SocialShop provides associates with a way to share shoppable Instagram posts with their customers via their SocialShop feed, which makes it possible for customers to click and buy online and giving Associates credit for the sale.
Salesfloor participated in a panel discussion with Chico’s FAS on the store associate of the future at NRF. Cutting-edge tactics that their stores are using to serve customers and drive sales were reviewed. Watch the video to see the session!
Salesfloor won it all at the Salesforce Commerce Cloud #DemoJam! With only 3 minutes to pitch our product, we went up against the likes of Dynamic Yield, PerimeterX, Amplience, and battled it out for the Demo Jam crown. Congrats to all for their great demos! Watch the video to see our demo!
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about Salesfloor.
Videos, and the immediate distribution of them through the internet has profoundly changed the way we live…and shop. We’re relying more and more on using video to help us discover and compare products we are looking to buy and retailers know it.
Traditionally, the merits of video were merely practical: it helps boost your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), helps your brand establish trust, and increases discovery to your site if you have a video people love to share. But there is so much more to video. Video still does all of that, very well, but it can be worth much more to your brand.
J Crew is a company that is using video very effectively. On their Instagram, they regularly post videos. Some videos are explanatory (like “How to Wear Denim on Denim”) while others are aspirational, but all of them serve a purpose: to draw Instagram followers in and entice them to make a purchase. Instagram Stories, a collection of pictures and video can help set the mood for customers looking to buy a new jacket and get them to purchase after seeing a 30-second clip. What’s more, Instagram stories expire in 24 hours, so J Crew has deployed them for sale announcements to drive excitement.
J Crew can also post a video of a new product and get immediate customer feedback. This can help them tailor future product lines based on verbatim criticism or praise.
They’re demonstrating products to bring the in-store experience home
Photographs of products offer a limited amount of information about an item because there is little context. A video is an excellent way to show how large an ottoman is in relation to a child, a dog, or an average sized couch. Video can show you how a dress pattern moves or how long the hem REALLY is on a dress, where a photo simply cannot provide this kind of detail. Video can also show how easy it is to use a product (think Apple’s demo videos for everything from iPhones to their Airport Wireless Routers) or how a product can be useful. This is important for items that can’t be experienced in real time online. It helps bridge the experience of trying on an item to the immediacy of looking up a product online.
They’re showing customers how to use their products better
They also have more advanced videos on their site to explain to intermediate and advanced users how to get the most out of their Instant Pot. It’s working. The Instant Pot is not only wildly popular, it has inspired dozens of knockoffs from major kitchen appliance companies.
They’re making themselves indispensable with advice
Can you get someone to buy something they didn’t even think they needed? Ask The Home Depot. They have hundreds of videos showing how easy it is to change the hardware on a bathtub, or install a baseboard, for example. Home Depot understands that people don’t just need to be walked through the steps, they might actually need to know what products they’ll need to complete a project. Seeing objects in context and in use is crucial to convert shoppers who are unclear about a product’s worth or how to use it. Showing customers the complete project allows them to get fully equipped and retailers to sell more items, increasing cart size per visit.
Video might seem like a big undertaking for your company, but there are so many advantages that it’s worth your investment. There are so many ways it can be applied to draw in shoppers, and so many advantages to trying out a video campaign, you might want to try to start out small. Even a few videos highlighting a sale, your staff, or a special event can help you connect with and build an audience.
Once you build out a video plan and commit to creating regular videos, you could see boosts that retailers who have mastered video are already enjoying. Are there other examples you can think of? Please let us know in the comments below.
Salesfloor is on a mission to unlock the power of today’s omnichannel sales associate by connecting them with shoppers online and in-store. We believe that associates are product experts, trusted advisors and social influencers for customers in their local communities. In today’s omnichannel world, retail chains have a unique opportunity to leverage their biggest competitive asset: their people.
Watch “The Evolving Customer” webinar moderated by Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, Retail Minded’s Publisher. Hear from Salesfloor’s CEO, Oscar Sachs who discusses Salesfloor’s latest study findings. The study uncovers how today’s customers want to communicate with sales associates, what information they communicate to customers effectively, and where retailers are missing opportunities to create connections with customers.
When Amazon announced it was going to build brick and mortar concept grocery stores – Amazon Go – it made huge waves in the media.
What was particularly interesting about it was how they incorporated a feature usually only seen online: Amazon’s ‘Buy with 1-Click’ button. This feature would create a seamless experience for the shopper: just select the items you want and then simply walk out of the store.
What Amazon knew about this move is what smart retailers are looking to do in brick and mortar properties: design stores replicate the best features of online stores. If that sounds like something out of a Black Mirror episode, it’s not. It’s going to be a hot trend in the future.
We’re far enough into the online retail revolution where we know there are some teens and adults who have grown up digital-first, even in retail. This fundamentally changes the purchase expectations and flow of a growing number of customers.
The ease of which regular shoppers online can navigate from consideration to purchase, to owning the item is a key part of the next generation of retail design.
If none of these options applies to you, you can use Target’s second entrance, for shoppers to “discover” new items or brands.
This twofold strategy emulates two distinct shopper patterns that exist both offline and on: The on-demand shopper, and the discovery shopper. By redesigning the space, Target hopes to capture both styles in a way that directly addresses their needs.
Apple got rid of the purchase queue years ago by making on-demand checkouts a reality in their stores. Customers can either walk up to any sales associate with a handheld device check themselves out with the Apple Store application. Just pick up the product you want, scan the barcode, enter your AppleID, and voila! You can walk out of the store with your new purchase without interacting with anyone.
The trend for retail seems to be moving toward operating the way we have become accustomed to shopping online all in an effort to bring people back into brick and mortar stores. The seamless process marries the best of both worlds: the ability to touch and feel the product in real-time and to ask crucial questions about the product while avoiding waiting in checkout lineups.
How can retail stores without hundreds of millions of dollars in renovation budgets and armies of sales associates effectively leverage this trend?
Set up a fast lane in-store
Set up an area somewhat close to your entrance for customers to pick up, return, reserve, or gift wrap items easily. If you’re unsure whether this will work, try setting it up during a busy time for shopping or returns for your store. It’s important to look at adoption rates, and solicit verbal feedback from those who choose to use this option.
Consider having grab and go stations in your store for the most commonly purchased items. Make these stations close enough to a cash or a mobile cashier to make the experience quick and easy for the customer
Work with your regular customers to make in-store shopping smarter
Using Salesfloor, you can set up predictive newsletters with items in them you know your customers will love, and let them know you can prep these items for them to pick up on demand in-store.
Look for purchase cadence for regular customers and be predictive about what you think they might need. This helps your associates become indispensable to these customers, who will likely return for the same simple, efficient service,
Merchandising isn’t just about showing off new lines or items that are on trend right now. Merchandising is also successful when it helps fulfil a need.
Online stores often bubble up “bought together” items in an effort to anticipate a customer’s needs. Grocery stores in vacation spots have long known the value of placing disposable barbecue kits in near the barbecue sauce, and solo cups and ping pong balls in with the mixer or near the beer.
Anticipating common uses or combinations of items in your store and either packaging them as kits or displaying how someone could package them/buy them together is a great way to increase total spend, and a great way to establish your store as a place that solves problems, thus increasing purchase frequency and word of mouth.
We live in an increasingly on-demand economy, but that does not mean that in-store retail is obsolete. Without resorting to wildly expensive redesigns, you, too, can leverage what the larger stores know about the change in how e-commerce trained customers shop and use that to gain strategic advantage by tweaking how your store and associates deliver the shopping experience from outside the store to the cash.
From Baby Boomers to Generation Z, each generation has its own defining political and cultural traits that have characterized their coming-of-age and shopping habits.
As of now, there are four major generational demographics that economists have recognized as distinct markets: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y (more popularly known as Millennials,) and Gen Z—each of which is unique in their perspectives on marketing tactics and purchasing preferences.
If retailers want to make their products available to each generation in the best way possible, they need to adapt their brand experience in a way that accommodates all the options that these groups rely on. That’s why we gathered all the data you need to know just what each generation is looking for.
Baby Boomers Shopping Habits Born 1946 to 1964
When it comes to the joy of shopping, Baby Boomers want convenience above all else.
The Boomer generation is just too stressed for shopping trips, as Colloquy reports that at a 27 percent response rate, Boomers were the least likely to agree with the statement “I think shopping is a great way to relax” when compared to all other generational groups. They also scored well below Millennials in terms of browsing with only 37 percent of Boomers reporting that they would be likely or willing to explore a store for new products.
The Baby Boomer’s aversion to browsing is understandable; with a greater amount of disposable income than all other generations, Baby Boomers also have the spending power to make purchases without necessarily hunting down for bargains in-store, which is a greater characteristic of Millennials and Gen Z. However, Boomers are very comfortable browsing and shopping online with 85 percent of surveyed Boomers reporting that they research products on their web browsers. In a surprising finding by Immersion Active, Boomers aren’t opposed to taking a leap of faith to purchase products online either as 66 percent of Boomers reportedly make regular purchases via web devices.
Although they regularly make purchases online, Baby Boomers by far prefer the personal engagement of traditional stores when making actual purchases. At 84 percent, Boomers were highest amongst all survey groups in expressing their preference to shop in-store, and 67 percent report that if an item they want is available online or in a nearby store, they prefer to purchase it at their local retailer rather than order online.
The root of Boomers’ brick-and-mortar preference is tied to their high expectations of customer service. According to a LoyaltyOne survey on generational consumer habits, Boomers were the most likely demographic to take their business away from retail chains following a subpar exchange with one of their sales associates.
Boomers place immense value in brands based on their interactions with sales associates, and retailers can capitalize on this by offering the experience through digital channels. Social web store features and clienteling appshave become vital tools in engaging the Boomer generation and catering to their reliance on associates’ recommendations.
When it comes to social influence, Boomers are more selective on what sources they trust for brand recommendations. Although 82 percent of Baby Boomers are on social media, they are still unlikely to use the platform as an influence on their shopping habits, and only 12 percent of Boomers say they look to friends and family for advice on their purchases. Instead, Boomers are twice as likely as Millennials to have their interest sparked by the reported popularity of a brand when purchasing a new or unfamiliar product. This suggests that brands with bold and consistent omnichannel engagement are likely to perform better among the Boomer demographic due to their suggested popularity.
Generation X Shopping Habits Born 1965 to 1980
Sandwiched between the Boomers and Millennials, Gen X is often referred to the “middle child” generation due to its reputation of often being forgotten by marketing specialists. Because of this, there is little market research into their spending habits compared to those of Boomers and Millennials. This comes as a shock when the spending power of this generation can’t be ignored: Gen Xers produce 31 percent of total US income despite representing a mere 25 percent of the population.
One of the greatest obstacles in the marketing approach to Gen Xers is that they tend to shop more conservatively than other generations. They’re more sceptical about marketing tactics, which means they won’t be won with flashy advertising but with practicality and proof of performance.
To avoid regretting their expenditures, Xers won’t purchase a product until they’ve researched it thoroughly, which is why they make extensive use of search engines, online reviews, and social media networks before making a purchase. That being said, having any doubts about product performance will easily dissuade them from their buying journey.
Gen X prefers honest explanations of product usage and trusts clienteling techniques that cater to their own habits. When marketing to Gen Xers, it’s critical to make products and services especially visible and accessible online by using SEO strategies to optimize their research and an active social media presence to demonstrate a personable and authentic brand image. Digitally, email is one of best channels for reaching out to this generation. Gen Xers check emails on a regular basis and are more likely to respond well to personalized offers based on their previous purchases. Like Baby Boomers, Xers also rely on quality customer service for brand loyalty as they see store associates as people who can relate to them on a consumer level and relay the best options for their purchases without an upsell.
Generation Y (Millennials) Shopping Habits
Born 1981 to 1997
Whether for social media, research, or purchases, Millennials use web devices in nearly every aspect of their life, even while shopping in stores. 68 percent of Millennials demand the convenience of omnichannel accessibility during their shopping journey, which means having an integrated experience that can effortlessly transition their consumer data from their smartphone, to laptop, to local store, and back again.
Millennials are so omnivorous in their point-of-sales that as a generational demographic, they’re the most likely to make use of every avenue of purchasing available to them. In fact, younger Millennials (aged 20-23) on the cusp of Gen Z are more likely to shop in a brick and mortar store when compared to older Millennials (aged 32-35,) who are the most likely within the group to buy via mobile. And overall, when Millennials shop for something both online and in a store, they are much more likely to make a purchase in a store than they are online. But while the myriad of online stores and buying options today have offered Millennials the ability to be more selective with their purchases, the options can get overwhelming as Millennials actually tend to prefer browsing for products across brands rather than settling on an option and purchasing it.
Seeing shopping as a social event is another trait that strongly characterizes the Millennial market and sets it apart from older generations. In stark contrast to Baby Boomers, research shows that Millennials enjoy shopping and see it as fun and relaxing activity to be shared with friends and family. According to Gen Buy, the grand majority of Millennials report that they shop with other people at least half the time, and 60 percent consider advice from their friends when deciding what to buy.
Of course, the social consumer experience is not only limited to shopping mall excursions but social media as well: 68 percent of Millennials admit to being strongly influenced by social media posts while 84 percent say user-generated content has at least some influence on what they buy.
Retailers should recognize that social media is extremely important to Millennials in their purchasing journey because even though they value the opinions of family and friends, they seek out the experiences of other consumers above all. Not only do 90 percent of Millennials research product reviews online, most tend to rely on other consumers’ reviews on retailers’ sites over those of people they know. By taking advantage of all these forms of recommendations, it’s no surprise that 82 percent of Millennials say word-of-mouth is a key influencer of their purchase decisions.
Like Gen X, Gen Y is also sceptical of overbearing marketing tactics. Millennials tend to reject retailers who constantly push products through messaging and instead prefer authentic interactions with sales associates who happen to also be consumers of their retailer’s products. Millennials are also likely to interact with brands and retailers through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook in order for their voices to be heard.
Gen Z Shopping Habits
Born 1998 to 2010
Gen Z is the generation of digital natives that can’t remember a time before Internet, and as such, the platform has become the foundation of their buying process. Gen Z uses their plethora of Google resources to compare prices, styles, availability, and ratings of products to make the most educated purchase possible. Being savvy with price-checking tools also makes Gen Z more selective when making big expenditures with many often buying products only when they’re on sale or even delaying gratification by waiting for newer products to become available.
While much of their research is digital, Gen Z still enjoys visiting stores as a social excursion in the same way Millennials do. In fact, 84 percent of Gen Zers intentionally structure their shopping trips a social activity and wait to accumulate a solid list of wants and needs before visiting stores with friends.
Like Gen Y, Gen Z is also likely to contribute to consumer-generated content for brands by voicing their comments and concerns online and by seeking out interactions with brand representatives. As Sara Spivey, CMO of Bazaarvoice, says, “Companies should encourage Gen Zers to share photos and videos with their purchases, create polls and contests on social media and, most importantly, listen and respond to their feedback.”
Catering to Gen Z’s online expectations by providing consumer-generated content is crucial for retailers, because not only do these teens respond extremely well to word-of-mouth, but they actively participate in it as well. Spivey claims that 40 percent of Gen Zers give online reviews “very often,” which in turn encourage others within their generation to purchase products. In this sense, Gen Z consumers sharing brand content on social media can easily be considered unofficial brand ambassadors.
Despite being inundated with digital content, Gen Z still prefers to shop in-store versus online, but they crave a store that can keep up with their tech more than anything. Companies need to understand that technology drives Gen Z’s shopping experience—an established social media presence should complement touchscreens in brick and mortar stores if retailers want to keep tech-savvy Gen Zers eager to interact with their brand.
Ironically, the instant gratification that Gen Z has become accustomed to through their digital habits isn’t entirely sustainable from their web devices when it comes to shopping.
“Two-thirds say they’re comfortable shopping online but still prefer to shop in-store for the instant gratification of not having to wait for their orders to arrive,” says Spivey. “The shopping trend of buying online and picking up in-store is quickly gaining traction with this group.”
Additional research shows that other wallet-friendly incentives, such as coupon offers (all generations love coupons,) are also a great way to bring Gen Zers in store.
Considering how Gen Z and Gen Y both still shop both online and offline, and reportedly more so than older generations, retailers need to prioritize enhancing both groups shopping experiences by appealing to their affinity for technology and perspective on shopping as a social enterprise. Offline, stores should promote a chic, tech-savvy, communal atmosphere. Online, retail sites should interact with and promote user-generated content to provide a seamless shopping experience across the average Gen Zer’s many juggled web devices.
————– With generations old and new increasingly using web devices to help them make purchases, digital tools are shaping the way customers across all generations interact with brands. Using the right clienteling apps and social media engagement techniques will help retailers build lasting relationships with consumers who continue to seek social and authentic customer service experiences during their buying journey.
Watch “The New Role of Omnichannel Associates” webinar moderated by Joe Keenan, Total Retail’s Executive Editor. Hear from Kiehl’s Retail Director, Jason Steiner and Salesfloor’s CEO, Oscar Sachs. Kiehl’s Retail Director, Jason Steiner, shares how they redefined clienteling with new store associate tools to help increase online conversions and drive traffic back to the stores. Salesfloor CEO, Oscar Sachs, provides best practices and insights from leading retailers who are empowering store associates with new clienteling tools.
The mobile-first approach to marketing was a fantastic idea…at first.
At the turning point of the smartphone era, a new UX strategy needed to be developed to suit what appeared to be the only preferred platform of the customer on-the-go. Working outward from a mobile to desktop interface ensured an identical experience that carried over without sacrificing all the bells and whistles that a desktop platform would boast, and while we celebrate the platform shift, it certainly hasn’t been the best or last development in improving the shopper’s journey.
As uniquely form-fitting as mobile development is for improving users’ access to products that they would otherwise have via desktop, it recreates some of the same problems of desktop-only sites. Mobile first fails to ask why online shoppers are using one device or another, and what they’re looking for in choosing that option. Do they need efficiency, experience and incentives? And how can a platform assist in each of those? Omnichannel retail platforms with mobile, desktop, and brick-and-mortar façades have the potential to adapt their interfaces. The myriad of reasons for why a customer might opt for a mobile over desktop interface or interchange between the devices over the course of their shopping journey are addressed and accounted for in its features.
The case against mobile-first is a matter of meeting the potential that the platform truly offers. It’s no longer enough for retailers to adapt their sites and retail apps to the parameters of a smartphone or tablet screen—they need to contextualize their usage as well. The use of a mobile device is within the context of a user’s immediate needs and trend-proven preferences, and catering to these whims goes beyond simply distinguishing between them to actively striving for an interface that suits each experience. That’s why the next logical step for ease-of-access marketing is a leap from a mobile-first to a context-first approach, which considers the circumstances in which the platform is used, then adapts it to suit that need.
If a millennial is researching product reviews on their smartphone before making a purchase in-store, as over 80% of them reportedly do, their user experience could be improved significantly based on the context of their location.
Should the retailer’s context-first-built mobile app recognize that the buyer is presently at the store, a feature could allow it to forgo all the animations and filler content that usually characterize the app and instead prioritize product reviews in its preview icons and native search engine. Other possible extensions of using context to optimize the online experience have even included suggestions to program retail applications to analyze a device’s battery power and data usage to estimate what context the user is presently in and adapt itself to suit that contextual need best.
While these examples may seem idealistic, they’re not far-fetched technology-wise. They also serve to illustrate just how much a web interface can be optimized by using the context of the customer’s location to streamline their interactions and make their journey from the aisle to check-out counter as breezy as possible.
One of the other many strengths of the context-first approach is that it operates aside from live, time-and-space data monitoring. Context-first also offers all the benefits of the classic marketing technique of demographic targeting, only instead of using dated census-based guidelines such as age or gender, it operates off a concrete set of consumer personas uniquely identified through user interaction and shopping habits.
Saks’ secret is that it uses the context-first-built retail tool Salesfloor Storefront™ to customize product recommendations to their clients via the application’s Most Recommended feature. Salesfloor’s Associate Data Cloud uses the data gathered from purchasing, browsing, and other activities from every store in the network to update and selectively suggest relevant products to different shoppers.
Now potential and returning customers of blazers, headbands, and sequin skirts can be readily recommended deals on products that are more relevant to them, such as blouses, strollers, and six-inch heels. The professional, the parent, and the trendsetter now each have a personalized interface where they can browse for curated products at their leisure without having to step over the items that would only interest the other personas.
Another Salesfloor client, Harry Rosen, uses Salesfloor Connect™ to personalize their online customer experience even further by taking advantage of the application’s embedded tool that allows customers to interact and connect with associates based on their location. Not only does this feature increase engagement with the brand, but it also optimizes the customer’s use of their preferred platform by adapting product recommendations to suit their needs best. As for the brand itself, they benefited from up to an average of 50% more service requests by customers after they integrated Connect™ directly within their site pages.
The new customer journey starts with checking out reviews and ends in the checkout line, but all the steps and motives between the two points are unaccounted for in a mobile-first approach.
Mobile first is limited by its simple mirroring of desktop content when it has the potential to be just as complex and nuanced as any one person’s shopping habit. The context-first approach is designed to synch with the in’s and out’s of daily life, the customer’s shopping persona, and the high-quality customer service that they expect when they go to their browsers to interact with a brand.
As more high-end brands secure their clienteling by adopting context-first built applications, retailers that lag behind the trend are apt to miss out on the benefits and sales offered by the industry’s latest innovation.
With 73% of consumers now shopping both online and in-store, retailers are on the move to adapt. Enter the omnichannel approach: an integrated shopping experience that allows customers to shop however they like, whether they buy in-store, online, or both simultaneously. The media strategy has brought new possibilities to clienteling by changing the way people shop and how businesses interact with them.
Simply put, omnichannel marketing is improving relationships with customers dramatically, and here’s how:
#1. It brings customers back to you
Over the past five years, foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores has declined, yet the value spent on each visit has nearly tripled.
Shoppers are increasingly researching products, ideas, and availability online before heading over to their local store, but it doesn’t stop there—82% of smartphone users say they consult their phones on potential purchases while they browse in-store as well. According to the Harvard Business Review, this studying pays off: shoppers who conducted prior research on retailers’ sites spent 13% more in-store than those who did not.
Providing an omnichannel shopping experience not only adapts retailers to modern purchasing behavior, it also builds customer loyalty. Offering online shopper incentives such as in-store only coupons and free shipping on their orders if sent to their local store gives them options for how to proceed with their purchase and makes the brand more accessible to them.
Omnichannel considers the customer experience from their perspective, and in that, convenience is key. Customers now expect brands to be relevant, accessible, and easy to navigate no matter what or how many channels they use. In fact, according to Google, 60 percent of online customers begin shopping on one device and continue on another.
With an omnichannel interface, interactions both online and offline allow shoppers to identify themselves, access their personal shopping history and preferences, and pick up their shopping journey from wherever they left off—whether they continue shopping online or in-store. This cross-platform access gives the buyer total control over their shopping process and ensures that their experience is seamless from start to finish.
By recognizing the value of personalization, the omnichannel approach allows customers to build a relationship with brands at their own pace—anytime, anywhere—and that reliability shapes clienteling.
#3. Data is now a give-and-take
When customers take advantage of the user data saved by omnichannel interfaces, they provide retailers with their own data—behavioral data, such as when they visit the site or store, what products they’ve viewed, and which shopping channels they’ve used. Even clickable products can send in clienteling if monitored by the right omnichannel application. Predictive analytical tools can then use this data to determine which customers are more likely to use discounts, free shipping, or other offers, and then make those deals available to them.
This omnichannel marketing approach makes clienteling easier than ever; it stiffs full-blast email ads by opting for a more successful one-on-one approach that promotes specific offers based on individual shoppers’ needs. Bottom line: This data provided by customers is invaluable for retailers seeking to build a long-term relationship with their clientele.
Does your retail business have an omnichannel platform yet? Getting started now will help adapt your clienteling for the modern world. Check out Think with Google or Salesfloor for apps, articles, and tools to set up your own omnichannel experience.