Are men the salvation of brick-and-mortar retail?

Mall retailers have long considered women to be their primary shoppers, but all that might be about to change.  A study from new product solutions provider First Insight found that men are more likely than women to want to touch and feel a product before buying it, more likely to pay full-price at a retail store, and less likely to turn to Amazon for a cheaper alternative.

I loved this post and knew you’d be interested in reading about this issue. Enjoy Barbara

Walmart rolling out high-tech ‘pick-up towers’

Walmart is expanding its modern-day — and oversized — version of a vending machine — but the new model will come with an additionThe discounter plans to add more than 500 additional “pickup towers” to stores across the country, bringing the total to more than 700 by the end of the year. Walmart said the response to the existing 200 kiosks has been “overwhelming positive,” with more than half a million orders retrieved since the chain first introduced them.Based on customer feedback, the new towers will come with pickup lockers, which will allow customers to retrieve large items, such as TVs.I found this article very interesting. I know you will as well.

Physical Stores Win Out Over Online Competitors In This Category

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Apparel ranks as one of the most purchased categories online, but clothing stores in malls still own a strong advantage over e-commerce competitors.

That’s according to a survey by Valassis, the consumer promotion and coupon company, which surveyed consumers who visited an indoor mall more than times in the past year and found that 60% of them prefer to shop apparel in the physical marketplace. Their chief reasons for doing so: being able to try on items and visit — and compare selections — at several different stores.

I found this information fascinating.

What in the World Is Causing the Retail Meltdown of 2017?

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Really found this post interesting. Had to share it with you. Here are three explanations for the recent demise of America’s storefronts.1. People are simply buying more stuff online than they used to.The simplest explanation for the demise of brick-and-mortar shops is that Amazon is eating retail. Between 2010 and last year, Amazon’s sales in North America quintupled from $16 billion to $80 billion. Sears’ revenue last year was about $22 billion, so you could say Amazon has grown by three Sears in six years. Even more…..Read more : What in the World Is Causing the Retail Meltdown of 2017?

Tips for your next email blast

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Getting ready to send your next email blast and wondering what you can do to improve your results?

This post was written for you.

I hope you enjoy it. Barbara

Here are five simple tips for your next email blast, or eblast.

1. Don’t think of it as an email blast

If you’re just “blasting” out information sporadically whenever you have the time, you need to reevaluate your email marketing strategy.

Focus on creating a thoughtful email marketing plan that consistently delivers value to your subscribers and your business.

Rather than blasting out information, think of email marketing as a way to interact with your customers and prospects, build relationships, and drive valuable repeat business.

Look for opportunities to engage your subscribers by offering useful tips, providing exclusive discounts, or giving your subscribers the opportunity to share feedback.

Learn MoreHow to Plan an Effective Email Marketing Strategy

2. Get to know your subscribers

Once you’ve taken a second look at your sending strategy, you’ll need to take steps to better understand your subscribers. Who they are, what they’re interested in, and how you can improve your relationship with them.

The more you think about your subscribers, the more you’ll realize the different groups you’re trying to talk to all at once.

While some people on your email list may be lifelong customers, others may be completely new to your business.

Rather than “blasting” all of your contacts with the same information, take the time to figure out how to deliver a more personalized experience to each of your subscribers.

Consider creating separate email lists to better target your different types of contacts. Here are a few examples of how different industries segment their list:

  • A nursery will email its residential customers about new spring plantings and its commercial customers about availability of bulk mulch.
  • A cosmetics boutique will email one coupon to customers who buy makeup and another to those who buy skin-care products.
  • A financial services firm will email tax prep customers a timely IRS filing reminder and another to financial planning clients about rebalancing their portfolios.

3. Make your emails interactive

When you approach emails with an eblast mentality, you risk forgetting that your emails should inspire action and elicit a measurable response.

Make your emails interactive and give your subscribers a clear call to action so they know how to take the next step.

Should they read an article on your website? Purchase your new product? RSVP to your event?

Your email design should be clean and focused — with every element in the message supporting the goal of your message.

Learn More: How to Instantly Increase Engagement in Your Emails

4. Provide value

Today, consumers expect more from the businesses they interact with online and off.

With so many brands competing for their attention in all the places they visit every day — whether it’s through TV, email, or social media — consumers have gotten better and better at filtering out messages that aren’t relevant to their needs or interests.

If you want your audience to remain engaged with your content, you need to make sure you’re offering something of value. For some readers, that means offering a special discount or an exclusive promotion to your email list. For others that could mean offering a how-to article from your blog or a piece of content that’s more than just the typical sales pitch.

Make it valuable, make it relevant, and make it something your audience would thank you for.

If you’re not sure what to send, add a Poll to your email and ask your subscribers what information they’re most interested in.

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5. Measure your results

If you’re not measuring your results, how could you ever hope to improve on the work you’ve been doing?

One of the biggest benefits of using an email marketing service, like Constant Contact, is it’s easy to track your email marketing results.

Your email marketing reports will tell you exactly how many people are opening your emails, clicking your links, and even sharing your content. They’ll also provide insight into the type of information your audience is most interested in and will provide a benchmark to improve upon every time you hit send.

Whether you’re trying to learn more about your readers, provide valuable content, or increase sales — your email reports can help.

Use these tips to improve your next email blast

Thinking of your email blasts as a powerful marketing tool is important to get you in the right frame of mind.

Develop a plan to communicate with your subscribers effectively, start sending valuable and engaging messages, and measure the impact of your efforts to make sure you’re on the right track

Sign-up for email marketing today

Displays That Will Get Customers Sticking Around The Store Longer

Q: What are some of the most effective ways to make the kind of display that will get customers sticking around the store longer.A: A few ideas on displays that promote sales:

  1. Set up several feature areas in your store. Tables are best. These areas bring your store to life and are points of interest. They slow down shoppers.

  2. Use cross merchandise technique to showcase multiple items and how they work together. This creates interest in add on sales.

  3. Your sales staff should be trained to use these feature /cross merchandized display as a sales tool.

Q: What are some tips on putting up effective displays on a budget?A: Many retailers still buy props for display set up. Not the right way to think. Everything you use in a display other than the actual fixture or table and may be the risers are for sale. I do not recommend retailers spend any money on props. If you have it, you sell it! What I do suggest is that within your display grouping you use multiple products and products with many heights to create flow and impact.Q: How can a manager find inspiration for non-holiday themed displays?A: The manager should be following a promotional calendar for each month. That’s 3 to 4 events happening in the store, more than enough activity to support their merchandising program other then holidays.Q: Is there such a thing as too little or too much when it comes to displays?A: Interesting questions. The display is always defined by the space provided. In my years of being a visual merchandiser and that’s 37 years, retailers struggle with this for sure. I would recommend hiring a VM. They are worth the money. Sales will go up for sure. But, in the mean time, bring more products out of the stock room make your store look lush!Q: What should be the creative angle when the idea is to gin up sales?A: Complex questions. Displays are the icing on the cake. They alone will not completely gin up sales. It’s selling the right product at the right time, it’s training staff to sell, and it’s creating a customer experience to say the least.Q: Are there any cardinal sins when it comes to displays?A: Ample lighting, most stores skimp on lighting because it’s expensive. Lighting has been shown to be one of the strongest influences in retail selling. My other pet peeve is not using signage to complete displays. Signage is a silent sales person when everyone is busy. Of-late, chalkboards have become very popular again. “If you feel stuck please contact Retail Makeover we can help you.”

How to Make a Newsletter More Engaging With Two Little Words

By Miranda Paquet | Jun 13, 2017how-to-make-a-newsletter-ft-image

Wondering how to make a newsletter that drives action?It comes down to using two simple words:“Read more.”Why? If your business is in the habit of sending jam-packed newsletters, filled with updates, articles, and tips — you might be unintentionally turning your readers off.Rather than overwhelming your subscribers with text-heavy emails, add Read More blocks to let readers quickly skim your emails and find the topics that interest them.This will increase your email engagement and help you learn what topics are most interesting to your audience. 

Survey: America’s favourite stores are…

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Survey: America’s favourite stores are…

Thought you might be interested in this information:A regional department store, a warehouse giant, a discount supermarket and an online powerhouse rank among the nation’s favorite retailers.That's according to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, which rates consumers’ satisfaction across six retail industries. The report found that satisfaction with the overall retail trade rise 4.7% in 2016 to a score of 78.3 (on a 100-point scale) an all-time high for the sector.Dillard's was tops among the 15 companies surveyed in the department and discount store category. It received a score of 83 out of a possible 100, up 4% from the previous year. J.C. Penney Co. Inc. took second place with a score of 82, and also had the largest increase from the previous year, up 11%.Nordstrom was the only department store to deteriorate in customer satisfaction, slipping 2% into a three-way tie with Dollar Tree and Belk at 80.Customer satisfaction with Walmart rose 9% as the company's renewed attention to customer service via "holiday helpers" to expedite checkout lines and aid shoppers paid off. Despite the ACSI gain, however, Walmart continues to anchor the low end of the industry with an ACSI score of 72.The supermarkets sector was led by Trader Joe’s, with a score of 86, followed by Publix at 84 and Aldi, H-E-B and Wegmans at 83. Whole Foods climbs 11% to 81, ahead of Hy-Vee, Kroger and ShopRite (all 79). Meijer matches Target at 78, followed by Bi-Lo (+4% to 77).Costco led the specialty retail category, with a score of 83, followed by Sam’s Club, L Brands, and Barnes & Noble, all at 81.Home Depot rose 10% to 80, ahead of Lowe’s (79) for the first time, as well as Menards (79). Ascena, which recently acquired Ann Taylor, makes its debut at 78 and ties with two pet supply stores: Petco and PetSmart. Best Buy, Big Lots and Toys “R” Us follow at 77. Abercrombie & Fitch improved the most, up 17%, but remains last at 76.In the online category Amazon continues to hold first place, advancing 4% to 86 amid a strong holiday season, followed by Newegg at 83 and eBay at 81.The ACSI report, which is based on 12,515 customer surveys collected in the fourth quarter of 2016, is available for free download here.

Why Selfies Need to Be Part of Your Marketing Strategy

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Since visuals continue to drive customer engagement all small businesses need to take advantage of the selfie phenomenon. Sharing these types of photos can help a company connect its brand identity to customers. How can you use selfies in your marketing strategy?According to Research this word has been around since 2004 when the selfie hashtags first appeared on Twitter. Taking this type of self-portrait became easier when in 2010, Apple introduced a front facing camera on its iPhone.Since visuals continue to drive customer engagement all small businesses need to take advantage of the selfie phenomenon. Sharing these types of photos can help a company connect its brand identity to customers. How can you use selfies in your marketing strategy? Show personality. Customers traditionally rank authenticity as a top trait they seek when doing business with any company. Selfies by their very nature are personal. Their content usually says a lot about the people who work at the company. They are much more effective for connecting to customers than posed photographs. For example, a selfie of employees at the office or a related event can be a powerful message that says, “We like to work here, and we support the company’s mission.” Become human. It is much easier to connect with a person than an abstract concept like a company. Posting employee selfies shows that there are real people behind the brand. This helps create a powerful emotional connection for anyone considering the company’s product. Customers value transparency, and selfies can accomplish this. Remember, prospects buy from whom they know, like and trust. Selfies can strengthen these factors. Give social proof. When customers post selfies with a company’s product, this is the social proof or recommendation that other prospects crave. It acts as a perfect advertisement, since it's not from the company. Logically, customers do not pose with products they do not like. Share a laugh. Humor can be used to promote almost any brand, and funny photos have a greater chance of spreading around the Web. Ask employees and customers to ham it up when they are in front of a camera. Encourage customers to submit selfies by having a contest and rewarding them with prizes. Tie these photos to a Twitter or Instagram hashtag or have a specific Facebook page or Pinterest board for the contest. The selfie risk. Pictures can get posted that a company doesn’t want associated with its brand. While you can edit selfies posted to your company's site and social media pages, you can't control what other people are posting to their sites. Your best defense is to be aware of what's out there. Wishing you every success.