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

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

Francesca Nicasio

Content Strategy Manager

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

Importance of customer insights in developing notable loyalty programs


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

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

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

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

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


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

 

Benefits of insight-driven customer loyalty programs

 

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

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

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

 

6 steps to develop a successful customer loyalty program

 

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

1. Conduct customer interviews

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Collate survey and feedback responses

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Review and act on the data

 

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

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

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

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

amazon prime example

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

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

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

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

4. Design and optimize the program based on feedback

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alpha60 earn options


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

 

5. Make communication personalized wherever possible

 

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

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

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

 

6. Choose technology to run the loyalty program

 

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

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

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

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

How to Measure Your Program’s Success

 

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

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

scottys-makeup-and-beauty-insights-dashboard

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

 

Streamlining Loyalty Programs with Marsello

 

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

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

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

 


 

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

 

Start free trial

 


 

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

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    How to Create a Loyalty Program in 2024

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    Loyalty programs are essential for driving repeat sales and building brand loyalty. Here's how to create a loyalty program in 2024 (with examples).

    A well-designed loyalty program is the most powerful tool a retailer can have in their marketing arsenal. They offer you a way of engaging your audience, growing revenue, and ensuring your customers stick around for the long term.

    But, how do you create a great loyalty program? In this blog, we’ll dive into a few simple steps that can help you design and launch an effective loyalty program for your brand.

     

    What is a loyalty program, and why is it important?

    A loyalty program is a system that encourages customers to return by rewarding them with points and incentives for each purchase or interaction they have with your brand.

    A well-designed loyalty program goes beyond superficial benefits and genuinely enhances the customer experience. It gives your customers a reason to spend more and shop with you more frequently. The best part is that it can be automated to reward them for activity that grows your brand, like making a purchase, referring a friend, or sharing your profile on social media.

    These incentives not only keep your customers engaged but also help your business thrive, driving repeat purchases, winning new business, and cultivating long-term relationships with your brand. 

    loyalty-program-design

    How to Create a Loyalty Program in 2024

     

    Decide what you want to achieve with your loyalty program

    For most retailers, the ultimate goal of a loyalty program is to increase repeat business and promote activity that grows your customer base and brand, however, it's crucial to tailor your loyalty program to your specific needs.

    Here are some specific goals you might want to achieve with your loyalty program. Keep in mind that every business is different so it’s worth reflecting on what your overall business goals are.

    1. Increase customer retention: Perhaps your repeat purchases rate is low, and you don’t often see the same customers coming back.
    2. Build your customer database: Gather more valuable customer data to inform your marketing strategy and increase brand engagement.
    3. Generate more sales: Increase repeat purchases and provide customers with incentives to spend more per transaction with your brand.
    4. Word-of-mouth marketing: Encourage your customers to spread the word by offering incentives for referrals, growing your database, and increasing your brand awareness.
    5. Reduced marketing costs: 80% of all sales come from 20% of your customers, and it’s much cheaper to target your existing customers than to attract new ones.
    6. Competitive advantage: Stand out from your competition by adding value to your customer experience. Give customers a reason to choose your brand first.

    Remember, specific objectives will vary based on your business needs and market situation. It’s essential to define clear goals for your loyalty program so you can measure performance and know what works.

     

    Determine the type of loyalty program you want to launch

    There are many types of loyalty programs available to you, each with its benefits and tailored to different business models. Here are some common types:

    1. Points system for rewards: Customers earn points for every dollar they spend with your business, or for specific actions. These points can be redeemed for free products or other rewards.
    2. Tiered loyalty programs: Customers can progress through various tiers based on their level of engagement. The higher the tier, the more significant or exclusive the reward.
    3. Punch cards: Customers can receive punches or stamps for each purchase they make with you, with an exclusive reward or free product available after a certain amount.
    4. Community-based incentives: Customers can earn points of rewards for activities that grow your brand, like sharing your profile on social media, liking you on Facebook, or successfully referring their friends to your store.

    In 2024, we’ll see brands adopting a ‘hybrid’ loyalty program model combining various loyalty program types. The best loyalty software providers offer a range of customization options, helping you craft unique loyalty rewards that align with your business model and customers’ shopping habits.

    Design your loyalty program with Marsello
    Customize rewards, points, and VIP tiers to your liking and launch in seconds.

    Start free trial

     


     

    Creating your loyalty program

    Now that you’ve decided on what type of loyalty program you’ll launch, it’s time to dive into the creation process.

    In this example, we’re going to focus on a comprehensive loyalty program setup.

    But before you jump in, here are some key metrics you’ll need handy before you configure your reward settings.

    Know your margins!

    ... And how much you're willing to give away. Here are some helpful metrics to have on hand 👉

    Average purchase value

    First, identify how much your average customer spends when they purchase at your store. This metric is crucial as it serves as the foundation for determining the number of loyalty points you should offer to your customers.

     
    Average purchase frequency

    Knowing how often customers purchase from your store is a critical part of configuring your loyalty program.

    Say you decide to offer 1 point for every $1.00 spent and your first reward (in this case, 20% off) requires 250 points to unlock. That means a customer will need to spend $250 at your store before they can unlock this reward.

    While it might initially seem like a substantial amount, consider this: if your average purchase frequency is once a week, and your average purchase value is around $125, your typical customer will gain access to this reward within 2 weeks. If this is the case, your rewards system is probably too generous and may be eating away at your margins.

     
    Product margins

    When you’re configuring your rewards, it’s important to know your product margins. Platforms like Marsello allow you to choose between percentage and fixed discounts (i.e. $20 off), giving you more flexibility to reward your customers the way you want.

    Typically, we recommend using percentage-based rewards as they scale alongside your order total. Here’s why: If you opt for a fixed discount like $20 off, customers might find ways to abuse it, potentially impacting your profitability. Additionally, if your average purchase value is low, then customers may be forced to add to their cart to redeem the discount.

    Percentage-based rewards scale naturally with the order total, creating a fair balance between your customer’s expectations and your company’s wallet.

     

    Set up your points system

    Designing your points system is the first step toward a successful loyalty program. Loyalty points encourage customers to engage with your brand by rewarding them with loyalty program points for purchases and other activities. Customers’ points can then be redeemed for discounts, free products, or other rewards of your choosing.

    ways-to-earn-points

    Though there are countless ways for customers to earn loyalty points, here are some of the basic options:

    • Making a purchase: Customers earn points for every purchase they make at your store.

    💡 We recommend offering 1 point for every $1.00 spent to keep things simple.

    • Creating an account: Encourage customers to kick-start their earnings with points when they create a new account. This is a great way of increasing your customer database.
    • Completing their profile: Reward customers points for providing their personal details, like birthday, gender, and mobile number. This helps you build an information-rich database.
    • Say Happy Birthday: Personalize your loyalty experience by enabling the Happy Birthday points option. Surprise your customers on their special day.
    • Product reviews: Encourage customers to review your products.
    • Acting sustainably: Reward customers for acting sustainably. I.e. bringing a reusable shopping bag when they shop with you.
    • Liking on social media: Grow your social media following by gifting points to customers who engage with your brand online (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).
    • Sharing on social media: Incentivize customers to spread the word about your store.
    • Refer a friend: Kick-start your referral program by rewarding customers when their referred friend makes their first purchase.

    Alpha60 earn options

    Beauty in simplicity - How ALPHA60 keeps their loyalty
    program as simple as possible.

    "We try not to complicate it too much and add different things in, and that really works for us. I think it’s because it’s simple for people. It’s easy for customers to understand.”

    Kelvin, Brand Manager

    Read their story

     


    Configure your rewards and VIP tiers

    Now that your customers have the means to earn points, it’s time to map out your rewards ladder and VIP tier structure.

    When editing your rewards, it’s essential to strike a balance. If your rewards are too easy to unlock, customers may unlock them too quickly, leaving them with nothing to work towards. On the other hand, if you set the bar too high, customers might lose interest.

    The key is to establish a logical and well-structured progression that ensures customers feel like they’re advancing towards greater rewards with each interaction. This keeps them motivated and engaged throughout their journey with your brand.

    Rewards

    To illustrate, let’s take a look at a hypothetical brand, Opal Essence.

    At Opal Essence, members earn 1 point for every $1 spent at their store.

      • Average purchase value: $100.00
      • Average purchase frequency: 3 months

    The key to your rewards ladder is to make them realistic and attainable, without giving too much value away. For example:

      • 10% off - 200 points to redeem
      • 15% off - 400 points to redeem
      • 20% off - 600 points to redeem

    In this case, with customers spending an average of $100 per purchase, they would need to make two purchases to unlock their first reward. And so on… four purchases for the 15% discount, and six to unlock the 20% discount.

    This rewards setup creates a logical sense of progression for customers, making them feel like they’re working towards substantial perks with each visit to your store. Not only does it drive repeat sales, but it also fosters brand loyalty and increases customer lifetime value.

    While percentage-based discounts are the easiest to implement, there are various other reward options to choose from. Here are 5 common types of rewards:

    • Percentage (%) off rewards: storewide, on a specific item, or on specific collections
    • Fixed value ($) off rewards: storewide, on a specific item, or on specific collections
    • Free shipping
    • Free product(s)
    • Spend threshold rewards: Requires a minimum purchase value to redeem

    Learn more


     

    VIP Tiers

    A VIP program elevates your loyalty strategy by making your best customers feel special. With VIP tiers, you can offer additional benefits to those who reach higher tiers, such as exclusive rewards, free shipping, early access to sales, VIP events, and faster points earning.

    vip-tier-with-points-earning

    Consider how the VIP tiers align with your overall business strategy. For example, if you sell high-end fashion products and are launching a new collection, granting VIPs early access to new product lines creates an aura of exclusivity. This makes them feel like valued insiders.

    Here are some VIP perks ideas you could implement:

    • Faster points-earning: Silver Tier customers earn 2 points for every $1 spent, and Gold Tier customers earn 3 points for every $1 spent.
    • Exclusive rewards: Offer unique rewards to your VIP customers, making them feel valued and understood.
    • Blanket discounts: VIP tier customers enjoy ongoing discounts for every purchase they make from your store, such as 10% off.
    • Free shipping: Ship products out to your VIPs free of charge to thank them for their ongoing support. This makes them feel appreciated and encourages them to stick around.

    VIP tiers not only boost customer loyalty but also create loyal advocates who will spread the word about your brand.

    💡 Pro-tip: Utilizing VIP tiers and customer lists enables you to craft highly personalized email and SMS campaigns. Perhaps you’re hosting a VIP-only event, or want to offer exclusive styling services, VIP tiers, and segmentation lists can help you tailor your marketing to cater to your most loyal customers.

    Build your VIP program with Marsello
    Easily set up a tiered loyalty program, run points campaigns, and more.

    Start free trial

     

    Promote your loyalty program

    Before you enable your loyalty program, take a moment to review your settings and ensure that your points, rewards, and VIP tiers are configured correctly. This is the perfect time to revisit your business goals and check that your program aligns with your business strategy and overall direction.

    With your loyalty program ready to go live, it’s time to spread the word. Send a captivating loyalty program announcement email to share the exciting news with your customers. This announcement can serve as your invitation to customers, encouraging them to shop again and engage with your new loyalty program.

    💡 Pro-tip: To build excitement for your loyalty program, consider sending an email a few weeks before the official launch, teasing the upcoming loyalty perks and getting customers excited about what’s to come.

    loyalty-program-email-announcement-campaign-opal-essence

    Final words

    Loyalty programs aren’t just about giving away discounts; they’re a highly strategic tool that helps you drive repeat sales and build long-term relationships with your customers. Done right, a loyalty program fosters a community of loyal advocates, expanding your brand’s reach and ultimately increasing your bottom line.

    If you’re looking to create a loyalty program for your business, Marsello makes it easy to set up, launch, and promote your loyalty program with ease.

    Create your loyalty program with Marsello

    Book a demo


     

    Bonus tips

    Embrace an omnichannel approach

    Building a successful loyalty program begins with understanding your customers’ needs. An omnichannel loyalty program is one of the best ways to engage and reward your customers, no matter how they shop with you. Customer loyalty platforms like Marsello enable you to run your loyalty program seamlessly across both in-store and online channels, ensuring customers can access the benefits of your program, regardless of their shopping preferences.

    Learn more

    Measure your performance and optimize

    Remember, the job’s not finished once your loyalty program is live. By monitoring your loyalty reporting and customer activity, you can uncover insights to inform your future marketing and loyalty program optimization. Regular optimization will ensure that your loyalty program continues to evolve, providing the best experience for your customers.

    Have fun with it

    Creating a loyalty program can be an exciting journey that helps you understand and connect with your customers on a deeper level. It’s a chance to get creative and celebrate your brand’s unique selling points. So, while you’re planning your loyalty program, don’t forget to have fun with it.

    Good luck with your loyalty program creation!

    Next read:  How to create a points system for rewards

    New Integration: Advanced Loyalty Plugin For WooCommerce Retailers

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    Marsello is fully integrated with WooCommerce. WooCommerce retailers can now run a powerful loyalty program in-store and online.

    WooCommerce retailers now have access to seamless in-store and online loyalty. 

    We are thrilled to announce our latest integration with WooCommerce, an open-source eCommerce platform built for WordPress.

    “WooCommerce is one of the most requested integrations we've ever had,” says CEO Brent Spicer. “Retailers want to be able to create a seamless experience for their consumers both in-store and on their WooCommerce online store through Marsello. This is game-changing for many of our current, and future, retailers.”

    Ready to get set up? Watch the video.

    With Marsello for WooCommerce, you can connect your online sales data with a range of POS providers.

    To really know your customer, you need all the data—no matter where they’re shopping. But it's notoriously difficult to track customer behavior seamlessly across in-store and online channels. Until now.

    The Marsello plugin for WooCommerce means you can…

    • Create a better shopping experience. It's easy for customers to earn and redeem points no matter how they shop.
    • Know your customers better than ever before. With all the data you need to send personalized, targeted campaigns.
    • Keep customers coming back. Loyalty, email, SMS and automation features are all designed to increase average order size and incentivize repeat sales.

    Step-by-step: How to connect Marsello and WooCommerce.

    Ready to integrate WooCommerce and Marsello?
    Run a seamless loyalty program in-store and online with Marsello and WooCommerce. Capture important customer insights, send targeted campaigns, and do smarter marketing.

    Start free trial

     

    How it works

    Marsello is an advanced loyalty and marketing platform that is powered by your eCommerce and point-of-sale integrations. Using offers, sign-up forms and a customizable loyalty program, WooCommerce merchants can now collect invaluable first-party customer data in-store and online. This data syncs to unique customer profiles so you can know your customer and their preferences better than ever before.

    As well as loyalty and list-building, Marsello also gives you tools to keep growing those customer relationships (and sales). Emails, SMS campaigns, automations, reviews and more. It’s all possible for WooCommerce and Marsello users.

    "We've created a seamless redemption process with Marsello because we’re committed to prioritizing the customer’s experience,” says Product Manager, Kat Williams. “But staff will love it too—there’s much less confusion from customers about how and where they can redeem and earn points. It all just works, whether transactions are in-store or online.”

    Senior Software Engineer, Rukshan Dangalla, agrees. "I'm so excited to see this integration launched. The end result will provide a seamless experience for our merchants, and it's a significant milestone for our company. I'm proud to have contributed to its success!"

    Your fully integrated tech stack

    With Marsello, WooCommerce sales tracking is seamless in-store and online. Marsello has direct integrations with all major POS platforms including Lightspeed Retail, Cin7, Heartland and Shopify POS.

    Getting set up

    Setting up the integration is a breeze. You can connect Marsello with just a few clicks and start using the platform to create your marketing campaigns. The integration also ensures that your data is synced between your WooCommerce store and Marsello, so you can track your progress and make informed decisions about your marketing campaigns.

     

    Ready to integrate WooCommerce and Marsello?
    Do all your loyalty and marketing in one place, and track the results in a single dashboard. See what drives sales through both your POS and WooCommerce, and do more of the marketing that counts.

    Start free trial

    Loretta

    Marsello: Seamless in-store and online loyalty.

    • Drive repeat sales with a loyalty and rewards program
    • Send email and SMS campaigns to customers
    • Create set-and-forget marketing automations
    • Track the direct impact of all your marketing on revenue
    • Build a customer database

    Start free trial

                                                                                                                           

    Marsello Now Integrates With Lightspeed Retail (R-Series)

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    Marsello is now fully integrated with Lightspeed Retail (R-Series). R-Series retailers can now run their loyalty program seamlessly in-store and online.

    Marsello is now fully integrated with Lightspeed Retail (R-Series). 

    R-Series retailers can now run their loyalty program seamlessly in-store and online. Marsello helps R-Series users provide an enhanced customer experience, personalized rewards, and targeted marketing campaigns.

    "Lightspeed is a leader in the retail industry and we're proud to integrate with their R-Series platform," said Brent Spicer, CEO of Marsello. "Our partnership will empower more retailers to grow their business and foster strong relationships with their customers through personalized loyalty marketing."

     

    Why connect R-Series + Marsello?

    R-Series retailers can glean valuable customer insights with Marsello. This empowers them to make data-driven decisions with ease.

    🗣️ Attn: R-Series users! You can now…

    • Sync your POS and eCommerce sales data all into one customer marketing platform
    • Attach customers to a sale on the POS sale screen to attribute purchases to a unique customer profile in Marsello
    • View a customer’s loyalty profile right from within your R-Series sales screen
    • See how your loyalty and marketing activities impact sales in-store and online
    • Get a 360-degree view of customer behavior and purchasing habits

    Try Marsello for Lightspeed R-Series.
    Run a seamless loyalty program in-store and online with Marsello and R-Series. Capture important customer insights, send targeted campaigns, and do smarter marketing.

    Start free trial

     

    Your fully integrated tech stack

    With Marsello, R-Series sales tracking is seamless in-store and online. Marsello has direct integrations with all major eCommerce platforms including Shopify, BigCommerce, Ecwid, and WooCommerce (coming soon).

    Getting set up

    Marsello users can now add R-Series in their Integrations tab in the left navigation menu in Marsello. Staff can also access customers’ loyalty and marketing profiles directly from the R-Series sales screen.

    About Lightspeed Retail (R-Series)

    Lightspeed R-Series is a point-of-sale (POS) system developed by Lightspeed, a leading provider of cloud-based commerce solutions. R-Series is a Lightspeed Retail product, designed to help retailers manage their brick-and-mortar operations, including sales processing, inventory management, customer management, and reporting.).

    Seamless loyalty for R-Series, in-store and online.
    Do all your loyalty and marketing in one place, and track the results in a single dashboard. See what drives sales through both your POS and eCommerce channels, and do more of the marketing that counts.

    Start free trial

     


     

    Loretta

    Marsello: All your marketing, in one place.

    • Drive repeat sales with a loyalty and rewards program
    • Send email and SMS campaigns to customers
    • Create set-and-forget marketing automations
    • Track the direct impact of all your marketing on revenue
    • Build a customer database

    Start free trial

                                                                                                                           

    7 Steps To A Profitable Loyalty & Rewards Program

    ClockIcon  READ
    As a retailer, a loyalty program can be one of your most important marketing tools. Here's how to build a profitable loyalty and rewards program.

    In an analysis of over 60 million purchases, Marsello found that 25% of orders come from the top 2% of customers (2022).

    While it can be tempting to focus on getting new customers, marketing to your database can be much more profitable. We call this customer marketing or loyalty marketing because it focuses on bringing back customers who already know you.

    💡 Did you know? According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of your profits come from the top 20% of your customer base.

    Loyalty programs are one of the most popular customer marketing tactics for several reasons.

    • They only reward high-value customers. Unlike discounting, loyalty programs only offer discounts and rewards to your best customers.
    • They give you valuable data and insights. Loyalty programs build a profile of your customer’s shopping behavior, in-store and online. To earn points on a purchase, customers have to identify themselves. That means you can track each sale against their unique loyalty identifier. This then adds to their profile in your database and helps you engage them with marketing.

    Done correctly, a loyalty program can be one of your most important marketing tools.

    Build loyalty. Drive sales.
    Marsello gives you all the loyalty functionality you need to keep customers coming back. Easily set up a loyalty program, capture important customer insights, and do smarter marketing.

    Start free trial

     

     

    7 steps to make your loyalty program profitable.

     

    While most loyalty apps work out of the box (with some setup time), the reality is the best results come with a bit more effort.

    To ensure you’re getting the most out of your loyalty program, follow these simple steps. Trust us, a small amount of planning and reporting each month or quarter will go a long way.

    1. Know your customer.

    Before setting up your loyalty program, look through the data and customer records you already have. What do you know about your customers? What resonates with them? Do they have any common preferences, qualities or identifiers?

    Putting in a bit of work upfront to understand your customer will help you design and structure a loyalty program that resonates with them. After all, you want the program to be enticing and engaging, and ultimately, to incentivize repeat purchases.

    Things you could consider:

    • What age bracket are your customers in? What are their interests?
    • Are they in-person shoppers, or more likely to buy online?
    • What emails worked best with your database? Did any particular imagery or copy work well?
    • What sales or offers generated the most sales? Can any of these past campaigns provide insights into what rewards might be most enticing?

    2. Make it easy to use.

    Make sure your loyalty program is user-friendly and easy to navigate so that customers will be motivated to participate. Barriers like long load times, delays in points balance updates, or a poor mobile experience will deter customers.

    We know, as consumers ourselves, that if something isn’t easy, we won’t bother!

    Before you invest in any particular software, do a bit of research. Read reviews, sign up for a few free trials, shop around. Make sure the app you go for has all the integrations you need as well (if you’re omnichannel, integrations with both your POS and eCommerce software is a must)!

    3. Promote the program.


    promote your loyalty program with a campaign

    Once you’ve designed your program, prepare a launch campaign. Whether it’s a ‘soft’ launch or a full-scale event—make sure your customers know about it.

    • Teaser campaign: Pre-launch, let people know something’s coming. Get people curious and excited for the launch date. For example, you could run contests or giveaways to generate hype.
    • Soft launch: It’s okay to do a soft launch to start off, just to test everything is working. But once you’re confident, prepare a launch campaign.
    • In-store promotion: Let your customers know about it in-store. Make sure staff are trained on your loyalty app and can answer basic questions about how to get set up, the tier structure, and what the benefits are for the customer.
    • Full marketing launch: add a pop-up to your website, send out email campaigns to your database, and promote the program on social media. You can even run a limited-time launch offer—for example, 200 extra points for signing up in the first week.

    Remember, promotion doesn’t end after launch week. Encourage new loyalty signups in-store and online on an ongoing basis (see Step 6 below).

    Marsello. Smart loyalty and marketing.
    Do all your loyalty and marketing in one place, and track the results in a single dashboard. See what drives sales, and do more of the marketing that counts.

    Start free trial

     

    4. Personalize the program.

    <First name> merge fields in a blast email campaign are old news. Now we’re all about unique customer journeys—using triggers, automations, and even AI for targeted messaging.

    To offer more tailored experiences and increase customer engagement, add some automated workflows to your loyalty program setup checklist. Birthdays, loyalty points updates, and sign-up anniversaries are all super simple to create and give a personal touch to the customer’s experience.

    5. Offer exclusive rewards.

    Provide exclusive rewards for higher-tier members to incentivize them to remain loyal and engage more frequently with your brand.

    Be clear about your tiers and what they mean, and let people know how far away they are from advancing up the ranks.

    You can also send surprise awards to delight your most loyal customers and make them feel valued.

    6. Keep it fresh.

    The promotion doesn’t stop after you launch the campaign! There are lots of light-touch, low-maintenance campaigns you can run to keep your loyalty program interesting.

    Plus, you can talk about all the cool campaigns you’re running to non-loyalty subscribers to get that FOMO going.

    run double points campaigns loyalty program

    The bCode launched this ‘double points’ campaign. This email had a 20% open rate and saw a 94% increase in customer’s average loyalty points spent.

    Need inspiration? Here are some ideas to get you started:

    • Run points campaigns: For example, you could have a double points week. These are great to run in slower sales seasons, as they incentivize loyal customers to accelerate their points growth.
    • Hype the program on social media: Use social media to promote the loyalty program and engage with customers through interactive content and contests.
    • Run limited-time offers: Offer special rewards for a short period of time to incentivize customers to participate in the loyalty program.
    • Build up a community: Foster a sense of community among loyalty program members through events, forums, or social media groups.
    • Collaborate with partners: Partner with other brands to offer joint rewards and increase the value of the loyalty program.
    • Build your mobile experience: Encourage customers to save your loyalty portal to their mobile home screen, so they can access their points balance and engage with your brand on the go.

    Build loyalty. Drive sales.
    Marsello gives you all the loyalty functionality you need to keep customers coming back. Easily set up a tiered loyalty program, run points campaigns, and more.

    Start free trial

     

    7. Track success metrics.

    Remember, the purpose of loyalty programs is to increase repeat sales, average basket size, and the average value of a customer to your business.

    So, what should you be tracking? Here are a few metrics you can use to see how well your loyalty program is performing over time:

    If you’re using a loyalty program app that integrates with your sales channels, you can also directly attribute sales to your loyalty program activities.

    Marsello made the most sense as it offers a single loyalty program that extends to customers online and in-store.
    - Hayley Greenstein, LEGO® certified stores

    Marsello’s dashboard also allows you to see how your loyalty program is performing compared to all your other marketing efforts.

    Don’t be afraid to make adjustments as needed, but make sure you test how these impact your results.

    Are loyalty programs worth it?


    Yes! Loyalty programs can boost important metrics in your business. For example, the average amount customers spend per order, the total amount they spend over time, and how often they make purchases.

    But that's not all! When done right and in line with your brand, loyalty programs can also give your customers a better experience and make them feel valued.

    To make sure the benefits of the program outweigh any costs, connect your loyalty program to both your physical and online stores. This way, you can see the direct impact your loyalty program has on revenue. 

    Read next: A complete guide to creating effective tiered loyalty programs

    Loretta

    Marsello: All your marketing, in one place.

    • Drive repeat sales with a loyalty and rewards program
    • Send email and SMS campaigns to customers
    • Create set-and-forget marketing automations
    • Track the direct impact of all your marketing on revenue
    • Build a customer database

    Start free trial

                                                                                                                           

    Top Trends For Hospitality & Retail Businesses in 2023

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    Marketing to your most loyal customers, innovating with your products, and building your brand could be your most important investments in 2023.

    It’s no secret that the retail and hospitality sectors are in for a challenging year. The EY Future Consumer Index (November 2022) found that:

    • 62% of consumers don’t expect the economy to recover within the next 12 months
    • 58% expect their living costs to increase over the next six months

    So let’s tackle this head-on, rather than letting it become the elephant in the room. We talked to Victoria University Economics Lecturer Nathaniel Robson about economic trends, and where retail and hospitality merchants can focus their energy in order to keep business pumping. 

    We also want to take a look at how this might affect your marketing plan, and give you tips and resources you can use to inform your campaigns in coming months.

    💡 Marketing to your most loyal customers, innovating with your products, and building your brand could be your most important investments in 2023.


    What's Happening For Hospitality & Retail Businesses in 2023:


     

    1. Pressure to offer more competitive wages will continue


    Pressure on wages is driven by two main factors: a tight labor market and higher inflation expectations.

    “Because the skills of the primary workforce in hospitality and retail are highly transferable, businesses in those sectors will be competing with a range of alternative potential employers,” says Robson.

    “​​At the same time, higher costs of the materials used in hospitality and retail service provision will squeeze profit margins.”

    Both of these factors will make it harder for hospitality and retail businesses to find and retain staff.

    2. Demand from lower-income consumers will drop


    Consumers are seeing cost-of-living going up. But this doesn’t affect everyone in the same way.

    Robson explains that lower-income households will be hit the worst by inflation. Basic costs of living (rent, groceries, power, internet, etc) will use up an increasing portion of their weekly income unless minimum wages and benefits increase proportionately.

    Brands that serve higher-income households (boutique hotels, for example) might not see a significant decline in business. However, many retail and hospitality businesses serve customers in a younger, lower-income market. These customers will start looking for cheaper alternatives (looking to retail giants for cost-effective, mass-produced products).

    3. Prices will increase to pass on some costs to consumers


    Inflation expectations are also driving up costs of ingredients and materials, meaning tighter profit margins and pressure to pass on extra costs to consumers (i.e. to increase prices).

    Robson notes that this also presents an opportunity to innovate with your product line and attract higher-income, generally older, consumers.

    “New products may attract a new market of early-30s customers as the early 20s market has drifted away due to living cost rises pushing them towards more mass-produced and cheaper alternatives.”

    4. Customer loyalty and a strong brand will pay off


    Businesses that have invested in customer loyalty initiatives and brand experiences over the pandemic may be rewarded. Through the pandemic, consumers’ purchasing habits changed, with loyalty decreasing as people worked and shopped from home.

    Browsing stores and shopping on a lunch break in town was no longer a convenient option, and consumers opted to compare prices online and have goods delivered to their front door. 

    Brands that focused on customer loyalty and established a unique market position over this time will see these efforts pay off as consumer wallets tighten.

    "The opportunity ... can be met by striving for a unique market position – having a strong brand and established customer loyalty."

    Nathaniel Robson, Economics Lecturer

     

    How a make-up retailer grew a loyal database & doubled sales with Marsello


    scottys store image
    For years, Scotty’s Makeup & Beauty customers had been asking about discounts for students or industry professionals. “With the Scotty’s Rewards Program, we now have a solution that suits a lot of our customers,” says Hollie, Sales Manager. “The fact that we can run the program both online and in-store is great for building our customer database and turning one-time customers into repeat customers.”

    With the loyalty program, Scotty’s Makeup & Beauty has seen expansion beyond the industry it initially sought to serve. Now, they’re building a whole new audience of customers who come to them with all their dress-up and costume needs. Since unlocking these audiences with Marsello, they've seen EOFY sales double.

    Turn first-time shoppers into repeat customers.
    Create rewards that are designed to motivate your customers to shop, strengthen customer relationships and grow your business.

    Learn more



    5. Innovative, flexible brands may see the most success

    “Trying to hibernate until the crisis is over is not a safe strategy; it may actually involve less risk to try something bold.”

    — Nathaniel Robson, Economics Lecturer

    Learning from past recessions and economic downturns, a pattern emerges. Those brands and businesses that take a proactive approach to innovation can emerge stronger and more successful than before. We see this across every sector—just look at brands like Lego, Netflix, and Walmart, which all grew during the 2008 recession because of new products and investments.

    Yes, there may be upfront costs, Robson says, but “there is some potential long-term benefit to come from the associated innovation.”

    What does all this mean for your 2023 marketing plan?

    When budgets are tight, it’s more important than ever to stick close to your strategy. That doesn’t mean stop innovating and go back to 1950s marketing tactics — quite the opposite.

    What it does mean is being focused, considered, and clever about the way you reach your target audience, the key message, and the call to action. Planning your marketing campaigns shouldn’t be rocket science. If you stick to what’s important, it can be both simple and effective.

    To keep your campaigns focused, try our 5-Minute Campaign Plan activity. In this template, you’ll strip everything down to the strategic essentials, and you can flesh out the details later.

    Let’s run through an example, with all of the above in mind.

    Free Download: The 5-Minute Campaign Plan
    Strategy can be daunting, but it does not need to be rocket science! If you stick to what’s important, your campaign can be both simple and effective.

    Download now

     

    Question 1. What is the key insight?

    Any good campaign strategy starts with the “why”. We find that business owners have marketing ideas in spades (which is great!), but this is the time to turn on the filter. Which ideas have a sound reason for action? What is the driving insight that makes this specific idea a good one? 

    Example: Consumers are tightening their budgets as inflationary pressures hit. 

    Question 2. What campaign idea works best with your insight?

    Test your idea(s) against your “why”. Be ruthless. You might have an idea to design and launch a new luxury product, but realize that if you’re being honest with yourself, it doesn’t align with the insight at all.

    Example: A loyalty campaign, like a double points week, that drives repeat orders.

    Question 3. Who will be your campaign audience?

    Now you have your “why” and “what”, it’s time to figure out the “who”. Think about who the insight impacts, and what they have in common.

    Example: For your double points campaign, you might have a couple of audiences. First, you’ve got customers who are already in your loyalty program. They are aware of your brand, and actively engage with you. Second, you’ve got customers in your who aren’t in your loyalty program (and who may or may not be in your database).

    Question 4: How will you reach your audience with your campaign?

    Sketch out a rough plan of channels and activities. Think about where your campaign audiences are, and how you can engage with them.

    Example:

    • Loyalty members – SMS, email
    • Non-members in database – SMS, email (use double points as an incentive to purchase & join the program)
    • Other shoppers – Ask to join in-store and include in welcome pop-up online (use double points as an incentive to join the program)
    • Social followers – Instagram, TikTok ads & posts


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

    Free Download: The 5-Minute Campaign Plan
    Strategy can be daunting, but it does not need to be rocket science! If you stick to what’s important, your campaign can be both simple and effective.

    Download now

     

    Manage your 2023 marketing campaigns with Marsello



    All your marketing, in one place.

    • Turn one-time shoppers into loyal customers with loyalty and rewards
    • Send email and SMS campaigns to your customer database
    • Create, schedule and publish social posts across Instagram, TikTok and Facebook
    • Create set-and-forget marketing automations
    • Plan all your campaigns in one simple marketing calendar
    • Track the direct impact of all your marketing on revenue

    Start free trial

                                                                                                                           

    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.


     

    Marsello_Blog_Multi-platformmarketing_Example_Image_1

     

    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!

     

    Marsello_Blog_Multi-platformmarketing_Example_Image_2

     

    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.

    Fellow NZ-Based Company, Goody, Joins the Marsello Family

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    We’re officially welcoming fellow New Zealand-based Goody to the Marsello family. Read on to learn what this acquisition means for Marsello.

    Marsello's logo alongside the Goody logo

     

    Today, we’re officially welcoming fellow New Zealand-based Goody to the Marsello family. Goody is a loyalty platform and CRM solution used by hundreds of businesses and over 1.2 million members.

     

    As teams, we both believe small-to-medium enterprise (SME) business owners deserve a loyalty and marketing solution that generates real, revenue-based results. Results that are accurately attributable to the marketing you run. The only way that’s possible is with quality integrations with POS and eCommerce that link the sale to the customer and the marketing they receive.  

     

    Combining Marsello with Goody puts us in a great position to bring everything we’ve learned to a broader New Zealand market and to new sectors, like hospitality. Together, we’ll be able to help more New Zealand and hospitality businesses get more sales and better results from their marketing.

    Read more on the acquisition in articles from the following publications:

    We’re excited about what lies ahead as we bring our teams and our products together.

     

    Marsello’s CEO’s stand with Goody’s CEO in front of a lead window and brick pillars.

    Differentiating Your eCommerce Store From the Competition

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    Written by our friends at BigCommerce, read on to learn our 10 strategies for helping your online store stand out!

    eCommerce stores that stand out from the crowd have a few things in common and can be crucial sources of insight into how to differentiate your store from your competitors’. 

    Using your unique twist to build on what others have done can make a big impression on your customers. As Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba, says, “You should learn from your competitor, but never copy.”

    The eCommerce industry is growing at a rapid rate, making it even more important for merchants to be creative and differentiate themselves from competitors. With approximately 1.8 million online retailers in the U.S. and 7.1 million worldwide, shoppers are shifting from in-store purchases to online buying. 

    In 2019, 14.1% of all retail sales worldwide were from eCommerce sites, and this is expected to grow to 22% by 2023. Differentiating yourself is crucial if you want to reach those customers — so let’s dive into some strategies for ensuring that you stand out against your competitors time and time again.

     

    Introducing Marsello Social.
    Does your social engagement convert into sales? Find out with Marsello Social, free for everyone. Plan and schedule posts ahead of time, track engagement and measure the impact of all your posts on revenue.

    Start free trial

     

    Make Each Shopping Experience Unique


    Providing a quality product and a smooth selling experience make for a great start, but that isn’t enough to make a lasting impression. Creating a unique and memorable shopping experience is what will make you stand out from the pack – by making a personal connection, for instance.

    Consider adding live chat to your online store for customers who have questions during the buying process, or take outreach a step further with video chats that facilitate technical support or help customers choose great accessories for their purchased items. 

    Cross-channel marketing is another way to make the customer experience unique. Tools such as shareable wish lists, social media promotions, and on-site product reviews help create a community of frequent customers that interact with each other and build enthusiasm for your brand.

     

    Understand Your Competitor’s Approach


    It’s important to study and understand what your competitors are doing to allow you to create a unique experience for your customers. Analyze your direct competition to figure out the similarities and differences between their approaches and yours and use that information to your advantage.

    Before you start researching your competitors, have a goal in mind for what you need to find out. You might be interested in comparing product offerings, website design, or pricing strategies. You might also want to understand how competitors use social media and where they advertise.

    Some information about your competitors can be gained simply by perusing their websites and signing up for any newsletters or text message promotions they offer. For more in-depth competitive research, use online SEO tools that track keyword usage, web traffic rankings, and backlinks.

     

    9 Ways to Differentiate Your eCommerce Store


    Differentiating your eCommerce store might seem overwhelming, but you can break the process down and tackle specific aspects of your site one at a time. Focus on methods that first highlight the strengths of your brand, then branch out to make your online store excel in these nine areas:

    1. Great customer service

    Product selection and pricing might be what gets customers to check out your eCommerce store, but stellar customer service is what keeps them coming back. Here are some ways to make your customer service the best in the business:

        • Make your policies crystal clear. From returns to shipping and fulfillment charges, let customers know what to expect upfront, which prevents any issues that might damage your reputation.

        • Offer multiple communication options. Some customers might prefer email or phone contact, while others might prefer online chat through on-site chatbots or social media. Keep someone on staff who can respond to these different forms of communication, so customers always feel like you’re listening to their concerns.

        • Ask for customer feedback, and listen to what customers tell you. Track online reviews about your business and be open to changes based on what consumers are saying about you.

    One element of customer service is personalized attention. When shopping in-store, customers may get that personal attention in person – but online, you can personalize your marketing so that it feels like it’s designed just for them. Marsello offers features that help eCommerce store owners implement the below strategies. 

        • Use SMS marketing tools to send exclusive coupons or offers for birthdays and anniversaries.

        • Create a loyalty program and offer exclusive sales for customers who join, making sure that your most loyal customers are always the first ones to know about new products or deals.

    Collect data about a customer, such as date of birth, when they register on for your loyalty program or site; this not only makes personalizing offers easier but also allows you to incentivize customers’ actions with rewards. Fashion retailer, T.C. Elli’s, has done a great job of incorporating data collection and a referral program into their Marsello-powered loyalty program, as shown in the example below.

     

    T.C. Elli's online loyalty widget with VIP tiers
     

    2. A unique brand

    Your brand is your calling card – it’s what makes your store memorable long after the sale is complete. Developing your unique brand can help you stand out in the crowded marketplace and lead to big rewards. Some things to think about when you build your brand:

        • Your brand’s voice: think of this as your brand’s personality. It should be consistent across all of your marketing materials and so distinct from your close competitors that, even without seeing the brand name, consumers recognize it as yours. Your brand voice might be edgy, playful, refined, or practical – just make sure it fits your target market and that it’s consistent.

        • Your brand’s value proposition: show consumers what they’ll get from your store, and your store alone. This should communicate your brand’s value and why you’re a better choice over the competition. Figure out what problem your store solves for customers and how you meet their needs in a way that others don’t.

        • Your brand’s story: a story gets customers emotionally invested in your brand. It may include the reasons you started your business or the progress you made over the years to become the company you are today. A captivating narrative helps customers feel like they know your brand well, which makes them more likely to choose you over a less familiar company.

    Singapore-based lingerie retailer, Our Bralette Club, offers an excellent example of a brand story that speaks directly to its target market and simultaneously offers outstanding customer service.

    Our Bralette Club's powerful store and motive on their online store gives customers insight into what motivates the team behind the brand.

    3. One-of-a-kind products with compelling product pages

    Offering unique products that aren’t available elsewhere gives customers a reason to shop from your eCommerce store instead of exploring another company. And how you present those products matters, too. Compelling product details and visuals help consumers come to a buying decision, giving them the confidence to finalize their purchase.

    Having one-of-a-kind products doesn’t necessarily mean inventing something completely new. In some cases, it might simply mean changing the look of a product to cater to your particular customer base. If everyone else is offering an accessory in standard black and white colors, consider adding a hot pink or patterned version to your product selection.

    Your product pages need a few essentials to meet customer expectations. Transparent pricing and details, such as size, color options, and materials, help consumers make an informed selection. To make your product pages more engaging, add descriptive copy that entices the customer and pictures that show the product in a variety of contexts.

    Include fun and personalization in your product pages. Witty copy or creative photos help sell products that aren’t particularly exciting on their own. Showing customization options with a range of features prove that you can meet your buyers’ individual needs. (Remember to use humor only if it’s appropriate for your audience, message, and brand.)

    Avoid bogging down your product pages with too much information. It should be easy for your site visitors to find the information they need. Creating a clear, consistent template across all of your product pages helps customers compare multiple items to make their selection.

    This product page from NaturallyCurly offers an example of clear product information (including ingredients, a description of what customers can expect, and details on how to use the product), a high-quality product image photo that accurately sets customer's expectations, and they even go the extra mile with the addition of customer reviews (take note of the rave review this customer has about NaturallyCurly’s customer service, helping customers to feel confident in the brand):

    Haircare specialists, NaturallyCurly's product listing for Curl Junkie Curls in a Bottle

    It’s worth mentioning that clear product descriptions, high-quality images, proper tagging and categorization of products, and add-ons like customer reviews also help with SEO and will improve the likelihood of acquiring new customers organically.

    4. Competitive price point

    Pricing can make or break a sale, but this doesn’t mean that you need to undercut everyone else to capture market share. If your prices are higher than the competition, showcase the reasons why. 

    This product page from évolis Australia dives into the specific details about this hair product to let customers know what it is that makes it stand out and why they should buy it instead of potentially similar products on the market. By drawing customers' attention to ingredients in the product and reinforcing that it was designed by industry professionals, shoppers will feel more confident that they're purchasing a product that will serve their needs as expected.

    Evolis' online product listing for Promote Activator

    5. Easy-to-navigate site

    Ease of navigation affects how long visitors stay on your page, and the longer a visitor lingers, the more likely they are to buy. Put navigation buttons in an easy-to-find place on every page so customers can quickly access your home page or their checkout cart.

    Watersports supplies store, Splash, has an easily navigable and visually enticing online store. Drop-down navigation menus at the top of each Splash page make it easy for customers to quickly access specific categories based on what specialized equipment they may be shopping for, and a link to the customer’s cart offers quick checkout capability.

    The Featured categories section is another way Splash reinforces its visual aesthetics and easy-to-use navigation. It works as a quick way to get shoppers where they need to go, in a much more visual-forward way than does the main navigation bar.

    Splash's featured categories on their online store

    Page load speed is another aspect of site design you need to consider. When your site takes too long to load, consumers are likely to go elsewhere to find what they need. Set up separate versions for computer users and mobile users to optimize loading and presentation.

    6. Streamlined checkout process

    With an overall cart abandonment rate of 55% to 80% for online merchants, developing a streamlined checkout process is one way to keep customers around until the sale is complete. Here are some ways to ensure that checkout goes as smoothly as possible:

        1. Create a clear, simple way for customers to add items to their cart. A button with the words “Add To Cart” should be displayed prominently on each product page.

        2. Include a button on each page that takes customers immediately to the payment page. A “Buy Now” or “Pay Now” button helps to encourage impulse purchases.

        3. Let customers quickly peruse what they already have in their carts. A drop-down visual enables them to check the contents in their cart without leaving the product page, making it easier for them to add new items. Also, show a summary of all items in the cart whenever a new item is added.

        4. Eliminate barriers to buying. Give customers a way to buy as a guest instead of having to register with your site to make a purchase, and offer multiple payment options to ensure buyers aren’t deterred by not having the right type of payment method.

    For a good example of a simplified checkout, look at the Heirloom Traditions Paint page below. The drop-down cart menu lets customers see everything in the cart without leaving the shopping page.

    Heirloom Tradition's online cart

    7. Run a referral program

    A good referral program can differentiate your eCommerce business by creating a relationship with customers that turns them into brand ambassadors. About 83% of people say they trust recommendations from friends or family members, making word of mouth a valuable way to introduce your unique brand to new customers.

    To create a referral program that stands out from eCommerce competitors, meet your customers where they are. That might mean rewarding customers for referrals on social media or embedding the referral program details on your main page to make sure site visitors know about it. You can integrate your referral program into an overall reward program, as wellness and beauty brand, Switch2Pure, does in the example below:

    Switch 2 Pure's loyalty program.

    Another way to create an attention-getting referral program is to offer a bonus that’s more than just a small discount. Consumers are used to seeing referral programs that provide 10% to 25% off for each referral, but a program that gives them a free item or exclusive access to specific products will make them eager to refer someone to your store.

    8. Implement a cohesive content strategy

    Making your content strategy cohesive and consistent helps establish your identity in a crowded eCommerce marketplace. Treat content creation as a thoughtful process, and consider how each piece you create fits into your overall brand.

    Understanding your brand and precisely identifying your target market helps you maintain this kind of consistency. Figure out exactly what your customers want and need, and show them how your products provide it. Kate Quinn’s Little One of the Week blog features real children wearing the store’s products. This user-generated content is actively targeted to customers and encourages them to share their own content with the brand as well.

    Kate Quinn's 'Little One of the Week' blog featuring Zy'onna

    9. Personalize, personalize, personalize

    Personalization gives customers the impression that your brand speaks directly to their needs. Some ways to achieve a sense of personalization in your eCommerce store include:

    Personalized product recommendations

    Show items that the customer has previously viewed or complementary products to goods they’ve already purchased. The example below shows how Heirloom Traditions Paint incorporates this concept into their email marketing. By showcasing related products in an automated email flow that thanks first-time customers, the Kentucky-based paint supplier is actively targeting recently acquired customers with data from shoppers just like them, while also offering an astounding discount of 30% off:

    Heirloom Traditions Paint's product recommendations within their emails

    Personalized product recommendations can be a great way to trigger, or at least inspire, the customer’s next purchase. Heirloom Traditions Paint has seen such impressive success that they’ve made over $145,800 in revenue on just their automated email flow which sends to first-time customers. 

    There’s so much value that comes along with email marketing. It’s a channel that gets some of the highest returns on investment as far as conversions, and it can be highly automated. That means, when your system is triggering a ‘thank you’ email or an abandoned cart reminder, your brand is staying in the forefront of your customers’ minds without the time and effort of a manual process on your end.

    Generate a personalized homepage 

    Using cookies and prior data about each customer can help you create a personalized experience for anyone who visits your site more than once. Design your site to display a welcome message with the customer’s name once they’ve input their information during the checkout process or signing up for a reward program. 

     

    10. Run campaigns with email and SMS marketing.


    With so much competition out there, staying top-of-mind with your customers will take some effort. But the good news is that there are plenty of ways and channels to do so. 

    Email marketing can be incredibly valuable because customers need and expect emails from you as updates on the status of their orders, etc. You can cover your bases here with campaigns that touch customers throughout the journey; for example:

        • As a thank-you for first-time customers,

        • To win back lapsed customers, or

        • Recover abandoned carts.

    SMS marketing is a relatively new tactic that brands are using with some success. Information overload is real – and, as everyone’s email inboxes keep filling up, you may get more ROI from showing up in their text message inbox instead. With SMS marketing you can achieve:

        • Higher open rate than emails

        • Higher ROI with spend

        • Ability to target audiences on mobile devices

        • Faster delivery to the recipient after sending.

    The most important things to remember about SMS marketing are to always add value and to use personalization when possible. Value can come in the form of a unique sales offer, time-sensitive deal, information necessary to participate in a specific event, or intros to new products or services. With personalization tactics, you can make sure those value-add messages go directly to the audience members who need or want them the most.

     

    Conclusion

    The eCommerce playing field is increasingly crowded – but as online shopping increases, there are more opportunities than ever to differentiate yourself from your competitors. First, you have to understand your competitors’ approach. Then you can use that information to set yourself apart.

    We went over ten ways to differentiate your store and your business, to name a few: strong branding, a personalized sales experience, unique products, and impressive customer service. By focusing on establishing a strong brand identity first, the rest of the improvements you make to your website are much more likely to align with that vision.  

    Use these tips to develop an emotional connection with consumers and reap the rewards of more sales and increased referrals. Your long-term success depends on it.

     

    This blog was written for Marsello by the talented team at BigCommerce.

     

    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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