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10 Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty Without a Points Program

If you want to level up your customer loyalty initiatives beyond a points program, we've put together ten tips that can help.

Francesca Nicasio

Content Strategy Manager

Loyalty is everything. In an increasingly competitive ecommerce market, brands are constantly vying for customer loyalty, for good reason: loyal customers are often the most profitable. 

Plus, one of the best ways to tap into earned media (like word-of-mouth advertising, which most consumers trust above other advertising methods) is through—you guessed it—stronger customer loyalty. 

Perhaps the most common way businesses try to foster brand loyalty is through a points program. However, if companies simply provide a cut-and-dry rewards program and call it a day (as opposed to a spend-based loyalty program or VIP program), it can make customers feel unvalued or not like VIPs. 

In addition, if a program is solely about the points, it may fail to differentiate itself from other more competitive programs in the market. 

Industry data shows that just 18% of rewards program members actively engage with all the programs they're a member of, showing how some rewards programs may offer too little value to the customer. Oof. 

If you want to level up your customer loyalty initiatives beyond a points program, we've put together ten tips that can help.

Let's get started!

 


 

1. Set up email and SMS automations focused on bringing customers back

Email and SMS marketing are great ways to increase customer loyalty, as you can reach customers directly through their inboxes and mobile devices.

For best results, send triggered messages based on certain behaviors or actions your customers take. For example, you could send a message to a customer who hasn't made a purchase in a set amount of time or provide a voucher or discount as a way to say thank you after someone has made their first purchase. 

Pinjarra Bakery is an excellent example of a business putting email and SMS marketing to good use. The company uses Marsello to power various campaigns that entice people to come in.

“We send out an SMS blast to our loyal customers first or our loyalty customers first giving them first access to come in and try the product before we release it to the public,” Daniel explains. “And of course, we conveniently time the blast to go out around lunchtime so people are probably getting hungry that time of the day and so far the results have been great.”

Limited-Time-Pinjarra-Bakery-SMS-next-to-man-eating-a-pie-1

Another idea is to reward your customers' birthdays. You could track birthday purchases and the rate of redemption—all of which is valuable data that can be leveraged for more tailored marketing down the road.

Easy-to-implement options include sending a one-time special discount or a freebie via text or email. Just make sure to use unique codes to track the effectiveness of your automations.

2. Setting up targeted segments

Did you know that the average email open rate is just 21.5%? To make your emails more relevant, segment subscribers into different groups or categories based on criteria like location, age, or behavior. By doing so, you can better cater to each segment through the content and deals you offer, intrinsically creating more value for your customers. 

Oh, and as a pro tip, consider using your subject lines to gauge interest in new products and themes you're considering offering.

3. Foster a strong community incidental to your brand

A brand community, when done right, is a way to rally together your most loyal customers or people who are the most interested in what you have to offer. Communities bring people together, which drives loyalty through shared experiences, meaningful connections, and a sense of belonging.

Marsello customer Pace Athletic is a master at community-building. The company has a run club that includes social jogs for all fitness levels. These run events end at local pubs where members can socialize, relax, and build friendships over a meal or drinks.

See if you can implement similar initiatives in your business. If you run a game shop, you could consider running a monthly board game night at your location. Brewery? Maybe a recurring beer tasting event or a pub quiz. Whether you want to keep it casual or more formal, brand communities are a great way to tap into brand loyalty and customer advocacy.

4. Offer exclusive access and early releases

Never underestimate the power of exclusivity. By fostering a sense of unique value or desirability—either by offering limited availability or exclusive access—brands can tap into the age-old desire of customers wanting to get something that's hard-to-get. 

You can use this to your advantage by targeting your top spenders or frequent purchasers and creating a segmented campaign. Reward them with access to exclusive events, pre-sale access to limited edition items, or other similar events. 

Take, for instance, Nordstrom, which gives members of The Nordy Club (the company's loyalty program) early access and extra discounts at sales events.

the nordy club - loyalty example

5. Start a referral program

To start things off, assign each consumer a unique referral code. Then, when they share your business with their friends, you can see if a purchase or subscription was made through the code and offer the customer (and maybe even the referred person) a reward. We recommend offering rewards that aren't point-based, like a free product or exclusive discount.

Also, make it easy to refer others: consider including a template with their unique code that customers can copy and paste. By reducing the friction around referrals, you'll make it easier for your brand to harness the power of earned media.

6. Provide valuable content and resources

Another great way to build customer loyalty is by creating content that's both informative and helpful for your customers: all with your own branding, of course. 

Let's say you run a makeup or beauty company: you could do TikTok or Instagram user-generated reviews of your products, do tutorials on how to apply certain products, or make a Q&A video about frequently asked questions. 

When you offer tips, guides, and tutorials on topics your audience cares about, you position your company as an expert and drive brand awareness by playing the long game.

7. Collect customer feedback

The best way to improve and understand customer satisfaction is through feedback, and what better moment to get feedback than right after a purchase? You can consider offering a small perk like free shipping on their next order as a small incentive, but what's crucial is to make it easy for your customers to provide feedback and to ensure they don't feel pressured into doing so. 

Marsello's customer feedback capabilities allow shoppers to provide input with just a few clicks, so the experience is effortless.

Check out this example from Madame Fancy Pants, which uses Marsello's customer feedback capabilities to create a simple, visually appealing survey so customers can quickly rate their shopping experience.

Marsello-Madame-Fancy-Pants-Customizable-Feedback-Survey

Already have customer feedback? Be sure to act on it to improve your retention strategies. And don't forget to proactively inform your customers about any changes and updates you've made so they feel heard and seen.

8. Create a customer-centric culture

Improving customer loyalty isn't just about what you put out there—it's very much an inside job. The people in your business play a crucial role in fostering customer loyalty, so you need to instill the value of customer-centricity in your teams. 

You can do this by providing ongoing training and development focused on customer service to keep folks at the top of their customer support game. 

A great example of this in action comes from Zappos, which has built a reputation for exceptional customer service. The company provides extensive training for their employees, including a four-week program that emphasizes the importance of customer satisfaction. This commitment to training has helped Zappos achieve a high level of customer loyalty and a strong brand reputation.

Another example is Pace Athletic, who run a regular running club for their community. Why we love it? Pace Athletic live and breathe what they do - a running club is a natural extension of their brand, and a way to connect on a deeper level with their customers and followers. 

The Pace team don't organize a running club to generate sales (at least not directly). But it does drive brand awareness and sales as a result. When their community build deeper relationships with the Pace team, they want to come in-store and ask for the staff's recommendations, suggestions and pointers. They want to support their local business, and the people behind it.

If you are passionate about what your business sells and what you represent, building community will come relatively easily. But it does take time and requires a commitment, so don't be disheartened if you don't see the revenue impact right away.

 

9. Invest in unique products and services

People stick with retailers and restaurants that consistently provide products and services they won't find elsewhere. So, strive to deliver unique and high-quality offerings to all of your guests. 

If you're in retail, this can come in the form of trendy fashion or homeware products that enhance your customers' lives. If you're a restaurant, this could mean offering exclusive and innovative dishes, sourcing locally grown and fresh ingredients, or creating a unique dining experience with exceptional ambiance.

When you do this consistently, you build a loyal customer base and differentiate yourself from the competition.

10. Implement corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives

Doing good is good for business. Industry data shows that consumers are more likely to choose brands that promote CSR aspects like sustainability. According to Neilsen, "a whopping 81% of respondents said that it's extremely or very important that companies implement programs to improve the environment. When it comes to action, 73% said they would either definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment."

To that end, it may make sense for your business to develop sustainability programs that focus on reducing environmental impact. This could include minimizing waste, using renewable energy, and sourcing sustainable materials.

Of course, CSR isn't just about sustainability. Social responsibility also encompasses societal issues like fair labor and community. So if these values align more with your brand, start exploring ways to support social causes. For instance, the brand TOMS partners with non-profit organizations that work on various societal issues, including access to mental health resources, community rehabilitation, and education.

TOMS initiatives - loyalty examples

Before you begin...

To ensure that your customer loyalty approaches are paying off, you must track key metrics regularly. Otherwise, you run the risk of investing significant time and money for no result. While you may not need to track all of the data points below, familiarize yourself with them and check in with your marketing team to determine which ones are the best for your organization. 

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): This measures customer satisfaction and loyalty based on how likely customers would recommend a product/service to others on a scale of 1-10. Detractors are 0-6, while Promoters are 9-10. A score over 50 is generally good, while above 70 is great.
  • Customer Retention Rate: The rate at which your customers stay with you over a specific period, which reflects the effectiveness of your loyalty-building efforts. Make sure you balance this with customer acquisition strategies.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): This is an indication of the total revenue expected from a customer over their entire relationship with a brand. It's a great way to identify more valuable customers and assess the long-term value of customer loyalty programs.
  • Repeat Purchase Rate: The proportion of customers who make repeat purchases, which indicates ongoing customer engagement and loyalty. Customers with a high RPR should be targeted when launching new products or services.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): This provides immediate feedback on customer experience and loyalty; it's the average score given when you ask customers how happy/satisfied they were with an experience.

While this isn't an exhaustive list, tracking some (or all!) of the above metrics will put you well on your way to quantitatively understanding how your brand loyalty efforts are paying off.

Final words

We've covered a lot of ground looking at the top ways your business can foster customer loyalty without needing a points-based program.

While you don't need to implement all of these at the same time, we recommend trialing out at least a couple of these methods and seeing what sticks. Most importantly, this shouldn't be a "set it and forget it" approach. You need to stay attuned to the feedback received and stay in the know on industry best practices. This way, you'll be ahead of the curve and continually improve customer loyalty. 

If you're looking to create an omnichannel loyalty program that offers real value, Marsello has you covered.  From SMS and email marketing to loyalty and referral programs, Marsello can help you from start to finish.

Speak to an expert today.

 


 

Need help? Get advice from a loyalty expert and start driving repeat sales.

Speak to an expert

 


 

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

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    5 Best Shopify Plus Apps for Omnichannel Retailers

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    We’ve selected our top apps for Shopify Plus retailers. From marketing & foot traffic tracking to CRMs & order fulfillment, find the best apps for your...

     

    Shopify Plus provides rapidly growing enterprise-level retailers with a unique set of features and support, setting the precedent for Shopify Plus Certified Partner Apps and ensuring Shopfiy Plus retailers see rapid results like month-on-month ROI and improved customer lifetime value, no matter what Shopify Plus tools they chose to use. 

    But how do you know which apps will set you up for success? And which of the Shopify Plus partner apps are best designed to grow your omnichannel retail business both in-store and online?

    Never fear! We’ve selected our top 5 picks with room to grow. Discover our Top 5 Shopify Plus Partner Apps for Omnichannel Retailers below:

     

     

    Marsello’s Top 5 Omnichannel Shopify Plus Certified Partner Apps

     

     

    1.  Marsello-Logo_50


    Powered by Shopify Plus and your point-of-sale, Marsello is the only customer marketing software that integrates seamlessly in-store and online – the ultimate omnichannel marketing tool! By combining data-driven automation, email, SMS, and loyalty programs, Marsello can empower you to deliver targeted marketing for your business that gets results you can trust with closed-loop attribution that tracks your marketing against sales.


    Did you know that Marsello is the only marketing software that integrates in-store and online for Shopify Plus retailers, no matter what POS system you use? With an average return on investment of 98x, it’s no wonder why multi-channel retailers choose Marsello to run their marketing and deliver a seamless omnichannel customer experience that gets results.

     

      • Made for Shopify Plus retailers – Marsello integrates seamlessly across your in-store and online sales platforms to provide a true omnichannel customer experience.
      • Data-driven marketing – Using your customer data, Marsello allows you to deliver targeted and timely marketing that saves you time and gets results.
      • All-in-one marketing platform – Send email and SMS campaigns, use templated designs to simplify your marketing, automate timely communications, collect customer feedback and acquire new customers with referrals, customize and brand a loyalty program to suit your business; Marsello offers all the tools you need to master retail marketing.  

    •  

    “Omnichannel retail is customer-centric – driven by the way that modern consumers want to shop. Customers research products to inform their purchase decisions. When they feel fully informed, they are able to make emotion-based decisions confidently and, finally, complete a purchase that they know they’ll love – even for transactional purchases. Making the most of your marketing channels means you’re able to inform and excite your customers and shoppers just like them, no matter where or how they like to shop.”

    – Brent Spicer, CEO at Marsello

     

     

    2.   Endear_logo_dark


    Endear is the first and only clienteling app certified for Shopify Plus merchants. Its CRM and messaging platform is made especially for retail sales teams and tracks how messages convert into sales, both in-store and online. Endear empowers retail teams to engage customers over remote channels like email and text while the app takes care of measuring how outreach is performing, including data points like average order value, location of last purchase, and time to convert.

      • Unified messaging – Now every message your team sends on your brand’s behalf is all in one place. Whether sent 1-to-1 or 1-to-many, your customers will never know the difference.
      • CRM – Segment customers based on their behavior in-store and online using filters like product purchased, total spend, zip code, and AOV.
      • Lookbooks – Create and send curated product recommendations right from the app to shorten a customer’s path to purchase. Plus, Endear integrates with your POS so you’re never recommending items that are out of stock.
      • Analytics – Keep your team motivated and see exactly who and what is driving sales each month.
      • Endear everywhere – Cloud-based and available on iOS mobile devices, you can take Endear’s capabilities anywhere and reply to customers anytime.
      • 1-click integration – Shopify Plus merchants can enjoy easy, one-step installation through endearhq.com or the Shopify app store to enjoy a real-time feed of customer data and order history.

    As the digital space gets more competitive and privacy laws more stringent, now is the time for brands to focus on extending lifetime value of the customers they acquire; the best way to do that is through a high-touch, seamless omnichannel experience.

    – Leigh Sevin, Co-founder

     

     

    3.   logo-dor-red


    Dor's first-of-its-kind, battery-powered thermal people counter counts the heat signatures of store visitors and is supported by its proprietary machine learning algorithms to maintain and increase the accuracy rates. Dor’s sensor is a peel-and-stick solution that uses a cellular connection which makes it easy and secure to install for both independent and enterprise retailers. Dor customers can see their store’s peak hours and optimize their staff scheduling, integrate Dor into their POS systems and see the conversion rates of their customers and measure their marketing effectiveness by attributing the foot traffic data to their marketing campaigns. 

     

      • Peel and stick thermal sensors over any door and start counting your foot traffic right away. 

      • One-click integration with your POS allows you to view revenue, foot traffic, and conversion rate all in one place. 

      • Dor uses a cellular network – no WiFi is required in your space. 

      • View and compare foot traffic trends in every store you manage, at any time, from any device. 

      • Avoid downtime with the proactive support from your dedicated customer success manager 

      • Export data via CSV or connect additional tools via API for infinite applications.


    “According to shopping behavior research by the Harvard Business Review, 73% of the participants used multiple touchpoints, including the online channels and physical stores, during their shopping journey. This shows us that omnichannel retail is already an essential part of the buying journey. Retailers have to support purchasing trends with other data points such as foot traffic, peak hours, and conversion rates to understand their customers’ needs inside and out, then improve their channels accordingly.

    – Michael Brand, CEO at Dor

     

     

    4.   plobalapps-logo-2


    Plobal Apps’ Shopify Plus offering gives retailers the tools to create their own stand-out, fully customizable mobile apps. Improve customer experience with on-brand, UX-driven mobile channels that help you to deliver a unique brand experience, easy-to-use checkout, and personalized engagement with Plobal.

     

      • In-app campaigns establish seamless customer experience – Run advanced, personalized in-app marketing campaigns and push notifications to drive installs and increase sales.
      • Social media connectivity – connect your app to social media to target new marketplaces and grow your community.
      • Build customer loyalty – offer exclusive and exciting in-app discounts specific to that app channel and selected products.
      • Omnichannel integration – integrate your app with multiple other platforms and Shopify Plus partner apps to create the ultimate toolkit.

     

     

    5.  shippo


    Shipping fulfillment has cemented itself as an essential part of customer experience. With the ability to compare rates and ETAs across 58+ global carriers, Shippo gives Shopify Plus retailers the ability to send their products worldwide without the stress of customs mishaps or misplaced packages. With end-to-end tracking, both the retailer and customer can rest easy knowing that orders are exactly where they need to be. Shippo’s features include:


      • Carrier rate comparisons – save money by comparing which carrier offers the best value delivery within the customer’s shipping region.
      • Sync across sales channels – no matter where you sell, sync your customers’ orders with tracking information so the customer can stay informed at every step of the way.
      • Automatic and CSV upload label creation – automate the shipping label creation process or generate labels from CSV imports.
      • Create a seamless returns framework – improve customer experience with hassle-free returns they trust.
      • Ship globally – international shipping is made easier with pre-filled customs forms.

     

     

    Final words

     

    An essential part of mastering omnichannel commerce is finding the tools that work best to make your business run smoothly – from marketing and customer engagement, to order fulfillment, your store should run like a well-oiled machine no matter which channel your customers chose to shop from. The above apps will help you to do just that by providing valuable data, insights, and processes that will improve your customer touchpoints and brand experience.

    What apps are you using to bridge the gaps between your sales channels? What tools have become essential to your business success and continued growth? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

    Building an omnichannel retail strategy with Firestone Digital

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    Marsello's Partnership's Manager sits down with Sam at Firestone Digital to chat about the future of omnichannel retailers and agency involvement.

    Marsello x Firestone Digital above the words Agency Partner Interview

    Firestone Digital is unique in the world of Shopify Agencies. Where most have built businesses around the bustling world of eCommerce, Samantha Firestone, Director of Firestone Digital, and her team have taken the view that the world's best retailers are those who have embraced an omnichannel strategy to grow their revenue, strengthen customer relationships, and future-proof their businesses.

    And Sam’s right. Research shows us that consumers are demanding a consistent customer experience no matter how they choose to shop. Meanwhile, retailers are increasingly looking for experts, like Sam, to identify the technology they need to deliver that experience.

    The way Sam sees it, retail is about more than margins and stock on hand.

    I believe that people like to buy from people, and the reality is many of our retailers sell similar products as their competitors. For my clients, it's important that the in-store experience creates a unique connection with the consumer and that the customer feels comfortable in-store. We extend that to our client's Shopify store, where it's critical that the feeling a customer gets online reflects the experience they get in-store.

     

    Developing a data-driven omnichannel strategy

    Behind the aesthetics of customer experience is the data, and this is where an Omnichannel strategy comes into its own. Having a marketable customer database is native to eCommerce, however, a true omnichannel strategy captures customer purchasing data wherever the customer chooses to shop – and this is what led Sam to Marsello. 

    Make no mistake about it; a customer database is the most valuable thing you can have as a retailer. Established customers are people who have already visited your store; they've already joined your community, they have already purchased from you – these are the people you want to sell to.”

    But without a solution to seamlessly capture instore purchasing the data, retailers are only seeing half of the picture: 

    This is what I love about Marsello! It integrates with Point-of-Sale so that the marketing activity we are running is driven by all purchasing behavior, both in-store and online.

    sam_firestone_digital_quote_blog

    Creating a go-to tech stack

    We all have our favorite ‘go-tos’. Firestone Digital's 'essential’ technology recommendations are chosen to support a retail strategy that they know works. 

    I always have a recommended tech stack. The truth is my clients want advice; they want someone else to do the hard work to find out what's out there! We always recommend Shopify for eCommerce, Lightspeed for POS, and Marsello for marketing. We also have a suite of products we add to the mix as needed. It's important to us that we have a relationship with the apps we recommend. This means we know the developers, we work closely with them, and we trust them to support our clients as well as we do.

    One of Sam’s clients, Frankie Say Relax, launched with Marsello at the beginning of June this year with Firestone’s tech stack (including Marsello). By using a combination of automation, targeted one-off email campaigns, SMS and by launching their loyalty program, Frankie Say Relax has grown their marketable database by 10% and has generated 45x ROI on their Marsello subscription.

     

    Final words: building an agency partner network

    Marsello is growing, and having recently been included in the Shopify Plus Certified App partner program, we are looking for leading Shopify agency partners like Firestone Digital. We look forward to working alongside more and more Shopify agency partners to bring powerful, measurable marketing technology to the world's omnichannel retailers. 

     

    Work with Marsello

    Top 8 Omnichannel retail trends to look out for in 2021

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    Learn which omnichannel retail trends will continue to shape the online and in-store retail landscape in 2021 and beyond. Have you mastered these trends?

    Marsello_Blog_Atlas_Omnichannel_Trends_image_1

     

    Omnichannel retail trends will continue to shape the retail landscape in 2021. Consumers are continuing to demand exceptional customer experience, both online and in-store. It also includes the transition between the two. If there’s friction, you risk losing customers. Omnichannel marketing provides a seamless transition for your customers.


    So what do you need to be implementing in your business? After helping hundreds of businesses build successful omnichannel marketing plans, we can see the trends emerging. We know what is going to turn visitors into customers, increase customer loyalty and improve revenue. Here are the important trends to watch and how to implement them.

     

    Quick links:

    What is omnichannel retailing
    8 Omnichannel retail trends to follow in 2021
    Increased digital transformation
    Shopping-enabled social media experience
    Bridging the gap between the online and offline experience
    Contactless customer experience
    Increase in personalized shopping experience
    Wide use of digital payments
    Driving store traffic via mobile promotions and loyalty programs
    Increased use of AI and Machine learning
    Final words

     

     

    What is omnichannel retailing?

    Omnichannel retailing is a retail strategy that integrates all of your offline and digital channels. By taking a customer-centric approach, high-touch shopping experiences take place across multiple channels.

     

    For example, when retailers integrate these channels, customers can check inventory online before heading in-store to complete their purchases. This creates a positive customer experience which drives customer loyalty. And the more loyal your customers are, the more likely they are to become brand advocates.

     

    Omnichannel marketing ensures that customers receive a cohesive shopping experience. By creating a seamless experience between sales and marketing channels, you can build trust and brand engagement.

     

     

    8 Omnichannel retail trends to follow in 2021

    The major retail omnichannel trends that we are seeing are an increase in the rate and amount of change. Customers want to purchase in new places and in new ways, especially contactless methods. Personalization and loyalty are creating better customer experiences. These can be driven by machine learning and AI technologies. Here are the key trends to follow and embrace:

     

     

    1. Increased digital transformation

     

    A person writes in a notebook while working from a desktop computer

     

    Retail digital transformation has accelerated in the last year. Those that didn’t have a digital presence suddenly found that they needed to set up a website, ordering platform, or digital communications strategy. This trend will continue as businesses see benefits and customers continue to expect digital offerings.


    Your business needs to be set up for digital experiences. This way as shoppers transition across your different channels, their customer experience can be continually refined and improved. Processes that were once hastily set up can now be rethought and improved. By using data from existing customer experiences, you can tailor these processes to become exceptional.

     

     

    2. Shopping-enabled social media experience

    Social media has become a great way to show off your products, grow your audience, provide customer support and drive traffic to your website. While it’s still a powerful tool for enabling all of these things, it's also developed into so much more. Increasingly, businesses and ensure their social media channels are shopping enabled, meaning their customers don’t need to leave the platform they're browsing from to make a purchase.


    Social media retail is more seamless than taking them onto your website to complete the transaction. The more friction you can remove, the higher your conversion rate will be. You can even go one step further and, if it's in your marketing strategy, make the most of influencers by making their posts shoppable. All of this provides you with more data on which posts are driving the most sales while also improving the customer experience.

    Let's see this in action.

     

    Sustainable Tomorrow is an innovator of environmentally-friendly bamboo electric toothbrushes based in Ireland. They maximize the impact of their eCommerce store by making use of Shopify's Facebook integration, giving shoppers the ability to make a purchase straight from the company's Facebook page. 

     

    A women brushes her teeth with Sustainable Tomorrows toothbrush. A linked product tag floats overtop.

     

    By removing steps from the shopping process, Sustainable Tomorrow is able to elevate its customers' experience with the brand and hit the ground running with positive customer relationships. From here, it's much easier for the brand to nurture customer loyalty and maximize their customer lifetime value. We can't wait to see Sustainable Tomorrow's growth with their bamboo electric toothbrushes and other sustainability-focused products.

     

     

    3. Bridging the gap between the online and offline experience

    Augmented reality is a great way to blend online and offline experiences. It allows customers to view products to see how they’ll look in real life. You can use this for virtually trying on make-up, clothing, or shoes. Or allow customers to see how home furnishings or televisions will look in their space.


    Integrating mobile experiences into your retail store can help make the shopping process faster for customers. Large format or big-box retailers can help guide customers to the exact aisle where the product they’re looking for is located. Or utilize click-and-collect to speed up check-out processes.


    Let’s look at an example from a big player.

     

    AllBirds took the world by storm with their revolutionary wool sneakers – but for a long time, they were solely an eCommerce store. Even now, their brick-and-mortar stores aren’t available in every country that they ship to. So how can their customers get an idea of the product in action? How will it look on them and does it suit their style or needs? Recently, AllBirds released their own app which allows customers to try the sneakers on with AR technology.

     

    A phone rests on a green background with AllBird's AR technology in use on the screen.Source: AllBirds

     

    What did the multinational retailer have to say about the exceptional addition to their customers’ shopping experience?

    Shopify continues to be a very important partner, but as a vertical retailer, we understand the importance of providing unique, brand-aligned experiences for our customers,” an Allbirds rep told Retail Brew.

     

    4. Contactless customer experience

    The COVID-19 experience for many retailers has been tough. However, it has encouraged the adoption of some technological advances. Especially around contactless shopping and omnichannel retailing. This can range from paying via an app for in-store purchases to curbside pick-up.

     

    Setting up digital customer loyalty programs is a great way to implement a contactless customer experience in your business. Reducing the need for loyalty or stamp cards means one less physical interaction. It also allows you to improve your loyalty system with better tracking, segmentation, and data collection. This can help you with targeted marketing campaigns in the future.

     

     

    5. Increase in personalized shopping experience

    Understanding your customers and providing them with tailored messaging is becoming increasingly important. It’s also easy to implement with the right omnichannel marketing platform. Utilizing the data you collect from customers online and in-store allows you to reach out with relevant, timely information.


    Creating tailored messaging can mean reaching out with specific offers that you know are likely to trigger a purchase. Automation allows you to use triggers such as unredeemed discounts or loyalty points to make contact with valuable information. This personalized shopping experience makes customers more likely to engage with your SMS and email marketing.

     

    Let’s look at another augmented reality example to understand how AR can be used to create a personalized shopping experience – particularly in these post-pandemic times where travel is largely inaccessible but personal interaction is craved so deeply.

     

    Vivant Wines have gone above and beyond to create a customer experience that will leave any shopper buzzing. At-home, personalized wine tasting through a dedicated Vivant-created platform!

     

    Michael Baum, owner and creator at Vivant, was motivated to “recreate the magic of wine experiences without the carbon footprint of physical travel.” On creating the immersive experience, he said, “We have brought together an international team of wine educators, product designers, software engineers, and media producers to create a new platform where people can meet responsible winemakers around the world and taste their wines alongside expert wine advisors, wherever they are.”

     

    Marsello_Blog_Atlas_Omnichannel_Trends_image_3

    Source: Vivant Wines

     

    Customers purchase an ‘experience kit’ through Vivant's website, selecting a variety of wine tasters such as 'Food and Wine Pairings'. Each listing includes a summary of each wine they'll receive and details on when the next online tasting session will occur. They’re then able to join the dedicated immersive tasting experience, offered through Vivant’s platform. In these sessions, customers are introduced to knowledgeable industry professionals and educated on the wines they’re tasting. 

     

    While this kind of example isn’t necessarily accessible to every retailer, it’s thinking outside the box and engaging customers in a new and enthralling way we love! It doesn’t get much more personalized than this. And with a clear customer funnel and purchase intent, it’s easy for Vivant to re-engage these customers and nurture their loyalty.

     

     

    6. Wide use of digital payments

    Digital payments were on the rise long before 2020. But it is one of the online retail trends that has picked up the pace. Many customers are using Apple Wallet or AliPay to be able to shop without their cards. Also, peer-to-peer platforms like Venmo and cryptocurrencies are becoming more widely accepted.

     

    Customer demand is driving up the use of cashless alternatives. In 2017, the industry was worth $3 trillion. By the end of 2021, it’s estimated to be up to $6.6 trillion. Allowing your customers to pay how and when they want will increase sales.

     

     

    7. Driving store traffic via mobile promotions and loyalty programs 

    Omnichannel marketing also needs to include triggers to encourage purchase. Customer loyalty programs are a simple way to drive customers back in-store or online to repurchase. Automated triggers, rewards, and reminders put your program on autopilot so that you know you are reaching your customers at the right time.

     

    The-BCode-Points-Promotion-Campaign-Case-Study

     

    Using loyalty programs can help create buzz. bCODE, a brick-and-mortar destination for Skechers and Havaianas in Nigeria, did just this when they launched theirs. Utilizing a ‘double points’ campaign, they achieved a 20% open rate and a 94% increase in customer’s average loyalty points spent.

     

     

    8. Increased use of AI and Machine learning

    Machine learning and AI are allowing retailers to provide better personalization. By better understanding your customers, what they like, and what they need, you can provide them with tailored marketing. This enhances the overall customer experience, which leads to higher customer lifetime value.

     

    Marsello-Email-Campaigns-Black-Friday-Yuccs

     

    Yuccs, a sustainable and ultra-comfortable shoe brand, uses this approach to create powerful email marketing campaigns designed to engage different customer segments and increase conversions. For example, in 2019 they segmented clients based on multiple factors - lead origin as well as their existing interactions and purchases. This level of customer understanding and personalization saw a 38% revenue boost.

     

     

    Final words

    Omnichannel retail trends will continue to have an impact across the sector in 2021. Adopting these in your business can drive more traffic to your store or website. They can initiate sales, improve loyalty and increase customer lifetime value.

     

    Understanding which of these options will work best for your business can be challenging. The team at Marsello can help you design and implement an omnichannel marketing strategy that is right for you. Get in touch with the team today to request a free demo.

    8 omnichannel marketing strategy tips that will boost your ROI

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    True omnichannel experience leads to revenue increases and improved customer experience. Master your omnichannel marketing strategy with these 8 tips.

    When creating an effective marketing strategy for your business, consider all of the different customer touchpoints. Focus on learning how shoppers like to move between different engagement channels (for example, browsing on social media to shopping online) and what information they are looking for while interacting with your store and similar stores. 

    Building all of this into an omnichannel marketing strategy allows you to ensure that you’re providing your customers with a consistent customer experience. This is true for both retail and eCommerce businesses, as well as those omnichannel retailers.

    Some businesses get overwhelmed when planning and creating a cohesive marketing strategy, especially as they begin considering every single touchpoint and every single customer. Instead, use these tips to design a realistic strategy that will engage most customers, while ensuring your marketing is doing the hard work for your long-term and you’re not likely to become overwhelmed.

     

    Why should your business use omnichannel marketing?


    Consider the whole customer journey from awareness to consideration to purchase; your customers are likely to have multiple different touchpoints and interactions with your business. Research shows that more than half of customers engage with three to five channels during each journey, highlighting the importance of consistency across all of these channels.

    Omnichannel marketing enhances the customer experience you’re providing by creating consistency, which, in turn, increases sales and improves loyalty. Customers want fast, efficient transactions and solutions. Providing this can help reduce acquisition costs and grow your business faster. This means better value for your customers and you.

    A young woman uses a cellphone while sat at a table in front of a tablet.

    8 Omnichannel marketing strategy tips to boost ROI


    Below, we’re going to dive into the eight tips that will help you begin creating, rolling out, and analyzing your omnichannel marketing strategy. The primary goal is to increase your return on investment, so bringing all the data into one place allows you to compare tactics to ensure you’re creating the best strategy possible. Not sure if omnichannel marketing is right for you? Learn how omnichannel strategy is quickly becoming the future of retail.

    1) Identify the channels that your audience is interested in

    Working out who your customer is, beyond just demographics like age and gender, can help you better define which channels you need to prioritize. Omnichannel experiences don’t have to combine all potential touchpoints. Instead, knowing which channels your ideal customers spend the most time on will help you narrow your focus.

    Once you know which channels, understanding the device they use and what content they want is essential to a successful strategy. Some people watch videos on Facebook, others on YouTube. Are they watching television on a tablet or a TV? What device do they use to check their emails? Are your emails and website optimized for various screen sizes? And does all of this marketing clearly represent your brand and your product offering, and how you expect your customers to engage with them?

    A book titled 'Brand Identity' sits on a desk next to a keyboard

    2) Keep the brand consistent across platforms

    Building consistent branding across platforms ensures that your customers aren’t confused, and they can immediately know that it’s your brand they’ve scrolled across. When designing your omnichannel strategy, you need to find a balance between creating consistency and channel-specific content.

    One of the best ways to do this is to leverage existing content into other platform-specific pieces. For example, taking an infographic from a webinar to create a social media post or turning a blog post into quotes for Twitter. This not only builds consistency but also provides better returns from each content piece you create as you can use it more.

    3) Leverage new marketing channels and marketing automation

    Rather than being stuck in the past, look at how you can embrace new marketing channels and automation to improve the customer experience you’re providing. New omnichannel marketing solutions can help streamline your processes, save you money and increase sales. Marketing automation can help reach your customers at the right time, and also improve revenue.

    There can also be increased returns when using technology like augmented or virtual reality that allows customers to try before they buy. This can be for furniture, clothing, or make-up, where customers can see products in real situations or on themselves. In fact, we wrote about this over on Shopify’s blog when sharing our predictions for the future of retail post-COVID-19.

    MacbookPro with an insights and data dashboard displaying results on the screen.

    4) Use data to gain business advantage

    An omnichannel marketing strategy provides you with data that allows you to understand your customers better. The data and insights you gather from digital channels need to be analyzed to see where your customers are coming from, how they’re engaging with your brand, and what it takes to turn them into paying customers. 

    For example, you might see high numbers of followers on Instagram, but working with the data can help show what content drives customers through to conversion and what content results in likes but no action. Or you could learn how retargeting ads work for your customers that have abandoned their carts and whether you can convert them.

    5) Listen and respond to your audience through your marketing channels

    Creating an omnichannel approach to your marketing allows you to create consistent engagement with your customers in a variety of places. This includes in-store, online, and through multiple different channels (like social media). You can also craft refined, personalized messaging that’s relevant to each customer. While it goes without saying that social media is a wonderful tool for retailer-to-customer (and vice versa) engagement, one of the biggest complaints customers have about a brands' behavior on social media, is their lack of response when messaged. Consistency is essential and it’s times like these that automation becomes a powerful addition to any marketing strategy. 

    Let’s create a scenario. 

    A customer, let’s call them John, has contacted your brand through Facebook messenger to let you know that they really enjoy shopping in-store but their most recent product wasn’t what they expected and they are dissatisfied with the service they’ve received. It’s one thing to respond directly to John with an apology and an offer of (for example) a free replacement – but what else could you be doing? What if you were to create a ‘nurture’ flow for a specific segment of at-risk customers who’ve left negative or dissatisfied feedback? By collecting customer data at the POS, you’ll be able to find John’s purchase (and therefore contact details) and add him to your segment. From here, John first receives his personalized apology and offer. He’ll also get curated communications that nurture him towards making another purchase and once again become a loyal customer with your brand. Once he has made that purchase, John simply exits the segment and the automated flow.

    Automated email flows allow you to create extra communication touchpoints with maximum impact and minimum effort. By setting up procedures, automations and ensuring you have the right people on board to engage with your audience (no matter where they chose to contact you). This will ensure customers like John feel appreciated and loyal to your brand. It’s simple engagement like this that enhances the customer experience and increases the likelihood of both purchase and repeat purchase.


    3 women laugh and socialise while sat at a table working from laptops.

    6) Make use of offline opportunities

    Your customers’ world exists both online and offline. Whether you have a physical presence with retail stores or not, there are still plenty of ways to utilize offline opportunities in your omnichannel campaigns. With a strong understanding of your customer, you can look to show up in other channels like radio, branded merchandise, magazine ads, event sponsorships, or direct mail. In fact, one of the strongest approaches is to simply ensure your branding and your customer journey are consistent at every touchpoint and this means that when they’re in-store with you, they feel it’s just as easy to explore, browse and engage as it is online.

    Ensure that you continue to maintain a consistent brand voice by selecting the right channels. Also, make sure you leverage this content for other uses as well. Photographers, videographers, writers, and influencers can all create online content from your offline experiences.

    7) Personalize the customer journey

    One of the benefits of using omnichannel marketing software is the ability to create personalized interactions which result in an exceptional customer experience. Technology that allows you to send SMS, email, and push notifications that are relevant, timely, and useful can help to drive sales. 

    Before you begin, ensure you spend time crafting the right messaging for each channel, especially if customers will be receiving more than one. You also want to ensure you’re only using the channels that are going to provide value to your customers so that you’re generating a return on investment.

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    8) Analyze and retarget your customers

    Most customers need to see or hear about a product more than once. Or they need time to compare alternatives. Or they may simply have forgotten to complete a purchase. Omnichannel advertising tracks your customers to gently remind them about your products after an initial interaction. This is where retargeting can help increase your sales. 

    Using data from across social, web traffic, and email can help you track people through their customer journey. Integrated platforms automatically collate data from across your various touchpoints to know who to interact with and what advertising to serve them to improve conversion.

     

    Final words

    Creating an omnichannel marketing strategy can help increase revenue, enhance customer experience and help you better understand your customers. Learning which channels your audience uses, how to best show up on them, and new ones as they launch gives you the data to understand, listen to and respond to your customers. 

    Using Marsello allows you to do this on a single platform, creating efficient systems that pull all your data in one place. This means you can personalize the experience for your customers which drives customer loyalty and retention.

    Customer Loyalty vs Customer Retention – What should you focus on?

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    We know any good store is customer-centric, but how do you know which is most important: Customer Loyalty or Retention? And which should you focus on?

    Customer loyalty and retention often get used together or interchangeably without a clear definition of what the difference is. Or, more importantly, which you should be focused on to build a successful retail or eCommerce business. While both are important, one is more likely to build long-lasting financial success.


    To better understand these two topics, we’ll break down their definitions, the metrics for tracking them and show you which is going to increase your revenue over time. Whether you’re running a small, online shop or a multi-site retailer, understanding these topics will take your business to the next level.

     

    Quick links:

        1. What is customer loyalty
        2. What is customer retention
        3. Customer Loyalty vs Customer Retention: What is the difference
        4. What are the customer retention metrics that matter
        5. Should retail and eCommerce businesses focus on customer loyalty or customer retention?
        6. How to turn shoppers into loyal customers
        7. Why is it important to track customer data to understand loyalty and retention

    What is customer loyalty


    Building strong relationships with your customers helps to establish a positive view of your business. This in turn helps to create loyal customers. Building these bridges with your customers requires a proactive approach to ensure that their needs are being met, their interactions are smooth, and that they feel valued.

    The major benefit of customer loyalty is that they’re more likely to stay with you, buy more from you as well as recommending your business to their friends and family. This means more than just spending more. Becoming a loyal brand advocate means that these customers are out there vouching for your business.

     

    What is customer retention


    Customer retention is the set of practices and procedures you put in place to help keep your customers engaged with your business. This leads to increased recurring revenue as they continue to spend. It is often tracked through churn, the number of customers that stop purchasing or never become repeat purchasers. 

    It also helps to keep customer acquisition costs down, as you build a group of customers providing reliable, regular revenue. Keeping customers is generally cheaper than acquiring new ones, so keeping your existing base happy and spending can reduce your overall business costs whilst increasing earnings.

     

    Customer Loyalty vs Customer Retention: What is the difference


    So how do you define customer retention vs customer loyalty? They are closely aligned, and there is often an overlap of actions that drive the two.

    Loyalty measures a customer’s predisposition to select a business entity as a preference and indicates a certain resistance to competitors. Retention is a measure of whether an existing customer continues to do business with you and the acts to make this happen.

    Loyal customers have a certain stickiness to your business which can make them easier to keep and more valuable rather than just focusing on keeping them through mechanisms that make brand switching hard. 

     

    And over-shoulder shot of someone looking at their marketing data and results

    What are the customer retention metrics that matter


    There are several customer retention metrics that you should be tracking to better understand your customer lifecycle. The first and most common is customer churn. You can calculate this on a scale that is relevant for your business, but the basic measurement is: 

    • Annual Churn Rate = (Number of Customers at Start of Year - Number of Customers at End of Year) / Number of Customers at Start of Year

    A certain amount of churn is natural, but if this reaches between 5-7% it can be an early warning sign that you are not retaining customers and something isn’t right.

    Repeat Purchase Ratio (RPR) is a great indicator of customer loyalty. To calculate:

    • Repeat Purchase Ratio = Number of Returning Customers / Number of Total Customers

    This shows the number of customers that are staying loyal and sticking with your business.

    Should retail and eCommerce businesses focus on customer loyalty or customer retention


    For all businesses, you should be focused on both customer retention and loyalty.

    If you’re a retail business, building customer loyalty often comes through individual interactions. But how do you know if you’re succeeding? Setting up loyalty program systems will allow you to track individual customers’ spending over time. This data will help you better understand their habits and if they are staying with you.

    If you’re an eCommerce business, tracking customer retention is usually quite straightforward. You can see your customers' most recent purchase, purchase history, and overall spend. You can easily benchmark this against your other customers to better understand individual behavior and what areas you need to improve. Understanding the loyalty of your customers can take a bit more work, but should not be forgotten. You might need to send surveys like Net Promoter Score to better understand what your customers think about your business.

    How to turn shoppers into loyal customers

    So how do you build a base of loyal customers? By tracking data like purchase frequency and average order value, you can better understand which of your customers are loyal to your business. To encourage loyalty, you can employ a variety of customer retention strategies. 

    Improving customer service will help to enhance the customer experience you’re providing and help turn retention into loyalty. Experience is one of the easiest ways to differentiate your business from your competition. Using customer accounts and loyalty programs is another way to increase your repeat customer rate, especially if you can provide discounts or special offers as rewards.

    A computer screen showing purchase history for an online store.

    Why is it important to track customer data to understand loyalty and retention


    The best way to understand your customer retention and loyalty is through tracking customer data, including the customer journey. Customer retention technology will help you understand how long your customers are sticking with your business, at what points they drop off, and areas where you have an opportunity to build stronger relationships.

    Metrics that show you customer retention are a great starting point and it can be tempting to focus purely on this. But customer loyalty is going to bring you longer-term success and financial stability. So make sure you’re also looking at metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).

    Final words


    It can be tempting to zero in on customer retention alone, but these customers aren’t necessarily going to stay with you for the long term. They’re likely to switch brands for a better offer. Instead, putting your energy into building loyal customers will set your business up for long-term success.

    Using a product like Marsello’s all-in-one marketing platform can help you better understand your customers and the customer experience you’re providing. This will help build customer loyalty for your business, leading to better financial outcomes for you and improved interactions for your customers.

    6 ways to attract new customers with a multi-platform marketing strategy

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    Strengthen your multi-platform marketing strategy with these 6 actionable steps for developing customer buy-in with each marketing channel in your toolkit.

    When you’re building your marketing strategy, you need to consider multi-platform marketing as a method of achieving strong customer loyalty and retention. Omnichannel marketing allows you to provide a consistent customer journey through various touchpoints with your business, both in-store and online.

    Increasingly, shoppers are engaging with their favorite stores through multiple mediums, from email and SMS to websites, social media, and direct advertising. Creating a strategy that incorporates all of these platforms will ensure that you are not only staying front of mind by recapturing your customers’ attention, but you’re also improving their experience with your store at every step of the funnel. 


    In this blog, we focus on the multi-platform aspects of omnichannel marketing, giving you actionable steps to create a multi-platform strategy that you can ensure stretches across all facets of your business. By the end of this blog, you’ll have the tools to start putting together your own cross-channel to omnichannel marketing strategy.


     

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    What are multi-platform and cross-platform marketing

     

    You may be asking yourself, what is cross-platform marketing? Sometimes called multi-platform or cross-channel marketing, both simply refer to a strategy of marketing to your customers and potential customers across all possible touchpoints, thereby optimizing customers; engagement throughout every point of their journey. It allows you to engage with your audience wherever they are, such as email inboxes, websites using targeted advertising, and more.


    By being in multiple places, your audience can interact and shop with you on their terms. Whether they like to shop from their Instagram feed or prefer in-store experiences after they’ve done their online research, you can support shoppers to engage with your store in the way that they prefer. Just look at how Federation + incorporates email, SMS, and loyalty marketing into their online and in-store marketing strategy.

    So when does cross-platform marketing become omnichannel?

    Short answer: omnichannel doesn’t just stop at multiple touchpoints, it also encourages the customer to shop across all sales channels. Omnichannel broadens the customers’ engagement with your brand at every level and at every touchpoint.

     

     

    What are the benefits of using multi-platform marketing?

     

    Multi-platform marketing creates an improved, seamless experience for your customers as they interact with your store through different marketing channels and sales channels. By ensuring your marketing strategy is geared towards capturing the customer at every stage of the funnel, you help to drive customer loyalty and can even increase the overall customer lifetime value as shoppers feel more connected to your business.

     

    Using a cross-channel marketing platform will help you achieve all this, without any added stress. By gathering the necessary data and insights (such as previous purchases and abandoned carts), you ensure that your marketing is showing up in the right places, in the right way, at the right time. And timing is everything! It’s the difference between the store that bombards customers with inconsistent, impersonal messages, and the retailer that knows their customers and sends targeted, personalized marketing that captures the shopper’s attention because it resonates with their current movements. Brandini Toffee has achieved astounding results with personalized messaging by sending an automated abandoned cart email that lets customers know they’ve still got items left to purchase. The email is triggered to send a short time after a customer abandons an online shopping cart and the Brandini Toffee team has seen as much as a 583% increase in attributable sales with Marsello from this email alone!

     

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    6 ways to bring in new customers through a multi-platform marketing strategy

     

    So what are the ways you can take action to build a multi-platform marketing strategy? Firstly, begin with your customers. Knowing who and where they are, how they are behaving and what they’re looking for will help you reach them with the right content at the right time. The final step is to analyze and ensure you’re getting the results you need. Here are the six steps to action today:

     

    1. Focus your marketing strategy around your customers


    Begin your marketing strategy by understanding where your customers are, what they need from you, and what resonates with them. Integrating your point-of-sale and eCommerce platforms allows you to gain insights into customer behavior. You can track your customers' transactions and interactions across email, in-store and online to build out customer profiles.


    You can then begin building out a marketing strategy that is relevant. Instead of generic campaigns, create tailored messaging around promotions, abandoned carts, or loyalty campaigns to cut through the marketing messages bombarding your customers.

     

    2. Create a consistent and integrated experience for your customers


    Customers want to seamlessly move between platforms. From an email or text message, they should be able to switch to a website, loyalty platform, or instore to purchase. Having to re-enter information or hunt down discount codes puts up additional barriers that can prevent your customers from completing their transactions.


    The level of customer service they receive across platforms should also be consistent. Receiving quick responses to questions via chat but a lack of communication on email creates confusion and frustration for customers. Instead, a consistent customer experience increases customer satisfaction.

     

    3. Understand the demographics and how they interact on each platform


    To take the next step in demographic marketing, once you’ve defined your overall audience, you need to further segment your customers. You can then begin to understand how different market segments engage with each platform. This will define the activities for each platform.

     

    When building your marketing strategy, think about how each platform can be best utilized while still staying true to the campaign and strategy. Are text messages relevant and how can location triggers best be utilized? You can then leverage your content efficiently across platforms.

     

    4. Create unique content on each social media platform


    Getting specific about your social media channel strategy ensures that you are sharing relevant information. 41% of people will unfollow a brand that doesn’t. If your audience finds your content boring, repetitive or they’re embarrassed to be seen to be following you, they will unfollow.


    Although your audience members will most likely follow you on multiple platforms, they won’t necessarily interact the same on each. Scrolling through Instagram they are looking for short videos or beautiful images, whereas YouTube gives you the chance to create longer, more informative videos. Use platform appropriate storytelling to build an emotional connection with your followers.

     

    5. Analyze the results of your marketing efforts and make adjustments accordingly


    It’s important to analyze the results of each marketing tactic and compare across platforms. This will highlight where you’re performing well and where you can improve. Key indicators you want to look for are engagement rates like open rates of emails and tracking through to purchase. You can then look to optimize your cross-platform marketing.


    You may find that some platforms are performing better for you than others. Customers may respond well to email reminders but have a low engagement when it comes to text messaging. Investigating which tactics are driving the traffic that is actually converting to purchases allows you to better allocate time and resources.

     

    6. Cross-promote your brand


    To gain the best response to your marketing activities, you’ll need to set up cross-media marketing strategies. It gives you the greatest reach and maximizes your engagement. Your audience will often need to hear from you 2-4 times before they will decide to purchase. Engaging them on multiple platforms can help you achieve this level of reach.


    Some simple strategies to help you cross-promote your brand include providing incentives for customers to provide you with additional information. This could be an email address to send a receipt to or a phone number to use to follow-up.

     

    Multi-platform marketing needs to be included in all marketing strategies to ensure you are meeting your audience where they are, with relevant content at the right time. Begin by understanding where your customers are and how they are using different platforms, before strategizing how to create channel-specific content. Finally don’t forget to analyze the results to ensure you’re seeing a return for your investment.

     

     

    Final words


    To help you manage this whole process, a multi-channel marketing platform like Marsello can crunch the data, capture customer information, and motivate them to shop. All while building strong relationships that establish customer loyalty.

    What is Omnichannel Marketing?

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    Omnichannel – the 'in' phrase of the retail space. So what does omnichannel mean & how can you implement it into your business? Read on to learn more.

    A Guide to Marketing Across Multiple Channels

    It's one of the biggest buzzwords in retail and marketing, and one that all businesses should be paying attention to. 

    Omnichannel.

    Industry data shows that marketers using three or more channels in any one campaign earned a 287% higher purchase rate than those using a single-channel campaign.

    With numbers like this, retailers have few reasons not to embrace the power of omnichannel marketing. 

    In this post, we're going to define omnichannel marketing, why it matters, and how to implement your own omnichannel marketing strategy for better customer engagement and sales.

    What is omnichannel marketing? 


    Simply put, it’s a retail strategy that involves the complete integration of all offline and digital channels. It denotes a customer-centric approach by prioritizing seamless, high-touch shopping journeys that take place across multiple channels.

    With seamless channel integration, customers can easily complete actions like checking inventory levels online before turning up at their local store. And it's shopping experiences like these that positively influence customer loyalty and helps to create brand advocates. 

    Omnichannel marketing ensures that customers receive a cohesive shopping experience. All sales and marketing channels operate in sync with one another to build trust and brand engagement.

     

    The difference between multichannel and omnichannel marketing


    Don't confuse omnichannel marketing with multichannel marketing. 

    While both involve coordinating marketing strategies that span several channels (such as eCommerce, social media, SMS messaging, and mobile apps), the execution is very different.

    Multichannel puts the product, rather than the customer, at the center of marketing activities. So, while multichannel marketing allows consumers to engage a brand via several channels, they cannot transition seamlessly between them. This silos messaging and keeps it static, rather than adapting to the needs of each customer.

    In contrast, the channel integration of omnichannel marketing means that every message is relevant and tailored to your individual customer as they shop across multiple channels and devices.

    For example, if a customer puts an item in their cart with the intent of coming back for it later, they might receive a push notification or SMS alert to let them know when that product is low in stock. They might also get a tailored promotion to entice them to purchase. It's these personalized interactions with customers which make omnichannel marketing efforts much more successful than a generalized multichannel approach.

     

    A retailer and a customer using an in-store POS system while smiling and chatting.

    Why implement omnichannel marketing? 


    Here’s a quick rundown of the advantages you can unlock from omnichannel marketing.

    Providing a consistent experience across channels

    If we think about our most negative retail experiences, they're likely to involve scenarios where retailers have obstructed rather than aided our efforts to shop efficiently. 

    As consumers show a growing preference to use multiple channels to execute their shopping journeys, it's never been more important for retailers to meet these expectations. According to a study by Invespcro, the most in-demand services are: 

        • Checking product availability before arriving in-store (82%)
        • BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick-Up In-Store) (57%)
        • Having a customer profile stored across channels (50%)
        • Personalized shopping experiences (47%)

    By implementing advanced omnichannel experiences like these, your customers have the freedom to shop how they want without barriers. This makes them feel empowered during their shopping journey and helps to foster trust in your brand.

    Maximizing touchpoints with your customer

    In the past, we would walk into a brick-and-mortar store, browse for a bit, and then make a purchase – often within the same visit. 

    Today, consumer behavior is very different. People want as much information as possible before committing to a purchase, especially if they are new customers shopping with a brand for the first time. This involves utilizing multiple channels to research and compare options.

    Today, 82% of customers use their mobile devices to browse before purchasing at a physical store. By offering customers a unified experience across digital and offline channels, you can add a huge amount of value through engaging touchpoints that build brand awareness and customer loyalty.

    Valuable data-driven insights

    Seamless experiences across different channels mean more opportunities to gather customer data. Omnichannel integration allows you to follow the customer journey from beginning to end, meaning that you gain access to in-depth insights about who your customers are and what they're looking for. 

    It allows you to identify key buying patterns and personas within your target audience – including those you hadn't anticipated shopping with your brand. This makes it easier to deliver the appropriate messaging that coaxes prospective customers along the path to purchasing.

    When you understand your customers, you have a much better sense of how to encourage repeat purchases. This is why retailers who use an omnichannel approach see 90% higher customer retention can those who don't.

     

    How to start an omnichannel marketing strategy from scratch 


    Ready to kick off your omnichannel marketing strategy? Here are the steps you should take to set yourself up for success.

    1. Start thinking customer-centric

    Going omnichannel in your marketing is about more than just integrating your channels. For many retailers, it requires a fundamental shift in how your brand relates to its customers.

    Why? Because what's most convenient for your customers might not be what's easiest for business. To make this transition effectively, you need to have everybody on board inputting customer success at the center of the shopping experience.

    Making omnichannel campaigns run effectively is a lot of work, and requires serious consideration of every touchpoint within the buyer's journey. 

    For example, when your customer enters your website, does it have a responsive design that easily adjusts to mobile? Are your social media posts optimized to drive prospective customers to the appropriate product pages?

    By having your operations, sales, and marketing teams evaluate your marketing approach step by step, you can ensure a positive omnichannel customer experience.

    2. Know who your customer is

    You might be surprised by how many businesses don't have an in-depth understanding of who their customers are. A study by HubSpot found that 42% of businesses don't run customer engagement surveys or collect feedback.

    This is a problem because if you don't touch base with customers and get their feedback, you won't get insights into what they want and need. Collecting feedback also helps you determine the right demographics, so you can create more effective personas for your campaigns.

    To  put your customer first, you need to invest in gathering data that gives you the full picture of their activities and preferences, such as: 

        • What problems does your business help customers to solve? 
        • Through what channels do they like interacting with your brand most, and why? 
        • Which kinds of content do they find the most useful/valuable?

    You can accomplish this by using data from your CRM, or by running surveys across channels and asking for feedback at multiple points during the shopping journey. 

    3.  Invest in the proper toolkit

    Example of Marsello's POS integration working with Loyalty.

    When it comes to omnichannel marketing, your strategy is only going to be as strong as the tools supporting it. 

    As well as helping you to generate and nurture more leads, marketing automation allows you to build personalized experiences for your customers by sending them targeted content that supports their needs. Best of all, the data captured from these workflows in the form of CTRs and engagement rates will tell you whether your efforts are hitting the mark.

    This is where a solution like Marsello comes in handy. Our software serves as an all-in-one omnichannel marketing platform that combines email, SMS, and loyalty programs. Since everything is accessible on a single platform, data flows smoothly from one channel to the next, and it's easier to provide a seamless shopping experience no matter where your customers are. 

    Marsello also integrates with leading point-of-sale systems and eCommerce platforms, so you can easily sync your physical and digital stores as one.

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    4. Content, content, content


    No matter how advanced your marketing software is, the content remains the backbone of omnichannel marketing. This involves everything from your social media content down to in-store signage

    For example, let's say that your business is running a promotion that gives your customers 20% off storewide both offline and online. Your online store has a big banner on the home page publicizing the discount, and a promotional email has been sent out to your mailing list to spread the word. 

    But when customers walk into one of your physical store locations, there's no signage greeting them at the door to make them aware of the discount. 

    A lack of cohesion between your offline and digital marketing efforts can result in a lot of missed sales opportunities; if in-store customers don't know about the promotion until checkout, they're a lot less likely to maximize spending to get a better deal. This makes informative touchpoints essential for successful omnichannel retailing.

    Want to see an omnichannel content strategy done right? Check out Federation, a streetwear brand that runs a powerful omnichannel loyalty program. Federation allows customers to earn and redeem points in-store and online, so shoppers are rewarded regardless of where and how they're shopping. 

    Plus, the program’s content and messaging are consistent on all channels, so the customer experience always feels seamless and on-brand. 

     

    Federations SMS campaign overlaid on branded imagery

     

    Another excellent example comes from the jewelry brand and clothing stockist, Katie Waltman. The store runs a comprehensive marketing initiative that covers loyalty, feedback collection, and email marketing. In doing so, Katie Waltman is able to connect with customers across multiple platforms. 

    Just like with Federation, the content and messages that Katie Waltman puts out there are consistent on all channels and devices. So whether people encounter the brand in-store, on their eCommerce site, or via email, customers are treated to the same look and feel. 

    Marsello-Loyalty-Katie-Waltman-Email-Campaign

     

    5. Segmenting your messaging

    As we mentioned above, what separates multichannel marketing from omnichannel is that customers are not treated as a one-size-fits-all group. 

    The valuable data insights that omnichannel retailing gathers from across the shopping journey give you the ability to segment customers according to demographic data, shopping behavior, and the “warmth” of leads. 

    According to Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that offers personalized experiences. In short, you can deliver the right content at the right time to enhance customer lifetime value. 

    For example, with the aid of marketing automation, you can set up specific triggers to target customers who've purchased certain items (e.g. "you might also like..." emails) or those who've been “inactive” for a certain period of time by sending an SMS with a link that allows them to set their communications preferences. 

    We can see this in action in Brandini Toffee, which uses Marsello to send automated marketing emails based on user behavior. One notable example? The Brandini team sends a campaign automated email geared towards shoppers who have abandoned their cart. To entice this segment to complete their purchase, Brandini Toffee sends a reminder email with a built-in product recommendations section that is automatically populated with similar products and items which the customer is likely to enjoy (based on their previous shopping behaviors). 

    Since they first created automated campaigns, Brandini Toffee has seen as much as a 583% increase in attributable sales and this campaign alone has generated 95% of the total orders generated by Brandini’s automated campaigns.

     

    Brandini Toffees abandoned cart email campaign on a mustard yellow background

     

    Learn more about Marsello's features


    6. Track and analyze

    The power of your omnichannel marketing efforts becomes more evident the longer they're in play. The more you invest in gathering and utilizing data from customer journeys, the more you can refine your approach to target exactly what it is your customers want.

    This is why it's important to test and track different elements of your marketing strategy to find what appeals most to your customers. This includes A/B testing of different copy, subject lines, images, and CTAs to see which gets the best response. 

    It's also important to compare your content across channels to see what works for each medium – what works on email, for example, isn't necessarily going to resonate with your audience on Instagram.

     By regularly analyzing the results of your omnichannel marketing campaigns, you can ensure that your business is using the very best formula to inform and excite your customers.

     

    Final words


    Implementing a thoughtful omnichannel marketing strategy is a big step up for retailers who are used to more siloed multichannel strategies. But if you want consumers to choose your business over the likes of Amazon, it's essential that you can facilitate seamless shopping experiences that allow customers to move between channels with ease.

    At the center of successful omnichannel marketing is a core philosophy; it’s seeing your customer as the center of gravity that your brand revolves around. So long as you stick to this core idea, the rest will follow.

     

    Re-opening Your Store After COVID-19

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    Read about how improving your store's marketing and practices could be the secret to a busy period once the coronavirus pandemic is over.

    Blog banner featuring a store worker changing an Open sign.

    How to Kick Off Strong When the Pandemic is Over

    Have you started planning for your store after lockdowns and ‘shelter at home’ orders are lifted?

    While it’s true that much of the world is still on lockdown, there will come a time when stores will be allowed to open their doors once again. In-store sales will start picking up again as foot traffic increases, and the merchants who are adaptable and have plans in place for any changes to shopping patterns will be in a much better position to continue selling well beyond the pandemic lockdown. 

     

    That’s why it’s never too early to start planning. If you take proactive steps to market and improve your business during this period, you could hit the ground running when the coronavirus pandemic is over; even if that means that your store stays online, embraces omnichannel, or you have to adapt your business model. 

     

    Here are some suggestions on what you can do to prepare your store for emerging from lockdown.

     

    Stay in constant contact with your customers

    Whether or not you’re selling at the moment, it’s crucial that you keep in touch with your customers. Doing so helps you stay top of mind so that when shoppers are ready to make purchases, your store will automatically be on their radar. 

     

    The types of messages that you send will vary depending on the state of your business, but here are some ideas.

     

    Online product launches

    If you have new products in stock, find creative ways to launch (or re-launch) them digitally. Put out teasers, create email and social media campaigns, and try to generate as much excitement as possible. 

     

    Need an example? Check out this email from, T.C. Elli’s, which lets their customers know that they’re launching new products, and they’re doing so in an innovative and exciting way considering the circumstances around COVID-19 – They’re hosting a live video launch!

    T.C. Elli’s Live Videos One-off Campaign

    This clever email also allows T.C. Elli’s to capture customer information for a wide range of their customers, helping them to increase their marketing reach in the future. 

     

    Offers and promotions

    If you’re still open or are currently selling online, continue emailing your subscribers about any sales or offers you have going on. You can make your offers more relevant by either running promotions on items that shoppers are likely to buy or by segmenting shoppers based on their brand interactions and activities. 

     

    Consider the case of Lightspeed & Shopify retailer, The BCode, a Havaianas and Skechers shoe distributor. Rather than sending out generic email blasts to everyone, The BCode makes use of customer segments. For instance, in the summer, they launched a campaign specifically for customers within their "loyal segment," and were able to convert 13.79% of subscribers – that’s way above the industry average. 

    An email from The BCode the showcases their products and gives a product explanation.

    Company updates

    People want to know what’s going on in your business, so keep shoppers posted on important updates to your company. Have you made any changes to your staff’s work arrangements? Do you have new policies in place? What can customers expect from you during these times?

    Have a look at this email from Australian retailer, OnceWas

    An email campaign from OnceWas providing customers with a COVID-19 store closure update.

    The OnceWas team uses a simple design to compliment a clear and concise message: that their Hampton-based brick-and-mortar store has temporarily closed as a direct result of COVID-19. But they don’t just leave the communication there, they go on to offer customers a styling service that encourages shoppers to stay engaged with OneWas and keep making purchases. OneWas further reinforces this objective by adding a link to new arrivals and encouraging their customers to ‘explore’. 

    OnceWas’ COVID-19 related update cleverly encourages customers to keep shopping, rather than dissuading them and that’s a powerful marketing strategy to have in their toolkit. Beautiful design and clear communication are a winning combination in getting customers to keep shopping with you, and OnceWas have mastered this! 

     

    Tighten up your existing systems

    If you’re experiencing downtime due to the coronavirus, take this as an opportunity to tighten up all the operational tasks that you’ve been putting off. 

     

    Here are some ideas:

     

    Count and reconcile your inventory 

    Keeping your stock in check can fall to the wayside especially during hectic shopping seasons. Doing a full inventory count takes several hours (sometimes a couple of days) and many stores can’t set aside that time when they’re busy selling. 

    So if you currently have some time on your hands, now is a good opportunity to really get a handle on your stock. Count your items so you can make sure that the inventory levels in your system match what you have in your physical store or warehouse. 

     

    Streamline manual tasks

    Identify tasks that you’re still doing by hand, and find ways to automate them. 

    For instance, if you’re running a manual loyalty program that involves physical stamp cards, you could look into more modern solutions that allow you and your customers to track and redeem rewards easily. 

     

    Sales and inventory are two other common areas that small businesses should also look into. Many SMBs are still using pen and paper to track stock movements and revenues. If you’re one of them, it’s high time that you switch to a cloud-based POS and retail management system that automatically does that for you. 

     

    Streamlining manual tasks not only saves you a ton of time, it reduces human error and can also help grow your business. Switching to a modern loyalty solution, for instance, doesn’t just make it easier to run your rewards program, it also gives you the ability to offer better rewards and get to know your customers, which ultimately boosts shopper retention and revenues. 

     

    Integrate different platforms

    Already using modern software in your business? Make sure they’re tightly integrated. 

    Let’s say you’re running an online shop and a brick-and-mortar store. In this case, you want to connect your POS system with your eCommerce platform, so that sales, inventory, and customer data flow easily between the two solutions. 

     

    You can even add in a loyalty integration, so you can run a rewards program seamlessly across online and offline channels. And now is the perfect time to start rewarding your customers who have shopped during retail restrictions, thereby encouraging those customers to keep coming back to your store long after you’ve come past lockdown.

     

    One retailer that’s doing this well is Bulo Shoes, a retailer that runs a fully-integrated and robust retention strategy that runs across their online and brick-and-mortar stores.

     

    “We linked Marsello to our online and physical stores with a loyalty program and automated email marketing, making it easy for us to communicate with customers regularly and to offer them rewards that keep them coming back," says Silas Gomez, eCommerce manager at Bulo Shoes. 

     

    “With the recent COVID-19 developments, we have been able to direct our customers to our online stores and keep them updated with any changes.”

    Bulo Shoe's loyalty program's online widget.

    Bulo Shoes’ integrated strategy has paid off tremendously. The company is seeing 27x ROI by interlacing a generous loyalty program with a cleverly curated email marketing strategy.

    Bulo Shoes also has a 13% repeat purchase rate across all their stores; they're seeing an engagement rate of 45% and they've generated over $7,800 in reward redemptions alone. 

    Keeping your physical and digital stores in sync means you never have to worry about double-selling products and you can provide a more seamless and rewarding shopping experience to your customers.

     

    This is just one example of how you can integrate the apps in your business. Depending on the software you’re using, there are plenty of other solutions that you can connect, including:

    • Accounting software

    • Payment processor

    • Staff management

    • Reporting and analytics

    The easiest way to connect your platforms is to use add-ons. For example, if you’re selling online, you can research the apps that your shopping cart integrates with. 

     

    That said, if you can’t find direct integrations, you can use a solutions like Zapier and IFTTT, which enables you to connect various apps together. 

     

    Check out our recent blogs on top apps for Shopify and BigCommerce & Lightspeed and save yourself the times spent researching.

     

    Leverage data

    It’s best to make data-backed decisions when planning for your re-opening, particularly when it comes to what products to market and sell. 

     

    Admittedly, COVID-19 makes this task a bit tricky. While historical data still has some value, it may not be as reliable, given the drastic changes that have occurred. 

     

    That said, there are a couple of things you can do that can help you determine your sales and marketing strategy going forward.

     

    Engage in social listening

    Pay attention to what your customers are saying online and on social media. What have they been up to? Have they developed new interests? Are there any products or services in particular that they’re looking into?

     

    The answers to these questions can shed light on insights you can use when making stock, purchasing, and merchandising decisions for your re-opening. 

     

    Look into search trends

    Use tools such as Google Trends and Keyword Planner to see what people are searching for online. What keywords (related to your vertical) are seeing more searches than usual? 

     

    Uncovering those search trends can take some digging, but you might discover useful nuggets along the way!

     

    See what people are wishing for

    If you have a wishlist feature on your website, you can use that to figure out what people want to buy. Dig into your wishlist data and use it to determine which products to market and sell.

     

    When you combine the above with historical data and traditional demand forecasting, you’ll be able to effectively plan your assortment and sales initiatives. 

     

    Re-open with a splash

    Re-opening your store is a big deal, so it’s fitting that you make your relaunch… well, big. Create a huge campaign around your grand re-opening. 

     

    Rather than just putting your “OPEN” sign back up and hoping people will come in, proactively implement strategies to drive traffic.

     

    Here are a few ideas:

    • Launch celebratory offers and sales

    • Hold an in-store event complete with giveaways and swag bags

    • Email local press or influencers in your area to generate buzz

    • Market your grand reopening to email subscribers

    • Create a lead-up-to-opening campaign on your social media

    • Consider paid social media advertising to boost awareness

    Implementing a combination of the above tactics will allow you to open with a splash. And when you combine these steps with the data-backed insights that we talked about above, you’ll be able to maximize traffic and sales. 

     

    Re-emphasize health and safety

    Consumers will start shopping again, but they will likely be more cautious going back to brick-and-mortar stores. 

     

    Alleviate your customers’ concerns by communicating and enforcing extra health and safety measures. These measures will depend on your specific store, but will likely involve something along the lines of:

     

    Encouraging space between shoppers

    Maybe you need to keep your store displays and fixtures farther apart to give people more space to move around. You could also encourage physical space at the checkout counter by putting markers on the floor that are six feet apart, so shoppers know where they should stand while waiting in line.

     

    Limiting physical contact

    You could limit contact between customers and employees through things like self-checkout as well as by keeping your staff lean. You could also limit the number of people who can enter your store at any given time.

     

    Added cleanliness and sanitation practices

    Clean and sanitize your store often. Give extra attention to high-touch areas, such as popular product displays and the frequently visited sections of your store. If you have baskets or shopping carts, wipe them down before each shopper touches them. 

     

    And whatever measures you decide to take, communicate everything to your customers. Display prominent signage in-store and include your policies and action steps in all your customer communications. 

     

    For best results, use a reassuring tone in your messages. For instance, when emailing customers about your grand re-opening, craft a message that strikes a balance between promotional and reassuring. You want to welcome customers back to your business while making them feel safe and confident that they can shop at your store. 

     

    It’s never too early to prepare for retail’s bounce-back

    While no-one knows for sure when retailers can open their doors again, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Laying the groundwork today will put you in a position to succeed tomorrow and beyond. 

     

    Let us know in the comments how you’re planning to re-open your store and excite your customers. Good luck and stay safe!

    26 Shopify Apps for Retailer’s Grappling with COVID-19

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    Post-COVID-19 retail means adapting to a changing online retail landscape. Check out our selection of apps that could help to streamline your business.

    Marsello gradient over a Shopify logo. 26 Shopify apps for retailesr grappling with COVID-19

     

    Steering your business through the COVID-19 pandemic means adapting to a changing online retail landscape. With many businesses going through a temporary slowdown, it’s more important than ever to give your Shopify customers the optimum shopping experience they deserve. View these useful apps that are designed to streamline your business operations.

    Sales and Marketing

    Many people have temporarily cut back on online purchases, so it’s crucial to attract Internet shoppers who are searching for quality products. That’s where top-notch sales and marketing apps can make the difference.

     

    Marsello logo

    Marsello 

    Marsello can help you develop a customer loyalty program that lets you reward customer behaviors that benefit your business. You can also streamline and uplevel your marketing initiatives with automated, customizable email, promotional campaigns, and highly effective SMS text messaging service.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    In the retail business realm, having a steady stream of loyal customers who purchase from you again and again is like hitting the jackpot. Marsello can help you achieve that by powering an attractive loyalty program plus automating your marketing and customer communications. That way, you can focus on growing your business and serving shoppers better.

     

     

    Gift Box logo

    Gift Box  Free Gift Motivator

    This handy app encourages your customers to spend a little more and receive an enticing freebie. You design the free gift framework, and the gifts automatically appear in your customer’s cart when they meet the free gift criteria.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Customers are often willing to spend a little more to get a free gift, which helps to increase your business’ Average Order Volume (AOV). Offering a free gift with purchase can help to build customer loyalty and encourage repeat business.

     

     

    Spin-a-Sale logo

    Spin-a-Sale

    The popular Spin-a-Sale app demonstrates retail gamification at its best. When a visitor enters their email address, this interactive pop-up displays a spinning prize wheel that settles on a random, one-time discount. Visitors can use those discounts on your eCommerce site.  

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Visitors are likely to stay engaged with your emails and prize wheels, helping to boost your email signup rate and build customer loyalty. And, discount-laden shoppers are more likely to jump on your eCommerce site and make a purchase. This app easily adds subscribers to your Shopify customer list and automated email integrations.

     

     

    Yotpo logo

     Yotpo

    This customer-themed eCommerce marketing platform enables you to easily collect favorable customer reviews and referrals, plus photos and videos. Yotpo’s powerful marketing tools can spur on-the-fence visitors to become enthusiastic customers.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Favorable customer reviews and referrals attract new customers who already have a positive impression of your business. Showcasing customer videos and photos on your website helps to strengthen your customer relationships and build customer loyalty.  

     

     

    Financials

    Tracking your online business’ financial indicators is especially crucial right now, so arm your business with solid financial apps. Here are some suggestions.

     

     

    Quickbooks Sync by Bold logo

    Quickbooks Sync by Bold

    This workhorse app automatically syncs your Shopify orders into your Quickbooks Online program. Data for expenses, payouts, and fees also migrate into your accounting program.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    You won’t have to manually enter your Shopify data into your Quickbooks Online program. This system efficiency enables you to quickly obtain a Shopify financial status report.

     

     

    XERO logo

    Xero by OneSaas

    OneSaas targets workflows that start with a specific transaction. When you create a quote, an order, an invoice, or a receipt, you only have to enter that data once. OneSaas shares that data so it’s available to all functions in that sequence.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Xero by OneSaas can free up your time for other higher-value tasks. And, because time is definitely money, you’ll spend less time on mundane tasks that don’t enhance your bottom line.

     

    TaxJar Sales Tax Automation logo

     

    TaxJar Sales Tax Automation

    All businesses are required to pay sales tax to their respective state and local governments. The hardworking TaxJar Sales Tax Automation app maintains daily sales tax balances due for all your selling platforms’ sales. Plus, TaxJar automatically submits your business’ tax forms before their due dates.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    TaxJar Sales Tax Automation makes time-consuming manual sales tax calculation a thing of the past. Save valuable time crunching the numbers, and be confident that TaxJar is on top of sales tax payments for every applicable state. TaxJar submits the sales tax report to all required state and local government tax offices.

     

     

    SimplyCost logo

    SimplyCost ‑ Profit Tracking 

    Tracking your business’ expenses and profit is important, but you don’t want to spend excessive amounts of time getting the answers you need. SimplyCost – Profit Tracking automatically calculates your store’s profit after considering all recurring and one-time expenses associated with your sales.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    SimplyCost – Profit Tracking helps you save time by effortlessly calculating your store’s profits. By generating fast custom reports, you can gauge your store’s performance and determine your most profitable products. This valuable data will help you to execute better business decisions.

     

     

    Social Media

    Wide-ranging “stay at home” orders are keeping potential customers within their homes for weeks on end. With viewers constantly browsing their social feeds, smart retailers are executing compelling social media initiatives that will ideally translate into completed sales.

     

     

    WhatsApp Chat logo

    WhatsApp Chat

    For eCommerce retailers, smooth order communication and processing are key to completed orders. Toward that end, the WhatsApp Chat + Abandoned Cart app provides fast customer support and order functionality. To minimize abandoned cart problems, the Abandoned Cart Recovery app sends messages that include discount codes to help complete sales.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Beyond WhatsApp’s eCommerce order functionality, this is a hugely popular communications platform. By blending it into your eCommerce online retail operation, you’ll gain added credibility with social media-savvy customers.

     

     

    Instagram Influencer Marketing logo

    Instagram Influencer Marketing

    In the realm of social media powerhouses, Instagram influencers carry a lot of clout. The Instagram Influencer Marketing app’s Carro program lists all the influencers that appear on your store’s customer, follower, and email subscriber lists. After Carro facilitates your collaboration with an influencer, you’ll be able to communicate with and supply products to them.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    When used properly, Instagram Influencer Marketing can widen your reach on social networks. By cultivating a long-term relationship with Instagram influencers, you have highly credible allies who will help to promote your brand.

     

     

    Facebook Messenger Marketing logo

    Facebook Messenger Marketing

    If you’re looking for an additional marketing medium, Facebook Messenger is an increasingly popular choice. In fact, Messenger boasts an impressive 80%+ message open rate. With that optimistic backdrop, you can use the platform to generate more engagement. But do it soon before the space gets too crowded!

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Why leverage Facebook Messenger Marketing? Chances are, you’ll reach customers and prospects while they’re browsing through their favorite Facebook channels. It’s simple, in this relaxed and familiar setting, customers may be more receptive to your marketing messages, so it’s a great opportunity to try and reach them.

     

     

    Instafeed logo

    Instafeed – Instagram Feed

    Instafeed lets you boost your store’s online presence by adding crisp, new Instagram content. Images and videos are welcome, and you won’t need coding skills to complete this fast, easy installation.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Adding Instagram content to your store will encourage browsers to enjoy the photos and videos. When visitors stay longer, they’re more likely to explore your store’s offerings and purchase products.

     

     

    Analytics

    As a retailer, you need to know exactly what’s working (and what isn’t working). You also want to pinpoint your revenue sources, and learn about emerging financial problems, so you can make smarter business decisions.

     

     

    Hotjar logo

    Hotjar Install

    Hotjar views your site from your visitors’ perspective and analyzes each aspect of those interactions. Note: The Hotjar Install (Unofficial) app isn’t affiliated with Hotjar. You’ll need a Hotjar account to implement this app.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Hotjar will carefully analyze your store’s instant feedback, feedback polls, form analysis, surveys, and conversion funnels drop-offs, among other metrics. Using that data, you can determine what is (and isn’t) working so you can make adjustments to improve site effectiveness.

     

     

    Conversific logo

    Conversific

    Conversific has funneled varied Google Analytics data and eCommerce metrics into one powerful app. Even better, Conversific has distilled those mountains of data into 10+ action-oriented reports.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    With just a few clicks, you can view your gross profit, profit margins, and other reports that support profit growth and conversion. Doing so will allow you to get a steer on how your business is doing and you’ll get a good picture of your profitability and market position.

     

     

    Glew logo

    Glew: Multichannel Analytics

    You don’t have time to hunt through your inventory, marketing, sales, shipping, and other functions to get the analytics data you need. Enter Glew, a multichannel analytics app that gathers all your eCommerce tools in one place. View your data via customized dashboards that enable segmentation and filtering.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Glew’s analytics solutions can identify your most valuable customers. Analytics results also help you to determine how (and when) to invest in channels with the best ROI potential, and develop other strategies to improve your bottom line.

     

     

    Customer Service

    Providing excellent customer service can set you apart from your competitors, and can help to build long-term customer loyalty. Armed with the right tools, you’ll be well equipped to provide your customers with customer service they’ll rave about. 

     

    Messenger Channel logo

    Messenger Channel

    While customers interact with your store’s Facebook Page, they can also buy products from your online Messenger store. If shoppers have questions, you can address them in Messenger. You’ll be able to fulfill Messenger-based orders through Shopify and track your Facebook sales through your Analytics pages.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    When customers order products while chatting on Facebook Messenger, you receive that sales revenue. At the same time, you’re engaging with customers, which boosts your profile and encourages relationship building and long-term loyalty.

     

     

    HelpCenter logo

    HelpCenter

    You want to provide good customer service, but spending time on emails and live chats is time-consuming. Instead, the Help Center app posts frequently asked questions on a searchable Help Center Page. Customize the page to match your brand, and offer services in varied languages.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    By serving your customers via the Help Center app, you’ll provide valuable details on your store and its offerings. You’ll spend much less time answering questions, enabling you to focus on helping your business grow.

     

     

    Tidio logo

    Tidio Live Chat

    Tidio Live Chat gathers your email, live chat, and Messenger channels together in one location. The Live Chat function utilizes intelligent bots that jump on abandoned cart issues and often save the sale via live chats and discounts. In fact, studies have shown that live chats can increase sales by 40 percent. Tidio Live Chat is available in multiple languages. 

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Tidio Live Chat is an invisible partner who never sleeps. By interacting with customers on your behalf, you’ll see increased sales and fewer abandoned carts. You’ll also enjoy easy access to your email and Messenger channels in one location.

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

    Depending on your budget, you may need to reduce paid advertising in the short term. As a result, you’ll need to work extra hard to drive organic traffic.

     

     

    SEO Image Optimizer logo

    SEO Image Optimizer – Auto SEO

    Recognize the value of SEO-optimized images, but don’t have the time or expertise to handle these tasks yourself? With a one-click installation, the SEO Image Optimizer – Auto SEO app monitors and optimizes your store daily to comply with Google’s best image search practices.  

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    This hardworking app will automatically optimize your images to comply with Google’s best image search criteria. As a result, you’ll be favorably positioned in Google’s search rankings.

     

    Plug in SEO logo

    Plug in SEO

    The one-stop, Plug in SEO app fixes existing SEO issues with your Shopify store. The app also optimizes your blog, adds valuable keyword tools, and performs updates as search engines change their algorithms.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Your improved SEO position will drive more organic traffic to your store. Better-optimized SEO also helps to improve your search engine rankings.

     

     

    SEO Manager logo

    SEO Manager

    This value-packed SEO package includes varied tools, and real-time feedback, designed to help your store rank better in search engines. SEO Manager also identifies and automatically repairs your website’s broken links.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    SEO Manager helps you to improve your search engine rankings. In turn, your store enhances its online visibility and will likely see increased traffic to your eCommerce store.

     

    Inventory Management & Order Fulfillment

    With more people shopping online, efficient order processing has become extremely important. Ecommerce merchants need an order fulfillment system that handles all transaction aspects. Brick-and-mortar stores need a proven tool that helps them to manage their curbside pickups and delivery orders.

     

     

    Shippo

    Shippo

    Processing orders through several sales channels can be a laborious process. Shippo syncs your channels so you can manage your orders on a single platform. You can also generate discounted shipping levels, efficiently track your shipments, and update your customers.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Shippo’s time-saving order processing and tracking app saves time and reduces your frustration factor. This all-in-one solution reduces duplication of effort, giving you more time for higher-value tasks.

     

     

    ShippingEasy Logo

    ShippingEasy

    If you regularly ship via the United States Postal Service (or USPS), the ShippingEasy app can save you money on domestic and international shipping costs. You’ll receive a free Postal Service postage account, plus discounted rates on all services. ShippingEasy also supports delivery to APO/FPO/DPO locations. 

     

    Plus, you can print labels in batches, avoiding laborious one-at-a-time printing tasks. As an added bonus, ShippingEasy boasts an award-winning support team.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    ShippingEasy’s discounted USPS shipping rates will certainly save you money, and the savings will increase with your processed volume. Printing labels in batches will also save valuable time. 

     

     

    Stocky logo

    Stocky

    Managing your store’s inventory is a balancing act. You don’t want to run out of popular products, but you also don’t want to tie up too much money in inventory. Stocky enables you to manage your purchase orders from one location, and you’ll quickly learn when it’s time to replenish stock. Use Stocky’s data to evaluate inventory and make decisions accordingly.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    By giving you an accurate inventory snapshot, Stocky helps you to avoid spending your hard-earned cash on excessive stock. When an item reaches the “Replenish Now” level, you’ll get an immediate alert. This timely data makes it much easier to gauge your ongoing inventory needs.

     

     

    Store Pickup + Delivery logo

    Store Pickup + Delivery

    Retailers of all sizes can benefit from having store pickup and delivery options, so this app is a game-changer. Store Pickup + Delivery, you can implement local delivery and curbside pickup, while keeping your shipping calendar clean and up-to-date.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Utilizing the curbside pick-up method saves you money on picking, packaging, and shipping costs. Local product delivery is a desirable concierge service. Social-distancing customers will appreciate these options for receiving their products with minimal risk. By offering these choices, you’ll help to build customer loyalty and encourage repeat business.

     

     

    Now Back In Stock logo

    Now Back In Stock

    This handy app tells your customers when their desired out-of-stock items are now available for purchase. Send alerts via email or SMS text messaging, and customize the messages to reflect your store’s brand.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Because the customer already wants to purchase a “Now Back in Stock” item, you’ll likely generate a sale. By obtaining the customer’s email and mobile contact information, you can add the customer to upcoming marketing campaigns. You’ll also promote customer loyalty by offering this desirable service.

     

    Your turn

    Now we’d love to hear from you. Which Shopify apps are invaluable to your store during these times? Let us know in the comments. 

    BigCommerce Apps to Help You Thrive Through COVID-19

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    These BigCommerce apps help to ramp up your customer service and run your business in the wake of Coronavirus (COVID-19) as it continues to develop.

    Marsello-BigCommerce-Apps-Covid-19

    As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to impact businesses nationwide, many eCommerce retailers know that providing customers with exceptional shopping experiences is vitally important. These useful apps can help you to ramp up your customer service and run your business more smoothly.

    Sales and Marketing

    With fewer customers making purchases from online retailers, it’s especially important to attract Internet shoppers who are in the market for your merchandise. Innovative sales and marketing apps will help you to convert web browsers into paying customers.

     

    Marsello logo

    Marsello

    Marsello’s customer loyalty program rewards customers for engaging in behaviors that help to grow your store. You can also use Marsello to launch promotional offers, super-effective one-off SMS and email marketing campaigns, and automated, customizable emails that trigger at the perfect time, to the right customers.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    By implementing a well-crafted customer loyalty program and complimenting that with seamless automated marketing, you’ll build “win-win” customer relationships that will help your business grow. Worldwide, omnichannel stores (those that sell across multiple sales channels) are adapting to a new way of retail and communications with built-in customer rewards are absolutely essential for keeping your customers coming back!

     

     

    Answerbase logo

    Answerbase

    Answering your customers’ product questions encourages them to make a purchase. Answerbase helps ease the load of this by adding a product Q&A feature to your product pages. Your team’s product experts can address questions and drive people closer to a purchase decision.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Answerbase helps to increase your conversions by giving them the info they need while they’re shopping. You’ll also improve SEO and organic search rankings because you’re adding quality content to your product pages.

     

     

    fomo logo

    Fomo

    Shoppers often want social proof before they’ll purchase a product from an online store. The Fomo app provides that validation by showcasing product reviews and real-time orders on your storefront. After customers view a Fomo notification, they can easily add items to their shopping cart without exiting the page.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    When shoppers see customers buying your products, they’ll likely be enticed to make a purchase. As a result, you’ll see an increase in your store’s on-page sales conversions and completed sales.

     

     

    affiliatly logo

    Affiliatly

    Maintain full control over your affiliate program with the multifunctional Affiliatly app. Track each affiliate’s user visits and customer orders. Manage your affiliates’ earning methods and income percentages. Customize the app so it blends with your store’s appearance.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    By definition, affiliates build links and help to promote your store. You’ll have full control over how the affiliates perform those activities and can structure your affiliate interactions to benefit your business.

     

     

    Financials

    Maintaining an accurate picture of your business’ financials is important, especially in today’s economic climate. These beneficial apps make it easy to view your store’s sales, expenses, inventory, and other relevant functions.

     

    QBO logo

    QBO

    The efficient QBO app collects data about your products, orders, customers, shipping charges, taxes, and more. Next, QBO transfers this vital data directly from your eCommerce store to your Quickbooks Online account.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Using the QBO app eliminates the need for manual data entry. Potential data entry errors are also a thing of the past. Using this time-saving app enables you to devote your efforts to higher-level business growth tasks.

     

     

    Xero logo

    Xero

    The Xero online accounting app makes it easy for your small business to copy operations data to your accounting program. Xero syncs your products, orders, customers, shipping, taxes, and other charges to your accounting software. Automate frequently completed tasks such as creating invoices, recording expenses, and generating reports.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Xero frees you up from endless data entry tasks, giving you valuable time to work on higher-level operations goals. You’ll also eliminate the possibility of manual data entry errors that can completely skew your accounting results.

     

     

    Taxman logo

    Taxman

    If your eCommerce store sells regulated products such as alcohol or nicotine, Taxman will automatically calculate and charge the correct excise tax for these product sales. You just need to define the geographic zone and tax rate, and Taxman takes care of the rest.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    With help from Taxman, you’ll navigate an often-forgotten type of product sales tax. Even better, you’ll remain compliant with all applicable tax laws.

     

    Social Media

    With increased time on their hands, more people are browsing their social feeds, looking for something to buy. Toward that end, you should introduce compelling social media initiatives that will draw them to your eCommerce store.

     

    Here are some BigCommerce apps that can help.

     

     

    Elfsight logo

    Instagram Feed by Elfsight

    Elfsight Instagram Feed will blend your eye-catching Instagram content into your eCommerce store website. Use numerous customization options to match the app’s widget to your website style and color scheme.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Your Instagram-enhanced website will see increased audience engagement, and you’ll also get more Instagram followers. Most importantly, you’ll see a boost in your eCommerce website’s conversion rate.

     

     

    ContentPlum logo

    ContentPlum

    ContentPlum provides shoppers with multiple social feeds, and adds intriguing relevant content, to promote better social engagement and social trust. The app can be used for Shoppable Instagram Gallery, Social Hub, Social Wall, Social Contests, Social Campaigns, Media Buzz, and more.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    By inviting viewers to engage with social media widgets on your store’s site, you’ll enhance social trust and build credibility. Because customers are more likely to buy from someone they know and trust, you’ll improve the likelihood that these visitors will turn into paying customers.

     

     

    Promote your eCommerce store’s products on up to 14 social media networks without duplicating your efforts. The highly efficient Outfy app helps you to create visually appealing product videos, high-impact sales promotions, and automated posts designed for social media audiences.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Outfy’s broad social reach will help to attract more viewers to your eCommerce store. Over time, you’ll see an increase in your product sales.

     

     

    Take advantage of free, customizable social sharing buttons for popular social media networks. You don’t need coding skills to build and load the mobile-friendly buttons. In addition, the installation process won’t slow down your store’s website.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    By installing the social sharing buttons, you’ll see an increase in followers and social shares. This increased viewership gives you the opportunity to promote product specials and collect more emails for your marketing list.

     

     

    Analytics

    Generally speaking, retailers want to know what’s working and what hasn’t met their expectations. They want to maximize their revenue sources, solve their financial problems, and set themselves up for success. These powerful apps can play a key role in that ever-evolving process.

     

    Shogun logo
     

     

    Build custom eCommerce website pages with Shogun’s versatile drag-and-drop page builder. Professionally designed home page, landing page, blog pages, and product pages templates are compatible with your existing theme. Compare completed pages for metrics’ results, and evaluate marketing campaigns with targeted analytics.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Your well-coordinated eCommerce website will enhance your business’ online credibility. Concurrently, you can compare the effectiveness of different pages and marketing campaigns. The comparisons’ results will help you make adjustments that can move your business forward.

     

    Price2Spy logo

    Price2Spy

    Monitor your competitors’ prices with the real-time Price2Spy app. Applicable to businesses of all sizes, this service enables online retailers to track competitors’ prices and price changes. Track multiple competitors’ websites for maximum benefit. Determine which of your eCommerce store’s products can vary in price, and easily make these price changes.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Price2Spy's comprehensive pricing reports will display incremental market changes. The reports will also show whether your competitors are ramping prices up or easing them down.

     

    Lucky Orange provides insights into your'eCommerce store’s functionality. View visitor recordings of site transactions, and learn why some shoppers don’t make a purchase from your store. To change that, Lucky Orange helps you answer visitors’ questions through live chat and offers live view to co-browse with them to help them find the product they need.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    When you learn why most site visitors don’t convert to paying customers, you can take steps to turn the situation around. By tweaking your eCommerce site, you’ll be well-positioned to increase your conversions and sales.

     

     

    Customer Service

    Top-notch customer service can help you rise above the competition and promote long-term customer loyalty. Adding the right communications tools to your eCommerce retailer’s toolkit can streamline the process and convert customer questions into sales.

     

     

    To chat with shoppers while they visit your eCommerce store, install the LiveChat + Product Cards widget on your website. You can also provide product suggestions and assist customers through the buying process.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    The LiveChat + Product Cards app enables you to interact with shoppers while they’re actively engaged on your eCommerce store’s site. When you answer their questions or provide other customer support, you increase your chances of making a sale.

     

     

    Social messaging platforms, including Quick Facebook Chat, are fast becoming preferred communications venues. With Quick Facebook Chat, your customer can easily use Facebook Messenger to get product-related assistance and gain satisfaction.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    By using Quick Facebook Chat, you’ll avoid the need for third-party live chat agents. Customers can “Like” your store’s Facebook page from the chat window, which increases their engagement. These Messenger encounters can also help you to cross-sell products and introduce new items.

     

     

    While you’re on the Slack communications platform, use the Live Chat for Slack app to chat with visitors. Customize the chat backdrop with your logo and other helpful visuals. Then, send visitors directly to your eCommerce store. While they’re browsing your site, convert them to email list subscribers and followers, and ideally to paying customers.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    By putting Live Chat for Slack into your communications mix, you’ll save money on a third-party chat platform. You’ll also maintain better control of the customer conversion sequence, increasing your chances of turning visitors into paying customers.

     

     

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

    You may need to temporarily tighten advertising purse strings. To get customers to your eCommerce sites and brick-and-mortar stores, you must take steps to drive organic traffic to your business.

     

    Let’s say you edit, optimize, and analyze your eCommerce store’s titles and meta descriptions for categories, products, and pages. FavSEO streamlines that process, enabling you to perform those operations at a single location. You’ll also uncover new keyword opportunities, track your keyword rankings in Google, and submit your sitemap for review.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    FavSEO’s one-stop optimizing tool saves you valuable time, freeing you up for other important tasks. By tracking keyword rankings and getting an SEO audit, you’ll improve your SEO program’s effectiveness. In turn, this helps to increase your store’s visitor traffic.

     

     

    ProSEOTracker logo

    ProSEOTracker

    Optimizing your SEO metadata and content and managing your blog and SEO issues is easy with ProSEOTracker’s one-stop SEO hub. Monitoring your competitors, and working with Google Analytics or AdWords, are simpler tasks when you’re not visiting multiple websites.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    With your SEO analysis and optimization resources in one place, completing SEO-related tasks will be a less laborious and time-consuming process. You’ll also realize increased efficiency by viewing the data from one location.

     

     

    Search engines (including Google) often display extra features on your eCommerce store’s search results. These features, such as product prices, review stars, and availability, work together to make the search results more useful and increase clicks to your site.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    With the SEO Rich Snippets App, you’ll be able to create FAQ pages, “How To” pages and Video structured data that combine to increase your site’s appeal. Over time, these features will bring extra traffic to your store, and should help to increase your sales.

     

    Inventory Management & Order Fulfillment

    With “stay at home” orders in place, consumers have plenty of time to browse and buy from eCommerce retailers. As such, you must have a reliable order fulfillment program so customers get their products on time.

     

     

    Lightspeed

    Lightspeed

    Manage your eCommerce + physical store’s inventory with Lightspeed’s cloud-based sales and inventory app. Edit product features in bulk, and reorder stock automatically. Lightspeed Retail also sheds light on key retail metrics in real time to help you make the best decisions.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Lightspeed’s one-stop POS, inventory, and retail management system puts an end to tedious product entry and tracking work. At the same time, you’ll have access to a powerful cloud-based sales and inventory tool that provides all the data you need to keep your physical shop and eCommerce store’s inventory under control.

     

     

    The small business-friendly Sendle app enables affordable door-to-door package delivery. When Sendle integrates with your online store, you’ll receive live shipping rate quotes that you deliver to customers. Sendle also enables efficient order processing and tracking. Oh, and Sendle’s delivery service is 100 percent carbon neutral.

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    Sendle’s combined shipping rate quote, order processing, and package tracking services offer your customers an all-in-one shipping solution. Sendle is also a time saver, as you won’t have to wait for delayed shipping rate quotes that could delay order completion.

     

     

    Endicia logoEndicia

    If you regularly ship products via the United States Postal Service (USPS), the Endicia eCommerce integration offers several helpful services. With your no-fee Endicia account, you’ll save up to 51 percent compared to USPS Retail and USPS.com Click-N-Ship prices. Give your customers real-time USPS shipping quotes, and print shipping labels from your computer. 

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    The Endicia eCommerce integration will save you money. In addition, offering real-time shipping quotes and printing shipping labels gives you control over each step in the process.

     

     

    The Store Pickup + Delivery by Zapiet app invites customers to decide how they want to receive their purchased products. The customer can opt for traditional shipping, local delivery, or in-store pickup.  

     

    Benefits for Your Business

    By offering the customer several product receipt options, you’ll likely be perceived as highly responsive to their needs. That favorable attribute can play a key role in building customer loyalty.

     

    Your turn

    Did we miss anything? What other BigCommerce are helping retailers through COVID-19? Let us know in the comments.

     

    How to Encourage Ecommerce Sales Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

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    To help you navigate post-pandemic retail and knock it out the park, we’ve compiled some tips on using online channels to encourage sales and engagement.

    No matter what type of retail store you have, there’s a high chance that your business has been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Cities all over the world are enacting ‘Safer at Home’ orders and quarantine measures, and these actions have left many retailers no choice but to temporarily shut down their physical operations. Some countries are even requiring businesses to close unless they’re deemed an essential service.

    With most consumers staying home, it’s quite evident that the only way to reach them is through digital channels.

    Here are some tips on how to use online channels to encourage sales and engagement during this period.

     

    1. Keep your channels tightly integrated


    If you have an existing brick-and-mortar store and want to bring your sales online, the first step you should take is to integrate your online and offline systems. 

    Doing so will help you set up your sales channels correctly, so your inventory and sales data will be synced between your physical and online stores. Plus, you’ll save time from having to re-enter your product information and you can eliminate human error due to doubling up on data entry. 

    It’s best to use systems that are already compatible with each other, so get in touch with your POS solution provider and ask them about the eCommerce platforms that they integrate with. Be sure to discuss the types of data that are synced between systems and talk to your provider about how to get set up quickly and efficiently. 

    For best results, choose solutions that can also connect to your marketing software, so you can seamlessly launch email, SMS, and customer engagement campaigns for driving sales. 

    Pro tip: Did you know that Marsello integrates with leading POS and eCommerce platforms? Connect Marsello to your existing solutions so you can easily automate your loyalty marketing efforts and deliver a seamless customer experience.

     

    2. Promote relevant products


    The needs of your customers during the current coronavirus health crisis have shifted, so your marketing has to evolve along with these changes. Part of doing that involves promoting products that are relevant to what your shoppers are experiencing. 

    Go through your current catalog and look for items that consumers need at this time. For example, if you’re a furniture retailer, then now would be a great time to promote your office products, since most people are working from home. Selling books or gift items? Look for products that people would help people navigate what could be a high-stress situation.

    Here’s an example from the crystal store Energy Muse. Since many people are experiencing coronavirus stress and anxiety, Energy Muse recently sent out informative content on how to use the crystal Black Tourmaline to alleviate negative emotions.

    What’s good about Energy Muse’s message is it led with informative content. Rather than a hard sell, the email’s first call to action took people to a video in which Energy Muse’s founder-led viewers through a guided visualization to relieve stress and anxiety. 

    And should people choose to purchase the crystal, there’s a second CTA towards the lower part of the email. 

     

    Energy Muse uses a one-off email campaign to communicate clearly with their customers.

     

    Note: While this tactic can be effective, your marketing efforts shouldn’t be exploitive. For example, if you’re an apparel retailer that’s suddenly selling hand sanitizer, you’ll only forge distrust with consumers – and potentially get your ads banned.  

    Sites like Facebook are prohibiting exploitive tactics in ads by banning promotions for things like face masks.

    If you’re planning to market relevant products, stick with items that are already in your catalog or ones that are truly in line with your brand. 

     

    3. Tap into influencer and community marketing


    Digital content consumption is likely to increase in the coming days and weeks as more people turn to the web. Consumers are spending more time on websites and social media – with most doing it to pass the time, keep up with the latest news, and seek inspiration and entertainment.

    Consider tapping into that online attention by teaming up with influencers or even your existing customers. Send them product samples or create joint content pieces together. 

    Encourage your community to tag you in their posts. Emphasize the fact that with many businesses being forced to close, customer engagement (even if it comes from no-cost actions like liking or sharing posts) goes a long way. 

    Check out this post from home decor store Pretty Little Home, which thanks customers for the support that the community has shown the business. 

     

    Pretty Little Home uses influencer marketing to reach out to more customers.

     

    “Whether it’s a like, tag, share, or order on the website... It really means the world especially at a time like this,” read the post. 

     

    4. Spread the goodwill


    We’ve known for a while that good deeds and corporate social responsibility can drive customer engagement and loyalty. That’s why if your business can afford it, consider launching an initiative designed to help those in need during this crisis. 

    It can be a charitable campaign, a special offer for the less fortunate, or even a job opportunity. One brand that’s doing this well is the fitness store Gymshark. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many gyms have been forced to close their doors, resulting in trainers and fitness instructors losing their source of income. 

    To help out, Gymshark announced that it’s offering an hourly rate to personal trainers struggling to find work. Trainers would be doing online workouts in partnership with the brand and earn money while they’re at it. 

    The post was widely shared on Instagram and thousands of people liked and commented on the post. 

     

    Gymshark offers personal trainers a covid-19 deal.

     

    5. Constantly reassure your customers


    Building trust is more important than ever. You won’t be able to drive sales if shoppers don’t feel safe and secure buying from you. That’s why you need to constantly reassure your customers about the health and safety precautions that you’re taking to keep everyone safe from COVID-19.

    How often are you cleaning and sanitizing your store? What are you doing to protect your staff? What measures are you taking to protect your customers? Be specific and outline everything in your customer communications assets (e.g., email, social media, in-store signage). 

    A good example of this practice in action comes from LA Cafe in Downtown Los Angeles. While the restaurant is closed to diners, LA Cafe still accepts online orders that can be picked up or delivered. 

    To make people feel safe about ordering, LA Cafe published a detailed post outlining everything that it’s doing to address COVID-19 concerns. 

     

    The LA Cafe uses Instagram and social media to communicate COVID-19 changes.

     

    6. Run promotions


    If sales are slow (and they likely are during this period), it may be a good idea to run a promotion to entice people to buy. 

    Do note that you’ll be competing with plenty of other brands for shoppers’ attention, so you want your promotions to be as relevant as possible. The best way to do this is to send offers based on each customer’s shopping history and brand interactions. 

    Consider the case of the designer footwear retailer Bulo Shoes, which couples Marsello's loyalty program with email marketing automation to send marketing messages that are always on-point. With Marsello’s help, Bulo Shoes’ automated emails are set up in segments based on customers’ previous behaviors. The store runs separate automated campaigns for first-time customers, abandoned cart recovery, lapsed customers, and to wish customers ‘Happy Birthday’. 

    By sending automated emails that are triggered by customers’ actions, Bulo Shoes are able to reach out to customers in the most relevant and timely way, and thus maximize both revenue and customer engagement.

     

    Bulo Shoes use automated emails to run promotions that target their customers following actions like making a purchase.

     

    What if you can’t sell or fulfill orders?


    The new measures and policies around COVID-19 have been particularly tough on SMBs that are deemed “non-essential”. In addition to store closures, some businesses have been forced to shut down their offices, facilities, and fulfillment centers to slow the spread of the virus. In such cases selling and fulfilling orders – even those made online – isn’t achievable at this time. 

    If you’re in this predicament, try the following tactics:

    Delay shipments and offer generous rewards

    If you can still technically sell online but are unable to fulfill orders, you could run special promotions to get people to buy. That’s what Madame Fancy Pants, a Wellington-based retailer is doing. Due to the coronavirus, the team at Madame Fancy Pants are unable to ship out products in the time being. But they’re still taking orders online, with the commitment to fulfill those orders once isolation measures have been lifted. 

    To encourage people to buy, Madame Fancy Pants sent out a one-off email campaign using Marsello. The email lets their customers know that Madame Fancy Pants will be rewarding shoppers with double loyalty points for their full-priced purchases.

     

    Madame Fancy Pants keeps customers up to day using Marsello’s One-off Email Campaigns

     

    Enable Wishlists

    Another tactic for keeping your customers interested and excited while you’re unable to fill their orders is to allow them to create wishlists of the items you usually stock. Check out our recent blog on top apps for Shopify for ideas on which apps you could use to integrate this feature into your store. 

    Wellington-based pet products retailer, Smack Bang, have done a wonderful job of communicating this recent update with their customers through their social media channels. Check out this Facebook post (note that they’ve even pinned it to ensure customers see the update) that lets their customers know that although they’ve had to shut up shop with the COVID-19 lockdown enforced in New Zealand, their customers can now create wishlists on the Smack Bang online store. 

     

    Smack Bang uses Facebook to let their customers know that they can now create wishlists.

     

    Consider digital products 

    If possible, sell digital products like ebooks, digital art, online consultations, or even courses. 

    One retailer that’s currently promoting digital products is Vroman’s, Southern California’s oldest independent bookstore. Like many other retailers, Vroman’s had to temporarily shut down its operations because of the coronavirus. 

    To continue driving sales, Vroman’s is encouraging shoppers to purchase its ebooks and audiobooks instead, and the bookshop provides instructions on how to do this on social media and on its website. 

     

    Vromans goes Omnichannel

     

    Sell gift cards

    If you’re not offering gift cards online yet, now is the time to sell and promote them. Digital gift cards give your customers the chance to support your business so you can secure much-needed income. In turn, your shoppers can enjoy your products and services once this crisis is over. 

    Consider the example of Pink Marble Studio, which offers lashes, nails, and waxing services. The company recently started offering gift cards online that customers can redeem at a later time.

     

    Pink Marble Studio offers gift cards

     

    Retail tip: For more results, sell these gift certificates at a discount rate to further entice your customers to make a purchase. 

     

    Keep up with social media and content marketing 

    Just because you can’t sell online, doesn’t mean you can’t connect with your customers. Maintain an active presence online by regularly updating your social media accounts and sharing valuable, ‘non-salesy’ content with your audience. 

    Doing so will help you grow your platform, traffic, and follower counts so that when business picks up again, you can hit the ground running. 

    We love this example from Australian wholefood retailer, Bare Wholefoods:

     

    Rough &amp; Bare uses Instagram to update customers and encourage them to keep shopping.

     

    Bare Wholefoods cleverly show that they’re still actively and safely delivering customers’ orders with a photo of outgoing orders ready for shipping. They add a message of genuine gratitude to their customers for their continued loyalty and support. Updates like this help customers to feel confident that they will get the products they’ve ordered, and also gives them the morale boost of knowing they’re helping support the local economy. 

     

    Notify customers with stock updates

    Chances are you’ll find that changes to shipping or production translate to slower restocking times – you may even find yourself out of stock or running low before you can restock, but there’s plenty you can do to keep your customers shopping with you.

    We’ve mentioned using wishlist tools that enable customers to create lists of items they’d like to buy that aren’t currently available, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Why not let your customers know when their desired items are back in stock and actively prompt them to shop with you.

    Online multi-brand retailer, The Iconic does a great job of this. When an item or size is out of stock, customers with a registered account are prompted to automatically at the item to their wishlist and sign-up for a ‘back in stock’ email, all through a beautifully designed pop-up. Notice the clever addition of product recommendations that may get customers to shop in that session anyway.

     

    The Iconic ties their Wishlist and Back in Stock tools to create a seamless experience for customers.
     

    It’s tough, but hang in there

    We know that the current retail environment can feel far from ideal. The best thing to do right now is to focus on things we can control. If you’re a retailer, these include your customer communications and marketing messages; do your best to stop on top of them, so you can keep driving sales. 

     

    16 BigCommerce Apps that Can Help You Run a Better Retail Business

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    BigCommerce have an impressive selection of apps available to support BigCommerce stores. Read on to find the best BigCommerce apps to meet you

    BigCommerce Top Apps

    BigCommerce is cementing itself as a popular eCommerce solution offering merchants a range of competitive features, no transaction fees, and an incredibly user-friendly platform. 

     

    Whether you're a brick and mortar shop looking to go online for the first time or have already run eCommerce sites in the past, you'll get the hang of BigCommerce in a snap. 

     

    The platform also offers an expansive selection of apps that easily integrate to support merchants – no matter whether they need solutions for accounting, inventory, or sales. 

     

    An expansive selection is great, of course, but of the hundreds of apps in various diverse categories, a little guidance can go a long way in selecting those that are going to best support your retail business.

     

    To save you hours sifting through reviews and user information, we've gone and done it for you and found the best BigCommerce apps to meet your store's needs.

     

    Lightspeed-Logo 1. Lightspeed

    Point of sale, inventory, and reporting tools are a must for every merchant, both online and offline, and Lightspeed brings users all of those tools – POS, inventory, and reporting, as well as customer engagement – to remove the hassle of managing a business. 

     

    The Lightspeed app makes it easy to manage sales, customers, products, and inventory from one easy to use platform. BigCommerce merchants can integrate with Lightspeed, so their sales, inventory, and customer data are synced seamlessly across both platforms. 

     

    Lightspeed and BigCommerce give you everything you need to power your retail business online and in-store.

     

    With these two solutions, you can remove the complexity out of going omnichannel. You can on top of your sales, stock, and customers while Lightspeed POS and BigCommerce stay perfectly in sync. You can even sell on your favorite social media and marketplaces!

    - Francesca Nicasio, Content Marketing Manager, Lightspeed Retail

     

    Engaging and communicating with your customers is a MUST if you want to keep them coming back, and this one of the reasons why you want to have Marsello in your retail toolkit. 

     

    Marsello is marketing automation and loyalty software that enables you to run personalized, data-driven campaigns at scale with added tools like customer segmentation and feedback collection. You can use Marsello to create email and SMS campaigns tailored to each user based on their purchase history, behavior, and previous interactions with your brand. 

     

    On the loyalty side, Marsello lets you create a rewards program that works seamlessly across your eCommerce and brick and mortar shop, so your customers can earn and redeem perks no matter where or how they're shopping!

     

    Accounting is a task that very few business owners enjoy. However, thanks to the beautiful integration of Xero Accounting on the BigCommerce platform, accounting need not be a chore. 

     

    Your store can be easily connected with your accounting software for a seamless flow of information, with your online and offline data and accounts perfectly in sync. Xero covers payments, payroll, inventory, invoicing, expenses, and performance reporting, which is all mobile compatible for quick insights. 

     

    Importing, managing, and shipping orders is an arduous process that requires tech power to reign in and refine. ShipStation is just the tool to cover BigCommerce users.  

     

    With ShipStation, eCommerce merchants can import orders from all selling channels into a single platform, manage them with custom automation, and ship through all the best carriers. The platform also makes returns easy, allows for next-level branding and marketing, and offers first-class user support. 

     

    With ShipStation, you can say "goodbye" to copying and pasting. Seamlessly sync your orders from BigCommerce and all your selling channels into a single platform to automate nearly every step of your shipping process. Save time and money with the fastest, easiest way to get products to your customers and provide an exceptional post-purchase experience and a little peace of mind with your own branded tracking page. 

    - Adam Foster, Content Marketing Director at ShipStation

    Shogun  5. Shogun

    Successful eCommerce stores need sites that visually stun and captivate audiences. Shogun enables BigCommerce users to create this through their powerful page builder and content management system. 

     

    BigCommerce users can build landing pages, blog pages, product pages, and more with the intuitive Shogun drag and drop page builder. These pages are then easily optimized to perform through AB testing, and once in use, the system also provides analytics and marketing features to schedule campaigns, and measure performance.

     

    Bigcommerce merchants have discovered that the simplicity of using our page builder not only gives them control over their storefront, but it's also helping them save on costs by greatly reducing development hours and time to market. It's empowering their marketing teams to maintain and implement site changes quickly without having to submit engineering tickets.

    - Phill Moorman, Director of Marketing, Shogun

     

    Understanding why your visitors don't convert is the most valuable tool to enable you to make changes to your business to ensure that they do. Lucky Orange helps you to do this. 

     

    Lucky Orange eliminates guesswork and gives merchants clear insight into how to optimize their site for more sales. They do this by tagging and tracking visitor behavior in all areas of the site's usability with Sales Chat, Recordings, Form Analytics, Dynamic Heatmaps, Polls, and more.

     

    “BigCommerce merchants use our software every day to find ways to turn more visitors into customers. The most important thing we want merchants to understand is that getting more people to “add to cart” isn’t guesswork. You don’t have to rely on assumptions to find the problems people are running into on your website when you can watch a session replay of exactly where a person clicked and scrolled on your site or look at form analytics to see where most people are getting stuck and abandoning your website.”

    - Danny Wajcman, Chief Operating Officer, Lucky Orange

     

    Order and inventory management, when done well, significantly increases business performance. While it's the universal goal of merchants to boost business performance, managing orders and inventory can require a helping hand. 

     

    Integrated with BigCommerce, Pulse Commerce helps merchants with real-time visibility and control of their inventory, orders, and customers across all sales channels – i.e., in-store, eCommerce website, and marketplaces.  With a 360-degree view of each customer order and interaction history, modifications are easy, and issues resolved quickly. 

     

    Dealing with customers abroad can prove challenging, but there are tools like Zonos Checkout to simplify the process for merchants and make international transactions and interactions much more streamlined. 

     

    The Zonos BigCommerce integration makes cross border transactions simple with landed cost, localization, and compliance to enhance the buying experience for international customers. The Zonos app covers duties and taxes, currency conversion, payment solutions, and fraud coverage. 

     

     

    Without backups, an unexpected crash or hack can bring down your entire eCommerce business. Without a backup, there is nothing to bring back, and a new build may be required. To ensure that never happens to your store, you can leverage Rewind Backups.  

     

    Rewind Backups on BigCommerce completes daily, automated backups to keep essential data stored, secure, and retrievable should something unexpected occur. It also allows you to quickly undo unwanted changes in just a few clicks, eliminating the need for CSV exports and saving significantly on downtime. 

     

    Rewind® protects the data that runs your eCommerce business. BigCommerce backs up its platform – not your store. This means product catalogs, pages, themes, and more can be lost should something go wrong. Human error, malicious attacks, or third-party apps can all compromise or accidentally delete your data. And recreating a store can take hours, even days. With Rewind, you can quickly undo unwanted changes and never worry about making an irreversible mistake again.

    - Ryan Gibson, Content & Comms Manager at Rewind.io

     

    AfterShip 10. AfterShip

    In need of shipment tracking and delivery updates software? Look no further than the Aftership app for BigCommerce users, which supports all your carriers, including UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL, and 400 more.

     

    The free Aftership app allows BigCommerce users to track all of their shipments in one place while giving their customers a powerful delivery experience where they can check the delivery status, and submit requests in just a few clicks. Tracking pages can also be customized with the merchant's logo, store URL, and imagery to boost brand recognition.

     

     

    Printful.com 11. Printful

    Want to sell custom-designed apparel and other goods but don't want to hoard stock? Printful, through BigCommerce, is a print-on-demand dropshipping app that allows merchants to print branded products, without needing ever to have them in-house. 

     

    Printful helps with free design templates, warehousing, order fulfillment, and discounted samples so that merchants can try products before they sell them, as well as 24/7 customer support. 

     

     

    Kudobuzz 12. Kudobuzz

    Positive product and brand reviews have the power to boost conversions and compel new customers to buy. It makes sense, then, to use them on your eCommerce site, wherever possible to influence your customer to act. 

     

    Kudobuzz makes this process easy. Through the Kudobuzz app, BigCommerce users can collect reviews from social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and more, to then show them on the eCommerce site via clean, customizable widgets. Reviews from other apps are easy to import into Kudobuzz for future use.

     

    Pixlee 13. Pixlee

    Customer content is a powerful tool to harness in the exercise of branding. Just as customers trust the reviews of their peers, they also trust the social pictures of their peers using products that they are considering. 

     

    Pixlee helps BigCommerce users to connect with and leverage customer content to deliver personalized content in any marketing channel. The platform allows merchants to connect with their customers, collect customer-created content identified through tagging or hashtags, gain permission, and publish, all from one place. 

     

    Skubana 14. Skubana

    Skubana is a distributed order management platform that facilitates fulfillment, inventory, and business intelligence for brands operating across multiple channels. 

     

    Through BigCommerce, Skubana synchronizes data from sales channels, warehouses, 3PLs, POS systems, and wherever else it can be found, so that merchants can focus on what matters: customer experience. With Skubana, merchants can sell direct-to-everywhere, automate operational responsibilities, and transform multi-channel complexity into singular clarity.

     

    LiveChat 15. LiveChat

    Instant customer service chat is powerful to resolve questions and help customers move through to make purchases. The LiveChat chat widget for BigCommerce makes it incredibly easy to set this up and go live. 

     

    LiveChat allows brands to communicate with shoppers while they browse, answering all incoming sales and support questions, and even making product recommendations in the live chat widget. The app comes with a pre-installed chat dashboard and lets merchants monitor the results of the chat activities, right in the BigCommerce dashboard.

     

    Affirm 16. Affirm

    Alternative payment solutions are becoming increasingly more common across the world, and of them, buy now, pay later (BNPL) is one of the most widely adopted by both customers and merchants. 

     

    Affirm is one such app that integrates with BigCommerce and allows shoppers to pay their goods off over time, giving merchants the ability to secure more sales, while offering more agile solutions to their customers. The Affirm app shows customers what their payments could look like based on their shopping cart price. And on the backend, it provides merchants with insights into their customer's journey and preferences.

     

    Final Words

    While there's no magic bullet that can solve all your retail problems, the apps mentioned in the post can certainly help you take your business to the next level. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store, an eCommerce site, or both, you can use the solutions mentioned above to streamline your operations, increase customer loyalty, and boost your bottom line 

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