All posts in “Retail”

The-Holiday_by-Paul-Keleher

The Holiday Mobile-Marketing Strategy That Retailers Really Need

The amount of ads, offers and promotions that people experience throughout the holiday season is reminiscent of what a person would experience standing right in the middle of Times Square for more than 10 weeks. For consumers, it’s noisy and distracting and so people are tempted to tune it out. For retailers, it’s expensive and necessary.

This holiday season can be different. By leveraging mobile devices, personalization tools and contextual signals, retailers can better interact with consumers on an individual level, reaching out when relevant, providing a better experience and ultimately reaping a higher return on marketing efforts.

The six strategies below should be a part of every retailer’s holiday marketing program this year:

1. Provide omnichannel, consistent and cohesive experiences.

Creating a single view of customers across every touch point is a must. Consumers expect to receive a consistent experience whether they’re in a store, online, reading email, engaging with social media or using a mobile device.

Customers should not have to feel like they are Adam Sandler in 50 First Dates, having to remind the company about who they are, their prior relationship with a company (loyal) and their history. If a customer saves something to a wish list online, the retailer should remind the person of that if he walks into a store and perhaps provide a tailored offer.

Too often today, valuable data is lost because all sources of customer information are not integrated. All data streams (from transactions, customer relationship software and email) need to rely on a single profile, which will let retailers provide motivating experiences, content and offers.

2. Predict intent.

The holiday season represents a hurdle for marketers trying to personalize offers at a time when people are shopping for a wider, more diverse group of customers.

Retailers should look at historical data to anticipate what customers might be seeking based on last year’s purchases and what they’re likely to purchase again. For instance, if Cali bought a baby boy’s jacket last year, she should receive an offer for toddler boy clothing.

Anticipating consumers’ intent when they open a retailer’s app, come into a store or land on its website can significantly improve the rate of converting visitors into buying customers.

For example, when Taylor walks in the store, don’t send him a “10 percent off” offer for men’s clothes but instead offer greeting like this: “Welcome, Taylor. You may take 10 percent off a purchase of scarves, bags and jackets. These items are perfect for any woman on your list.” The store would be acting on a prediction that he’s likely looking for something for his wife, while providing some gift ideas.

3. Marry location with profile data to automate personalized mobile interactions.

Use of geo-fencing — and better yet beacons — is great for targeting customers while they’re in close proximity to a store or even inside it. But someone won’t be motivated to act merely as a result of being in a location that’s referenced in a message.

Pushing messages to consumers based solely on where they’re standing is almost guaranteed to annoy them. Instead, bridge a person’s offline and online worlds by personalizing an interaction based on the brands of goods they’ve purchased (say, mid-tier items), offers they’ve redeemed in the past (a preference for a percentage off over a dollar discount) and what they’re likely to be seeking today — as well as their location.

4. Optimize every tap to drive conversions.

Take advantage every time a person opens an email or app or clicks on an ad. Too often in mobile paid media, no attention is paid to the landing page a person sees after tapping on an ad. Optimize the page, test different scenarios and calls to action and target the marketing as much as possible.

5. Create rich segmentation schemes.

One size certainly doesn’t work in marketing unless the product is a scarf. Move past grouping consumers by just basic demographic traits (gender, location, age) and instead segment them based on behavior, purchases, product and brand preferences, social conduct, habits and real-time context.

6. Motivate shoppers with more than just offers and deals.

While consumers certainly look for a deal, retailers need to consider other supplemental images, reviews, videos and celebrity endorsements to perhaps inspire a purchase. Using beacons to push rich media when someone is standing next to a display can be very motivating (such as showing a photo of an A-lister wearing a jacket that a woman is considering for her husband).

During the holiday season, people are bombarded with deals on everything, from monstrous TVs to dog beds. While there are some shoppers who have meticulously picked out the perfect gift for all the people on their list, many shoppers look for inspiration and ideas until Dec. 24. Marketing should go further than a mass distribution of deals. It should help consumers by personalizing and contextualizing retailer interactions, while anticipating their needs in real-time.

apple_pay

It’s (Apple) Pay Day for marketers

Ordering a Big Mac will never be the same. McDonalds, of course, is one of the early brands accepting Apple Pay, the technology that could very easily prove to be the most important product Apple has launched after the iPhone.

The way we pay for things in our everyday lives is finally catching up to our mobile-obsessed world. If you think about the four most recent innovations in the payments industry — the introduction of the credit card, the development of the debit card and ATMs, the launch of online banking, and the non-bank online payment systems such as PayPal – we’re about due.

With Apple Pay, secure, contactless payments will spread like wildfire. Because after all, if anyone can give mobile payments the boost it so desperately needs, it’s Apple.

Brands need to leverage the launch of Apple Pay to not only streamline payments, but to take a close look at the entire consumer purchasing process to simplify and modernize every step. Retail locations are becoming marketing centers, not just fulfillment centers, and require brands to adopt relationship marketing inside and outside stores.

While Apple Pay is designed to enhance the fulfillment process, it also opens many doors for brands to focus on marketing and improving the overall consumer experience. Payments are just the beginning. Here are some examples of ways to remove friction from the buying process:

Staying at a Hotel

As soon as you arrive at the hotel, you get an alert that you are checked in and should head to your room. An overlay pops up in which you select a credit card via Apple Pay as you head to the elevator. Knowing your history of attending the complimentary happy hours, the hotel sends a message about tonight’s event once you have settled in, with the opportunity to select your beverage of choice. As soon as you arrive, a staff member greets you with your drink, mentioning the special currently available at the spa (your weakness). The deal is too good to pass up, so you make an appointment on your phone, confirm the card for tomorrow’s massage and head out to your dinner plans.

Shopping

After being sent an offer for 10 percent off at a clothing store, you add a few items to an online wish list for when you stop by the store. The jacket you want is on backorder in your size. A few days later, as you find yourself near the store, you are surprised when you get a push alert that says the jacket is now in stock. Without even opening the app, you respond to the message, telling the store to get your entire wish list ready for you in a fitting room. You arrive, head straight to the fitting room (skipping in-door traffic jams and lines), make your selections, and check out seamlessly at the counter. And of course, that 10 percent off offer was deducted automatically, having been saved in your Passbook.

Picking up your groceries

What if you are reminded to pick up dog food while you were at the store, because the retailer anticipated you are about to run out, saving you a trip back out when your spouse so gracefully reminds you? Grocers will start optimizing the experience by predicting things you may forget, based on your past shopping behavior (i.e., dog food every 3 months). They can then make personalized recommendations for items based on your preferences. For example: “You might love this pesto recipe – here’s where to find the ingredients in the store!” Grocery stores will also reduce friction by mapping your route to pick up items on your list, based on real-time foot traffic flow.

Mobile is a window to everything in life — physical and digital. With Apple Pay launching, consumers will be taking out their phones right after important buying decisions. This presents an opportunity for marketers to participate before the decision point as well, using the phone to motivate the decision maker with offers, information, and recommendations.

Every customer interaction needs to be personalized. The person behind the counter does not need to know the financial details of the customer who is using Apple Pay, but in order to up-sell and cross-sell appropriately and provide excellent service, she should know what the person has bought recently, how loyal they are, what they have recently added to their wish list, and more.

The checkout may soon be frictionless with Apple Pay, but as 2015 quickly approaches, marketers need to think about how they can expand the seamless experience throughout the entire customer journey.

the-6th-sense

The Sixth Sense That Will Change Customer Experiences Forever

Today’s “personalized” customer experiences are based on surface [shallow] level data — what someone has bought in the past; their gender or family situation; their hometown. While this certainly helps to tailor experiences to some level, the biggest driver of what makes something personal and relevant has been neglected — a person’s immediate context.Context involves everything from a person’s physical situation (location, weather and traffic, etc.) and how fast or slow they are moving (in

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a car at 60 mph, walking down a street in a leisurely manner, etc.) to their intent and emotional state. HP0-J73 Before the proliferation of smartphones, understanding a person’s real-time context was not possible. The growing number of sensors in our phones and other connected devices has since opened the door for brands to get a true glimpse into a person’s life. As a result, brands now have the power to engage with their customers in contextually relevant ways, tailoring interaction to their immediate situation.Pre-mobile, contextual marketing would not have even been necessary. What companies need to

realize quickly, however, is that it no longer is a “nice to have.” Real-time, contextual experiences are fast becoming a must-have to build lasting customer relationships.

For generations, consumer expectations in how they interact with brands have essentially remained the same — delayed, one-way, messaging for the masses — and that worked with the available touchpoints. Mobile has completely changed this… and at a very accelerated rate. Consumers now expect to be able to have a personalized, situationally appropriate interaction with a brand whenever and wherever they need it — and the brand is providing a utility or service — not serving an ad — that helps them with something they need right now or in the immediate future.Below are a few examples of how context will be used to make experiences truly magical.
  • The Airline That Knows You Are Going To Be Late: Let’s face it — traveling is not always a breeze, but if an airline could understand the pains you are suffering, they could get out in front of issues to enhance your experience. For example, if I am stuck in traffic my on way to the airport in a jam that will make me miss my flight, I will be automatically rebooked on the next available flight and receive a ticket directly to my phone. The airline’s systems have understood that I am not in the airport, so has checked current location, recognized my movement (or lack thereof), identified that there is a traffic backed up for 20 miles and predicted that I will therefore miss my flight to preemptively respond to a need of mine.
  • The Retailer That Ends the Aimless Search for A Gift: If I am meandering about in the women’s department of a store for more than a few minutes, a retailer would understand that I am likely looking for a gift for my wife, as tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. The brand could then make the experience better for me by pushing a few gift suggestions with an in-store locator to my phone. When I am passing the women’s section the following week, I would not get this same message, but instead an offer for those sunglasses that I have been eyeing.
  • CPG that Keeps Symptoms At Bay: A OTC brand that contextualizes customer interactions would recognize that as someone who has an aversion when the pollen count is above 7 and has not purchased medicine this season, I need to be alerted of the conditions when I visit an outdoor-friendly town.
  • A Fitness Brand Makes Sure You Don’t Overdo it: Say I am a runner training for a 10K race and I track my training via a fitness app. Based on the understanding of my distance goal for today’s workout (5 miles), the current humidity (high) and temperature (80 degrees), a fitness brand would suggest a route (less hilly) and alert me about when I may need to slow down based on how I have performed in such conditions in the past (poor).
  • Your Grocery Store Ensures You Get Everything You Need: I am not the primary food shopper in my family, but my wife has added items to a list that is saved within a grocery store’s app. As soon as I walk through the doors on a busy Saturday afternoon, the store would understand I probably don’t know my way around and want to get out of there as soon as possible. On my phone, I would receive the most efficient route to take to get everything I need based on real-time flow (I would be rerouted, for instance, when there’s a foot traffic jam in produce). Given what is

    on my list, the store would also infer the meal I am shopping for (BBQ) and suggest items I may be forgetting (Do you need buns?) or may want to add to my list (Corn on the cob pairs great with burgers!”).

Mobile does not lend itself to traditional brand interactions. The smaller screens and societal shift to one that is always-connected has ushered in the need for organic brand experiences that understand and anticipate a consumer’s context –reflecting both hard customer data and soft sensor data from the physical world. But a consumer’s context can change instantly, making the window of opportunity for brands to engage fleeting. In a world with contextual expectations, being able to automate these interactions will be a marketer’s best friend. 070-412

future-of-content_Jeremy-Stockwell

Why the Future of Retail Will Blow Your Mind

For the past few years, brick-and-mortar retailers didn’t have a fighting chance to compete with the personalization and convenience provided by online shopping. By cultivating mountains of rich customer data, online retailers had the upper hand. Every action and inaction — from what customers clicked on and how much time they spent looking at certain products to their social activity and response to email programs – helped online retailers tailor each email, pop-up or recommended product to drive sales and provide a superior experience. For consumers, it was a welcome reprieve from the antiquated task of visiting a store, being treated as a stranger and receiving often-questionable customer service. This new customer journey had new engagement touch points across marketing, sales and service, and traditional retailers struggled to keep up. The tides are turning, however. After years of showrooming and online retail commanding more attention along with emerging technology like iBeacons and immersive personalized mobile experiences, the data-driven shopping experience is set to land inside brick-and-mortar stores. The lines between the physical and digital worlds are blurring, and the ease, convenience and excitement

previously reserved for online shopping will soon be pillars of tomorrow’s shops. Below are nine mainstays of the future of retail: 1. Personal shoppers for all: Retailers will focus on transforming mobile apps into a personal concierge of sorts when shoppers enter a store. In-store beacons will automatically wake up consumers’ apps to deliver highly relevant and personal content. Shoppers will be welcomed upon entering a store

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or department. The “personal shopper” app features will point out where they can find favorite products, alert them of products they might like and tell them about items being considered, like which celebrity

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wore the sunglasses in question. 2. Fewer (foot) traffic jams: In-store mapping and smart navigation will become highly accurate, thanks to real-time data generated from beacons. By tracking the whereabouts of shoppers, managers can better design layouts to streamline the flow. If a person has a shopping list, at a grocery store, say, the best route to pick up everything will be provided through a mobile device the second that person walks through the door. It will account for real-time situational factors like current movement throughout the store or congested aisles. If the shopper veers off course or adds anything to the list, the recommended route will automatically be refreshed. 3. Juicy bait hooks passersby. Retailers will target people who walk by their store through highly personalized offers or messages about things like new styles or reminders about items saved on a wish list. A woman passing a beauty store may be prompted to enter after receiving an alert that she is likely running low on moisturizer, given the date of her last purchase and previous buying behavior. 4. Self-checkout 2.0. One of the most frustrating parts of in-store shopping, is waiting in a line to check out. More retailers will follow retail pioneer Apple’s lead with its EasyPay self-mobile checkout. The customer find what he or she needs, scan it, selects a payment method and finalize the transaction, without waiting in a line or talking to an associate if not needed. As consumers become increasingly comfortable with contactless payments, the ability to control when and where the checkout happens will become more prevalent. 5. On-demand customer service. Previously a customer might have searched to no avail in a store for a sales associate for help in finding a size or answering a question. Leveraging mobile applications, retailers will maximize staff resources and enhance the customer experience by allowing shoppers to virtually request assistance. Through point-of-service applications or mobile or tablet devices, sales associates will instantly and automatically access a shopper’s profile, customer preferences and buying history to provide a better and efficient experience. Predictive analytics will be leveraged to know what a customer wants before he or she asks for it. From the floor, associates will be able to order out-of-stock items seamlessly and select a shopper’s preferred delivery method while also making personalized recommendations on other products. 6. Virtual fitting rooms and aisles. The rich virtual world will continue to supplement the physical world via consumers’ phones and connected wearable devices. Shoppers will access information and special offers through augmented reality while moving through a store or seeing how they would look wearing something without trying it on. Plus consumers will be able to opt in to access recommendations, such as for bathing suits based on their body shape and size, virtually try them on and then walk to the counter where a sales associate will be waiting with them. 7. Out-of-store, out-of-home shopping and flexible fulfillment. To compete with Amazon, eBay and other vendors with short-wait and free deliveries, more retailers will offer a menu of flexible fulfillment options, whether it’s a preorder and pickup in a store or shopping in a store offering free home delivery. Companies will introduce shopping capabilities in other arenas, similar to the Tesco Homeplus virtual shopping experience in the Seoul subway system. As consumers continue to hunt for speed and convenience, retailers will seek opportunities that grant customers the ability to shop, pay and schedule delivery in unique environments, from parks and airports to bus stations and stadiums. 8. Power to the consumer. In the palm of their hands, consumers are carrying around their own big data tools. They can scan bar codes and compare prices, check reviews or snap a picture and ask their friends for advice. Consumers have more power than ever before in the shopping experience and as a result, companies will provide rich information and social capabilities optimized for every screen, while integrating scanning and other tools to unlock content in their apps. Customers will shop around and more retailers will take broader steps toward transparency. 9.The power of tribes. Powerful communities are being formed around brands and experiences — from runners and cross-fitters to foodies and gamers. More communities will be tied to brands and experiences as never before and will influence major buying decisions. The in-store shopping experience is on the verge of great transformation. Forward-thinking marketers have undertaken inspiring experiments in the effort to enhance store offerings. Retailers of all sizes, though, will soon adopt data-driven strategies to compete with their online cousins on convenience and personalization. As overhead costs stay high, retailers will adopt mobile-first approaches — that leverage beacons, augmented reality and cross-channel customer profiling — to bridge shoppers’ online and offline worlds. In the age of mobile-dominant consumers — who have expectations of real-time, highly relevant and personalized experiences — omni-channel innovation is no longer a merely something nice

to have at a physical store. It’s a must-have. Shoppers, then, are poised to be the big winners.

8ways-to-target_by-Hans-Splinter

8 Ways Retailers Should Target Smartphone Users

Not surprisingly, mobile played an increasingly important role this holiday shopping season. According to Deloitte’s Annual Holiday Survey, 68 percent of smartphone users planned to use their devices for holiday shopping, and these consumers would spend 27 percent more on holiday gifts than non-smartphone owners. During the holiday shopping season in particular, consumers experience sensory overload with all of the promotions and advertisements they come in contact with. On mobile, it is critical that retailers hyper-target all messages based on real-time situational factors and robust customer profiles and implement dynamic pricing on an individual level. If marketers push irrelevant content, consumers will perceive it as an annoyance and intrusion that will negatively influence not only their holiday shopping behavior, but also behavior throughout the coming year. Retailers need to start analyzing all of the behavioral (app and web), transactional and demographic data gathered this holiday shopping season to start the creative targeting planning for the coming holiday shopping season. It no longer cuts it to tailor messages only on past purchases or geolocation and demographic data. Advances in predictive analytics, marketing automation and cross-channel profiling paved the way for marketers to target their mobile audiences in much more resourceful, highly personal and relevant ways. Here are eight ways retailers should be segmenting their customers: Shopping cart abandoners: Predictive analytics can anticipate which customers are likely to abandon their cart as well as which deal (e.g. “Free Shipping” or “5% off”) is more likely to inspire them to follow through on their purchase. The lone mall wanderers: Leveraging location data and automation tools, a retailer can target shoppers who are in a mall but have yet to walk through its doors with a push alert featuring a personalized offer to entice them in. Eleventh-hour shoppers: Marketers need to start engaging with habitual procrastinators early on, recommending items and highlighting sales for gifts. Pushing a message when the individual comes

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in close proximity of a store, with a tailored deal, will help retailers close on the last-minute purchases.

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data, retailers can predict who likely plays host during the holidays and send information on home decorating items, hosting tips and festive recipes to drive engagement and loyalty. Social butterflies: By accounting for social influence, retailers can court customers with a large Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram footprint with special offers and deals. Those posts could then be seen by thousands of

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other people. Early-bird buyers: Which customers err on the side of early? Retailers should start targeting holiday campaigns to this cohort when other customers might balk at the timing. Some people don’t mind holiday gift ideas in September, while others would cringe at the thought of it. Deal fishers: Retailers are always competing to provide the best deal, especially around the holidays. Retailers need to segment their deal-hungry audience based on which offers motivate them the most to make a purchase. While some people will get excited about free shipping on orders over $100, others only care about discounts on home goods. Thrifty brand loyalists: Some people want a certain brand, but wait for the price to fall and then purchase a vast quantity. Most commonly, this segment emerges on the day after Christmas and the following weeks. Retailers need to implement dynamic pricing on an individual level, providing these thrifty brand loyalists with deep discounts that will pay off in the total purchase bill.

5-industries

The Great Divide: Five Industries Where Mobile Doesn’t Meet Our Expectations

There are some things in life that we just expect. Perhaps it’s because of how things have happened in the past or maybe it’s because we make correlations with other things in our lives. Whatever the reason, we have certain expectations. With all of the hype around how mobile is going to change everything, making daily activities more delightful and efficient, a lot of us have come to expect mobile-driven innovations in all aspects of our lives. Everything should know us (Welcome back, Ryan!). Remember our preferences (Last time you ordered ). And make spot-on recommendations (à la Netflix). 70-331 While some industries have embraced mobile innovation, there is still a large gap between what we expect and what is available in many others. Here are the five industries where the gap is the widest: · Dining and Nightlife: Every time a diner enters a restaurant, they have to reintroduce themselves to the server and rack their brains for what they ordered last time (Did the chicken meet my desire of spiciness?). Servers go to every table blindly; unaware of whether the person sitting in the section is a loyal customer, a social media influencer or a patron who follows a gluten-free diet. Diners should be able to seamlessly tap into their social networks for menu recommendations and pay the bill when they want via their mobile device. · Real Estate: In some markets, well-priced, coveted houses go under contract in days, if not hours. Real-time communication in real estate is key. While Trulia found that more than half of weekend traffic comes from mobile devices, agent’s mobile apps today only allow homebuyers to scan properties for sale and (sometimes) take

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and save photos. Agents need to be able to push new listings to buyers and have them react immediately (I am interested in seeing this right away). Context-aware marketing would make the home buying experience more relevant and personalized. A homebuyer, for instance, who has favorited a property would be pushed an alert if they drive by the home or notified of a nearby open house. Lastly, beacons placed strategically in open houses could point out specific features tailored to each person based on their preferences allowing for a much more personalized experience. · Retail: This one may seem surprising, but I am not talking about from a consumer standpoint, well directly anyway. Except for Apple’s retail stores and a few others, retailers have been slow to adopt mobile as a back-office and sales associate tool. Every floor employee needs to be armed with a device, allowing him or her to check stock in the back, custom order products for customers in real-time and facilitate payments. The use of strategically placed beacons could alert the manager if there is a high to low ratio of customers to employees in specific areas of the store, allowing them to message associates to better disperse or relieve long checkout lines. · Airlines and Hospitality: The shift towards travel research, planning and booking on mobile has been incredibly swift, but only one in four airlines accept mobile payments. We will soon get to a point when all tickets will be paperless. When the associate behind counters will know who is approaching. When travelers will not have to pull out their credit cards to purchase ancillary items, like food during a flight or a toothbrush from the hotel store. Once the hospitality industry leverages marketing automation, prediction and emerging

technologies like ibeacons, a traveler would be welcomed immediately as they arrive in the airport parking lot or hotel lobby, provided with all key information, and guided through their journey with personalized messages. Augmented reality will show personalized deals at airport terminal restaurants and shops, and travelers who wander off from the gate will get an alert when boarding starts. · Higher Education: College students are arguably one of the most digital generations — a recent survey found that 78 percent of students have a smartphone compared to 56 percent of American adults. This group has grown up with devices all around them; yet higher education has been slow to innovate. Paper check-in sheets still circulate through classrooms when beacons should be explored for automatic check-ins. Students spend up to $1,200 a year on hardcover textbooks a year, when digital versions accessed via laptops and tablets can cost up to 90 percent off. At a time when only 60 percent of students who enter a bachelor’s program graduate in six years and the cost of earning a degree continuing to increase, colleges and universities need to leverage technology like predictive analytics to alert professors which students are at risk of falling behind or not graduating. There are a growing number of sensors, screens and apps in our daily lives. As even the most mundane everyday activities like managing the thermostat are now exciting and mobile, we will start to increasingly except more mobile-driven innovation throughout all aspects of our lives, whether we are going to a restaurant, visiting an open house or checking into a hotel. Our phones will soon be our identity carriers, alerting servers, teachers, flight attendants and sales associates who we

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are so they can provide a highly personalized experience, unlike ever before.70-457