Author Archives: Mark Schroeder

Why B2B Companies Must Invest In Brand Too

When people think “brand” they often think “logo”. The golden arches of McDonald’s, the Nike Swoosh – those iconic symbols that instantly call a company to mind.

But a logo, name, symbol or design is merely the tip of the brand iceberg.

Let’s take a look at what brand is, why B2B buyers care about it, and how investing in a strong brand can become a source of value and help you convert prospects into customers.

 

What is a brand?

A brand, according to author and speaker Marty Neumeier, is “a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organisation.” It is a reason to choose one product or service over another. It encompasses everything a prospect thinks when they hear your name – both factual and emotional.

We can all think of famous examples. The name Coca-Cola brings to mind a sweetened, carbonated beverage (factual) and the energetic happiness of fun gatherings (emotional). Mercedes-Benz brings to mind expensive vehicles (factual) and the sense of prestige and exclusivity (emotional).

These companies have gone to enormous effort and expense to create, curate and reinforce a set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that – combined with consistently presented images, tone of voice, colours, designs and so on – account for a consumer’s decision to buy from them again and again.

A strong B2B brand tells a story. It uses multiple channels to deliver a clear brand message, provide credibility, connect with customers emotionally, motivate the buyer, and create user loyalty.

What do you want people to think about your company? What values do you want to represent? What story do you want to tell? What’s your brand’s personality? Clearly articulate these things, and you’re on your way to establishing your brand.

 

But do B2B buyers really care about brand?

Unless you’re living in a world where B2B business is conducted in a vacuum devoid of human instinct and emotion, then absolutely – B2B buyers do respond to brand.

Contrary to the dark-suited, coldly rational, fact-driven business deals that we might like to imagine, B2B buying and selling is conducted by real people who listen to their gut instincts! It’s not services, prices, or processes that stick in their memory – it’s brand.

Of course their decision to buy from you is informed by their knowledge of who you are, what your company does, what your product is, who your customers are, your company’s record, and your company’s reputation.

The impression they have about each of those topics will certainly be influence by your brand marketing.

And when there are multiple similar options on the table (as there nearly always are), B2B buyers will select a brand that they like. One that resonates with them, and they feel comfortable with professionally, socially and emotionally.

 

Is it worth investing time and resources on storytelling?

Since 86% of B2B buyers report seeing little difference between suppliers, their choices will favour anything that makes decision making easier.

When the features, functions and business outcomes of your product or service are the same as your competitors, brand can be the key differentiator that converts a prospect into your customer and not someone else’s.

In fact, research found that in B2B sales, pushing “features, functions and business outcome” delivers a 21% lift in perceived brand benefits, whereas marketing “professional, social and emotional benefits” gives a significantly more valuable 42% lift.

Investing in brand is investing in the key source of value in business, especially a service business where tangible assets are negligible. Strong brands can charge a premium – one need only look to the different in price point between an Apple or Samsung mobile device and the rest of the market. Or designer jeans that functionally do exactly the same thing as a no-name pair but charges five times the price.

Any business with a strong brand is more resilient and will have a higher valuation than one without – service businesses particularly.

And let’s not forget, brand helps to attract, motivate and retain staff, engaging them with your company’s values and direction, ensuring they all ‘sing from the same song-sheet’.

 

Beyond the logo

Brand goes far beyond the logo. A logo is simply a mnemonic, designed for quick recognition, but it doesn’t position your product or service in the market, display the breadth of your company’s personality, convey your company’s worldview or indicate the values that your company runs by.

It doesn’t account for people’s “gut feeling” about your product, service, or organisation.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said: “It’s a complicated and noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us… So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us.”

Investing in brand means every member of your team can tell your B2B buyers exactly what you want them to know about you.

And they’ll care, because they’re people too.

The three most important steps to becoming an omni-channel retailer

If you understand why omni-channel retailing is so important (and as eCommerce and mobile use continues to grow why wouldn’t you), the next step is what to do about it. Maybe you’re not sure where to start. These three initiatives will help you organise your thoughts and project planning.

1. Open up that online channel now! Retailers need to focus on ubiquitous connectivity, and this is where you start. Having physical stores does NOT mean you can’t be an internet retailer, in fact quite the opposite. Unlike online start-ups physical retailers have the advantage of an established brand and hopefully even a digital relationship already in place with core customers via email and/or loyalty communication … all provide a head start and a launch pattern. Several of your operational divisions adapt w well to an eComm channel –  ranging and buying for example.

Care will need to be given to the relationship between the online channel and store sales; online might be a separate inventory and profit centre with its distinct cost structures and possibly even different retail pricing. Fulfillment logistics must be developed, and finding ways to send eComm customers into the stores is important. One growth area is click n’ collect. Up to half of many British physical retailers’ eComm sales are fulfilled in a real store. Oh – and don’t forget to include a store finder and opening hours in your site – 37% of retailers forgot, according to EConsultancy!

Ecommerce sites should be enhanced with social sharing, customer reviews, wish-list saving, product recommendations and so on.  Whatever you do, you’re aiming for a seamless experience across all channels.

If you’re not in eCommerce you’re missing out on sales.

 

2. Ensure you are effective in mobile. Mobility is booming and larger devices make eCommerce easier than before so what you do online should be extended effectively to mobile. But you must make sure your site is optimised for mobile search which sends customers into stores.  Mobile opens up geo-location relevancy tools, ie using the GPS on mobile to allow customers to find the nearest stores without having to scroll through drop-downs or enter locations.

Mobile devices provide shoppers with access to an ‘endless aisle’ in the palm of their hands, one that allows comparison-shopping. Don’t fight it, be competitive because in new retail there’s nowhere to hide. Consider when in store empowering sales staff to price match (within acceptable margin parameters).

You may consider enriching the shopping experience with an app which opens up all sorts of additional functionality options. More about shopper apps here.

 

3. Digitise your stores. Embracing digital in your stores can mean a raft of initiatives, some more fundamental in their impact than you may think. For example, digital merchandising: providing customers with interactive tablets or kiosks  could allow you to reconceptualise the very role of the store – if they could browse the ‘endless aisle’ of digital product images,  check out a sample on the racks then place orders directly into the eComm site, choosing click n’ collect or  home delivery, imagine the potential reductions in floor space, stock holdings and staffing.  Fanciful? A number of retailers are now investing in smaller shops with radically altered approaches to range, service and checkout, and closing traditional big box format stores. The new digital stores become showrooms rather than stockists.

Staff might use tablets for instant access to deep technical information about products, and to view (and perhaps match) competitive offers on the fly. They need all this to avoid being on the back-foot when dealing with their fully empowered customer who might know more about the product than they do.

Next, ditch the paper displays and go digital. Your customer have A.D.D… Analogue Deficit Disorder. Make your messages move, make them add impact and energy, make them engaging, entertain, informative. Screens can do this, paper cannot. Look into digital signage, video walls, interactive mirrors, scannable QR codes. All are ready and affordable technologies to bring your store in to the digital age.

There are two other benefits of digitising your store: Analytics derived through WiFi tracking, cameras, and interactive screens not only enables retailers to know who is the store but also to know much more personal information about each customer – their movements, their product searches, their demographic profile etc.

There you have it, three steps. Each must express the brand consistently and provide a seamless experience. And each will require operational adjustments to maximise potential and efficient deployment. Have a strategy, have a plan – it’s doable! You’re not the first to meet these challenges, there are lots of retailers dealing with the same journey. Feel free to contact us on 1800 737 266 or ask@permission.com.au  to discuss them in relation to your particular needs.

Nine benefits of Digital Signage in retail environments

McKinsey’s post-GFC advice to retailers has stood the test of time: “Retailers should bear in mind that the least effective thing to do during a downturn is to simply ‘hunker down’ and ‘weather the storm.” (The McKinsey Quarterly, September 2008).

Taking decisive action to improve store performance is surely even more a necessity in these times of retail turmoil. Whilst many retailers’ first reaction is simply to cut spending, periods during which consumers are actively altering their purchasing behaviours actually provide opportunities for savvy retailers to influence new decisions being made about what to buy and when.

This is the time to identify investments that can deliver business improvements by retaining customers, acquiring customers or maximizing basket size. If cost reduction can be achieved in addition to these aims, even better.

With so much technology now at our disposal, it’s almost a universal truth that there is always a better way to do things. Retailers must look for performance-enhancing investments in technology that’s been proven ROI effective for other retailers….in other words find out what works and then apply it.

A good example is digital signage, which is a now inappropriate description for in-store screen-based media; offering the magic combination of increasing sales conversions and reducing operating expense whilst being built on proven technology that is simple to deploy, this is a classic case of technology maturing to the point where it’s becomes a no-brainer. Improvements in content management and distribution technology, as well as reductions in hardware costs make the case for digital signage more compelling daily.

Yes, there are capital requirements in deploying a digital signage network but the upsides are many so let’s have a look at nine benefits:

1. Wham bam, the shopping experience comes alive. New shoppers are afflicted with ADD – analogue deficit disorder. They use screens for information, for education, for entertainment. They live for video. They love music. They demand experience. And you’re still laser printing little A4 product descriptions and slipping them into perspex stands? Here’s a secret: Toyota dealers are!

2. Increasing basket size. There’s now mountains of data now which shows the effectiveness of in-store signage. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, after all think of the billions that have been spent on point-of-sale material over the last century…well this is just better PoS with the added benefit that screen-fed customers like it and respond to it. In a Nielsen survey of 1,000 shoppers, amongst those who had seen digital signage at retail, 42% said they would rather shop at a store with video displays, 68% of respondents said in-store messages would sway their purchasing decisions and 77% said it was a useful way to learn about products. Another report by Arbitron Research found that of those shoppers who have seen in-store TV, almost 30% made an unplanned purchase as a result. Retail case studies showing sales uplift of 10% on promoted products are common and major deployment stores have recorded average sales increases as high as 25% across advertised products (eg Sainsbury’s Convenience Stores, UK).

3. Maximizing average transaction. In-store digital media provides a dynamic way to highlight product stories, upselling and suggesting add-on sales. If sales staff are hard to find, providing compelling information might make the difference between a sale and a walk-out.

4. More efficient PoS at reduced cost. It seems crazy in this age to be cutting down trees, shipping the paper around the world, printing toxic inks onto it, road freighting it to all the stores, hoping the staff displays it correctly, then hoping they remove it at the appropriate time, paying them for their time to do both and finally throwing it in the bin! A screen doesn’t just replace a poster, it provides multiple messages along with movement and if you want sound. Digital signage content management provides real-time control of in-store marketing on a site-by-site or hour-by-hour basis if required. It allows retailers to react to market conditions, competitor offers, day parts, stock levels and more, changing messaging on a dime without waiting for printed material to be produced and delivered or worrying about store compliance. It makes localised offers, information and pricing easy.

5. Improved yield from major media campaigns. So you spent millions getting into people’s homes via TVCs, online banners and video… only to have them arrive at the store with – and this is well established through research – no purchase preferences in mind! In order to maximize your marketing spend it’s critical that you support it in-store, and what better way to drive those video-based ad campaigns right through to point-of-purchase than by using…a video-based medium. No, you shouldn’t simply play your TVC in store, but you should most certainly repurpose the same key images and concepts to reinforce them and drive them home…to the cash register.

6. Promoting new forms of engagement. Got a shopping app? Looking for Facebook engagement? Tell people about it in-store using the appropriate technology medium – screens.

7. Increasing ROI from ‘soft’ marketing initiatives. Sponsorships, Corporate Social Responsibility programs, community support initiatives – these are all great to strengthen the bond with customers but in times when few can afford to promote such initiatives in the broader media, how do customers get to hear about them? In-store digital media provides an engaging platform to convey this sort of information especially where dwell time is longer.

8. Revenue from 3rd parties. Even if you prefer not to open up your environment to third party messages of questionable relevance to your own offering, you may still be prepared to display messaging by the brands you carry, and to maintain relevance to your own brand the medium could be used for joint promotions. You could leverage supplier terms of trade or co-op funds by offering screen time. Get creative.

9. Interactive platform extension. Here’s where digital signage technology has gotten sexy in recent years…in some cases the same content management system that runs the screens is now also driving touchscreen information and ordering kiosks, offering social media checkins and sharing tools, managing PoS displays, capturing customer data, counting traffic, intersecting with mobiles and more.

Digital signage has come of age. Hardware costs are down and retailers can deploy reliable in-store digital media to more effectively engage with digitally savvy, screen-fed customers in their language AND make the store a more interesting, dynamic place.

 

Permission has deep experience in developing content and strategy for digital signage deployments, and can bring a range of technology partners to your table.

If you are interested in digital signage for your business contact us on 1800 737 266 or ask@permission.com.au to see how we can help you achieve your goals.

5 Ways to Boost Your Post Silly Season Marketing

Why dread the post holiday season retail slump? This seasonal lull offers a host of marketing opportunities. It’s a prime time to shake out your digital marketing strategy and lay a strong foundation for the year ahead.

Smart companies know how to exploit the full potential of this traditional ‘rest easy’ retail environment – placing them at the head of the pack in terms of market share.

Here are five ways to tickle your customers’ fancy as the joy of Christmas wears off, and your competitors put their feet up!

 

  1. Launch a new product

Everything costs more in the run-up to Christmas, including advertising and digital marketing. Why not plan a product launch for late-January and make your marketing budget go further?

Catch people as they begin to emerge from their ‘holiday haze’ and re-engage with the retail world. As children get ready to go back to school, grown-ups get ready to spend again.

January and February are traditionally a time of slow news, so media outlets are also looking for fresh offerings to hook in their audience.

 

  1. Ramp up the remarketing

The new year is a great time to refine your remarketing strategy.

The pre-Christmas period provides valuable data about what your customers want and need, and now’s the time to use it.

  • Sell surplus stock by targeting customers who bought related items during the holiday run-up.
  • Remarket to customers who missed buying a sold-out product when it gets restocked.
  • Gear a loyalty program around a new year product promotion.

Refresh your customer relationships while your competitors are taking a break.

 

  1. Recover abandoned shopping carts

Carts are often abandoned in the run-up to Christmas as customers’ eyes tend to be bigger than their wallets.

People get carried away, then think better of it. Or maybe they’re tempted away by similar goods on offer elsewhere.

Whatever the reason, January is the perfect time to recoup some of these cast-away carts via:

  • Convert Christmas interest into January sales.
  • Customised email campaigns to remind customers of the product they considered.
  • Addressing the reasons for failure to buy, eg delivery times, size availability.

 

 

  1. Clean and segment your database

If valuable CRM statistics are going to waste, it’s high time to get your data working for you.

  • Segment your leads into useable groupings, perhaps categorise them in terms of customer type, status, strength and readiness to buy.
  • Create market campaigns relevant to different dataset and maybe mindsets.
  • Make sure your lead gen pipeline has a clear tagging process – capture that data.
  • Craft compelling ‘drip’ campaigns to keep customers interested between big events.

 

 

  1. Explore marketing automation

It’s not just about demand generation. Today’s automated marketing platforms are just as effective in the areas of branding and customer marketing.

With smart tracking, analytics and reporting, the right platform can increase new leads, sales, revenue, profit and overall ROI.

Get your digital marketing covered before the year really gets in the swing, and leave the competition standing.

 

We’re always up for a chat about how we can help your business. Contact us on 1800 737 266 or ask@permission.com.au to see how we can help you.

How to Make Your Small Business Look Like a Big Business

Now that we live in a global digital village, you’re no longer just competing with the other businesses in your area. You’re competing with the best in the world.

But before you panic, there’s good news. Even if your marketing budget is as little as $100,000, with a bit of know how, you can make it work as hard for you as a $1 million budget.

The secret lies in getting your brand, strategy and media mix all singing along in perfect harmony. Here’s how.

 

Nail your customer value proposition

Your customer value proposition (CVP) is an essential element to a strong brand. It is the simple explanation (aimed at your bullseye customer) of the benefits of your product or service. A good CVP should focus on customer problems and how your product or service solves them and shows what sets you apart from your competitors. It’s a clear statement of why you are the right choice for your targeted customers.

For example, the CVP on Uber’s Melbourne homepage is: One tap and a car comes directly to you. Your driver knows exactly where to go. And payment is completely cashless.

From this CVP, we know it solves customer convenience problems such as queuing, waiting on hold while ordering a taxi, having to dispatchers where you are and where you want to go and finally wasting time while the driver fiddles with their payment system.

 

Cut through and stand out

When you understand how your product or service solves your customer’s problems, fine-tune your brand personality. This is the way you talk, the images you use, and the look of your website. You might have an amazing product that could revolutionise your industry, but if you talk and look like everyone else, you’re unlikely to get noticed.

Consider this: If your brand was a person, who would it be? How would it talk? How would it behave? What would its values be?

 

Map your customer journey

Customer journey mapping is an essential tool for understanding how your customers interact with you at every touch point on their path to purchase.

It can show you where to most effectively connect with your target.

By understanding your customer journey, you can maximise your marketing spend to get the best returns at each stage from awareness, through to consideration and decision.

 

Maximise the three channel pillars: paid, earned and owned

When it comes to setting your message out there, you have three pillars to leverage: your paid pillars such as advertising, your earned pillars such as press coverage and your owned channels such as your website.

Your customer journey map will help prioritise which of these pillars is most important at each stage of the journey, and highlight where your money, or your effort is put to best use.

It could be that at the awareness stage, your customers are researching you online through forums. If that’s the case, incentivise your existing customers to review and respond to questions in forums on your behalf. At the consideration stage, your customers may click on your digital banner ad. At that point, your money may be best spent creating a landing page on your website with a special offer to convert the consideration to action.

The best brands in the world, the big and the small, know who they are, why their customers love them, and the best places to connect to their people.

 

Have a chat with us on 1800 737 266 for a call about a strategy to suit you and your business. Or email us at ask@permission.com.au. We’d love to help!

How Function vs Experience Dictate the Shopping Journey

Whatever your retail offering, it’s a pretty safe bet that one thing concerns you more than anything else – the ever-increasing competition.

In 2017’s retail landscape, global retailers are more present than ever. From Amazon to John Lewis, and from Debenhams to Alibaba, there’s no shortage of competition out there keen to grab your customers.

And it’s not just their retail offering you need to worry about – it’s all the things they know about the marketplace that you might not. Think:

  • Changing customer expectations.
  • Buyer demands for greater flexibility.
  • The best practice for online shopping features.
  • New forms of retail technology.

If they cater to these changing requirements and you don’t, there are no prizes for guessing who wins market share.

Success lies in knowing where your own store sits in the retail spectrum, developing a clearly differentiated and articulated brand, and taking a considered, strategic approach to your sales and marketing.

 

So where, and who are you?

Is your store primarily functional – like Bunnings or Coles – or experiential like T2, offering customers a unique, interactive experience which appeals to their emotions or senses?

If you offer tools or cleaning products which are readily available elsewhere, you can’t always compete on price alone. Yet all sorts of extras can enrich your value proposition. Your brand becomes instantly appealing if you overlay flexible delivery and return models, expert advice and niche services.

If you’re boutique or luxury, or simply want to give your customers an experience they won’t get anywhere else, investigate ways to add retail theatre. Join the likes of Samsung, Google and John Lewis by creating an interactive, sensory retail space to engage customers via screens, sensor technology, apps, video and bespoke experiences.

Of course, rules are made to be broken. Stores like Mecca offer impressive customer service – free shipping and returns, choice of free samples and complimentary gift wrapping – in a no nonsense retail environment it’s an effective hybrid of functional with experiential dimensions.

 

How functional vs experiential affects your marketing

If you’re at the functional end of the market, you know that your customers can buy a drill, soap powder or potting mix pretty much anywhere.

The key to winning customers lies in persuading them that your product exceeds the competition in terms of:

  • Performance. Show how your product stands out through top performance – whether that’s precision drilling, ultra-white clothes or highly productive potting mix which is good for the environment too.
  • Economy. Demonstrate the excellent value for money your product represents – a longer life or consistently better results than those offered by your competitors.

Provide discounts and special offers in terms of performance (free warranty) or economy (percentage off price).

When selling an experiential brand, customer appeal extends beyond the product to value adds that may come from the setting, the place or the encounter.

So, if you are selling fruit juices, coffee or cupcakes, the customer’s enjoyment will depend as much on the music, lighting, smell, visuals and customer service in-store as it will on the food or beverage itself.

Consider adding free customer wi-fi, virtual reality experiences and online videos to the mix.

And remember, it’s all about how the customer feels when they interact with your brand. Be sure your special offers enhance the experience – a free beauty treatment or ‘coffee for two’ on the customer’s birthday, for instance.

 

The need to take a strategic approach

Whether it’s experiential or functional, a planned, strategic approach to your marketing keeps you on-track at every stage of the journey.

It ensures you cover off every angle, including:

  • Outstanding customer service.
  • Faster fulfilment of orders.
  • Deeper knowledge of customer preferences and buying habits.
  • Smarter problem-solving and solutions.
  • Customised retail offerings.
  • A variety of delivery and return options.
  • Comprehensive delivery tracking.

 

Ultimately, every successful retailer must offer customers both smooth function and pleasing experience.

 

Why not call us on 1800 737 266 for a chat about a strategy to suit you? Or email us at ask@permission.com.au. We’d love to help.

Sort Out Your Email Database in Time for Christmas Profits

Is your email database in need of some fattening up for Christmas? Like many retailers, you probably bank most of your yearly sales during the peak festive season – and it’s just around the corner.

 

So now’s the time to whip your database into shape, and start warming up potential customers so they’re poised to shop with you when the Christmas spirit kicks in.

 

Why a customer database is a potential gold mine

Did you know that when it comes to attracting customers, email is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined? A recent McKinsey & Company report* shows people who click on these emails are three times as likely to purchase something versus those who click through from social media. Also, they tend to spend more money.

 

In other words, email campaigns are where it’s at if you want to attract new customers to your business, and keep the conversation going to stay on their radar.

And the two things you need to run effective email marketing campaigns are an accurate, up-to-date database of customer details, and emails that make these people behave the way you want them to (ie eventually buy your stuff).

 

If you build it, the sales will come

Building a database can be as easy as 1,2,3.

 

  1. Collect email addresses in person, in store

Salespeople should ask for an email address at the time of purchase. Many people are reluctant to part with their details, so customers will likely require an incentive to give their details over, for example a membership that offers them exclusive deals and offers.

 

  1. Use your website

While users are browsing your site, it’s a perfect opportunity to ask them to register with you, using an incentive to motivate (15% off your first purchase!). Most websites come with built-in forms to use, or you can install plug-ins that can create more flexible and customisable forms. Make the offer pop – but not so much it annoys the user (a pop up that can easily be closed can work well for this).

 

  1. Collect details as part of online purchasing

When you have customers who are about to finalise a purchase with your site, offer them the option of registering their email address.

Make it optional though, not mandatory. No one likes to be forced into these things, as that’s a quick way to turn people off the idea of purchasing at all. Offer some benefits to registration (track your order, have your details retained for next time) and give users the option of checking out as a guest if they’d prefer it.

 

Talk to people about stuff that makes sense
Now you have your database, it’s time to make it work hard for you. This doesn’t mean sending out one email to every subscriber. You’ll probably hit the mark with a few, but a generic email won’t resonate with most.

 

Target your emails to certain customers and send them relevant information based on where they are at in their relationship with you.

 

A brilliant way to do this is to send out emails to customers based on a certain interaction (trigger) they’ve had with your website, app, email or other channel.

 

Why? Because as reported by VentureBeat,** triggered emails drive 624% higher conversion response, a 381% higher click through rate, and a 180% higher post-click conversion rate.

 

What’s the optimal number of triggers for an effective email marketing campaign? The answer is as many as possible. The more tailored your messaging is, and the more targeted your audience is, the most success you’ll have.

 

So what are trigger emails, exactly?

Here are some examples of the most common types:

  • Welcome: This introduces your customer to your brand, and can outline your offer.
  • Introductory: This type of email encourages subscribers to further interact with a website by setting up an account or showing them how to browse items of interest.
  • Activation: These emails encourage inactive subscribers to take action – for example, to make their first purchase on the site, potentially through an introductory offer.
  • Re-activation: Targeted at subscribers who haven’t responded to emails. They might need further incentive to engage.
  • Remarketing: This is a very effective way to close a deal. Email customers who have made it to the final stage of the online shopping process but abandoned their cart.
  • Account: These are simply notifications of changes to their account. Not exciting, but keeps you on the radar and can prompt a re-visit to the website.
  • Transactional: Information about an existing order (order confirmation, shipping confirmation, tracking information).
  • Personal: Emails wishing customers happy birthday, or acknowledging any personal event (ideally with associated offers or ‘gifts’)
  • Milestones: Thank customers for their loyalty and acknowledging their anniversary as a member of the website.
  • Real time: These are more dynamic updates – could be weather or location triggers that suggest purchases that make sense (don’t get caught in the rain – 20% off all wet weather gear today only!).

 

A database of customer details can be the Christmas golden goose if it’s used effectively. Start building your database now and emailing your customers information that’s relevant to them.

 

Look at every customer in your database as a potential VIP, and offer them targeted messaging via triggered emails to move them through the buyer lifecycle. If your messaging is relevant enough, you stand a good chance of getting customers to where you want them – engaged and active as Christmas draws closer!

 

If you are interested in learning more about email marketing, contact us on 1800 737  266 or ask@permission.com.au for a chat on how we can help you achieve your goal.

 

References:

*http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/why-marketers-should-keep-sending-you-emails

**https://venturebeat.com/2016/10/14/study-shows-triggered-push-notifications-are-2770-better-than-batch-messages/

What is pricing transparency and how can it benefit you?

In an age where consumers can find a product they like and compare its cost to thousands of channels that sell the exact same product in just a couple of minutes, it’s no wonder that retailers are struggling to maintain margins especially against online discounters and mammoths like Amazon.

Some smaller retailers have found a smart solution to this problem.

 

What is pricing transparency?

Pricing transparency is essentially showing the actual cost of an item broken down by cost of materials, labour needed to create the item, transportation of the item and more.  In other words, the retail price fully explained. Until now, showing your hand like this has been unthinkable, however this is changing.

Luxury leather goods company, Oliver Cabell, practices pricing transparency by exposing the costs of all products on their website like so:

With a cost of about $130 and a price of $285 for a bag, you may be thinking that Oliver Cabell is digging their own grave by broadcasting the difference – but customers are responding.

 

Why does cost transparency work?

Pricing transparency is a bold response to the growing desire amongst consumers to see that everybody is getting paid fairly for goods they buy – it’s known as ‘conscious consumption’ and it’s growing, particularly amongst cashed-up millennials.

The evidence is that customers accept the retailer’s right to make a reasonable margin, and they’ll reward retailers that share dollars around on an ethical basis.

Customers like to be in the know and like to be treated with respect. The sharing of hitherto hidden information helps build trust and loyalty, which can only be built on respect.

Seeing exactly how much that t-shirt, couch or shoe cost can actually highlight the value of the products. Transparency can be used to show people how much of a good deal they are getting compared to other retailers.

 

Still not convinced? Here’s an example:

A handbags and wallet retailer decided to promote sales on their website by including an infographic that broke out their costs on a particular wallet. But wait – they forgot to include this infographic on every variant of the wallet, so the wallet in burgundy, black, and grey had the infographic whilst the bone and tan models did not. Only after a few weeks did the retailer notice the issue, and on closer inspection, the retailer found that the sales of the models that included the pricing transparency infographic improved by a whopping 44 %!*

Cost transparency may not work for everyone. If you are getting away with charging margins that are way above the market norm or you’re using cheap labour, cheap materials or inflating costs this isn’t going do you any favours. Then again if that’s what you’re doing, you might just want to look at your pricing strategies because the trend is perhaps not going to be your friend!

 

If you’re interested in learning more about consumer trends that can help you take your retail marketing to the next level, contact us on 1800 737 266 or email ask@permission.com.au for a chat.

 

References:

*https://www.forbes.com/sites/hbsworkingknowledge/2014/12/15/when-retailers-reveal-production-costs-consumers-are-more-likely-to-buy/#66a869e768a1

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/07/business/smallbusiness/transparency-pricing-retail-clothing.html

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/cost-transparency-is-the-new-trend-2015-10

https://www.ferrierhodgson.com/au/media-and-publications/industry-postcards/retail/price-transparency-a-game-changer-for-customer-engagement

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2012/03/13/for-offline-retailers-the-trouble-with-price-transparency/#10d3bb23d3b2

Retail’s new best buddies: Marketing and IT

Marketing and IT have no choice but to work together, especially in the retail industry. However, there’s an issue; 78% of IT people think they work collaboratively with marketing, but only 58% of marketers agree that’s the case.* As our digital experience continues to grow, IT is becoming the backbone of marketing, so these two industries need to work together for marketing to be effective. Marketers need the next big thing and they needed it yesterday.

Marketers talk about the customer journey, but what you may not see is the depth of strategy and technology that goes into creating it. The customer journey is not just a fancy flow diagram of steps you want your customer to take and an enticing message to drive them through. While creative messaging is important, it also needs to be relevant to the customer at every touchpoint and data is essential for this information. Without the right data, you’ll be taking a stab in the dark, for example, sending a mass marketing message to everyone, which may be the most preventable blunder you can make in 2017. We can’t avoid the fact that the customer journey will not flow seamlessly without smart technology to support it.

Technology is now a cornerstone for the marketing department as marketers are being pressed to understand their customers like never before to avoid being left behind by competitors. Marketers must gain insight into their customer’s behaviours on almost an individual basis to deliver the right communications that will nurture the relationship to point of sale and beyond.

This may sound complex and it definitely can be. The stack of technologies needed to capture, integrate and organise the right data in each step of your customer’s journey can add up, and if you’re not careful, you’ll have 30 technologies in place to drive someone to the checkout.

A marketing technology stack from Scott Brinker’s Stackies Awards.

The complexity of working with so many platforms is not the only pitfall, it can also hurt your budget. However, there is a solution to help you avoid the need for multiple technologies but achieve an even greater technology support. This can be done with the right Marketing Automation platform.

Effective marketing automation gives you the tools, insights, data and delivery you need to get the right messages, to the right people, at the right time, create meaningful relationships with your customers, and measure your marketing success in one platform.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about forward thinking technologies to take your customer journey to the next level, contact us on 1800 737 266 or ask@permission.com.au for a chat on how we can help you achieve your goal.

 

References

*https://econsultancy.com/blog/64641-how-marketing-and-it-are-working-together/

 

Track customers without them noticing

Ever wondered what your customers were doing on your website, with your emails or in social and in and around your store but didn’t want to ask? Well now you can know, and it’s a lot simpler than you think. Retailers can easily track customer movements in real time through their smartphone’s Wi-fi or Bluetooth. This tracking isn’t just limited to instore movements, but movements around the outside of the storefront or even around a shopping centre.

Unfortunately, this method doesn’t allow you to communicate directly to the customer or let you to know exactly who they are, their demographics etc, but it provides great insights into their behaviour. It can highlight general tendencies in where customers stop, spend a great deal of time or walk past completely.

 

How does it work?

By installing retail analytics technology that a variety of companies offer, you can identify customer’s locations through their smartphone’s attempt to connect to Wifi services in your store. Customers don’t even need to join the Wi-Fi network to be tracked, but so long as their Wi-Fi is turned on you can trace their exact movements.

The technology collects media access code (MAC) addresses and every smartphone has a unique MAC address. Newer phones have dynamic MAC addresses, so when a customer enters a store each time you can’t aggregate their previous behaviour. This will make trend analysis more difficult, but you will still get insights into each visit.

There are different types of technology providers, some give more information than others depending on what services you purchase. Popular providers include ShopperTrak, Retail Next and Euclid Analytics.

 

What can it tell me?

If you are a retailer that wants to trace customer’s behaviour in and around your store, this technology can give you a range of data. As an example, if you are a department store and say you found the trend that many customers that enter Kitchenware then go upstairs to Entertainment then back down to White Goods, you may decide to move all these departments onto one level, to make the customer experience smoother. Alternatively, you may decide to install signage regarding the departments on the route most popularly travelled by customers.

Here’s another one. Say you found that most people in Womenswear were exiting the store after staying in that department for 10 minutes. This insight could help you see that there is a staffing problem in that section, with customers giving up looking for help thus leaving the store. This insight could also show you that it takes 10 minutes for customers to find the item they are after, however as there are no cash registers in that department, they then walk over to the adjacent department to pay. This indicates that you may need to install a register in that department to increase customer satisfaction.

What if you were thinking of installing a new digital sign near one of your entrances, but weren’t sure of how many people entered the store or walked past that entrance? You could use the technology to monitor the movements at that entrance, install the sign, see if people stop to see the sign and how many people that sign converts into walking in store.

 

The possibilities are endless.

 

Interested in learning more or are after a chat? Contact us on 1800 737  266 or ask@permission.com.au for a chat on how we can help you achieve your goal.

 

References:

http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=afce6818-897f-4561-bd52-df1a59bf3768

http://time.com/money/4506297/how-retailers-track-you/

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/stores-are-using-big-data-to-track-their-customers-20161005-grvek5.html

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/datablog/2014/jan/10/how-tracking-customers-in-store-will-soon-be-the-norm