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This is why online retailers need to improve the post-purchase experience

Chain Store Age – Retailers say customer loyalty is critical to their business, yet few actually measure retention.

This was according to “Best Practices for Enhancing the Post-Purchase Experience,” a study from Boston Retail Partners, retail consulting firm. While it is no secret that a returning customer is less expensive to convert and has a higher average order value than a new shopper, the e-commerce industry continues to be mainly focused on the acquisition of new customers — a strategy that requires adopting the latest technologies and marketing strategies.

“By crafting a post-purchase experience to minimize stress and maximize convenience, retailers make an investment in a sustained relationship with their customer,” the study revealed. “Enhancing your post-purchase customer experience doesn’t necessarily mean investing heavily in the latest technologies. We believe [our best practices] can create a welcome and trusting experience for your customers to return time after time.”

Read Full Article: This is why online retailers need to improve the post-purchase experience

How to retain digital shoppers: BRP

Luxury Daily – Retailers are too focused on overall sales and figures rather than harnessing the potential of returning customers, who are proven to have lower costs for conversion and have a higher average order value.

A new study from Boston Retail Partners shows that only 40 percent of retailers measure customer retention to their detriment, especially for luxury brands who rely on loyal consumers. There are a variety of steps that retailers can take after a customer makes a purchase to build a strong connection of trust.

“Improving the post-purchase experience can have as much, if not more, impact on a retailer’s bottom line than just focusing on driving visits and customer conversion. Many improvements to the post-purchase experience, like professional packaging and enhanced communications do not require technical support or investment,” said Jeffrey Neville, SVP and practice lead at BRP, retail consulting firm. “These improvements can be made in small, iterative sprints and have a dramatic effect on the overall customer experience.”

Read Full Article: How to retain digital shoppers: BRP

Less than Half of Retailers Measure Customer Retention

Convenience Store Decisions – Studies have shown that a returning customer is less expensive to convert and has a higher average order value than a new shopper. However, many retailers are focused on measuring total sales and comparative sales, while customer loyalty strategies and customer retention are not getting the attention they deserve.

“Retailers are focusing more attention on customer acquisition than loyalty. While acquiring new customers and driving top-line sales are important, building long-term relationships with customers is imperative for healthy long-term performance,” said Jeffrey Neville, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “Paying more attention to the post-purchase experience and measuring its impact on sales, will increase the lifetime value of customers and maximize total revenues and profits.”

Read Full Article: Less than Half of Retailers Measure Customer Retention

Retail Expert Says Kaepernick Ad Won’t ‘Negatively Affect’ Nike

WBZ4 – CBS Boston – The selection of former NFL player Colin Kaepernick as Nike’s new spokesperson has some praising the athletic-wear company and others threatening to boycott it.

On Labor Day, Colin Kaepernick tweeted a picture of a new ad for the 30th anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign. It shows a tight shot of the athlete’s face and reads “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Retail Expert Says Kaepernick Ad Won't 'Negatively Affect' Nike

Comments from Ken Morris, Principal, BRP:

“It is always true that negative press is good press.”

“They’re picking a side and I don’t think that’s going to negatively affect them over the long run.”

Boston retail consultant, Ken Morris, said that “despite the backlash, the ad will only do good things for Nike, given the company’s younger demographics.”

“It’s a calculated risk. For every 25 people wo aren’t going to buy Nike products, 50 are going to buy Nike products.”

Watch Video Clip: Retail Expert Says Kaepernick Ad Won’t ‘Negatively Affect’ Nike

2018 Holiday Guide – Putting Personalization into Practice

Retail TouchPoints – Integrating personalization into retail marketing and communications strategies is becoming more important every day. Especially during the highly competitive holiday shopping season, consumers are looking for relevant promotions, messaging and interactions from the brands they visit online, in-store and via every other touch point.

The 9th annual Retail TouchPoints Holiday Guide offers strategic insights, tips and real-world case studies that drive home the value of delivering a more personalized retail experience.

Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP, shared these comments:

“The key to success in meeting consumers’ last mile expectations is having the right product in the right place, so that you are buying it once and touching it once.”  Putting product in the distribution centers or stores that are geographically close to their final destinations makes the last mile both shorter and speedier.

“You don’t necessarily have to offer two-hour delivery, but if you offer two-day delivery, you have to meet that expectation 99.9% of the time,” said Kramer. “Customers may be buying something they need for the weekend or as they are heading out on vacation.”

The growth of BORIS (buy online/return in-store) has meant increased convenience for consumers, but has created a new set of issues for retailers — particularly when the items purchased online are not carried in the brick-and-mortar store. “Some retailers are limiting the impact of BORIS by offering customers who are returning products a coupon for X percentage off anything they purchase in the store on the same day,” said Kramer. “This is a great way for retailers to garner some additional sales from customers returning merchandise.”

Read Full Article: 2018 Holiday Guide – Putting Personalization into Practice

Retailers Take Stock of the Winners & Losers Post Bon-Ton

Sourcing Journal – Though the press has had a lot of fun with the retail apocalypse storyline, former Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren said the reality is a lot less dramatic.

Speaking to CNBC, Lundgren said rumors of the demise of department stores circulated throughout his 40-year career, but even with the recent turmoil, it’s not going to happen. “There will be a shake out,” he said. “There’s going to be winners and losers.”

On one end of that spectrum is Amazon and on the other, he said, there’s The Bon-Ton Stores, which recently began liquidation sales following the company’s February bankruptcy filing.

“Amazon has done a great job of attracting this loyalty customer through their Prime program but they’re the only pureplay—if you can still call them that—online retailer in the top 100 retailers,” he said. Further, he said those who are putting too much stock into e-commerce at the expense of brick-and-mortar, are missing the fact that it still only accounts for 10 percent of retail.

As for Bon-Ton, he said the company, which had a mountain of debt, made a fatal mistake that’s all too common these days. “The key is don’t be a highly leveraged retail business because you cannot survive the ups and downs of consumer changes.”

With Bon-Ton out of business, Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at Boston Retail Partners, a retail management consulting firm, told Sourcing Journal the effects will be felt across the landscape, resulting in a boon for some and a misfortune for others.

Given that Bon-Ton’s travails were well documented, Kramer said it’s likely the retailer’s competitors were already laying out plans to capitalize on the vacancy.

“The biggest winners will be the regional competitors who already have a strong understanding of the merchandise mix and customer experience that resonated best with Bon-Ton’s customer base,” he said, listing Boxcov’s and Belk as possible benefactors. “The most opportunistic competitors have already been working to negotiate discounted merchandise for the next few seasons to take advantage of the procurement gap that will be created by the Bon-Ton closure.”

Beyond snapping up stock, he also sees opportunity for these stores to tap into Bon-Ton’s credit cardholders, who could be wooed with favorable perks.

Ultimately though, Kramer sees a dim future for some of the company’s landlords. “In many cases, the closing of these stores, which are most often an anchor store in malls, may be the straw that breaks the back of several malls impacted by the store closures across 26 states,” he said, adding the smaller stores in those centers may be hurt as well.

Read Full Article: Retailers Take Stock of the Winners & Losers Post Bon-Ton

Pepsi takes notes from fashion brands with holiday pop-up

Mobile Commerce Daily – PepsiCo is merchandising out its emoji campaign for its namesake brand, hoping to get in on the holiday season and tooling together call-to-action mobile marketing techniques such as a White Elephant giveaway on social media.

The Pepsi brand will be joining the numerous fashion and accessories brands who set up pop-up shops for the holiday season for its holiday #SayItWithPepsi campaign, but the shop will not have a bricks-and-mortar presence. PepsiPopUpShop.com will be available for a limited amount of time where users can shop merchandise featuring holiday versions of the Pepsi emojis that have been seen throughout the year, but it is Pepsi’s unique marketing campaign that will give the shop legs.

“Pepsi has taken advantage of the emoji craze to keep the brand front of mind with mobile consumers throughout the holiday season,” said Jonathan Portny, senior manager at BRP. “For a company traditionally bound by the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, the PepsiMoji Holiday Pop Up Shop enables Pepsi to interact with a different market of online shoppers looking for fun and convenient stocking stuffers.

“The Pop Up Shop is a no-frills e-commerce site solely focused on selling their nearly two dozen PepsiMoji-themed holiday products,” he said. “Pepsi’s #SayItWithPepsi campaign and PepsiMojis entice consumers to download the company’s Pepsi Pass mobile app by offering rewards for scanning Pepsi emojis on soda bottles.

“Unique, rarer soda bottle emojis are worth more points and points are redeemable for impressive rewards like concert tickets or travel getaways,” he said. “Pepsi uses gamification to engage and reward consumers looking for something more than the traditional in-store grocery shopping experience.”

READ FULL ARTICLE: Pepsi takes notes from fashion brands with holiday pop-up

Harvey Nichols says “Ciao” to holidays with playful tribute to Italy

Luxury Daily – British department store chain Harvey Nichols is paying homage to the culture, fashion, food and lifestyle of Italy with a festive campaign that looks beyond traditional holiday themes.

The retailer’s “Britalia” campaign, supported by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and the Italian Trade Agency, spans digital content, in-store events, product edits and window displays. For Harvey Nichols, curating this whimsical Italian celebration may help differentiate it from other stores during this important shopping season.

“This entertaining campaign focuses on the theme of family, food and fashion, which are all extremely relevant themes around the holidays,” said Laura Sossong, manager at Boston Retail Partners. “As Italy is the on the forefront of exquisite luxury brands and design, it’s a relevant locational choice to feature as the focal point of this campaign.

“It allows shoppers to see a whimsical, inventive side of the brand which will resonate with consumers—particularly as it highlights the dramatic and bittersweet nature inherent in spending quality time with loved ones during the holiday season, which is something that is identifiable for all,” she said. “Many luxury brands have a perception of being conservative and serious, and this campaign breaks the mold on common perceptions.”

Read full article: Harvey Nichols says “Ciao” to holidays with playful tribute to Italy

Ikea’s Omnichannel Experiment

HFN – The Swedish retailer makes up for lost time with a thorough and deliberate approach to the newest form of retailing. Big boxy Ikea may ultimately prove that slow and steady wins the omnichannel race—and be surprisingly nimble at it in the process.

Ikea U.S. is broadening its vision from a traditional brick-and-mortar focused retailer to encompass an omnichannel experience, said Paul Dubie, manager at Boston Retail Partners. “At present, this transformation is still in its infancy. With broader product selection available for online purchase and delivery, mobile shopping and catalog apps, it is easy to see the retailer’s vision to offer its customers the omnichannel experience they now expect.”

“Ikea is striving to provide stock availably and inventory information that is truly cutting edge. Ikea makes it easy for customers to determine when the item is most likely to be available in her local store, based on current stock levels and forecasted shipment inventory.”

Ikea also excels at making detailed data available through the product description pages of its website, Dubie said. This includes useful descriptions, product and shipping dimensions and downloadable assembly instructions, coupled with coordinating products and related items.

Read Full Article: Ikea’s Omnichannel Experiment

Will Instagram’s shoppable-photos strategy finally usher in social media sales?

Mobile Commerce Daily – Kate Spade, JackThreads and Warby Parker will be the first to usher in Instagram’s major move to commerce, allowing users to shop products featured in photos in a way that mirrors user behavior, which could mean social media shopping may finally see the adoption rate previously expected.

Instagram is capitalizing on its users’ behavior by making it easier to shop products directly in the news feed with product pages that retailers can tag in their photos. After the anticipation of the buy buttons rush fell flat to the disappointment of retailers, Instagram’s unique experience may usher in sales and create a platform that ushers in mobile sales through an application that most mobile users are on.

“This is another example of social media platforms inventing more convenient ways for consumers to shop and buy,” said David Naumann, vice president of marketing at BRP. “With the proliferation of smartphones, consumers have elevated their expectations for convenience.

“While some retailers have been very innovative with new mobile apps and cool features, the challenge is that consumers only want a limited number of apps on their phones,” he said. “Consumers will only download apps if they are loyal or frequent shopper of the brand.

“The new Instagram features will enable retailers to extend their brand beyond they loyal fans.”

Read Full Article: Will Instagram’s shoppable-photos strategy finally usher in social media sales?

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Personalization is Key to Customer Loyalty

Personalization is Needed to Compete Against Amazon

As consumers become more technologically savvy and have access to better information, there is a widening gap as retailers struggle to meet consumers’ escalating expectations. Personalization is one of the best ways to create and maintain a connection with the brand’s most valuable and loyal customers. The 2018 Special Report – Personalization is Key to Customer Loyalty identifies how retailers are personalizing the shopping experience for their most valuable customers.

“Personalization is the best way for retailers to enhance the customer experience, especially for those customers who are already invested in your brand,” said Perry Kramer, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “Identifying and rewarding your most valuable customers with personalized offers and services is imperative to cultivating loyal, brand enthusiasts.”

The key customer loyalty trends identified in the study include:

Customer Identification and Incentives – To engage with customers on a personal level requires retailers to identify the customer early in the process at any touch-point.

• 53% of retailers extend specialized offers to encourage customers to identify themselves with personal information

Most Valuable Customers – With 80% of a retailer’s business typically coming from 20% of its customers, identifying your most valuable customers and understanding their shopping habits is critical to cultivating loyal, brand enthusiasts.

• 77% of retailers identify their most valuable customers, however, 69% of those feel the process needs improvement

Personalizing the Experience – 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 context.

• 69% of retailers that identify their most valuable customers share this information with their associates, which represents missed opportunities for the 31% who don’t share customer information with associates.