News

The Limited enjoys happy returns

BY Dan Berthiaume

Specialty retailer The Limited is attempting to build loyalty even when a customer isn’t satisfied with a purchase.

The Limited is deploying Narvar Returns, a solution from post-purchase experience platform provider Narvar. Narvar Returns provides customers with an intuitive digital experience where they can select eligible items from their order, share feedback and choose the most convenient return method.

In addition, customers can obtain visibility into the status of their return through integrated tracking tools and personalized notifications. Other features include personalized recommendations based on shoppers’ stated reasons for returns, real-time tracking of returns and refunds, optimized carrier selection, and a real-time dashboard for analysis of customer feedback.

“Our customers deserve a remarkable experience through every interaction they have with our brand,” said Jason Acevedo, senior director of e-commerce operations at The Limited. “Working with Narvar, we were able to evolve our returns management into an engaging brand experience in a matter of weeks. While many brands exasperate consumers with returns, we can offer a convenient, easy-to-navigate experience that actually results in repeat customers, valuable feedback and lower costs associated with customer service.”

Post-purchase experience, which includes product returns, is becoming an increasingly important part of CRM. Instead of viewing returns as a cost center, The Limited and other forward-thinking retailers are taking a proactive approach and using technology to turn returns into an opportunity to build loyalty, retention, and even sales.

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Insights

Tips to get your customers from browse to ‘buy’

BY Rob Gonzalez

One in three consumers has changed brands because of the information they found while shopping online, according to research from Google.

That means that great product content can make or break your brand’s online presence. Unfortunately, many brands struggle with how to make sure that their product content is accurate and meets not only shoppers’, but retailers’, needs, as it is hard to do both well.

Consumers expect detailed product content when shopping online so here are a few content creation tips to help make your customers not only browse your products, but buy your products.

Don’t skip the basics; instead enable your sales team. This is, admittedly, an “eat your vegetables” point. Make sure to offer multiple product images along with content that highlights the important features of your product. Many brands consistently fail to provide these images across all their retail partners; many in part because their sales teams that work on item setup do not have ready access to product images and specs. If you make the data available to your sales team, you’ll make their job in this process much easier.

Invest in videos. Of course, not everyone has videos for every item in their database at the ready. Fortunately, there are many agencies out there that specialize in this type of content creation. An experiment creating videos for your best sellers could boost sales in the short term and provide business justification to invest more heavily in this space going forward.

Make your products findable. SEO for brands means optimizing for on-site search. Winning on-site search is crucial to closing sales, and to win on-site search you need to fill out all the retailer-specific “top off” fields they ask for. Skipping those attributes may get your products listed faster, but if you’re buried beneath the top 10 results (or top three on mobile) you’re losing both sales and brand awareness. You should also take the time to make sure that your products are optimized for Amazon and Google since that is where most products searches start.

Regularly refresh. Retailers are asking for more content than ever before, effectively outsourcing much of their merchandising function to the brands. This is great for brands, but also requires them to think differently about items setups. Specifically, merchants see the setup as only the beginning; measuring performance and optimizing over time is key to growth.

Update your product copy with user-generated content and utilize retailer analytics to better inform your content updates. Analytics allow you to test and figure out the type of content that works best for your shoppers, and today’s best performing ecommerce brands are taking it seriously – in contrast, the worst performing ones struggle with item setup, let alone optimization.

Online product content is vital to your brand’s success, so it is important to invest time into planning and executing a strategic product content program that includes the tips above among others. By providing customers (through the retailers they shop at) with accurate, complete, optimized information, shoppers are more likely to turn from simply browsing your products to buying them.


Rob Gonzalez is co-founder and VP of Salsify.

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

What technology do retail employees use to communicate?

BY Dan Berthiaume

Retail employees are using mobile communication technology in their jobs, but a more established channel is still most popular.

According to a study of 500 professionals within a variety of industries including retail from Infinite Convergence Solutions, 57% of retail employees use email most frequently for business communication. This made email significantly more popular than mobile messaging; (24%) or voice calling (19%).

The main reasons for employees who did not use mobile messaging most frequently were lack of paper trail (26%), preference for email or calls (21%), too informal (23%), not authorized by company (17%) and security concerns (14%).

Forty percent of retail respondents think email or phone is most secure method of business communication, compared to 21% who think mobile messaging is most secure. Thirty-four percent say immediacy of information needed to communicate matters most when deciding communication method

In terms of who retail employees are communicating with, 49% most frequently communicate with colleagues; 35% clients/customers; 16% external partners or stakeholders
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Of retail employees who do use mobile messaging on the job, 62% use SMS/MMS text to communicate. The most popular messaging apps are Facebook Messenger, Skype and GChat. Ten percent say their company prohibits third-party messaging apps and another 9% prefer to not use messaging apps.

Opinions on the security of third-party messaging apps is mixed. Forty-eight percent of respondents think most of their business correspondence is secure in third-party messaging apps; 13% think it’s not secure; 36% think it’s completely secure

However, 54% of retail employees say their company does not have an official mobile messaging platform. Of that 54%, 69% say their company does not recommend a mobile messaging platform. Of the 31% who say their company recommends one, they most often recommend Skype; weChat; and WhatsApp.

In addition, 43% of retail employees who use mobile messaging at work communicate seven days per week regarding business matters with colleagues, partners and clients. Fifty-five percent strongly feel they have the necessary tech to communicate effectively at their jobs, and 48% are within arm’s reach of their phones seven to eight hours during the normal eight-hour workday.

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