50 Best Tips of 2012

Affiliate Marketing
1. Use affiliate marketing to reach a global audience. This requires advertisers to not only create landing pages and creative that targets different audiences in different languages, but also to change strategies and distribution methods. It requires affiliates to know what works in each country or be willing to experiment with new offers and new audiences. It requires networks to be able to communicate with and appeal to a diverse group of international advertisers and clients.
Mariska Roodenrijs, sterkly, “Top Affiliate Marketing Trends to Leverage,” March 1, ROI Report

2. Understanding how your business buyers are shopping means meeting their desire for a richer, deeper browsing experience. One area where B-to-C sites typically excel is in their ability to gather relevant data and provide recommendations tailored to each shopper. Knowing the right products or bundles of products to place in front of your business buyers opens tremendous opportunities for upselling, cross-selling and cross-promotion.
Michael Chuma, Digital River, “Breaking Down Barriers to B-to-B Online Commerce,” Sept. 25, ROI Report

Catalog Marketing
3. Calculate your own cost per order (i.e., the cost to acquire a new customer) for pay per click and catalog to see if you can improve your prospecting results and return on investment by strategically increasing your catalog prospect mailings.
Susan J. McIntryre, McIntyre Direct, “The Amazing, Portable, Low-Cost, Handheld Device for Delivering Sales,” September/October, Retail Online Integration

Cross-Channel Integration
Embrace the web in-store. More retailers are offering free Wi-Fi on premise in order to enable consumers to compare prices and product features in-store. One benefit to this transparency is added trust. The retailer is there to immediately discuss with shoppers what their online research is showing and can even offer a matching or competitive price in order to save a sale if a shopper finds a lower price elsewhere.
Jack Abraham, eBay, “Sparks Fly When Online Meets Offline,” March 5, ROI Report

5. Focus on the brand first and channels second. Review people, reward people and measure brand success, not channel success. It’s easy to improve sales in one channel while hurting or at least ignoring the other. This doesn’t help. Remember our job is to take market share from our competitors, not other marketing channels.
Lisa Gavales, EXPRESS, “The Top Women in Cross-Channel Retail,” March/April, Retail Online Integration

6. Use a bounceback. Similar to how online retailers often include promotional materials in shipments of products — e.g., Amazon.com including a discount offer on a flyer with products ordered — always have your staff put a catalog or some other marketing collateral into the bag your customers take away with them.
Jim Gilbert, Gilbert Direct, “Shop Talk,” September/October, Retail Online Integration

Customer Service
7. Create direct relationships. Retailers are at war with brands over direct relationships with consumers. Brand manufacturers are increasingly looking to sell direct to consumers via e-commerce sites. They no longer need to go through retailers. Brands are seeking “cradle to grave” relationships with consumers. To combat this trend, retailers need to stop being in an arms race for “Likes” and follows. Instead, retailers should be the ones liking their customers and prospects.
Mitch Joel, Twist Image, “Predicting the Next 5 Years in Retail,” Jan. 18, ROI Report

8. Hire sales associates that are like your target customers. Consumers like to buy things from people that are like them.
Kirit Sarvaiya, Guitar Center, “Video: Guitar Center’s Kirit Sarvaiya Discusses Winning Web Shoppers at NRF’s Big Show,” Jan. 23, ROI Report

9. Provide self-service options. Your customers demand the right to serve themselves. Self-service, formerly a sketchy domain, is now seen by consumers as a must. Consumers demand the availability of self-service because it offers them 24-hour convenience.
Micah Solomon, Business author/speaker/consultant, “4 Rules for Customer Service in the New World of Social Commerce,” Feb. 17, ROI Report

Database Marketing
10. Track key segmentation variables — e.g., how did a customer come to your website; did they receive a catalog; what was the first order profit; what’s the expected rebuy rate; what can you afford on subsequent contacts — within your customer database. Incorporate segment knowledge such as the answers to these questions into your profile rankings, then let them be a guide for your 12-month spend forecasts.
Jennifer Kwiatkowski, Plow & Hearth, “How Plow & Hearth Uses Analytics to Determine Contact Strategies,” March 20, ROI Report

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