ROI September/ October 2012
Q: "I would love to get some advice on increasing catalog orders from retail store customers. We are a tourist-driven business and we want them to order again once they get home from vacation."
It's that time of year again when retailers should start preparing their businesses for holidays returns. The holiday returns season is a very important time of year for both retailers and manufacturers. A typical retail chain will process more than 45 percent of its total annual returns volume between the first week in January and the first week in March. Manufacturers of consumer goods, in turn, will get hit with this same tidal wave of seasonal recalls and product returns about a week to two weeks later as their retail customers process and ship returns to them.
Searching for his next challenge in the retail industry after previous stops at the Home Shopping Network (HSN), Dell and Gilt Groupe, David Zucker joined health and wellness products retailer Vitacost in August 2011 as its new chief marketing officer. He quickly got to work. In the 13 months Zucker has been at Vitacost, he's helped to oversee a complete brand makeover, including a new logo and corporate slogan ("take the cost out of healthy living"); the redesign of its e-commerce website; the launch of two health and wellness content sites (Wellness Times and Momonomics); and the upgrade of Vitacost's mobile website and apps.
Just last year, ROI reported on how augmented reality (AR) was beginning to make an impact in the retail industry with our profile of Fits.me, a virtual fitting room that enables online shoppers to see which clothing fits them best before making a purchase on a retailer's website. More and more retailers are using AR thanks to the growing number of mobile AR platforms. In fact, according to a report from Juniper Research, revenue from AR apps and services is set to approach $1.5 billion by 2015. My how it has grown.
PROBLEM: Bedroom Furniture Discounts (BFD), a cross-channel retailer of furniture, wanted to optimize its paid search program.
SOLUTION: Hired a third-party provider of online interaction management tools, including a Google AdWords-based conversion solution.
Belk, Inc. is making all the right moves around improving its warehouse and fulfillment operations to meet the needs of its growing e-commerce business.
With the cost of printing and mailing catalogs prohibitive for many retailers, those that do need to squeeze every ounce of value out of their catalog budgets. Here are some proven recommendations:
Michaels Stores, the arts and crafts retailer, launched an online holiday planning tool this past July designed to take the stress out of holiday gift-giving for users as well as reward them and get them more engaged with the brand. The loyalty campaign, dubbed "Make Your Joy," was designed and executed using a multichannel promotion and loyalty platform from ePrize and will last through the holiday season.
The facts: More than 11 million Pinterest users have driven more online revenue per click than 900 million Facebook users and 140 million Twitter users combined. What's more impressive is that this visual sharing pinboard social network achieved these numbers in roughly a year.
For cross-channel retailer Quiksilver, which designs, produces and distributes a mix of branded apparel, footwear, accessories and related products for outdoor sports lifestyle enthusiasts, the launch of 10 new e-commerce sites in Europe signaled the growth of the brand beyond its traditional markets of the United States and Australia. Consumers in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom — not exactly surfing hotbeds — now can purchase Quiksilver gear and apparel online.
As you read this, you're likely in the middle of or wrapping up your busy back-to-school season, so your thoughts may not be on the upcoming holidays. But if last year is any indication, you should probably start thinking about it. Holiday 2012 figures to be another blockbuster shopping season for cross-channel retailers.
PATIENT: "Doc, I'm discouraged. All I hear is that online is where the sales are and I gotta pour more money into my web channels. That means I need to cut back on my catalog program, probably big time. What should I do?"
Despite rumblings that social media is losing its value and cache as a marketing tool (or commerce or customer service tool) for retailers — let the debate rage on — there are plenty of brands that are investing their time and money in the channel. The common refrain that you hear from all of them is that they seek better engagement with their customers and prospects, and social media can play a significant role in helping them accomplish that. In that vein, Retail Online Integration has compiled its second annual ranking of the top 50 fastest-growing Facebook retailers — with a twist this year.