Thursday, April 14, 2016

5 ways to start an in-store visit the right way

Author: YI Mobility Inc.

Every person who walks into your business is an opportunity. You want to make sure your store demonstrates acknowledgment of individual shopper value from the start. Here are five ways you can greet shoppers and put them in the mood to buy:
1. Message people in your area
It's great if people are excited to walk into your store. You can build enthusiasm - and increase foot traffic - by using a promotion solution that sends particular messages for the day. Try and develop a loyalty program delivering online promotions about particular benefits to shopping at certain times.
By sending communications through email, social media channels or text messaging, you can greet local customers long before they enter your store.
2. Keep the sidewalk clean
When a customer pulls up to your parking lot, your business should be appealing as soon as he or she sets eyes on it. The Eliot Management Group, a small-business partner, suggested keeping your storefront simple, attractive, well-lit and clean. Your windows should shine and your sidewalk should be garbage free.
Depending on your area, this may mean investing time and resources to removing obstacles for sidewalk shoppers. You have to shovel snow, clear away leaves and de-ice walkways if you want to prevent people from avoiding your sidewalk.
High-pressure hoses can remove grim and other unsightly stains.High-pressure hoses can remove grim and other unsightly stains.
3. Avoid cluttered windows
A window display can be a great attention getter, but you don't want to do too much. If you have multiple promotional posters, then no single one stands out. Shopify listed several pieces of advice for window displays and they all revolved around drawing audience eyes to a particular focal point.
You want your window display to communicate a single theme, narrative, product or promotional sale. If you have more to say, think about using other channels like beacon messages, sales clerks and social media campaigns.
4. Greet them at the door
There should also be someone at the front of your store that acknowledges each shopper. This could be a friendly hello or an initial inquiry into how a business representative can help. If an employee has time, and the consumer seems receptive to conversation, a clerk can begin with small talk or other pleasantries before talking about promotions.
This can be difficult on busy days, but an agent should never give a shopper half their attention. An employee can't say hello while working on something else, so maybe a smile and eye contact will be enough. A small but focused greeting is better than a distracted dismissal.
5. Use beacons for special promotions
If sales agents are busy and need a minute before they can address multiple customers, there are other ways to greet shoppers at the door. When a store uses beacon technology, they can send an automatic message to a person's mobile device as soon as they cross the threshold. This might be a friendly hello or a special discount based on prior activities.
Shoppers who receives acknowledgment and special treatment each time they visit a business will want to come back and see what they'll get next time. It also means they start their shopping visit off on the right foot.

The benefits of small rewards in loyalty programs

Author: YI-Mobility Inc.

A ticket for a cruise is pretty expensive, so you probably assume that it takes more than a free drink to convince someone to make a purchase. However, The Los Angeles Times reported this is exactly what might sway consumers debating multiple cruise line offers. Small rewards for loyal patronage can go a long way when customers can depend on specialized treatment. If a company can't offer a free cruise, it can promise customers they'll get more from membership sign-up than without it.
Small businesses and restaurants can learn from the cruise example and invest in programs and systems that deliver consistent rewards for loyalty as opposed to breaking the bank on big ticket items.
Small does not mean worthless
While you can make your loyalty program extremely convenient to join, customers won't go through the effort - no matter how slight - of subscription if they don't see value immediately. CRMsearch said irrelevant offers and lackluster benefits were two of the reasons loyalty programs failed.
Instead of forcing customers to jump through multiple hoops in order to eventually earn a large prize, you can give them a reward whenever they make a purchase. This means patrons will understand what they must do to earn rewards and will receive instant gratification every time they perform an activity beneficial to a store or restaurant.
A free cup of coffee is usually very persuasive. A free cup of coffee is usually very persuasive.
If you have a smart loyalty program that can track individual shopper behaviors, you can increase the value of a small gift by giving it more relevance. Minor discounts will be more appealing when they are for items the customer routinely buys.
The power of consistency
UPS research shared by EMarketer found 61 percent of U.S. consumers join loyalty programs when they earn free products, while discounts were the second preferred perk with 58 percent. Even though free stuff is attractive, stores may be better off supplying routine discounts instead of inconsistent flashy rewards.
This means companies need a solution for delivering consistent rewards. It may be as simple as a punch card system, so shoppers can see their progress. You can also try instantly delivering small discounts through beacon technology. A digital solution is helpful because consumers won't lose or forget physical cards and sabotage their own progress.
When you can monitor a loyalty membership program, you can see how rewards work. Smart solutions allow you to automate promotion campaigns and program rewards. If delivery is consistent, it not only saves you time, it provides results free from variables. You can measure the exact effectiveness of rewards of any size.
Get creative with rewards
With the proper software system and digital loyalty programs you save money and resources you can pass on to the consumer. This may mean more rewards or bigger prizes, but either way the customer should get more out of sign-up. With the extra time saved through automation, you can devote time to thinking up new campaigns.
It's great if digital software tools are also flexible so stores and restaurants can change campaigns according to customer feedback and new ideas. Small rewards may seem more exciting if they reference current events, holidays or particular consumer trends. It also allows companies to see if these innovative promotions work or if it's time to try something new.

Friday, January 15, 2016

4 things shoppers do with mobile devices in a store

Author: YI Mobility

If you own a small business you've probably seen your customers using mobile devices in your space. Whether its diners searching through menus with smartphones in hand or shoppers walking aisles with their heads down reading a small screen, Internet Retailer shared an InReality report that found 75 percent of customers use a mobile device while visiting a physical retail location.
Some people may believe the use of phone or tablets serves as an obstacle between consumers and businesses, but if a location has the right solutions it can use this technology trend to its advantage. Working with mobile benefits allows you to provide optimal service to your customers through physical and digital best practices. Here are four mobile consumer activities you have to prepare for:
1. Comparative pricing
EMarketer reported the primary reason millennial shoppers use smartphones while in a business location is to comparative shop. When a young shopper sees a product they like, they'll use their mobile device to search online for a better price or other variants of the product.
You need to get ahead of your customers. Before you put a product on display, you should do a quick search online to see what your customers will find when they comparative price in store. Keep in mind, many searches are location specific, so they often will bring up other stores in the area.
Knowing what's available allows you to communicate the reasons for your prices. If you offer lower prices than local or the most popular competitors, you should encourage in-store mobile use. If you're prices are bit higher, than you know to emphasize other benefits like convenience, selection, quality, service or discounts.
2. Researching product and business information
Sometimes product packaging doesn't deliver enough information. Modern savvy consumers want to search their smartphones for information directly from the business that creates the merchandise and other users who post reviews online. They'll look for stuff that businesses won't say like if the item has a history of breaking or doesn't perform as advertised.
Once again, you need to discover what the customers will find. When sales clerks talk with customers they should be familiar with what information the shopper already has. Employees can also track customer comments and online discoveries, so they know what answers the business needs on the ready. For example, diners often search for health aspects of certain dishes, enough requests for specific details may encourage restaurants to list calorie counts next to meal choices or you might send out online messages advertising healthy eating options.
Collecting consumer data helps you determine what information is most critical for marketing content and in-store signage.
3. Social Sharing
Online reviews will also include your store. You need to encourage positive ratings on popular social media business appraisal sites. Loyalty programs, optimal service and a fun atmosphere can foster positive perceptions that can extend to Internet comments.
Customers will write reviews of their in-store experience while they are still in your business. If you start to feel an interaction is spiraling downward, the negative effects may last longer than the singular occurrence if something isn't done. You need to be aware shoppers communicate their preferences and complaints with their friends using their mobile devices.
This means you can earn a free form of marketing content by encouraging shoppers to share their positive visits with their online contacts. This can be as simple as suggesting they take a picture of an outfit and ask their friends on Instagram how it looks, or it can be an official incentive program that rewards shoppers and diners for their social shares.
4. Looking for deals
Shoppers will use their mobile devices to find special deals. A Shopatron eCommerce Study discovered consumers shop with their smartphones to scan QR codes and take advantage of other special discount programs - this was the most popular option for use after comparative shopping and gathering different sources of product information. The report found that consumers don't like specific company apps as much as general services to help find deals and local stores.
Businesses can use specialized technology like beacons to send discounts straight to a customer's phone, rather than forcing them to find them on their own. If a shopper or diner uses their phone to search for deals, a business with a beacon device can broadcast general deals or send specialized promotions to individual customers based on their past consumer activities.


When to ditch your customer loyalty program for a better one

Author: YI Mobility

Many consumer loyalty programs have been proven to work, but not all of them. Experian marketing found 72 percent of companies who use some form of discount reward systems see a return on their investment. What happens with the remaining 27 percent?
You don't want to waste time and resources on a loyalty program that doesn't motivate spending and return visits. There are indications that you need to make adjustments to your current system, and then there are signs you need to completely start over.
You have plenty of members but no insight
It may seem counterintuitive, but the problem with your loyalty program might be too many members; at least, more subscribers than your current system can keep up with. The Wise Marketer Blog said many stores launch a loyalty initiative with great recruitment techniques but no strategies for data collectionand membership management.
Being unable to track your customers means you have no idea which ones come back and which sign up but never follow through. Instead of pouring all of your resources into attracting members, you need to make some effort to monitor, manage and satisfy the loyal shoppers you already have.
Investing in a loyalty program that shows when a consumer redeems rewards or makes a purchase, helps you measure the success of your program. What's better is a flexible solution that provides automatic, mobile and centralized performance. If you don't have a system in place to use the information generated by a loyalty program, you have no idea if it works and what you can do to keep members using the service.
Your employees can't even understand it
How many sentences does it take to explain your loyalty program? More importantly, can clerks explain the advantages concisely and quickly while performing a transaction with a customer? Not only will a simple loyalty program attract new members, it will prevent consumers from forgetting what to do and not getting their rewards.
Employee programs are not a single purchase, they are an ongoing service customers have to sign up for, so you have to continuously demonstrate value. While the subscription is free, said shoppers feel like they invest time and effort into programs, which means they want a return on their activities.
A simple point-based system or mobile performance are great ways to keep a loyalty program convenient and easy. You might find a way to give shoppers power so they can dictate how they would like to use the service. This way, they feel like loyalty is on their terms instead of running through a complicated maze.
Your loyalty program is an island
A shopper loyalty program can't exist on its own. The membership promotions must come from your brand's central message. Anything your store or restaurant uses to communicate with customers must be consistent with marketing, in-store service and consumer care practices.
For example, if you want to offer a punch card, the design and coloring should be the same as the patterns on your print advertisements or social media pages. This is sometimes a problem when loyalty programs are supplied through third parties. While a promotional partner can offer technology and consumer expertise experience, you also have to find a provider with a flexible system that allows you to design your own messages and online materials.
You don't have a formal system in place
If you just offer a physical punch card, it might encourage returning shoppers, but it won't supply you with any other benefits. A formal solution - preferably one that uses digital tools - not only encourages loyalty, but makes sure you get insight from daily activities.
GI Insight, a market research company, found 76 percent of shoppers expect credible businesses to provide a formal loyalty program, according to Chiefmarketer. Most consumers want stores to offer specialized promotions and will gladly let businesses track their in-store activities through technology like mobile beacons to create unique messaging and discounts. If a business doesn't take part in such a program it misses out on learning from its historical data and might appear prehistoric to consumers.
Instead of offering a small loyalty incentive along with quality service and excellent products, the program should be integrated into the business's entire infrastructure. A loyalty system isn't just a tool, it's a great way to create a customer-focused business.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Stop wasting money: 4 shopping tricks for consumers

Author: YI Mobility Inc.

Shopping can be fun. Visiting your local marketplace in search of an exciting outfit, necessary supplies or other purchases isn't a chore for many people, but rather an entertaining diversion similar to pursuing a trophy. If you want to be a successful hunter, and ensure the cost of your activities doesn't outweigh the benefits, you have to avoid wasting money on bad consumer habits. Here are four strategies for getting the most value on your shopping trips:

1. Know what you already have
Have you ever bought groceries only to end up with two cartons of milk because you forgot to check your refrigerator? Before you go out shopping, Popsugar, a lifestyle blog, suggested you take a quick inventory of the supplies you're looking to replenish. You should also take a look at the belongings new purchases may compliment.

Handy mobile devices can make this process simpler. You can take a picture of cabinets and fridge shelves to see how much food is left. Try shopping with photos of your favorite clothing items to ensure accessories or other pieces will match your ensemble.

2. Set a limit
You want to make sure you only spend as much as you can afford. When planning a shopping trip you should take time to look at your bank account and have a strong grasp of your current finances. If you're out shopping, take a second to check your balances on your phone.

Documenting your limit helps you keep it in mind and prevents you from constantly moving your financial restrictions higher as you shop. Bankrate advised consumers to withdraw their available limit in cash and banning the use of credit cards on afternoon shopping sprees.

3. Avoid taking too many trips
Making lots of little trips to stores can start to add up. The Lifehacker advice site warned shoppers against buying lots of small snacks when they can save money by buying in bulk. People often feel the need to buy something every time they visit a store. If you have this habit, you may want to limit your trips to the market.

You can schedule your shopping trips like events. This gives you time to prepare your finances and lists. It also provides you with a chance to make large purchases that will last for some time.

4. Join a loyalty program
You should find stores in your community that offer consistent value and service. There's nothing worse than spoiling a shopping trip with frustrations from poor customer care or shoddy merchandise. Settling on favorite locations - especially for food or other supplies you must continuously buy - gives you a dependable source for shopping satisfaction.

When you do visit the same store numerous times, you should profit from your loyalty by joining a discount program. Every trip to your favorite business can earn deals, free merchandise or specialized service if you find a store with a membership offer.

You want to find a loyalty program most convenient to you. Many shoppers lose money by forgetting punch cards or coupons at home, so see if you can find a business that will let your redeem points online or through your mobile device.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

5 tricks to pull in window shoppers

Author: YI mobility

When people start walking around markets without a specific shopping goal in mind, you want to have tactics in place to turn your location from a diversion into a destination. You can do this by offering a reward, entertainment or a unique experience. Here are five ways you can communicate your business is a stop not to be missed:

1. Window displays outside the ordinary
A window display is your first chance to promote your offerings and your brand. When designing your storefront, it might be best to ignore standard practices and do something nobody would expect.

The Harvard Business Review suggested you can capture consumers' attention with expectancy violation theory - the need to investigate things that are out of the ordinary. If the window display for your shoe store displays chocolate bars, passersby will have an innate need to find out why.
You may not want be too random with your visual merchandising for fear of confusing shoppers, but a tiny out of place detail can encourage intrigue.

2. Choose the right color for your sales signs
Colors influence behaviors. Shopify said stores favor the color red for sales events because it promotes a sense of urgency. If you want marketing that pulls people into your space, special deals have to stand out.

This may mean red won't work if your overall branding is crimson, it would just blend in. You may think of using green because it communicates wealth or blue which creates impressions of honesty.

3. Outdoor sales racks
You might think bringing product displays outside may appear sloppy, but there are certain times disorder can be profitable. Some stores use disorganized sales racks to create a kind of treasure hunt for their customers, according to The Mirror.

If you put a clothes rack or shelf full of products outside, you can show off your stores variety. By putting an assortment of goods out front, window shoppers may start sorting through options and move inside when they see quality products, but not the specific ones they want.

4. Greet them with a smell
It's a fairly common tactic for grocery stores to put rotisserie chickens and fresh baked bread near the front door so the business greets shoppers with appetizing smells. Your business may not sell consumables, but the sense of smell is important and you should take it into account when designing your space.

For example, when you run a bookstore you probably don't want the people walking by your front door to get a whiff of must or mildew. Instead, you can use air fresheners or candles to create a proper atmosphere that extends from your store to the space immediately out front.

5. Talk to their phone
Wouldn't it be great if you could greet every person who walked by your store? If you use a mobile loyalty program, you can send discounts and promotions to shoppers in your area looking for a good deal.

As soon as they're within range of your front door, mobile shopping subscribers can receive whatever message you want to send. You should find a flexible program you can design yourself to take advantage of other tricks like color and expectancy violation.


4 things shoppers like about loyalty programs

Author: YI mobility

Before your business implements a loyalty program, you have to understand what features are most attractive to consumers. You don't want to waste time and resources on a program that doesn't resonate with the shoppers you need returning to your store. Here are four loyalty benefits proven to entice modern audiences:
1. Customers prefer stores with loyalty programs
The first thing you need to know is that modern consumers do, in fact, favor stores that offer some form of loyalty incentives. Entrepreneur Magazine shared a variety of examples of businesses that saw a measurable increase in sales after providing their shoppers or diners with reasons to keeping frequenting their establishments.
A number of different types of programs have proven effective. Response Media shared Mintel market research reports that found loyalty rewards encouraged shoppers to buy additional items, spend more on a single trip and make frequent visits. Programs that offered deals or discounts for more than one type of activity demonstrated the most results.
2. Shoppers want to save money, not earn stickers
Stores have to recognize which incentives will influence people's decision to sign up for a loyalty program. TechnologyAdvice, a business information resource, conducted a survey of consumers that found cash is king. More than half of respondents said saving money was the primary reason they subscribed to loyalty programs.
Receiving rewards came in second with 37.5 percent of shoppers saying they joined programs with hopes of getting free merchandise or other prizes. Social rewards, such as social media badges, proved to be unpopular with respondents as some customers said such incentives would actually discourage them from joining loyalty programs.
3. Digital is on the rise
The TechnologyAdvice survey found one-third of shoppers prefer loyalty programs offered through a digital option, about one-third want a physical card and the remaining consumers don't have a preference either way. Digital grows in popularity as technology becomes more convenient, 59 percent of shoppers said they would be more likely to subscribe to a loyalty program if it had an app they could use on their mobile devices.
Stores need to keep up with the times and appeal to their shoppers as they adopt mobile tools. Businesses that offer digital loyalty programs can appeal to consumers that like physical reward systems like punch cards by offering an electronic version that offers the same performance as the traditional option.
4. Don't make them start at the beginning
Once a store understands why shoppers like loyalty programs, the business can offer sign up in the most convincing terms possible. Kissmetrics collected a variety of industry studies that found consumers don't like to start brand new activities to receive rewards; they are more likely to participate in programs if they feel they've already begun.
This means companies should start loyalty program pitches by listing what the consumer has earned thus far and how they need to sign up to receive benefits. Tracking shopper performance allows sales teams to approach possible loyalty program members with data that makes signup simple and rewarding.