How do you entice people to buy more from your store? What do you do when you want customers to make purchases more frequently, or in greater volume, or if you’re looking to boost business during slow hours and more?
Whatever your goal may be as a retailer, by creating a time-sensitive sales promotion and having a good grasp on your target customer demographic, you’ll be able to incentivize the right actions, get them to respond, and grow your business in the process.
In this post, we’ll look at three retail sales promotion techniques that are worth their weight in gold when implemented effectively. They are:
So, the next time you’re stuck as to how you can increase sales, get new customers, or retain existing ones, you’ll have no trouble turning to the perfect promotion strategy for your goal.
Let’s get started.
As a small business owner, you already know the power of discounting products to increase demand.
But which products do you give a discount on? And by how much? Or for how long? These are all questions that come to mind when considering the option of reducing prices. They’re also important questions due to the nature of how pricing affects consumer psychology.
For example, you might have heard about the power of ending prices with the number 9. Researchers have discovered that items priced at $39 sell more than the cheaper price point of $34. Or the overbearing power of the word “free,” which Dr. Dan Ariely has shown to motivate us even when the perceived value and price of two options remain the same.
Now, let’s take a look at a few of the more popular promotional pricing options that you can deploy in your own store:
Though you might be most familiar with POP displays from your visit to the grocery store, where you just couldn’t help but notice all those glossy magazines filled with celebrity gossip, you’ll be pleased to know that they’re one of the most effective ways for retailers to encourage impulse buying.
For example, you might have noticed that the last time you went shopping for clothes, there was a never-ending array of bins and displays filled with items that could be seen as “add-ons” or “up sells” as you make your way closer to the checkout.
The reason why these POP displays and the impulse purchases they generate are so effective is thataccording to research, almost 66% of all decisions to buy something are made while people are in the store shopping. And guess what? Almost 53% of those decisions are classified as impulse buying.
Well, it’s time to start thinking about what you could do around your checkout area to get consumers to buy more.
Here are a few examples of different types of POP displays:
Let’s face it, getting new customers costs a lot of time, money, and effort. Providing great service and creating customer loyalty programs that get customers to come back, time and time again, is far more profitable and efficient as a retailer.
Though you may not have the big-box retailer budget to launch a full-out customer loyalty program, rest assured, there are some great alternatives that also happen to be very cost effective as well.
The most beneficial of those alternatives would have to be a Mobile Loyalty App. Your business can now implement a full blown loyalty program that will rival those of the big-box-retailers. Mass Mobile Apps provides a solution that will meet all your needs! With their solution, in exchange for rewarding your customers for shopping, you will be given the ability to reach them like you have never had before. Each customer must download your app, and register in your program, and in doing so they provide you unprecedented access. You are now able to send “Push Notifications” directly to their mobile devices, which appears just like a text message. With a wide variety of features that are designed to enhance the customer experience, and provide the retailer the most up to date marketing tools available.
Another alternative would be email marketing. It’s an effective way to drive customer retention and loyalty and starts as quickly as when you collect customer’s email as they checkout, and then email them about exclusive sales, discounts, coupons, and other promotional offerings for a limited time period. Not only will this incentivize them to visit your store again, but it will also increase the perceived value they have of being on your email list.
One simple way to do that in your store is to use a really handy app by MailChimp called Chimpadeedoo, which you could use alongside your iPad POS system. They’ve also got some great in-depth case studies I suggest checking out. For example, in one case, a retailer saw their email list grow from 250 to 10,000 subscribers in just one year.
Another app you might want to check out is Belly, which helps local businesses connect with customers through a customer-facing mobile app and merchant iPad app, and helps you build loyalty by rewarding your customers each time they visit and make a purchase from your store.
In order for you to get the most benefit from running a sales promotion campaign, you must track the percentage of sales resulting from the promotional campaign. Ideally, you should be able to assign tracking codes or discounts to certain products within your POS system and generate a report to see how well you’ve done since first launching the campaign.
The other important component is setting a timeline for each campaign, not just to help your customers act faster, but for you to start looking at promotions from the perspective of seasonality. That will also help you to be far more strategic and give you enough time to plan everything in advance so as to ensure you’re not wasting your efforts.
Apple’s iOS 10 updates are coming this fall — the public beta is now available for download, so the official release is likely closer than we think — and the host of changes will have a significant impact on mobile marketers. How can you be poised to take advantage of the changes when they launch? Here’s a quick primer.
This is one of the bigger changes. SiriKit opens Apple’s virtual assistant to developers, meaning they can build voice controls into their own apps. Siri will be able to order you a Lyft or Uber with a simple voice command.
Your move: Integrate your app with Siri as much as you can. It will help your product stay top of mind with consumers if they can call it up with a simple one-liner as they lie in bed on a weekend morning.
This one is pretty big, too. In an effort to compete with WhatsApp/Facebook Messenger, Apple added a variety of new messaging features in the iOS 10 updates:
Your move: As messaging functionality (and fun) continues to increase with iOS 10 updates, it’s time to consider investing more in SMS marketing. Coca-Cola, is wasting no time getting in on the action, as they’re poised to spend 70% of its mobile budget on SMS in the next fiscal year. It also means users want messaging that has the tone and feel of a personal message. Embrace emojis! 😜
We’re arriving at a tipping point for the adoption of digital wallets, and the iOS 10 updates might push Apple Pay to the forefront.
in the U.S., we’ve had magnetic stripes on the back of our credit cards for a generation. But these days, chip technology is becoming more prevalent in the U.S. It’s called EMV, and most chip-card reading terminals can work with NFC, or near-field communications. NFC is a set of standards for portable devices. It allows them to establish peer-to-peer radio communications, passing data from one device to another by touching them or putting them very close together.
This new system supports contactless payment, which means a whole host of digital wallet options are opening up as the U.S. fully transitions to chip-based credit cards.
Your move: It’s a great time to adjust your app’s payment options. Digital wallets will foster ease of payment, and ease of payment could be huge for customer retention and acquisition.
Currently the cycle takes about 4-10 days. With iOS 10 updates, the expectation is 1-2 days.While Apple still reviews about 100,000 apps/week, it’s devised a faster process. This means that from the point of submission, you could be ‘live’ in front of consumers within about 30 hours.
Your move: Have your ducks in a row for rollout before you submit your app, because it’s not a potential two-week waiting game anymore.
Apps that use subscriptions will see a 70 (developers) / 30 (Apple) revenue split in year 1, and then in year 2, it will become 85-15. Subscriptions will now be available across allcategories, whereas previously it was limited to only a few.
Your move: Do subscription services make sense for your app? To qualify, you’ll need content that is updated or delivered on a regular basis — or you need to provide paid access to an ongoing service within the app, i.e. massive multiplayer online games.
This will be new feature — but unlike Google AdWords, only one ad result will show at the top of keyword searches in the App Store. Mobile marketers can bid on keyword searches, but the competition for some might be very tight,and relevancy is going to play a key role here. Apple is apparently going to parse the app descriptions for relevance, which is the first time they’ve done that in any iOS release.
Your move: Write compelling, targeted descriptions of your apps if you plan to keyword-bid at any point.
iOS 10 Mail will offer simple unsubscribes from marketing list e-mails, which is a potentially great feature for users — and makes prioritizing permission-based subscription more important than ever for email marketers. The exact repercussions of this will evolve once iOS 10 gets out of beta, but standard email marketing approaches will become even more important. In essence: good subject lines, relevant content, and offers and personalized approaches that resonate with consumers.
This is a jumping-off point for your thinking about iOS 10, which will likely be live by the end of September. For now, we recommend brainstorming strategies around how to use messaging more effectively (one of the bigger changes) and utilizing SiriKit to integrate with the voice of the iPhone.
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What efforts do you take to build trust with your customers? Building solid, trusting relationships with your customer base is one of the best ways to retain them. In fact, News Cred’s recent study revealed that among millennials, the top three brand loyalty drivers include a great product (77%), followed by brand recognition (69%) and trust (69%).
Research also shows that retaining customers is much cheaper than acquiring new ones. The longer a customer is loyal to a brand, the more money they spend. What does that mean for your bottom line? According to a study cited by Retention Science, increasing customer retention by just 5% increases profits by 25-95 percent.
Needless to say, building trust with your customers is a worthwhile and profitable endeavor. Here are four ways to build trust with your audience:
1. Communicate with customers on a regular basis
You shouldn’t just contact customers when you want them to make a purchase. If customers feel like every communication is a sales push, you’ll dash any hope of building trust.
Instead, communicate with your customers on a regular basis. Consider emailing a regular newsletter, sharing links to helpful articles on your social media channels or providing how-to articles on your blog. Customers appreciate useful information that makes their day a little better.
For example, if you run a fast casual restaurant, create a monthly newsletter that highlights upcoming menu items and welcomes new staff.
If you run a cleaning company, share an article about best ways to clean up nail polish, like the example below.
Every interaction builds trust. Plus, if customers hear from you on a regular basis, your occasional promotional email won’t feel out of place. It’s just another message from a friend.
2. Provide quality customer service in your store
One of the best ways to gain trust is to offer your customers service they can’t find anywhere else. Here’s a quick checklist to make sure your service inside your store is top-notch:
Make sure your staff is friendly
Create a welcoming environment that keeps customers coming back. Train employees to nurture your customer relationships. Don’t assume employees know how to interact with your audience, show them.
Collect and use feedback
Ask your customers to provide feedback and use it to implement changes that can improve their experience. Collect feedback in store and online.
Make sure your customers know that you appreciate them. Send exclusive deals to your most valued customers, host a customer appreciation event and set up a loyalty program that rewards your customers for their continued support.
3. Consider providing customer support on social
With so many of your customers using social media, using these platforms to offer service and support is quickly catching on. Xbox, a popular gaming system, offers customer support through Twitter. Customers can tweet questions and get live help. It’s so popular Xbox has created multiple accounts to handle the massive crowds.
If you plan to offer support on social channels there are a few tools that can help. ZenDesk, for example, offers software that manages customers’ requests and creates a self-help arena for customers to troubleshoot issues on their own.
Desk.com is another option. It creates a universal inbox where you can help your customers through social sites like Facebook and Twitter all from one dashboard.
Your online service should compliment your service efforts in store.
4. Own up to mistakes
Customers reward companies that are honest and transparent. If you make a mistake, own up to it. Whether you missed a service appointment or have products on backorder, it’s important to communicate with customers about any problems that affect them.
As soon as you’re aware of the problem, reach out. For example, when Adorama fell short on cameras, an email was sent to explain that the item was on backorder. Notice the company apologizes for the wait and offers additional relevant information like how to cancel an order.
Correct A Mistake Quickly
Research shows 95% of complaining customers will forgive a company if a problem is resolved in the next interaction. So, in addition to being honest, you also need to act quickly. Customers expect swift solutions.
How do you build trust with your customers? Feel free to share any additional strategies or tips.
A loyalty program is meant to retain more customers and boost their profitability when they become members. But you still need to optimize your loyalty program just like every other marketing initiative you run. You want to maximize the number of people who join (attract), number of people who participate (maintain), and keep members from leaving (retain).
In this post we will be going over some best practices that will keep your loyalty program running at its best. When you focus on the three pillars (Attract, Maintain, Retain) you are ensuring that your program is top notch!
We can apply some pretty simple logic here. Give your shoppers what they want from a loyalty program and they will join. Miss the mark, and they will join someone else’s program.
Here are the two biggest drivers for someone to sign up for your loyalty program.
These two criteria are the backbone of almost every loyalty program out there, both in retail and ecommerce. The key take away is that they want to earn “points” for their purchases. They are not looking to earn cash back. Your shoppers prefer the allure of a different currency than what they are used to.
Because shoppers prefer a different currency than money, you want to make sure you get their attention with your points. That is why I recommend you don’t call your currency points, you should call them something that matches your brand and what you sell. For example one of our client’s – Denim Industries calls their currency “Denim Dollars”. You can also give your program a name to make it even more enticing. Here is a quick video to help you come up with some creative names.
Earning points and giving discounts on purchases can be done with almost every loyalty program software, including a Mass Mobile App. With both of the main reasons to join a program covered it should come as no surprise that getting a customer to join is the easiest pillar to construct.
Therefore it should come as no surprise that the average person is joining more and more programs (13.3 on average) but they are actively participating in fewer each year. This is great for attracting members but makes it more difficult to get the benefits of a loyal customer.
Now that you have convinced them to join your program, you now need to convince them to actively participate. The value of a loyalty program comes when shoppers are actively participating and engaging with the program.
According to research by Forrester an active loyalty program member will spend 30% more than a traditional customer and will rate their customer experience as better than non-loyalty members. This is just the beginning of all the benefits you will see when creating loyal customers.
You will not see these benefits when you first attract a member. You need to encourage your customers to earn and more importantly spend points. Your members will begin to become loyal when they experience the pleasant emotions of getting a reward with their points. According to eMarketer there are two main factors that drive program participation. It needs to be easy to understand and offer relevant rewards.
The easiest way to make a program easy to understand is by having a loyalty program explainer page. This is an area of your store that is dedicated to showing members all the ways they will earn points, and what they can redeem those on.
You can make a detailed explainer page like. Gongshow’s explainer page is an example of what you can do to showcase your program. Below is a quick video lesson on how to create an effective explainer page.
The second part of maintaining participation is to offer relevant rewards. As stated above the most desired reward is a discount on your product, but there are some variations you can use. If your customers like to save and get big rewards you can offer a reward schedule that makes it advantages to save points, like the example below.
If your shoppers have very short attention spans you may want to make it extremely easy to get the first reward. You can make it so that if they sign up for your program they will immediately get enough points for their first reward. With some programs you can also introduce more exclusive experiential rewards.
Be sure to study your customers to discover what will be the most motivating for them. If you want them to participate they have to be motivated to do so. I would recommend conducting a simple survey to see exactly what your customers are looking for.
When I tell clients that they need to focus on retaining customers in their retention tool, I usually get a funny stare. This is because most people think that you can start a loyalty program, set it, and then forget it. If you take this approach your program will get old fast. When your program seems dated your customers will stop using it.
The two biggest reasons I see people leave or stop using a program is because they are not monitoring the program effectively, or they are making it way to hard to earn/spend points.
I know that every time you send out an email campaign you meticulously check your open and click rates. When you run an Adwords campaign you are checking performance daily, and I know you spend a good chunk of time in Google Analytics. So why would you start a loyalty program and then ignore it?
Not paying attention to your programs results is a surefire way to start losing members. If you don’t care then why should they? You should be checking on your program and customers monthly to see what is working and what you can add to retain them.
The second big factor in why your program members leave is because you are making it way to complicated for them. This is usually because you are trying to limit costs which usually limits a program success. You want to put your customers interest in mind before your own.
While only giving points for orders above $50 dollars on your house brand items during the holiday season looks good financially, it is too hard for members to understand. If you want to retain customers you need to make it easy for them to earn and spend points. If they find it to be a chore they will just leave.
This post has shown you the three pillars of a successful online loyalty program. It is impossible to build a successful loyalty program if you are missing or lacking in any of these areas. You must first attract shoppers to join your loyalty program. They cannot possibly see value if they never join.
Next you must maintain their interest in your program. You need to make your program easy to understand and provide relevant rewards for your customers. Lastly, you need to retain members. Your program is not providing value if more people are leaving your program than are actively using it.
This is meant to act as a framework to cover the basics of loyalty program strategy. If you are looking to truly become a loyalty expert you can check out our resource center. It is full of video lessons, ebooks, and case studies to make you a retention expert. You can also subscribe to the Mass Mobile Apps blog for weekly loyalty articles!
So, you decided to start a loyalty program. Now what? After launch most new programs get caught up in the details. What I mean by this is that they try to do everything at once. They add every feature under the sun, research the sh*t out of what their points should be worth, and just get way too caught in the weeds. Instead you should start simple, and just get started!
The best way to first get started with a loyalty program is to set up basic earning (like 1 point for every dollar spent) and spending rules ($10 off for 1,000 points). This will set a good foundation for your program, and cover the most basic feature… rewarding purchases. Rewarding purchases is the backbone of every program, but there is one other key feature you should include.
If you want your program to succeed right from the get go, you need welcome points! Welcome points are my number one recommendation for almost every store. It allows you to create excitement, create commitment, and accelerate positive feelings. Let me explain further.
Here are a few reasons you should be giving your members “welcome points” or otherwise know as rewarding for account creation.
The most obvious advantage of giving welcome points is to create an incentive to join your program. There is a reason credit card companies offer you all those bonus miles, it is effective! I know you have at least considered one of those offers.
You can create that strong desire to join your program as well, with welcome points. Just be sure that you are making it worth their while. If your first reward costs 1,000 points, a welcome bonus of 50 points will not cut it. I usually recommend giving enough points to claim your lowest reward right away (more on that later).
The tactic here is that you give customers value now, and recover that investment over the course of their life. This is known as customer lifetime value. By getting the customer enrolled and engaged in your loyalty program you will turn them into a repeat customer, which are up to 5x more profitable than first time shoppers!
Welcome points not only incent a customer to join, they also increase the likelihood they will stick around. Have you ever noticed that when you start playing a new freemium game they always give you a starting balance of their currency, or that when you get a “buy 10 get one free” card it already has a stamp on it.
This is by design! People love to start things, but that doesn’t mean they will actually use it. That is why you are usually given a starting balance, it invests you into the game, tool, or program. When you already have currency in something you are more inclined to continue using it, I mean you are already on your way.
Welcome points use the same principle. A customer now has some of your currency in their account. If they choose not to come back they are forgoing that currency. As humans it is very difficult for us to walk away from money.
3. Makes Future Actions More Likely
When we are given something we are not only more likely to continue, but actively look to repay it. This is known as the reciprocity principle, which basically states that when something is done for us we feel obligated to repay the favour. It is almost fool proof!
This principle is more effective in loyalty if you just give welcome points to a customer without requiring them to sign up for it. You do not want the customer to feel as though they have traded their info for the points. You want them to feel like you have given them something that they should reciprocate. You can get them to reciprocate in profitable ways.
The obvious way they can repay you is with their loyalty, after all a repeat customer is worth way more to your business. There’s another way though. You can ask them to perform other actions to get points (once they have points and see value). You can get them to do things like share on social or refer their friends for points. This essentially turns your loyal customers into marketers as well!
Rewarding points for other profitable actions is easy to add to your program with ecommerce loyalty programs like the custom Apps created by Mass Mobile Apps.
“A member sees value in your program when they spend points, not when they earn them.”
What I mean here is that your loyalty program members like the rewards they get with their points not the points themselves. No one likes saving for retirement, but you like the lifestyle when you get there. The same is true with loyalty programs. That is why you want your members to claim a rewards as early as possible, and welcome points can help.
When you give welcome points, you are putting a loyalty member that much closer to that first reward. I usually recommend giving enough points for a small reward as a welcome reward. This ensures that the customer sees value and gets the emotional high of a reward right away. This makes them more likely to return on their own, but they also registered an email that you can market to them later with.
Welcome points is the best way to establish positive emotions in your customers and establishes a foundation on which you can build a meaningful relationship.
I hope this post has illustrated just how effective welcome points can be! They not only are a fantastic motivator to encourage sign ups, they also get your members to actively participate. They are also easy to include in every Mass Mobile App developed.
About the author: Alex McEachern
Think of the stores and lunch spots you frequent. Odds are, a few of them, if not more, have a corresponding app. And if you’ve ever used their app, you know it makes for a much more seamless in-store experience from start to finish. Retail apps make it easy for people to repeatedly convert, turning the occasional customer into a brand loyal powerhouse and it’s paying off for them in a big way. Need proof? Howard Schultz credits Starbucks’ investment in mobile as a key reason for their all-time high revenue. Starbucks’ app has grown 23% over the past year alone, eclipsing 11 million users.
It’s clear that apps have become the 21st century loyalty card, and when done right, are an explosive revenue driver and cost saver for retail brands. Read on to learn five reasons retail apps have become an essential part of the modern brand’s marketing strategy, and why it’s no longer optional for retailers to have one:
1.) Mobile Orders & Payment Drive Repeat Business
While mobile orders and payments are a fairly new retail app feature, they’ve more than proven their value already. By launching order ahead within their app that already accepts mobile payment, Starbucks delivered the one-two-punch necessary to accelerate performance. As of Q1 2016 close, a whopping 21% of Q1 2016’s orders and $6 million in revenue were attributed to mobile order and pay. Why the success? Starbucks has eliminated the friction from your morning coffee routine. Being able to order and pay for your coffee ahead of time using the app means avoiding long lines and transactional woes, equating to more frequent visits out of sheer convenience.
2.) Modern Day Consumers Value Convenience
Speaking of convenience, marketers everywhere will tell you that the modern day consumer values it over most other factors. The most seamless way to deliver convenience to consumers? Via an app. Hence why startups like Uber and Instacart have found unprecedented success, and now retail brands are following suit. While Starbucks got a jump on mobile order and payment, other big names from Walmart to Target have plans to capitalize on this trend and ensure they don’t get left behind. Retail apps ensure users have relevant information in real time, from offers to sales, rewards card numbers and even payment information. Basically, retail apps grant consumers the ability to control their entire shopping experience via their phone.
3.) Apps Enhance The In-Store Experience
Retail giant Walmart’s investment in mobile comes at a time where brick and mortar stores are struggling to stay relevant in an ever dominating ecommerce world. Their app allows customers to access deals, create shopping lists, refill prescriptions, and more. Walmart’s hope is that by enhancing their in-store experience with the help of their mobile app, consumers will opt to shop with them rather than with online competitors such as Amazon.
Proving just how committed they are to the digital transformation, Walmart has even geofenced their stores so that customers can check-in via their app upon arrival to see relevant store information and sales as well as have online orders ready for pickup. In addition, their “Savings Catcher” app feature allows users to scan the product barcode to ensure lowest price guarantees. And with the launch of Walmart Pay on iOs a few weeks back to streamline the checkout process, it’s clear that Walmart is doubling down it’s investments in mobile as a way to win over consumers in the digital age.
4.) The Ability to Personalize Loyalty Programs & Rewards
Another reason retailers should invest in apps? They grant you the ability to reward users and drive repeat conversion through tangible rewards. Consumers are much more inclined to download and use your app if they know they’ll be rewarded, and apps give marketers the power to create a personalized rewards program based on the individual user. For example, Starbucks loads a free coffee coupon for users on their birthday. Building a rewards program into your retail app based on frequency of purchases is a great way to incentivize consumers to continually convert. Popular salad chain SweetGreen has a rewards section to their app where they showcase your progress and how close you are to your next reward. This tactic is more powerful than a printed coupon or a loyalty card because consumers are able to visualize and understand just how close they are to their next reward.
5.) Retail Apps Increase Efficiency and In-Store Execution
Having all of a shopper’s pertinent information and rewards in one digital place is not only beneficial for the shopper, but the retailer itself. Howard Schultz told analysts that Mobile order and pay has significantly increased line efficiency, minimizing wait and those deterred by long lines. Granting shoppers the ability to order via the app also means less resources are needed in-store. Finally, mobile apps allow for digital receipts, significantly cutting down retail paper cost and waste.
The Future of Retail
If Black Friday 2015 was any indication, mobile is becoming the modern day consumer’s ideal medium for shopping. However, there is a way for brick-and-mortar and the digital world to coexist. A mobile app that enhances the in-store experience is a perfect way to bridge the gap between eCommerce and traditional retail, promoting a highly personalized and efficient store interaction.
Brands like Starbucks and Walmart understood that their business model wasn’t in tune this shift in consumer behavior towards mobile and needed to act fact. Their sense of urgency is validated by a study confirming that 1 in 5 smartphone users will use mobile pay this year. And with that number trending upward, It’s now clearer than ever that if retailers want to remain a priority to consumers tomorrow, they need to make mobile a priority today.
Want to learn everything you need to know about how to transforming your retail brand from digital to mobile? We’ve got you covered. Contact us today and see how we can help you grow your business.