Category: Retail

B2CRM News

2020 Was the Year of The QR Code

Did you know that QR stands for quick response? Most people don’t think of that and didn’t think much of those symbols meant to be scanned by phones to access information.

Become the best CRMer you can:
CRM Hack: measuring the right marketing campaign KPIs
How To: use loyalty data to power retention and reactivation
See how brands take their email deliverability to the max
Get inspired: great sports betting campaigns to follow

These symbols actually have a longer history than many would suppose, and back in 1994, they were anticipated as the replacement for the barcode. That didn’t happen, and they didn’t really realize the potential such coding held for quite some time.

But 2020 was a different kind of year, and one that saw QR code use surge. As reported in Modern Retail, this past year, “ they’ve become a dominant way small businesses conduct payments, as well as made their way onto product packaging and in direct mail catalogues.”

Modern Retail references Statista’s estimates that by the end of 2020, “an estimated 11 million households will scan a QR code.” That’s because this year there was, “a 35% increase in the number of interactions per object or sign,” according to Blue Bite.

Sellers, ranging from 1800 Flowers to major clothing designers and a whole bevy of beer brands found innovative ways to use QR codes to engage their customers and promote their products this year. That trend is expected to continue.

The article cites Maggie Bryan, director of UX at Stink Studios, a New York-based advertising agency as observing, “Whether it’s thinking about product demos enabled with QR codes instead of touch screens or investing in digital experiences over traditional retail, 2021 is going to be different.”

After so many years, even decades of being overlooked, the humble QR code may finally have taken on a starring role. Timing is everything, and that applies even to tech that’s been around for a while.

The post 2020 Was the Year of The QR Code appeared first on Post Funnel.

B2CRM News

From Shipageddon To the Returnageddon

Last month, we gathered some last-minute quotes and stats around the projections for the busiest holiday shopping season ever. So, now’s the time to follow up and determine if the Shipageddon is real and happening.

Become the best CRMer you can:
CRM Hack: measuring the right marketing campaign KPIs
How To: use loyalty data to power retention and reactivation
See how brands take their email deliverability to the max
Get inspired: great sports betting campaigns to follow

And by many indicators, thw answer is, YES!

UPS planned to purchase 50 new planes, and FedEx was hiring 70K new seasonal workers to meet demands.

This holiday season, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is experiencing a historic surge in mail and packages. In response, the USPS had to extend its retail hours during the holidays, expand tracking technology, add new equipment, and lease additional motor vehicles.

“Making sure the right equipment is available to sort, process and deliver mail and packages” is of top priority, according to Kristin Seaver, Chief Retail and Delivery Officer of The Postal Service.

Additional Ware2Go holiday survey findings show:

  • 31% intend to shop within a few days after the holidays
  • 34% plan to shop throughout January
  • 23% will wait 2-3 months before shopping again

Brace Yourself for The Returnageddon

Brands, tune into this: Shoppers plan on making a return after the holidays, and your brand should see it as an opportunity.

“2020 is set to be the worst year on record for retailers with regards to return percentages,” said Sriram Sridhar, CEO at LateShipment.com. “Every retailer is set to see returns that are 50% to 100% more than they have ever encountered in the past.”

In fact, according to the survey conducted in October 2020 by Ware2Go, an astounding 61% of respondents answered that an online merchant’s return policy is very important to their decision to purchase.

Knowing this ahead of time is an excellent opportunity for your brand to get ready and plan.

Ensure your return policies are adequately put in place on your website’s FAQ page, and avoid making complicated policies to prevent some returns. Customers who have an easier time returning a product and getting a refund are more likely to stick around with you in the future.

Steve Denton, CEO at Ware2Go suggests that “with 63% of consumers planning to purchase from new brands, this holiday season presents an opportunity for sellers to build a new loyal customer base if they meet customer expectations for eCommerce delivery.”

But, above all, don’t see these returns as any negative sign. Extensive research, also from Optimove, proves that customers who return products are more valuable than those who don’t.

All these added communications and engagements are an opportunity to strengthen customer relationships.

The post From Shipageddon To the Returnageddon appeared first on Post Funnel.

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Express: Expressing CRM Best Practices?

Welcome to episode 32 of PostFunnel’s Seven CRM Commandments series, where we get to the American fashion retailer Express.

So, is the Columbus, Ohio-based workwear retailer treating customers with CRM’s most updated best practices?

Let’s see.

1. Be Transparent 10/10

It makes perfect sense that the retailer who sells corporate wear for the office would be experiencing a decrease in sales as most folks have been working from home for the past year.

According to Market Watch, the company reported “a 30% decline in comparable sales last quarter and would cut 10% of its corporate staff to help conserve cash.”

Express CEO Timothy Baxter said that “the company is not considering bankruptcy and continues to take decisive and appropriate action to manage liquidity throughout this prolonged pandemic.”

Retail Dive added that Express’ corporate cash cut would result in an estimated $13 million in cost savings in 2021.

“Further reducing our workforce was a difficult decision but was appropriate to calibrate the organization to capabilities of this new operating model,” said Baxter referring to the company’s inventory planning to help optimize efficiencies.

This is all really bad news for the brand, and we wish them a quick recovery. But for the sake of this segment here, the fact they’re open about the struggle and how the brand has been communicating its difficulties are humane and transparent.

2. Incentives and Perks 10/10

Yes, the brand is handing out discounts as shown in their HP banner below:

The discounted offers (40-60% off) as well as the $10 reward deal are both very enticing promotions to get shoppers buy with the brand, even more than once.

Express Insider, their membership program also calls for customers to join throughout the customer journey in a popup banner:

Express also gives customers 10% off any purchase for signing up to their emails.

And they also offer customers further deals and discounts for opening and using the Express credit card. Oh, and they have an entire Sale section on their website with tons of discounted items, offering up to 70% off clearance merchandise.

We can’t – and won’t – ask for more than this here.

3. Be Relevant 7/10

The brand offers customers BOPIS options with the ability to pick up items purchased online in stores nearest to them – a must offer nowadays.

The brand also offers curbside pickups and other express (yuh) pick-up options – not only making it easy and convenient for the shopper but also good for combating the spread of COVID-19 and keeping customers safe.

Obviously, a big chunk of the world is shopping for the holiday season RN and it is a stressful time – therefore, Express acknowledges that with these two banners at the bottom of their HP.

However, we deducted a few points from this commandment. We couldn’t find any mention of how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the brand’s product offering, as many other brands we’ve analyzed have communicated this to customers.

4. Be Helpful 3/10

Other than being helpful to customers by means of providing them with all the info they need to shop at these stressful times – as well as numerous methods to shop accordingly – we couldn’t find anything Express has recently been doing to perhaps “give back” to society, the community and/or the world.

Other brands we have analyzed to date have been helpful throughout this challenging year. Whether it be donating merchandise to frontline workers or those directly affected by COVID-19 or working with non-profit organizations, or simply raising awareness – we didn’t see any of that.

Nor anything regarding any other global trend – such as green initiatives or social issues. Thing is, these things are expected from brands nowadays.

5. Realtime Personalization 1/10

After adding an item to our cart, we went back to the brand’s HP – only to realize that our experience wasn’t personalized to our product choice. I.e., we added sweats to our cart and weren’t presented with any relevant item suggestions.

When continuing to shop – no upsell or cross-sell techniques were used either to a) try to make us buy additional items (to perhaps match the sweatpants with) or b) cross us over to another (more expensive?) category of purchase.

Finally, no retargeting efforts were made in realtime by the brand when we exited their website and went on to our social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter.)

6. Master UX 7/10

When entering the brand’s FAQ page, a chatbot appeared at the bottom right-hand corner of the page – and we thought it was a helpful one.

On the other hand, when shopping around – we received the following countdown banner that reads “Hurry! Going fast,” about the item we literally just added to our cart. This sense of urgency was redundant as we didn’t even browse more than one category of clothing – nor were we anywhere close to finished shopping.

In fact, numerous times throughout the user experience, we were interrupted with various promotional popups. Annoying!

Still, however, we had a fair experience with the brand – whereby the basic stuff was simple to perform – and finding the categories of clothing we came to purchase was also easy (also thanks to the chatbot).

Also, the brand offers an abundance of information for shoppers – to really make it clear as to when and how items will be delivered to customers.

7. Leverage Social Media 4/10

Although, the retailer has an abundance of followers on all three social media channels that we checked – we feel they could have been doing a bit more to cater to them on each channel with appropriate content/videos/campaigns/offers/promos/and more.

Express’ Twitter account boasts over 235K Followers. They post in high frequency – almost every day – mostly promoting their latest collections. Here the brand does take a more “timely/relevant” approach by promoting comfy clothing:

 

Their Facebook account boasts over 4.7 Million likes. They post the exact same content as they do on Twitter. We never give extra points for this as it’s completely missing on the opportunity these different platforms offer brands to build meaningful relationships with customers.

Recently, we’ve been writing a whole lot about D&I, and we were pleased to see the brand acknowledging it:

Their Instagram account has over 1 Million followers. Again, on this channel, too, the brand mostly promotes their latest outfits, obviously a lot of sweaters and winter caps as well as cozy fleece jackets. Kudos to Express on their Insta page, which makes a work wear apparel line, looks super comfy for these work from home times. For example:

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by EXPRESS (@express)

 

But overall, no real attempt to use social media for anything, well, social.

**

Overall, Express is getting a 42/70 here (60%), placing them at the bottom of our table. Sometimes there are just one or two things we can point to that a brand needs to improve in order to boost their CRM tactics dramatically.

But, unfortunately, no one thing, in this case, can make a significant difference.

From personalization (a glaring hole) through social media and to be helpful as a brand, and that’s before we’re talking about some much-needed minor improvements on UX and relevancy – an overhaul is required here if they want to meet the modern customer’s expectations.

Now more than ever, consumers are expecting your brand to not only be there for them but to be helpful, relevant, and inclusive to all. The faster Express realizes this, the better.

Here are the full rankings of all the brands we analyzed to date:

  1. Pets at Home 91%
  2. Lowe’s 90%
  3. Petco 90%
  4. Target 87%
  5. Uniqlo 86%
  6. Vrbo 83%
  7. West Elm 81%
  8. The North Face 81%
  9. Holland and Barret 80%
  10. lululemon 80%
  11. Brooks Running 79%
  12. Best Buy 78%
  13. Etsy 76%
  14. The Body Shop 74%
  15. Gymshark 73%
  16. William Hill 73%
  17. Essence 72%
  18. Iceland Foods 71%
  19. Total Wine & More 70%
  20. Tommy Hilfiger 70%
  21. Walgreens 70%
  22. Kohl’s 70%
  23. United Colors of Benetton 69%
  24. Buy Buy Baby 68%
  25. Fiverr 67%
  26. Next 63%
  27. Patagonia 61%
  28. Express 60%
  29. Burberry 60%
  30. Zara 59%
  31. COS 57%
  32. Dream11 53%

We publish a new analysis every week, so watch this space for more brand analyses coming your way!

The post Express: Expressing CRM Best Practices? appeared first on Post Funnel.

B2CRM News

Big Names Among the Latest Retailers to Join the…

In June, Canadian fashion designer, Aurora James started the 15% Pledge movement that promotes racial justice and social equality by urging companies to commit 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses. The idea behind the number is the fact African Americans make up almost 15% of the total U.S. population.

As the owner of luxury shoe brand, Brother Vellies, James honors the pledge with her brand by continuously inspiring the Black community to find their voice and feel comfortable in their skin.

Become the best CRMer you can:
CRM Hack: measuring the right marketing campaign KPIs
How To: use loyalty data to power retention and reactivation
See how brands take their email deliverability to the max
Get inspired: great sports betting campaigns to follow

“The 15 Percent Pledge was launched out of the need for increased representation in the workforce and financial equality for Black-owned businesses,” said James.

The campaign already works with large retailers like beauty brand Sephora, cannabis retailer MedMen, Canada’s biggest bookstore Indigo, fashion magazine Vogue, and even the modern furniture and home décor shop West Elm.

President of West Elm, Alex Bellos, said in July when they joined the pledge: “We are determined to use our purchasing power to create economic empowerment for Black-owned businesses, artists and designers. We look forward to working with the 15 Percent Pledge to ensure our commitments make an immediate and sustained impact.”

Now Macy’s just made the big news. The American department store giant announced its bold commitment to the 15% pledge, with plans to support Black businesses, Black staff, and Black communities.

Macy’s is said to be the largest retailer to join the pledge to date, paving the way for others to boost Black-business by increasing representation of Black-owned companies across all its product categories.

 

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A post shared by Aurora James 🦢 (@aurorajames)

InStyle Magazine also just announced their commitment to the 15% pledge, writing the following message on their Instagram account: “Not only are we taking the Pledge, we plan to commit 15 percent of our coverage to Black-owned businesses; focus on diversity and inclusivity in our representation of models, celebrities, and additional features; as well as pledge to amplify Black creatives and spotlight voices of Black experts, stylists, and artists to avoid incorrect attribution and appropriation.”

 

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A post shared by instylemagazine (@instylemagazine)

The fact that brands are stepping up to ensure their commitment to Black businesses and putting it front and center is a testiment that for consumers, brands’ words are not enough and they need to put them in action.

At the beginning of the BLM movement, numerous brands were showing support to the Black community, for instance posting black images to their social media accounts on #BlackOutTuesday.

A genuine commitment to the 15% pledge is a whole other ball game that really shows a brand’s values and drive towards racial equity. Joining the commitment and announcing it to the public is a huge leap towards proactively giving back to the Black community.

If you’re wondering, consumers can also do their part. The 15% pledge organization states the following Consumer Commitments:

Step 1: Take Inventory (of your own spending power)

Step 2: Buy Black (at least 15% of your monthly spending)

Step 3: Donate ($15 a month goes a long way)

 

 

The post Big Names Among the Latest Retailers to Join the 15 Percent Pledge appeared first on Post Funnel.

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