Customer Engagement Critical for Local Business Survival During Re-Emergence

It has been an especially hard few months for small businesses, many of which will never reopen or will take months – if not years – to recover financially from the shutdowns and reduced patron numbers. 

Despite the challenges, there are very real opportunities for sustained growth during this time. To survive and thrive during this next period, local businesses must deepen their customer relationships despite having fewer resources available. While it may sound like a conundrum, this actually presents a significant opportunity to deliver a personalized customer experience and drive loyalty. 

Mobile Commerce Bounces Back

Companies investing in existing user engagement are smart to do so. According to mobile monetization and marketing company ironSource, the average global cost to acquire a single paid install from an individual user in 2020 is $2.24 — which adds up quickly when you start to scale into thousands or hundreds of thousands of users.

So, while it’s important to keep spending on acquisition, retention and retargeting, informed by smart audience segmentation, are perhaps even more essential to ensuring app marketers are monetizing all of their users. 

Why Consumers Want Coupons — And What Kind They Value Most

Amid ongoing reports of consumer fatigue with coupons and declining coupon redemption rates, there is a ray of hope for retailers—mobile coupons. While consumers have a wide range of preferences in terms of their mobile engagement, CodeBroker’s mobile consumer research, based on input from more than 1,500 consumers around the country, offers one takeaway that applies to the masses: Mobile couponing works. There are a variety of reasons that this is the case.

7 Ways Retailers Are Using Mobile Messaging to Connect During the Pandemic

By most measures, it appears that retailers have a tough road ahead of them. While deep investments into ecommerce and steep discounts on existing merchandise are expected, many retailers are exploring other avenues in a bid to connect with customers and offer a sense of assurance during the pandemic. Mobile messaging platforms are being utilized in new and unexpected ways. With open rates close to 100%, texting has become the communication channel of choice during the ongoing pandemic.

Here are seven examples of ways that retailers are using mobile messaging to connect with customers during Covid-19.

Brands Struggle to Keep Up When Promotions Explode in Popularity

When the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich was released last summer, the effect on sales was almost immediate. Customers filled Popeyes locations and waited in long lines to get a taste of the buzzy new sandwich. A Twitter feud between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A caused those lines to grow even longer, and the viral frenzy ended up draining the supply of “little chickens” to the point where a nationwide shortage ensued.

For GSD&M, the agency that handles Popeyes’ social media, the rollout was initially seen as a huge success. From a logistical perspective, though, it quickly turned into a nightmare as Popeyes struggled to keep up with demand.

Loyalty in the Time of “Near Me” Searches, Omnichannel, and Covid-19

In addition to the opportunities and challenges that come with an omni-channel commercial ecosystem, 2020 brings to businesses the challenge of mobile search, which leads people on the go to search for “X near me” and pick the closest possible option. The new year also brought, as hardly anyone would’ve predicted months ago, an impending recession as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
I caught up with Nicole Amsler, vice president of marketing at loyalty tech firm Formation.ai, to garner her insights on loyalty strategy this year.

4 Ways to Retain Customers with Event Marketing

Customer retention is usually faster and costs a lot less than acquiring new customers. By putting your customers through the funnel, you’ve already done the hard part. To keep the momentum going, it’s important to create a set of initiatives that increases customer value, encourages further purchases, and fosters brand ambassadors to promote your company. 

Experiential marketing through events helps brands achieve these goals. The aim is to create memorable experiences that engender high degrees of loyalty. Here are four ways you can leverage event marketing to retain your customers. 

5 Ways to Reduce Errors in Voice Ordering

Restaurant chains like Wingstop, Domino’s, Panera, and Round Table have created their own skills to make it easier for people to place orders through voice assistants like Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. But before voice ordering can truly disrupt the restaurant industry, restaurants have to find ways to reduce the friction and eliminate the kinds of errors that lead to the wrong orders being delivered.

Here’s how some of the country’s top restaurant chains are overcoming the challenges associated with voice ordering and developing more frictionless customer experiences.

96% of Companies Say They’re Losing Subscribers for Fixable Reasons

Ninety-three percent of companies that rely on subscribers say retaining existing customers is as or more important than acquiring them, and 96% say they are losing subscribers for reasons they should be able to ameliorate. That makes pooling industry resources and determining means of improvement urgent, and that is the precise subject of a new report by Brightback, a customer retention software firm.

Free and Premium Loyalty Programs Can and Should Coexist

Brands like Lululemon and Restoration Hardware have strong, headline-making loyalty programs with annual fees upwards of $100. But thousands of brands also have free, points-based loyalty programs — can the two coexist in a single brand? 

The short answer: Yes. With shoppers’ desire for richer experiences and more valuable rewards and retailers’ need to gather data to support these desires, a blend of both premium and free loyalty is an advantageous route. 

Report: Holiday Shoppers Prioritize Speed in Retail Experience

Among the survey’s most surprising findings is how quickly shoppers are willing to abandon their favorite retailers when those stores don’t have the items they want. Aptos found that 47% of shoppers will start looking elsewhere if their favorite retailer runs out of an item they’re looking for during the so-called Golden Quarter. Additionally, Aptos found that more than half of consumers (60%) say they will abandon their baskets if they find their items for cheaper elsewhere.

Holiday Discounts Don’t Necessarily Lead to Loyal Customers — Here’s Why

When brands go in on discount-focused events like RetailMeNot’s Cash Back Day, which was held earlier this month, there’s concern that the long-term impact might be negative and that brands might be training customers to expect discounts. That expectation can reduce the perceived value of the brand’s products, and it can diminish brand equity over time.

US Businesses Lead on Reputation Management

Loyalty to local businesses may never cease to be an important factor in brick-and-mortar commerce, but the boom of “near me” searches and the emphasis on convenience in the age of mobile search make a prime online presence for the quick-querying passerby more important than it has ever been. This latest Uberall data indicate that responding to reviews can provide the slight 5-star rating bump that guides an unfamiliar customer into a store she may otherwise pass up for a higher-ranked competitor.

Building Customer Loyalty: Is Texting the Answer?

In today’s fast-paced world, we depend on our phones to help us get things quickly and easily. So, is texting the answer to building customer loyalty? Short answer: yes. Long answer: also yes, but it matters how you use it.

For appointment-based businesses, efficiency and simplicity are key to keeping customers engaged and coming back for more. Integration with online booking, improving gift card sales, and managing scheduling requests are three simple avenues that can have a big impact on building your business’ customer loyalty program. 

5 Proven Strategies for Ramping Up Your Mobile Coupon Marketing Program

The United States is one of the largest smartphone markets in the world, with some 96% of people owning a cellphone. Those consumers most likely to own a smartphone fall into the sweet spot of retail marketing demographics—those ages 18-29 (96%) and those ages 30-49 (92%), according to Pew Research. Retailers are realizing that mobile coupon marketing is the best way to get special offers in the hands of consumers. 

Retailers that take advantage of the power of mobile marketing when combined with coupons have a new and effective means of driving foot traffic and purchases. Here we offer a look at five mobile coupon marketing strategies.

7 Loyalty Platforms for Restaurants

One area where restaurants have particularly specific needs is in promoting customer loyalty. Vertical-specific loyalty platforms for restaurants tend to have features and capabilities that more generalized loyalty platforms do not. For example, many loyalty platforms for restaurants are tied to reservation systems, so waiters know customers’ preferences before seating them at their tables.

Although the number of loyalty platforms for restaurants is growing every day, we’ve put together a list of seven important players that anyone who is interested in this space should be following.

Retail is Not Dead, But Small Businesses Need Help

Card-Linked Offer (CLO) technology is leveling the playing field for all merchants. If you haven’t heard of CLOs, you’re not alone. According to the Cardlinx Association, CLO marketing is the fastest growing segment of digital marketing, with a majority of  large companies expecting to double their CLO budgets from last year, and the number of consumer transactions doubling from last year. Despite this rapid growth, most of the 25 million small businesses in the US have never heard of CLO marketing or know that it is available to them.

How Engaging Online Games Can Shape Your Rewards Program

My experience managing product for both the “Farmville” and “Words With Friends” franchises at Zynga afforded me critical insight into the lessons smartphone games offer marketers looking to engage with and create loyalty among all types of people. 

Today, there’s a smartphone game for everyone. Regardless of topic, most games tend to follow a few basic principles that are critical to keeping people entertained, attracting attentionm and incentivizing players to return. Using these same principles, marketers can create campaigns that are more engaging, effective, and enjoyable for the consumer. 

Phone-as-a-Service?

It’s becoming clear that we’re headed toward a new vision for our devices: the Phone as a Service (PaaS). Yes, sounds crazy, but look at the parallels between your phone and how/why other “X”s have become services:

X-as-a-service (XaaS) is delivery of X directly via the internet, eliminating the need to use and manage multiple and independent solutions on locally hosted devices, right? So, PaaS is the delivery of personalized media via the phone, eliminating the need to use and manage multiple and independent, locally hosted apps. We’re already seeing that happen.

First-Party Versus Third-Party Data: What You Should Know

Using first-party data is a win-win. As marketers, you are fostering an ongoing relationship with your customers and prospects by better communicating and serving them. But there needs to be a strategy and long-term commitment. In a survey of US digital marketers by Advertiser Perceptions and programmatic agency MightyHive, respondents said they were, on average, tapping into just 47% of their company’s first-party data potential. It takes the right strategy and technological infrastructure in place to activate first-party data at scale.