Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 6-8-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to another edition of #SundayMusings! This week we will be focusing on retail-related news and stories that caught our attention over the past few weeks. As a quick aside, we will also be focusing on retail and retail loyalty in the forthcoming June “Pin of the Month” next weekend. For now, here are the stories that caught my attention.

#1 – Do Tablets Have The Power To Revolutionize Retail – via CMO.com 

Premise: While not there yet, tablets will soon be everywhere. Similar to how the iPod revolutionized the music industry, tablets will turn the retail landscape on its head. It is predicted that half of the US will have a tablet within the next few years. Tablets are a research-friendly device for customers and the author provides several additional motivating facts for leveraging tablets for your business.

Thoughts: The second screen has changed consumers’ behaviors – from how they watch television to the entire retail/shopping experience. The Nordstrom example provided by the author is a great way to show how a retailer can leverage a tablet to create a unique experience for its customers. Bookmark the site for future write-ups on how tablets are impacting additional industries as well.

#2 – Square Begins Offering Data Driven Cash Advances To Small Businesses via TechCrunch.com  

Premise: Square, the mobile payment company, announced that it is rolling out Square Capital which will offer cash advances to businesses within its network. Companies already leveraging Square’s services will be able to access the cash advances and each business will be individually judged on the amount of the advance based on Square’s in-house data.

The benefits of the service include faster turnaround for receiving the cash advance and the significantly lower fees vs. a typical loan. The data that Square holds allows the company to update its offers to businesses on the fly.

Thoughts: Square continues to evolve and the more I read about the company the more I am impresses with the company’s management and management decisions. This offering injects capital into retailers and other businesses and allows them to invest what they want and when they want it. The background data that the company holds on each business allows Square to make smart business decisions on how much the advance can and should be.

#3 – “7 Easy Loyalty Program Ideas for Your New Store” via TheStoreStarters.com 

Premise: “Customers love loyalty programs” and the author provides seven different ideas for how your retail business can leverage a loyalty program to increase engagement with customers. From punch cards to couponing to more strategic efforts, the author’s tips/ideas are all up for consideration across all types of stores and retailers.

Thoughts: The last two items listed in the write-up caught my attention. “Social media loyalty discounts” seem to have gone by the wayside a bit. I see less and less deals on foursquare in my area, while employees at several retailers are completely unaware of the offerings when I show them my phone for the deal. If you are going to offer deals on social media, make sure you keep up with the times, refresh the offer to change things up a bit, and please ensure your employees are aware of any and all offerings out there.

The last tip/idea of making exclusive offers for loyal customers also caught my eye. You want to create brand ambassadors for your business so that they will talk about you to friends and family. Offering them exclusive deals will help increase their engagement with you and keep them coming back for more.

#4 – “Mobile Apps – Changing the Face of Retail Industry” via ExploreB2B.com  

Premise: Mobile has made a significant impact on the retail industry, changing shopping behaviors and keeping consumers more informed about the products they are considering buying. Mobile apps are helping retailers better understand their customers as well. Retailers are able to improve loyalty, push out notifications, and engage their customer base for feedback through their apps. The author provides four ways in which mobile apps are helping improve the shopping experience, not only for the customer, but also for the retailers themselves.

Thoughts: Mobile apps help build/improve a strong loyalty program for the retailer and can be an important part of CRM. Perhaps the most effective part of a good mobile app, at least in my opinion, is the third example the author provides – the app can be a low-cost, yet effective marketing tool. Retailers can push out deals and offers to its customers – those that have “opted in” to the brand simply by downloading their app.

(A great example of this is Starbucks – take a look at the first few paragraphs of our last “Brand in Focus” which compliments the retailer’s mobile efforts.)

#5 – “How Walmart Uses Receipts to Personalize Mobile Marketing” via GetElastic.com  

Premise: Last month, Walmart made a potentially important change to their mobile marketing platform, allowing customers to save their receipts to their mobile application vs. receiving paper or email receipts for their purchase. When checking out the customer can provide their mobile number to receive a text message that will sync to the mobile account. There are benefits to the system on both ends, for the customer and for Walmart.

Thoughts: For those willing and able, customers can make their shopping experience that much easier by converting to the mobile platform Walmart has installed. However, from the retailer’s perspective, this system will provide a wealth of data and information that Walmart can then use to help tailor its marketing for individual users based on past experience.

Are you willing to sign up for this type of offer at Walmart, or any other retailer that this type of system could be installed in?

Tweet of the Week:

Last month Amazon and Twitter announced a partnership that will allow Twitter users to make purchases on Amazon by simply sending a tweet marked with “#AmazonCart”. The first step is to sync your Amazon and Twitter accounts. From there, if and when you see an item from Amazon all you have to do is respond on Twitter with the hashtag and product and voila, you will/should have the product in your Amazon orders.

A similar type of program was launched on Twitter with American Express last year. It will be interesting to see if or how this takes off and if this truly builds a stronger platform for both companies.

Thanks again for checking out another edition of Shore Branding’s #SundayMusings! Have a great week ahead!