Go Mobile with Digby

Abercrombie & Fitch has taken its brands to the mobile channel. The retailer has enlisted mobile commerce solutions provider, Digby, to build, manage and operate mobile storefronts for both its Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister Co. brands. The new storefronts, which initially focus on making mobile Web sites available to all Internet-enabled mobile devices, are designed to enable streamlined browsing and purchasing. “Providing our users with a superior mobile experience was a key driver for us in choosing Digby as a partner in our mobile initiative,“ said Kristi Decker, Director, Online Merchandising for Abercrombie & Fitch. “Mobile storefronts are our next step in extending the ultimate convenience and flexibility to our young, progressive customer base for whom mobile is a way of life,” Decker said. Decker also said the company plans to expand into applications for the iPhone, BlackBerry and various Android devices.

7 Ways to Innovate During Recession

By Andrew Razeghi, Professor, Kellog School of Management, Northwestern University Moments of economic turbulence provide the unique opportunity to start new businesses, launch disruptive new products, and strengthen customer loyalty – often at a discount. During these challenging times, here are a few pointers on what to do, why to do it, and what to avoid. But first, a little motivation is in order and, rather than quote Charles Dickens, I offer you a tribute to organizations who have successfully innovated through the “worst of times”. When the going gets tough, the tough get creative. 1) Listen to the market. It’s quieter when it’s less crowded. Unmet needs abound. First, difficult economic times expose unmet needs in the market making it much easier to identify opportunities for new product development. Rather than pull back on innovation in new products, consider how you may use this time to create and launch your most disruptive ideas. If you think it can’t be done, consider this. On October 24, 1929, panic selling began on Wall Street. By October 29, margin calls wiped out thousands of accounts. The Great Depression was in full swing. Between 1929 and 1933, 15,000 banks failed, unemployment reached 25%,…

Macy’s, HSN, Sony Top Online Customer Satisfaction Charts From Foresee Results

Coming off the most critical selling period of the year in e-retail, U.S. retailers have been given an unexpected gift — an uptick in customer satisfaction. The 2009 ForeSee Results E-Retail Satisfaction Index, based on the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), found that visitor satisfaction with the top 40 retail Web sites (by sales volume, according to Internet Retailer’s June 2009 issue) has reached an all-time high the U.S., up 7% from last year. “Online retail continues to experience significant expansion in the U.S., fulfilling the growth expectations of many in the industry,” said Larry Freed, President & CEO, ForeSee Results. “…The online channel continues to be one of the few success stories in the retail economy, meaning that retail Web sites are more essential and capable than ever before.”

Do Followers & Fans Equal Loyalty: A Look Inside Retailers Strategies For Social CRM

Some retail and consumer brands now have more than one million “fans” and “followers” via social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. These numbers don’t always add up to active purchasers, however. Which is leading many brands to look for tools and tactics to integrate their loyalty programs with their social media communities. Borrowing a page from the store-based loyalty card programs, some of the social CRM strategies are adopting points-based points platforms. For example, social technology and media company ViewPoints recently added a Social Loyalty Engine to its technology platform. The engine is designed to help brands establish a reputation and rewards program to motivate customers to contribute content and become leaders and brand advocates in the brand’s online community and across the social Web.

Retail CRM Migrating To Mobile Platforms As New Solutions Digitize Card-Based Programs

One of the biggest hurdles to consumers joining and participating in retail loyalty programs is that their wallet is filled with cards and keychain is already jammed with tags. However, several new and emerging applications could help overcome that objection. By digitizing store-branded membership cards, these platforms help consumers manage their cards and offers on their smartphones, and enable retailers to provide personalized offers in a channel preferred by a growing number of shoppers. The most successful digital card program to date is CardStar, which allows iPhone users to store and retrieve their membership and loyalty cards from a list of more than 200 merchants, including Blockbuster, Best Buy, CVS, Petsmart and Staples. The CardStar platform is designed to replace the cards in a consumer’s wallet. To digitize a card, consumers just enter a merchant name and the barcode number associated with their loyalty membership. At checkout, consumers pull up the onscreen barcode and use. CardStar's unique SyncScan technology to renders one-dimensional (1D) barcodes.

Motorola Launching Mobile Loyalty Solution & Service To Digitize Store Card Plans

As retailers ramp up efforts to digitize store branded cards and foster customer relationships via new touchpoints, Motorola is seizing the opportunity to influence customers in-store with the launch its new Mobile Loyalty Solution. The Enterprise Mobility Solutions division of Motorola, Inc.unveiled the solution today at NRF’s Big Show in New York City. Delivered as a managed service, the new solution is designed to help retailers foster a more personal relationship with their customers and digitize store-branded membership cards on customers’ mobile phones. Compatible with most mobile phones in the US market, the solution is designed to provide customers with a more convenient shopping experience by offering access to the best offers and discounts on products that interest them.

A&P Launches Online Printable Coupons

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. recently premiered a new online coupon gallery available via its banner Web sites, in partnership with Coupons.com, a leader in Internet printable coupons. Shoppers looking to stretch their dollars can visit coupon galleries at A&P, Waldbaums, Super Fresh, Pathmark, Food Emporium and Food Basics. Each gallery features hundreds of dollars of savings on all departments throughout localized supermarkets. Users can logon, browse the coupon galleries and press “clip” to print desired coupons to use at their next grocery shopping trip.

Beyond The Madness: 3 Crowd Management Tactics For Multichannel Merchants

By Nick Godfrey, Partner, Customer PortfoliosIt looks like the Thanksgiving weekend passed rather successfully and uneventfully as Black Friday took in slightly more shoppers without incident and Cyber Monday continues to grow. Before the holiday came upon us though, I noticed with interest that the National Retail Federation (NRF) has advised its members to prepare for “crowd management” this holiday season. Issues such as loss prevention, in-store security and customer safety are the hot buttons there and it is certainly an important issue. After all, it’s the customer experience that’s important at retail, whether it’s a Black Friday midnight sale or a high-end boutique showing. It makes sense to consider that while you have all those people in your store, why not get them for the long-term relationship vs. the fleeting thrill of Black Friday bargains? This also got me thinking though that crowd management is just as important for multichannel retailers. The issues are different but the outcomes — stronger customer relationships — are the same.

Tactics to Battle “Badvocate” Consumers Via Social Media Address By Braintrust

At General Motors, a social media team of six employees patrols the Web, tweeting, updating Facebook, and sometimes commenting on personal blogs to combat negative comments on their company. GM, along with other companies, is also meeting with bloggers to diffuse issues. Some are encouraging brand fans to write positive blogs. "Badvocates," or critics who regularly trash corporate reputations, represent 20% of the world's adult population online and each one reaches an estimated 14 people with their opinions, according to public relations firm Weber Shandwick. At GM, one scathing post on WebInkNow.com by David Meerman Scott, former VP of Marketing for Knight-Ridder, drew over 20 comments from other GM bashers. GM wound up inviting Scott, who has 29,000 Twitter followers, to Detroit and encouraged him to log the details of the trip and post video clips of interviews with CEO Fritz Henderson and other executives. It's part of a plan to assure influential bloggers have accurate information about the carmaker.

Forecaster Points To Need To Reinvent Retail To Meet Changes In Consumption

At the turn of a new year with retail sales showing signs of life, key consumer trends are shifting. With a strong focus on value and authenticity, design forecaster Valerie Jacobs insists that retailers should focus on catering to the ever-changing consumption model in order to optimize the customer experience. Jacobs, who presented the session “Reinventing Retail” at the recent In-Store Marketing Expo, believes the recent downturn has accelerated a shift in consumer attitudes and values, towards authenticity. Retail TouchPoints had the chance to catch up with Jacobs to hear more about her theories on the trends in the retail landscape and how retailers can adapt to these shifts.

Holiday Retailers Cuts Costs, Adjust To Spikes In Demand By Switching To VOIP Service

A seasonal business, www.christmastreeforme.com sells the majority of its products in November through December each year, so adjusting its systems to handle big spikes in demand was essential. The retailer signed on with the OnSIP hosted IP PBX service from Junction Networks in March of 2008 and has not only reduced its phone bills by 60% but also provided needed flexibility to serve an increased flood of customers for its seasonal business. The retailer’s previous phone provider required Christmas Tree for Me to commit to monthly charges even when the phones were barely used. “If we needed five users during the busy season we had to sign a contract for three years for those five users, even if we only needed the maximum five users for only 10 weeks,” explains Bill Quinn, the company’s president.

Consumers are Talking… Are You Listening?

“Social Media:” It means different things to different people. Many say it’s “Facebook and Twitter”. Wikipedia says it’s “user generated content”. I define it as “user generated content and interaction”. It’s all the tools consumers use to tell people stuff – Facebook, customer reviews, blogs, Twitter and more. And it’s the act of talking, informing and conversing using these tools. One thing’s for sure… consumers do use them and they definitely talk a lot: Over 800 million tweets a day More than 40 million status updates each day on Facebook Over 200,000,000 blogs in existence, with 34% containing opinions about products or brands So what are marketers doing with all this chatter?

Tips to Optimize User Experience for the eCommerce Store Front

What makes an eCommerce Web site a success? Obviously you must have a differentiated, quality product or service to sell and a marketing strategy to sell it. The performance of your site’s technology is critical as well. Bounce rates climb when sites load slowly and the customer won’t return to a store that doesn’t work. But as you may have guessed from the title of this post, the eCommerce user experience shouldn’t be overlooked and incorporates your offering, marketing strategy, and technology. Your user experience, for example, has a major influence on your conversion rates and cart sizes. The easier your site makes it for your customer to understand, find and buy your products and services, the more they will buy and the more often they will return when you reach out to them with a new offer on Twitter, Facebook, or through your email newsletter campaign.

IKEA Execs Discuss Launch Of US Loyalty, Use Of Mobile Medium

Well known for its innovative approach customer relationship management, home furnishings retailer IKEA has been giving customers all over the world something to talk about. Focused on providing consumers with the ultimate in function, design and price, Founder Ingvar Kamprad believed in saving in every way possible—except on ideas and quality. Store traffic has steadily increased, with nearly 650 million visitors in 2008 alone. Largely attributed to the company’s commitment to customer service, IKEA continues on inspiration and innovation. Retail TouchPoints recently caught up with IKEA US execs Tracey Kelly (Communications Manager) and Marty McGuire (Direct Marketing Manager) to discuss the company’s approach to loyalty and the upcoming holiday shopping season, as well as new plans to tap into the new media goldmine that is, the mobile phone.

Chico's Adds Live Help Options to Its Web Stores Via Click To Chat App

Chico’s FAS Inc. has committed to implementing an integrated live help strategy across its Web channel through the recent launch of ATG’s eStara Click to Chat solution. Currently running on the ATG Commerce Platform, the Chico’s Web team last year adopted a streamlined customer experience strategy with easy navigation for all three of its retail brands (www.Chicos.com, www.Soma.com and www.WhiteHouseBlackMarket.com). Part of a continued investment in optimizing its customer experience offerings, Chico’s turned to ATG to execute a live help strategy powered by ATG’s eStara Click to Call and eStara Click to Chat.
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