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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.

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.”

Walgreen Co. Announces Plans to Acquire Duane Reade

Walgreen Co. recently announced a definitive agreement under which Walgreens will acquire Duane Reade from affiliates of Oak Hill Capital Partners in a cash transaction for a total enterprise value of $1.075 billion, which includes the assumption of debt. The transaction is subject to customary conditions, including receiving regulatory approvals and would include all 257 Duane Reade stores located in the New York City metropolitan area, as well as the corporate office and two distribution centers. Walgreens will fund the purchase with existing cash and anticipates the transaction will close in its current fiscal year, which ends Aug. 31.

Barnes & Noble Leads Specialty Retail Category for Customer Satisfaction

Barnes & Noble leads the specialty retail sector in customer satisfaction for the third year in a row, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), research conducted in the fourth quarter, 2009. With a score of 84, Barnes & Noble is the top bookseller in the survey and is ranked significantly above the specialty retail category average of 77. "We are delighted to receive an industry leading score in the fourth-quarter survey, and we owe it all to our customers,” B&N CEO Steve Riggio said in a recent press release. “Our customers want and deserve the highest quality customer service, which is what our booksellers strive to deliver every single day.”

New Report Offers Loyalty Satisfaction Metrics & Key Action Items

While loyalty programs can be an integral part of the retail CRM model, new research indicates that marketers are under-valuing these programs, even as customers highly rate perks, discounts, deals and additional service opportunities. Both customers and marketers agree: deeper engagement and personalized contact drives loyalty, not mass blast communications and gimmicks, according to “Loyalty Leaders: Feeling the Love From the Loyalty Club,” the latest research from the CMO Council. The research tapped insight from over 600 marketers and surveyed the perspectives of program recipients in an audit of over 700 consumers. The study ultimately found that loyal consumers expect marketers to understand them better and deliver more relevant and valued offers. Marketers, however, do not grade themselves highly in meeting the needs of their business, and question their ability to meet consumer needs.

ForeSee Results and Viewpoints Network Partner to Measure Online Community Satisfaction

Focused on measuring customer satisfaction, ForeSee Results and Viewpoints Network announced a partnership to provide Viewpoints.com and Viewpoints Technology Platform clients with a scientific measure of voice of customer for their communities. Viewpoints Network, a social technology and media company, is now working with online customer satisfaction firm ForeSee Results to survey ViewPoints users to better understand how retailers can and are driving loyalty and repeat visits. For VTP, the company’s hosted technology service designed to help brands and retailers implement a social commerce strategy to drive bottom line results, ForeSee Results will offer VTP customers data focused on leveraging solutions to help drive incremental traffic and sales, while gaining actionable insights and creating brand advocacy.

Powering Customer Intelligence With Predictive Analytics

By Richard Scott Saban, President & CEO, Retail Technology In Action LLC By definition, predictive analytics is the ability to separate things into their constituent parts in order to study and examine them, draw conclusions, and solve problems in order to effectively forecast an outcome. The difference between predictive analytics and other analytical methodologies is that predictive analytics are proactive while the traditional applications of business analytics are reactive. The fundamental goal of predictive analytics is to achieve the full profit potential of every customer engagement. Putting this into a retail framework, the discussion goes to a method of managing customers based on the ability to predict their future behavior based on their past behaviors. This is a powerful statement, in that, the ability to predict customer behavior has long been thought of as the Holy Grail for retailers regardless of what their product offering is. How many times have we heard those immortal words, “if I only had a crystal ball…”? That said, having a sound Predictive Analytics strategy could, potentially, place that crystal ball right in the palm of your hand. The precursor to forecasting customer behavior is to build strong relationships that foster intimacy. The relationship becomes…

Sears Engages Online Customers With New Social CRM Tools

Focused on optimizing the online experience around its brands, Sears Holdings has taken a big step to engage customers in a meaningful dialogue and capitalize on the social sphere’s growing impact on Web shopping. Ultimately, the Sears and K-Mart retail brands wanted to expand on the powerful tool of customer reviews by offering an extended user-based forum to serve as an online community. In May 2009, the retailer brands tapped Viewpoints Network, a Chicago-based social technology and media company, to power its online communities, MySears.com and MyKmart.com. “We’ve been doing a lot of research in terms of CRM, but none of it seemed to peel back the onion and unveil the essence of our customers, what’s on their minds and what their needs are,” said Rob Harles, Vice President of Community at Sears. “More importantly, we wanted to create a dialogue with them to meet those needs, so the idea was to create a community where we could have that form of instantaneous communications and feedback.”

Harvesting Loyalty Via Facebook: Give Customers Their ‘15 Minutes of Fame’

Tapping the community vibe on Facebook, some retailers are taking a page from Hollywood’s playbook, giving their “fans” 15 minutes of fame while simultaneously leveraging key CRM strategy. Let’s talk about being where your customers are. There are more than 350 million actives users on Facebook. Nearly 80% of female shoppers “became a fan” of a retailer on Facebook last year, according to the “She Speaks, 2nd Annual Social Media Study.” Various modules enable retailers to customize their pages, offering room for a storefront, contests, promotions and discussion boards to encourage brand evangelism. But the greatest element of Facebook is its community. Some retailers are getting crafty, integrating merchandise with contests to foster Web site and store traffic.

New Keynote Study Says Mobile Commerce Still in Infancy

Best Buy ranked number one in mobile home page performance, according to a recent study conducted by Keynote Competitive Research, the industry analysis group of Keynote Systems, provider of on-demand mobile and Internet test & measurement solutions. The company announced the top line results of the performance of leading mobile Web sites during the holiday shopping season. Sears ranked number two, and Barnes & Noble was ranked number three. Using Keynote Mobile Application Perspective®, the company measured the performance of 10 retail mobile Web sites during the critical weeks from November 18, 2009 to January 4, 2010. The 10 sites included in The Keynote Mobile Holiday Shopping Study were: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Costco, Dell, Foot Locker, Musicians Friend, Sears, Target and Wal-Mart. The study measured the download performance for three pages on each site: loading the mobile site home page, searching for product and getting information about a specific product. Measurements were taken from two markets (New York and San Francisco) using AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon wireless data connections. Wal-Mart ranked number one in search results performance, followed by Best Buy and Amazon. Best Buy and Amazon Rank Number 1, 2 and 3 in Search Results…

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.”
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