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You know the feeling. The feeling you get when you go to your favourite local business where they welcome you with open arms and a smile on their face.
They know you. They know who you are, listen to what you want and are flexible and helpful enough to give you a great service and a great experience by treating you as an individual.
Increasingly, this is what people expect from big companies too. Customers want big brands to recognise them. They don’t want to have to tell them twice who they are and provide information that they should already know.
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.
The high street debate is one that attracts much comment on the Econsultancy blog.
Feelings run high when it comes to ensuring the survival of stores in our towns. The situation has yet to crystallise, though it’s clear there are business models that aren’t best suited to bricks and mortar any more.
Alongside the trend towards experiential retail (shops doing more than simply selling stuff that consumers can buy cheaper online), a trend towards creating social value in the community may be emerging.
High street vacancy rates are steady in the UK at 14% in 2013 and independent stores such as cafes are on the increase. Part of the reason for this is social and local.
Most of us still value our retail centres as places to take a ‘humanity bath’, meeting people outside of the office, the church/mosque/synagogue and your neighbourhood.
But what else can big retailers do to engender a closer community? Does every store have to get involved? What about digital technology, can it play a part at a community level?
The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) has released a report detailing the business case for socially aware retail. The report includes the results of six months of research with three ASDA stores.
Whilst most of the findings are relevant mainly for larger focal points, chiefly supermarkets, here’s what I gleaned...
I’ve been thinking a lot about mobile apps in retail recently. I’ve been thinking about which retailers need an app and whether in fact we’re seeing a bit of a backlash against the app, fuelled by mobile optimised and responsive websites.
Retail apps still have their place in a mobile optimised world, but they’re increasingly characterised as devices for customer retention. Loyalty programmes and coupons keep regular customers feeling loved.
Of course, there are still some successful shopping apps, too, often for retailers big or pervasive enough to demand smartphone real estate (supermarkets, Amazon and the like).
So, here you go, here are 10 apps that I think have made a difference for customers in retail.
Agree? Disagree? Tell me in the comments.
The lack of guidelines or general wisdom as to which retailers should actually have a mobile app and which shouldn’t can be confusing.
In this post I’m going to start writing those guidelines myself, if you’ll stick with me.
There is definitely a burgeoning anti-app movement, fuelled in part by the move to adaptive or responsive websites. On top of this, the growth in app downloads is in sharp decline and we seem to be reaching market maturation for apps, in those countries that have highest smartphone adoption.
But what should retailers do? Should some still be entertaining the idea of a new app? There are certainly some great success stories out there.
Some feel that the consumer has no interest in using many different retail apps, whereas others think the goal of consolidation is often unrealistic, with consumers happier using a range of options.
Where should apps lie in a priority list of ecommerce to-dos? Which apps are succeeding and which aren’t? How do customer base, product range, internationalisation and other factors affect the decision whether to build an app?
Well, these are the questions I’ve been attempting to answer. Read on to see what I dug up. If you make it to the end of my investigation, you’ll find my own criteria for apps in retail.
It was a great year for ecommerce and all signs point to an even bigger, even better year come January 1. What’s on the docket? Plenty.
Building on the success of the last 12 months, 2014 will likely signal a comprehensive integration of mobile with traditional brick-and-mortar along with a boom in gamification, personalization and more comprehensive and accessible methods to test and track.
It’s time to raise a glass to what’s going to be a game-changing year.
Over the last decade, the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday has become known as the major sales high for retailers in the run-up to Christmas.
The UK is celebrating its first Small Business Saturday on 7th December 2013, following in the footsteps of the United States who began the initiative in 2010, generating $5.5bn in its first year.
Supported by the UK government, it is hoped that success will follow into the UK and generate support for the 4.9m SMEs currently located here.
As well as some well-meaning tips on digitally showcasing and preparing for the big day, the blog begins with some lovely stats that should hit home on how important it is to participate.
I mean, if the idea of competing with 4.7m business of the same size doesn’t daunt you, then perhaps you should participate for the fun part, or indeed to support other local businesses.
I recently wrote a round-up post on the fairly new phenomenon by 'buy to give' ecommerce sites. One of the featured sites was MyGoodness.com.
I've been talking to its founders to find out more about its founding ethos and the future of the platform.
Will buy-to-give become a larger part of charities' efforts and charitable 'donations', as the consumer urge continues unabated?
Let’s face it: the internet is never going away. However, for some small retailers, the disruption caused by the internet has been a painful experience.
It’s also undeniably a major contributing factor to the reduction in the number of retail outlets that are open and doing business.
So what can small retailers do? Starting with planning, I’ve outlined some steps you can take to use the internet and other digital technologies to their advantage (most of which comes straight from our How The Internet Can Save The High Street report and follow on from a speaking event I did with Royal Canin).
This is a bit of a long post, so you may wish to bookmark it to return to later. Or take a nosey at our Fast Track Digital Marketing training to get a further deep-dive into what I describe.
Read below to find out how to start moving!
This week's stats roundup is all about shopping, including conversion optimisation, mobile-friendly web design, showrooming and eBay.
There's also room for some beefy stats on Facebook and Twitter (after Twitter's IPO) and some interesting detail on web standards and ad complexity.
Feed your brain with this week's rare and juicy stats - watch that white shirt! And for more digital marketing stats, check out our Internet Statistics Compendium.
The feeling of leading a charitable and sustainable life is one that most of us want. For those of us that don’t straight-out donate to charity, making the right choices is essentially the best way to give back.
Sort of like that decision not to go to McDonald’s but to use the local bakery instead or buying a pair of TOMS, for example, we feel as if we’ve given something back without making any effort. Guilt-free consumption, if you will.
If you’re not familiar with TOMS, it's the shoe and eyewear brand with the ‘One for One’ philosophy. For every product bought, TOMS will help a person in need.
Of course, this reads a little like cheating on the part of the customer that wants to feel like a saint whilst getting those in vogue boating shoes. Well, actually I don’t think it is.
I think ecommerce and philanthropy are a natural fit, allowing customers to give something back simply by making the right choices.
In this post, I’ll be listing eight buy-to-give ecommerce companies and explaining why I think this movement might fundamentally change company culture.