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Friday, 26 December 2014

Do Not Discount the Power of Promotions


Failing to plan is planning to fail - Alan Lakein

The retail industry is a competitive arena where mature players try to maintain steady growth and new players attempt to gain a stronger foothold. It’s no surprise that the customer regularly finds himself surrounded by promotions of all shapes and sizes! Also, gone are the days when these campaigns were linear and narrowly thought. Daily, scores of brands contest for the attention of the customer - who is getting increasingly demanding.

http://etpgroup.com/retail-solutions-promotion-planning.html

Retailers need to delve deeper into customer behavior and understand the three Ts – Temptation, Triggers and Turn-offs. The temptation route can be utilized for a promotion strategy with considering and evaluating the past purchase history of a customer. They are attuned to a more personalized offering style, as the products and services being promoted cover the ‘comfortable’ and ‘familiar’ ground. The trigger strategy contains a more philosophical approach – from basic human nature to specific target demographic group. As the term suggests, turn-offs are the promotion-product/service mix that have been, through a set elimination and deduction appraisal, deemed unsuccessful. In an overcrowded market place, where mismatched or irrelevant promotions may result into opportunity loss or customer defection, it is equally crucial to determine what is NOT working.

At this juncture, it is safe to say that analytics – both descriptive and predictive, form a big part of promotion strategy and management. Technology in various forms is the biggest carrying force to gain insights on customer preferences and expectations. At the retailer’s side, there are multidimensional tools like Business Intelligence modules, feedback programs, etc. and customers are quickly adopting smartphone technology and social media platforms. The latter feeds the former in this case, with customers sharing, visiting, buying on mobile phones and discussing, reviewing, connecting through social media. Data is collected across all these channels to collate and convert into logical patterns and advantageous acumen.

Post implementing the promotional campaign, retailers should create set processes to track the productivity and effectiveness of the campaign. Setting KPIs to key people, processes and products involved is a proven practice that ensures the different promotions running simultaneously are meeting their respective objectives. Adaptive contingency plans help support, sustain and streamline any changes required to deal with expected and unexpected situations. This saves time, operational costs and possible damage to the overall customer experience. It also creates necessary fail-safes to avoid hemorrhaging campaign expenditure, add to the bottom line and deliver value that boosts sales.

Market leaders in retail have been effectively using ETP Accelerator, across all their stores. They agree to have acquired better insight into customer demand and a covetable promotions trajectory. ETP Accelerator is a powerful marketing and promotions engine. It manages marketing campaigns in sync with customer/market trends - reducing implementation time drastically. It supports promotional strategies and business rules to be set and rolled out across operations instantly. This proactive solution allows multiple promotions and business rules to run concurrently without affecting process efficiencies. More importantly, the retailer can monitor the performance of each promotion strategy and redefine them as required.  

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Omni Channel Connect


Your omni channel presence, and not just your product, makes or breaks your brand image today. Market reports estimate online and web-influenced retail sales (US) to reach $1.8 trillion by 2017, showing sustainable growth from the $1.3 trillion mark in 2013.

The Omni channel adoption and conversion will continue to grow as customers embrace emerging technology and its multiple access points. These same customers will expect even faster response time, regardless of how and when they connect with your store. The emergent ‘show rooming’ trend also shows us that consumers still wish to “go out shopping” and value quality brand experience within the retail store. The only difference is that the retail store needs to shed its physical limitations and further contact, communicate, engage and convert customers across multiple channels, as per their convenience. This strategy hits the mark in terms of keeping customers happy, increasing acquisition volumes and reaching closer to the projected business growth. For example, large brick and mortar retailers like Macy’s and Best Buy are adopting Omni channel technology to stay connected and relevant to their growing customer base. Macy’s encourages shoppers to scan products via the retailer’s mobile app while shopping in the stores. Its annual digital plan focuses heavily on mobile and seeks to “close the gap between store, desktop and mobile.” After Best Buy lost $1.2 billion during 2012, the world’s largest consumer electronics retailer looked like it was headed towards oblivion. Its turnaround happened post the decision to invest in Omni channel innovations that reached customers wherever they are—in a store, online or via their phones—and use technology to turn costly physical stores into an advantage.


The advantages of Omni channel are many but the most prominent of the same are as follows:

Brand Connect – Technology has intertwined with our lives and formed the core of how we relate to things and people, including brands. Most of us are always online and “connected” through smart mobile devices. According to Forrester Research, mobile payments will amount to nearly $90 billion in the coming years. This is largely due to the fact that an impactful Omni presence will help brands capture the most coveted real estate in retail – the customer’s mind. According to global reports, mobile phone penetration will rise up to 69.4% of the global population, in 2017. As smartphones and tablets continue to become cheaper and 3G and 4G networks more approachable with enhanced security, mobile wallets and captivating additions like wearable technology and new age applications etc. the hyper speed upward trajectory of m-commerce shall remain on track.

Social Network – The above point lends itself to the social network invasion. When brands create an engaging niche for themselves in the popular social networks, they gain much more than possible customer conversions. This platform has become a dialogue center between companies or brands and the enormous and growing number of people on the network. Companies are exposed to real-time problems, perceptions and potential of their products, programs and services. This is invaluable first-hand data that not only bolsters their databanks but also helps retailers with insights unblemished by process churns. The right steps undertaken thus to create a better brand experience shall result in favorable reviews and improved brand equity. Positive word-of-mouth will also lead to desired revenue generation and customer loyalty.

Target Marketing – Omni channel marketing allows highly targeted approach towards introducing brand products, services and company USPs, inducing interest to understand and then buy or recognize the same. Business Intelligence and integrated CRM technology provides retailers the information regarding customers and prospects preferences, needs and desires. Analytical computing takes into consideration various factors like socio-economic and demographical components to fine-tune the learnings. Now that you have the ‘what’, Omni channel paves the next step with the ‘how’ at this juncture. How do we personalize our offerings through the marketing channels most frequented to encourage or incite positive buying behavior? This customized experience is becoming the norm in both B2B and B2C enterprises where the marketing strategies are created to implant a familiar and relationship based communication with customers, prospect and suspects. 

The crystal ball shows Omni channel technology to carry on putting enterprises on the map and level the global playing field of retail.