Cover Story: 50 Best Tips of 2011
31. If an organization continuously hires individuals from the same background again and again, the executive ranks become diluted versions of one another — much like the results of inbreeding. Bold thinking and an openness to learn new things is part of the solution. You’re not surprised that your customer buys shoes at Neiman Marcus but goes to Target to buy bathing suits. Why can’t you be that open when hiring new employees?”
Kate Benson, Martens & Heads!
“The Key to Expanding Your Brand’s Potential,” July 29, ROI Report
32. Retailers stand to enhance how products reach their customers. With past buying data and behavior available to them, retailers can break down their customers into segments and prioritize them accordingly. Merchandise can then be selected specifically by store and placed in the right assortment and displayed in the most effective layout.
Kevin Quinn, Information Builders
“10 Retail Resolutions for the New Year,” Jan. 17, ROI Report
33. Look at what devices your customers are using. There’s a big difference between a Droid, BlackBerry and iPhone. You need to know what your customers favor. This is a critical point that a lot of folks underestimate. More than one B-to-B company has spent a boatload on an iPhone app only to find out a couple months later that the majority of its customers have BlackBerries or vice versa.
Amy Africa, Eight by Eight
“Creating a Mobile Strategy for Your Customers,” March, Retail Online Integration
34. Mobile must work to ensure a brand is creating O.P.E.N. (on-demand, personal, engaging, networked) experiences with and for consumers. Don’t rush off on a tactical mission to launch a mobile site or app without first looking at how it plays in your customers’ lives, with your other channels and how it mirrors the measure of your brand. Have a strategy that brings mobile into the fold of your other channels (e.g., destination site, in-store, social, etc.) rather than treating it as a stand-alone or orbiting channel.
Stephen Burke, Resource Interactive
“5 Strategies for Mobilizing Your Brand,” April 21, ROI Report
35. Beyond targeting promotions tied to one or more payment products, retailers should begin to experiment with mobile delivery of incentives and marketing messages in order to understand the receptiveness of their client base to real-time personalized offers and coupons.
Ed Kountz, First Data Advisors
“Profitability Strategies for the New American Consumer,” Sept. 22, ROI Report
Operations & Fulfillment
36. Make training a continuous process. Evaluate the need for training in your warehouse every three months. Tenure with the company shouldn’t be a factor. In fact, some of your more experienced staff might need a refresher course on how to use the technology available to them to its full capacity. Regular systems training is vital to being as efficient and productive as possible.
Susan Rider, Rider & Associates
“5 Tips to Make Your Warehouse More Efficient,” April 5, ROI Report
37. Provide your warehouse staff a daily tracking of their efforts. Folks want a scoreboard when they come to work every day. Young Living’s warehouse staff is measured on number of items picked, accuracy of their picks, among other factors. Those results are then compared against pre-established benchmarks. Production at or above 100 percent qualifies an employee for incentive pay.
Steve Johnson, Johnson Stephens Consulting
“How Young Living Essential Oils Has Saved Money Via a Labor Management System,” April 6, ROI Report
38. Don’t tell your packaging vendor exactly what size box you need. If you do, the vendor will create custom boxes for you that are more expensive than buying standard-size boxes. Just choose the standard-size box closest in size to the one that you need.
Timothy Holody, Seta/Palm Beach Jewelry
“15 Tips to a More Effective Distribution Center,” April 11, ROI Report
39. Target brand-loyal consumers. Many consumers are looking for a specific brand or item, regardless of retail outlet. Retailers can target these consumers by offering brand-specific deals or coupons. Including the brand name in the coupon code allows consumers to find the deal faster, especially when working with coupon and deal websites. This works beyond just brand names. A well-designed coupon focusing on one particular product or service can generate a short-term boost in traffic.
Cotter Cunningham, Whale Shark Media
“Coupons Benefit More Than the Consumer: How Retailers Can Maximize Returns,” April 4, ROI Report
40. To acquire better customers, start by segmenting and profiling your best current customers. What characteristics define them, and which are actionable and targetable? What are your top acquisition sources for best customers, from direct mail lists to referring websites to top search terms? Use profiles of “best” customers to target look-a-likes. Few companies have customer valuation methodologies — e.g., profitability analysis, lifetime value measures, risk profiles, etc. — to segment and treat customers based on their value to the enterprise. Do the analytics and concentrate your resources on high-potential and high-value customers. Job No. 1 is acquiring the right customers.
Jeff Haggin, SolutionSet
“How to Get Uncommonly Loyal Customers,” June, Retail Online Integration
41. How can scalable, successful link building be done properly? It’s cliché to say, but it requires building quality content and syndicating it — easier said than done. Here are tips to help make this goal a reality:
- Optimize press releases. Widely distributed, this content can be picked up by reputable sites.
- Integrate links with product providers in the retail space. Brand advertisers tend to have highly regarded sites; build out key connectivity to product suppliers.
- Integrate user-generated content (e.g., ratings and reviews) into landing pages. Search engines are using UGC to reindex content, which improves the “freshness” factor on a site and drives improved ranking.
- Create content that includes infographics, videos, games, web-based tools, unique contests, breaking news, top 10 lists, how-tos, alternative viewpoints, shortcuts, etc.
“Google Shuffles the Deck on Natural Search Algorithm; Retailers Should be Beneficiaries,” March 15, ROI Report
42. When beginning to build your keyword list, start with brand and nonbrand terms. That means all versions of them, including singular and plural variations, typos, misspellings, and even regional dialects. For example, people in Massachusetts tend to add an extra “r” to words, therefore Talbots owns the brand term “Talbots” and “Talborts.”
Courtney Wegner, iProspect
“How to Find the Best Keywords for Your Brand,” June 15, ROI Report
43. Obviously a shopper wants to know how much a product costs. It’s important to include all the relevant price data, including regular price, sale price, shipping cost and taxes. Different venues display prices differently. If you include all of the information, the search engine has a better opportunity to display the correct price.
Rob Wright, Channel Intelligence
“5 Best Practices for Product Search,” Aug. 4, ROI Report
44. Leverage the fact that FedEx and UPS are now multimodal transportation providers. If you use these carriers exclusively for domestic parcel service but have other transportation needs (e.g., less-than-truckload shipping, truckload shipping, international forwarding, ocean transport, etc.), your combined volumes may enhance your overall discounts.
Rob Martinez, Shipware
“4 Ways Shippers Can Keep Parcel Costs in Check,” Feb. 1, Shipping Insights blog
45. Consider rail for your transportation needs. This is particularly relevant now with the rising fuel surcharges traditional carriers are charging.
Mike Peel, C.H. Robinson Worldwide
“15 Tips to a More Effective Distribution Center,” April 11, ROI Report
46. Leverage existing assets for Facebook. Title Nine treated its “We Love Our Fans” giveaway on Facebook as a shrunk-down version of the promotion’s email campaign. Use your entire staff to monitor your company’s social media activities; it doesn’t have to be the sole responsibility of an e-commerce team. Task customer service, finance, warehouse/fulfillment teams and others with keeping tabs on what’s being said about your company.
Kelly Goldsmith, Title Nine
“Tips to Drive Brand Engagement, Loyalty and Sales via Social Media,” March 4, ROI Report
47. Share information that takes fans behind the scenes. Your customers are a fan of your page because they want to hear from you. Chances are there’s a lot of information you could share for very little cost. Get to know your customers well and offer content they’ll appreciate. Enthusiasts love it when you share photos from events, backstage videos, insider news, helpful tips, etc.
John Porcaro, Metia/Seattle
“5 Tips to a Better Facebook Page,” April 25, ROI Report
48. Sales and marketing experts know that extra clicks and steps create unnecessary barriers in the customer experience. By setting your store page as your default tab, you’re removing the barrier of an additional click on the store tab. This allows visitors to immediately see your store instead of having to go through an extra step, helping your fans convert to shoppers more easily.
Joelle Mustane, Payvment
"5 Tips for Selling Products on Facebook,” Sept. 2, ROI Report
49. Hosting videos on your own website as well as on YouTube is a waste. Just cut and paste YouTube’s video code onto your own site. It’s cheaper and more effective to do it that way. YouTube will track views on your own site — helping improve your organic search rankings — if you use its code; it won’t if you don’t use its code.
Greg Jarboe, SEO-PR
“Tips to Help Your Business Monetize YouTube Advertising,” Feb. 22, ROI Report
50. Static, low-fi banners are outdated and won’t tempt today’s savvy consumers. Instead, retailers can use online video within traditional display banners to deliver all the things back-to-school shoppers are looking for, from coupons and discounts to product information. Using a primary TV ad as the base of an online in-banner video ad, retailers can include secondary videos about products. Now consumers can access the information and content they need without being directed to another site.
Anupam Gupta, Mixpo
“Retailers Check Out Video Advertising for Back to School,” Sept. 12, ROI Report
What’s Your Best Advice?
Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Post them on Twitter using #retailmarketing50 and we’ll publish the best ones in our December issue!