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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.

NCR’s Mobiqa Acquisition Could Boost Convergence Of Mobile/Kiosk Channels

The announcement this week that NCR Corp., a leader in assisted- and self-service solutions, had acquired mobile content company Mobiqa, signaled not only a merger of the two companies but also the two worlds of fixed and mobile self-service devices. Now armed with a platform to converge the two companies’ self-serving solutions and principles, NCR is positioned to extend their offerings across more industries, including entertainment, event and retail sectors. The contents of the deal were not disclosed. “This strategic acquisition signals NCR’s commitment to building out our mobile platform to support the delivery of our seamless multichannel strategy,” said John Bruno, executive vice president for NCR, in a company statement. “We are dedicated to making consumers’ experience of interacting with businesses easier by giving them the ability to move seamlessly between self-service mobile, online and kiosk channels.”

A Prescriptive Guide To Including Mobile & Social In Cross Channel Marketing

By Gib Bassett, Director of Marketing, Signal The end game to reaping the benefits of cross channel marketing is to obtain a 360- degree view of customer channel preferences and permissions. In the process, marketers identify and grow the base of customers who desire a fully cross channel relationship with their business — across mobile, email and social media. As a segment, this is a highly engaged audience that represents a business’ most valuable customers. To call these customers to action most effectively, marketers must develop, orchestrate and measure marketing efforts that span channels. Doing so recognizes that various digital channels serve different customer needs as part of the business/customer relationship lifecycle. Cross channel marketing is a rather breakthrough idea, because it takes this notion a step beyond the mutually exclusive targeting of customers within channels. Cross channel marketing instead seeks to utilize each channel’s strength in unison to create a better outcome more efficiently than could otherwise be possible using multiple, disconnected applications and databases.

Social Media Search Key Trend for Holiday Shopping

The social sphere continues to demonstrate how word of mouth can positively and negatively serve retail brands, but its potential for search and gift guiding is coming to life in the months moving toward holiday. Online shoppers have indicated that they’re increasingly tapping social networks for gift ideas, as 27% of holiday shoppers last year used social networks for clues on what gifts to buy friends and family, according to eMarketer. Even more online shoppers are expected to tap social networks like Facebook for gift-giving ideas. “A great way to drive gift purchases this holiday is to use Facebook and Twitter to launch ‘gift guides’ tied to promotions,” said Clay McDaniel, Principal and Co-Founder of Spring Creek Group, a Seattle-based social media strategy and marketing services agency. McDaniel encourages retailers to use social networks as a forum to publish offers with verbiage that includes calls to action for particular gift purchases, like “Save 10% on Best Gifts for Grandma,” or “Find Dad’s Gift – and Save 20%.”

Increasing Cross Channel Expectations Examined In Shopper Preference Study

Cross channel expectations have risen dramatically over the past year. Consumers expect to complete an order anywhere (61%), modify an order anywhere (74%) and track an order anywhere (87%). These expectations have risen dramatically since 2007, up an average of 10%, as revealed in the recent survey titled Shifting Shopper Preferences: Analyzing the Latest Data on Cross-Channel Trends. Jim Bengier, Global Retail Executive at Sterling Commerce, referenced the new retail world as the “Omni Channel” –during a webinar last week, adding that consumers have a seamless experience at every touch point, from the store to the call center, Internet and when using mobile technology. Mobile technology in particular is creating a firestorm of activity among retail organizations, as more consumers purchase and start to use smartphones for a variety of purposes. Leading retailers are responding by providing mobile capabilities for price (30%), specials (28%), item availability (26%) and item location (16%), Bengier reported.

5 Key Steps to Expanding Your Global Customer Reach Online

By Mark Begin, President of asknet The world marketplace is within reach and creating great opportunities to sell products globally at minimal expense. The advancing age of the internet and expansion of network technology to all corners of the globe is changing the way businesses need to think about marketing and selling their products. Businesses of all sizes are considering a global approach to sustain ongoing growth, and mitigate competitive pressures. The number of internet users worldwide continues to trend upward and usage in emerging markets is rapidly increasing as consumers see the benefits and are shifting from traditional brick and mortar businesses to e-tailers. But even traditional brick and mortar businesses are expanding beyond their local market by leveraging online channels, because they can build and strengthen their global brand, extend reach, leverage small incremental costs and thus generate revenue. A global presence not only opens new markets and creates new revenue streams; it can also protect your business against the vagaries of a single economy. However, ease of entry does not guarantee success. E-tailers including software publishers must customize the product, presentation and customer experience for local markets in order to succeed. The following 5 Steps are essential…

Pet Smart, Dicks, GNC Join Forces For New ShopRunner Loyalty Program

Taking a collaborative approach to loyalty and a new spin on combating the continued market share growth of Amazon, major retailers joined forces earlier this week for the launch of ShopRunner, a loyalty program that offers members only benefits, including unlimited two-day shipping. The service takes a page from Amazon Prime’s strategic playbook, but it spans across a wide variety of retailer participants, including Babies 'R' Us, Pet Smart, Dick's Sporting Goods and GNC, among others. The service mirrors many of Amazon’s Prime offerings, but the ShopRunner service one-ups the online giant by offering free returns, members-only savings and a 2-day shipping guarantee.

MEF Americas 2010 Event To Focus On Mobile Media & Commerce Strategies

2010 has been a growth year for mobile content and mobile commerce across the Americas — Latin America is now the world's second largest mobile market, and together with North America serves almost 1 billion customers. Held at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2010, MEF Americas 2010: Mobile Content & Commerce will address the industry’s key business opportunities and concerns, and offer retailers, commerce providers and other relevant stakeholders to better leverage the native functionality of the mobile device to drive customer acquisition, retention and conversion. Increasingly, mobile is offering new convergence and customer engagement opportunities. MEF Americas 2010: Mobile Content & Commerce will be the definitive forum to meet key players and refine business models for the coming year. Founding member sponsors include Dada, Dolby, Impact Mobile, mBlox, Movile, Neomobile, OpenMarket, Playphone and WAU Movil. Dolby will be the lead sponsor of the Tuesday evening Cocktail Reception (an exclusive networking event for delegates and speakers), where it will showcase incredible surround sound for mobile phones with Dolby Digital Plus.

5-Question Quiz To Gauge Your Social Media Strength

By Ramanujam Srinivasan, Lead Technology Architect, Wipro Being an innovation and social media evangelist at Wipro, there are a few questions which come back frequently to me while interacting with Brand & PR managers – Am I doing enough on Social Media? Can I bank upon it as a channel of marketing/sales? How do I know if I am being effective? Following is an approach to ascertain whether your organization/brand is following a good Social Media strategy and test how strong your “social media harness” really is. 1. Defined roles Do you have a Social Media leader in your organization? 4 points Is there a defined role and KRA for the leader? 2 points A social media execution team to go with it? 3 points 2. Ubiquitous presence - Presence on social media channels is a relative thing. A niche brand might do well by not only creating its own community, but also connecting to customers on other popular social networks. Below are some broad classifications of social media channels that exist today. Popular channels – Channels where your customers go frequently. Do you have presence on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Flickr and Myspace? 2 points for each Do you have…

“Daily Deals” Model Emerges As Hot Promotion Proposition

As consumers continue to keep a keen eye out for values, retailers are looking to the “daily deals” concept for guidance to increase profit and gain customer loyalty. Built on the model of creating urgency among consumers, several new online sites have shown substantial growth by offering discounted deals or special selections that last for a limited amount of time. Groupon, an early leader in the deal-a-day scene generated 4.6 million unique visitors a month, according to web analytics company Compete.com. Woot.com, a one-item daily deal site offers site visitors the chance to shop a 24-hour auction, or until the item’s stock is depleted. At 11:59 every night, a new auction begins. Although its variety of branches shirt.woot! kids.woot! sellout.woot! and wine.woot! create room for niche audiences, the site fosters a “shopping competition” to vie for Internet deals chosen by users. The shopping objective? To purchase the item before the main page displays the “SOLD OUT” sign.

The Basic Principles of Cross-Channel Marketing

By Bob Fetter, Senior VP, Pluris Marketing To begin with, I’ve renamed this area of interest cross-channel marketing, as opposed to multi-channel marketing. Anyone can do multi-channel marketing. Any retailer that has a storefront sends out emails and has a Facebook page is marketing in three channels. Few companies, however, can do cross-channel marketing — where consumers are engaged with a brand in a consistent and directed fashion across every marketing channel. Cross-channel marketing is tough, and here’s why: Each channel is within an organization silo; Data is difficult to pull together and coordinate; Consumers use each channel in different and unpredictable ways. o truly become an effective cross-channel marketer, marketers must adhere to some basic principles, most importantly to ensure that the organization is aligned to be a cross channel marketer.

2 Crucial Questions for Cross-Channel Success

By Josh Gordon, Director of Marketing, Knotice Mobile has developed as a viable direct digital marketing channel, it seems, at the speed of light. What began as a simple marketing opportunity to reach consumers on the go with a text message has mushroomed into a portable hub of communications where the web, email, SMS, apps, and other communications methods are there for leveraging. But, while the web and email are accessible on smart phones, most mobile consumers still own feature phones, cementing a seemingly temporary but real disconnect between the core direct digital marketing channels of email, web and mobile. Consumers rightly expect a consistent experience regardless of whether they are on a mobile web site, receiving a text message, reading email on a PC or browsing the web. The consumer sees one brand, but marketing organizations are often not prepared to create a seamless, cross-channel brand experience that caters to each individual consumer. The resulting gap between consumer perception and marketing’s reality creates a negative situation for the consumer, which leads directly to lost opportunities and sales. Marketers must understand this reality and formulate cross-channel strategies where each channel is treated individually but the execution is complementary.

Kenneth Cole To Kick Off Mobile As Key ‘Gateway’ For Coming Holiday Season

Retailers are planning to dial up their mobile initiatives this holiday season as they look to nurture the “everywhere consumer” and connect across a variety of touch points. After launching its mobile commerce site earlier this year, apparel retailer Kenneth Cole plans to embrace the technology to offer customer’s an enhanced Black Friday and holiday shopping experience. As part of the Mobile Marketing Summit in New York City, sponsored by Mobile Marketer, Kenneth Cole VP of E-Commerce Tom Davis delivered the Keynote address today, addressing the retailer’s goals and tactical measurements for mobile commerce. Davis, who sets strategic direction for the company’s e-commerce organization, pointed to the rapid adoption of smart phones and the growing expectation for them to outpace desktops in the coming years. Research from Morgan Stanley indicates that there will be more smart phone units shipped than desktops by 2013. “The writing is on the wall,” Davis said of the figure. “Retailers better get into the game now to find out how you can effectively leverage mobile commerce [in time for the smart phone outpace.]”

Build-a-Bear to Re-launch Web Store For Enhanced Personalization & Engagement

Build-a-Bear Workshop will re-launch its web site on ATG Commerce OnDemand, according to a press release. The interactive entertainment retailer of customized stuffed animals is looking to enhance the unique, interactive in-store experience and attract and engage guests through its online channel. With a broad and loyal customer base and strong merchandising expertise, the management team of Build-A-Bear Workshop was seeking an e-commerce partner that could power a relevant and personalized shopping experience on the company's retail site, buildabear.com. ATG Commerce OnDemand, a hosted e-commerce solution available via Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or a license with dedicated hosting and managed services, provides Build-A-Bear Workshop with advanced personalization capabilities designed to tailor content for a variety of guests. Business tools designed for use by merchandisers are designed to allow the company to make targeted offers to encourage increased order sizes, and make personalized promotions. Build-A-Bear Workshop will have complete real-time control over its online merchandising to adjust marketing tactics in response to customer dynamics, according to the release.

Nordstrom Links Bricks & Clicks With Cross Channel Visibility

Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from one of RetailWire’s recent online discussions. Each business morning on RetailWire.com, retail industry execs get plugged in to the latest news and issues with key insights from a "BrainTrust" panel of retail industry experts. Nordstrom appears to have achieved the link across selling channels that most retailers aspire to, according to reports. The department store chain manages inventories at its store and its web site as one entity. If a shopper is looking for a particular item online and it is not in stock in the warehouse, Nordstrom will still be able to fill the order pulling from store stock. The same is true for in-store shopping where an item out-of-stock at a particular location does not mean the consumer is out of luck. Nordstrom has the ability to either grab the item from another store or from its web site. Store employees have the inventory information right in front of them in stores so they are able to assist the shopper in making the purchase. Jamie Nordstrom, EVP of Nordstrom and President of Nordstrom Direct, told The New York Times that the company's approach has driven "some pretty meaningful results."

Enrolling Customers In Mobile Pay Networks Could Triple Cross Channel Effectiveness

Retailers who start now building an enrolled customer base for mobile applications and mobile payments will be ahead of the game in the competition to garner the fast-growing mobile commerce revenues, said Richard Crone, CEO of Crone Consulting to a room full of top industry CIOs at the NRFtech meeting in Half Moon Bay, CA this week. “If you are able to control mobile payments registration inside the retail application it will triple your cross-channel effectiveness,” Crone stated. “It is mobile on steroids.” Crone revealed the details of a new mobile program to the NRFtech attendees that will facilitate the ability for retailers to offer their own mobile payment service to customers without adding any new hardware or becoming dependent on bank- or carrier-controlled Near Field Communications (NFC). “It is a server-resident mobile wallet, located in the cloud,” he explained. Customers using smart phones will be able to complete secure transactions by scanning a barcode at checkout.
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