Tag Archives: customer loyalty

Content Marketing – Stories that Add Value to Your Target Audience

Content marketing is the only marketing left. Teaching your customers and giving your customers the resources to believe you are new marketing, said Seth Godin, renowned marketing author. Seth was right in 1999, and he is still spot on.

The internet provides numerous opportunities for retailers to share information about their brand and products. And this is what customers want. According to the Content Marketing Institute 1, 70% of people would rather learn about a company via an article than an ad.

In fact, “Nine out of ten organizations are now marketing with content – that is, going beyond the traditional sales pitches and instead enhancing brands by publishing (or passing along) relevant information, ideas, and entertainment that customers will value” confirmed Alexander Jutkowitz 2 back in 2014.

What is Content?

Before discussing the “content marketing’ construct, we must first understand what ‘content’ is. Content is everything that a web user reads, hears or experience when he/she visits and interacts with a digital communication.

Dr Dave Chaffey 3 refers to content as the combination of static content forming web pages, but also dynamic rich-media content which encourages interaction such as videos, podcasts, user-generated content and interactive product selectors. But what is the best content for retailers to use?

James Yankey identified the following as best content for retailers to use:

  • Reviews – customer reviews ensure that shoppers feel confident in their purchases. It also let retailers know where they can improve or respond to negativity.
  • Personalized recommendations – knowing your shoppers’ purchase history and what they’re currently in the market for is the best way to offer personalized recommendations.
  • How-to articles and videos – retailers can capture more traffic by providing in-depth how-to’s on their website to help customers get the most out of a new purchase.
  • User generated content – is the fastest growing content type. It helps you create emotional connections with your shoppers and shows that you value your customers’ experience with your products.
  • In-store remarketing – Display ads: similar to ads used by digital marketers, however they’re designed for customers who have browsed in-store rather than browsed online. Email campaigns: to remind shoppers of the products they saw and loved during and instore visit.
  • Loyalty offers – loyalty programs are the second most prominent driver of repeat business (AccessDevelopment.com). Things like offering 10% off a next purchase or creating a loyalty points system helps to establish loyal customers.

All content needs to be marketed…

Content Marketing

What is content marketing? The concept of content marketing can be defined as a marketing approach, which aims to find products produced according to customers’ needs and create customer satisfaction and fulfilment in this way 4.  Conveniently, we live and work  in the digital age…

Digital media allow retailers to target prospects with a defined need. With content marketing, which is proactive and self-selecting, little advertising is wasted 3. Jayson DeMers, contributing in Forbes mentioned three key advantages of content marketing:

Key advantages of content marketing:

  1. Customer relationships. Retailers have the opportunity to build and solidify a customer relationship. The customers, on the other hand, experience a sense of empowerment when digesting the content of retailers. They feel the retailer knows what they want and speaks directly to them. In return, retailers gain satisfied, loyal customers with higher retention rates.
  2. Cost efficiency. It is far less costly to communicate with your customers via content marketing. Creating a valuable blog post might only take a few hours of your time, and it will continue to create value for your brand indefinitely. A paid ad campaign, on the other hand, can be expensive, and its long-term value is comparatively fleeting.
  3. Long-term returns. Content marketing has a higher potential for long-term returns as well. Because paid ads disappear the moment you stop paying for them, there’s a finite and linear value to your investment. Content, on the other hand, offers compounding returns over time.

However, for retailers to enjoy the benefits of content marketing, they should do it the right way.

How to make content marketing work

Important for retailers is that the content they and their users create is managed properly. Therefore a strategic approach is needed…

When you develop a content strategy, there are some key things to consider according to Justin McGill:

  • Who you’re creating it for
  • The problem it’s going to solve for that audience
  • How it will be unique
  • The formats you’ll focus on
  • The channels where it will be published
  • How you will schedule and manage creation and publication

Ok, you’ve tried your best, but are getting nowhere with content marketing. What on earth could be the problem?

Neil Patel, a lifelong evangelist of Kissmetrics proposed the following 10 reasons way your content marketing effort may have failed:

  1. You haven’t refined your strategy. Like any other form of marketing, you need a strategy if you expect to be successful.
  2. You don’t spend much on content marketing. Retailers who spend a lot on marketing are able to grow their markets faster than companies who don’t spend as much.
  3. You aren’t promoting your content. The quickest way to kill your content marketing is to do nothing after you create your content.
  4. Your content sucks. Sometimes, the content just plain sucks.
  5. You’re in a tough niche. The content marketers who are struggling the most are those that are in really hard industries.
  6. You’re up against a goliath of a competitor. There are times when you’re simply facing a dominating competitive landscape.
  7. You haven’t waited long enough. Content marketing takes time. Don’t expect results in a matter of a few weeks or even a few months.
  8. You have horrible SEO. If you’re doing content marketing, but have poor SEO, you might as well not even be creating content. No one is going to find it.
  9. Your expectations are too high. Take a step back and get realistic about content marketing. You might not double your traffic or triple your revenue.
  10. You’re not having any fun with it. Have some fun with content marketing. It’s not supposed to be a painful, awful and dark journey through despondency.

If you’re still battling with content marketing in spite of trying everything, best is to consult a digital marketing expert. Now let’s conclude…

Concluding

Everyone has a story to tell, so they say. Your story, however, may be a good one – a story that your customers value and enjoy. With billions of stories on the web you should take care that it’s your story that is read, hear or seen. Hence the necessity of content marketing.

Read also: Content Marketing Tips for Retailers

Notes

1 Walters, T. and Rose, R. 2015. Is native advertising the new black? Content Marketing Institute, Northeast Ohio Media Group.

2 Jutkowitz, A. 2014. The Content Marketing Revolution, Harvard Business Review.

3 Chaffey, D. 2015. Digital business and E-commerce management, Pearson Education Limited.

4 Köse, U. and Sert, S. 2016. Intelligent Content Marketing with Artificial Intelligence, In International Conference of Scientific Cooperation for Future.

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Photo Credit: <a href=https://howtostartablogonline.net/>via Richard Goodwin</a>
Video

Demise of Loyal Retail Customers in the Digital Age

Loyal retail customers have for long now given Bricks and Mortar (BM) retailers an advantage over their competitors. However, the advent of the internet and the subsequent development of the online shopping channel have changed the shopping behaviour of retail customers.

Although BM retailers have invested millions of dollars in customer loyalty programs, the convenience, speed and assortment of products customers enjoy online lured many loyal customers away. This is apparent with the closedown of thousands of retail stores, and the vanishing of well-known retail brands over the last couple of years.

The big challenge for BM retailers is to the get customers back to their stores. Thereafter, the retailers should have a strategy in place to keep them coming back. In other words, making their customers loyal again…

What are loyal retail customers?

Customer loyalty is according to PR Loyalty Marketing both an attitudinal and behavioral tendency to favor one brand over all others. This may be due to satisfaction with the product or service, its convenience or performance, or simply familiarity and comfort with the brand.

Loyalty is formed in four stages 1 – cognitive, affective, conative, and action.

  1. Cognitive loyalty – in the first loyalty stage, consumers develop value expectations and preference for one brand relative to other available alternatives.
  2. Affective loyalty – here the consumers begins to develop a liking or attitude towards the brand based on an increasingly satisfying experience with the brand.
  3. Connotative loyalty – the third stage, which is confined to consumer’s behavioral intention. The consumer has deeply held commitment to buy the brand.
  4. Action loyalty – is where the desire and intention in the previous loyalty state has translated into realistic loyalty actions or behaviour.

It takes time, money and commitment from retailers to get loyal retail customers. This process, mostly took place at the BM retailer’s store in the local shopping center. However, retail customers in the digital age can shop anywhere, at any time, at the best price.

So, BM retailers need to rethink their customer loyalty programs. They need to find out what “delights” their customers. How has the internet and the online retail channel affected their shopping behaviour in the retail stores?

Loyal retail customers in multi-channel retail

Retailers can nowadays rely only on more than one channel to do business with. As a result, most BM retailers adopted eCommerce to become Bricks and Clicks retailers. Online retailers, on the other hand, started to open physical stores to serve as showrooms for their products. Indeed, loyal retail customers need to be found outside the traditional retail channels.

“In the digital age, your customers have apps that let them search for products, compare products, review products, check prices, compare prices, and even buy the product without ever stepping foot in your store “says Tiffany Marshall. So what must retailers do to get their loyal retail customers back?

Media Genesis suggests that retailers do the following to get back loyal retail customers:

  • Build an emotional connection – whether it’s through exclusive content or rewards, making your consumer feel special is an important part of brand loyalty.
  • Personalize – you have your customer’s data; use it to your advantage! Make your content relevant and engaging by making sure that it is (almost) custom-made for your consumer.
  • Use your data – use data, analytics, and your digital business capabilities to go beyond just rewards. Use the information you’ve gathered to really analyse how your consumers want to engage with your brand and build a strategy to do it.
  • Create an active online presence – forgoing a good website and a strong online presence is essentially a death sentence in today’s digital marketplace. Most consumers prefer to shop online and not having an easy to use website is like excluding your brand from the conversation. It’s not enough to just post on social media. Create conversations, respond to customers, and help make customer service a 360° experience.
  • Merge your worlds – make the online to offline experience completely complimentary by identifying all of the crucial touch points you may have with your consumers. You might even see a return in foot traffic if the consumer consistently sees your brand attached to good prices online. When they need something in a pinch, your brand will be at the top of their mind.
  • Make it easy – as a business, you now have to prioritize delivering quality, enjoyable interactions with your consumers. This is the best way to build a lasting customer relationship in the digital age. If your web presence does some of the heavy lifting for your consumer, making it easier for them to reach their end goal, the quality of the experience will resonate and they’ll be back for more.

Concluding

Online shopping caters to the busy lifestyle of modern people, and its prevalence manifests the rise of the stay-at-home economy 2. Also, the internet, big data, the internet of things and social media has revolutionized the way customers interact with their retailers. I wonder, however, how loyal retail customers can be towards a chatbot?

Lastly, has the demise of the loyal retail customer started?

Read also: Personalization of Marketing Communication – not just for your Customer’s sake

Have look at this video: “The role of customer loyalty in the small business”

Notes

1 Kursunluoglu, E. 2014. Shopping centre customer service: creating customer satisfaction and loyalty, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 32(4):528-548.

2 Wu, M.Y. and Tseng, L.H. 2015. Customer satisfaction and loyalty in an online shop: an experiential marketing perspective, International Journal of Business and Management, 10(1):104.

Image and video

Flickr.comlynda.com

How Direct Mail can help you to market your Website

Remember the ‘good old days’ when your post-box was filled to its capacity with flyers, brochures and promotion letters? For the most part you can now use direct mail to inform your customers and other consumers what they can find on your website…

Summer Gould writing in Target Marketing proposes 13 ways on how to use direct mail best to promote your website.

Direct mail to promote your website

  1. To generate traffic to a location, a website or event. It is equally useful if  you want to direct customers/prospects to a store, event or online location.
  2. Generate sales leads. You can target and reach qualified and interested leads easily with direct mail.
  3. Counter a competitive offer. Direct mail has some secrecy to it, unlike online.
  4. Customer loyalty. Reaching out with direct mail to customers with special offers and giveaways is a great way to reward your customers.
  5. Customer acquisition or referrals. Include these in your mail as a way for your message to be passed on to friends and colleagues.
  6. Improve customer service. Sending a thank you note to your customers is a great way to make people feel appreciated.
  7. Cross sell or upsell. You can mention other things you offer that they may be interested in based on what they have already purchased.
  8. Announcements.  Is a great way to get important information out to people quickly.
  9. Augmenting other media efforts. Direct mail ties in with so many other channels like email, web, social media, mobile, and so much more…
  10. Improving sales efficiency. Sending out mail that helps to qualify and clarify people before you sell to them is extremely important.
  11. Catalog, custom publications or newsletters. Direct mail give you the ability to showcase new information or offers to the people most likely to buy from them.
  12. Combining mailings with other companies. Co-branded mailings work well when each brand has the same target audience.
  13. Building brand awareness. Direct mail can be used to strengthen your brand’s awareness.

There is a great opportunity now to use the postal service to promote your online business because of the lower postal volumes.

Visit eBizplan for your business plan and marketing plan solutions.

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Paying Customers is the Key for Business Growth and Survival

Any business needs paying customers to survive. Retailers need however to understand the behavior of their customer to earn their money.

What is a paying customer?

A paying customer is an individual or organisation that buys goods or services from a shop or other business. Businesses get customers when they can offer them products or services that they need or want.

How do customers behave?

If a business can learn or predict how its customers behave, it may offer them products or services exactly what they want. Importantly, businesses should know their customer’s:

  • Needs and motivation –businesses should know what drive their customers to action.
  • Decision-making process – how do they decide to buy a product and what are they willing to pay for it?
  • Perception – how do you customers see and experience your business?
  • Attitudes – customers can have an emotional feeling toward your products or services, or they can associate with your business because of previous experience.
  • Personality – if you can identify specific personality characteristic of your customers, you could include them as part of your segmentation strategies.

Customer loyalty

Customers will repeat buying from a business when they are completely satisfied or if they become personal attached to the business. Consequently loyal customers reduce costs and should therefore receive maximum devotion for the business. It is cheaper to sell a product or service to a loyal customer than to attract non-loyal customers to your business.

Communicating with your customers

A business wants to communicate with its customers to induce purchase, to get the customers to like the product or service, to demonstrate meaning of the product or service to the customers and to tell them that your business is better than your competitors. For this reason businesses communicate with their customers using:

  • Advertising;
  • Sales promotion;
  • Personal selling;
  • Publicity/public relations;
  • Direct marketing.

Relationship marketing

Businesses practice relationship marketing to maintain long term relationships between the business and current and potential customers. Therefore, the customer should be seen and treated as an individual, using technology to facilitate the process.

Visit eBizplan for help with business plans and marketing plans

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Why Online Only Retailers are Starting to Open Bricks and Mortar Stores?

Online Only Retailers are starting to open physical shops.  After all these years of only doing business only, Amazon.com has opened their first physical (Bricks and Mortar) store in New York.

Not so long ago there were Online Only Retailers

Online Only Retailers were for long seen as the demise of Bricks and Mortar retailers. Bricks and Mortar retailers have for the past decade seen the exponential growth of online retail worldwide.  High street shops became vacant at an alarming way as their loyal customers start grasping online shopping.

There were fears of huge jog losses in the Bricks and Mortar retail sector and the negative impact it may have on society.  Foreign online retailers also enjoyed an “unfair” advantage as VAT was not collected from them.

It seemed that the future of Bricks and Mortar Retailers was doomed.

The rise of Bricks and Clicks retailers

Some Bricks and Mortar retailers react to the online threat by adding the online retail channel to their physical store.

Bricks and Clicks retailers found synergy between their physical and online shops. Their customers can visit the shop’s website to search for products and to compare prices. The customers also have an option to come to the shop to feel and fit products.

The Bricks and Clicks business model may be the way to go for both the Bricks and Mortar and Online Only retailers.

The tide has turned

Big news now is that the Only Online icon Amazon.com is opening their first Bricks and Mortar shop in New York. This move by Amazon surely is a pointer regarding the future of the retailer sector.

Visit Ebizplan for more information regarding business plans and marketing plans.

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The Big Challenge: How to Increase your Website Traffic

New research has shown that increasing Website Traffic is the biggest challenge for Bricks and Clicks retailers.

Why is Website Traffic important?

You need visitors to your website for customers to see your products and services.

Once customers have opened you website, they will take a quick glance to see what your website has to offer. If they like what they see, they will bookmark your page or, even better, order and pay for your products and services.

If they don’t like your website, they will get out of your site – maybe to never return again.

Getting customers to you website

Data from January 2014 showed that there were about 840 million registered websites on the internet.  Thus, getting customers to your website require some effort and a lot of savvy.

Here are some tips to get customers to your website:

  • One of the popular ways to get traffic to tour website is through search engines – people always search for stuff online and, if your write about that stuff, the probably will visit your website;
  • Social media – you can use social media e.g. Facebook or Twitter to spread news about your website;
  • Contests – it attracts readers who normally wouldn’t visit your site. Hopefully they will buy something when they stop by…
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) – if your budget allows it, you may use Google AdWords to list your ad high up in its search result pages.

Except for the PPC option, getting customers to your website require a lot of time and effort…

If need help with your business plan or digital marketing plan, visit eBizplan for reasonable outcomes.

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Offering Value to Your Customers

Many companies still believe that their customers exchange money for products that they offer. You rather should offer value to your customers…

What value means to your customers

Customers want value before they spend their money on your products or services. The common definition of value relies on the price-quality ratio of a product or the difference between perceived benefits and perceived costs.

To put it practically – if your competitor can offer the same value for a product or service as you do, but at a lower price, you’re going to lose customers.

What do customers perceive as value?

Perceived value comprises two complementary concepts, namely perceived benefits and perceived costs.

In today’s digital market place, there are numerous identical products on offer (e.g. cosmetics), with many at the same price. What will make a customer to buy from you instead of the others? Your products or services should provide superior benefits to the customers.

Customers may perceive benefits in the following ways:

  • Product features,
  • Product design,
  • Timing,
  • Location,
  • Reputation, and
  • Service and support.

Value is created when the perceived benefits that a company offers meets the needs of its customers.

Planning to deliver superior value to your customers

Companies that strive to survive and grow should know what the value offer of their competitors are to customers in the market as well as what the customer’s needs are.

A differentiation strategy with a customer focus will go long way to ensure that the company enjoy a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Visit www.ebizplan.co.za for more information as well as help with business plans and marketing plans.

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How online fashion retailers can reduce returns

 

Christopher Ratcliff in EConsultancy suggests that online fashion retailers should be helpful, flexible and clear about their return processes to ensure that they keep their customers. A return policy that is customer focus will not only help to keep your customers, but also win customers from your competitors.

Ways to reduce returns

Another way Christopher suggests to reduce returns is to help your customer to buy the correct size. A virtual fitting solution called Virtusize allows customers to compare the specific measurements of an item they are looking to buy with an item they already own.

It displays and overlays 2D silhouettes of both garments so customers can easily compare sizes. The customers can then choose the item that fit them best. This fitting solution may reduce the online returns for fashion retailers by 50%.

The Shoefitr app developed by Running Warehouse uses a database of internal shoe measurements, acquired using 3D imaging technology. It compares the size and shape of a shoe a shopper is currently wearing, to one she wants to buy. The returns of shoes due to size have reduced from 65% to 20% when customers use this app.

Innovations to reduce returns in the online fashion retail market may convince more customers to buy clothing and shoes online.

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Image: Virtusize

It Pays For Retailers To Please Their Customers

Retailers need to be outstanding in order to please their customers.

Overall, retailers succeed to please their customers

The Wise Marketer reports that the overall satisfaction of retail customers has grown 23% over the past six years.  They ascribed this growth to the increasing use of digital technology by Brick and Mortar retailers.

The onset of digital technology and the internet has given retailers the opportunity  they want. Retailers can now satisfy the need of each individual customer in a personalize manner.

Why are retail customers more satisfied?

Retail customers are nowadays more satisfied because:

  • They have more choices how to buy their products – in the store, online or both.
  • They have a larger variety of products to choose from, and can easily compare product prices on the internet.
  • Customers can either visit a retail store to touch, feel and try the product, If they are not sure about a product. However, they can get more information online about the product.
  • They are eager to join social websites such as Facebook and are not afraid to share their experience with a retail store or products with their virtual communities.
  • The outstanding retailers will be complimented and even may even enjoy positive reviews by their satisfied customers on social media sites.

Why should retail customers be satisfied?

Customer satisfaction refers to the degree a customer is happy about a retailer’s products and service.  As customers satisfaction increase, they become more loyal to the retailer and also advocate its brands.

The retailers are making more successful use of the internet and the interactivity that it offers to get more of their customers satisfied and eventually loyal to them…

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