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Retail Outlook: Brick & Mortar Defies Odds, Surge Forecast For 2024

What's in store for retail in 2024? We analyze economists' forecasts, recent trends and the latest holiday sales data to look ahead at next year.

Alice Cresswell

Content Strategy Manager

A millennial born in the digital age, I grew up arrogantly thinking brick and mortar was on its last legs. Ecommerce was the way forward, and before we knew it, we’d be living in floating armchairs with everything we needed on a projected screen in front of us (think Wall-E).

Turns out, things don’t move so linearly. And while technology might evolve exactly as quickly as you expect, human nature doesn’t quite match up in rate of change. We don’t want to live isolated from others, married to a holographic screen, consuming limitlessly.

Maybe we don’t want mandated office days, but we do want to be in the office, around people, on our own terms. We want the option to shop online, but we also want to know we can head into the city to try those jeans on for size. We’ll make a day of it—see friends for coffee, go to the gym, or run some errands.

Over COVID, we hedged our bets on direct-to-consumer commerce. Big Tech like Amazon went all-in on hires during the pandemic, then made massive staff cuts when eCommerce transactions tapered off earlier than expected.

Retail giants also bet big on leisurewear—anticipating a pivot to work-from-home comfies to stick around. But it wasn’t long before they realized they’d over estimated demand. Shoppers reported seeing leisurewear littering Target shop floors, and sales abounded to move stock.

Looking ahead, what can we expect from 2024? More of the same, or a shift for the better?

 


 

Online Retail Sales: 2024 Outlook


2022 saw a contraction in online sales worldwide, but 2023 has been back to growth again—around 7%. Now, even with the possibility of recession still hanging thick in the air (will it happen? will it not?), the consumer appears to be resilient.

The Economist Intelligence Unit, EIU, is predicting online retail sales growth globally to head back into double-digit growth (10.5%).

But the US and Western Europe will still be playing catch up, with more sluggish single digit growth than the global average. We’ll be seeing profitability pressures continue to restrict growth in the DTC space, with investors seeking better returns.

 

Brick and Mortar Sales: 2024 Outlook


If you’ve been following retail news, you’ll have seen Kohl’s has been suffering in eCommerce sales. Following other big brands, Kohl’s has committed to modernizing its physical presence, as well as providing offers and promotions consistently across all channels.

Consumers want brick and mortar, but they’re voting with their wallets, demanding a slick, engaging experience. Think Mecca, IKEA, Apple and LEGO.

Where SMB and mid-market retail can provide a more personal touch, retail giants are under pressure to supplement a lack of personalization with expensive tech and impressive fitouts.

EIU forecasts that brick and mortar sales will make up a whopping 85% of total retail sales in 2024. The businesses that have made it through high interest rates and rising costs will enjoy recovering foot traffic and a sales boost.

“2024 will see the strongest pace of growth for offline retail since the post-pandemic rebound of 2021,” EIU predicts.

This trend will be global. Beyond Kohls, other large retailers like Nordstrom (US) and Primark (Ireland) are planning store expansion in the US in 2024.

 

Overall Outlook for Retail in 2024


While the online sales forecast is still overcast, the clouds are clearing and a growth surge is on the horizon for brick and mortar.

Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2023 proved that the consumer is ever-resilient. We also saw that loyal customers are a critical asset to retailers—brick and mortar in particular.

Marsello’s latest data shows around half of eCommerce shoppers were repeat customers, and half new shoppers.

For brick and mortar retailers, on the other hand, repeat customers made up 80% of BFCM sales. What's more, physical retailers grew their customer databases by around 22% over Black Friday in 2023.

Loyalty programs and customer marketing will play a huge part in boosting 2024 brick and mortar sales.

Yes, that’s a pitch to start a free trial of Marsello, connect your eCommerce and POS platforms, and start syncing the last few months’ worth of sales!

In 2024, it’s time to put all that data into motion… change is coming.

Start free trial

 


 

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

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    Boost loyalty for hospitality with Marsello, Lightspeed Ordering & Bopple

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    Integrated omnichannel loyalty for hospitality has never been so easy! Read how Marsello, Bopple, & Lightspeed Ordering bring seamless hospitality loyalty...

     

    From the humble coffee card to 2-for-1 deals, the hospitality industry is no stranger to a loyalty-focused marketing strategy. But things have progressed rapidly from physical loyalty cards – the future of hospitality is digital, even when it’s brick-and-mortar.

    The possibilities for digital hospitality don’t just stop at loyalty programs either! From adaptable real-time menus and online QR table-ordering to increased upselling with less work from staff, the digitalized hospitality experience is paving the way for personalized, data-driven dining experiences that automatically drive customer loyalty and retention.

    And Bopple is here to bring that to you by integrating with Lightspeed POS for restaurants and Marsello – the perfect omnichannel partnership!

     

    What is Omnichannel Hospitality

    The gap between physical stores and online channels is lessening – in fact, they’re becoming one and the same experience. And the hospitality sector is no different! From online wine tastings to contactless ordering with QR codes, the way we indulge in dining is tightly integrated with the way digest digitally. 

    Creating a seamless experience that enhances each and every customer touchpoint is at the heart of an omnichannel strategy, but it’s so much more than that! With a multi-channel approach, you’re able to capture valuable customer information that empowers smart, data-driven, customer-centric business decisions, ensuring you get results from your investments and see a trackable return on investment.

    A light-blue banner with the Marsello, Bopple and Lightspeed logos lined up side-by-side


    With, Lightspeed Ordering powered by Bopple and Marsello, you have a powerful, tightly integrated tech stack that works together to drive undeniable results and increase customer relationships, engagement, and returns. Let’s dig a little deeper into each app: 

    Bopple: Whether you’re running a one-off physical pop-up, or you’re an established restaurant, Bopple has what you need to succeed online. With COVID-specific features like QR check-ins and ordering and essential tools like customer database tracking and frictionless checkout, Bopple was developed with the digital hospitality owner in mind!

    Lightspeed POS for Hospitality: Digital POS has cemented itself as the new normal and Lightspeed Kounta POS is fast becoming the go-to tool for savvy hospitality business owners. So you’ve sold out of a dish? Update your digital menu on the fly! Running a special or a deal? Promote it directly to your social media channels and flow that campaign into your Marsello-powered marketing! With everything online, you’re able to edit and adjust all important areas of your business in real-time, without time-consuming admin.

    Pair your Bopple and Lightspeed Kounta POS apps with Marsello for a tightly integrated, one-stop tech stack and answers all your omnichannel hospitality needs.

    Marsello not only offers personalized loyalty programs that are integrated in-house and online, but the options are endless! Encourage friend referrals from customers, nurture customer loyalty, reward purchase behaviour, and turn insights into opportunities with detailed reporting and automated customer segmentation.

    Tied together, it’s easy to see how Lightspeed Ordering powered by Bopple and paired with Marsello Loyalty is a recipe for success and an unrivalled omnichannel solution. 

     

    Learn More about Boople Marketing Automation

     

    What does an omnichannel approach mean for hospitality customers?

    Customer experience! The long and the short of it is that your customers’ experience of your business is streamlined and interactive. Just look at how Chat Thai uses their omnichannel tech stack to maximize customer experience and drive loyalty!

    A banner with Chat Thai's online ordering menu and online rewards window overlapping eachother

    Chat Thai’s modern branding and crisp aesthetic lead customers to expect a modern dining experience and that’s exactly what their customers receive!

    From digital ordering to customer loyalty, all Chat Thai’s customer data is captured with the help of Bopple’s digital tools like QR-code sign-ins and contactless payments. Orders are processed through a Lightspeed Kounta POS, and, combined with Marsello, Chat Thai can easily manage their customer information and create a seamless marketing strategy that re-engages their customers at every touchpoint thanks to an omnichannel loyalty program.

    And their customers love it too! In fact, in the first 2 months of using Marsello loyalty with their Lightspeed Ordering powered by Bopple, Chat Thai has seen a 375% increase in reward redemptions!

     

    Did you know, customers who order digitally spend more?


    From ordering in person, to simply ‘ordering in’, it’s apparent that customers who order digitally are more likely to spend more. In fact, one study suggests that customers who order digitally will spend as much as 25% more on average. The team at Lightspeed put this down to a few potential factors. Digital menus:

        • Give the customer a primarily visual experience. Perfected product photography goes a long way in encouraging diners to order more by encouraging an increased hunger response. Consider this your customers’ first impression of what to expect from their order – remember, enticing realism will go a long way! Just look at how Chat Thai presents their menu. It’s enough to get your stomach rumbling and taste
        • Increase the opportunity to upsell. Essentially, a digitized menu and ordering experience automates the upselling process. With beautiful images and an enjoyable, easily navigable online experience, customers are much more likely to explore the entire menu and maybe order an extra side dish or replenish their drinks throughout the meal.
        • Allow for increased flexibility. Think about it like improving customer experience. For example, when it comes to busy businesses and the re-ordering process, digital ordering gives the customer the ability to adjust their order easily and in real-time. No catching the eye of waitstaff, no miscommunications or worries about dietary requirements. And this in turn equates to increased average order values and improved long-term customer loyalty.

    The benefits of moving towards digital hospitality for retailers are limitless. With tools like data-driven channel management, customer-driven loyalty engagement, and automation across all touchpoints, omnichannel hospitality is the answer to smart, customer-centric business growth.

     

    Get the omnichannel experience for your customers

    So you’re ready to make the move to an optimized omnichannel tech stack designed specifically for hospitality business owners – that’s what we like to hear!

     

    Book a demo to get started today

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

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

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


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

     

    Quick links:

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

    What is customer loyalty


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

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

     

    What is customer retention


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

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

     

    Customer Loyalty vs Customer Retention: What is the difference


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

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

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

     

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

    What are the customer retention metrics that matter


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

    How to turn shoppers into loyal customers

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

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

    A computer screen showing purchase history for an online store.

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


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

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

    Final words


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

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

    How to Collect and Manage Customer Feedback

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    Learn which methods of customer feedback collection could work best for your business and discover why you should consider this essential growth data.

    A Guide to Navigating Shopper Input

    A women leaves feedback on a wall-mounted tablet which prompts 'how was your experience'.

     

    Did you know that poor customer experiences result in an estimated $83 billion loss by U.S. businesses every year? 

     

    Gathering, managing, and analyzing customer feedback is a vital part of your customer success strategy, but is often neglected by businesses. In fact, a recent study by Hubspot found that 42% of businesses don't collect customer feedback at all. 

     

    If you don't know what your customers think or want, it's impossible to put them at the center of your growth plan. That's why a robust customer feedback management strategy is the key to fostering lasting relationships with your customers.

     

    In this post, we're going to:

    • Discuss why customer feedback matters
    • Identify key types of customer feedback
    • Talk about how to collect, manage, and analyze customer feedback

    Let’s dive in!

     

    Why is it important to collect customer feedback? 

    Let’s kick things off by discussing the benefits of having good customer feedback management practices in place. 

     

    It helps to refine your product/service

    Making the effort to collect customer feedback helps you to identify pain points, as well as gather suggestions that you can communicate to your customer success and product teams. In turn, this helps to enhance your product/service and promote a better user experience.

     

    Essentially, any omnichannel retailer should be making the customer the focal point of their business, and collecting customer feedback will enable this process. 

     

    It improves customer satisfaction and retention

    No matter what business you run, your customers want to feel as though their experiences matter. When customer service representatives take a long time to respond to concerns – or worse, don't respond at all – this can seriously damage the customer relationship. 

     

    On the flip side, when you make the effort to implement changes or updates on the back of feedback surveys, it showcases a customer-centric approach that aims to meet the expectations of loyal customers. And when customers are satisfied, your retention rates will soar.

     

    It strengthens your WOM (Word of Mouth) marketing efforts

    Here's a fact about marketing: We're far more likely to trust other people's perception of a business than what that business says about itself. In fact, 88% of consumers say that they trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations.

     

    With the rise of social media and community forums, we're no longer passive consumers of advertising. By making customer feedback a core functionality of your business model, you have a powerful customer acquisition strategy.

     

    Types of customer feedback 

    Customer feedback can be divided into two main types: Direct/solicited customer feedback, and indirect/unsolicited customer feedback.

     

    Direct/solicited customer feedback

    This refers to feedback processes that rely on the business reaching out to their customers for feedback. The advantage of this approach is that businesses can either tailor their surveys to specific topics, such as the usability of certain features, or they can ask about the customer journey as a whole. However, invitations for direct feedback often struggle with low uptake.

     

    Direct/solicited customer feedback methods include the following:

    • Customer surveys
    • Customer reviews
    • Focus groups
    Indirect/unsolicited customer feedback

    Conversely, indirect/unsolicited feedback is when a customer reaches out to a business with queries or concerns. It's within a business's interest to encourage this behavior, as unsolicited feedback can often bring up issues or opportunities they wouldn't have identified on their own. 

     

    The following can be considered types of indirect/unsolicited feedback:

    • Social media
    • Customer support centers
    • Live chat

    Note: It's a good idea to use a combination of methods to ensure that your business is getting impartial feedback data. In this next section, we're going to dive into some of these methods in more depth.

     

    How to collect customer feedback

    Now let’s look at the different ways that you can gather feedback from shoppers.

     

    Customer surveys

    Customer surveys are one of the most common methods for feedback collection. You can completely customize a survey depending on what your needs are, making it one of the best options for collecting feedback on a large scale.

     

    However, putting together a good feedback survey is a lot of work. Once you've chosen the area that you want feedback on, you need to decide what survey format is most appropriate.

     

    While a qualitative survey using free text fields is one of the easiest to put together, it can be a discouraging time investment for customers, and setting it up effectively could be time-consuming for you too.

     

    Instead, you could consider using some qualitative forms of customer satisfaction survey, such as:

     

    Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

    CSAT is a metric for determining how satisfied your customers are with different touchpoints in the customer journey. It captures customer sentiment when they're interacting with that stage of your offering i.e. "How would you rate your recent order or experience?"

     

    KiwiCo asks subscribers to rate their experience of using a specific product with 5 stars.

    CSATs usually give customers the choice of choosing a number between 1 and 5, with 5 being “very satisfied” and 1 being “highly dissatisfied”. CSATs can be single questions or use several back-to-back questions depending on how broad you want your survey to be.

     

    Net Promoter Score (NPS)

    NPS is another qualitative survey measure but it differs from CSAT. NPS measures long-term customer loyalty. It helps to benchmark a customer's willingness to recommend/promote your brand to others, which indicates their commitment to repeat purchases. So, if your NPS is low, this means your churn rate is likely to be high.

     

    Most NPS surveys use a 10-point scale, as shown in this template by Le Tote:

     

    Le Tote asks customers how likely they are to recommend the store with a 1-10 scale.

    2-choice questions

    In some cases, you want to make it as simple as possible for customers to provide feedback. This is why 2-choice surveys can be extremely useful when you want to gather a quick pulse from your customers. 

     

    The following example from Katie Waltman, which lets people indicate their feedback by simply tapping a happy or sad face is an example of quick and easy feedback collection.

     

    And in case customers would like to share additional details, Katie Waltman asks a quick follow-up question based on the shoppers’ initial response. Katie Waltman has a 97% customer feedback rating. Their customers have particularly positive feedback for KW’s product quality, customer service, and the value of their products. Keeping in mind that customers are most inclined to leave feedback when they are passionate, this makes praise that Katie Waltman has received all the more impressive.

     

    Marsello-Case-Study-Katie-Waltman

    Social media monitoring

    Did you know that 1 in 3 consumers would rather post service or product feedback on social media than contact a business directly? Quick and appropriate follow-ups to comments and mentions by your customers are vital on an open forum, and also presents opportunities to ask for feedback via polls and surveys:

     

    PlayStation uses Twitter to run a poll asking follower if theyll be buying a game this week.

    Qualitative customer interviews

    If you're wanting more in-depth customer insights, organizing a series of interviews with customers is a great tool for adding more context to NPS and CSAT surveys. Getting direct information straight from shoppers can help to highlight and create understanding around areas that are working well, versus areas of your business that could do with attention.

     

    This technique is best suited for interviewing long-term customers who can answer more in-depth questions about your product/service. It's a good idea to use your CRM to pick out loyal customers who can offer you the most valuable insights.

     

    How to manage customer feedback 

    Once you’ve collected a good amount of feedback, it’s best to set up processes for managing all that information so you can act on it. 

     

    Use the right CFM tools

    Feedback management tools are vital to getting the most out of your feedback collection. CFM (customer feedback management) software allows you to sort and analyze customer data effectively, rather than having your customer success team spend days or even weeks sorting through it manually.

     

    The right tools depend on how your business plans on gathering customer feedback. For example, if you plan on doing customer surveys on a regular basis, a survey tool like SurveyMonkey or Typeform is a good investment. Likewise, you're a brand with a large social media presence, consider a social listening tool such as Brand24 that uses AI to monitor brand reputation in real-time, a popular technique with SaaS companies. 

     

    On the other hand, if you want to grab quick feedback on the product or shopping experience of your customers, then an eCommerce CRM like Marsello is a great option. Marsello’s feedback tool makes it easy to attach quick surveys to your transactional emails so customers can let you know how they feel.

     

    From there, you can get detailed reporting on customer satisfaction and find ways to improve. 

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

     

    Learn moreStart collecting feedback

     

     

    Implement a Voice of the Customer (VoC) program

    The Voice of the Customer (VoC) is a broad term referring to all of the data and metrics you've gathered from feedback management tools and unsolicited customer feedback. A VoC program collates all this data from across channels to identify emerging themes that indicate specific pain points, then develops a roadmap to address them.

     

    For a VoC program to work effectively, it can't be siloed just to your customer success division. It requires active collaboration with the product development, marketing, and sales teams to identify trends within their own workflows. For example, if the sales team keeps coming across a particular feature request, this can be passed onto the product team far more seamlessly.

     

    Close the feedback loop

    Once you've identified issues or opportunities and taken action in response, it's important not to miss out on informing customers what you've accomplished. This is known as “closing the feedback loop.”

    Unless customers receive a follow-up, they have no idea whether their concerns have been listened to. This leaves the feedback loop wide open and could affect your retention efforts.

     

    So, once you've decided to introduce a change in response to feedback, you need to think about the best way to communicate this. The appropriate channel will depend on the demographics of the respondents. For example, if your survey was hosted on social media, it makes sense to inform customers using the same medium. If it was an on-site survey, you could consider producing a webinar that discusses your initiatives.

     

    How to analyze your customer feedback 

    The best way to get the most out of customer feedback is to analyze it. Here are some tips to help you organize what you’ve collected and ensured that you gain actionable insights from them.

     

    Categorize your feedback types

    Once your data is in one place, assigning it to a specific group will help you get a broad overview of what areas are receiving the most attention from your customers. For example, you could use categories like:

    • Onboarding
    • Pricing/billing
    • Feature requests
    • Product/user experience
    • Technical support.

    You can also break these down further into sub-categories i.e. whether the feedback is negative or positive.

     

    This exercise will help you to highlight any overarching trends and “hidden” issues that your business might not have identified, such as confusing pricing structures or difficulty finding support documentation.

     

    Start feedback analysis

    While it's possible to analyze your feedback manually, this is a very time-consuming process and requires someone with strong expertise in coding and data analysis. Moreover, there's always the potential for personal bias to get in the way of finding actionable insights from your customers.

    Instead, consider using a tool such as Marsello, which can organize feedback data into graphs and tables that make it easy to analyze the information.

    Marsello-Feedback-ReportAs patterns start emerging, it's important to ask yourself some key questions:

    • Are these new or established customers?
    • Where are they located?
    • Who has been assigned to manage their account?

    This helps to add context to the results of your analysis – and may also establish some underlying causes for recurring issues.

     

    Present your results

    Once you have the results of your customer feedback campaign, you need to think about the best way to present them to your teams. This will depend on whether you're doing a relatively focused feedback survey or a landmark study on your product/service as a whole.

     

    If it's a small feedback project, you can likely present the results on a one-page that summarizes the key takeaways via bullet points or tables. In the case of large, multi-question studies, you will need to break this down in a lot more detail.

     

    Large-scale data visualization using line or bar graphs are a great way to communicate to your staff the changes to customer sentiment over time and provide answers to key questions. Check out this visualization by Thematic investigating the reasons behind a drop in NPS:

     

    Thematic uses a graph visualization to represent how a customer rating has dropped.

     

    Thematic not only displays the drop-in NPS rating over time but also offers the user detailed information that highlights why their performance could be taking a downward turn. 

     

    Final words

    Customer feedback has traditionally been one of the most neglected elements in customer success. It's easy for businesses to tell themselves that gathering customer feedback is too time-consuming or difficult to analyze to be worth the effort. 

     

    But at the end of the day, customer satisfaction is the key to long-term success as a business. If your customers are unhappy with your service or product offering, your churn rate is going to skyrocket. But by implementing a strong customer feedback program, you're in a much better position to foster retention and loyalty.

     

    Need to collect and analyze customer feedback? Marsello has powerful tools to help retailers gather input from shoppers and turn them into actionable insights. 

     

     

    Learn more about Marsello's featuresGET MARSELLO



     

    What is Omnichannel Marketing?

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

    A Guide to Marketing Across Multiple Channels

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

    Omnichannel.

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

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

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

    What is omnichannel marketing? 


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

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

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

     

    The difference between multichannel and omnichannel marketing


    Don't confuse omnichannel marketing with multichannel marketing. 

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

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

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

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

     

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

    Why implement omnichannel marketing? 


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

    Providing a consistent experience across channels

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

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

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

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

    Maximizing touchpoints with your customer

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

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

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

    Valuable data-driven insights

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

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

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

     

    How to start an omnichannel marketing strategy from scratch 


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

    1. Start thinking customer-centric

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

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

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

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

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

    2. Know who your customer is

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

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

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

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

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

    3.  Invest in the proper toolkit

    Example of Marsello's POS integration working with Loyalty.

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

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

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

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

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    4. Content, content, content


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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    Federations SMS campaign overlaid on branded imagery

     

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

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

    Marsello-Loyalty-Katie-Waltman-Email-Campaign

     

    5. Segmenting your messaging

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    Brandini Toffees abandoned cart email campaign on a mustard yellow background

     

    Learn more about Marsello's features


    6. Track and analyze

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

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

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

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

     

    Final words


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

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

     

    Create new & look-a-like audiences with Facebook Audience Sync

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    Easily use social media ads to retarget current customers or acquire new customers using the Facebook Audience Sync feature from Marsello.
    The Marsello and Facebook Logos feature alongside a Facebook Ad carousel by NZ-based retailer, Madame Fancy Pants.

    Facebook advertising can feel like a minefield, particularly when it comes to creating perfected audiences. Now, you can automatically import your custom segments directly from Marsello with Facebook Audience Sync, saving you time and also ensuring your audience is always up to date!

    The Facebook Audience Sync feature allows you to easily carry over your custom segments to your Facebook Ads Manager account where you can start creating compelling ads that convert customers. You don’t have to load a new audience every time you want to create ads; in fact, the Facebook Audience Sync is designed to update every hour, so it’s always up to date, ensuring that your marketing reaches all your desired customers. 

     

    The world of social media marketing might feel a little overwhelming when you first get started, but by automatically loading your customer segments to your Facebook Ads Manager account, it’s easy to create promotional marketing campaigns that target both new and existing customers – this is where Facebook Audience Sync changes the game. The hard work is done for you as you easily sync custom segments to Facebook with just a few clicks! 

     

    There are some things you’ll need to ensure you’ve done before you can use the Facebook Audience Sync feature. Let’s delve a little deeper.

     

    Getting started with Facebook Audience Sync

    First thing’s first, you’ll need to ensure your Facebook Ads Manager account is set up and ready to go before you can sync your Marsello custom segments.

     

    Once your Facebook Ads Manager account is all ready to go, you can navigate to the Add-ons page in your Marsello admin and easily find the Facebook Audience Sync feature. Here you can connect your Facebook Ads Manager account to your Marsello account by completing the required Facebook permissions and following the set-up steps.

     

    And when you’ve completed the set-up process, you’ll be able to start syncing your selected Marsello custom segments to your Facebook Ads Manager account. Connecting your Marsello account to Facebook opens up a wide range of marketing possibilities to various customer groups and not just those who you’ve added with the Facebook Audience Sync feature. 

     

    One important note: as we’ve touched on, the Facebook Audience Sync tool allows you to create Facebook ad audiences directly from your Marsello custom segments – emphasis on the “custom segments”. By this, we mean that you can only sync segments that you’ve created yourself. If you haven’t created any yet, you can learn more about custom segments in our help center

     

    One question you may have is, “How can I sync my RFM segments, i.e. Loyal Customers?” And it’s actually very easy! All you need to do is create a copy of your desired RFM segment (these are your ‘Loyal’, ‘Best’, ‘At-risk’ segments, etc.). From here, you can easily sync this new custom segment across to Facebook Ads Manager (make sure you name your new segment so that it’s easily distinguishable). Your segment will appear in your selectable Ads audiences as “Marsello: ” so if you named a copy of an RFM segment as Facebook-Audience-Loyal-Customers, it would be easily distinguishable in both Marsello and Facebook Ads Manager.

    Now that we’ve got the need-to-know feature information out of the way let’s explore how you can get creative with your custom audiences and Facebook campaigns.

     

    How to create Facebook ads that convert customers

    There are a few different ways to break down social media ads, usually based on your goals. For the sake of keeping things simple, we’ll look at ads as tools for either retargeting or acquisition – meaning you’re using ads to either engage your current customers or attract new customers. 

    Let’s break down these two advertising goals while showcasing how you can use Facebook Audience Sync to create innovative yet straightforward ad campaigns.

     

    Retargeting Existing Customers with Facebook Ads

    According to Niel Patel, 72% of customers are inclined to abandon their carts while shopping. That’s huge! Creating retargeting campaigns might be old news at this stage; however, it isn’t always easy to know how much retargeting is too much. Here’s a hint: your campaigns don’t have to be restricted to powerful tools like email marketing and dynamic retargeting tactics (such as AI-driven product recommendations). Integrating your retargeting efforts into your social media marketing campaigns can be a powerful way to re-engage shoppers in new and exciting ways.

     

    With Facebook Audience Sync, you can easily create audiences from your Marsello custom segments. Your RFM Segments can also be a starting point as they help you to target specific groups of customers who are already organised by data-driven AI. For example, the Lost and At-Risk segments could be fantastic audiences for a win-back retargeting campaign that aims to re-capture those less active customers. 

     

    Note: Remember what we stated earlier – you’ll need to create custom segments that are duplicates of your RFM segments if you’d like to market to these.

     

    Let’s look at a few stats that really break down the effectiveness of retention marketing:

    Infographic with stats about the success rates of retention marketing and acquisition marketing.

    Now, these stats aren’t to say that one form of marketing is better than the other; they’re included here to remind you of the power of marketing to current customers. There are huge gains to be made from marketing to both new and existing customers – you just have to be clever about how you approach your marketing tactics.

     

    With Facebook Audience Sync, once you’ve synced the segments that you’d like to advertise to, you can easily add these segments as the audience for your campaigns. All you need to do is ensure you know what your goal for each campaign is, who your audience is, and what actions you want your customers to take. A common CTA for retargeting customers is ‘Shop Now’, as your marketing to customers who already know your brand, have shopped with you before, and maybe need a wee nudge to shop with you again.

     

    We briefly touched on marketing to RFM segments like At-Risk or Lost customers. Consider the following examples of how you could use retargeting to engage some different customer groups:

    • An example of how you could create innovative campaigns to engage your At-Risk or Lost segments is to design a win-back campaign that retargets these customers after they’ve abandoned their cart. Whether you’re offering shoppers a discount or simply reminding them of your most popular products, remember that your ad should be compelling, concise, and inviting to that particular customer group.

    • You could create a targeted campaign that actively re-engages your ‘Window Shopper’ RFM segment (which is customers who’ve visited your online store but not shopped with you). This campaign could offer this audience anything from a sneak peek to an exclusive collection, to a one-day sale. 

    Acquiring New Customers with Lookalike Audiences

    Customer acquisition can feel like a big task – how can you possibly market to someone who has never heard of your store and whose contact details you don’t have? 

     

    This is why the Facebook Audience Sync feature is so exciting – acquisition marketing is perhaps one of the most effective ways that you can put the Facebook Audience Sync feature to use!

    When you sync your selected custom segment, you can then use this customer list and as the base for a Facebook lookalike audience; this will allow you to target Facebook users who ‘look like’ your customers, be that age, location, gender etc. The more specific you make your lookalike audience settings, the smaller the audience will get, but this will also increase your likelihood of generating traffic. 

     

    So here’s an example of this in action:

    • Stage 1 – You want to create an ad that reaches a wide range of people who have similar interests to your customers, but you don’t want to include any current customers in that list.

    • Stage 2 – You create a custom segment in Marsello that includes all your customers and title it ‘All Customers’.

    • Stage 3 – You sync that list using the Facebook Audience Sync feature.

    • Stage 4 – You use Facebook Ads Manager to create a ‘Lookalike Audience’.

    Creating a lookalike audience will help you to reach Facebook users who are similar to your current customers. When you consider that 2.60 Billion People use Facebook worldwide, that’s a tremendous amount of potential for reaching customers that you otherwise may not have had a way to contact.

     

    But smart marketing includes knowing how to get the best results from a very specific audience. You don’t want to create an audience that consists of a huge number of people only to lose money because most of these people will either ignore your ad (as it doesn’t apply to them) or click on your ad but won’t engage in a way that helps you meet your goal.

     

    Did you know you can go one step further and exclude your existing customers from your Facebook ads? 

    Acquiring New Customers While Excluding Existing Customers

    To exclude your synced Marsello custom segment from your ad audience, you simply need to create a ‘Custom Exclusion’ in your Facebook ad settings. By excluding your current customers, you’ll have a super-refined audience which is based on your current customers (who are proven to like your brand), you’re also avoiding paying for engagement from your already loyal customers.

     

    From here, you’re free to design robust, captivating ads that encourage Facebook users who may not know anything about your brand to click on your ads and shop with you. Remember this as you create your ad: you want to excite, entice, and engage your new audience. Niel Patel has you covered when it comes to social acquisition communication, so don’t be afraid to dig around and look at what the pros are doing to master their social media marketing.

     

    Ready to combine all these tactics together?

     

    Remember those retargeting ads we mentioned? Why not get really creative and make a retargeting campaign that captures those customers from your lookalike audience who clicked on your ad and visited your store but did not make a purchase, turning your acquisition campaign into a brilliant retargeting campaign, all while excluding any current customers from your audience.

     

    Our final piece of advice: no matter what kinds of social media campaigns you create, make sure you’re keeping track of the results, and your ad spend. Set yourself a budget and don’t be afraid to experiment, but don’t let yourself put money into campaigns that feel like they could do with a refresh or an overhaul. Tracking is the best way to ensure your ads are seeing the results you expect. Just make sure you’re tracking the metrics that apply to your marketing.

    Madame Fancy Pants uses a Facebook ad carousel to marketing a 15% off discount featuring leopard print Birkenstocks over a swimming pool.

    Omnichannel retailer, Madame Fancy Pants, is a prime example of retailers using Facebook ads to engage a wide range of customers. Recently, MFP created the Facebook campaign shown in the image above. The campaign targeted a lookalike audience based on their current customers, but they went a step further (as suggested in the section above) and excluded the following audiences:

    • any user who is an existing MFP customer and accepts marketing

    • recent shoppers as they made a purchase.

    MFP saw a 3.2x Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) and an almost even mix of in-store and online spend over the month that the ad campaign ran. 

     

    Final words

    As we’ve broken down, your Facebook advertising strategy can be a powerful tool to accompany any of your promotional marketing. However, you have to ensure your Social Media marketing is done right, and that starts with ensuring that you’re marketing to the right audiences.

     

    With Facebook Audience Sync, it’s easy to create custom audiences and then develop targeted ad campaigns that work specifically for those customer groups. Whether you’re excluding that customer group while creating a lookalike campaign, or marketing directly to a specific segment, all your Marsello custom segments can be synced to Facebook Ads Manager in just a few clicks.

     

    Start syncing

    Email Marketing Best Practices Guide for BFCM 2021

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    Halloween, Hanukkah, or BFCM – picking your marketable holidays is just the first step. Send undeniable emails this season with our email marketing guide.

    It’s common knowledge that holiday email marketing is both essential and fiercely competitive. Not only do you have to ensure you’re standing out to customers by creating beautifully crafted emails that meet the following best practice guidelines, but you also have to schedule those emails to send at the perfect time to land in front of your customers – the right message to the right customers, at the right time!

    Get on top of your holiday marketing by mastering it early! We've designed the following infographic to help you confidently create campaigns for BFCM, and all the holidays surrounding it.

     

    Email Marketing Best Practices Infographic:

     

    Alt tag: An in-depth infographic that gives retailers a step-by-step set of instructions on how to create email campaigns that appeal to customers and stay out of spam filters. The advice includes giving customers the option to unsubscribe, adding calls-to-action, including product images and clear branding/logos, suggested email sending times and including a holiday offer to entice customers in.

     

    Whether it’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or even President’s Day, picking your marketable holidays is just the first step.

    As you can see, there are many components that go into creating a winning holiday marketing campaign. So what else can you do to ensure you’re capturing your customers’ attention? 

    We've put together a few simple steps and tools you can use to make sure you're prepared for Black Friday/Cyber Monday and any other holiday during the season! And all of this is easy to master with Marsello's features: 

     

      • Plan ahead with a marketing calendar – Prepare for the upcoming holidays with the help of the Marketing Calendar feature. Whether you need a reminder of the upcoming holidays’ dates, or you want to schedule a series of holiday-specific campaigns, the Marketing Calendar makes this easy. Learn more.

      • Make use of pre-made email templates – If you’re strapped for time, one of the most effective ways you can create a campaign that you know will capture customers’ attention and keep you out of their Spam folders is by using pre-designed email templates. Not only can you customize your campaign to ensure it fits your brand, but you can also schedule your campaign for the future, helping to save you time now and down the line. Learn more

      • Boost your email campaigns – Seeing lower than expected email open rates? Never fear; that’s a common complaint at this time of year! Automatically resend email campaigns with a different subject line to everyone who didn’t open it the first time around! Learn more.

      • Send SMS campaigns – Follow up your holiday email campaign by sending an SMS campaign to those customers in your chosen segment who have opted-in to your SMS marketing. Learn more.

      • Offer loyalty points promotions through campaigns – Offer a points promotion for the days of the holiday and then focus your holiday email marketing campaign around that points promotion. Use enticing deals like double points to ensure your brand is in front of customers’ minds before the holiday has even arrived. Learn more

      • Make the most of data-driven customer segmentation – All signs point to personalization! Market-specific emails to different customer groups and watch as your engagement rates increase. Read how Spanish shoe brand, Yuccs, did just this last year over BFCM and saw outstanding results! Learn more about Customer Segmentation

     

    Now you’ve got all the tools you need to get started, head across to your Marsello admin and start creating.

    Alternatively, sign up today or book a demo.

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    How to Use a Marketing Calendar to Manage Your Campaigns

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    Learn how to use the Marketing Calendar feature to organize your marketing campaigns, schedule future campaigns, track your campaign success, and more.
    Marsello's Marketing Calendar with a campaign scheduled for the future.

     

    Email marketing is still the most effective means of marketing and communication that you can do. In fact, research suggests that almost 70% of businesses use email marketing as part of their campaign strategy, which means you could be behind the curve if you’re not making the most out of email marketing. And when coupled with other campaign strategies like SMS marketing, points promotions, and carefully curated customer segments, you’re no longer part of the curve, you’re ahead of it. In fact, you’re leading the charge!

    And managing your marketing efforts is an essential part of both understanding the success of your campaigns, and planning for outgoing campaigns. Whether it’s a holiday marketing campaign (BFCM is just around the corner and the perfect time for a points promotion) or just keeping track of when campaigns are sent so you can better look back at what has caused an uplift in sales … and it all comes down to timing.

    Introducing a Marsello feature that will feel like you’ve just hired a marketing assistant: the Marketing Calendar. The Marketing Calendar feature is a month-by-month timeline representation of when and how you’re connecting with customers through campaigns, as well as making it easy for you to manage and create emails, SMS, and points campaigns through the calendar.

     

    How to use the Marketing Calendar

    Under ‘Campaigns’, on the right-hand side of your screen, you can toggle your Campaigns view to view the Marketing Calendar. As you can see in your Marsello admin, the Marketing Calendar displays a month-by-month format (which can be adjusted to a weekly or daily view too) and shows which campaigns have been sent within the current calendar month, and which campaigns are scheduled for the rest of the month. This means that you’ll see any SMS, email, or points campaigns within this timeframe, and easily identify gaps in your marketing.

    One of our favorite features of the calendar is that it makes it really easy for you to create and schedule new email, SMS, or points campaigns by clicking on the date that you’d like to send the campaign. This will bring up the usual campaign creation window which means it’s so easy to use!

    And the ease of use doesn’t stop there! 

    Usually, a points campaign will last a few consecutive days, just as The B Code did when they created a points campaign to promote their online loyalty program. Deciding the span of your points campaign and creating it is simple! Just click-and-drag from your preferred points campaign start date to the end date and the ‘create a points campaign’ window will automatically appear.

    Just remember, promoting your points campaigns with email and SMS campaigns will dramatically increase the success of your points campaign while also promoting your loyalty program. A powerful marketing tool during the holiday season when it helps to stand out to your customers with more than just the occasional holiday discount.

     

    Marsello marketing calendar with halloween promotions scheduled.
     

    Using email templates to quickly create eye-catching campaigns

    Creating a campaign with the Marketing Calendar feature takes a few clicks; and with the holiday season fast approaching, there’s plenty of campaign ideas and themes to keep you busy. Because of this, we’ve gone ahead and added several BFCM email campaigns to your templates library. These templates are designed to enable you to quickly get started with an email campaign without the added stress of wondering what to include in your email content or planning designs.

    So, how do you add a template to your campaign? 

    Once you’ve clicked on your desired campaign date within your Marketing Calendar, the rest is easy!

    1. Select ‘Email campaign’ as the campaign type that you’d like to create.

    2. Then opt to ‘start from template’. 

    3. Select the template you feel best represents your brand and the ‘feel’ of your promotion. 

    And from here, it’s just some simple customization steps to ensure your desired template fits your brand and your campaign goals:

    1. Add your store logo

    2. Update header image links to your store

    3. Add a discount and any terms

    4. Customize your copy/text

    5. Drag in product recommendations or showcase specific products

    6. Add your social media links at the bottom

    Let’s dig a little deeper and get into why the Marketing Calendar is useful to you. 

     

    Why is a Marketing Calendar useful?

    Not only does a Marketing Calendar make it simple for you to plan, create and send new campaigns, it is also an important tool for tracking the success of your past marketing campaigns, how often you’re communicating with customers, and what your scheduled marketing strategy is for the coming month(s) (and as the holiday season is fast-approaching, hopefully, it’s starting to look more and more planned). Let’s break each of these points down a little.

    • Tracking your marketing success:
      What are the goals of your campaigns? To increase your revenue and sales (conversion rates), to promote your store (open rates), or to push your loyalty program (engagement)? Maybe you’ve released a new collection of products or you’re announcing a sale. By combining your marketing calendar (with clear send dates) you can easily compare the success of each campaign to your insights over the days that follow from when you sent the campaign and deduce if that campaign had a remarkable impact on your revenue or other goals.
    • Frequency of communication:
      If you’re emailing your customers every day and seeing low open rates, low engagement rates, and, as would be expected, low conversion rates, then perhaps you could switch up the frequency and consistency of your messaging and try contacting customers every other day, or weekly. The Marketing Calendar gives you a visual overview of what you’re currently doing, making it easy for you to adjust your strategies. Whether you could contact customers a little more often, a little less often, adjust your campaign designs or content, or could possibly look at including more personalization, the Marketing Calendar will make it easier for you to make these decisions and monitor their results.
    • Scheduling marketing for the coming weeks:
      As we’ve covered, the calendar makes it easy for you to add whatever type of campaign suits your current and ongoing marketing strategy. With the holiday season approaching, this is the perfect time to look at your scheduled marketing campaigns and decide if you need to be contacting customers earlier, creating promotions, boosting campaigns, or even dialing your marketing efforts back so your customers know that when they hear from you, it’s going to be undeniably good.

     

    Final Words

    Whether you’re just getting started, or you’re running a well-oiled marketing machine, the Marketing Calendar is an easy and effective way for you to track your campaign marketing efforts, create new campaigns, and plan for events such as the holiday season. 

    With just a few clicks you can create new email, SMS, or points campaigns and track their success with ease. The month-by-month visualization of your marketing (which is also adjustable to a daily or weekly view) will help you to see how often you’re sending different campaign types and make it easy for you to plan future campaigns. Get a head start on your holiday marketing and start creating campaigns from the new Marketing Calendar.

     

    Learn more about campaigns

    How to Use Product Recommendations for Shopify POS!

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    Using Product Recommendations (by Marsello) with your Shopify POS is an easy way to master cross-selling, up-selling, and smart marketing.

    Personalized product recommendations are a powerful marketing tool that is capable of increasing sales conversions by 10-30%. With data-driven AI that compares the customer’s data to shoppers like them, Product Recommendations make it easy for your staff to cross-sell and up-sell products that your customers will love.

    In a recent study published by cmo.com, 66% of participants said that campaign content that didn’t have a personalized element (like personalized product recommendations) would discourage them from making a purchase. And the same goes for in-store! Being able to recommend products to your customers that they’re likely to enjoy is a valuable sales skill; combine that with the customers’ shopping data and you’ve got a winning recipe for increased sales both in-store and online. And with Marsello’s Product Recommendations feature built for Shopify POS, mastering the cross-sell is as personally accurate to each customer as it is simple to use. 

    Marsello's AI looks at the products added to the sale when a customer has come to purchase items. The AI instantly populates recommendations based on what similar customers have frequently bought in conjunction with the same products your customer is buying. Combined with Marsello's all-in-one marketing app, you'll be able to increase repeat purchase rates with a custom loyalty program that runs on auto-pilot on Shopify POS and eCommerce, as well as drive sales with product recommendations in POS, email marketing, and more.

    Curious how Product Recommendations can work in-store? Let’s take a look!

     

    How to Use Product Recommendations for Shopify POS


    So how does it work in-store? When a customer is ready to make a purchase, you simply need to add their products to your Shopify POS as you would normally. Once the items are added, you’re free to start recommending similar products. And it’s so easy! Just watch the short video below to learn how!

     

    A GIF that showcases Marsello’s Product Recommendations for Shopify POS in action. The window is of a Shopify POS tablet screen with the step-by-step process of using Marsello’s Product Recommendations once a sale is almost through check-out.


    As you can see, you simply need to select the tab titled “Marsello | Loyalty Marketing” and then you’ll see a list of recommended products that can easily be added to the sale if your customer is interested. For more information on getting Product Recommendations for Shopify POS set up in your store, check out our Help Centre article that breaks down all the necessary steps.

     

    Why Product Recommendations?


    Although we see them all the time with email marketing, Marsello’s Product Recommendations for Shopify POS is a groundbreaking feature that you’ll find nowhere else! It’s vital that retailers are able to give customers valuable intel into the products on offer that they may not otherwise know about, and Product Recommendations makes this simple while also being informed by real-time shopping data.

    We know from countless studies that adding personalization such as recommending stock and encouraging sales with promotional offers can not only increase sales conversions, but also increase click rates, open rates, customer referral rates, and order values! Now, let’s translate that to in-store behaviors!

    Look at click rates and open rates as an increase in the number of customers who are visiting your store time and time again, browsing your products, and maybe even bringing their friends with them. If your staff are able to up the customer-service-ante by effortlessly recommending products to customers that they’ll actually enjoy, your customers aren’t just going to feel like you’re pushing products on them, instead, they will feel seen, catered to, and appreciated. 

    As our friends at Shopify put it, “effective cross-selling techniques can improve revenue per customer by 65% or more, and 80% of buyers prefer to buy from brands that personalize the purchase experience”. Read more here.

     

    Final Words


    Whether you’re looking to up-sell or cross-sell your products, or you want to shift old stock and increase customer loyalty, Product Recommendations for Shopify POS will help you to not only meet your sales goals but also satisfy your customers and grow your business. And it’s so easy to use!

    With Marsello’s AI, Product recommendations are a powerful, data-driven tool that any brick-and-mortar or omnichannel retailer should add to their business. The best part? Marsello’s AI Product recommendations gets smarter and smarter with every purchase! If you’d like to get started, check out our Help Center article to learn how to add Product Recommendations to your Shopify POS.

    Check out our wide range of features and upgrade for complete access to Marsello’s features.

    If you’d like to learn more about the all-new Shopify POS, please sign up here.

     

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    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.

    How Points Campaigns Can Help You Increase Customer Loyalty

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    Learn how to encourage your customers to shop by sending a points promotion campaign that offers extra points for purchases during a set timeframe.
     

    Points Campaigns are the perfect tool to have up your sleeve to help drive sales on those quieter days or celebrate a special event (like a holiday).

    With Points Campaigns, you will not only have the ability to run campaigns that offer extra-points-per-purchase (set over specific timeframes) – you’ll also easily be able to market these promotions to loyalty program members and track the success of your campaign with real-time reporting. Your customers will be compelled to not only shop at your store, but they will also be tempted to spend more, especially with extra bonuses like the ability to add minimum spend requirements. 

    Let’s take a closer look.

    How points campaigns work alongside promotional campaigns in Marsello


    The Points Campaigns feature will give you the ability to run Points Multiplier or ‘Fixed-points Amount’ campaigns during set timeframes. This new campaign type is found under the Campaigns dashboard in your Marsello admin.

    And the options are endless! 

    Double points promotions are a common go-to (as you’ll see in the following email examples), however they’re not the only option! Points Campaigns are a powerful tool for encouraging a positive change in shopping behavior. We’ve put together just a few examples:

      1. Why not encourage customers back to your brick-and-mortar store with in-store only points promotions (when you can re-open your store if you were forced to close as a result of COVID-19, or if you’re finding traffic slow). With the new Points Campaigns feature, advanced options will allow you to decide which of your sites a customer must shop at to earn bonus points.

      2. Do you find your store has a midweek quiet patch? Offer bonus points that delight your customers and incentivize them to shop on those quiet days e.g. offer shoppers an extra 50 points exclusively on Tuesdays. This is called a ‘Fixed Points Amount’ campaign.

      3. Do you celebrate your store’s birthday? Why not promote the event with a points promotion and campaign that encourages your customers to celebrate with you and receive bonus points for a limited time. Encourage your customers to spend more by setting a minimum spend amount per order.

      4. Are you just about to launch a loyalty program? Add even more excitement and incentive for your customers to join by offering bonus points for your loyalty program’s first month! Simply specify the start and end dates of your campaign.

    One powerful way to promote your points campaign is through Email and SMS. It’s important to note that these should be scheduled to coincide with the timing of your Points Campaign.

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

    Merchants using points campaigns to drive customer engagement


    Let’s take a look at how some merchants are using points promotion campaigns to attract customers and encourage purchases. 

    Urban Outfitters Offers Double Points

    Urban Outfitters recently made the effort to delight and excite their loyalty program members! The multi-national, powerhouse brand offered double points for all online purchases of homewares for a limited time, helping them to capture customers at a time when many can’t access brick-and-mortar stores (no thanks to Covid-19) and online sales have seen a remarkable increase. 

    In an eye-catching GIF email, Urban Outfitters offer double points on homewares for all loyalty members who shop online.

     

    Urban Outfitters cleverly teamed their promotion with an email campaign that features stand-out design decisions like GIFs and high-quality images. By not specifying exactly when the offer ends, UO also cleverly creates a sense of urgency that the deal won’t last long and that customers should shop soon. Notice that they keep the images simple with minimal text and the focus being on the essential details and then product examples that encourage the customer to shop. Campaigns like this really stand out and help to see high conversion rates and quick returns on investment.

    It’s all about timing too! And we don’t just mean when the emails are sent and received. Urban Outfitters are cleverly offering this deal on homewares at a time when customers are spending a lot of time at home and likely to be intrigued by a refresh of their home decor.

     

    One Love Organics Shares All The Details

    One Love Organics like to keep things simple when it comes to design. Their branding and visuals are always fresh and inviting with stylish design choices and color palettes that pop when paired together. ONO’s recent points promotion campaign was no different.

    One Love Organics uses email marketing to promote a double points campaign that they’re offering for a limited time. They’ve included beautifully brand-complimentary images (green leaves) and text (bold pink).


    They not only encourage their loyal customers to shop with them by offering an undeniable double points promotion to their Love Club loyalty program members, but they also provide the exact time that the deal will end. They then go the extra mile by adding (in a complimentary banner above the core content) that customers who spend more than $49 will receive free shipping!! It’s incentives like these that customers just can’t turn down, and One Love Organics are nailing it!

     

    Final words


    Looking forward to promoting your loyalty program by sending your first Points Campaign? Learn all you need to know from our help center article on creating a points campaign and make sure to check out the pre-built ‘Double Points’ email campaign template.

    We’d love to see what campaign designs you come up with – if you have a Points Campaign that you’re proud of, feel free to let us know in the comments below. 

    To learn how to make the most out of your loyalty marketing, check out The Loyalty Marketing Guide: 8 Strategies for Gaining Customers for Life.

     

    Create points campaignGET MARSELLO

    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.

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    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.

     

    Discover Email Campaign Templates Designed for Customer Engagement

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    Create consistent, recognizable, and beautiful emails with previously designed email templates! Learn how to navigate Marsello's Email Templates Library.

    With a variety of options to choose from, Marsello’s Email Campaign Templates Library gives you numerous designs for creating stylish newsletters, announcements (such as sales and promotions), updates on stock, and more using the One-off Email Campaigns feature! Each template is designed so you easily create beautifully on-brand emails that see results, without hours of effort and edits.

    Let’s dig a little deeper and learn about each template type.

     

    Basic Templates

    With full customization available, the basic email templates allow you to edit the design of each email so that it best suits your store’s brand, helping your customers to instantly recognize who they’re receiving mail from. You’ll have the flexibility to create emails that truly embody your store without having to start those email designs from scratch.

     

    Marsello's in-app email template library with 6 templates

     

    Themed Templates

    Created by professional designers with years of experience in email marketing, these templates are ready for you to simply add in your store’s branding and relevant content, review, then send! With everything from color palettes to fonts, themed templates are designed to do the hard yards for you.

     

    Marsello's themed email templates within the app

     

    Custom Templates

    This is where things get really exciting! You can now create your own custom templates, allowing you to save the designs of emails you know your customers love so that you can use those designs again in the future. Either save a previous campaign as a template or start from scratch and create your own email marketing masterpiece. 

     

    Marsello's in-app email templates with custom themes.

     

    Final Words

    Email templates allow you to easily replicate the same style throughout your communications and create a recognizable experience for your customers. In turn, your customers look forward to your emails and the likelihood of them engaging with your communication efforts increases. Increase your email marketing ROI and start exploring and designing emails that excite new shoppers and loyal customers alike.

    Excited to start using email templates? Learn how to navigate Marsello’s Email Template Library and get ready to start using them for yourself.

     

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