Holiday Insights: Get Gift Card Savvy

Friday, December 18, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

Christmas is only six days away. If you haven't finished shopping yet, chances are you'll be picking up some gift cards in the next few days. And you won't be alone. 67% of consumers will purchase at least one gift card this holiday season and more than one in every four digital gift cards sold in December are purchased between Dec. 21 and 24*. So you still have time.

Gift cards are important for any retailer as the average shopper spends an extra 20% beyond the card value when redeeming and 75% of those shoppers who overspend spend 60% more*.  But the benefits don't end there.

Gift cards can and should be an acquisition point - not just for the buyer but the receiver as well. Sephora does an excellent job with its gift card strategy.

First, it promotes eGift cards as it would any other product, making it easy for last minute shoppers to purchase and offering an incentive to do so.

It asks for the recipient's email address for delivery and you may also choose to add their mobile number so they receive a text message with a link to view the gift card online.

It not only sends the buyer an email confirmation upon purchase, but also when the gift card has been viewed:

Taking this strategy to the next level, your email and text messages to the recipient could include an opt-in link so you can continue to market to them. The recipients could be new to your brand or first time buyers and you want to do everything you can to engage them on an ongoing basis. It's the first step towards building long-term and loyal customers.

Happy shopping!



Interactive Digital Displays In-Store

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

I love to shop. Nearly every purchase I make is online - clothing, household items, even cat food. I shop so much that the Google Street View of my house shows several boxes on my front porch. But, until recently, I would only visit a store if I needed to return something I purchased online.

Shopping was easier for me online. I could easily browse through categories and quickly purchase the items I wanted. I didn't have to wander around stores aimlessly in hopes something caught my eye, or dig through sales racks, or ask an associate if my size was in stock if it wasn't on the floor. I could read customer reviews and could get an idea about the quality and sizing. And I always found the recommended products based on my purchase history to be helpful.

However, as more retailers are adding phigital experiences, I'm finding myself shopping in stores again. It's the best of both worlds - I can see and touch and try on and purchase the products I love while still having the online tools, such as product reviews or inventory available or even recommendations, available.

One of the best experiences I've had recently was at Pier1 imports. I visited its store and saw this display in the furniture section:

I went over to take a closer look. The display housed different samples of fabrics and panels and allowed you to design your own furniture, order it, and have it available for pickup 10 days later in the store. But that wasn't all.

It had an acquisition point where I could signup to receive emails and/or catalogs. Many interactive displays that I've encountered lately are missing this option so I was very pleasantly surprised to find it here. And I opted in to receive emails.

I took the opportunity to browse through Pier1 imports's Christmas catalog and found several products I liked. I was then able to see if they were available in the store and I ended up purchasing several of the items.

This experience was truly a good one. I was able to find what I was looking for quickly without browsing the entire store. Anything that can save time is a definite winner in my book!

Have you had any great shopping experiences like this one lately? I'd love to hear about it.


Interactive In-Store Displays

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

Our Listrak Retail Reality trip to NYC and our Sephora visit has been mentioned, but we wanted to take a moment to expand on the experience that we had in the store and the follow-up we have received since our visit, as well as a more recent trip to our local Sephora store in our mall.

I have the Sephora App on my phone, complete with all of my personal settings which made life easier while in the store. When we entered, a sales consultant asked if he could be of any help. I explained that I was looking for new powder foundation, and he suggested trying out the Pocket Contour Class within the Sephora App. This is touted as a step-by-step tutorial based on my personal features using a picture that you take in the store of yourself. The tutorial maps your features right away and provides you with the shape of your face and the preference of foundation. It then walks you through the recommended beauty routine; everything from the shade of foundation to where to apply it, what type of brush to use and the recommended brands. I emailed the new process to myself and set off to find the foundation in the store. This is where the experienced transitioned back from my mobile device to the store associate because I definitely needed his help in navigating the store to find the product.

The stop-by-step contouring guide email that I received provided a visual for the recommended new process as well as the products. In clicking on the products, though, it took me to a page with 10 product results and only one of the three recommended products showed up. While the email was really useful in helping me apply the foundation correctly, it really lacked a clear call to action to purchase the products. By the time I got to the page below I was ready to purchase, but becoming overwhelmed.

Sephora also offers a really useful interactive display in its stores that help customers find the correct foundation color. The sales associate found my perfect match and then offered up a number of options. I asked if the recommendations could be emailed to me and she entered my email address but the email never arrived, which is unfortunate because those recommendations are some of the most personal and useful ones around.

The associate showed me several of the products in the store and suggested that I use Sephora’s app to scan the merchandise that I like so it is saved to my favorites. I would have preferred to receive an email with this information but this tool was helpful.

I made my selections and went to the counter to checkout. But I had the app open and noticed the “mobile offers” option so I asked the cashier if there were any special offers I could apply to my purchase. Another useful shopping tool! I asked for an eReceipt and was told that all of my purchases are available in the app, which I can use if I need to return any products or if I’d like to reorder any of the merchandise.

Overall, Sephora is doing a nice job with its app; it’s one of the most comprehensive ones out there, but when it comes to cross-channel email promotions and finalizing the sale, it could make this more seamless.

If you're thinking about adding interactive displays in your stores, be sure that the technology you're investing in will actually help customers shop and, more importantly, purchase. Don't add technology just for the sake of it. Questions? We'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas!


Retail of the Future is Here

Tuesday, December 08, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

It wasn’t that long ago that the industry was saying, “Retail stores are dead!” and “The malls of America are empty and closing for good!” But with a new focus on interaction and engagement with consumers in retailers such as Rebecca Minkoff and Ralph Lauren, there could be a whole new world of retail.

Retailers have been trying to find ways to combat the notion that stores are dead and that consumers don’t want to engage with them on a one-on-one basis. And consumers are telling them they want to engage, but in a new digital way.

Take Rebecca Minkoff, for example, and the now famous magic mirror. Consumers really like the feel of control and assistance it puts at their fingertips, literally. In a way, it is a personal shopper that knows shoppers best by what information they provide to it. In fact, according to Rebecca, the experience is much like her personally giving individual clients customized recommendations. As she told Fortune, “Now we are helping in a way that is more meaningful…I can be the person they are getting a great recommendation from”.

Polo Ralph Lauren recently launched a similar magic mirror experience, New Balance uses touchscreens to allow shoppers to custom design sneakers, Sephora captures images of customers’ faces in order to deliver customized contouring instructions via email…and the list of “phigital” experiences goes on

So what does this all mean? It means the stores of the future we all talked about so many years ago are here in a small way, and soon to be a bigger way. Many retailers are looking for ways to engage their consumers while they are in store. How this is done is critical, and the key to success is driven by the experience they deliver to the consumer, what they are able to capture about the consumer, and more importantly, what they plan to do with that information. 

And of course, retailers should not just do something for the sake of doing it. In-store technology must be adapted to each particular business, product and brand, and the experience must end with a drive to a sale. That is the goal ultimately, right?


Three Good Reasons to Stop Saying Welcome

Friday, December 04, 2015 Listrak 1 Comments

I'm going to say the one thing you probably wouldn't expect from a post about welcome emails, but I promise I have my reasons: for the love of all things good in this world, please stop using the word "welcome" in your welcome campaigns*. I know that sounds like crazy advice from an delusional email nerd who spends way too much time in her inbox, so let me explain my reasoning:

Reason #1: because it's cliché. If for no other reason than that, choose verbiage that your subscriber hasn't already seen from a huge number of other brands. Be different – use your brand's voice to speak to your subscribers in a way they deserve, and don't just fall back to the obvious and expected.

Reason #2: because it doesn’t make sense. You’re not actually welcoming them anywhere. The subscriber was just on your website a moment ago and is still on some kind of computer, using their inbox. They haven't physically entered into your email or your storefront, so you're not actually welcoming them to anything real. Say something more meaningful, like "Pleased to meet you" or "We're so happy you subscribed" (in whatever phrasing best suits your brand).

Reason #3: because it’s not worth the real estate. It’s fluff. Your home page doesn't say "welcome" when someone lands on it because everyone understands that website real estate is far too important for that. Email is a very profitable marketing medium, so don’t treat your welcome campaign’s prime real estate any differently than your website’s. The subject line, preheader, and hero area are the 1st content areas a new subscriber is going to see when they open your email, so use this space to say something valuable, interesting, different, and compelling.

Whatever you end up choosing, I recommend keeping it short and sweet to bait the user into opening and clicking-through to your site. With your subject line, you only have about 40 characters to work with, so make them count. Advertise the incentive they signed up for or include catchier copy to make sure you get the open. And remember to use carefully crafted preheader text to supplement the subject line in inboxes and capture the user’s interest.

*I do have one caveat. If your welcome series is greeting users who signed up to use your service – like an app or something else truly interactive – then saying “welcome” makes more sense. It’s still not the most creative phrasing – and it definitely still is cliché – but you’re speaking to a user who will interact with your brand in a more tangible way, so you can more easily make it work.

What do you think? Do you agree? We'd love to hear your opinon on this subject.

If you want to learn more on this topic, check out my blog "Give Your Welcome Series a Makeover" and "Would You Date Your Welcome Series?"


Cross-Channel Marketing: Engaging Customers in Store

Tuesday, December 01, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

The New Balance store in Midtown Manhattan offers a truly foot-centric digital experience. Amongst the typical shoes and socks that you would find in a traditional shoe store, this New Balance location also offers a variety of interactive touchscreens and kiosks to help each unique customer find the right footwear, personalized for them.

When you enter the store, you quickly arrive at the first kiosk which intuitively guides you to build and order customized New Balance shoes. You can really let your creativity drive at this station— blue shoes with pink accents? Yes, please!

Continuing on through the store, you pass a large window called, “Maker’s Corner.” This space provides you a view into how New Balance shoes are made— the tools, the materials, the equipment— all on-site. Certain styles are available to be created here, by a “Maker” in the store. To order, simply use kiosk #2, a tablet located in front of the window. 

Lastly, towards the rear of the store there is a final kiosk, and this one includes a platform! Remove your shoes, step on, and this system will analyze your feet to help you find the best New Balance shoes for you. After running the analysis, the system’s screen displays the results, a foot mapping image, and recommends a few New Balance styles that align with your personal analysis. 

Following this screen, the system provides the ability to enter your email address and receive the information from your foot scan. Of course, I signed up and quickly received an email with the subject line, “Your Feet Image.” The email itself then offered me an opportunity to share my feet on social media and of course, I did just that! New Balance certainly ensures that your feet are the center of attention when visiting their store in Midtown, and even after the visit!

While this is definitely a great engagement factor, New Balance could have taken the opportunity to recommend the best shoes for my feet. But the foot scanner was a great in-store acquisition point.