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It’s not just the moment of purchase that matters. To successfully build customer loyalty requires fresh marketing strategies at every phase of the purchase cycle: before, during, and after.
Before deciding to spend their hard-earned money with your brand, consumers receive countless messages that detail product announcements and ways to save money. To break through this noise, a streamlined and efficient engagement strategy is critical.
At the time of purchase, on the other hand, with consumers facing options from dozens of competitors, brands must change the shopping game to aid consumers in making an educated buying decision.
Finally, after a purchase is made, your brand has a choice of either allowing the customer to walk away in anonymity or continue the conversation by creating an identified and meaningful ongoing relationship.
When a good idea comes along in retail and digital there are soon many, many start-ups getting in on the action.
Take loyalty apps for example. Loyalty is a big beast. Many types of company may consider it part of their remit, from digital payment solutions, to social-style check-ins, to group buying sites, or indeed a retailer’s own app.
I’ve previously looked at the state of apps in retail and found that using loyalty schemes is pretty much the major rationale for customers using a retail app.
Whether customers will settle on retailers’ own apps or on a generic loyalty scheme provider (perhaps lumped with payment) remains to be seen.
But of those tens of consolidated loyalty apps, which are the best? Here’s the list of five I think are most interesting. Whether mobile wallets such as PayPal and Google Wallet will buy them up remains to be seen but the space seems set to get richer before it gets poorer.
A key element for loyalty programs, especially in industries like retail and restaurants, is product purchase frequency. Frequently purchased products enable members to earn more reward currency and keep the product and the program top of mind.
Does that mean that products without a high rate of purchase frequency can't implement a successful loyalty program?
They actually can, it just requires a little creative thinking and a different approach.
However, the customer’s willingness to tap a poster with their phone is dependent on how well many initial NFC campaigns are carried out. Some clunky efforts, with terrible landing pages and insufficient incentives have risked putting users off for good.
This is changing as brands start to use the technology in better surroundings and to better purpose. A mall is the perfect environment to encourage users to tap with their friends.
To that end, from this week, shoppers can “turn on, tap and enjoy” content and competitions at Westfield shopping centres in London through CBS Outdoor digital pods, which use Proxama’s TapPoint NFC platform.
I recently wrote about mobile NFC being dead in the water. Since then a few dissenting voices have piped up. Understandably, some working in this area.
One of the voices was Proxama’s. It runs TapPoint, which is a cloud-based SAAS. I spoke to the MD, Miles Quitmann, and he was refreshingly honest enough to turn my oil tanker of beef around and leave me excited about the possibilities of loyalty ‘on tap’.
So here’s a summary of emerging possibilities for marketers, using the growing number of NFC enabled smartphones in the market.
Despite initial concerns, research shows that the exponential growth in online shopping has not killed off brand loyalty. In fact, good customer service is still one of the main driving factors for consumer spend.
With the cost of acquisition of new customers relatively high through search engines, affiliates or other channels, it pays to keep hold of the customers that you already have on your side, to encourage repeat visits, building for the lifetime value of that customer rather than taking a quick win.
You cannot buy loyalty in the true sense of the word, it has to be earned, but the good news is that there are a number of ways that you can foster it:
From increasing brand awareness to accelerating conversions and transaction volume, mobile has become an integral way for brands to guide consumers along the path to purchase.
The rise of mobile is a key factor in the shift from what used to be a linear path to purchase. The days of "here's our ad, see you at the register" are long gone and have been replaced by a broad, multi-faceted discovery and engagement process.
With this evolution, marketers must make effective investments that use mobile as a connective tissue in the increasingly non-linear purchase cycle.
Only 15% of British consumers believe strongly that it pays to be loyal to their favourite brands, according to a new survey by Epsilon.
However if brands can offer what consumers want – which half of respondents identified as being value and quality in the products or services they are offered – they have a good chance of encouraging customers to remain loyal.
The research, which was conducted among 419 British respondents, also shows that the recession appears to have made UK shoppers more frugal.
More than half (57%) of respondents said that they will shop around to find the best deal and just (15%) are prepared to pay the premium for luxury products and new-to-market products.
Looking at what drives repeat purchases, just over a quarter (28%) of British customers see rewards programmes as an incentive to secure their loyalty.
Loyalty schemes are big business. You only have to look at Tesco’s Clubcard, Boots Advantage and Nectar points to see how effective they are at drawing consumers in and creating brand loyalty on the high street.
But looking around the globe traditional loyalty models are being taken on by the mobile revolution. Brands using their mobile channel to target engaged consumers and deliver smarter, personalised deals are giving traditional routes a run for their money.
Fiddling about with coupons and cut-out offers at the till will soon be a thing of the past. Brands that have harnessed marketing to mobile, enhanced by mobile payment solutions, will smooth the way when it comes to redeeming offers at the point of paying.
P&G’s former CEO, A.G. Lafley, is credited with turning around the company under the mantra “the consumer is boss” – putting the customer at the centre of everything they do.
It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Keep your customers happy, be in touch more often (not to sell, but just to show them some love), offer exceptional customer service and then just reap the benefits.
Or in other words, invest at least as much to retain your customers as you did to acquire them.
From social media sentiment analysis to digital ad buying, faster is increasingly seen as better, or at least necessary.
So it's no surprise that the ability to generate lots of data and analyze it rapidly is changing the way products and services are sold.
The video game industry is worth more than $100bn worldwide, so it's no surprise that businesses are using gamification to try to boost sales.
The idea is that by adding gaming elements to the sales process, such as small challenges and rewards, you can increase customer loyalty and advocacy.
As in every game or competition, the participants have to be motivated by a worthwhile reward. It’s also true that the greater the reward, the more you can ask people to do to earn the reward.
Last year Gamification CEO Gabe Zichermann said that the reward customers most valued was status above their peers. His justification was people are already used to being rewarded with additional titles and status while playing video games.
Obviously gamification isn’t necessarily suited to every company, as it could end up undermining the brand values.
But it can also reap huge rewards. So here are six examples of brands using gamification in ecommerce...