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Shopper Experience

Shopper Engagement delves into the latest trends and strategies retailers are using to cultivate long-term relationships with shoppers. Social media, mobile technology, in-store tablets and more are covered in this section. Subscribe to the feed and stay in touch with the latest retail happenings.

Serena & Lily Boosts Online Purchases With Real-Time Customization Tool

The Internet offers consumers an array of resources for accessing information, browsing inventory and purchasing items from the convenience of their homes or with mobile devices. However, many shoppers still value the rich, interactive experiences that take place within brick-and-mortar stores. These omni-channel consumer behaviors present an opportunity for retailers to integrate digital and physical channels and engagement tactics for more compelling shopping experiences. To create more seamless browsing and buying processes that are customized to shoppers’ personal styles, Serena & Lily — a linens and homewares retailer — leverages a product configuration solution from Fluid, a digital commerce agency and merchandising solution provider.

Retailers, Analysts And Solution Providers Share Social Media Analytics Best Practices

This is Part V and the final installment of Retail TouchPoints’ multi-part feature exploring trends and developments in social media analytics, the business intelligence it provides, and the real-life applications underway at leading retailers nationwide. This section highlights recommendations from several of the retailers, analysts and providers mentioned in RTP’s five-part story, all of whom are dedicated to the advancement of social media analytics and the retailing power it provides. “Me-Tailing” signifies the retail industry’s move from transaction-based commerce to real-time marketing of brand experiences that satisfy consumers’ emotional needs and aspirations. More savvy consumers not only expect but demand these personalized communications, offers and experiences, and are entrenched in social media to research and share information about them. A treasure trove of customer-centric information exists in these conversations. Click-and-mortar retailers are combing social sites, blogs, forums, video posts, visual curation channels and other online communities to harness and analyze this data. The resulting analytics generate powerful business intelligence that can fuel the most effective retail strategies coming from the industry’s best Me-Tailers.

How Brands Use Multi-Sensory Techniques To Pique Consumers’ Interest

As competition in the retail industry continues to soar, retailers are diving into savvy consumers’ five senses to persuade purchasing decisions. In a recent IBM-sponsored webinar, titled: “The Future Of Retailing In A Multi-Sensory, Multi-Channel World,” Martin Lindstrom, Marketing Consultant and author of Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy, shared tips for retailers in search of new ways to connect with consumers personally based on previous purchase decisions. With the majority (85%) of decisions taking place in the brain’s non-conscious segments and only 15% occurring in the conscious, most consumers buy irrationally, said Lindstrom. To better influence consumer purchases, retailers must configure stores to appeal to these non-conscious decision-drivers.

L’Oreal USA Quadruples User-Generated Content With Social Q&A

Today’s shoppers are turning to their peers across social networks to learn more about potential purchases. As a result, retailers are seeking more efficient ways to garner customer feedback and encourage peer-to-peer interaction in a centralized location. For example, luxury cosmetic retailer L’Oreal USA tapped into the Social Q&A solution from TurnTo Networks, a provider of social commerce solutions, to boost consumer-to-consumer conversations on its e-Commerce sites. Since implementing the TurnTo solution on two brand sites — Kiehls.com and YSLBeautyUS.com — L’Oreal USA successfully generated two- to four-times more user-generated content than standard ratings and reviews, according to Adrian Burke, Director of Interactive Marketing Services for L’Oreal USA.

Tommy Bahama: Storyteller

Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from one of RetailWire's recent online discussions. Each business morning on RetailWire.com, retail industry executives get plugged in to the latest news and issues with key insights from a panel of retail industry experts. Tommy Bahama knows the value of a good story. "If anything, our brand is based almost all on storytelling," Doug Wood, President and COO of Tommy Bahama, told RetailWire. “There is no Tommy Bahama. When the company was founded, it was really built up by a story, and what we've done over time is we've kind of built out the story with the idea that the purpose of the company is to enable the world to relax. So we talk about it all the time, but you also have to do it casually because if you look like you're trying too hard, that's not very relaxing." The art of storytelling is not just a one-way communication.

Livescribe Boosts Average Order Value By 34% With Social Referral Program

Social media’s growing influence on consumer decision making and overall brand sentiment offers retailers a prime opportunity to build trust and communication across Facebook, Twitter and other networking sites. Best-in-class retailers are utilizing their most loyal shoppers, or brand advocates, to drive social recommendations and consumer-to-consumer dialogue. Livescribe — a mobile computing platform offering “smartpens” that capture handwritten notes, audio and drawings — tapped into its brand advocates to boost social buzz. By partnering with Extole, a consumer-to-consumer social marketing platform, Livescribe identified more than 3,000 brand advocates and increased average order value by 34%.

Chico’s Extends Its Customer Insights With Social Media Analytics

 This is Part IV of Retail TouchPoints’ multi-part feature investigating trends and developments in social media analytics and the business intelligence the technique provides. This segment focuses on Chico’s current, real-world social media analytics application, with additional insights from its provider, SAS. This series will conclude in RTP’s July 10 newsletter with “Advice For Retailers,” imparted by several of the analysts, vendors and retailers participating in this update. Social media analytics strategies help retailers to profile and analyze social channels to help determine what customers really want from their brands and retailers. A number of successful retailers are seeing positive results from the use of social media analytics. At Chico's FAS, for example: “Our success is rooted in a heritage of listening and responding to what our consumers want,” Jessica Wells, VP of Social Marketing for Chico’s FAS, told Retail TouchPoints. To help maintain that success, “we’ve implemented a social media analytics tool to better understand what is being said about our brands and where people are saying it. We then apply this intelligence to our core decision making.”

The Next Generation Of The In-Store Experience

Best-in-class retailers are utilizing digital technologies to boost interactivity, education and conversion inside the four walls of the store. During a recent session from the Connected Consumer Series, retail industry experts gathered to share their insights on the must-have tools and strategies to bring brick-and-mortar stores to more innovative heights. Titled: Bringing The Benefits Of The Online Experience Into The Store, the presentation offered in-depth insights into how retailers can leverage smartphones, kiosks, tablets and other digital tools to keep pace with consumers’ expectations of the in-store experience. Speakers also offered best practices and detailed strategies regarding how retailers can revamp store locations to create seamless brand experiences.

Oreck Boosts Monthly ROI Nearly 200% With Digital Personalization

Creating a consistent brand experience is key to successful marketing campaigns for multichannel retailers. However, personalization is playing a more vital role in piquing shopper interest and driving purchases, leading to increased focus on product recommendations, as well as tailored offers and marketing based on customer data. Oreck, a midmarket manufacturer of vacuum cleaners and other cleaning appliances, successfully leveraged customer data to shorten lead-to-close cycles, improve browsing and buying experiences and decrease shopping cart abandonment. Moreover, monthly ROI was as high as 184% compared to the baseline, according to a company statement.

Best Buy’s Bob Willett Kicks Off Connected Consumer Series

Bob Willett, former CEO of Best Buy International, kicked off the Connected Consumer webinar series with an invigorating discussion about using data to improve conversions through the retail brand experience. Titled: The C-Suite Perspective On Using Data To Boost In-Store Conversion, the presentation sparked questions from attendees around merchandising, global commerce and the latest data collection tools. During the presentation, Willett stressed the importance of equipping store associates and managers with real-time information in order to meet the needs of today’s demanding shoppers. He also urged all retailers to ensure that every business decision is designed to impact the customer experience in a positive way.

Benjamin Moore Optimizes Customer Engagement With Mobile Publishing

The interactive, high-definition features of tablet technology have provided retailers with an ideal outlet for boosting mobile engagement and purchase intent. Tablet traffic has grown 10 times faster than smartphone traffic, and tablets will account for 10% of total web site traffic in 2014, according to recent findings from Adobe’s Digital Index report. To keep pace with this trend, best-in-class retailers are releasing tablet-optimized applications equipped with videos, interactive content and behind-the-scenes footage. Benjamin Moore, a notable paint and finishing manufacturer, has implemented several mobile strategies to better serve its time-starved buyers and sales teams.

Mandee Generates $400,000 in 3 Days With QR Code Campaign

As shoppers continue to consult smartphones while in store for price and product comparison, Quick Response (QR) codes have become powerful marketing tools for sharing and promoting content in locations. By scanning codes on product labels, advertisements, signage and other target points, consumers can receive detailed product information, video demonstrations, rating/reviews and other influential content. As a result, retailers efficiently connect the dots between the web and brick-and-mortar stores by creating a more compelling, engaging and informative brand experience. During 2011’s Black Friday weekend, Mandee, a girls’ apparel and jewelry retailer, implemented an in-store QR code coupon program that generated 8,000-plus redemptions in 115 stores over the three-day sales period.

Advance Auto Parts Increases Product Reviews by 700%, Dominates Competitors On Facebook

As consumers spend more time on social channels, social media integration and building customer engagement has become a major component for eTailers. One way to accomplish this goal is to motivate customers to post and follow reviews on e-Commerce sites, which can help retailers gain additional traffic. Advance Auto Parts, an automotive aftermarket retailer, sought to generate this integration and engagement by incorporating PowerReviews’ Social Loyalty and Customer Reviews management tool into its company web site. By doing so, Advance Auto Parts dominated its social channels competitors in terms of customer engagement and became the Number One online auto parts dealer on Facebook, according to Howard Blumenthal, E-Commerce Platform Solutions Director for Advance Auto Parts.

New Oracle Study: Live Help Beats Ratings & Reviews

In a fall 2011 poll of more than 3,100 consumers in 15 countries, Oracle Retail found that 57% of respondents find Live Help on a web site more important than Ratings & Reviews (44%) or Personalized Offers (32%). “One of the key learnings we found from this survey is the value consumers place on live help services,” noted Kelly O’Neil, Product Strategy Director, Oracle ATG. In general, U.S. and Canadian consumers lag behind Asian shoppers in online purchasing each month (35% in U.S. vs. 75% in China). Nevertheless, North American shoppers value live help more than the average worldwide. As many as 84% of shoppers in North America find live help an important web site feature (vs. 57% worldwide). The study, titled Consumer Views Of Live Help 2012: A Global Perspective, also features other notable findings such as:

Digital Coupon Users Shop And Spend More Frequently

The economic downturn has encouraged consumers to revamp their shopping habits to become more price conscious and deal savvy. As a result, many retailers are implementing digital coupons to incentivize shoppers to buy items and visit stores more frequently. The tactic is working: a new study from Coupons.com and GfK Knowledge Networks, a full service research firm, indicates that “couponers” buy more items, more often. In fact, digital coupon users spend 49% more per year than the average shopper, according to the research. The “Digital Coupon User Shopping Behavior” study revealed that the dedicated coupon user spends approximately $3,803 a year, while the average shopper spends $2,545 within the same period. Results were based on the coupon usage of more than 200,000 households that utilize into the Coupons.com site. These behaviors were compared to 2.3 million households in the GfK Knowledge Networks National Shopper Lab. The study also measured the average redemption rates of coupon campaigns that rolled out within a one-year period.
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