You Better Believe The Customer Is The Boss!!!

2016 has been termed the year of the customer!!! Not really surprising, every year can be named that since we all rely on customers to make our businesses float and be profitable. The key is to constantly be attracting new customers to our stores. One key factor in the year of 2016 is that our customers are more connected to instant store promotions than ever before. Today’s customer is continuously connected through an exponentially growing list of applications and shopping experiences — ranging from WiFi-driven mobile retail apps to smart fitting rooms. For those stores savvy enough to embrace the ever-changing retail environment.

Shoppers now expect the products they want, exactly when they want them, with no hassle. With new technologies, they can have it their way.

One thing that we must always keep in mind is the impact social media has on a store’s bottom line. While tracking sales from social posts is not a clean easily determined factor, studies back up the fact that stores with an active social media following and of brand awareness are continually doing much better as trends are showing for the 1st quarter of this year.

There has been increased interest in using social platforms for mobile brand engagement, but there is less of a tie to transactions. While social platforms certainly have their place in a fast tracked, mobile environment, these channels can serve as conduits between a consumer and a retailer, as you can gather data and other demographic behavior and serve as a push or pull vehicle for localized, relevant promotions. The offering of a coupon code to be used on a special promotion is one tool that attracts attention and can provide the track able results you need for future promotion planning’s.

For instance, as an example, a major CPG (consumer packaged goods) brand that recently trialed a new mobile engagement campaign that allowed customers visiting a participating retailer to provide their mobile number via a standalone tablet in order to instantly receive a free product, and at the same time, opt in for future messaging.

Once someone signs up, the location technology can alert the business the next time the customer enters or is near the store and can send relevant, timely promotional offers on a variety of brand-owned products.

Obviously, innovation is key for great retail companies. But the need to balance the many delivery platforms — from native apps to guest WiFi networks — as well the many communication platforms (e.g., Instagram, text messaging, Facebook) to optimize the shopper experience requires an investment in the latest technology and strategic thought for implementation.

Customer loyalty is always a good thing for retailers, remember it is easier to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one. Building customer loyalty is imperative; and though it can be tough to earn, it can be easy to lose.

When a business fails the customer, whether it is through weak pricing or delayed shipping, it is increasingly easy for the customer to go elsewhere. In the “Year of the Customer,” retailers that truly embrace current technology strategies across the entire organizational ecosystem will win over the increasingly selective, bargain-focused shopper who doesn’t care how they get their items or where they come from — they just want their expectations to be met.

Winning retailers don’t get paid for having technology; they get paid for improving their sales and increasing their margins.

However, anything businesses can do to increase loyalty with their customers, whether it is through mobile technology, social media or digital marketing, will likely result in more transactions and higher average dollar sales.

ECommerce store owners need to make sure their sites are geared to display their stores in an easy to navigate manner. Since Google made a requirement of eCommerce store owners to have a mobile presence some stores out there still have done only enough to avoid getting flagged by Google. WE all need to go the extra mile to provide our customers with the best possible display factor when we develop our stores for using and displaying the best on any smart phone or tablet device.

Remember with new apps being created every day to allow customers to shop for what they want the savvy store owner needs to have the ability to their stores, both brick and mortar or eCommerce website able to provide the means for these “Smart Shoppers” to find what they want, when they want it!