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From Feedback to Rewards: How to Build a Loyalty Program that Resonates with Your Audience

Learn how to build a loyalty program that puts your audience first. We also discuss strategies for creating a customer experience that secures repeat...

Francesca Nicasio

Content Strategy Manager

Fact: Loyal customers are some of your most reliable income sources during uncertain times. 

We can see this in action in some of the top brands in the market.

Starbucks, for example, was one of the companies that quickly recovered after the Great Recession. Despite the economic downturn, Starbucks continued to invest in its loyalty program, enhancing its value proposition by offering free refills, free Wi-Fi, and special offers.

Or consider Sephora, which launched its rewards program, Beauty Insider, in 2007, and has since expanded and diversified the program to include personalized offers, exclusive events, and early access to new products. Today, the majority of Sephora’s sales come from Beauty Insider members

All this to say that rewards and loyalty programs can unlock lasting customer retention and revenue.

But there’s a catch: you’ll only achieve these benefits if your loyalty program stands out in an increasingly competitive landscape. 

In today’s crowded market, consumers are bombarded with them left and right. That’s why we’re big believers in customization—tailoring your program to meet your target audience’s preferences and needs.

In this article, you’ll learn how to build a loyalty program that puts your audience first. We also discuss strategies for creating a rewarding customer experience that secures repeat business.

 


 

Importance of customer insights in developing notable loyalty programs


Guesswork often influences strategies when developing loyalty programs. So before proceeding to launching or overhauling your loyalty program, make it a point to challenge your views.

Start with a hypothesis. Let’s say you assume your customers are motivated by discounts. Consider the variables that made you think this way. Is it based on sales performance? 

Next, look at your data and analyze your sales trends. What impact do discounts really have on your sales?

Maybe you discover that discounts do work, but not as much as they used to. Poring over customer insights may show you that many of your customers favor tangible freebies, such as complimentary samples.

In this instance, you may need to discard your original hypothesis. Markets adapt, and customer preferences shift. Use your assumptions as a framework, but refer to actual insights as you tailor your loyalty program accordingly.


Loyalty expert Rory Moss talks about getting data & survey results to customize your loyalty program and appeal to higher value customers.

 

Benefits of insight-driven customer loyalty programs

 

Learning to fine-tune your customer loyalty programs directly translates to concrete benefits for your business. These include.

  • Higher customer engagement. By basing loyalty programs on real insights, you can design initiatives that resonate with your customer base. They’ll feel a deeper connection with the tailored rewards and incentives. The more relevant you are, the better your customer relationships will be.
  • Better resource allocation. Insight-driven loyalty programs help your marketing team manage resources. You’ll avoid spending on generic incentives that may not align with customer expectations. Instead, you can direct the resources toward more enticing initiatives, maximizing the loyalty program’s long-term impact.

Customer insights ensure program success with strategic implementation. Here’s how to leverage this data to build customer loyalty programs that stand out and connect with your target demographic.

 

6 steps to develop a successful customer loyalty program

 

From getting customers on board to measuring performance, launching and managing loyalty programs take work. Follow these 6 steps below to start and gradually increase signups and engagement levels.

1. Conduct customer interviews

 

Shoppers stay loyal to brands that understand them. To get to know your customer base, conduct direct surveys and interviews. Talk to a sample of 10 to 20 customers in person or on the phone, varying between regulars and one time/new customers.

Regulars are the most engaged audience with repeat purchases. Use the interview to identify what they want from a loyalty program. 

One-time/new customers are not as engaged–at least not yet. Take the interview as an opportunity to learn their preferred incentives, offers, or experiences to keep them coming back

Keep the questions consistent across both groups to get a well-rounded perspective. Here’s a set of potential questions you can ask these individuals. 

  • How often do you purchase from our store?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to participate in our loyalty program?
  • What types of rewards or perks would motivate you to join the program? (e.g., discounts, freebies, cashback promos, special offers, exclusive event access, early access to sales)
  • How important is it for you to feel valued and rewarded for your loyalty to us?
  • Do you prefer tiered membership systems or ​​points-based loyalty programs? (i.e., point-based voucher amount vs. bronze, silver, and gold tiers with more valuable rewards as you progress)
  • How likely will you recommend us to others if we offer reward/referral programs?
  • Are there any specific products or categories you’d like to see in the loyalty program rewards?
  • What communication channels do you prefer to receive loyalty program updates and offers? (e.g., email, SMS, social media, in-store notifications)
  • How do you typically redeem loyalty rewards or benefits? (e.g., online, in-store, mobile app)
  • Would you be more likely to participate if the program offered early access to new product releases or exclusive benefits?
  • Do you have any concerns or reservations about joining a loyalty membership program?
  • How likely will you continue shopping at our store with vs. without a loyalty program?
  • What additional features or benefits do you want to see in our loyalty program?

Regular and one-time shoppers have distinct preferences, motivations, and expectations. Engage with both ends of the spectrum to know what drives each group from a 360-degree standpoint. 

Pro-tip: Gather contact details, such as email addresses and phone numbers, should you require a follow-up.

2. Collate survey and feedback responses

 

You can also use surveys to get more quantitative data on your customers. The goal here is to organize and analyze customer feedback to identify recurring patterns. 

You can do it in a formal, informal, or a hybrid approach.

Formal surveys are recommended for large-scale operations. Here are the approaches to implementing this method for a more thorough understanding of survey responses.

  • Use advanced software to categorize feedback systematically. For instance, you can implement customer feedback management platforms that tag and sort responses based on common themes.
  • Statistical analysis. If you have the resources, consider applying statistical methods to identify patterns quantitatively. It involves frequency calculation of particular keywords or sentiments expressed by customers.

Informal surveys are best for small businesses with limited resources. They’re more qualitative in nature and require first-hand assessment to understand your customers. 

  • Manual review. Evaluate customer comments, emails, or survey responses. The goal is to absorb the qualitative aspects that may be overlooked in strictly quantitative analysis.
  • Key learnings. As you review feedback, jot down a few bullet points that summarize key learnings. These could be recurring themes, noteworthy suggestions, or significant areas of concern raised by customers.

You can also combine formal and informal approaches (hybrid) to maximize both methods’ strengths. Doing so balances qualitative findings with objective insights in a more accessible yet scalable manner.

3. Review and act on the data

 

Knowing what appeals to new and existing customers helps ensure your loyalty program aligns with your overall brand identity. It helps craft your Unique Value Proposition (UVP), which you can use to reinforce your brand message and create a cohesive experience across all touchpoints.

Review the preferences and needs you’ve discovered from feedback responses. Then be sure to offer customers enticing rewards to meet those needs. 

Take Amazon Prime’s paid loyalty program, for example. Industry data shows that 71.8% of its loyalty program members find the $99 annual pricing worth it for all the shipping, shopping, streaming, and reading perks. 

How does Amazon know this? Simple. The company actively creates, distributes, and collects online survey responses.

amazon prime example

Not many businesses have the same resources as Amazon. But it doesn’t mean you don’t have enough data to analyze in your hands. 

Sports retailer TennisGear actively observes their database to understand customer behavior. They grow and keep it accurate through complete visibility across their sales channels and prompts that reminds staff to update or add customer information.

Maintaining a continuous feedback loop with your customers is key to creating a loyalty program that resonates. Send out regular surveys or perform ongoing database analysis to stay current with changing preferences and market trends.

Additional tip: Look at review sites and Google Reviews to draw information about what customers might appreciate seeing more in your programs.

4. Design and optimize the program based on feedback

 

Now that you know your rewards and incentives, optimize your program’s structure and mechanics to incentivize customers to spend more. 

Choose between non-tiered and tiered programs. Non-tiered appeals to a broad audience, whereas a tiered point system suits a diverse customer base with varying spending levels.

Balance the program’s exclusivity and inclusivity if you opt for the latter. Introduce exclusive high-value perks for top-tier loyalty cardholders (e.g., premium rewards, VIP events) and accessible rewards for those in lower tiers (e.g., birthday discounts).

Lastly, decide if your customers prefer simple or gamified types of loyalty programs. Gamification adds interactive elements but often requires more resources in terms of design, development, and ongoing management. 

In Sephora’s Beauty Insider Challenges, for instance, members must first complete a series of tasks to earn rewards. Some tasks don’t involve a purchase but require active engagement. The first challenges include checking out online, picking up orders in-store, signing up for text alerts, and trying Sephora’s in-store shade-matching tool.

If you’re still testing the waters, a straightforward loyalty program can be equally lucrative. 

Melbourne-based fashion label ALPHA60 exemplifies this with a simple earn-and-redeem model: spend a thousand dollars, earn a thousand points, and receive a $50 voucher.

ALPHA60’s Brand Strategist, Kelvin, explained that ALPHA60 customers prefer simplicity. Just by understanding this tendency led to the brand enjoying a high repeat purchase rate.

Alpha60 earn options


Find what works best for your audience, and consistently seek feedback for future adjustments if needed.

 

5. Make communication personalized wherever possible

 

Before you roll out the loyalty program, establish customer-centric communication channels. Identify where they prefer to receive updates and redeem rewards. Do they prefer traditional in-store redemption like punch cards or through handy technology like an app or a digital card?

If customers raise concerns or suggestions, acknowledge and address these in your response. Show that you value their input and actively strive to improve their experience.

A one-size-fits-all approach in communication may alienate customers who seek tailored interactions. Don’t lose your regulars to more attentive competitors. Pay attention to customer behavior when launching or announcing loyalty program updates.

 

6. Choose technology to run the loyalty program

 

Invest in user-friendly technology to simplify the implementation process. It’ll help your staff to adjust fast, minimizing the learning curve and likelihood of errors.

Loyalty program software like Marsello features seamless integration with ecommerce and POS systems (e.g., Shopify, WooCommerce, Bigcommerce, and Lightspeed) to leverage data analytics.

Syncing in-store and online transactions generates insights to help you deliver consistent loyalty experiences. It’s a hands-off process you can leverage to offer custom-tailored promotions, point earning, and reward redemption across all platforms.

With the right tools, tracking your loyalty program’s performance becomes easy. Take note of the key metrics and indicators to measure in the next section.

How to Measure Your Program’s Success

 

Define key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your goals to gauge initial success. Some KPIs to consider are customer retention, referral rates, average order values (including credit card transactions), and customer lifetime value. These metrics measure the program’s overall contribution to your revenue stream.

Tracking KPIs is more efficient with Marsello’s dashboards and automated reporting. These tools feature real-time updates with charts, graphs, and other visual elements to interpret complex data patterns. You can also set up predefined schedules to receive detailed reports.

scottys-makeup-and-beauty-insights-dashboard

Invest in technology to keep your efforts on track. Let your staff focus on refining your marketing strategy rather than spending significant hours on data gathering and reporting.

 

Streamlining Loyalty Programs with Marsello

 

The best customer loyalty program prioritizes the customer experience. So, rather than rushing to launch your rewards or loyalty program, take time to solicit shopper insights, analyze data, design a responsive program, personalize communication, and use technology wisely.

Loyalty programs shouldn’t remain static. Keep ongoing customer engagement by regularly evaluating and updating your program.

If you’re ready to reward customers on their next purchase, start with Marsello’s free trial. Build your loyalty program today while synchronizing your omnichannel strategy.

 


 

Join a community of 5,000+ retailers building sales with Marsello's customer loyalty software

 

Start free trial

 


 

Read more: 7 Steps To Building A Profitable Loyalty & Rewards Program

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    Social Media Planning for BFCM: 7 Best Practices to Implement

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    We’ve put together a list of the top social media planning practices your brand should follow to attract and retain customers in the 2022 holiday season.

    Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) weekend is coming up fast (just where did 2022 go?) It’s high time for brands to begin planning for this massive, revenue-generating shopping event.

    179.8 million unique shoppers shopped in-store and online during the BFCM holiday weekend in 2021, despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    With 2022 seeing record rates of inflation and more cautious consumer spending, brands will need to pull out all the stops to wow customers this holiday season.

    Although still associated with shoppers streaming into store locations, BFCM weekend is becoming increasingly digital and mobile-first. According to Nosto, mobile outperformed desktop at 69% versus 31% when it came to product discovery and browsing, where social media emerges as a key channel. In fact, 54% of Gen Z shoppers and 58% of Millennials say that social platforms are better than online search for finding products and brands.

    In sum, a robust social media strategy is now essential for a profitable BFCM weekend.

    We’ve put together a list of the top social media planning practices your brand should follow to attract and retain customers this holiday season — and how Marsello’s brand-new social media toolkit can help.

     


     


    Quick Links:



     


    1. Use data to inform your BFCM initiatives and planning


    Not sure where to begin with your social media planning? A good place to start is to look into what strategies worked for your brand last year — and what didn’t. 

    Social media metrics such as engagement, impressions, click-through rate, website traffic, and conversion rate will help you to gauge the performance of previous initiatives and where you can build on this success. Likewise, learning from past mistakes, such as posting at the wrong time of day for your audience, is one of the best ways to set yourself up for a profitable BFCM period.

    social-launch-email-campaign-marsell-app-functionality-screenshotsArtboard 2 copy 2

    Using Marsello, look back on what kinds of posts generated the most sales over past campaigns.

    In addition to using your own data, don’t ignore the power of industry trends. Knowing what’s hot with social media users is a great way to stay innovative and serve up the content consumers want to see. 

    For example, short-form video is gaining traction across all social platforms in 2022, with 26% of social media marketers investing more in short-form video than any other content format. If your target customer belongs to the Gen Z demographic, this should definitely be in your BFCM toolkit.

     

    2. Iron out the BFCM promotions you’ll be running


    Running seasonal promotions is an essential part of BFCM, and your followers will expect you offer some compelling deals and discounts throughout the weekend. To maximize engagement with your social content, make sure you’ve planned out all the core details of your promotions, such as:

    The type of content. Are you using a single image, carousel, or video to publicize your promotion?

    The type of promotion. The size of the discount/offer, what products are included/excluded, etc.

    Length/timing of the promotion. How long the promotion is valid and whether you might extend it to increase conversions

    However, be careful not to make your social media feeds too promotion-heavy. Constantly pushing discounts over BFCM weekend can become boring and repetitive for your followers. Consider mixing up your feed with other types of content and putting aside some time to plan out your content streams. This includes promotional offers, gift inspo, and user-generated content.

    examples of holiday instagram posts

    Starbucks is a great example of a brand that posts a careful mix of content during and in the lead-up to BFCM. In addition to posting about their seasonal drinks range and limited-edition holiday cup promotions, its social media feeds also include user-generated content and question prompts designed to encourage engagement.

     

    All your Black Friday marketing. In one place.
    Add Marsello to your store now, and kickstart your Black Friday Cyber Monday campaigns with email campaigns, SMS, automations and more. Track the impact of all your marketing on sales, and measure your return on investment.

    Start free trial



    3. Create compelling images


    Consumers’ newsfeeds and inboxes are being inundated by promotions and discounts during BFCM weekend, trying to persuade them to drop everything and shop right now. But don’t join the race to the bottom by choosing the steepest discount possible; focus on creating eye-catching visuals that entice consumers to stop scrolling and check out your offer.

    To tap into those short attention spans, your images need to have a “wow factor” that’s pleasing to look at and primes people to explore what you have to offer.

    anthropologie example of a beautiful holiday post

    Known for its stunning social media feeds, Anthropologie does a great job at putting its followers in the mindset of holiday shopping ahead of BFCM. This fun visual swipe post allows Anthropologie fans to “turn on” the Christmas lights at one of their flagship stores — a clear sign of more holiday-themed content to come.

    💡 Pro-tip: You can crop and edit images right inside Marsello to create compelling, attractive content for your social media campaigns.

     

    4. Use a calendar to track and schedule your BFCM content


    It can be tempting to post all your social media content on the fly. But while there’s room for spontaneity in your content (for example, jumping on a trend while it’s still viral) you don’t want to leave your BFCM content to chance. 

    Peak season is a busy time for brands, and it’s time-consuming and stressful to plan and post content as you go. More importantly, a scattergun approach also runs the risk of missing key promotional opportunities during Thanksgiving weekend.

    Using a calendar tool is a great way to maintain control over your BCFM social media planning. Marsello allows you to add individual social posts to your calendar and add relevant information such as launch dates, copy, or associated promotions, ensuring that your team always knows what’s in the pipeline.

    marsello-social-launch-tiles-3

     

    5. Keep your marketing collateral organized


    BFCM is one of the biggest revenue-producing periods of the year for retailers, so your business is likely to be using more social media collateral in the form of graphics, videos, and product photography during this period to increase engagement. 

    With so much revenue on the line, it’s vital to make sure your marketing team has a system to store and organize these assets. After all, nobody wants to lose a vital photo or video right before posting!

    social-launch-email-campaign-marsell-app-functionality-screenshotsArtboard 2 copy 3-1

    The Marsello media library is an excellent way to keep all of your BFCM collateral in one place where it’s easily accessible to your team. The media library connects seamlessly with all major storage systems, including Google Drive and Dropbox, so you can retrieve your assets as you need them for emails, social media, and other campaigns being run by Marsello.

    All your Black Friday marketing. In one place.
    Add Marsello to your store now, and kickstart your Black Friday Cyber Monday campaigns with email campaigns, SMS, automations and more. Track the impact of all your marketing on sales, and measure your return on investment.

    Start free trial

     

    6. Keep your BFCM initiatives consistent across all platforms


    If you’re planning on running a big promotion (or several) over BFCM weekend, it makes little sense to only publicize your offer on a single platform. To drive as much traffic as possible to your website and storefronts, all of your marketing channels — including social media, email, and even your store signage — need to be working together in harmony. 

    It’s easy to say that the more channels you use, the stronger your promotional strategy will be. But it’s not quite that simple; more channels also means more time spent making sure that your messaging stays consistent. 

    Here is a great example from Sephora, which successfully reinforced last year’s Cyber Monday sale across email and social media by using the same graphic and messaging:

    sephora cyber monday sale post

    sephora cyber monday sale campaign

    Marsello’s campaign calendar makes it easy to achieve coordinated campaigns like Sephora’s. Social media, SMS, and email can be planned within a single dashboard to streamline your social planning and ensure consistency across channels.

    7. Optimize your BFCM social media accounts for sales by leveraging built-in social selling features


    Social media is no longer simply a marketing channel designed to direct shoppers to where the action takes place. Thanks to the birth of social commerce, many platforms now boast a range of tools that enable users to purchase products directly within the app.

    Social commerce has a range of benefits for both shoppers and brands during BFCM. If prospective customers see a great holiday gift option, they’re going to want to move fast. By shopping directly within an app, consumers only have to tap the product tag to be taken directly to the product page and checkout. Redirecting shoppers to your ecommerce website, where they’ll need to find the product themselves and place it in their cart, takes extra time and effort and may result in them abandoning the purchase.

    In addition to speeding up the checkout process, social selling makes your product catalog easy and seamless to navigate. For example, Walmart has created a range of collections in its Instagram store to address different shopper needs:.

    walmart instagram store collections

    Collections have a ton of applications for BFCM weekend. Consider catalogs such as “‘Top holiday picks for under $30”’ or “‘red-hot Black Friday deals” to optimize your sales strategy and drive consumers toward high-value merchandise.

    💡 Pro-tip: Tag products and collections in your social posts in Marsello to see potential generated sales.

     

    Final words


    Black Friday and Cyber Monday are among one the most important holiday shopping weekends on the calendar, and brands need to begin their social media planning early to maximize the promotional opportunities available. By following the social media planning tips above and utilizing Marsello’s social media tools, you’ll be well-placed to make your BFCM 2022 the best yet.

     

        

    Marsello: All your Black Friday marketing, in one place.

    • Send email and SMS campaigns to customers
    • Create set-and-forget marketing automations
    • Schedule social posts
    • Track the direct impact of all your marketing on revenue
    • Build a customer database

    Start free trial

                                                                                                                           

    Top 8 Marketing Hacks For Black Friday/Cyber Monday Campaigns

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    Here are the Top 8 Black Friday & Cyber Monday marketing strategies that big-box retailers use — and don’t want you to know.

    BFCM marketing hacks big-box retailers don’t want you to know 👇

    Black Friday is creeping up fast. But while we’re still a decent way out, here are 8 of the best marketing tips you should be considering in your campaign planning.

    These strategies are used by some of the world’s biggest and most successful retailers; however, they’re all actually incredibly simple. Some of these tactics can even wait until the last minute (if you’re “deadline driven” like I am!) and they’ll still be high impact.

     


     


    Quick Links:



     


    Run pre-Black Friday sales


    Black Friday is BIG. It has global awareness, with merchants participating in countries in and outside of Canada and the US (even those that don’t recognize Thanksgiving). Needless to say, it’s on everyone’s minds for months in the lead up.

    So—why not run sales before the actual day? Savvy retailers are using this strategy to capitalize on the hype without shouting in the crowd at peak time.

    For example, Rubber Monkey, a technology retailer, runs a VIP Black Friday “Countdown Campaign” with several pre-Black Friday sales ahead of the big date.

    Blog-Graphics-BCFM-Rubber-Monkey-3-waves

    Rubber Monkey’s lead-up campaign emails included dates for not one, not two but THREE separate Black Friday sale dates.

    Alternatively, in lieu of running a multi-stage sale, simply send Black Friday / Cyber Monday previews. Tease your database, give them a sneak peek of what’s around the corner, and build hype.

    You can also include a Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar invite, so your subscribers have your sale top of mind and receive automated reminders directly from their calendar app.

     

    Segment your database for personalized deals


    A blast to all customers is not always an effective marketing strategy. Instead, segment your database by type of products purchased. For example, if you’re a technology retailer, you could create segments for “Photographers”—people who most frequently buy photography equipment.

    Send targeted Black Friday or Cyber Monday campaign emails and SMS messages to those segments, adding only products from their preferred category. Of course, you can add a “See All Deals” call-to-action below your product blocks to pull in more general interest to the broader sale categories.

    For higher impact, start strong with a personalized subject line:
    “Alice, get 60% off everything photography! 🤑📸”

    cyber-monday-technology-campaign

    I love how this Cyber Monday email jumps straight into product collections from the category I’m most interested in: photography.

     

    All your Black Friday marketing. In one place.
    Manage all your Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns in Marsello. Schedule social posts, emails, SMS campaigns and more. Then track the impact of your marketing on sales.

    Start free trial



    Add urgency with a countdown timer


    Ah, the old FOMO trick. Let your subscribers know when your sales start, so they don’t miss a deal. Using a dynamic, live countdown timer in your emails will capture visual interest, and drive urgent action.

    black-friday-email-countdown

    Drag-and-drop the countdown timer into your campaigns with Marsello’s email builder. You can customize your timer to match your brand and campaign specs. I also love how this email uses a ‘Wishlist’ call-to-action—getting subscribers engaged with the sale in advance.

    Leverage the 98% deliverability of SMS


    Did you know…

    • 75% of consumers want to receive text messages with special offers
    • 90% of SMS messages opened within three minutes of being received

    Scott Home Delivery uses SMS for their Black Friday campaigns, with incredible results. Some of their campaigns see up to a 26% click rate—much higher than the average email click rate (around 3%).

    example-of-a-black-friday-sms-campaign

    When used in the right context, SMS remains one of the most powerful marketing tactics on the block. The key? It’s really not rocket science: it all comes down to following the tried-and-true recipe for success:

    • There’s one clear offer (50% off)
    • Urgency (Only a few days left!)
    • A CTA and link to drive conversions
    • And there are instructions for how to opt out (a necessary inclusion)

    Pro-tip: Get even more personalized and use merge tags in your SMS campaigns—include loyalty points balance, first name and more.

    Send product recommendations with a discount code


    You don’t have to discount specific products, but you could offer a discount code. That way, you can send an email with product recommendations to your customer database, and offer a discount code so they can go and spend it on the products you know they’ll love. 

    Marsello’s product recommendation algorithm uses the same model as Amazon. We use customer purchase data to determine which products they’re most likely to be interested in buying next.

    You can drag-and-drop this pre-built block into any of your Black Friday campaign emails. Beyond that, we recommend using this feature in all kinds of email campaigns!

    drag_drop_recommend_products

    Here, we show how you can drop the block into an automated Happy Birthday email using Marsello’s super easy email campaign builder.

    All your Black Friday marketing. In one place.
    Manage all your Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns in Marsello. Schedule social posts, emails, SMS campaigns and more. Then track the impact of your marketing on sales.

    Start free trial

     

    Run VIP offers to your existing customers


    Send exclusive Black Friday deals and offers to your existing customers. Rubber Monkey sent customers an extra $10 voucher to use over and above their Black Friday purchases.

    Black-Friday-Cyber-Monday-Rubber-Monkey-VIP-voucher

    Rubber Monkey’s additional VIP Black Friday offer to their email subscribers.

    Set up automated Abandoned Cart reminders


    Don’t let those Black Friday deals sit idly in customer carts. Use marketing automation to set up automatic abandoned cart reminders. Use triggers to set up a delay—around one hour is usually about right for a one-day sale, but you can test what works best with your customer database.

    automated-abandoned-cart-reminders-black-friday-cyber-monday

    Take a look at Ozzie Collectables’ Abandoned Cart campaign, for example. This series of three emails has an overall conversion rate of 28%. In fact, automated email flows alone are generating 38% of their total revenue.

    Ozzie-Collectables-Recover-My-Cart-Email-Automation-Flow-1

    Marsello has a collection of pre-built email templates you can add to your Abandoned Cart flows. You can even tweak your flows in the days around Black Friday / Cyber Monday to include more relevant, urgent messages.

     

    All your Black Friday marketing. In one place.
    Manage all your Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaigns in Marsello. Schedule social posts, emails, SMS campaigns and more. Then track the impact of your marketing on sales.

    Start free trial

     

    Last but not least, build your customer database!


    Think bigger than Black Friday. Collect customer details over these heavy traffic periods to build your list of re-marketable customers.

    According to the Pareto principle, around 80% of a business’s profits come from just 20% of its customers. That means regular customers, who buy from you again and again, are worth A LOT to your business. And they’re cheaper to market to as well.

    The other 80% of your customers only make up the remaining 20% of your profits. These customers include your one-time shoppers, infrequent visitors, and any other more casual consumers.

    It’s more expensive to acquire new customers to retain them, so make the most of your campaign spend and continue selling to Black Friday participants long after November has been and gone.

    Read next: Social media planning for BFCM - 7 Best Practices to Implement

        

    Marsello: All your Black Friday marketing, in one place.

    • Send email and SMS campaigns to customers
    • Create set-and-forget marketing automations
    • Schedule social posts and track sales
    • Track the direct impact of all your marketing on revenue
    • Build a customer database

    Start free trial

                                                                                                                         

    SMS Product Update: 50% Reduced Rates, Automations, Merge Tags, and Emojis

    ClockIcon  READ
    We've introduced new features to make SMS marketing smarter and improve ROI, including SMS automation templates, automation library, merge tags and emojis

    “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one” - Mark Twain

    Apparently, Mark Twain hadn’t heard of pre-built SMS templates, something we’ve just added to Marsello alongside the automations template library, emojis, merge tags for SMS, and to make your SMS marketing go even further cut SMS rates by up to 50% on some pricing plans.  

    Here's what's new in SMS:

    We’ve cut SMS rates by 50%*, doubling SMS credits across some plans

    We’ve cut SMS rates by up to 50%* on some pricing plans, starting from our base $25/month plan. That means some plans will receive more than double the SMS credits per dollar.

    Previous pricing  New Pricing 

    Cost

    Credits

    Cost

    Credits

    $25.00

    700

    $25.00

    1,500

    $50.00

    1,500

    $50.00

    3,500

    $100.00

    3,100

    $100.00

    8,500

    $200.00

    6,500

    $200.00

    18,000

    $300.00

    10,000

    $300.00

    30,000

    $400.00

    13,700

    $400.00

    41,000

    $500.00

    17,500

    $500.00

    52,000

    $600.00

    21,000

    $600.00

    63,000

    $800.00

    29,500

    $800.00

    84,000

    $1,000.00

    38,000

    $1,000.00

    105,000

    $1,250.00

    49,000

    $1,250.00

    132,000

    $1,500.00

    60,000

    $1,500.00

    158,500

    $1,750.00

    71,500

    $1,750.00

    185,500

    $2,000.00

    83,000

    $2,000.00

    212,000

    SMS credits can be added to your Marsello Pro Plan from your account and will be added to your monthly subscription from the date you select your monthly SMS plan. 

    New SMS plans are available now, and existing plans will be updated as your monthly plan rolls over.

    Add SMS


    Pre-built SMS automation templates

    Sometimes you need to get a message to your customers that is short, sharp, and to the point. That’s where SMS comes in, the perfect communication tactic to drive action quickly. But saying less isn't always that easy, so we’ve introduced over 20 new pre-built SMS templates, including loyalty program messages, refer friend requests, Google Review requests, and more.

    Automation Template Library 

    You can now access all your email and SMS templates in the Automation Template Library. You can search the Template Library by communication channel, campaign type, industry and more. As you build out your SMS automation templates, and we add more, you’ll be able to deploy any SMS automation in just a few clicks. 

    SMS Automations

    Oh, and by the way, we’ve already added 10+ SMS automation templates to the library which you can access now. 

    Loyalty Notifications now in Automations Library

    We’ve added automated loyalty points notifications for SMS, and migrated all loyalty points notification templates to Marsello’s Automations Library. This allows you to track all sends, opens, and clicks.

    Plus, enjoy the new emojis and merge tags! 

    Even short messages should be personalized, so we’ve introduced merge tags in SMS automations and campaigns. Merge tags enable you to include the recipient's own details in the messages you send them, including first name, last name, loyalty points balance and VIP tier. We’ve also added emojis, so you can set the tone of your message without saying a word. 

    Want to get started with SMS, but not sure how? Take a look at the Marsello help center for practical step-by-step guides for setting up automations and campaigns. 

    *Note: 50% discounted rate is based on a regional send to the United States and priced in USD.

     

    Cutting Costs? 3 Marketing Strategies You Can’t Afford To Drop In A Recession

    ClockIcon  READ
    Marsello CEO Brent Spicer discusses the state of the global economy, and how a market slowdown presents opportunities for independent businesses.

    We talked to Marsello CEO Brent Spicer about the state of the global economy, and how a market slowdown presents opportunities for independent businesses.

    Merchants, particularly small business owners, want to know: what will a recession mean for my business?

    There’s no doubt about it—the economy is very volatile at the moment. We’re feeling the effects of this through high inflation.

    The rise has been in large part driven by pent-up consumer demand after the pandemic and supply chain issues caused by China’s lockdowns and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

    “These events have caused global inflation rates to spike,” Marsello CEO Brent Spicer explains. “Central banks worldwide have a singular objective at the moment: to control and limit inflation. This reduces market liquidity. As interest rates rise, the cost of borrowing goes up. Before, capital was effectively free. Now, it is very expensive.”

    Spicer believes the global economy will continue to slow, but the question is—how much and for how long?

    This slowdown is only just starting to cut through to the general economy and consumers. As we are all aware, this will have a big impact on consumer spending and, in turn, retail and hospitality businesses.

    Adding to this, low unemployment is making it really difficult for these businesses to attract staff. “We’re seeing signs of this already,” says Spicer. “Hospitality businesses and retailers offering well above minimum wage, but still struggling to get job applicants. The problem we’re seeing is not the pay, it’s a labor shortage.”

    All this means small businesses are in for some challenging times.



     


    Quick Links:



     


    How can my business thrive through a recession?

     

    Put simply, brick-and-mortar businesses have been through a lot in the past few years. Lockdowns and staff illness have forced shop closures and put pressure on margins.

    To make it through, businesses had to adapt, pivot, and try new sales and marketing tactics—fast.

    We saw so many different innovative approaches come out of the pandemic. 

    Hospitality businesses took the opportunity to expand to e-commerce, subscriptions, and home deliveries. Retailers pivoted to create new products (such as masks!), run virtual product demos, and set up processes for contactless pick-up and delivery. Others focused on buckling down and building their brand’s community, looking ahead at the long-term game.

    We’ve learned a few things from past recessions too. We know for certain that there will be business who come through stronger than ever. 

    So what will it be that sets them apart from the rest? How will they not just survive, but thrive?

    1. Future-proof with technology

    Independent retailers and hospitality businesses taking advantage of technology will be the ones who thrive.

    Back in 2008, the Global Financial Crisis accelerated the growth of e-commerce. As e-commerce platforms became more accessible, smaller businesses were able to leverage online ordering—rather than needing huge budgets to build custom websites.

    E-commerce gave consumers a way to find better deals further from home, and have them delivered within a few days. So it was the perfect storm for e-commerce, and those consumer habits just took off.

    “The Global Financial Crisis hugely impacted the mindset of consumers,” says Spicer.
    “Consumers were extremely price-sensitive, substituting premium goods for cheaper-name brands. Luxury goods were out of the question for the average household. Shoppers wanted value, and they started shifting online to find the best prices available.”

    From the GFC, a whole new breed of small business was born: small business that was tech-forward, even tech-led. This quickly became the norm—Shopify (e-commerce), Lightspeed Retail (point-of-sale), and Xero (accounting software) were among some of the tech companies that helped these businesses thrive. 

    And those who saw the opportunity in software for small business and leaped on it were in a better position to recover and grow as consumer confidence improved.

    Looking ahead, we predict a massive opportunity for businesses to lean on AI and algorithmic learning. For example, ​​algorithimically-determined product recommendations make up around 35% of Amazon’s total revenue.

    Even the simplest AI tactics can be very effective at generating revenue. In Marsello, we have a template product recommendation block merchants can drop into email campaigns and automations. If you’re paying to send emails, text messages or ads, you want to be delivering the most targeted, personalized content to make every dollar count.

    We’re also seeing massive opportunities for businesses to get a full overview of their data. That means streamlined, consolidated tech stacks, that house data in one, central place. This reduces the risk of creating “data silos”. A data silo is created every time you introduce a new tool that takes time and resource to export data and re-upload it somewhere else. For example, if you have to manually export your sales data and upload it to your email.

    2. Double down on smart marketing

    Most companies cut costs during a recession and marketing is usually the first chop. But now is not the time to ditch the marketing efforts.

    According to Harvard Business Review, businesses who spent more on marketing actually did better through the GFC

    It makes sense—if you can maintain your marketing budget (or even increase it) while others are cutting back, your comparative marketing impact will increase by default.

    However, your marketing does need to get smarter.

    There’s a term that merchants, entrepreneurs, and business owners need to get familiar with: capital efficiency. That is, any activity you’re putting dollars into needs to generate a return on investment. 

    Measuring your activity is extremely important—it will help you reallocate budget to get the best results from your dollar. If you can’t measure the direct impact of marketing on sales, you risk cutting marketing spend on channels or tactics that are actually delivering return.

    The problem is that revenue generated from marketing is notoriously difficult to track and measure. Merchants often have to rely on vanity metrics to prove their marketing works—metrics like the number of Instagram followers, email open rates, or Facebook engagement. 

    Smart marketing, on the other hand, is directly attributable to sales. It means your marketing tools and sales platforms (point-of-sale and e-commerce) are all sharing data with one another.

    It also means collecting details from every person who makes a purchase, so those sales and marketing data points can be connected to a customer profile. At every opportunity, you should be adding customers to your database.

    “This was proven to be particularly important through COVID. Our top-performing retailers through the height of the pandemic were those that had the biggest databases that they could re-market to, especially when stores were closed consumers could only buy online,” says Spicer.

    3. Build relationships with your customers

    Independent businesses who prioritize customer relationships will fare better through a recession, and will see much faster recovery down the line.

    Brands competing on price to survive a recession will lock themselves into a dangerous loop. 

    First, they’ll struggle with tight margins as they cut prices to be competitive with retail giants. Second, they will attract customers who make purchasing decisions solely on low prices—these customers will not be interested in building a loyal, long-lasting relationship with them. This will make post-downturn recovery hard too (price-sensitive consumers are fickle and will happily shop elsewhere, rather than sticking around to help small businesses grow).

    “Businesses who are able to maintain and nurture their customer relationships through a recession generally have less debt going into the downturn,” explains Spicer. “Merchants who are highly indebted will be hit too hard with interest rates and will have to make concessions in customer experience—simply because they need to cut costs.”

    But those merchants who can strike a balance between strategic investment and servicing their debt will see faster recovery as the economic conditions settle.

    Here are a few ways you can invest in your customer relationships:

    • Keep your focus on knowing exactly who your customers are, why they chose your brand. Asking for feedback is a really important part of this. Feedback gives you insight into your overall customer sentiment, and shows you how that’s tracking over time.
    • Be true to your business’s core values and mission—conscious consumers will stretch budgets for a greater cause if they can afford it, even if times are tough.
    • Reward customers who keep coming back. Did you know that around 80% of a business’s revenue comes from the top 20% of their customers? All the more reason to start a loyalty program, leverage the value of your existing database, and offer incentives for repeat purchasing. 
    • Engage your customers and wider community on social media. Keep activity consistent by posting regularly, running polls or competitions, and sharing more candid video content on TikTok or Instagram stories.

    Key takeaways:


    • Invest in technology to future-proof your business. Find ways to streamline, personalize and automate marketing with technology. For example, consolidate all your marketing tools, or leverage technology such as AI for advanced product recommendations.
    • Double down on smart marketing. Make sure you can track and report on sales generated by every marketing activity as much as you can. This will help you work out where you can cut costs. If you don’t have visibility on results, you might be cutting a key lead generator that could cost you in sales down the line.
    • Keep your focus customer-centric. Don’t lose sight of what’s most important—building a database of loyal customers who come back again and again. Action points might include: implementing a loyalty program to reward your top customers, asking for feedback after a purchase, and leveraging social media to engage with your community.                                                                                                        

    SMS: Have you forgotten about this powerful marketing tactic?

    ClockIcon  READ
    Used in the right context, SMS is a truly powerful marketing tactic. The key? It all comes down to following the tried-and-true recipe for success.

    SMS might feel like a throwback, but savvy business owners are still using this direct, punchy channel to drive revenue.

    There are an overwhelming number of marketing and advertising channels these days. You’d be forgiven for thinking you have to invest in every latest and greatest platform or social media app to reach your audience.

    Email, SMS, Display Ads. Snapchat, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. Each one of these has taken the advertising world by storm at some point. 

    Of course, as business owners and marketers, we need to keep our finger on the pulse. But we also need to step back and think—Who is our customer? What is the purpose of this campaign? What channel is the most effective and appropriate way to deliver this message?

    Let’s explore examples of when SMS might be the most effective channel for your campaign. Together, we’ll look at how businesses across different industries can see success from SMS (including several examples of real merchant campaigns) and round off with some inspiration and ideas for SMS campaigns.



     


    Quick Links:



     



    SMS-Relaunch-Man-on-phone

    “I've got to look twice and go—Is this actually real?

    – Daniel Pantaleo, Pinjarra Bakery

    No, this is not a line from a 2am infomercial.

    This is a real quote from a real Marsello merchant who couldn’t believe the results he saw when he sent an SMS campaign.

    There’s a common misconception out there about SMS—that it’s a spammy, outdated marketing channel. However, SMS is often misunderstood.

    2 things you must understand before you try SMS

     
    • It works best if the offer is time-sensitive, so if your campaign doesn’t drive urgent action you won’t see as much impact.
    • It has a high delivery rate (98%) but that doesn’t mean people who open it will engage. Your message must be enticing, concise, and clear.

    Think about the SMS messages you get that are helpful, and those that aren’t. It’s highly likely that the most helpful ones are transactional - an update on a parcel delivery, for example.

    The least helpful SMS messages are probably generic promos - a hairdresser you went to once, over two years ago, who keeps blasting you with offers that aren’t relevant to you.

    The trick is to make your offer as personalized and urgent as possible, so much so that it’s as helpful and welcome as a transactional SMS. Maybe even more so.

    The best SMS campaigns we’ve seen yet

    Hospitality: Pinjarra Bakery


    Every week, Pinjarra Bakery invent a wacky meat pie flavor. They’ve been doing this for years. But one day one of the owners, Daniel, decided to try this offer out with an SMS campaign.

    Pinjarra-SMS

    Simple right? 

    50.1% of those SMS messages sent converted to a sale. That’s HUGE.

    Here’s why it worked:

    • It’s urgent. 
    • It was sent just before lunchtime.
    • It was sent to regulars (those most likely to be closest to one of their stores).
    • It includes the merchant name (too often, SMS campaigns leave this key element out!)

    SMS was the perfect tactic for this campaign. The time was right, the audience was right, the offer was right.

    We were on a call with Daniel, and he told us he just couldn’t believe it. The revenue Pinjarra got from an SMS that took a few minutes to write and send was astonishing.

    Daniel could define the perfect audience using Marsello’s custom segmentation. He used the built-in SMS wizard to make sure the SMS met best practice. Then he was easily able to test and measure the direct impact of his first SMS campaigns on revenue.

    He saw it worked. Now, SMS is becoming an integral part of their marketing strategy.

    Like many merchants, Daniel is keen to keep his business up to speed with marketing tactics and technology.


    Retail: Scott Home Delivery


    Scott Home Delivery uses SMS for time-sensitive campaigns, with incredible results. Some of their campaigns see up to a 26% click rate — much higher than the average email click rate (around 3%).

    Scott-SMS

    The two campaigns above are amongst the top performers; however, Scott Home Delivery regularly uses SMS for exclusive offers and limited-time-only campaigns. In fact, SMS makes up more than 40% of all revenue generated from their Marsello marketing campaigns. 

    Both of these campaigns follow a tried and true formula:

    • The sender’s brand name is stated upfront for immediate recognition
    • There’s one clear offer
    • One call-to-action
    • Urgency
    • A link to drive conversions
    • And there are instructions for how to opt out (a necessary inclusion)

    Using this recipe, Scott Home Delivery has found that SMS is an even more powerful marketing tool than email.

     

     

    Did you know? 

    According to Business.com, SMS messages have an average response rate of 45%, compared with an average email response rate of just 8%. Why? When we’re given a strict character limit, we drill down to the essence of the marketing message and give a single, clear call-to-action.

     

     

    Is SMS right for my business or industry?

     

    Hospitality

    The benefits of SMS are abundant in hospitality. SMS is well-suited to last-minute discounts and exclusive or limited-time offers—all great tactics for restaurants, cafes, and bars. Location segmentation can provide relevant offers to the right audience, and scheduled sends can ensure the messages are delivered at the right time.

    Retail 

    SMS is widely used in transactional retail communications. Delivery updates and other important transactional messages are a common use of this direct channel, as emails can get lost to spam filters. However, there are also wider marketing use cases for SMS in retail. One example is using SMS as part of a loyalty or customer marketing strategy: using the channel to provide VIP offers, exclusive discounts, loyalty points updates, and more.

    Grocery

    SMS works well as a direct channel for transactional communications such as delivery updates. But, like retail, grocery stores can also use SMS as a broader loyalty and customer marketing channel. Small-to-medium grocery stores can use SMS to enhance their loyalty programs and provide a rich, personalized customer experience.

    Healthcare & Pharmacy

    SMS has a high deliverability rate (98%), and most messages are read within minutes. This makes SMS the perfect tool for important transactional messages such as script updates and appointment reminders.


    Want to future-proof your marketing?

    Jump onto a call with us. We’ll listen to your goals, learn about your business, and help you set your marketing strategy in motion.

    Book A Demo

                                                                                      

    Some SMS campaign ideas to get you started

     

    1. Send a Personalized ‘Welcome’ Message

    When customers sign up to your marketing list or loyalty program, welcome them and thank them for joining. You can even send a discount code or freebie for signing up—see how Taco Medic do this with huge success.

    2. Send Time-Sensitive Abandoned Cart Reminders

    We know that the best SMS campaigns have a clear call-to-action, and are time-sensitive. Ozzie Collectibles uses automation to remind shoppers about their abandoned cart, but adds in a follow-up email that their cart will only be saved for a limited time. This adds urgency and increases conversions.

    3. Deliver VIP Offers

    Use SMS to promote exclusive offers to your loyalty customers, or other customer segments. This could include exclusive access to new product releases, invitations to closed events, discounts to mark special occasions, or any other time-sensitive offers.

    4. Run Customer Feedback Campaigns

    Every once in a while, send an SMS with a short poll or survey (as best practice, offer an incentive for a higher response rate and more engaged, thoughtful responses). Customer feedback is highly valuable—you can get a temperature check on your customer base, and catch negative feedback before it turns into a negative review. You can also gain more insights, such as consumer preferences or market trends.


    Give your SMS campaigns new life with Marsello

     



    Start free trial

     
     
     

    4 Simple Marketing Automations For Easy Revenue Wins [With Examples]

    ClockIcon  READ
    In this article, we’ve compiled a list of four marketing automations you can set-and-forget to generate a stream of consistent, predictable revenue.

    “Marketing automation” is a buzzword at the moment—but we’ve actually been automating productive processes since the 1940s, or even earlier. 

    The term “automation” was coined by D S Harder, an engineering manager working at Ford Motor Company in 1946. For a long time, automation was limited to physical processes in manufacturing, but automation later entered the digital sphere with the rise of computers.

    Automating human skills, labor, and even intelligence has revolutionized the way we work. On the flip side, it’s also been positioned as a threat to jobs. However, this fear is as old as automation itself—the reality is that it has augmented productivity, vastly increased our knowledge of what’s possible, and only increased demand for human labor.

    In this article, we’ve compiled a list of four marketing automations you can set-and-forget to generate a stream of consistent, predictable revenue.

    These automations work across a mix of online and in-store, and can be tailored to your industry and business goals.

    “[Automation is] really great because it kind of just churns in the background. Once you set it up correctly, it just goes and it looks after itself.”
    – Daniel Pantaleo, Pinjarra Bakery


     


    Quick Links:


     


     


    1. Welcome new customers

     

    If you sign up customers to your marketing list or loyalty program, give them immediate value with a thank you gift. This will make a great first impression, introduce them to your brand, and encourage them to keep coming back for more with product recommendations and exclusive offers.

    Example: Federation


    Federation’s ‘Welcome’ campaign saw a 19% conversion rate in just over 5 months. Almost 50% of the total revenue generated by their automated campaigns is directly attributable to their welcome automation.

    Federations automated Welcome email overlaid on a black background

    How it works:

    1. Shoppers create a customer account with Federation +
    2. They immediately receive a welcome email offering them 10% off their next purchase.

    Example: Taco Medic


    Taco Medic has nailed their welcome email, and the results speak for themselves. This email is by far their most profitable automation.

    3-Marketing-Automations-Blog

    How it works:

    1. A customer signs up for their Mates (loyalty) program. They can sign up at POS, or by scanning a QR code in-store and filling in their details—it’s a simple, frictionless action.
    2. The sign-up triggers an automated email offering them a free taco, and giving them more incentives to refer a friend.

    Further reading: Delight customers with WhatsApp automations

     

    2. Bring back lost customers

     

    If you collect customer purchase details, you get visibility over when they haven’t been back in a while. This allows you to trigger an automation to win them back. Motivate repeat purchases with a ‘win back’ campaign that offers discounts that are too good to ignore.

    Example: Pinjarra Bakery


    Pinjarra Bakery’s most successful automation by far is their ‘win-back lapsed customer’ flow.

    3-Marketing-Automations-Blog2

    How it works:

    1. Pinjarra Bakery uses Marsello to note when any customer who is part of their loyalty program and who hasn’t visited in 3 months.
    2. Those customers are automatically sent an email with a $10 voucher to incentivize them to come back.

    “That automation itself has almost generated close to $100,000 in extra revenue for us. So I don’t mind giving a $10 voucher away if that’s going to be the result.”
    – Daniel Pantaleo, Pinjarra Bakery

                                                                     

    3. Abandoned cart notifications

     

    Send a friendly reminder to customers if they abandon their cart. This acts as a friendly reminder for your customers to come back to your store and complete their purchases. 

    Pro tip: If a customer doesn’t convert from one email, consider adding another email with a discount or free shipping to further incentivize the purchase.

    Example: Brandini Toffee


    Since Brandini Toffee first created automated campaigns, they have seen as much as a 583% increase in attributable sales. Their most successful automation is their ‘Abandoned cart’ flow—it makes up 95% of the total orders generated by automated campaigns.

    Brandini Toffees abandoned cart email campaign on a mustard yellow background

    How it works:

    1. Shoppers add items to their cart on their e-commerce store, but don’t follow through to purchase.
    2. An automated email triggers with a friendly reminder and a few extra product recommendations.

    Example: Ozzie Collectables

    The team at Ozzie Collectables are wizards at automation—and certainly know how to keep customers coming back. In fact, automated email flows alone are generating 38% of their total revenue.

    Ozzie Collectables’ most successful automation is their Abandoned Cart campaign, which is made up of three emails reminding customers about the products in their shopping cart. This series has an overall conversion rate of 28%.

    Ozzie-Collectables-Recover-My-Cart-Email-Automation-Flow

    How it works:

    1. Shoppers add items to their cart on their e-commerce store, but don’t follow through to purchase.
    2. One hour after the cart is abandoned, a reminder email is triggered (this first email has the highest conversion rate in the series).
    3. Later, two more emails are delivered to drive further sales with urgency (“We can’t hold them much longer!”).

    4. Automated birthday offers

    Birthday automations are some of the most successful campaigns we see at Marsello. It works best when you have an understanding of your average order value, so you can offer the most attractive incentive possible while still making a decent profit.

    Example: Our Bralette Club


    Our Bralette Club integrate customer birthday offers into their loyalty program. This is a great way to surprise and delight your customers—and might even earn them an automatic freebie or discount!

    Using strategies like this one, Our Bralette Club loyalty members have earned 433K points so far, and in 2020, OBC saw an impressive reward redemption rate of 71%.

    Our Bralette Clubs loyalty widget on a light pink banner

    How it works:

    1. On the customer’s birthday, a trigger adds 100 points to their loyalty account.
    2. An email is fired to notify them of their updated points balance. Then customers can use their points to claim rewards.

    For hospitality businesses:


    The economics of birthday offers work out particularly well for hospitality businesses. If you send an automated email with a $25 birthday voucher, your average meal value is $25 and your average drink order is $10, that’s a $10 total sale.

    However, people never dine alone—and if it’s for their birthday, they may even make an event of it. If customers will bring 3 other patrons, say, your total sale jumps to $140.

    Discount = $25

    Average customer order = $35

    Total sale with 4 patrons = $140

    Less discount = $115 (excludes COGS)

     

    How to drive repeat purchases and increase revenue with marketing automation


    Perhaps you’re new to automation, or maybe you’re here looking for inspiration to bolster your automation efforts. Setting up an automation is easy (provided you’re using an integrated tech stack and the right marketing tools), but setting up one that works really well can be a bit more difficult. It requires careful planning, purposeful testing, and result tracking.

    Here are a few tips:

    • Make sure you can segment your audiences so that triggers fire accurately. Personalized communication is really effective, but on the flip side, if it goes to the wrong person, this can create a negative experience for the recipient.
    • If your automations have low engagement and conversion rates, run an audit of the content you’re sending. That includes subject lines, template design, and body copy. If you can, get a second opinion from an expert third party.
    • Don’t get hung up on benchmarks that you find online. Rather than looking for industry averages, measure each campaign against your own average. Test and measure different aspects of your automations in your upcoming campaigns — for example, try a different time delay, try shorter subject lines, etc. All going well, you’ll see improvement month-on-month until you have fully optimized your automation!

    Marsello: Automations made even easier.

     

    With Marsello, you can set up effective automations in no time at all. Get started with our library of proven automations, or get really targeted and set up your won custom triggers and flows. Better still, Marsello integrates seamlessly with your POS and e-commerce tools, so all your customer details, sales data, and marketing sit tidily in one central location.

    Using our tools, you can…

    • Segment audiences using our pre-built groups, or generate lists with custom criteria
    • Easily build attractive and purposeful email templates and campaigns with a simple drag-and-drop builder
    • Choose from a range of proven email and SMS automations in our Automations Library, or build your own custom sequences
    • Report on the success of your automations and see their direct impact on revenue

     

    Start free trial

     


     
     

    Order up! Marsello is now even better at serving hospitality businesses.

    ClockIcon  READ
    When converting customers into regulars, hospitality businesses have unique challenges. These 4 features help merchants build valuable customer...

    When it comes to converting customers into regulars, hospitality businesses have their own unique challenges. In Marsello’s latest release, 4 new features make it easier for merchants to build customer relationships.

     

    Do you know who your regulars are? More importantly, can you contact them?

    Sure, you probably have a good idea of who comes through your doors the most. Most businesses have built rapport with locals who come in daily, weekly, or monthly.

    But ideally, you know how to engage with them and when. Rather than having a reactive relationship, you want to keep regulars in your orbit - incentivize them to increase their order size, reward them for referring friends, and more.

    Myth: It’s not worth the effort of getting customers to sign up to your marketing lists.
    Reality: Every customer you add to your database is a customer you can re-engage with through personalized marketing. If you’re not signing up customers, you are missing out on valuable data and insights you could use to inform your marketing activities.


     


    Quick Links:



     

    Here’s why hospitality businesses should collect customer details.

     

    By collecting your customers’ details, you can maximize your marketing efforts. You will be able to gather data on repeat business, the value of each customer, groups of customers who spend the most, and which campaigns are the most profitable. 

     

    Success Story: Pinjarra Bakery

    Increase regulars with rewards. Pinjarra Bakery encourages regulars with a rewards program that has 58% of customers visit at least twice and avg. visits of 5 per month. Their reward program has generated over 5000 redemptions and over 40K in revenue.


    Here are just some of the ways you can use customer data to increase revenue:

    1. Segmentation

    By using Marsello’s default segments, or creating your own custom segments, you can send targeted, personalized marketing messages to the right customers. Reward your top customers with special gifts, or send incentives to those who haven’t been back in a while. Whatever the message, send it to people who are the most likely to engage.

    1. Automation

    When your customers are automatically being segmented into groups, you can start sending timely automated emails or SMS messages. For example, instead of manually sending incentives to your ‘at risk’ customers, have a flow set up that does this in the background, whenever a customer matches certain criteria.

    1. Testing & Measuring

    Test what campaigns work best. Do double points days bring in the most revenue? Which segments respond best to these campaigns? Having access to customer purchase data is invaluable for understanding what marketing actually works, and what doesn’t.

    As you can see, customer data is exceedingly powerful - having these insights could even turn your current marketing strategy on its head.

    However, when you’ve got a queue of hungry customers waiting for their Monday coffee & scone fix, you and your staff want to make point-of-sale as efficient as possible. Asking customers to create an account can feel like the absolute last priority.

    But let’s make one thing clear - collecting details does not have to be a painful experience!

     

    4 new features that make it so much easier for hospitality businesses to build customer relationships.


    Marsello-Email-Newsletter-Template-Merchant (1)

    SMS registration at point-of-sale


    In a nutshell:
    This is very simple. You only need to collect two things at POS: name and mobile number. Once these basic details are collected, a customer profile will be created.

    From this point on, sales made by this customer will all be attributed to a single customer profile in Marsello, provided they reference their mobile number upon their next purchase.

    This allows you to track how much a customer spends each time, what their average purchase is in $, and how regularly they visit (or buy online, if you have an eCommerce store too).

    Complete customer account (via SMS automation)


    In a nutshell:
    Automatically trigger an SMS to send to customers after point-of-sale so they can fill out additional details while they wait for their order.

    Once the POS transaction is complete, your customer will receive an SMS to prompt them to finish creating their account on the new in-store customer portal. 

    This saves you time at POS, and gives customers something to do while they dine-in or wait for their takeaway order. They won’t need to feel like they’re holding up the line, and can relax while they complete their account and explore your loyalty and rewards program.

    Registration QR codes


    In a nutshell:
    Customers can scan a QR code in-store or on print media. This will direct them to take an action (for example, sign-up to marketing, create a loyalty profile, or redeem an offer).

    Since QR code scanning technology was integrated into smartphone cameras in 2017, adoption rates picked up massively. The pandemic has only further solidified their role in our lives - now they are familiar, easy for users, and take seconds to create.

    Now, you can generate QR codes right from within your Marsello account, and add tracking details including site tracking and custom tags.

    Then, download and import your code into Canva (or your preferred design tool) to add your own branding or design. Alternatively, add your codes to your print media - menus, coasters, magazine ads, or window signs.

    By adding site tracking, your customer will be added to that site’s POS straight away. With custom tags, you can get even more granular - for example, you can track where in the venue the QR code was scanned, what event the customer was at, or even which specific poster design people scanned more frequently.

    In-store customer portal


    In a nutshell:
    The customer portal is a central place where customers can view their loyalty profile, points balance, available loyalty rewards & email discounts. It also holds their membership card, which they can use to identify themselves faster on their next order.

    New customers will access this via the SMS registration automation post-POS purchase or when scanning the registration QR code (as above). Initially, it will display a welcome screen where they can sign-up for their account using their Google or Facebook account. This will capture the customer's name and email address, and when they create an account it will opt-in the customer to email & SMS marketing.

    Once they’ve signed up, customers will be able to save the portal to their mobile home screen, so they can easily check their points balance and available rewards or discounts. 

    The portal also contains a membership card with a QR code. If you have a 2D barcode scanner, you’ll be able to scan customer cards at POS to quickly identify them and attribute the sale to their profile.


    Watch the demo video


     

    Want to try these features out?

     

    For now, these features are available to…

    Soon, we’ll be making these more widely available to other merchants as well - so keep an eye out!

     

    How Marsello empowers Lightspeed Restaurant merchants to increase revenue

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    Loyalty and customer marketing now work seamlessly within Lightspeed Restaurant POS, so merchants have all their sales and marketing in one place.

    Loyalty and customer marketing now work seamlessly within Lightspeed Restaurant POS, so merchants have all their sales and marketing in one place.

     

    What does it feel like to be a loyal customer?

    We are business owners, venue managers, marketers - sure. But we’re also consumers ourselves. We know what it feels like to be loyal to a brand. When you boil it down, we like to feel favored. We like to have a buddy who’ll slide us a free beer at the bar, or a friend to keep those shoes on hold for us a liiiitttle bit longer than protocol would usually permit.

    We like to feel like someone has bent the rules, just a little bit, just for us.

    At its essence, this is what a loyalty program delivers. Although rather than being a quick favor under the table, it’s a calculated & measured marketing tactic - implemented to increase ROI, not hinder it.

    Our regular customers are our friends, and the VIP deals we give them incentivize their repeat business - so they come back to us, not to a merchant down the road. The more valuable the customer, the more points they earn, and the better or more frequent the deals.


     


    Quick Links:



     

    Are loyalty programs worth it for hospitality businesses?

     

    Like any industry, the hospitality sector has nuances and unique needs that business owners must consider before committing to a loyalty program service or app.

    Hospitality staff will know the pain of waiting for a customer to sign up to their database while other hungry and un-caffeinated customers are waiting impatiently in line. In many cases, the effort just won’t feel worthwhile.

    Loyalty software built for hospitality will be designed with these pain points in mind - for example, you’ll be able to have a QR code at the counter to allow customers to scan a code and enter their details within seconds. Moreover, your software will let you know the value of each and every person who signs up - making it easy to show staff why it’s important for customers to join your database.

     

    Success Story: Pinjarra Bakery

    Increase regulars with rewards. Pinjarra Bakery encourages regulars with a rewards program that has 58% of customers visit at least twice and avg. visits of 5 per month. Their reward program has generated over 5000 redemptions and over 40K in revenue.

     

    There’s also a suitability test: ‘what kind of loyalty program is best for my business?’

    For a cafe with no online store, a simple coffee card might be more effective and easy to manage than loyalty program software. However, for a multi-site cafe that also sells beans, filter apparatus, and branded coffee mugs from an online store, that loyalty software starts to make much more sense. Taking a step further, a large global chain might even invest in a custom loyalty program app - an expensive option generally not worthwhile for SMEs.

     

    How do I know a loyalty program will work for my hospitality business?

     

    Before you commit to a loyalty program, you probably want to know:

    • Can I be sure it will work?
    • How will I know when it’s working?
    • How do I measure the success of a loyalty program?

    One of the biggest challenges for business owners and marketers is calculating the ROI of marketing efforts. If you’ve ever used Google Analytics or other tools to try to attribute revenue to campaigns, you’ll know how frustrating it can be to pinpoint what’s actually bringing in revenue. While a digital ad might be easy to track, anything more nebulous, like “brand equity” or “customer loyalty”, is much more difficult.

    So, how can you know your loyalty program is delivering a return on your investment? That is, how can you know when your customers are spending more because of your loyalty program?

    For this, you need closed-loop attribution. Closed-loop attribution means that you ‘close the loop’ between marketing and sales - everything is tracked and measured centrally through seamlessly integrated sales and marketing tech.

    In a closed-loop system, your customer takes center stage. Rather than piecemeal data spread across different systems and spreadsheets, every activity is tracked and recorded to a neatly organized customer profile. (For you, that means less clutter, less admin, and no more importing and exporting of customer lists.)

                                                    

    Loyalty is just one part of your broader marketing strategy

     

    When you operate a loyalty program within a closed-loop system, you get total visibility over what specific combinations of loyalty tactics and marketing campaigns work best and who your most valuable customers are. That is, you get a broader understanding of how your loyalty program operates in conjunction with the rest of your marketing efforts.

    If this is sounding a bit technical, here’s the crux of it:

    Every SMS message delivered, email opened, discount code redeemed, purchase made… it’s all there. This is extremely powerful. Using this data, you can segment your customers into groups such as most valuable, most likely to convert from an email, top brand ambassadors… and so much more. 

    Using these segments, you can deliver targeted, personalized and highly effective marketing campaigns that drive repeat sales and increase revenue.

    We don’t want to make false promises but we will say this: customer loyalty is a tried and tested marketing tactic. If your business is the right fit, it will work.


    Close the loop with Lightspeed Marketing & Loyalty, powered by Marsello.


     

    You talked, we listened. We heard that you needed a faster, simpler way to sign customers up at POS. Now, staff members can simply capture the customers’ mobile number, and they'll receive an SMS to complete their account - reducing time at POS and keeping this as quick as possible. Alternatively, you can display a QR code to help customers sign up themselves from the venue or an event. Customers can also save their points card to their phone, making it easier for them to scan upon each visit.

    We also heard that merchants are tired of having so many different platforms to manage - often requiring regular manual imports and exports of customer lists. So in our latest release, Lightspeed Restaurant merchants can now close the loop between sales and marketing. Lightspeed Marketing & Loyalty, powered by Marsello, is designed to help hospitality merchants increase revenue through repeat business and customer loyalty.

    What this means? Lightspeed Restaurant (O-Series) merchants can now use one single platform for all of their POS data, email & SMS campaigns, marketing automations, Facebook ad tracking (using Facebook sync), loyalty program activities, Google Review management and more. 

    In one single place, merchants will have access to customer data from end-to-end. From a customer’s first coffee to their repeat business and ongoing referrals. Merchants can easily see the return on all their marketing efforts, check their average customer lifetime value, and so, so much more. 

    Now that’s closing the loop. 

    Learn More


     
     

    Ways to Incentivize your Customers for Referring Your Brand

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    Learn how to increase revenue and reward your loyalty program customers with referral program designed to encourage engagement and attract new customers.

    Looking for a way to increase revenue and reward your loyalty program customers? Referral program incentives are the answer! 

    A referral program, also known as an affiliate program, encourages existing customers to share your brand with their friends in exchange for loyalty points or rewards. They work because people are as much as 4x more likely to make a purchase when referred by a friend. 

    Keep reading to find out how a referral program works, why they are so effective, and the steps you need to take to successfully run a referral program in your own business.




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    How does a referral program work


    Retail referral programs reward existing loyal customers for bringing new customers to your brand. 

    They work by incentivizing existing customers to tell their friends about your business by offering them points, discounts, or other rewards in return. Referral rewards programs also make the ‘KnowLike Trust’ (KLT) factor easier because loyal customers reduce barriers on your behalf and their positive relationships with your store and subsequent promotion of it help their referred friends to feel confident and inclined to shop.

    If you set it up correctly, it is a win-win-win strategy for growing your business.

    Firstly, your existing loyal customers see instant benefits because when they refer new customers, those referred shoppers use a unique customer code tied to your original customer. In return for each successful referral (tracked by their unique customer code) they receive tangible rewards. 

    Secondly, the new customers reap the rewards. They receive rewards or discounts for their purchase, as well as a good retail recommendation from someone they know and trust. 

    Lastly, your business sees huge growth in revenue and in customer loyalty. Did you know that referred customers are actually much more likely to stick around too? Let’s dive into why referral marketing is an important addition to your marketing strategy.

     

    Why is it important to choose referral incentives


    Customer referral programs are one of the best forms of marketing you can run. The numbers speak for themselves:

        • Customers acquired through referral programs have a 37% higher retention rate.
        • In general, referred customers increase profits by about 16%.
        • Referral programs mean that loyal customers are marketing your brand for you – 83% of customers trust recommendations from people they know. 
        • 65% of a company’s revenue comes from existing customers, so incentivizing loyal customers will always be beneficial to your bottom line. 

    Not only this, but a referral program also encourages new customers to sign up. This means that instead of losing potential sales, you can target your marketing and follow up on abandoned carts to increase conversions. 

    Creating a rewards program is worth the investment!

     

    3 steps to choosing your rewards incentives

     

    No matter what referral incentives you choose, there is one question to keep in mind: “are we giving our customers the best possible experience?”

    Yes, you benefit greatly from referred customers (they have a lifetime value of about 25% more than other customers). However, your referral incentives should always have the customer experience at the center.  

    Whether your incentive structure rewards existing customers, new customers, or both, this step-by-step guide will show you which structure is best for your brand.  

        • Step 1: Choose the right incentive structure 
        • Step 2: Choose the type of reward you want to give 
        • Step 3: Set the terms and conditions of your referral program. 

    Step 1: Choose the right incentive structure

    Your incentive structure will depend on your business and customer experience goals. 

    Integrated loyalty programs are one of the easiest ways to set up referral incentives. This allows for several different referral programs: 

        1. Incentives for your existing customers (one-sided incentive)
        2. Incentives for the new customer when they sign up (one-sided incentive)
        3. Incentives for both existing and new customers (two-sided incentives)

    Let's explore these in a little more detail:

    1. One-sided incentives for existing customers

    The first incentive structure is rewarding the customer that refers people to you. 

    Rewarding your existing loyal customers is always a successful marketing strategy. With a loyalty points program, you can easily award customers points when they refer friends to your brand. 

    For example, Bulo Shoes’ loyalty program lets customers earn points even when they’re not making a purchase. Customers are encouraged to share Bulo’s channels on social media, complete their profile and follow Bulo on social media so they can earn points that they can spend in-store.

    Bulo Shoe's eCommerce loyalty widget earn options

    2. One-sided incentives for the new customer

    You could also set up a one-sided incentive that rewards the new customer. 

    This could look like:

        • A discount for their first purchase
        • Automatically earning points when they sign up to your loyalty club 
        • A free shipping discount for first purchases only 

    As a referral program, this might look like giving loyal customers discount codes to share with their friends. For example, you could let people share a code for free shipping on their first purchase with you.

    One-sided incentives might work for extremely loyal customers, however, it will always work best when you reward existing customers for their efforts. This particular structure works better with influencers who are already receiving incentives in other ways (e.g. Use Code AMANDA10 for 10% off).

    3. Two-sided referral incentives: rewarding both customers


    Rewarding both customers is the best option for optimum referral program results. This is the standard program for Marsello referral programs

    In this setup, you reward your existing customers for bringing in referrals, as well as making a great first impression on your new customers. This strategy is win-win-win.

    Step 2: Choose the type of reward you want to give


    Now that you know who you are rewarding, you need to choose what you are going to offer them. 

    The best referral incentives both encourage existing customers to rave about your brand as well as boost your sales and brand image. 

    1. Discounts

    When an existing customer refers a new person, sweeten the deal by offering a referral discount off their first purchase. This gives them a positive first experience and lets them try out your brand without committing at full price. 

    An example of a referral discount is the successful jewelry and women’s wear brand, Katie Waltman. They have a two-sided incentive structure. 

    The team at Katie Waltman has not only boosted customer retention with their generous loyalty program, but they've also added a referral program for their customers. The referred friend is incentivized with 10% off their first order and the existing customer earns 200 points when their referred friend makes their first purchase. 

    Katie Waltman's eCommerce loyalty widget showing earn options of loyalty members

    As a result of their creative loyalty program marketing, Katie Waltman has seen 100% customer engagement rate with their omnichannel loyalty program, and a 75% reward redemption rate!

    2. Cash / Cash-back

    Another referral award is a cash-back program. This more closely resembles an affiliate or commission program than a loyalty rewards program. 

    In this setup, customers get a cash reward or percentage of the new customer’s purchase. For example, customers could get $5 every time someone uses their unique code for a purchase of $30 or more. 

    For an effective cash-back program, you need to make sure that the minimum purchase amount is more than the cash-back reward. 

    Take another look at Katie Waltman’s loyalty program!

    The KW loyalty offering includes a “5% back on all purchases for creating an account.” With an offer like this, Katie Waltman not only incentivizes customers to join their loyalty program, they really make it worth the customer’s journey from window shopper to a loyal customer. 

    3. Store credit

    Earning store credit or loyalty points is a great way to reward customer referrals. That way loyal customers can enjoy your brand even more, and money keeps coming back into your business. 

    NZ streetwear brand, Federation +, is a great example of using customer referrals to earn store points. 

    With a customer referral program in place, Federation + encourages their current customers to refer friends and earn loyalty points as they do so. This way, the brand grows their customer database, while also improving customer loyalty. 

    Federation's online store loyalty widget pop-up

    4. Gift cards

    Gift card rewards are similar to store credit incentives. 

    A study from First Data shows that on average, U.S. consumers spend around $59 more than the value of a gift card. You could give gift cards to either the new customer,  your existing customer (as a referral reward), or both!  

    Combined with a loyalty program, automatic upselling, and investment in customer experience, gift card rewards can be an effective way to boost your average cart value (as well as rewarding referrals). 

    6. Free subscription period

    Offering a free or reduced subscription lets new customers “try before they buy”. This is most effective for businesses that have a long-lifetime or recurring product. Crealunch is a good example, where customers would be buying meals on an ongoing basis. 

    Once they have crossed the threshold, your automatic email marketing can step in and keep them convinced! 

    Step 3: Set the conditions for your referral program


    The last step for effectively incentivizing referrals is to establish parameters. You don’t want to accidentally encourage referral program abuse or suddenly be out of pocket! 

    Posting referral program terms and conditions clearly will mean you get the sales benefits without the headaches. 

    Here are some questions to ask yourself when setting conditions.

    When will the referral reward be given? 

    Decide on a timeframe for giving out rewards. This might look different depending on what reward type you choose. 

    Here are a few things to consider: 

        • Do new customers automatically get a discount or only after they sign up? 
        • For cashback, do they get it immediately after the purchase has been made or each month? 
        • Do existing customers only get rewards when friends actually make a purchase?
        • Is there a time limit on the discount code once new customers sign up? 

    Thinking about these conditions early on will mean you make money from referrals rather than lose it. 

    Should you use a tiered reward structure? 

    A tiered reward program is a customer incentive strategy that rewards people the more they spend. 

    Consumers who engage with high-performing loyalty programs are 78% more likely to spend a premium. So the more you reward people, the more loyal they will be!

    A referral program rewards your most loyal customers for advocating on your behalf. If you use a tiered reward structure, your referrals could increase as customers move up the levels. A tiered system gives more rewards to people higher up to encourage loyalty and higher spending.

    Let's look again at modern streetwear brand Federation +. Their loyalty program features three loyalty tiers: silver, gold, and platinum. With an 88% reward redemption rate and 20% repeat purchase rate, it’s no wonder that they have seen almost a 10% revenue boost from loyalty marketing alone.

    Marsello-_Federation-Tiers-Widget


    Creating demand for your referral program 


    You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to have a successful reward program. Marsello customers see the best results when they keep it simple! However, there are a few things you can do to make your referral program incentives more desirable or effective.

        • Create scarcity: Add a limited timeframe for coupons. This creates scarcity and encourages people to spend now
        • Reward loyal customers: If you are a new brand you might consider offering a slightly bigger reward for your existing customers to increase loyalty. For example, if sign-ups receive 20 points, you could make referrals 25 points
        • Run a seasonal campaign: To give your referral program a boost you could give double points for a limited time 
        • Create multiple referrals: instead of giving out store points, you could give people free gifts after a certain number of referrals
        • Make an ambassador program: This is like a loyalty program except exclusively for referrals. This lets your most loyal customers feel like they are “in the club” and are rewarded with raving about you 

     

    Examples of successful referral programs from existing brands


    Still not convinced that a referral rewards program is the way to boost sales and build customer loyalty on autopilot? Take a look at these examples of successful referral programs and how simple they can be! 

    Merrell NZs online stores loyalty widget pop-up showing how customers earn points

    Merrell NZ

    Merrell NZ is a footwear brand that helps people get into the great outdoors. Their loyalty program has a 15% repeat purchase rate and an average purchase frequency of 3.5x, showing that Merrell NZ’s customers are already proven loyal regulars. Customers can earn 100 points to spend in-store when they refer a friend.

    Smack bang's earn and rewards options from their eCommerce store's loyalty widget

    Smack Bang 

    Smack Bang is a New Zealand-based merchant that specializes in locally-made pet accessories, gifts, and treats. The gorgeous pet boutique also has a lovely loyalty program that’s paying dividends; these loyalty initiatives have generated a 100% loyalty engagement rate, and a reward redemption rate of 38%. Using their adorable, branded widget, customers can earn 10 points when they refer a friend which they can see immediately on their dashboard. 

    Carolina Liyestyle's eCommerce loyalty widget showcasing loyalty member earn options

    Carolina Lifestyle 

    Carolina Lifestyle also rewards customers who successfully refer their friends. Members get 100 points (equivalent to $10) for every successful referral – and those customers immediately get $20 simply by joining!

    All these initiatives, combined with Carolina Lifestyle’s exquisite and unique products, help to ensure that shoppers keep coming back. And it works – the company’s average customer lifetime value (CLV) is $716.94, and about a third of Carolina Lifestyle's customers return to shop again within two months.

    The eCommerce loyalty widget on Crosby by Mollie Birch's ecommerce site.

    CROSBY by Mollie Burch 

    CROSBY by Mollie Burch is an eclectic, modern fashion brand. Their loyalty program, The Crosby Collectors, lets customers earn Pink Points. Their referral program is a good example of setting conditions for rewards. For example, customers receive points for referring a friend which can then be spent in store on orders over a certain amount.

     

    Final words

    Offering your new and loyal customers referral program incentives is a win-win-win sales strategy. Whether you are offering limited-time discounts, points to spend in-store, or other fun freebies, a referral program is sure to keep your customers (and bank accounts) happy.

    Customer advocacy starts by creating a rewarding and engaging experience no matter how your customers choose to shop. Marsello makes it easy to launch a bespoke loyalty and referral program that is proven to increase customer lifetime value and maximize ROI.


     

    How to Request and Manage Google Reviews From Customers In-store and Online

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    Requesting and responding to Google Business Reviews can feel like a big task. Learn how to manage reviews and target the right customers for valuable...

    There’s a popular saying that you’re only as good as your last performance, and this is certainly true for retail establishments.

    Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have become more discerning about what businesses they support. With more information at their fingertips than ever before, shoppers spend more time researching different options.

    Google Reviews have become a crucial tool for businesses to manage their reputations online. This blog will explore how businesses can manage Google Reviews and increase discovery opportunities in the search results – and how Marsello can help!


     

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    What are Google Reviews?

     

    Google Reviews is a functionality embedded within Google Maps and Google My Business where consumers can publicly post reviews for establishments they’ve visited.

    The purpose of Google Reviews is two-fold. They assist businesses with building a positive reputation amongst consumers while also helping individuals find suitable establishments in their local area. More than half of shoppers say they’ve used Google to discover new businesses.

     

    Why do Google Reviews matter?

    Infographic showing that 84% of customers put as much trust in reviews as they do recommendations from close contacts
    Here are some reasons you should consider leveling up your Google Reviews initiatives.

    Improving your local search ranking

    Google Reviews play a critical role in determining your business’s local search ranking. Local SEO helps Google match a person’s search with relevant nearby businesses (e.g., “Italian restaurants in New York City”). Ensuring a healthy supply of positive reviews increases the odds of your business coming up high in the search results.


    Consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations

    Research shows that 84% of consumers trust reviews as much as recommendations from family or friends – this tells us that customers really do consider social proof in their purchasing decisions.


    Giving customers the opportunity to provide feedback

    Customers want to feel that their experiences matter. Giving them the opportunity to share what they love about your business on a public forum shows that you genuinely care and want to receive feedback – even if it isn’t always positive.

     

    How can retailers collect Google reviews?


    Are businesses allowed to ask customers for Google Reviews?

    Yes, though there are some ground rules.

    Google doesn’t allow businesses to pay customers for leaving reviews or “review gate” by discouraging customers from leaving negative reviews. Furthermore, you cannot use reviews left on Google for marketing purposes on other platforms, such as social media or your website.

    Here are some actionable ways that your business can collect Google Reviews:

    Email and SMS automated flows

    It isn’t practical for your business to manually send out review requests to individual customers. Instead, you need a tool that allows you to contact customers in bulk at a time of your choosing. 

    Marsello’s email and SMS automation tool enables brands to build custom email and message flows to request reviews. Marsello customer Harry & Her send automatically triggered email campaigns coupled with the Google Reviews Manager tool to build a solid review base and, in turn, boost their credibility as a retailer. Here's what they had to say about the tool:

    A quote from Harry and Her about how they've automated the Google Reviews collection and promotion process.


    At the POS/checkout directly after a sale

    While the “right” time to ask for a review will depend on your business, products, and customers (more on this below), striking while the iron is hot is usually the best way to get customers to leave reviews. In-store visitors have the chance to form a relationship with sales associates during the shopping experience, which can make customers more responsive to review requests. Consider speeding up the process by having a QR code at the checkout that directs customers straight to your review page.

    When a sale is completed during a promotion

    It’s always a good idea to ask for reviews while your brand is hosting a sales promotion. When customers have gotten a great deal from your business, they’re more likely to have a favorable impression and leave a positive Google review.

    For example, if your brand runs a flash sale for 24 - 48 hours, you can set up an automation flow that sends a review request to a specific segment of customers (i.e., those who placed an order during your flash sale). By using Marsello’s customer segmentation, your business can solicit reviews from customers who are most likely to engage and give glowing feedback.

    When customers join the loyalty program or progress tiers

    Loyalty reward programs can act as their own form of customer segmentation. The shoppers who join your program are usually those already loyal to your brand, meaning they’re also more likely to leave reviews.

    Brands have multiple opportunities to target loyalty program customers, such as when they sign up, redeem a loyalty reward, or progress to a new loyalty tier. These touchpoints are a great time to ask for a Google Review and show members that you care about their experience.

    Smack bang's earn and rewards options from their eCommerce store's loyalty widget displayed on a light pink banner

    You can also take this a step further like Marsello-powered pet boutique Smack Bang by offering loyalty points in exchange for leaving a product review on the product listing itself. With custom automations, it’s easy to create an automated campaign that is triggered when customers leave a positive product review. Product reviews provide a great opportunity to encourage your customers to leave a Google Review about your business.

    Promote/encourage reviews on social media

    Cross-channel promotion is a critical part of collecting Google Reviews. In addition to asking customers for reviews in-person or via email and SMS, you should put out a call on your social channels asking customers to share their experiences.

    It’s important to note that Google does not allow you to use reviews as advertising collateral on other platforms. But there are some less direct ways to achieve this.


    3 social media reviews from Instagram for Chat Thai's restaurants.

    Thai restaurant Chat Thai has a collection of reviews on their Instagram account created from photos and videos they have been tagged in. Consider resharing user-generated review content to steer customers towards leaving Google Reviews.

    Make your Google My Business page easy to find and direct customers there

    Customers won’t leave Google Reviews if your Google My Business page is difficult to find. Some of your customers may never have left a Google Review before. When making review requests via email and SMS, ensure you provide a link to your Google My Business page. Also, consider adding a review page to your website so that you can direct customers to your Google listing.

     

    The right way to request a Google Review

    We’ve gone over some of the best ways to collect Google Reviews. But when is the best time to request a review?

    It can be a tricky balance to get the timing of requesting reviews right. If you leave it too long, your customer’s experience will be less fresh, which could affect the quality of their review. But asking too soon risks annoying your customer, especially if their order hasn’t arrived yet.

    You should also factor in different customer segments. Some of your loyal customers may be more eager to submit reviews straightaway, while those who are new to your business may need some time before they’re ready to leave feedback.

    Marsello’s SMS and email automations allow businesses to automate the process, segment customers, and ensure communications are sent at the optimum time to encourage positive reviews.

    It’s also easy to combine automated campaigns with other review collection methods. For example, a restaurant can prime diners by asking them in person to leave a review and following up by sending an automated email reminder the following day.

     

    How should retailers respond to positive and negative reviews?

     

    Managing positive reviews is simple enough – simply thank your customer for their feedback and say you hope you’ll see them again soon. But what if their experience was less than positive?

    No business wants to receive a bad review. But the most important thing to remember about Google Reviews is whatever you say (or don’t say) is there for potential customers to see. How you respond affects the customer who left the review and onlookers who make decisions based on the reviews left about your business and how you choose to respond. 

    If you receive a negative review, always thank the person for their review. Take the time to investigate the issue to find out what went wrong so you can explain in your response. Most importantly, tell your customer the steps you will take to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Consider offering them a discount for their next visit to encourage them to return and see the changes you’ve made; this puts the ball back in their court and shows onlookers that you have made a serious effort to resolve the issue.

    In some cases, it may help get more information from the customer. In this case, you can respond by encouraging them to tell you more about their experience. As always, it’s best to stay courteous by thanking the customer for their feedback and empathizing with them. 

    Check out this example from Romano's Macaroni Grill.

    A 1-star Google Business Review for a hospitality business with a well-delivered, positive reply from the business owners

     

    Final words


    Google Reviews can feel like a business’s best friend or worst enemy. Using a tool like Marsello to support your Google Review strategy enables you to streamline Review management and ensure that you’re sending the right response at the right time to foster customer loyalty.

    By taking a responsive and automated approach to Google Reviews, your business can proactively enhance its reputation and build stronger relationships with customers – one review at a time.

     

    Book a demo

     

    How to Encourage Google Reviews From Your Customers

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    Learn how to promote and acquire Google business reviews to increase your online presence and brand recognition – activate your reviews strategy today!

    If you’re searching for a product or service online, do you read a review or two before clicking “book” or “purchase”? If so, you aren’t alone: 93% of consumers say that online reviews influence their purchasing decisions, while 70% of people will only use a business if it has a star rating of four stars or more.

    But it’s no longer enough to list a review or two on your website and call it a day; today’s customers want to see a large amount of social proof before they trust a business. In fact, 54.7% of consumers read at least four product reviews before making a purchasing decision.

    So, what does this mean for businesses?

    It means that you need an ongoing source of positive Google customer reviews to maintain a strong customer acquisition rate. In this post, we’re going to explain how you can get more Google reviews with ease – with a little help from Marsello.


     

    Quick Links:

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    Why Google business reviews are essential for any business


    With a whopping 92.6% of all search queries going through Google as of June 2021, it’s no secret that Google business reviews are some of the most valuable. 

    When Google is the one-stop shop for consumers searching for everything from hairdressers to restaurants, you need to ensure that you’re at the top of those search results. Otherwise, your business is practically invisible to potential customers. And if they can’t see you, they’re not going to click through to your website.

    By managing Google reviews more effectively, you can make your business more visible – all thanks to something called local SEO.


    Why frequent positive reviews are essential for good SEO


    Local SEO focuses on optimizing a business’s online presence to assist nearby consumers in finding it more easily in search. If a consumer is showing search intent for a particular product or service, Google’s algorithm matches that search query with relevant businesses close to where the person is located.

    For example, if you’re a restaurant in Manhattan, your target audience is likely to be people who are living or visiting in that area. So, if a person searches for “best restaurants in Manhattan” you want your establishment to be as high as possible in those results. 

    According to Moz’s State of Local SEO Industry Report 2020, 90% of search experts believe that review activity is “moderately important” or “very important” in determining local SEO, while 78% agree that Google has become the new homepage for businesses. As such, Google reviews are a fantastic tool to boost local search presence – if you do it right.

    How Google My Business reviews work


    To start collecting Google reviews, you need to either claim or set up a Google My Business listing. This is a free tool offered by Google that allows businesses to manage their presence on the search engine. In addition to reviews, Google My Business listings can also include information such as:

        • Opening hours
        • Address/Contact details
        • Menus
        • Booking widgets 
        • Photos of your establishment

    It’s important to make an effort to fill out as many parts of your profile as possible, as a comprehensive listing will help to boost your local ranking. 

    Check out the listing of the restaurant Chat Thai, which has a number of locations across Australia. All of Chat Thai’s Google listings are fully populated; you can view key business details and contact info, as well as photos and reviews. There’s even an “Order Online” button that lets customers order straight from Google.


    A screenshot of Chat Thais Google business reviews overlaid on a photo of their restaurant

    Once Google My Business is set up and optimized, you’re ready to start driving review activity.

    This is where Marsello’s Google Reviews feature comes in.

     

    How to use Marsello’s Google Reviews Manager

     

    By integrating your Google My Business account with your Marsello marketing, you can easily generate new reviews through automated email and SMS campaigns. 

    Here’s how it works: connect your Google My Business account to Marsello, then enable automated email or SMS flows to encourage people to leave a review. You can customize your email flow with segmentation rules to ensure that you’re engaging the right customers. For instance, you can configure the workflow to only ask your “Best” customers for a review after they purchase. 

    Note that Google Reviews workflows will only be triggered after someone places an order, so you can guarantee the authenticity of your business reviews.

    A Google Reviews collection flow showing tiggers, an SMS campaign, and the eventual Google Review all using Marsello's Generate and Manage Google Reviews feature.

    Finally, it’s easy to track the success of your review automations. And when you receive a review, you can respond to your customers in-app, reward them with loyalty points to say thank you, or email the customer directly – manage reviews your way! 

    Get in touch with our team to book a demo and learn more.

     

    Book a demo

     

    How to use Google Reviews to increase brand awareness


    Before the web existed, businesses and hospitality establishments had to rely on being as visible as possible to attract foot traffic. Everything from flyers and store signage to branded shopping bags have been valuable tools to help businesses increase brand awareness.

    This principle is no different online. Your business needs to take up as much “space” as possible to become known and recognized by as many customers as possible in such a competitive environment. 

    In a time where digital marketing can feel increasingly like a pay-to-play model where only the biggest budgets see results, Google reviews offer a way for less-established businesses to level the playing field. By getting more reviews on Google, you’ll stand out over bigger but less-reviewed competitors.

    How to encourage customers to leave positive reviews

     

    It’s easy to assume that customers will shout from the rooftops when they have a stellar experience at your establishment. But this isn’t the case in reality; less than 50% of customers (47%) say they don’t post negative or positive reviews online at all.

    There are a variety of reasons for this. A lot of us are busy and forget to write a review. Many businesses don’t make it easy or intuitive to leave reviews. If we’ve written reviews in the past and haven’t gotten a response, we might decide it’s not worth the effort.

    By this point, you’re probably asking: How can I get more Google reviews for my business? Continue the following top tips:


    Prompt for reviews after purchases with automated emails and SMS


    The first step to getting customers to leave reviews? Strike while the iron is hot.

    Businesses want to create balance by asking for reviews while a customer’s experience is fresh – this can be tough to coordinate if your establishment asks for reviews manually. 

    Moreover, sending out individually-written emails or SMS is a massive drain on your time. To make asking for reviews as painless as possible, consider investing in marketing automation software that can handle review requests on your behalf.

    Marsello’s automated email and SMS campaign tool enables businesses to send and manage review requests via a straightforward interface. Set the ideal time for your messages to go out to customers and even automate the sending of follow-up messages to give you another shot at securing positive reviews.


    Make an effort to respond to customer feedback


    Getting more customers to leave reviews isn’t just about how you ask for them, but how you choose to respond when you receive them. 

    In fact, 89% of consumers read a business’s responses to reviews during the consideration stage. Why? Because how an establishment engages with positive and negative reviews tells potential customers a great deal about how that business treats its patrons.

    Suppose a customer leaves a negative Google review and that business makes no effort to respond; this could be interpreted as the company not caring about the quality of their customer’s experience, which is a massive red flag. 

    Plus, if you aren’t in the habit of replying to reviews and showing that you’re listening to feedback, what incentive do customers have to put in the effort?

    Restaurant and Bar, The Monday Room, has done a great job of replying to Google reviews, even thanking customers who write more detailed reviews and provide photos:

    The Monday Rooms Google Business Reviews page featuring a response from the business to the reviewer.

     

    Use positive reinforcement, but don’t bribe customers


    If you’re looking to shape consumer behavior in ways that are advantageous to your business, it might seem like a good idea to offer customers a discount on their next order in exchange for leaving a positive review. However, this isn’t a good long-term strategy for most businesses. 

    Too many 5-star reviews on a business listing create suspicion, with studies finding that consumers were more likely to purchase a product or service when the rating is between 4.2 to 4.5 stars. You don’t want your efforts to come across as though your business is buying reviews or deleting negative Google reviews, which can cause potential customers to doubt their authenticity and can even result in your business being penalized by Google. 

    It’s much better to reward customers after leaving a review to guarantee honest feedback. For example, lifestyle and clothing boutique Harry & Her rewards customers with loyalty points if they leave 4 or 5-star reviews, but they don’t actively promote this policy on any of their marketing channels. This practice increases customer satisfaction and ensures that all positive reviews are genuine. 

    The team at Harry and Her was also one of the first to test Marsello's Google Reviews Manager and they've found that Google Reviews are an undeniable source of revenue growth for their business. So much so, they're not going back! Here's what they had to say about their review process and the response from customers:

    "We use Marsello's Google Reviews feature to encourage customer reviews after they buy something from one of our stores. First, we send an automated SMS; then we follow that up with an email to those who have not seen the SMS campaign. It's also been exciting to see our customers respond with so many positive reviews – we now have a 5-star average across our stores!"

     

    Final words


    Managing online reviews can feel a bit overwhelming, especially if you have a brand-new Google My Business listing and gather reviews from scratch. But it’s well worth the effort to create a streamlined outreach strategy to build social proof for your business; when you have a long list of positive customer testimonials, you’re in a much stronger position to acquire new customers.

    By taking advantage of SMS and email automation to coordinate review requests and communicating how feedback enhances the customer experience, you can build a lasting Google review strategy that acquires and retains loyal customers. Marsello’s Google Reviews Manager makes this easy! Book a demo to get started today.

    How to Increase Repeat Business and Revenue with a Loyalty Program

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    In this Cin7 Masterclass, Marsello CRO Rory Moss dives into how successful loyalty marketing drives repeat business and increases revenue.

    Watch the Loyalty Marketing Masterclass

     

    In this Cin7 Masterclass, Marsello CRO Rory Moss dives into the how-to of successful loyalty marketing.

     

     


    Quick Links:



     

    What is customer loyalty?

     

    Are you part of a loyalty program? Your answer is probably “yes”. But does it make you more loyal to that brand? According to CRO Rory Moss, it actually doesn’t.

    Customer loyalty is all about customer relationships with your business. The positive interactions you have with customers every day and the relationships those interactions build create measurable value that you can continue to grow.

    And customer loyalty is not necessarily transactional; it’s about the experience your customer has when they walk into your store, shop online, read an email, or have any other interaction with your brand.

     

    For a loyalty program to work...

     
        • Your product/offering must be consistent.

        • Your product/offering must be valuable.

    You don’t need a loyalty program to differentiate and compete.

    You do need a deeper understanding of your customer base and a reason for your customers to keep coming back.

     

    Marsello infographic showing that customers are more likely to purchase when brands offer personalised experiences

                    

    Why deploy a loyalty or rewards program?

     

    There are lots of ways to give customers a good experience and keep them coming back - loyalty marketing is just one. Before you make the call, make sure a loyalty program is right for you and your business objectives.

    So, why would you choose to deploy a loyalty program?

        • Gain a deeper understanding of your customer base to augment your marketing mix. The data you collect will empower your marketing team to deliver more personalized, targeted customer experiences.
        • Mitigate price perception and influence perceived value. Smaller brands can’t compete with more prominent enterprise brands on price alone. Loyalty programs are one way to attract customers from your larger competitors.
        • Formation of customer ‘clubs’ which reflect your brand values. Your loyalty program is an extension of your brand. You can tailor your rewards to your customer and personalize automations to augment your brand experience.
        • Steal market share from existing programs. For example, fuel retailers use loyalty marketing to attract customers from competitors. Fuel retailers don’t make their money on fuel, but they do make money on people walking in and buying products in-store.
        • Enhance the customer experience with personalization. Birthday messages, post-purchase automations, data-driven product recommendations, merge tags within campaigns – adding personalization to your marketing will improve your customer’s experience with your brand and help you build long-lasting relationships.
        • Surprise and ‘delight’ with personalized moments. Keep your rewards program up-to-date. Don’t do one big launch then set and forget it – plan campaigns, add new rewards or run competitions. Give your customers new things to engage with (see more ideas in the checklist below).

    Ultimately, data is all about retention. But smaller retailers can’t shell out for expensive coalitions or big agency-led research projects. Loyalty programs make it much cheaper and easier to get that data yourself.

     

    Why focus on repeat customers?


    Marsello infographic showing how customer loyalty leads to a disproportionate increase in revenue
     

    Did you know 61% of retailers cite customer retention as their biggest obstacle, and a 5% increase in customer loyalty can increase the average profit per customer by 25% – 100%? (Source: Invespcro.com)

    Developing customer loyalty is critical to long-term customer retention and loyalty programs can be a great marketing tool to really strengthen those feelings of brand loyalty.

     

    Checklist: How to develop a successful loyalty program

     

    So what questions do you need to be asking and what steps do you need to take to help you develop a loyalty program that your customers love and that sees long-term success?

     

    Ask: do I need a loyalty program?

     
    • Analyze your NPS or CSAT scoring. Are customers satisfied with your offering? 
    • Would deploying a rewards program diminish your brand or enhance the experience and value proposition? 
    • Understand your customer’s needs, their values and ask them about their rewards preferences. 

    Any brand can deploy a rewards system, but it needs to complement your offering to be successful. Make sure you know your problem and make sure loyalty marketing is the right solution. Sometimes, it might be a marketing problem; other times it could be a problem with product-market fit. Deploying loyalty marketing is not always the right solution.

     

    Study your competitors

     

    Look towards your competition, and distinguish whether loyalty tactics would steal market share – a common tactic in Fuel Retail. 

    If all of your top competitors have implemented loyalty programs, this could be a good indication that they believe loyalty marketing will increase their market share. Of course, that does not necessarily mean it’s right for your brand! 

    Alternatively, if you can’t see any of your competitors doing it, maybe there’s a reason why. Again, this is not conclusive evidence – your brand could be ahead of the curve, which could be a very rewarding opportunity to increase your market share.

     

    Do your loyalty platform research

     

    Custom-built loyalty marketing tech can be costly. While some brands have implemented custom-built programs really well (for example, Mecca’s Beauty Loop), we recommend choosing a platform that integrates with both your POS and eCommerce platforms and enables easy set-up straight off the bat.

    Ensure your chosen platform works across your tech stack and don’t invest in programs that don’t scale with your customer database growth. Make sure you provide an omnichannel experience – customers expect to redeem online.

     

    Set up a pilot store

     

    Before any go-live, ensure you’ve set up a single site to test and measure your loyalty program success. Are customers responding to your program and the points values you’ve set?

     

    Keep it simple

     

    Too many earn rules result in a term called ‘loyalty confusion’, where your customers don’t understand what they get in return.

     

    Look at your data and adjust your program accordingly

     

    Once you’re transacting and issuing points, measure sign-up rates and ‘point breakage’ (the % of points earned and spent) monthly. Your point breakage rate will tell you pretty quickly whether or not the rewards program is working.

    If your customers aren’t spending their points, they’re not engaging in your program. Customer engagement is essential if you want to build long-term customer relationships that result in growth.

     

    Start small and introduce new campaigns quarterly

     

    Keep your program fresh by introducing new rewards, double points days, or VIP tiers. You want to ensure your marketing team has a constant stream of new things to shout about!

     

    How to measure the success of your loyalty program

     
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        • Customer Feedback
          Are your customers engaging with your loyalty program?
        • Point Breakage
          Are customers spending their points? Track your Point Breakage rate monthly.
        • Loyalty program Return on Investment (ROI)
          Cost of the loyalty program vs. increased revenue since implementation.
        • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
          How much, on average, your customers are worth to your business throughout their relationship with your store.
        • Repurchase Rate
          The % of your customers who complete more than one purchase.
        • Average Purchase Frequency
          The average rate at which customers shop with your store.
       
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    Segment and delight customers with RFM analysis

     
     

    Smart retailers use RFM analysis: Recency, Frequency, and Monetary value.

    Segment your customers into different buckets – a new customer has very different needs from a regular or loyal customer. Treat each customer’s needs differently, rather than applying a standard experience in one broad stroke. Incentivize each segment to come back and reward those who do.

    These days, people expect this kind of brand experience.

    Illustration showing Marsello's default customer segments

                    

    Success Story: Merrell NZ 

     

    Example of how Merrell NZ is using Marsello's Abandoned Cart automations to increase revenue

     

    When COVID hit, Merrell NZ knew they needed to grow their eCommerce presence and encourage customer engagement. To do this, they began testing automated campaigns, one-off emails, and a detailed loyalty program that was designed to attract their in-store customers to shop online.

    By ensuring their marketing changes were recognizable, appealing, and informed from customer data, they were able to grow their customer loyalty program and VIP memberships, improve conversion rates, and increase repeat purchase rates. So far, they’ve seen an ROI of 969x – for every $1 they’ve spent on their marketing initiatives, they’ve earned $969 back.

    “[…] the Merrell Rewards program means a lot to us – it gives us the opportunity to link customers from our retail and web stores, work around customer retention and automate email marketing flows in a really clever way.” - Merrell NZ

    Read the full story

     

    Key takeaways

     
        • Deploying a loyalty program won’t lead to loyal customers, but it will help you develop loyalty program tactics.
        • Loyalty programs mitigate price perception.
        • Use personalization and automation to delight customers.
        • Be consistent across your sales channels and marketing.
        • Prioritize memorable customer experiences.
        • Start small and build on your program.

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