A Growing Focus on Customer Loyalty

Website Magazine – A new report from Boston Retail Partners (BRP) reveals that loyalty programs are a top priority for 46 percent of retailers. The “Loyalty Programs – Rewarding the Customer Experience” report found that more retailers are recognizing the need to evolve their loyalty programs for today’s tech-savvy customer. What’s more, the report addresses how consumers’ behaviors and shopping habits have evolved through new technology. Because of this evolution, loyalty programs must now go above and beyond the traditional structure to play a key role in enabling unified commerce experiences and reinforcing customer relationships.

Read full article: A Growing Focus on Customer Loyalty

Only 11% of Retailers with Mobile Apps Have Implemented Loyalty/Reward Programs

Money’s Edge – Analysts at consulting firm Boston Retail Partners have concluded that companies’ loyalty and rewards programs are failing to be integrated with their mobile apps (to they extent they have them). And it’s a shame, because as the firm’s research – as well as common sense – tells us, people love to be rewarded.

Here’s a nuggest of wisdom from BRP’s report on this front:

“According to the 2015 Loyalty Report by Bond Brand Loyalty based on a recent survey of more than 10,000 consumers, enrollment levels in loyalty programs have reached an all-time high as consumers consider them valuable and indicate that they influence shopping behavior. The survey also found that one-third of consumers agree they would not be loyal to a brand if it were not for a loyalty program, and 70 percent modify when and where they shop to maximize points.”

Read full article: Only 11% of Retailers with Mobile Apps Have Implemented Loyalty/Reward Programs

Pinterest competes with Amazon for iPhone users with buyable pin search

Mobile Commerce Daily – Pinterest is moving further into the retail landscape with a new feature for its iOS application that allows users to search for buyable pins, competing with major mobile commerce apps such as Amazon and Etsy.

The new feature allows Pinterest users on iOS to search for specific products to buy. The addition to the app brings the social platform into the forefront of mobile commerce, and giving Amazon and Etsy a significant competitor in the space.

“With more than 70 million Pinterest users and the enhanced buyable pin capabilities, retailers can not ignore the expanded selling opportunities on Pinterest,” said David Naumann, director of marketing at Boston Retail Partners. “Social media and mobile apps will continue to offer new opportunities for retailers to extend their selling channels and increase revenues.”

Read full article: Pinterest competes with Amazon for iPhone users with buyable pin search

Victoria’s Secret unclasps selfies’ in-store potential

Mobile Commerce Daily – Victoria’s Secret is taking its omnichannel marketing to new heights and adding in-store appeal to the selfie by asking fans to visit a location, snap a picture in front of a window display and show a sales associate to receive a free gift, suggesting in-store selfie activations could be the next big thing for millennial-friendly retailers.

The brand is seeking to raise awareness for its Tease perfume line, and took to Instagram to display an invitation for consumers to visit their local bricks-and-mortar location and take a selfie with friends or family. Fans are then asked to upload the photo to social media using the #VSTease and #VSGift hashtags to be eligible for the surprise gift.

“In-store selfies tied to social media are a great way for retailers to drive traffic to their stores and engage shoppers,” said Ken Morris, principal at Boston Retail Partners, Boston. “Selfies have become a hot trend among the younger generations and they present opportunities for retailers to leverage this fascination to connect with their customers in an entertaining way.

“Social shopping, with likes and dislikes, is becoming prevalent among millennials and it is likely to extend to other demographics.”

Read full article: Victoria’s Secret unclasps selfies’ in-store potential

Victoria’s Secret unhooks new line with Angel-stamped Instagram, Snapchat takeovers

Mobile Marketer – Victoria’s Secret is celebrating the release of the new Body by Victoria bra and simultaneously promoting a new roster of Angel ambassadors by handing over the brand’s Instagram and Snapchat accounts to four models as they capture their globetrotting experiences.

The lingerie retailer has been pushing heavily into Instagram content, especially as it introduces fans to the ten newest models that have been given their wings for Angel status. Beginning next week, Instagram users can follow along as four of these spokeswomen take over the Victoria’s Secret Instagram and Snapchat accounts to showcase a day in the life of their promotional duties.

Read full article: Victoria’s Secret unhooks new line with Angel-stamped Instagram, Snapchat takeovers

Express unzips new ad for Instagram fans ahead of TV rollout

Mobile Marketer – Express is merging digital and traditional advertising methods by building excitement for a new commercial featuring supermodel Karlie Kloss with a rollout on Instagram 24 hours before it hit televisions nationwide.

The millennial-favorite retailer aimed to reward its loyal Instagram followers with a sneak peek at the commercial, which showcases the fall 2015 denim line. The brand is likely attempting to ramp up its focus on social media to reach younger consumers, and is leveraging its partnership with Karlie Kloss, who boasts nearly three million Instagram fans, to reach this goal.

Read full article: Express unzips new ad for Instagram fans ahead of TV rollout

Wallflower Jeans brings YouTube to bricks-and-mortar stores for back-to-school promotion

Mobile Marketer – Juniors brand Wallflower Jeans is integrating QR codes, YouTube celebrities and video with in-store experiences in a unique back-to-school campaign to connect with teen girls.

Brands are flocking to mobile to produce innovative campaigns that stick out from the slew of marketing content surrounding the back-to-school season. Wallflower is hoping to appeal to young female consumers through a big name that grabs the attention of teens and mobile video, a facet of marketing that is now vital.

“Digital is transforming the in-store customer experience,” said Ken Morris, principal at Boston Retail Partners. “With smartphone ownership becoming ubiquitous, shoppers are tapping their mobile phones as a shopping assistant when they are standing in the store.

“Savvy retailers are using mobile to connect with their consumers and enhance the shopping experience,” he said. “Retailers can also add links to videos and other product information to electronic receipts to further engage with the shoppers after they leave the store.”

Read full article: Wallflower Jeans brings YouTube to bricks-and-mortar stores for back-to-school promotion

How public Snapchat accounts humanize retail brands

Mobile Marketer – White House Black Market’s recent introduction of a public Snapchat account is the latest example of how retailers are embracing the platform for its potential to more effectively draw in younger consumers compared to other social platforms through a mix of behind-the-scenes pictures and spotlighted products.

The Snapchat “Stories” feature, which enables users to upload a photo or video that can be seen by all of their followers for a 24-hour period, is now evolving into a marketing tool for retailers to tease fans with footage from company events or sneak peeks at new clothing lines. A slew of brands favored by millennials have jumped on the social bandwagon, including White House Black Market, Express and Lilly Pulitzer.

Read full article: How public Snapchat accounts humanize retail brands

What is “Customer Context” and why you need to know…

Retailers who understand their customer at the most granular and intimate level will increase the relevance of interactions and improve customer retention and loyalty and increase sales. Do you really know your customers and can you deliver the experience they expect? Customer context is the answer.

Customer Context Defined

CustomerContextImageBRP defines customer context as “the interrelated factors of customer insights and environmental conditions that make the shopping experience relevant.”

With advances in technology (networks, WiFi, mobile, NFC, Beacons, etc.) retailers have the ability to access more customer information than ever before and in real-time. Retailers have the ability to know what a customer has in her closet, what she previously purchased, what she browsed on the Web site and abandoned in her online cart, when she is near your store and even exactly what she is browsing and where within the store.

In addition to customer insights, customer context considers environmental conditions such as current and forecasted weather, time of day, time of year, media (news), social media, traffic, holidays, events, and other conditions that impact a consumer’s purchase decision.

Delivering on Customer Context

Retailers must integrate the customer insight and environmental factors with real-time transactions and inventory data to enable and support real-time retail capabilities that leverage “customer context.”

To be successful, information must be instantly accessible to store associates. Without real-time data, information provided internally and externally is out-of-date and risks being inaccurate and out of context. Retailers must collect, analyze and respond, in real-time, to their customer’s interactions across all touch points.

With real-time customer context, sales associates can offer customer intimacy and enhanced services like guided selling and personalized offers that are relevant to the individual customer.

Real-time Retail is a Top Priority

According to the 2015 POS Benchmarking Survey, nearly 50% of the retailers indicated that real-time retail was one of their top three priorities.

BRP Special Report COVER - Real-time RetailAs reported in BRP SPECIAL REPORT: Real-time Retail – The New Retail Imperative, retailers are focused on leveraging “customer context” to provide customers enhanced experiences:

  • 280% more retailers plan to provide suggested selling based on a customer’s previous purchases within three years
  • 361% more retailers plan to offer promotions based on the customer’s geographic proximity within five years
  • 107% more retailers plan to have real-time inventory available at the POS within three years
  • 157% more retailers plan to implement real-time analytics within five years

Is your organization ready to leverage customer context?

As always, I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this topic.  Please enter your comments and ideas below.


New Balance laces up mobile loyalty with RunKeeper partnership

Mobile Marketer – Footwear brand New Balance is stepping into customer loyalty through a new partnership with the RunKeeper mobile application to reward users based on their fitness activity.

The app-based program, titled MyNB, enables New Balance fans to earn points by completing a variety of activities, including fitness initiatives, social media usage and product purchases. The RunKeeper will monitor consumers’ fitness through their smartphones and aggregate possible rewards, such as meet-and-greets with athletes and racing bibs.

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“New Balance’s new interactive MyNB app is a great way to engage its customers and help inspire brand enthusiasts,” said Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners, Boston. “As consumers reach bronze, silver and gold levels based on the points they earn for their running miles, they will be motivated to visit a New Balance store or shop online to redeem their points.

“The MyNB app is a great example of retailers using gamification to engage with their customers. In a recent Boston Retail Partner’s survey, 87 percent of retailers plan to use gamification to engage the customer within five years.”

Read Full Article: New Balance laces up mobile loyalty with RunKeeper partnership