50 Best Tips of 2016
1. By giving affiliates commissions on an in-store-only sale (albeit less than their online commissions), they’ll be much more motivated to promote it within their distribution channels. Providing a small commission for an offline/in-store-only sale allows you to test the campaign while keeping costs in check. It also strengthens your relationship with the affiliate, gives them a reason to promote the in-store offer and creates data that help you evaluate online-to-offline sales.
Robert Glazer, Acceleration Partners, “How Affiliates Can Help Your In-Store Business,” Jan. 25, Total Retail Report
2. Catalogers need to test the difference in sales between mailing a catalog and not mailing a catalog to their housefile. Savvy catalogers will quickly learn from this type of A/B test that catalogs produce a very defined incremental layer of sales that are simply not realized when the same RFM segments do not receive a catalog. Testing shows precisely how much sales are generated as a result of the catalog vs. the sales that are realized without the catalog.
Jim Coogan, Catalog Marketing Economics, “Can Catalogs Be Replaced With Only Internet Marketing?” Winter, Total Retail
3. Remember that your website information architecture is itself a critical form of content. You may have to redesign the whole web experience from a user-centered perspective. However, once you do, the site architecture can serve as additional market research if your navigation is based on the important roles and tasks of your audience. Specific navigation choices can be noted for later lead scoring and personalization.
Tim Ash, SiteTuners, “‘Writing’ a Wrong,” Winter, Total Retail
4. Respond to micro-interactions. By “liking” or “checking in,” the user is offering the content owner an opinion, which is an acknowledgement that their input has had an effect. This is key to starting two-way digital communication between the retailer and customer. The user finds that very satisfying, and the content provider can gather data to make the content richer and more relevant in the future — and dump the content that isn’t working.”
Mark Lister, Ness Software Engineering, “Using Digital Storytelling to Improve Customer Engagement,” May 17, Total Retail Report
5. Shoppable content paves the way for brands to leverage the content they’ve already created and generate higher sales. By incorporating shoppable content, brands are reducing the amount of clicks it takes for a consumer to go from their content to making a purchase.
Marla Schimke, Zumobi, “Shoppable Content Transforms Mobile Shopping Behavior,” July 8, Total Retail Report
6. Some customers prefer to solve their own problems without additional assistance, and will do everything in their power to avoid having to speak with customer service representatives. Empower these customers with a variety of options to go about the returns process on their own with minimal effort, and lay out clearly defined policies that address several types of return situations.
Laura Pappas, Avalara, “Bring Joy to Holiday Product Returns,” Jan. 15, Total Retail Report
7. Be predictive. If you’re getting the same question or complaint over and over again, it probably makes sense to either fix the problem — that may or may not be possible — or take greater measures to prevent that problem from occurring, because obviously there’s a pattern. I think there’s a real opportunity to tie content marketing and customer service together. Say, ‘Look, we’re getting this customer complaint over and over, maybe we can explain this with a blog post, video, podcast, infographic, signage in-store, etc. Knowing that this is a pain point for our customers, how can we run ahead of that and not constantly be in reactive, complaint-answering mode, but try and message it ahead of time to prevent that stream of complaints from happening in the first place.’
Jay Baer, Convince & Convert, “Jay Baer Talks Digital Customer Service,” Feb. 1, Total Retail Talks, episode 22
8. Respond within 18 hours of receiving a review. This shows you check your feedback frequently and are willing to address issues sooner rather than later. No one wants to wait around for weeks for a question to be answered.
Jordan Garner, Trustpilot, “How to Turn Negative Reviews Into Better Customer Service,” Feb. 17, Total Retail Report
9. Implementing an ironclad process for opt-in will go a long way in building trust and ensuring that customers don’t get surprised by any communications or services. What’s more, there are several simple methods that retailers can use to improve the likelihood of customers opting in to a campaign, including point-of-sale offers and discounts, in-app push notifications, and social media posts.
Mary Clark, Syniverse, “Making Mobile Privacy Paramount,” July 27, Total Retail Report
10. Always ask for CVV codes to verify online transactions. Banks are coming out with cards and mobile apps that have digital, ever-changing three-digit CVV numbers, supplanting the static ones printed on the backs of current credit cards. This helps make stolen financial data useless, but only if all retailers ask for that CVV code prior to authorizing a transaction.
Hakan Nordfjell, Gemalto, “Strategies for Ensuring Payment, Data Security,” Jan. 13, Total Retail Report