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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.

NetBase Analysis Spotlights T.J.Maxx and Kohl’s As Leaders In Social Buzz And Sentiment

Discount retailers are competing more intensely than ever to win consumer loyalty and dollars. Although diverse merchandise and product assortment is key to the success of leading retailers such as T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and Kohl’s, results from NetBase’s Brand Passion Index reveal that overall customer experience is a vital part of obtaining positive sentiment. NetBase is a social media insight and analysis company whose solutions are sold worldwide by SAP. During a 12-month period ending February 2011, the firm gathered data, via its Insight Workbench tool, concerning consumer behaviors as well as emotions and opinions of discount retailers. Insight Workbench allows brands and retailers to extract customer perceptions from social media discussions. As a result, companies can achieve greater brand health and capitalize on customer opinion more effectively, according to Lisa Joy Rosner, CMO of NetBase.

TOTSY And Mamasource.com Partner To Provide Parents With Exclusive Deals

Flash sale and daily deal sites provide shoppers with the ultimate incentive to browse and buy. The promise of extreme discounts for curated items, meals and events has driven traffic and hype for companies including Rue La La and Gilt Groupe. TOTSY is a private sale site dedicated to delivering exclusive deals like these to parents. In an effort to increase buzz and purchases, TOTSY has teamed with Mamasource.com, an online destination that connects mothers and moms-to-be. Through the partnership, TOTSY will utilize its existing e-Commerce platform to roll out a co-branded private sale site that will cater to Mamasource.com’s visitors and subscribers.

Nu Skin Taps Translation Applications To Optimize Localization Strategies

A leading challenge of international expansion, whether physical or web-based, is language barriers. Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc., an international merchant of anti-aging and skin care, faced this obstacle when creating a more personalized online experience for its global shoppers. In an effort to streamline content development and sharing, Nu Skin implemented the GlobalLink Suite from Translations.com, a language services and translation-related technology provider. Adopted by Nu Skin in 2010 and streamlined over the years, the GlobalLink solution helps the merchant create more compelling localized content for its international markets and distributors. Nu Skin recently announced the partnership and its expansion to content across all markets.

Best Buy Executive Shares Top Tips For Optimizing Loyalty Initiatives

Today’s retailers are focusing more on shrinking budgets and retaining customers than acquiring new ones. As a result, many are revamping and monetizing their loyalty programs to ensure their brands are integral parts of consumers’ lives. Best Buy, for example, has turned its Rewards Zone loyalty program into a source for shoppers to receive access to special events, coupons and offerings, in hopes of incenting them to increase basket size. During the Loyalty 360 webinar, titled “Monetizing Loyalty Marketing Assets: A Conversation with Best Buy,” Barb Olson, Senior Director of Marketing for Best Buy and Mike McDonnell, VP, Product Management and Client Solutions for Affinion Loyalty Group, discussed the retailer’s key tactics for its Rewards Zone program, as well as its customer retention strategy.

Rave Cinemas Leverages NEOCAST For The Ultimate Customer Experience

Digital signage solutions allow merchants to amp up in-store experiences by encouraging customers to interact with content, such as offers and advertisements. In an effort to increase ticket and concession sales across its locations, Rave Cinemas, LLC, partnered with Real Digital Media, provider of the NEOCAST digital signage platform. “The cycle of content change is tremendous in the cinema industry,” William J. Budwitz, Director of Systems Development for Rave Cinemas, told Retail TouchPoints. “With several new movies weekly and their corresponding promotions, we constantly are refreshing our poster cases, signs, schedules and menu boards. With the NEOCAST digital signage system, we can easily keep up with this frantic pace.” 

Misikko Improves Customer Engagement Through Personalized Email Marketing Strategy

In an online sales environment that is ever evolving and increasingly competitive, eTailers constantly are in search of ways to boost sales rates and acquire new customers. In order to stay afloat, merchants must learn how to drive engagement and catch the attention of qualified, paying customers. While many retailers rely on interactive strategies such as social networking and mobile marketing, email remains the linchpin of customer communication. Misikko, an online retailer offering a variety of hair care products, such as flat irons and professional hair dryers, sought a solution to improve purchase rates. Initially the beauty tool eTailer relied on direct marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) to engage potential and loyal customers. In an effort to drive more profit and better grab prospects’ attention, Misikko partnered with Campaigner, an email marketing solution provider.

eCampus.com Optimizes Email Deliverability And Messaging, Boosts Channel Profits By 280%

Digital marketing strategies such as email are vital to e-Tailers striving to increase traffic and overall purchase rates. With the obstacles of spam filters and low delivery rates, many online merchants are challenged to boost brand awareness. For example, eCampus.com, a retailer of new and used textbooks, struggled to promote its “Rent and Return” program in 2009. After teaming with Bronto Software and implementing the company’s Deliverability Monitoring solution, the e-Tailer increased email-driven revenue by 280% year over year. Prior to deploying the Bronto solution, eCampus.com’s email campaigns were receiving low delivery rates on a consistent basis; approximately 5-8% of all email messages were not received. With low inbox delivery, high spam filtering and excessive bounce rates, the e-Tailer suffered from lost revenue and a siloed customer service strategy.

Facebook Files For IPO, Ignites Impending Growth For Social Commerce

On Feb. 1, 2012, social networking web site Facebook, filed to raise $5 billion in an IPO. The company cited Morgan Stanley as a lead underwriter, and Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan in secondary positions. Developed in 2004, Facebook is a recognized leader in the social media space. The company’s co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, also has been cited as a constant advocate for social engagement and sharing. In 2010, he was named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year with the title, “The Connector.” The promise of instant communication and increased engagement is driving the continual growth of Facebook. In its filing, the social media giant revealed that it experienced a strong surge in year-over-year profit. During 2011, the company made a net profit of $1 billion off of $3.71 billion in revenue; a 65% boost in net income.

Forrester Research Highlights Impact Of Location-Based Marketing

As consumers migrate to smartphones, more retailers are rolling out new strategies that leverage customer engagement via mobile devices. One of these is check-in services, where the market opportunity is substantial. A recent webinar titled, “Changing the Game in the Retail Store Through Your Own Branded Mobile Experience,” revealed that more retailers are investing in location-based marketing. The webinar discussed results from a Forrester Research survey which indicate that 114 million U.S. smartphone users employ check-in services. Forrester predicts that number will grow to 159 million by 2015. The webinar was sponsored by Digby, an Austin, Texas-based mobile platform solutions provider.

New Study Helps Retailers Reach Millennials [Infographic]

To thrive and survive in the competitive marketplace, retailers must have a firm understanding of the shopping preferences, and browsing and buying behaviors, of young, tech-savvy consumers. New research from Bazaarvoice, in partnership with The Center for Generational Kinetics and Kelton Research, shares the unique attributes of Millennial shoppers and the critical role of social media in the browsing and buying process. Characterized as people currently in their mid-teenage years to mid-30s, Millennials trust the opinions of peers and strangers more than messages released and promoted by brands, according to research findings. In fact, 65% of this group found that user-generated content (UGC) is more honest and genuine than other information they find online. Moreover, a vast majority (86%) of Millennials indicated that UGC is generally a good indicator of the quality of a brand, service or product.

Incite Amps-Up Loyalty Programs With Social Sharing Features

As social networking and word-of-mouth strategies become more prominent within the retail industry, merchants are striving to increase brand penetration via platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and foursquare. To make social media marketing less daunting, the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) has released Incite, a solution designed to link traditional loyalty programs with social networks. The approach boosts social sharing about a brand and helps merchants fortify social campaigns and marketing initiatives by harvesting real-time customer data. Incite is powered by the Social Network Appreciation Platform (SNAP), a web-based offering that integrates traditional in-store loyalty programs into popular social media networks. It allows a retailer to “check in” customers automatically when they complete a transaction. Consumers then can select from a roster of retailers’ customized, pre-packed messages about the in-store experience and send them automatically to their friends and family via their social networking accounts. By opting to send a message, consumers receive additional rewards points and offerings. Automating the entire social sharing process makes effective interaction less of a struggle, stated Steve Messemer, Account Manager for Incite.

Guitar Center Optimizes Customer Engagement By Localizing In-Store Shopping Experience

Retailers who personalize the shopping experience have a better chance of building a meaningful relationship with consumers. With a focus on localized customer engagement strategies, leading retailers such as Guitar Center are paving the way for merchants seeking a similar, localized approach. During the NRF convention this week, Guitar Center’s EVP of Multichannel Operations, Stephen Zapf, shared the importance of investing in cross-channel retail capabilities such as ship to store, in-store pickup and store returns. These strategies help Guitar Center face the challenges from “pure play” web retailers like Amazon who leverage a low cost distribution model to compete successfully on price. With more than 4,000 store associates and 220 entrepreneurial store managers, creating a personalized in-store experience has been the company’s strong point.

Retailers Point To Data Analysis As Key To Customer Engagement Best Practices

As the amount of readily-available retail data continues to multiply, capturing useful and accurate information can be overwhelming for Chief Marketing Officers. According to a recent IBM study of data collection, 71% of retail CMOs feel underprepared to manage today’s explosion of data. At the same time, according to the study, retailers are excited over the information available about customers and the various ways to communicate with them. Geoffrey Colvin, Editor-at-Large at Fortune Magazine, moderated a panel discussion about data capture and insight during the National Retail Federation 101st Annual Convention & EXPO, Jan. 15-18 at the Jacob K. Javits Center. The session, titled “Critical Development in Retail Marketing: Understanding Consumers, Building Brands,” focused on the validity of data retailers receive from consumers, and shared ways to create actionable insights from customer information.

Chaparral Motorsports Boosts Facebook Revenue By 26% With Site Integration Solution

As Facebook commerce slowly gains traction in the retail industry, merchants including Aeropostale and JCPenney are integrating storefronts into their brands’ Facebook pages. Chaparral Motorsports also is reaping the benefits of Facebook commerce by incorporating product search directly into its social networking account. In a partnership with SLI Systems, a site-search, merchandising and user-generated SEO solution provider, Chaparral Motorsports increased its Facebook-generated revenue by 26%. The motorcycle gear, apparel, parts and accessories e-Tailer added the SLI Learning Search solution with its Facebook page in April 2011 to provide potential customers with a more engaging experience, according to Crystal Ashby, VP of Marketing for Chaparral Motorsports.

10 Retailers Receive Customer Engagement Awards

Customer engagement is the cornerstone of success in today’s challenging retail environment, because shoppers are more empowered than ever and are demanding the right products at the right price, available when and where they desire. Retailers have been hard at work formulating and implementing unique and creative strategies to appeal to today’s savvy shoppers, and Retail TouchPoints is honoring 10 of those innovators with Customer Engagement Awards. Each of the 10 winners has taken the initiative to reach above the fray to bring a higher level of service to their current and prospective customers. The award winners are ahead of the curve and are achieving business success in this increasingly competitive and challenging marketplace.
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