Will AI replace traditional loyalty programs?
The face of customer loyalty is changing constantly with the increasing cut-throat competition between companies. There are a hell lot of retail options available to customers. So what makes a person choose one over another? And there comes the most basic customer retention techniques- rewards for their loyalty. They have made themselves as Loyalty Rewards Company – a give-away reward to retain their customers. But is it the future? Do customers really want to be engaged in this way only?
The future is Artificial Intelligence. AI will help in gaining a foothold in this very competitive environment. AI consists of speech recognition, natural language understanding for creating better intelligent assistants. They will help customers with accessing information and completing tasks. AI will result in better business processes and customer orientation. The urge is there from customer side to make it more personalized and nothing can do it better with Machine Learning, which is a part of AI. Companies like Nectar are leveraging upon the technology giving their customers more personalized offers and they are very successful. As more customers use their Loyalty Rewards Programs and other digital channels, the better the machine learns about what is relevant for them. Customers are more likely to shop with retailers that deliver more personalized experiences.
Machine learning will totally eliminate the guessing work, it uses the data & analytics to provide the most likely predictions. Loyalty Reward Management programs basically will be utilizing the customer’s prior behavior on certain set of rules. For example, AI facilitates virtual assistants that can monitor the customers on the basis of their engagement in good behavior and then they could be rewarded for it. This reward would lead to more loyal behavior, and all of this will be done without any human interference. Further, this will significantly reduce the marketing cost since they would be targeting only the most relevant customers.
In the very future only, machine learning and AI would be touching every industry and customer loyalty is no different. A Loyalty program company which will use AI and Machine learning will no longer have different teams working on different campaigns for designing and managing offers schemes and discounts for their customers. So, with the help of Machine learning, they would not have to push 200 offers to everyone, but to push 20 offers for 20 type of audience which would have a higher conversion rate with low cost.
Also, the ability to deliver real-time personalized offers based on the ever-learning algorithms will completely replace the traditional loyalty programs. AI will disrupt business functions in nearly every industry. Different loyalty rewards companies are heading towards adopting this technology for better retention of their customers.
Millennials as customers and how to gain their loyalty
It is the age of the millennials — also commonly known as the Gen Y. This savvy generation not only comprises smart customers, but also include decision makers in top firms. Holding the largest share in the consumer marketplace, they have taken it hands on to change the rules of how brands engage and conduct their customer-experience design. It’s both easy and difficult to gain millennials’ loyalty. But the job is half-done once their tech-savvy psyche is grasped!
- Customer-facing technology can’t be slow or complicated
Millennials have always embraced and aligned themselves with technology. So a user experience that is not friendly, simple, fast and advanced, is generally frowned upon by consumers. Companies should be careful not to present an obsolete process or a complicated system to consumers that will keep them away.
- Smartphones have been the norm for millenials
Millennials are used to getting everything immediately and experiencing everything in real time. The queries need to be attended to as soon as possible and in an authentic language; otherwise, the customer moves on to someone else who understands him/her more.
- Purchasing, for millennials, is a social experience
Engaging on social media is a part of everyday life for millennials. Often, these posts concern their consumption activities, their next purchase or what they might be looking for. This greatly affects businesses — as the opinion and review of one consumer could influence another.
- Millennials seek an authentic and engaging experience
Which is why the company website should include a FAQ page — how to go about making a purchase, detailed repercussions of what could go wrong, or any sort of guidance. This can be done either through articles or videos — where customers can discover quick-fix methods and find instant solution to all their problems.
- Interference or help from customer care is considered tedious
This means that they are self-reliant too and do not need customer-care executives getting in the way, just to mess up their whole experience. More often than not, they would prefer self service.
- Surprisingly, they also want to co-exist
They’re open to new experiences and want to associate with the brand more than with just a transaction. To speak plainly, millennials are adventurous and seek the same from the brand. For example, a cause supported by a favourite company would also be supported by the loyal customers.
The bottom line is that — nothing with the millennials can be taken for granted. The skeptical approach of the previous generations also needs to be done away with. They move fast, like to experiment and are prone to changing loyalties only after one bad experience. It would also be good to know what the target audience is, in order for customer service to be innovative, seamless and top-notch on the whole.
The Future of Loyalty Programs
The success of an idea depends on how adaptable it is to the current needs of the system. The ability to amend brand strategies is the key to longevity irrespective of the industry, including the wide domain of customer loyalty. In recent surveys, a massive 65% of the CMO council agreed upon the significance of investing in loyalty strategies. A sudden heat is expected in the arena of loyalty, sooner rather than later. A brief study of the Future Loyalty programs in the following section suggests that the coming times will be of huge significance and the right investments might ensure a smooth systematic function.
The future, in case of loyalty programs, is set to drift away from pushing marketing strategies on customers, onto a more promising approach of making the experience a little easier for the customer. With an approach as simple as deploying loyalty program to make customers’ lives easier, or providing an exclusive loyalty program that rewards via a customisable experience based on individual customers’ needs, the future has taken a turn for good. Retailers, who hope to succeed, must possess the content, a strategy and insightful ideas that can be seeded in conversation with customers to figure out their needs and compliment them in a more suitable manner.
A trend of feedback loops with personalisation and targeting engines is set to present itself to the market. The power of a positive review will dominate the centre stage – retailers and brands will be pushing to engage in conversations, allowing them to progressively learn and develop an unrivalled experience for their customers. Loyalty programs that contextualise all relevant data points shall emerge as victors– delivering push marketing messages and lucrative offers to drive customers into the stores or onto the e-commerce platforms is not going to be enough. Successful retailers and brands must know and comprehend what their customers tend to and analyse the data to fuel targeted conversations that enable the loyal customers to open up about their experiences. Negative criticism is set to trend with a strong, reassuring vibe attached to it.
Loyalty programs, if aimed for huge success, need to continue to support an overall experience of the brand, and should be designed with customers, taking in consideration the minutest of details. The retailers and brands need to embrace the need of the hour; they need to give up control. The real power of loyalty is to enable customers to voice an opinion; loyalty programs will increasingly align themselves to the customer experience side of businesses and emerge as a channel for developing connections with loyal customers on a personal level.
The future of loyalty programs needs a retailer or a brand to enable a broader range of interaction with their customers. Personalisation and customisation, are therefore the keys to ensure the right elements of customer experience are delivered to the loyal customers. They generate a high value of engagement and equally, retailers need to create opportunities through their loyalty programs for customers to engage with their interests.
Loyalty programs have the ability to connect the dots of data from across the multichannel experiences and recognise the areas to be emphasized upon. Mining the data to create these opportunities to strengthen and improve one’s service is an invaluable and relatively untapped resource for retailers. With such advancements and a rising need to acquire the customer base, the future of loyalty programs, it seems, is infinitely bright and headed towards a remarkable journey.
Top 5 Things Not to Do in Your Employee Rewards Program
Employee rewards programs sound like something we can all benefit from, based of some known facts: generic rewards aren’t entirely effective, whereas the ones tailored to compliment the company can have a significant impact. Custom employee rewards contribute significantly to boost the engagement and company culture. Upon due consideration, we must realise the fact that implementing a rewards program isn’t always a step forward to success, unless it’s done the right way. Following this statement, is a list of the top five things not to do when designing a detailed employee rewards program:
- Turning a blind eye to the history: One must never design a rewards program without an in depth knowledge and a detailed insight into the company’s past history with rewards. Finances are always to be kept in check; the tangible rewards mustn’t be finalised without identifying the appropriate behaviours to be rewarded. Rewards can be misused and misdirected; behaviours can’t always be changed without social reinforcement. Make wise decisions because reward programs tend to take the wrong direction, a consequence of an unplanned beginning.
- Basing KPI’s on biased assumptions: Presuming that one knows what behaviours should be rewarded to produce the desired business growth, can be a reason for an unsuccessful rewards program. Observe, learn, converse, and connect with the employees to identify the behaviours that need addressing. Basing KPI’s on assumptions leaves a scope for biased opinions, which in turn, leads to undesired growth factors.
- Ignoring the objective metrics: Know the objectives of your rewards program and figure out a way to measure them. A common mistake occurs when only the subjective measures of effectiveness are considered, ignoring the objective metrics. Rewarding the wrong behaviour is never recommended. Remember, what you reward is what you’ll receive.
- Undermining the feedbacks: Rewards program tend to flourish when they incorporate employee and manager input. The job isn’t done yet, with rewarding; it requires taking feedbacks to find out if the reward makes an impact. Ask the recipients for a scope of improvement and apply the principles learned to design better the next time.
- Underestimating the significance of recognition: Individuals who earn the rewards for their exceptional performances must know the specific reason for the recognition. A meaningful, sincere recognition encourages a positive behaviour in the future. Don’t restrict the rewards program to a mere transaction; it can be a great step forward to build personal relationships.
Appreciation is a fundamental need for humans to work with some motivation. Employees respond to appreciation because it is a reassurance of the value of their work. When recognised in a proper way, the productivity is set to increase, for there is a motivation to keep up the good work. Hence, an employee rewards program requires a lot of planning and organisation, to work in an unperturbed fashion; keeping in mind the foremost things to avoid. A well planned ERP can act like a catalyst, and give cause to an exponentially rising upsurge in the business charts of a company.
10 Epic Ways To Reward Your Employees
Certificate of achievement: Honor the employee how acquires a unique acknowledgment, give him or her an extraordinary nametag and also a certificate that articulates their achievement.
Thank you meeting: A sincere word of thanks costs nothing and is very effective. Saying thanks about something specific may be the ultimate reward. The words “thank you” are powerful. And sometimes all you need to do is to say it sincerely.
Wall of Fame: Create a wall of fame for each recognized employee. Make a point to compose underneath their photo what they did that you’re remembering them for.
Company apparel: Offering employees free company apparel and other logo merchandise can be one of the simple employee rewards programs.
Recognition in front of peers: Feature your representatives accomplishments by recognizing them in an organization meeting, bulletin or on your organization Intranet site.
Department recognition bulletin board: Consistently a designated bulletin board highlights their duties regarding the affiliation, the individual employees, their most noticeable achievements, etc.
Secret Santa-style appreciation: Use the “Secret Santa” concept. Have all employees draw a name of another employee. They would then identify an achievement/contribution particular to that person and send an anonymous note of appreciation.
Work-from-home day: Remember significant events in your employees’ personal lives, and give them a work-from-home day so they can participate without worrying about coming into the office on time.
Sticky Notes: Post a sticky note on their monitor, expressing profound gratitude and saying why. Simple, yet compelling, when it’s authentic.
Standing O: Get all your employees together in the same room. Then welcome the employee you’re recognizing and give him or her an overwhelming applause.
The Morphing Trophy: Get a big trophy and give it to the employee you are recognizing for the week. At the end of the week, they must return the trophy but they need to add one thing to it. Then next week give it to the next winner. At the end of the year, you’ll have a trophy with 52 things stuck to it. It looks crazy and has lots of memories. At the end of the year, retire the trophy and put it in your reception area. Do it every year.
So which one are you trying out for your team?
Omni channel engagement for small and mid-size companies
A recent study showed that customers are 58 percent more likely to tell others about their experience with a brand than they would have done five years ago. One important outlet for this exchange is the social sphere which gives consumers and businesses the opportunity to reach lots of people.
As the taste of consumers align with new market contexts, businesses must look for applicable ways to engage them beyond building traditional relationships. Most customers expect their vendors to engage with them through digital channels. Interestingly, it is not just one channel but an Omni channel approach. This includes the social media, the web, email and other channels.
Small and Mid-size companies must take advantage of these new outlets to drive their brand. The technological and demographic changes that are sweeping across the economic landscape have changed the playing field. Most customers prefer having their questions or problems resolved without needing to talk with a customer service agent. Furthermore, customers want to engage with a brand on their own terms; either through human interaction or a digital channel. Small and Mid-size organizations that do not offer multiple engagement channels may sabotage their relationship with their customers or remain at a competitive disadvantage.
It is important to have a portfolio of services that connect with your customers when and where they want. The Human and digital channels of interaction must be properly optimized. Every business can get a virtual receptionist team which can double as a virtual assistant. They would screen and transfer calls to a representative of a small business based on agreed schedules. Beyond the administrative functions of this team, they can process orders, make outbound calls, answer customer service questions and schedule appointments.
Another important platform is to run an effective digital engagement system. A good digital platform allows your customers to be educated on your business and product offers, amplify the sales process, resolve service issues, connect with prospects, answer customer questions and so much more.
When your Omni channel platform gives an outstanding experience to your customers, they ultimately become your brand advocates. It is essential to buttress the fact that great customer service occurs on multiple fronts. There is no leading brand that can retain a large share of the market by using one channel to reach its audience. Customers need a relevant, compelling and consistent service to remain loyal to a brand. When your business has many advocates pushing its case in the market, it creates a positive impact on your bottom-line.
On the long run, one positive customer experience reduces the number of service inquiries that you get. The customers who are loyal to your brand begin to share their good times with others. The place of good customer service goes beyond the one on one relationship you share with your customers. It is important to entrench your brand and connect with your market through the multiple channels that are available. With a careful forecast, investment and plan, any business can be able to position their brand as leaders with a viable Omni channel framework.
10 Mistakes to Avoid in Sales Promotion
Numbers never lie and if numbers are to be believed, take a look at following industry figures of impact of sales promotions:
- Total Reach Value: 90%
- Total Recall Value: 89%
- Positive Impression On Customer: 52%
The relevance, reach and impact of meticulously planned sales promotion on customer behavior is unsurpassable; which inversely also means that if your sales promotion is not planned well, it could negatively affect your brand and business with equal values!
So, how would you ensure a flawless sales promotion plan that affirmatively reaches and affects as many people as possible? Here are the common mistakes that you should avoid to maximize the impact and minimize the remorse:
1. Thinking Single Channel
Sales promotions can elevate the sales and profits dramatically in a short time. To fetch optimum outcomes of the sales promotion activity that took much of your hard work and huge capital, it is necessary that you utilize all the channels of promotion available to you. The current advancement of print and digital media offers a beautiful amalgamation to explore infinite opportunities to boost your sales and brand value. When your consumers see you everywhere, they get inured to your brand and you gain their acceptance. Do not keep it only online (which may be fine if you are an online company) or only print promotion. Integrate all the channels ingeniously to stand ahead the crowd.
2. Not Setting A Goal Or Deadline
Launching a sales promotion program without fixed deadline or measurable goal will lead it to whole big null point. Set a start date and end date to streamline your efforts to complet everything within the stipulated time frame. This will help keeping each component of the program in track. By setting up goals, you will always have a figure in hand to achieve and to measure the success of the campaign.
3. Fixing On Presumptions
Don’t presume customer’s behavior. Never plan your sales promotions assuming that the segment you have created defines your real or limited customer base. It is very much possible that a profitable share of customers in high concentration is in the segment you do not tap your sales promotions for. Study your data patterns well to have a diverse profitability.
4. Not Solving It For Each Stakeholder
While planning your sales promotion program keep in mind how would it impact each of your stakeholder or retailers or any other patron associated to your organization. You may launch a promotional plan that attracts new customers with some special offer or benefit but would it be fair for your regular and loyal customer who may not have that benefit? Take each stakeholder into your consideration for an overall successful sales promotion program.
5. Making It Too Complex
Keeping your sales promotion plan simple makes it easy for you as well as your customers. Your customers will feel more connected and involve when the processes are simple without much complicated terms and conditions. With a simple sales promotion activity, capturing, handling and processing the data for result analysis and profit calculation gets extremely easy and effective. So, do not unnecessarily complicate things.
6. Not Keeping It Relevant
Relevancy is the essential most factor of any sales promotion program for its success and positive outcomes. Relevant program helps you in targeting your right customers and communicate with them for awareness and sales. Relevancy of the sales promotion plan also ensures that your customers are reminded about your brand or product with full intensity.
7. Communication Gap with yourTeam
For successful promotional plan, it is imperative to involve and inform all those part of your value chain that includes your team members, distributors, retailers about your plan. This provides the required thrust to pull it to an extended level for broader effect and profit.
8. Not Testing Your Assets
This is a very common mistake that is easiest to avoid. It doesn’t take much to test all your assets that you plan to consume within your promotional program to be active, available and useful. For example, you may roll on an email campaign with a broken link due to lack of adequate testing. This is a sheer waste. Avoid it.
9. Not Capturing The Data
Without capturing the data appropriately, it is impossible to measure the effectiveness and successfulness of any activity. Capture the data to realize if your plan has delivered what you expected. Capturing the data can also benefit you to apprehend new market segments and opportunities that you never thought of before.
10. Not Using The Captured Data
This is the biggest mistake companies commonly get trapped into. Before planning the next sales promotion plan, it pays largely to dig in the previously captured data to concentrate upon profitable segments along with exploring new dimensions for unconfined growth.
For a short word, make your sales promotion plan to attract new customers while also encouraging your brand power and loyal customers effectively.
These are a few common mistakes you need to be aware to ensure a flawless sales promotion. You should do everything possible to learn whatever you can about the complexities and nuances of your industry or profession–and not just once, but regularly. By knowing the potential bottom-line of impact of your sales promotion, you’ll have the information to invest the energy necessary to host a strong flawless sales promotion that will deliver boosting results over the time period it covers.
How Brick-And-Mortar Retailers Can Beat Ecommerce Price Advantage
The online ecommerce juggernaut may seem invincible, but players like Flipkart, Snapdeal, or Amazon have a major Achilles heel. Research shows that exceptional customer service is the number one factor influencing how much a consumer trusts a company, and 75% of consumerssay they have done business with a company because of positive customer service experienced in the past and the experience with buying process
Retailers hoping to fight online giants will have plenty of ammunition at their disposal if they use this insight to up their in-store game. Brick-and-mortar retailers can counter razor-thin margins offered by ecommerce sites through superior customer service. But first, they have to listen to what shoppers need and want, and use this data to propel their customers beyond the lone factor of low prices.
Here are 6 strategies that may help conventional brick and mortar store owners compete with ecommerce sites:
Know your customer:
It is now more important than ever for retailers to take a genuine effort in understanding their customers. I’d suggest that you initiate programs that help you know your buyer and his preferences. Some effective ideas include capturing customer data through CRM practices, a loyalty program, social media strategies, etc. Online companies score over conventional store owners, because they know so much about their customers. But with a little imagination and ingenuity, this information can be collected and used effectively. In fact, large retail companies have already started to implement strategies around this idea.
Large retail companies have data but they have to use this information to communicate and personalize their relationship with their customers. Personal information about buyers is probably the biggest weapon in their arsenal that could help them handle competition from online companies. Retailers, large and small, can use this data to send information about offers, receive feedback and engage customers. With tools like email, SMS, missed call, apps, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, implement such ideas would be a cakewalk.
Blend the good aspects of online and in-store shopping:
Imagine you are the owner of a retail store and a customer checks in asking for a particular material of cloth. Being an earnest businessman, you inform the person that although the material isn’t in stock, you can get it for him in two days time. Problem solved, you’d say? But wait! There’s more that you can do. You can direct this customer to your Facebook page and tell him that he can choose a color of his choice and inbox the preference to your page. You, in turn would see to it that the chosen color is set aside for the customer. This can then continue as a tradition wherein your customer can order from home and yet assure the quality of the product before buying. Another instance where online and offline shopping can be integrated is when retailers blend in-store shopping and online payment. Apple has already marched towards this end. iPhone customers can scan bar codes of products and purchase them through their Apple Pay app.
Enhance the Shopping Experience:
Installing mobile charging pods, keeping children entertained with a separate kids’ play area, matching the customers pace, etc. can go a long way in enhancing customer experience. The last aspect is particularly important. It is more than likely that your in-store customer has already researched about the product before entering your place. He is already aware of the different models available online and has probably chosen your store because yours was the lowest price of all and also because he’d like to be sure about the quality of the product. Understanding such customers and creating a positive experience for them is important.
Service first then sales:
I recently had the misfortune of purchasing a product through a teleshopping network. Whilst everyone in the company was happy to sell me their product, none of them shared the same enthusiasm when I had to complain about the product quality. If I had taken the pain of shopping through a conventional brick and mortar shop, I could at least visit the place and get the problem sorted. But it’s been a month now, and I am yet to speak to a ‘customer relations person’ who could own up to the problem and offer a solution. This is where brick and mortar shops can easily outshine their online counterparts. By demonstrating to your customers that their complaints matter, you’ve not only earned their trust, but also given them the satisfaction that there lies a solution to their problem.
Webrooming refers to the process of researching products online and then visiting the store to purchase them. A report by Merchant Warehouse estimates that around 69% of customers with a smart phone, webroom. And to put this trend into numbers, Forrester Research estimates that this trend is likely to result in $1.8 trillion in sales by 2017. There are several reasons why customers prefer webrooming as against showrooming. Merchant Warehouse says, 47% of them don’t prefer paying for shipping, 46% wanted to touch and feel the product before buying, 36% of them wanted the store to match the online price and around 37% wanted it to be easy to return the product back to the store if they didn’t like it. So have a great presence online and on social media and run good offers there incentivizing the customer with coupons to use it offline.
Even in the age of online shopping, consumers want to be able to trust retailers before they buy a product. Retailers can take advantage of this factor by keeping customer engagement at the heart of their strategizing.
10 Ways to Build your Business with O2O – Online to Offline
A Garter Survey says that 98% marketers say online and offline marketing are merging. What does it mean for offline businesses who are feeling that they are losing out to online businesses? Simply put they have to embrace a O2O – Online to Offline business strategy.
What is O2O or online to offline Marketing?
The best & simplest definition is “A business strategy that draws potential customers from online channels to physical stores.” Online-to-offline commerce, or O2O, identifies customers in the online space, such as through emails and internet advertising, and then uses a variety of tools and approaches to entice the customer to leave the online space. This type of strategy incorporates techniques used in online marketing with those used in brick-and-mortar marketing.” as defined on investopedia.com
Marketers of large companies have moved beyond digital marketing techniques and are expanding marketing’s role to create new digitally led business models. The sweet spot of the physical and digital worlds represents opportunities for marketers to apply customer insights to create and test new digitally led experiences and business models. Baidu and Alibaba are doing this in a big way in China while on demand services companies like Airbnb and Uber have made these into unique business models.
But what does this all mean for the small and medium size business. How do they adjust to this with limited resources?
Here are 10 things sme/msme can do to embrace this change and increase their revenue without too much investment.
1. Customer Data
Start collecting data of visitors and buyers. This is the starting point and perhaps the key driver of your O2O strategy. The fancy e commerce valuations you see are mostly driven by data. Merchants need to put in place a system where you collect information such as name, email, mobile number and as you move ahead you can add transaction history and other data points. Reward customers with offers and freebies to share data via website, sms or on paper. A simple tool to start with is www.zoho.com to manage the data.
2. Email and SMS
You have now data of visitors and customers. Segment it. The more data points the better segmentation. This is not very scientific. Just segment it by gender, area, age & transaction initially and then evolve to by birth date, preference, days of visit etc. Reach out to them by email or sms. Update them on offers, invite them to events, and wish them on their birthdays. A good DIY tool for email is MailChimp , ConstantContact. SMS is a very cost effective direct to customer tool .There are local vendors who will provide this service for prices as low as Rs.0.10 per sms
Most likely your customer is on Facebook. Set up your page and get people to like your page. Keep the page active with 4 or more posts a week. Always use images and if possible videos. Unfortunately, now it doesn’t mean that if you post all your fans see your post. So you will need to “boost” you post for a little fee. Use the Audience feature to add your data on Facebook to get people who already know you. This is another effective way to reach out to your prospects and customers. Based on the size of your business it would be a good idea to manage the page yourself for a while and probably engage an agency when your ROI is up. There are many other tools on Facebook to help push your business. Create offers that can be redeemed in-store.
A recent study by Small Business Customer website shows that nearly 60% of Twitter followers buy from an SMB. One way to initiate more traffic to your Twitter business page is by integrating a “follow” button on your website. Once your profile becomes familiar with existing customers, you can tweet to your followers about your upcoming product launches or trade shows and encourage them to retweet about your event. You can consider offering special discounts or freebies to your Twitter followers when they and their friends attend the offline event.
Instagram will soon join the 100 million users club and if you haven’t yet used this innovative visual storytelling platform to meet your business goals, it’s high time you considered it. You can build anticipation among your Instagram community about your upcoming offline event by taking instant photos of your event’s stage being set and so on and post it on the website. Another way is to send exclusive invites to your Instagram fans and encourage them to meet up at your store or on the streets and post photos of them using your products or services. It would be a cool idea to host such real life meet-ups among your online community to build your brand offline.
6. Google – Places and Maps
More than 70% of online Google search activity is related to finding local stuff. And nearly 80% of online local searches on Google Places can end up visiting your offline store. It’s time you considered it carefully to build your business. Here’s a way to initiate it. Make sure you have a 100% score on the Google Places listing by filling all details. Optimize your listing description with product/service keywords. Encourage your existing customers to give good reviews on the Google Places & Maps to stand out among your competitors.
7. Strategic Partnerships
Strategic partnership can jointly benefit you and your partner as you can offer value added services to your existing customers. It spreads the marketing load to each partner while promoting their respective products/services. More importantly, your relationship with customers gets strengthened. For example, if you are an offline music training center you can partner with an online music instruments selling website to attract new students. You can distribute to your existing customers a free e-book or an online demo of your product/service that features you and your strategic partner(s). Make use of exclusive online discounts as a way of promoting your partnership among new and existing customers.
With the onset of the Internet of Things, offline businesses can harness it to offer customers a virtual like shopping experience. Take for instance, a fashion clothing store that makes use of iPad or tablets in changing rooms to help customers request various colors and sizes. IOT isn’t just about increasing sales, but leverage it effectively to boost overall shopping experience for your customers. As an offline business, you can access the same level of information just like an online store to improve your new or existing customer’s experience. One way is to follow up data on your customer’s recent online shopping journey and offer special discount on products they looked online. Your message can be something like, “Hello Jenny, the trousers you looked online two days ago is now available at our store at 10 percent off and its available in three additional colors.” The IOT technology can be harnessed to build better relationships with your customers like never before.
Digital/online wallets can now be used not only for online shopping payments, but even for offline businesses. You can make use of this trend, whether you have a food store or a cab services company. Give your customers the freedom to pay through online wallets anytime, anywhere. This can result in increased revenue, as your customers will be long satisfied since they aren’t required to carry cash or plastic cards to make payments when they avail your services or products. So whether you are a small start-up or a growing offline business, you have the option of choosing an extensive range of digital wallet services.
Simply put, there’s no shopper who doesn’t like to get rewarded. A loyalty program should aim at encouraging the loyal engagement of your customers, in other words get buyers to patronize your business. It can’t get any easier than using the digital platform to promote your loyalty program for increased offline revenue with repeat customers. You can reward loyalty points to your existing customers when they subscribe to your online newsletter. You can also reward them when they refer their social network friends to visit your offline store. Another way is to conduct special online loyalty surveys to know more about your customers’ shopping activities both online and offline to gather valuable data. Just ensure the redeem limit is not too steep to reward your customers.
Following all these strategies require time and planning, get a team to work on these and plan accordingly. Similar to online revenue, offline store can gain more profit and revenues by being up to date. All the best!
18 ‘Refreshed’ Sales Promotion Ideas
Over the past decade we have had the opportunity to work with many of the leading brands across the country, have had discussions with the marketing gurus in different sectors on what common promotion ideas works across any of the business segments. We came up with these ideas, which are NOT new, simply being looked at with a fresh NEW perspective, that are proven methods of sales promotion.
- Promote it well and go all out to make it heard.
- Give preference to your existing customers, ALWAYS!
- ‘Upto xx%’ – doesn’t work, be honest.
- Sale must be on everything, not on the limited stuff.
- Dress it up and make it an event
- The free stuff should be actually useful.
- Don’t always give your own stuff free, always.
- No *conditions apply.
- Free stuff should lift your product not degrade it.
3. BOGO / 2 for 1
- Keep it simple.
- Apply it on few items & products.
- Must be ‘limited to….’ quantity, time etc.
4. Contests & Sweepstakes
- Easy to participate
- Have as many winners – ‘Assured Prizes’ – ‘Everyone Wins’
- Make the giveaway exciting and what people want.
- Request an action, get data and use it.
5. Assured Gift
- Add a dash of surprise and excitement.
- Make the gift experiential.
- The gift should have a high perceived value.
6. Codes & Coupons
- Use M-coupons & E-coupons.
- Distribute it through partners to increase reach.
- Use it for acquisition but also for retention, refferal & rewards.
7. Like, Share & Get
- Use Facebook not to show off but to engage.
- You don’t brag, let the fans do that for you.
- Reward participation and actions.
- Have conversations not monologues.
8. Tweet & get Free stuff
- Run contests.
- Reward the 100th, 1000th, etc. followers.
- Retweet followers tweets.
- Reward most retweets, best # message.
9. Pin & Get!
- Run competition – Pin & Win!
- Run offers with powerful images.
- Have great images and many of them on the board.
- Acknowledge and reward regularly for ‘pinning’
10. Refer & get stuff!
- Create a simple and easy to understand referral program.
- Make it worth the while for customers to refer.
- Act quickly on the refferals generated.
- Make sure the reference is rewarde too with a great offer to buy.
- price-off on purchase is mostly the best offer.
- Let it be sizable and above competition in your category.
- Don’t make it too frequently but make it BIG!
- Offer complementary product or services.
- Time the pitch well.
- Be specific with the upsell offer.
- Make assumptions & suggestions.
13. Reward loyalty
- Doesn’t have to always be loyalty program.
- Reward actions other than purchase too.
- Reward not only with points – acknowledge and make them feel special.
- People love to have dialogues & interactions with the brand they buy.
- Encourage participation.
- Engage everywhere – in store, online, on phone.
- Let them have conversations with the brand.
15. Free Trial
- Works for tech products and non tech products too.
- Free trial is a statement of confidence.
- It works for donut, a software or a car – find a way to let the buyer get an experience of what you sell.
16. Cross Promo
- Align with other brands to reach new customers.
- Offer & get privileges from other brands for YOUR customers & THEIRS!
- Choose alliances carefully and in sync with your brand positioning & target group.
- People love ‘what money can’t buy’ experience.
- Add a dash of fun & excitement.
- Sports & movies can help make the promos effective.
- Everyone loves to feel important.
- Doesn’t have to be indulging, could be just acknowledging.
- Let it be more personalised and less automated.