Loyalty Programs in an Omnichannel World

MarTech Series – More than ever, consumers demand a fast, seamless and flexible shopping experience. They want to maintain their preferences across all channels—web, mobile, and within a physical store – and they want the perks of their loyalty programs no matter the shopping experience they choose. A recent survey from Boston Retail Partners found that 87 percent of consumers are interested in a personalized and consistent experience across channels.

By now, most retailers and brands are on board with loyalty programs and even have a successful one implemented. However, as consumer shopping habits evolve and their demands become more complex, loyalty programs need to be adjusted to compete in an omnichannel world.

According to Boston Retail Partners, 68 percent of consumers would choose a store that provides personalized/discounts over a store that doesn’t offer them. Therefore, personalization is yet another crucial aspect of a current loyalty program. Personalization should not be compromised as the customer moves from channel to channel.

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Now public, Revolve will test investor appetite for influencer marketing

Glossy – On Friday, Revolve made its Wall Street debut, one of several online fashion companies to go public in recent months. Stitch Fix went public in November 2017, followed by Farfetch in September 2018. The RealReal filed for IPO just last month.

One of the greatest concerns when any company goes public, and one that most public retailers are grappling with, is the subsequent rate of growth expected. For Revolve, one of the biggest questions is how much more it can grow through influencer marketing, which brought in nearly 70% of sales for the brand in 2018, and experiential events like #RevolveFest.

“Once there’s a capital infusion via an IPO, the expectations on these retailers are pretty aggressive. The whole goal of the infusion of cash or investment is really to grow the brand fast,” said David Naumann, vp of marketing at management consultancy BRP Consulting. “There’s only so much you can do for growing a brand online. The biggest way to grow and scale is to open some stores.”

Read Full Article: Now public, Revolve will test investor appetite for influencer marketing

Stop & Shop Employees Return To Work After Strike Ends

BOSTON (CBS) – Stop and Shop employees got back to work Monday morning. Both sides have reached a tentative contract agreement, putting an end to the 11-day strike.

The first order of business was restocking the shelves after workers walked the picket lines for more than a week.
Sunday night Stop and Shop and the unions announced that they reached a tentative agreement. Thirty-one thousand workers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut walked off the job on April 11.

UFCW Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445, and 1459 called it a “powerful victory.” The unions released a statement which says in part: The agreement preserves health care and retirement benefits, provides wage increases, and maintains time-and-a-half pay on Sunday for current members.

“I’ve never felt so good on a Monday morning in my life,” said Anthony Pedriali, a Quincy Stop & Shop employee.
Employees said they don’t know the details of the deal, but have confidence in their union presidents.

Retail expert Ken Morris, Principal at BRP, retail consulting firm, says some customers may never return.

“When you have a good customer moment it’s great, when you have a bad customer moment, you tend not to shop as frequently at that location,” Morris said. “You get a chance to look at competitors, and perhaps you’ll go to someone else going forward.”

View Video Clip: Stop & Shop Employees Return To Work After Strike Ends

5 Things Customers Want from Retail Stores and How You Can Deliver

Small Business Trends – The world of retail is changing — perhaps faster than at any time in history. How can a small retailer keep up with what customers want? One way is by keeping up with the latest retail insights from retail consulting firm BRP. The company does a wealth of consumer surveys to find out what today’s shoppers want from retailers.

While some of the research is most applicable to larger retail chains with bigger budgets than small retailers, there is still a lot to learn. You’ll want to pore over the massive report yourself, but here are some of the key takeaways.

What Retail Store Customers Want:

1. Provide Personalized Customer Service
2. Offer Online/Offline Integration
3. Make the Most of Mobile Technology
4. Lure Them with Loyalty Rewards
5. Offer Store Financing

What do retail customers want? It changes from day to day. But since 63% of consumers will stop shopping at your store after just one unsatisfactory shopping experience, you’d better offer it.

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One week in, Stop & Shop strike has no end in sight

Grocery Dive – Analysts say customer loyalty could take a hit as workers picket without wages and stores remain closed or are operating on limited resources.

The picket lines outside Stop & Shop locations across New England are still in full force today, marking one week since 31,000 workers walked out of their jobs. Right now, dozens of stores across New England are still closed and others are operating on limited hours with a reduced product selection and limited staff. Peapod deliveries have been put on hold, which is a significant issue for shoppers who rely on grocery delivery.

Limited services and closed doors have pushed shoppers into competing stores. That could cause a significant number to permanently defect, particularly if the strike drags on for a long time, said David Naumann, vice president of marketing for BRP Retail Consulting Firm.

“The strike, in and of itself, won’t be what erodes customer loyalty the most. It is the opportunity that it gives competitors to impress new shoppers (former Stop & Shop customers) to join their loyalty programs and convince them to switch their allegiance to their brand,” Naumann wrote in an email to Grocery Dive.

Read Full Article: One week in, Stop & Shop strike has no end in sight

Bloated brands are looking to spin-offs to save themselves

DIGIDAY – J.Crew Group Inc. confirmed last week that it is considering taking its denim brand Madewell public as a separate company, potentially during the second half of the year. The news comes after J.Crew announced last week that it was appointing Madewell president Libby Wadle as the brand’s first CEO. And in February, Gap Inc. announced that it would spin off Old Navy as a separate brand.

The respective parent companies of Old Navy and Madewell have used the growth of their crown jewels to buoy otherwise unimpressive results for a few years now. Last quarter, Madewell posted a 32% growth in sales, while J. Crew’s sales fell by 4%. Madewell generated more than $500 million in revenue last year, accounting for about a fourth of J. Crew Group’s sales, but has seen its sales grow faster than its parent retailer since 2014.

“Old Navy’s growth will depend on continuing to introduce new trendy, low-priced clothes for its core target audience to retain their loyal customers,” Ken Morris, principal at BRP consulting said in an email. He added that “many people may identify and associate the Old Navy brand synonymously with Gap, and that the key for Old Navy will be “to clearly distance itself from Gap during the spin-off.”

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How Bloomingdale’s is using shop-in-shops to test wider retail strategy

Glossy – Late last year, Bloomingdale’s unveiled a major new concept: a rotating shop-in-shop section called The Carousel that would see curated collections of pieces from a variety of big and small brands centered around a theme. Now on its fourth iteration, Bloomingdale’s says The Carousel has been an important lesson, not just for how to improve its shop-in-shops, but also how to improve all of its retail efforts.

“The Carousel is a great place for us to test out new brands and see how they resonate with our shopper,” said Kevin Harter, vp of integrated marketing at Bloomingdale’s. “Through our learnings from The Carousel, we have been able to determine what could be beneficial to our overall assortment. We’ve also seen success in offering a cross-shopping experience and have expanded this idea to other areas in the store.”

“As stores rotate new trendy brands into their in-store shops, they capitalize on the latest hot brands,” said David Naumann, vp of marketing at BRP, retail consulting firm. “When the stores change the in-store brand, it gives them something new for customers to explore on their next store visit. It is a great way to increase the frequency of store visits.”

“Shop-in-shops, or stores-within-stores, is a growing trend,” said Naumann “For the anchor store, it can be a great way to attract new customers that don’t typically shop at the brand, and for the [brands], it gives them a captive audience of the anchor store’s shoppers. It also offers them a cost-effective space without committing to a long-term lease.”

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Why Retailers Must Seize the Post-Purchase Opportunity to Create a “Moment of Trust”

Sourcing Journal – Writing last August about the importance of the post-purchase experience, BRP Retail Consulting SVP and practice lead Jeffrey Neville described retailers as creating a “moment of trust” when they regularly communicate order and shipping updates to consumers who would otherwise be left in the dark in the oft-ignored opportunity between purchase and package delivery.

“Customers who shop without a sense of risk will feel more comfortable making repeat purchases in the future,” Neville noted. Retailers are beginning to realize the value of the post-purchase opportunity as a time to strengthen the customer relationship and brand moments typically outsourced to third-party shippers.

Retailers that enrich the post-purchase experience stand to gain greater customer loyalty, an important move, BRP said, because these customers are between five and 25 times less costly to convert and 80 percent more likely to buy again in the future.

“By crafting a post-purchase experience to minimize stress and maximize convenience, retailers make an investment in a sustained relationship with their customer,” BRP noted.

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How much damage can one bad shopping experience cause a retail brand? A lot.

USA Today – Consumers have more choices about nearly every purchase than they’ve ever had before. It’s no longer necessary to visit a physical store to buy most things, and for the vast majority of products, shoppers can pick from multiple retailers on their phone or computer.

That creates a market where people don’t have to be all that forgiving of a bad customer experience, and it makes every interaction important – especially with new customers or those who have had limited experience with a company.

Indeed, 63 percent of consumers said “it only takes one unsatisfactory shopping experience” to make them stop shopping your brand, according to BRP’s Keeping Loyal Customers Happy report.

Customer loyalty is hard to win and easy to lose. One method of delivering a positive experience is by offering a personalized touch – that’s something 44 percent of survey respondents said would lead to them making repeat visits. And nearly twice that number (79 percent) indicated that personalized service from in-store personnel would influence their store choice going forward.

“Engaging the customer through personalized and relevant experiences is the key to attracting and keeping your customers happy and continuing to shop your brand,” said Senior Vice President Perry Kramer, BRP, retail consulting firm.

One challenge for retailers in providing that personalized service is convincing consumers to share their preferences. Among survey respondents, 75 percent of millennials and Generation Zers said they were fine with being identified via their smartphone when entering a store as long as they got something in return (like a deal or special incentive); for the full survey group, it was 64 percent.

“Retailers that identify customers when they enter the store and equip their associates with the proper mobile tools can personalize the shopping experience based on customer preferences, purchase history, what’s in their closet, online browsing history, time of day, weather and their physical location – all based on real-time information and personalized to create a bond with these valuable customers,” Kramer said.

Read Full Article: How much damage can one bad shopping experience cause a retail brand? A lot.

C-Store Loyalty Plans Spur Engagement

Convenience Store Decisions – C-store loyalty programs are enticing customers, while mobile options bring new ways for retailers to engage with shoppers.

Surprise and delight programs send customers coupons for free items, especially if they haven’t been to the store in a while, something particularly useful in driving fuel-only customers into the store.

“A loyalty program linked to a mobile application is powerful for retailers who have been able to get consumers to opt into the program,” said Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead, BRP, a retail consulting firm.

Using today’s technological advances such as location data, geolocation, geofencing and beacon technology, retailers can leverage their ability to connect with the consumer electronically even before they pull their vehicle onto the property.

“These tools will continue to be used to speed up drive-through and in-store lines, offer personalized marketing while at the pump and in-store marketing,” Kramer said.

Unfortunately, 63% of retailers can’t identify their customer before checkout, according to BRP’s “2019 POS/Customer Engagement Survey.” Kramer noted c-stores should continue to focus on loyalty programs that allow them to identify consumers and connect with them in a personalized way.

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