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Omnichannel / Cross-Channel Strategies

Cross-Channel Strategies offers readers an inside look at the successful cross-channel promotions, campaigns and programs employed by industry leaders. Retailers across industry segments and regions are adopting unique and innovative approaches to reaching today’s cross-channel consumers. Subscribe to the feed and stay in touch with the latest retail happenings.

Groupon Adds Acceleration Services For Daily Deal Subscribers

Groupon has deployed Limelight Network’s web site acceleration services to maximize site performance and improve its online experience. After implementing these services in August of this year, Groupon noticed a substantial increase in site speed — a crucial factor to the success of their daily deals. “Site speed is critical to our customer experience and online conversions,” said Shinji Kuwayama, Director of Engineering, Groupon. “After evaluating several options, we found Limelight to have reliable, flexible services to meet our business needs. Since employing their solution, our performance has increased, and we look for more ways to use the service.” In just two years, the deal-of-the-day company has expanded to nearly 300 cities and 31 countries. To meet increased demands and ensure optimum site performance for their growing user base, Groupon turned to Limelight Networks.

IBM Forecasts Black Friday, Cyber Monday Key Days For CE & Appliance Sales

Holiday sales of electronics and appliances in U.S. stores are expected to get an early start this year, with consumers spending a larger-than-usual share in November, according to an analytics-based forecast produced by IBM. With a 99% proven accuracy, the forecast relies on 19 years of historical data and sophisticated analytics software developed by IBM to analyze both long-term trends and seasonal peaks. Michael Haydock, Global Business Services partner and IBM Retail Analytics Leader, noted that disposable income, as reported by the U.S. Commerce Department is on the rise along with the household savings rate, which can attribute to a pent-up consumer demand. This increased savings rate will jolt electronics and appliance sales, since these technologies are seen more as a necessity than a luxury.

Mobile Could Be Real-Time Game-Changer For Black Friday Shopping

While Black Friday has traditionally kicked off the holiday shopping season by giving consumers exciting in-store offers, this year, industry experts suggest the real-time access consumers can find via smart phones could be a potential threat to the usually-high expectation for in-store traffic. Up to 138 million people plan to shop Black Friday weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), higher than the 134 million people who planned to do so last year, according to a preliminary Black Friday shopping survey conducted for the National Retail Federation by BIGresearch. The survey, which was just released yesterday, found that approximately 60 million people say they will definitely hit up brick and mortar stores. On the contrary, another 78 million will wait to see if the bargains are worth braving the cold and the crowds. The ability to “wait and see,” or capitalize on the online deal assortments via Cyber Monday, have previously been obsolete, but the mobile phone is giving customers an additional channel through which to search, compare and shop.

Facebook Deals Partners With Gap, American Eagle To Tap Location-Based Trend

Shortly following the release of Facebook Places, the social networking powerhouse has jumped on the location-based application bandwagon with the announcement of Facebook Deals. Following in the footsteps of Foursquare, the new Deals app is designed to allow users to see available offers from nearby restaurants and retailers. Upon checking in, they can redeem deals, tell friends where they are and find out who is nearby. To retrieve rewards, users simply download the latest version of Facebook for iPhone and Android or go to touch.facebook.com, touch “Places” and “Check In” at the desired location — locations with available offers have a yellow icon next to it. Users then view and claim the deal, and show it to a cashier to receive the special.

4 Ways To Up The Ante With Social Media Spirit For Holiday

By Mélanie Attia, Product Marketing Manager, Campaigner The holiday season seems to sneak up earlier each year. Even before Halloween decorations went up, retailers have had their holiday marketing plans all tied up in a bow. It’s all part of the purchase cycle — be there when people are ready to shop. Fortunately, you can be right beside them with a well-timed email-marketing program. To make an even bigger impact this year, consider adding all of the bells and the tinsel with social media. Social media is a great way to extend your reach. Facebook has 500 million users and continues to grow, and on Twitter, over 10 billion tweets have been broadcasted since 2006. Here are three ways to incorporate these tools into your email-marketing program.

5 Last-Minute Ways To Optimize Online Holiday Shopping

By Thierry Costa, Vice President of Marketing, SLI Systems Holiday shopping starts earlier and earlier every year — as The New York Times recently reported, Black Friday sales, which traditionally launch after Thanksgiving, are now being trotted out by retailers in late October and early November. However, if you haven’t already gotten your online storefront ready for holiday shoppers, it isn’t too late: Here are several ideas you can put into place between now and the height of the holiday shopping frenzy. 1. Make it easy to find gifts: When shoppers have several gifts to buy, they need a way to sort through your offerings for many people on their list. This is where a gift finder comes in handy: It’s a search tool that lets shoppers sort through your products based on common requirements, such as gifts for kids or co-workers, or at different price levels. To see an example of a gift finder, check out the “Gift Planner” on the homepage of the Harry and David web site. 2. Expand your vocabulary: Your customers might not describe your products the same way you do, which can lead to a confusing or unfulfilling search experience. You don’t want them…

Target Reveals New Multi-Channel Engagement Strategies At CETW

Target, better known to its loyal followers as “Tar-zhay,” is focused on helping customers “find, learn and buy,” and has taken 2010 to remodel its strategy, stores and messaging. Target’s Senior Manager of Multi-Channel interactive experience, Chris Borek, broke down the methodologies behind some of the retailer’s most effective customer engagement campaigns at this week’s Customer Engagement Technology World Conference (formerly KioskCom) in New York City. “We spent a considerable amount of capital remodeling by remodeling key portions of our floor plan,” Borek said. “In certain areas, such as shoes, electronics, phones, beauty and especially food, we were able to transform a lot of our existing stores.” The company underwent 341 store remodels and built 13 new stores, including its first Manhattan location at 116th an FDR. “More and more we are stepping away from cookie cutter image to really look at how we can modify each space to really engage our guests,” he said.

Stadium Revives Loyalty Program With Cross-Channel Capabilities

With consumers’ channel choices expanding, retailers are increasingly reliant on the ability to quickly and efficiently segment and target customers to maximize messaging and engagement. Scandinavian sports retailer Stadium, the largest retail chain in the Sweden, Denmark and Finland area for sport, outdoor and fashion apparel, recently boosted by its loyalty initiative with a cross-channel marketing initiative. With a net worth exceeding 400 million Euros (equalling approximately $560 million in US sales), the outlet has more than 120 stores in their target area. By tapping into the power of multi-channel platforms, Stadium revolved its in-depth marketing around the customer’s purchase history, interests and offers personalized communication options. According to a recent survey conducted by media agency Mindshare, Stadium had the third-most-loyal customer base in its region, thriving off of interactive conversions as their key relationship marketing strategy. However, the company was seeking to enhance brand-to-consumer intimacy and to create a more loyal membership base that would help customers influence their peers and enhance the retailer’s growth.

Using Facebook & Twitter To Generate Social Buzz for Holiday

By Paula Drum, General Manager of Gettington.com The countdown to Christmas is officially on. For retailers, the holiday season is the equivalent to the playoffs. We’ve been working to get to this point all year, and we need to be at the top of our game to attract customers. Now that retailers are familiar with social media, it’s time to align holiday strategies with the communities we’ve been cultivating since last year. If 2009 was the year to jump into social, 2010 is the time to maximize social media interactions on Facebook and Twitter to help drive holiday sales. Before getting into different strategies for customer interaction, it is important to note that having a successful social presence takes man-hours. It is extremely difficult, arguably impossible, to create a meaningful presence in social media by treating the medium as a second-tier initiative. With time and budgets currently at a premium, think of creating a small internal team dedicated to managing social efforts in shifts — the caveat being that all team members need to understand overall messaging and goals for the company’s social program prior to sending out their first tweet or status update. This approach is akin to increasing…

Growth Of Location-Based Apps Cause Retailers To Check In On The Potential To Extend Rewards

While some in the retail industry are still skeptical about the potential of location-based apps, it is getting harder to ignore the growth and buzz on companies like Foursquare, Gowalla, Shopkick and Loopt. Retailers are increasingly realizing the potential to attract new customers, maintain loyal clientele and establish a solid social network by leveraging geo-location technology in smart phones. Foursquare kicked off the check-in trend, launching its app in March of 2009, and quickly surpasseed the 1 million-user-mark after only a year on the web. As of August, it reached 3 million users and now processes more than one million check-ins per day. Along with the promise of specials from retailers and restaurants, Foursquare creates urgency for users to check-in, promising “badges” and social titles like becoming “the Mayor” of a location.

Oracle Acquires ATG for $1 Billion

E-Commerce software and application provider Art Technology Group Inc. (ATG), has been acquired by Oracle Corporation for $6 per share in cash, or approximately $1 billion. The transaction is subject to stockholder and regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close by early 2011, according to a press release.

Amazon.com Taps iPad With ‘Windowshop’ App For Enhanced Mobile Shopping

Capitalizing on the growth and buzz around the shopping capabilities on the iPad, online giant Amazon.com has launched Amazon Windowshop, a reformatting of the web site specifically designed to offer fluid user interaction via the iPad’s multi-touch interface. The Windowshop program, complete with 49 fulfillment centers with millions of in-stock items, shares Amazon.com’s key offerings, like customary low prices and speedy delivery. It also allows members to receive the same benefits from their Amazon Prime membership. However, this new lanscape-fromatted app is designed to adapt to the iPad’s lean-back, touch screen tablet. Amazon Windowshop is expected to make exploring every aspect of the online store’s inventory streamlined and efficient. With the flick motion synonymous with the iPad, shoppers can view the sites entire inventory through the “browse” selection based on item category, or type a keyword into the search bar to find a specific product. Users can also share choice items with friends and family through e-mail, Facebook and Twitter by tapping the “share item” option on any product page.

SAP Unveils New Mobile Solutions During Customer Retail Forum

Mobile technology as the centerpiece, SAP introduced seven different “innovations” during the October Retail Forum in Las Vegas. While a number of the technologies have launched and are in use by retail customers, others are still in the research and testing stage. Robert McFarland, SVP & General Manager, SAP for Retail, welcomed attendees to the event themed Mobilizing Your Business. Mark Ledbetter, National Vice President, SAP for Retail discussed SAP Retail future direction, to include more prepackaged offerings that can go live in 4-6 weeks; and a sustainability application released in July 2010. Kevin Nix, SVP, Mobility, SAP Labs, discussed SAP’s two-part mobile strategy: 1.0 = Extend the Enterprise and 2.0 = Transform the Enterprise. The seven areas presented during in the Innovation Pods are as follows: The Future is Here – The Mobile Power Shopper and Always in Stock This area featured a preview of SAP’s Sales Analytics for retail using the iPad. Fossil and Walgreens are two retailers testing this product.

5 Tips To Optimize Your E-Commerce Site To Maximize Holiday Sales

By Paul Alfieri, VP Corporate Marketing and Communications, Limelight Networks, Inc. It’s hard to believe, but the holiday shopping season is upon us. And while Internet traffic peaks are still weeks away, early shoppers have their credit cards at the ready and are hunting the best steals and deals online. There’s no better time than now to make sure your business is prepared to attract and convert buyers on the web this holiday season. Here are 5 tips to get you started. 1. Show Your Best Side. Static web sites are so 1995. Research shows that rich media is important not only for attracting attention, but for converting potential customers into buyers. Dynamic Logic found that video increases consumer purchase intent more than any other online format. In one example, Overstock has said it plans to have videos for every product on its site by year’s end. And rich media doesn’t stop with video. Interactive apps allow consumers to customize product photos, 360-degree views and virtual tours are proliferating, and even virtual fitting rooms have started to appear. All of these features engage consumers in ways that weren’t possible just a few short years ago. Use them to your advantage.

Socialization Of Data, Relationships Explored At Teradata Conference

The massive expansion of channels and devices, coupled with the explosion of social media, has presented new paths to connect and engage with consumers, but these trends have also created a “raging tsunami of information” for retailers to manage. These new opportunities and challenges were central themes during the 25th annual Teradata Partners User Group Conference and Expo held in San Diego this week. Darryl McDonald, Executive VP of Business Development and Marketing at Teradata encouraged companies to create value from this wave by “socializing the data” – combining it with what they already know about their customers, supply chain, financial performance and partners. “Organizations that can figure out how to use this information to differentiate themselves will create a clear competitive advantage,” McDonald said. “By opening up access to the entire corporate ecosystem – and incorporating big data from the Internet, social networks, and unstructured data from emails and call centers – enterprises can generate a supercharged view for both business and technical users, expanding the frontiers of insight and innovation.” McDonald pointed to companies such as InterContinental Hotels Group, which has driven $2.5 million per month in sales from mobile bookings – a 400% increase in the last…
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