Social Shopping - Is It On Your Radar?

Posted on October 8, 2010 by Nanette BrownComments

If Facebook were a country it would be the fourth largest in the world with a population equal to the United States. It has surpassed Google as the most frequented website in the world. The profile feature in Facebook allows for demographic sorting unlike anything advertisers have ever experienced and it’s about to be taken up a notch.

Get ready for social shopping. Humans are social animals, we’re wired to connect. Online and off, we connect around social objects. We’re both members of Boston University Alum. BU is the object. Two people love wine and meet in front of the Cabernet shelf, Cabernet is the object. Two guys have Harleys. Harley is the object of social connection.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Blog

Big Opportunity in 2011 Prospering In Hard Times Through Customer Insights

Posted on October 7, 2010 by Nanette BrownComments

By: David Rich & Terry G. Vavra
While other are just surviving, check out our latest white paper on thriving in the retail sector in 2011 economy. Written by David Rich & Terry Vavra, learn how ICC/Decision Services establishes ROI in today's uncertain times.

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Topics: White Papers

New Shopper Profile - Frugal is Trendy

Posted on October 6, 2010 by Nanette BrownComments

The current economy has changed the shopper profile. Years ago, department stores shoppers didn’t shop other channels. Today, being frugal and saving money is a trend. Consumers who previously wouldn’t think of shopping in the dollar store can be heard bragging about the great buy they got shopping in one on their way home from Nordstrom.

Consumer perception and ideas about brands are shifting. It’s no secret that branding sells products. A recent study by University of Miami professor Juliano Laran and colleagues reveals that a company’s brand name and its branded slogans can have opposite impacts on consumer behavior. Participants in the study’s five experiments were exposed to brands including Walmart, Sears, Home Depot and Dollar General, and to the slogans those brands use, such as Walmart’s “Save Money. Live Better” and Sears' “The Good Life at a Great Price (Guaranteed).”

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Topics: Customer Experience, Blog

A Wellness Marketing Strategy That Works Well

Posted on September 2, 2010 by Nanette BrownComments

Wellness is alive and well in consumers’ minds, but what does that mean for retailers? And what do consumers mean when they shop with wellness on their mind?

According to research firm The Hartman Group, people have a broad view of the definition of wellness. When polled, 67 percent of participants defined wellness as “not being ill” and “being able to deal with stress.” More than 70 percent described wellness as “being physically fit” and “feeling good about myself.”

In an interview with Adweek, Shelley Balanko, VP of Ethnographic Research at The Hartman Group explains what retailers can take away from this study‘s results.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Target Sells a Service Experience with its Electronics

Posted on August 31, 2010 by Nanette BrownComments

Even during the recession, the electronics business continues to be hot as customers consider things like cell phones a necessity.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Women Pay Full Price at Ann Taylor

Posted on August 27, 2010 by Nanette BrownComments

It's no secret customers like a good sale, but a recent finding from Ann Taylor shows items can still sell--even with a full-price sticker.

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Topics: In-Store Marketing

Recession Resets Consumers’ Priorities

Posted on August 24, 2010 by Nanette BrownComments

What does the customer want? It's a question retailers ask themselves all the time.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Consumers Procrastinate Back-to-School Shopping

Posted on August 18, 2010 by Nanette BrownComments

Retailers, take notes. American families are putting off their back-to-school shopping in an effort to make sure they're getting the best deals.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Sam’s Club to Gift Wi-Fi This Holiday Season

Posted on August 10, 2010 by Nanette BrownComments

When Sam's Club begins offering free Wi-Fi in its stores this November, the retailer hopes shoppers will be more likely to purchase electronics, specifically new Internet-connected television sets.

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Topics: Customer Experience

The Real Customer Service Story

Posted on August 4, 2010 by Nanette BrownComments

Upon entering a retail store, the customer knows what's coming next: it's the standard greeting, followed by the current sales promotion and then the question, "Anything I can help you with today?" According to recent research published in the Harvard Business Review, that answer is often, "No."

Corporate leaders dramatically overestimate how much the customer wants to talk to a customer service representative. They believe customers value live service twice as much as self-service. HBR's data shows customers are significantly indifferent to that claim, and they value self-service just as much as they value using the phone. More interestingly, that indifference doesn't change across their demographic, issue type or urgency.

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Topics: Customer Experience

A Modern Day Customer Service Parable

Posted on July 30, 2010 by Nanette BrownComments

Too often you hear stories about people's customer service nightmares and commiserate with them as you talk of similar experiences. The Virgin Group founder Richard Branson recently shared a story about customer service himself, but the story ended with a satisfied customer and not a disgruntled one.

A Virgin Atlantic customer's free limo failed to pick him up at his hotel (apparently the customer waited at the wrong door). So, he called a cab and arrived at the airport angry, running late and nervous he would miss his flight. A Virgin agent spotted him and tried to calm him down, apologized for the limo mix up and rushed him through the security staff lane to get him to his gate. She even reimbursed his taxi fare out of her own pocket. The passenger boarded the plane on time thanks to the Virgin agent's ability to turn a negative customer experience into a positive one.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Do Location-Based Social Networks Work for Your Company?

Posted on July 27, 2010 by Nanette BrownComments

Should retailers check out location-based social networks and let their customers check in to their stores? An AdAge.com post on Forrester Research's recently released study advises companies to take a second look as to whether LBSNs are right to include in their current marketing mix.

The study reports that only four percent of U.S. online adults use location-based mobile apps such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt. Only one percent update these services more than once a week. Even more, a good majority of respondents"”84 percent"”claimed they were unfamiliar with the apps, a number to surely make companies rethink how necessary it is to start a marketing campaign using LBSNs.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Mobile Applications Can Do More for a Retailer

Posted on July 23, 2010 by Nanette BrownComments

Shoppers are on the move, and they're taking their mobile phones with them.

Forbes Insights published a study that surveyed leading U.S. retailers' use of mobile applications in enhancing consumer's shopping experiences. Researchers discovered many retailers--almost fifty percent--are hoping to capture first-mover advantage as their customers go mobile. The levels of sophistication in mobile design and application vary depending on the retailer and its goals. For many, the mobile features are a scaled-back version of their website. Others have ventured into offering transaction-based and customer-oriented applications that use powerful GPS technology to pinpoint an individual customer's needs.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Using Storytelling to Keep the Customer Coming Back to the Store

Posted on July 21, 2010 by Nanette BrownComments

When people's time is precious and transportation costs are high, retailers can't rely on the thinking that if they build stores, people will come. Instead, retailers must offer more than just a physical space that stocks merchandise. They need to entertain, educate and engage consumers to bring them to the store and make them never want to leave.

PSFK advised retailers to think of all store locations as flagship stores and treat customer visits as opportunities to tell the story of the brand. Disney stores executed this idea by remodeling their stores to become a family entertainment hub where kids can interact and play with the merchandise. The New England grocery chain Stew Leonard's organized their stores by stocking merchandise needed for certain occasions together, such as a barbecue or birthday party. Customers then buy items for an experience and possibly pick up a few things they didn't think they needed, like birthday hats or corn on the cob holders. Stew Leonard's stores also have animatronic farm animals kids can play with, flat screens that show feeds of their own daily cows and bountiful offerings of free samples.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Using Technology to Get Consumers to the Store

Posted on July 19, 2010 by Nanette BrownComments

No one doubts the claim that the Internet and rise in mobile technology hasn't transformed the retail industry. It's the thought that people are no longer making trips to the stores that should be up for debate. The truth is that people still shop in stores. Technology is used to get them there and to make their experience more enjoyable so they keep coming back.

PSFK highlighted some great ideas of how retailers can leverage technology and drive consumers to their stores. For certain retailers, it may be helpful for the customer if they post wait times, store maps and inventory lists on their website. Google has launched an initiative to begin posting pictures of the insides of places on Google maps. Retailers can set up an appointment with Google photographers to get their interior shot and added to the Google places site. In the meantime, stores can post updated interior photos themselves and even set up a web cam so customers can watch a live stream of the store's activity any time they want. This way, customers can time their visits based on whether they think the photos and videos show it's a good time for them to shop.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Customer Experience Update