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.

Bazaarvoice Introduces SocialConnect Suite Weaving Social Web & Brand Experience

As Facebook and Twitter continue to gain in popularity, brands are finding that a social marketing strategy is a business fundamental, not a nice-to-have. Bazaarvoice, a leader in hosted social commerce applications recently unveiled the SocialConnect suite, designed to help brands leverage the power and reach of leading social networks to drive measurable business results.The innovative product suite is designed to transform the way that marketers use popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter with exciting new capabilities for social sharing, social syndication, social applications and friends. The solution aims to give marketers the ability to extend the voices of their customers from their brand sites to social networks and collect consumer-generated reviews and stories directly on Facebook that can be pulled back to their site. Marketers can also bring the social graph directly into their brand sites through Bazaarvoice’s support of the Facebook “Like” button on product or review pages, as well as allowing shoppers to log in with a Facebook, Twitter or MySpace ID to immediately surface reviews from their friends and people like them. Improves Email Efficiency & Open Rates

Relevancy is key in any email campaign. With customers getting inundated each day with countless messaging, it’s imperative to present the right offer to each customer to optimize your message’s value. Recognized by Internet Retailer as a Top 100 site and by Inc. Magazine as one of America's fastest growing companies, is a leading online retailer of home furnishings and lifestyle products. The company, originally founded in 2002, continues to experience tremendous growth. As the company's email volume increased, it soon found the CPM pricing model charged by its ESP as cost-prohibitive to its growth.

Chico’s Brands Latest To Connect Via Mobile As Research Points To Growth For Channel

Looking to connect with consumers via a fourth channel, Chico's Brands recently launched a mobile commerce strategy for its destinations White House Black Market and Soma. Powered by Usablenet, the mobile web sites are now optimized for any mobile phone.The sites are designed to enable customers to find product information, search nearby store locations and complete purchases instantly via the mobile phone. Shoppers can also complement their in-store experience by locating and buying items (or sizes) that aren't available at that location or even browse additional products via smartphone to compare with what they're trying on in the dressing room. The Chico’s launch comes as new research indicates that the mobile channel is poised for serious growth in the coming year. Mobile subscribers will surpass five billion this year, moving the mobile Internet closer to overtaking the PC as the most popular way to get on the web, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Additionally, the Coda Research Consultancy reports that U.S. mobile commerce sales hit $1.20 billion in 2009 and will grow to $2.42 billion this year.

PowerReviews Integrates Facebook’s “Like” Button to Social Commerce Suite

PowerReviews recently announced the turnkey integration of the Facebook “Like” button with its social commerce suite. The integration is designed to allow partners to quickly start reaping the benefits of richer, deeper customer engagement through increased customer interactivity with their products, services and brands. PowerReviews retail partners have been quick to adopt this innovative social tool, with participants including REI and Evo. REI, who’s been live with the integration for just about a week, already has products receiving over 100 likes, which you can tell by viewing a product page. REI finds the “Like” button helps the company better interact with its customers on Facebook. “We believe these social connections will help enhance our relevance, trust and loyalty among consumers as they utilize their personal networks, including opinions that guide their purchase decisions,” said Brad Brown, VP of E-Commerce and Direct Sales, REI.

MyBuys CEO Shares Strategy On Launch Of Remarketing Suite

MyBuys recently introduced Predictive Remarketing, a consumer profile-driven remarketing suite designed to drive higher response rates from consumers across all channels including display advertising, email and direct mail. MyBuys also recently announced the acquisition of online remarketing provider Veruta, a move designed to power the display advertising component of the new suite with its advertising platform. MyBuys said the Predictive Remarketing solution is helping its clients drive more than 500% improvement in click-through rates (CTRs) and over 50% improvements over all other remarketing offerings. MyBuys solutions are designed to predict what shoppers want to buy and present multiple options to each consumer through display ads. Retail TouchPoints had the chance to catch up with MyBuys CEO Bob Cell for in-depth insight on how predictive remarketing can enhance retailers’ operations to offer an enhanced customer experience.

Facebook Storefronts Evolving With New Consumer-Centric Apps

Facebook continues to demonstrate value for the retail environment. Building on the propensity to drive engagement and viral impact among consumers, social commerce is making its way to the mainstream scene. E-commerce platform Payvment is making noise on the social sphere, delivering the capability for retailers to streamline a Facebook storefront for free. Launched in November, the platform has enabled small to mid-sized retailers to download a storefront and set up shop to give Facebook users something to shop about. Indicated a promising concept for the industry, there have been over 125,000 products up for sale on the popular social networking site, while 500,000 Facebook users (out of nearly 500 million total) have shopped with the app.

Context Optional Announces Social Marketing Solution for Retailers

Social marketing software provider Context Optional recently announced the launch of a new set of tools designed specifically for retailers as part of the company’s Social Marketing Suite, an integrated software as a service (SaaS) solution for building, monitoring and managing brand presence on Facebook. Working with leading retail brands, Context Optional created a solutio designed to offer integrated publishing and application creation tools to help clients engage with customers through multiple touch points. The tools are designed to enable retailers to showcase and promote products, distribute special discounts, target customers by location and publish applications to both brand Pages and the News Feed.

Social Media Analytics Turns Customer Sentiment into Actionable Data

While many retailers may still be working to best utilize the data they currently collect —such as sales per store, region or time period — they now need to up the ante and realize the benefits of Social Media Analytics. Using sentiment analysis — which analyzes the words used in conversations on social media — new analytics products can help retailers turn conversations into actionable information. Sentiment analysis software locates adjectives in close proximity to specifically selected nouns to determine whether the communicated sentiment is positive or negative. “Sentiment analysis will allow retailers to understand consumer emotions and give them a connection to the customer that goes well beyond whether a product simply sold well or not,” said Steve Rowen, Principal at RSR Research. Recently introduced by SAS, Social Media Analytics has the ability to archive and analyze more than two years of social media conversations from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, discussion forums, blogs and the like. After developing several years of experience with text analytics, SAS was poised to bring comprehensive social media analytics to market. “We have the infrastructure in place to continuously collect and archive social media conversations,” said John Bastone, Product Marketing Manager for SAS customer intelligence.

Retail TouchPoints Q&A with Pehr Luedtke, CEO, PowerReviews

The power of word-of-mouth is clear in retail. As a matter of fact, 61% of people rely on user reviews for product information or research before a buying decision is made, according to Razorfish. Now that social media is at the forefront of online communication, shoppers have the power to up the ante on recommendations and product reviews. Retail TouchPoints recently caught up with Pehr Leudtke, the CEO of PowerReviews, a solutions provider designed to help online retailers to engage and connect with customers. From the trending “social intervention” to the ROI considerations for retailers, Leudtke shared some key insights on the benefits of integrating product reviews.

Steve Madden Puts Mobile Storefront to Work for Customers

Mobile madness has struck the retail industry full force in the last year. The potential to lend yet another channel to the customer offers a supplement to the customer experience, both in-store and online. As part of last week’s Retail 3.0 Virtual Conference & Expo, Andrew Koven, President of E-Commerce & Customer Experience at Steve Madden, shared a case study example of how the shoe & apparel retailer is putting mobile to work. “We believe mobile provides for that unique informational device wherever, whenever and however,” Koven said during his session titled “Engaging the Mobile Consumer: Strategies to Optimize Customer Acquisition, Conversion and Retention.” “We’re supporting the purchase and the confidence building for the consumer to make that investment in our product.”

Transforming Retail: From Bricks to Clicks

By Leslie Belcher, President, Jesta I.S. Inc. The economic downturn created a challenging environment for retailers as the concentration of consumer spending has had a direct effect on overall retailing. Individuals are looking more closely at their discretionary spending and are cutting back most on non-essential products while performing more active price comparison. Today, Internet retailing enables consumers to compare prices, save money and limit their delivery costs. The traditional brick-and-mortar retailers built their IT infrastructure in a piecemeal fashion using legacy merchandising and planning systems to support their growing business (although now it is becoming more expensive to sustain). In the 1990s, the catalog/call-centre system was introduced to manage that sales channel. Presently, various new Web-based e-commerce platforms are helping to grow the business by effectively tying together processes and procedures for the internet channel, with systems that help ensure service excellence by giving the customer the opportunity to buy anything, anywhere, anytime.

Bazaarvoice Teams with Google to Bring Product Reviews to Google Search and Ads

Bazaarvoice, a leader in hosted social commerce applications yesterday announced at the Social Commerce Summit 2010 that it has partnered with Google to share high-quality product review content from Bazaarvoice client sites on Google Web Search, Google Product Search and Google AdWords ads. The integration is designed to enable retailers and manufacturers using Bazaarvoice to leverage their product review content to drive more high-quality traffic from Google, and provide brand exposure to qualified shoppers. Consumers benefit from immediate access to opinions from other customers as they research and complete purchases, adding relevance and authenticity. Bazaarvoice is Google’s first publicly integrated platform partner for product review content and is making the new capabilities immediately available to retailers and manufacturers as SyndicateVoice™ for Search.

Mobile the Next Frontier for Consumer Marketing

By Jay Henderson, Director of Product Marketing, Unica The tremendous success and media buzz around Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android have marketers paying a lot more attention to mobile marketing. With new devices, faster networks and new location-aware technologies, mobile is the next frontier for marketing. Mobile marketing presents a distinct and unique way to create interactive dialogues with customers; and it’s personal, always on and comes with an integrated response mechanism. But despite the hype and anticipation, actual adoption of mobile marketing is still small as marketers get the lay of the land. A little more than one third of marketers (36%) in Europe and North America conducts some type of mobile marketing now with an additional 40% of marketers indicating plans to incorporate mobile marketing. The tactics are still nascent, success is elusive, devices are fragmented, connection costs vary and technology limitations still exist. For mobile marketing to have a significant impact, companies will have to change their approach – moving away from ad-hoc and one-off mobile projects to developing a more strategic and integrated approach.

New Merkle Research Offers Insights on Consumers’ Mobile Email Behavior

Mobile users younger than age 40 are more likely to access their personal email via mobile devices compared to older users, with peak access and frequency rates for those in their 30s, according to new research from Merkle. The explosive growth in social media and mobile phone adoption is driving the growth of the digital marketing channel.
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