Wednesday, December 30, 2015

5 tricks to pull in window shoppers

Author: YI mobility

When people start walking around markets without a specific shopping goal in mind, you want to have tactics in place to turn your location from a diversion into a destination. You can do this by offering a reward, entertainment or a unique experience. Here are five ways you can communicate your business is a stop not to be missed:

1. Window displays outside the ordinary
A window display is your first chance to promote your offerings and your brand. When designing your storefront, it might be best to ignore standard practices and do something nobody would expect.

The Harvard Business Review suggested you can capture consumers' attention with expectancy violation theory - the need to investigate things that are out of the ordinary. If the window display for your shoe store displays chocolate bars, passersby will have an innate need to find out why.
You may not want be too random with your visual merchandising for fear of confusing shoppers, but a tiny out of place detail can encourage intrigue.

2. Choose the right color for your sales signs
Colors influence behaviors. Shopify said stores favor the color red for sales events because it promotes a sense of urgency. If you want marketing that pulls people into your space, special deals have to stand out.

This may mean red won't work if your overall branding is crimson, it would just blend in. You may think of using green because it communicates wealth or blue which creates impressions of honesty.

3. Outdoor sales racks
You might think bringing product displays outside may appear sloppy, but there are certain times disorder can be profitable. Some stores use disorganized sales racks to create a kind of treasure hunt for their customers, according to The Mirror.

If you put a clothes rack or shelf full of products outside, you can show off your stores variety. By putting an assortment of goods out front, window shoppers may start sorting through options and move inside when they see quality products, but not the specific ones they want.

4. Greet them with a smell
It's a fairly common tactic for grocery stores to put rotisserie chickens and fresh baked bread near the front door so the business greets shoppers with appetizing smells. Your business may not sell consumables, but the sense of smell is important and you should take it into account when designing your space.

For example, when you run a bookstore you probably don't want the people walking by your front door to get a whiff of must or mildew. Instead, you can use air fresheners or candles to create a proper atmosphere that extends from your store to the space immediately out front.

5. Talk to their phone
Wouldn't it be great if you could greet every person who walked by your store? If you use a mobile loyalty program, you can send discounts and promotions to shoppers in your area looking for a good deal.

As soon as they're within range of your front door, mobile shopping subscribers can receive whatever message you want to send. You should find a flexible program you can design yourself to take advantage of other tricks like color and expectancy violation.


4 things shoppers like about loyalty programs

Author: YI mobility

Before your business implements a loyalty program, you have to understand what features are most attractive to consumers. You don't want to waste time and resources on a program that doesn't resonate with the shoppers you need returning to your store. Here are four loyalty benefits proven to entice modern audiences:
1. Customers prefer stores with loyalty programs
The first thing you need to know is that modern consumers do, in fact, favor stores that offer some form of loyalty incentives. Entrepreneur Magazine shared a variety of examples of businesses that saw a measurable increase in sales after providing their shoppers or diners with reasons to keeping frequenting their establishments.
A number of different types of programs have proven effective. Response Media shared Mintel market research reports that found loyalty rewards encouraged shoppers to buy additional items, spend more on a single trip and make frequent visits. Programs that offered deals or discounts for more than one type of activity demonstrated the most results.
2. Shoppers want to save money, not earn stickers
Stores have to recognize which incentives will influence people's decision to sign up for a loyalty program. TechnologyAdvice, a business information resource, conducted a survey of consumers that found cash is king. More than half of respondents said saving money was the primary reason they subscribed to loyalty programs.
Receiving rewards came in second with 37.5 percent of shoppers saying they joined programs with hopes of getting free merchandise or other prizes. Social rewards, such as social media badges, proved to be unpopular with respondents as some customers said such incentives would actually discourage them from joining loyalty programs.
3. Digital is on the rise
The TechnologyAdvice survey found one-third of shoppers prefer loyalty programs offered through a digital option, about one-third want a physical card and the remaining consumers don't have a preference either way. Digital grows in popularity as technology becomes more convenient, 59 percent of shoppers said they would be more likely to subscribe to a loyalty program if it had an app they could use on their mobile devices.
Stores need to keep up with the times and appeal to their shoppers as they adopt mobile tools. Businesses that offer digital loyalty programs can appeal to consumers that like physical reward systems like punch cards by offering an electronic version that offers the same performance as the traditional option.
4. Don't make them start at the beginning
Once a store understands why shoppers like loyalty programs, the business can offer sign up in the most convincing terms possible. Kissmetrics collected a variety of industry studies that found consumers don't like to start brand new activities to receive rewards; they are more likely to participate in programs if they feel they've already begun.
This means companies should start loyalty program pitches by listing what the consumer has earned thus far and how they need to sign up to receive benefits. Tracking shopper performance allows sales teams to approach possible loyalty program members with data that makes signup simple and rewarding.

4 retail technology trends shoppers can expect in 2016

Author: YI mobility

Online stores may be convenient but many shoppers still enjoy spending the afternoon visiting their favorite shops and interacting with creative displays. Recently, technology innovations have allowed businesses to offer in-store guests experiences they could never encounter through e-commerce shopping. Here are four technologies and display trends shoppers can expect to see in 2016:
1. Retail displays as spectacles
Each store only has so much space to display products, interact with shoppers and provide informative materials. In the past, businesses were hesitant to devote real estate to frivolous pieces of entertainment that attracted shoppers, but failed to convert sales. Technology advancements allow stores to feature displays that entertain and inform while taking up very little room.
Stores can hang flat screens on walls able to interact with consumers through digital functionality. Shoppers can rotate through outfits, dive down into product details or even play games. Time magazine featured businesses using technology to encourage visits by offering shoppers free recreational digital activities or computing product demonstrations on giant, immersive screens.
Offering shoppers' technology they can't find anywhere else turns a store into a fun destination. Advanced displays can serve double duty if they offer innovative experiences and show store offerings.
2. Smart dressing rooms
One major advantage physical stores have over online retailers is customers can actually hold merchandise in their hands and check to see if clothing fits. Products like women's dresses really don't have a universal size system; a four from one brand can be very different from another. Smart dressing rooms allow consumers to check how clothing looks while still browsing through products like an online store.
According to The Fiscal Times many high-end clothing stores have smart dressing rooms with touch screen computers that communicate with inventory systems. A shopper may bring items into the fitting room and then use the mobile device to scroll through other options the store has in stock. If something doesn't fit, a person can check for other sizes or find different colors and styles without having to constantly travel back and forth.
Many smart dressing rooms are capable of communicating with sales staff. This allows employees to bring outfits to shoppers in fitting rooms or prepare items for sale without forcing customers to carry numerous products around with them as they continue shopping.
3. Mannequins that watch you
This one may seem a little creepy at first, but stores and customers can profit from mannequins able to watch consumers. Stores outfit retail displays with scanners and sensors that record and analyze shoppers in hopes of understanding consumer trends better. EMarketer said mannequins are the perfect host for facial recognition technology because they naturally draw the eyes of consumers.
Most stores need advanced data analytics to stay competitive in the modern market. Just recording information from sales isn't enough, stores need methods to track every shopper who walks through their space and learn what separates browsers from buyers.
The benefit to the shoppers is increased personalization. If a store understands what type of customer is most likely going to visit the space during a certain time or season they can present offers and deals that really communicate to the shopper's needs. When the mannequin recognizes a customer, so will the store.
4. Beacon technology delivers specialized discounts.
Some of these technologies are a little high-end, but most stores can offer shoppers personalized discounts and capture consumer data by implementing cost-efficient beacon technology. Like mannequins' sensors, beacons recognize certain shoppers but instead of taking video of their faces, beacon signals communicate with shoppers' mobile devices.
If a customer downloads a beacon loyalty app they can receive special discounts and coupons whenever they step into their favorite stores. Companies with beacon apps send greetings and discounts automatically based on a particular person's previous interactions with the business. Shoppers can also use the app to record their own activities and earn rewards through membership programs or digital punch cards - and they won't leave their information at home like previous loyalty cards.
Most beacon programs are less invasive than other monitoring technologies because the power is in the consumer's hands. Each shopper can choose whether or not to download the app. After installation, a customer can choose when to turn on GPS technology to capture activities and earn discounts and deals. It is technology specifically designed to make shopping fun and rewarding without the hassle of similar programs or the privacy issues of other tracking innovations.

What retailers can learn from the 2015 holiday season

Author: YI mobility

Retailers can learn a lot from shopping trends demonstrated by the 2015 holiday season. After a slow Black Friday, ABC News reported holiday sales are projected to grow a little from 2014 but not as much as previously hoped.
Across the board, most stores project consistent business but are still slowly losing ground to e-commerce channels. By studying what 2015 holiday shoppers like about online channels and want from physical stores, businesses can design more effective retail spaces for 2016.
Stores' advantages during the holiday season
Small Business Trends suggested numerous consumers still favor visiting physical spaces over shopping online. Some of the benefits shopping in stores provides include the ability to speak with product experts, try out merchandise and not having to wait for delivery.
These advantages can really stand out in the holiday season when people buy products for friends and family that need to be available by specific deadlines. People visit stores to get their hands on presents they can take home for Christmas themselves instead of leaving delivery to outside parties. Shoppers need help with merchandise because they buy for other people, so they ask questions about brands they themselves have no experience with.
Some stores can go the extra mile by offering decorations and displays that delight young shoppers and families. With the right marketing and interior design, a small business can turn its location into a holiday destination.
When stores get desperate
Despite numerous advantages, some stores struggle to provide the convenience and personalization of online retailers. The National Retail Federation report for the 2015 holiday shopping season predictedalmost half of all gift purchases will be made online. E-commerce holiday spending has been growing steadily for the last 10 years.
To compete, CBS News reported, many stores go to extreme measures to make physical spaces just as convenient as online stores. Some businesses plan to stay open much later on Christmas Eve for last-minute shoppers. It may not be long until stores stay open on Christmas Day itself.
When sales really start to slow down, stores have to slash their prices and offer promotions that may put them in the red.
Offer the same convenience as online shopping
Businesses need to find more effective ways to compete with online stores during the holiday season and throughout the year. TechCrunch suggested physical spaces can use technology to offer online convenience through cost-efficient and innovative means.
The NRF report found more shoppers should use mobile devices to browse for products while debating whether to make a final purchase online or in-store in 2015. Not only that, but if shoppers do visit a physical space, they will likely use their phone or tablet to compare options and search for the best deal.

If a business uses an in-store tool like beacon technology, they can offer the simple and personalized experience of online shopping, but with the advantages of a physical space. Business can push special holiday promotions and greetings to every shopper that enters their store through his or her preferred mobile device. It gives customers another reason to make a shopping trip a fun winter tradition.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Basics of Context Marketing

Author: YI mobility

Normally people would love to receive a free iPhone as promotional gift. If a person, however, had just spent the past several days crawling through the desert without supplies; he or she would want a glass of water, not an iPhone. This is a broad example that demonstrates a crucial rule of marketing: context is important.

What is context marketing?
Wouldn't it be great if you could send food coupons to customers as soon as they were hungry, or promote discounts on laptops the second shoppers begin searching for new computers. Context marketing is the process of delivering promotions and advertising materials to consumers based on their current needs and resources.

Some people view contextual marketing as a way for companies to form relationships with consumers as individuals. ZDnet described how better audience data allows any business to operate like a small town mom-and-pop shop where the owner knows each customer by name and can recognize his or her needs as soon as they walk through the door. Instead of talking with consumers one-on-one, though, contextual marketers hope to create campaigns that send messages through email communications, social media and mobile marketing that feels just as personal as an in-person greeting.

When businesses deploy context marketing effectively, marketers send promotions to the people who care about them the most at the exact time consumers have motivation to act on them.

Important metrics of contextualization
What does a business need to know about a customer to obtain proper context? As much as they can.

Direct Marketing said contextual metrics go way beyond what CRM software traditionally captures. Real-time data is most important. It's crucial marketers gain visibility of how consumers perform and when. If an organization just collects data from online platforms at the end of certain time periods, it misses out on a variety of relevant factors that led to buying decisions.

The first thing companies can do to achieve a better view of customer context is to integrate data from all business departments that interact with consumers. Forrester suggested businesses will combine customer service and marketing data over the next few years to gain visibility of a consumer's complete inbound journey.

The second way businesses will try to understand context is by investing in new technology solutions. Better business software can take a closer look at online interactions with social media postings or business websites. Physical stores will probably invest in solutions that collect data from real-world shopping interactions.

How to put context to use
Once an organization believes it has enough information to gain proper insight on certain audiences, it needs to deliver the target information when the consumer will most value it.

Online promotions can use past performance from previous consumers to find the best time to deliver promotions. It's a matter of finding the right call to action for the digital material. Should white papers provide phone numbers to contact sales agents, or should they link to further educational materials? Business must determine what their consumers look for in each stage of their marketing funnel.

Thanks to technology, physical stores recently received a very effective solution for contextual marketing. My Customer said beacon technology allows businesses to deliver promotions to consumers as soon as they visit a business location. The company can provide deals and discounts to customers in the perfect context, when they're in-store and ready to shop.
Beacon technology also helps businesses collect consumer data as it works with mobile devices. When customers redeem discounts or sign up for loyalty programs, the store can see what promotions or campaigns led to conversion and the exact context that facilitated success.