Pick the Right Technology to Boost your Sales

Pick the Right Technology to Boost your Sales

With both online and offline businesses scaling to new heights, there is no denying the supremacy of technology in retail sale. While appreciating the exciting opportunities ensued by major market changes and shifting landscapes is difficult, retailers today are absorbed in harnessing the power of technology to further scale their businesses. A lot of retailers are feeling the heat and getting bogged down by the pressure of keeping up with the constant evolution of the digital space and elusive customer preferences. Though there are some retailers yearning for the good old days with the simplicity of traditional print promotions, digital promotions are  are indispensable to personalized marketing mix and are here to stay – especially in the omnichannel retail environment.

But despite their yearning for the minimalism of the olden days, industry players do understand that digital promotions have the potential to provide far more opportunities in return for the effort than any other medium.

Driving In-store Sales Through Omnichannel Promotions

Omnichannel promotions were initially used only by online retailers to drive sales, while offline retailers slowly caught with the trend to drive and track in-store sales. The latter’s considerations lacked complete and resourceful exploitation of omnichannel, as there are very few retailers actually using these promotions to drive in-store sales as well.

The adoption of technologies that interact with the physical world and proliferation of wearables is slowly exposing industry players to a whole new world of technology, changing any existing perceptions. Technology has managed to counter discernments that relegate digital promotions to online sales only. These technologies allow retailers to dole out targeted promotions and offers to their shoppers based on their in-store location and proximity of certain products. Likewise, wearables allow consumers access to highly relevant content pertaining to their shopping needs while carrying a basket or pushing a trolley.

Actionable Insights: Impacting the ROI

If we have to conduct technology innovation analysis in the past few years, data and analytics is by far the best that has happened to digital promotion and sales. They aren’t prolonged or outdated spreadsheets that bog marketers down, but rather actionable insights that help keep a tab on sales, realigning or re-adjusting campaigns before they incur losses. Just a few years ago, consumers used to be swarmed with the same offer at least three to four times a week. However, now with the advancement of technology, the number of such messages has lessened, as retailers integrate CRM data into their promotions campaigns and move toward real-time offer testing. Although not present in India yet, many countries have adapted to data and analytics, improving their customers’ in-store experience as well. Heat mapping and technology that analyzes a customer’s shopping history, allows retailers to map out individual customers’ paths through their store. Such features have not only optimized shopper flows but have also helped in cutting down long queues at checkouts and have aided in improving in-aisle promotions.

Mobile and Connected Cars Transforming Retail

Approximately, people spend almost 15 hours a day on their mobile phones, which is responsible for driving nearly half of retail offer traffic. The year on year growth combined with the infusion of smartphones in the market, indicate that smartphones will continue in their relevence, if not flourish as well. While retailers are still struggling to invest in the operational technologies to support this trend, many have found respite in their store apps as an immediate solution. Mobile apps that allow customers to redeem offers and check-out on their mobile device, while being in their physical store may become increasingly popular.

Likewise, yet another mobile wonder that has future implications for retailers’ digital promotions is automobiles. As the newer generation of vehicles incorporates more technologies such as bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and voice recognition, there are a number of opportunities to use machine to machine technologies to proactively push promotions and sales to customers based on their vehicle location. To simplify this process, technology will soon allow stores to communicate with the in-car computers to welcome customers and offer perks based on their shopping history.

With such constant advancements in technology, we are reminded that the only thing constant in this world is change, and the introduction of new retail or consumer technology is slowly changing the retail landscape. Having said that, there is no need for marketers to feel the pressure of keeping up with every trend they hear or read about. What matters more is their outlook on technology and how they can use one  techware to its full potential.

Welcome to the future of {Intelligence + Omnichannel}!

Survey: End of Season Sales Increase Performance by 12% in 2016

Survey: End of Season Sales Increase Performance by 12% in 2016

 

Capillary Technologies recently conducted a study of approximately 100+ brands, and found that the overall sales in 2016 increased by 12% as compared to 2015, despite the fact that the overall discount promotions had decreased by 20% during their End of Season Sales (EOSS).

This meant that despite higher prices, the male demographic had increased in its spending per customer by 7%.

However, for men, the average bill value dropped by 21% , for women, it was a much lower drop percentage at 8%.

As per the study, the EOSS in 2016 was largely driven by repeat customers where 48% of repeat customers shopped in 2015 and 2016. Also, an increase in 7% of repeat businesses has been observed between 2015 and 2016.

For brands aimed at men, the level of discounting was reduced from 2015 to 2016 while for brands aimed at women, it was increased. However, the growth seen among men shoppers was still higher than women shoppers, as the study concluded.

 

What Indian SaaS-based Firms Need to Know Before Going Global

What Indian SaaS-based Firms Need to Know Before Going Global

The global SaaS market has never been this exciting! A recent report by Google-Accel on the SaaS industry pegs the global opportunity to be at $132 Billion by 2020! The primary driving factors are SMB driven demand, vertical-led solutions leading to more adoption, faster time to market in an agile world and a shift of IT spend from Capex to Opex models. Here is the primary split of Enterprise v/s SMB Segment split of the global opportunity. The current opportunity split is tilted towards enterprise segment (65%) and the same will contribute to 44% of the opportunity by 2020. The key driver is SMBs are adopting SaaS products in a massive way!

While US looks to be an obvious first choice for any SaaS product, emerging markets (Asia, Middle East, Latin America) seem to offer far more lucrative options for the following reasons:-

  • Companies (including enterprises) haven’t adopted legacy softwares (compared to other markets), SaaS’s effective models can easily find patrons in a less competitive environment.
  • The SaaS pricing models are a perfect fit for upcoming markets.
  • Costs of sale (even if it is high touch) are economical

According to the iSpirit Survey (the Indian Software Product Industry Round table), About 84% of the Indian SaaS companies look at global expansion as a key business focus. Whereas 13% said they might look at it in the near future. However, only 3% said global expansion is not all a priority.

Here are 5 things SaaS companies should look at before going global. I will touch open 5 different key aspects going global – having a right product, a scalable lead generation engine, right team, focused sales strategy and execution plan and the last one about a simple game plan to get started:-

  • Have multiple, scalable lead sources

Before you go after the global market, it is important to set up a lead generation engine, which can be scaled globally based on ambitions. There are some key things you can do

  • Setting up inside sales/sales dev. teams: Set up an inside sales/sales development team who nurture and develop accounts with targeted, personalized emails. They can help set up meetings for the sales team. A lead nurture engine with a inside sales team in sync with each other can work absolute magic!
  • Blow your horn in the right places: Apply for awards in your target markets and take them seriously – Enterprise sales is about trust building and these awards can help you get meetings with prospects in the region.
  • Physical events still works!: When you have a few referenceable logos, organize breakfast events with prospectives to accelerate your pipeline. These meet and greets can break the ice and help you get an ally inside the target organization.
  • Focused sales strategy: Relentless sales operations.True potential is unleashed when a great sales strategy meets relentless execution.
  • Focus and quality trump quantity: It is important to focus sales reps on balancing new meetings/pipeline building with continued follow-ups on existing prospects. Limiting the number of new meetings per week/month helps drive focus on follow-up meetings so that no deal slips through the cracks.
  • A repeatable, inherently scalable pricing model: A broad understanding of pricing should be established across the sales team to create a repeatable process. This ensures that customers pay for the value they derive. Deal-by-deal pricing is not a feasible path to scale.
  • Qualify, qualify and… qualify: Deal qualification using the proven lead qualification models – this can help qualify which deals are on the path to closure vs. which deals will not close and should be abandoned. It helps focus sales rep energy on the right accounts.
  • Have an A-team for Launch: Building a fine mix of local talent and home grown talent is a great combo for the an A-team who can do the launch. Right from day 1, it’s essential to have sales champions in the launch team.
  • Globally scalable, locally relevant product: The best way to get use cases for your new region is to work closely with selected, prospects to co-innovate and build specific use cases for the region. However, if you have to customize your product extensively for each customer, this is going to be a scalability killer. Each customer should have similar use case and similar implementation for true product-market fit.
  • The global sojourn starts from your customer list: A critical beginning for the global sojourn is tapping on global customers whom you have acquired locally. The land-and-expand approach works well for SaaS and successful companies gain up to 40-50% of revenue addition from existing customers. This critical piece is often missed. It is critical to have a dedicated account management team which is focused on customer onboarding, go-live and customer wins. They should also be incentivized to drive account renewals, upsells and cross-sells through a formal program with targets.

 

Tips and Tricks for Retailers Preparing for the Sale Season

Tips and Tricks for Retailers Preparing for the Sale Season

With the onset of Diwali around the corner, as a retailer, we assume you might have prepared your best to make the most of the festival sale season.

Customers expect good variety and discounts, but what truly gets their attention is when retailers exceed their expectations through personalized orders and precise deliveries.

It’s worth an effort to review last year’s performance and identify new ways to get organized that can yield maximum revenues from one of the biggest Indian festivals of the year:

Diwali Omnichannel Promotions Pre-Planning

  • Product Performance: Check on the product categories and promotional strategies that performed the best last year.
  • Compile a list of marketing campaigns and creatives to help expedite the process of launching campaigns.
  • System testing: it’s not too late to run load tests on your eCommerce websites to check if your systems have the capacity to handle heavy volumes of sales traffic.
  • Optimize System Performance: based on the outcome of your load tests, you can add additional capacity and/or increase the speed of your website with the support of additional hardware vendors or through a scalable content delivery network (CDN).
    Tip: Decreasing the size of the images of the products on your eCommerce site to improve its performance.
  • Product recommendation strategy: Diwali is also one of the best times to promote personalized loyalty coupons. Check the customer’s preferences, buying behavior, color-design-brand preferences, to plan for daily/weekly recommendation updates.
  • Inventory readiness: Double check your product inventory systems and the inventory availability against the sales forecast. If necessary, create a backup plan for items that are at the risk of being sold out.
  • Skim Your Competitors Strategy: Although out-rightly aping your competitors’ campaigns and promotions may not yield the same results, being aware of the different types of promotional offers run by the competitors can help you implement few creative quick fix sales strategies.
  • Digital asset readiness: Ensure to plan the design and content of your emails, landing pages, and online ads on a weekly or daily basis. Don’t forget to personalize the mailers based on the target segment to make it highly relevant for the visitors.

Collaborate and Deliver

  • Meet up: Schedule daily cross-functional team meetings throughout the Diwali season.
  • Adhere to shipping threshold times: Ensure to create a centralized calendar that includes shipping cutoff times and guaranteed delivery dates.
  • Take note of the complaints received: with respect to shipping or delivery issues and record the resolutions or solutions in a centralized repository that needs to be shared with the customer support team.
  • Monitor your inventory: in real time to ensure that you have enough time to match promotional and marketing campaign schedules.
  • Measure and Improve: Monitor product placement, pricing, response to the marketing promotions on a daily basis and make adjustments to maximize revenues and profitability.

Apart from sales data, it helps to keep a daily tab of the following data:-

  • The best-selling products in various product categories
  • Stores Sales across different regions at store and regional levels
  • The number of customers that frequently buy from your retail stores
  • The number of customers that frequently buy from your e-shops
  • The customer’s journey from online to in-store
  • The daily/weekly ROI on Diwali marketing $$ spend for campaigns, promotions, merchandising etc.

Rush Hour Sales Quick Fixes

  • Capitalize on Diwali sales to increase your fans/followers/re-tweet numbers by offering discounts/freebies by requesting visitors to encourage checking in to your retail stores and request them to review the store experience.
  • Find queue busters. You can also put few kiosks and tablets across your high traffic stores to enable customers to purchase items without making them wait in line.
  • Ensure to install boards and placards across the store where you can share information and direction on which aisle or on what shelves the respective products are located.
  • Don’t forget to publicize or advertise the events and loyalty programs as part of your in-store promotions.
  • Promote gift cards and declare in-store product bundling coupons to make great last-minute Diwali sales.

Don’t Lose Sight of the After Sale Issues and Queries

Expect to see a number of returns/issues/ queries either during or immediately after the Diwali dhamaka sale rush. Although many brands don’t offer an exchange or returns on sale item but depending on the size of your retail store, consider allocating a specific area to address the issues related to the Diwali sale items.

Once the Diwali rush is over you’ll have time to catch your breath but that feeling may just be momentary. Then, it is time to start preparing for the big Christmas and New Year holiday shopping season all over again!

The Right Way to Influence Pre-Purchase Behaviour

The Right Way to Influence Pre-Purchase Behaviour

Remember when marketers ran newspaper ads with discount coupons to encourage outlet visits? Customers had to cut and fill the coupon and present it at the billing counter. Such tedious tactics seem outdated in today’s digital world in order to influence pre purchase customer decisions. Retailers now have the privilege of personalizing coupons based on individual customer preferences by analyzing all the relevant data captured through the customer’s buying patterns and purchase history. Each customer can then be targeted with personalized offers and recommendations based on specific insights.

Advanced technologies can aid Retailers Identify Customer Buying Behavior Patterns and Preferences

To target a customer with tailored offers, he or she must have a unique identifier – a mobile phone is the obvious choice, given its ubiquitous nature. Retailers are now turning to facial recognition technology and AI-powered footfall counters. These intelligent technologies also help retailers study their customers’ likes, dislikes and navigation patterns around the store, and enables them to offer superior personalized experiences.

Retailers are also using location-based technology to study their customers. Geo-targeting technology can help brands target its customers based on their location – for instance messages about a sale in a particular locality can be pushed to customers’ mobile phones. Within a certain virtual marked off radius around the store, the brands can further target customers with short-time discounts using Geo-fencing, which employs GPS technology in a customer’s smartphone to push specific messages to the device. Retailers can also use in-store beacon technology that can communicate with a customer’s smartphone and send out targeted offers. Beacons can also be used to personalize the shopping experience for its customers. While these technologies help retailers reinvent the shopping experience, there is a flip side to such advancements. These technologies will work only after the customer takes specific action – i.e the customer needs to download the store’s mobile app, keep it active, and ensure that the bluetooth or GPS is turned on. There is always an inherent risk of annoying customers or losing their interest by asking them to take a concerted effort to avail offers or coupons. The need of the hour is to adopt a non-intrusive method that eliminates the above mentioned pitfalls and helps influence customer behavior in a subtle manner, by enabling the retailer to initiate a customer-oriented action.

For retailers, customer retention has always been a big challenge, especially when it comes to influencing pre-purchasing behavior and gathering customer data without asking the customer to carry out certain set of tasks. So how can you determine a non-intrusive method to engage with your customers? The answer lies in adopting new-age technology initiatives and big data capabilities that have the power to indirectly influence the customer’s pre-purchase buying behavior. Stay tuned to our product and blog updates to learn more on how you can positively influence pre-purchase consumer behavior patterns by avoiding any annoying and intrusive techniques.

 

Showrooming and Webrooming: Are They Two Sides of the Same Coin?

Showrooming and Webrooming: Are They Two Sides of the Same Coin?

The retail industry is going through a dramatic revolution with an unprecedented impact of tech-savvy customers indulging in one-click purchases. From checking online reviews for products to comparing prices on different websites, consumers have multiple options at bay to keep retailers on their toes.

Two principal phenomena that are defining the retail ecosystem today are ‘Showrooming’ – a practice of browsing products in-store but actually purchasing them online and ‘Webrooming’ – where shoppers research for products online but eventually purchase them offline in physical stores.

Retailers across the world are facing a challenge of leaking revenue owing to either one of the above phenomena. But can leveraging both trends be a win-win situation for all the parties involved?

Embrace Interchanging Retail Trends

According to an independent study, 46% consumers showroom while 69% webroom. Also, a Forrester Research study predicts that web rooming will result in $1.8 trillion in sales by 2017. These stats show that while consumers want to avail the benefits of online shopping (convenience, discounts), they still crave for an in-store retail experience, either due to the look and feel factor or due to sizing and personal preferences issue.

One common attribute that stands out is the consumer’s need for a seamless shopping experience –with respect to both the channel and the platform. This observation proves the fact that retailers need to be present across different channels (in-store, mobile, social, web) and improve their customer engagement strategy to provide consistent shopping experiences.

Omnichannel Customer Engagement is Key

Online shopping has taken on a new dimension with the emergence of mobile platforms that offer a user-friendly, intuitive shopping interface. In this context, showrooming and webrooming are becoming more relevant than ever before. According to another Forrester Research study, smartphone and tablet commerce will reach $293 billion in sales by 2018. Smart retailers should realize what can attract and retain mobile-shoppers – from detailed product descriptions, customer reviews, and product availability information to easy price comparisons.

Brands can enhance their store experience with exclusive apps for in-store shoppers or by synchronizing mobile payments and mobile loyalty programs. Having well-trained staff with knowledge of multi-channel inventory or a user-friendly website with a strong e-commerce engine will also help influence consumer purchase decisions.

Implementing an omnichannel approach is the best way to stay ahead of the curve to handle these new changes and trends in retail value chain. It’s all about providing shoppers with one digital channel that runs across multiple platforms to ensure an enhanced retail experience. Technology is a great enabler to balance out both showrooming and webrooming trends. Retailers need to step up and implement the right technology measures to cater to their customers’ shopping expectations and offer superior, enriching experience across all platforms and channels.

 

Free EPIC Big Data Marketing Webinar!

Free EPIC Big Data Marketing Webinar!

Strategies for improving customer experience using your marketing big data

March 5th 2:00PM SGT/ 11:30AM IST

 

Great brands don’t just market themselves, they build genuine loyalty. When brands engage with customers across their preferred channels, customers build a relationship, make more purchases and become their lifelong fans. By harmonizing all the data a company collects, brands can learn exactly what their customers want to know from them, when they want it and what channel they prefer to hear it from. Big data is fueling the future of retail, and you need to make sure you’re all fuelled up!

In this Webinar, you will learn;

  • The best practices of retail brands across the world.
  • How to build a great omnichannel customer experiences
  • How to build a profitable engagement through automated personalized recommendations
  • The Do’s and Don’ts of efficient customer service

We’ve got a great speaker lined up in Capillary’s Vice President of Professional Services, Govind Seshadri. Govind heads Analytics, Systems Integrations, Managed Services and Technical Support functions at Capillary and brings over 20 years of IT and consulting experience. He is a published author with Cambridge Press and has held leadership roles at Cognizant, Sun Microsystems/SeeBeyond and StoreRunner Network.

Govind plans to address many of the “Top Asks” we’ve received from retailers:-

  • Data Collection and Enrichment
    • Data hygiene, Brand syndicates, Merging identification
  • Big Data Analytics
    • Mostly descriptive with segmentation and attribution; moving to predictive
  • Simplified Retail Processes
    • Close of day operation, Merchandising
  • Personalized Campaigns
    • Brand building, Bounce-back, Acquisition
  • Building Loyalty
    • Increase redemption rate, Gamification, Countering “Showrooming”
  • Cross-sell/Upsell
    • Intelligent recommendations
  • Customer Complaints and Feedback
    • CSAT, Surveys, Social sentiments

Join us on Thursday, March 5th, 2015 to learn the must-knows in creating an efficient omni-channel customer experience using Big Data.

Can’t wait untill March 5th? Want to learn more about Capillary’s Intelligent Customer Engagement™ suite?