Monday, June 29, 2015

Hot 4th of July Sales and Inspiration for 2015

4th of July is finally here which means it will be a whole weekend of celebrating! Don't worry if you're not ready because we're here with some great suggestions for you!

Ski Pro Ride Shop is having their Fun in the Summer Sale and it's happening now! If you're heading out to the lake this weekend, you can shop from Arizona’s largest selection of wake boards, wake surfers and water skis from select brands starting at $99, plus a huge selection of tubes and accessories. What else can you get? Sunglasses up to 30% off and all their stand up paddle boards are on sale too!

If you'll be going out with friends all weekend, Affliction Clothing is having their 4th of July Sale where you can find something for both Men and Women.

Planet Blue has an option for whatever your style might be. We're especially in love with this Team USA sweater that is great to pull out for the firework show!
Going to a pool party or a beach bonfire to celebrate? Gone Bananas Beachwear has lots of Red White and Blue Swimsuits to choose from so you'll look amazing while being patriotic!

Ole Smoky has some great drink recipes that you can make batches of so you can go enjoy yourself at the party! This Mix Berry Tea requires two ingredients and with some sweet tea and moonshine in there, it gives the American kick you're looking for!
No 4th of July is complete without some delicious all American food like barbeque or in our case Apple Pie! Honeyville has this delicious recipe on their blog for Caramel Apple Mini Pies- you will definitely be the favorite guest invited to the party!
For something more understated to wear this weekend, check out G-stage Love's All American Girl Collection. Lots of different options and accessories to dress up any outfit you choose! Right now it's $3.99 flat rate for shipping and if this is your first order you get 20% using the code: GSLOVESME20
If you're a fan of the American Flag then Grand Slam NY has everything from clothing to baseballs to anything else to get your party ready for this weekend! You get 10% off American Flag Merchandise by using the Code: USAUSAUSA2015 Plus there is free shipping over $75.
If you're going to a company celebration or just a more fancy 4th of July bash  Haute Hippie has some great options for you! Save up to 40% with the code HIPPIEFOURTH - Sale ends on Sunday!
No matter what you end up wearing or going to celebrate, make sure to have a great time celebrating the 4th of July this weekend!


How Retailers Can Prepare to Sell Socially

June 19, 2015

For the past 20 years, the internet has transformed the way we seek information, communicate with one another and conduct business. With the explosion of social networks and mobile technology, we’re no longer just consumers. We’re now and forever the “connected consumer.”

In just the first half of 2015, we’ve seen the latest attempt to capitalize on the connected consumer with the concept of “social selling.” The term seems to be gaining in popularity throughout the technology industry, defining it as more than just selling through social channels, but instead selling through relationships — behavior retailers have historically struggled to perfect, even up to this day.

However, retailers and leading online brands are beginning to take note of social selling and the potential marketplace they can reach through it. One billion globally connected consumers are driving nearly $1 trillion worth of annual revenue, with 75 percent of those transactions being made via mobile devices. With those numbers, it’s no wonder nine out of 10 marketers now say that their omnichannel campaigns take highest priority in their overall go-to-market strategy.

Google, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram have all recently announced plans to lean into this growth market by entering the e-commerce space. Retailers ultimately hope those plans will help them perfect their social selling strategies — or perhaps bypass them entirely. With the introduction of “Buy” buttons and Facebook Messenger for Business, these online giants will soon act as a point of connection between businesses and the millions of consumers already using the social networks. Whether facilitating point of sale with a Buy button or communicating with a sales representative through Messenger, retailers may now have the ability to facilitate purchases through consumer relationships built by popular brands.

As these networks begin to roll out their social selling campaigns in the coming months, retailers will need to adjust their own campaign strategies to take advantage of the new selling platforms and heavy foot traffic now available to them. Consider the following tips to help you:
  1. Ensure your global commerce strategy is solid. While consumers are ready to purchase cross-border, are you ready to sell cross-border? Facebook alone has well over a billion users, with 750 million users active globally. We know through Pitney Bowes’ research that 40 percent of globally connected consumers have made online purchases outside their native country. We predict this number will continue to rapidly grow.
  2. Cross-check your brand experience across channels. As consumers now have more options surrounding how they make purchases — in-store, mobile, web, social network — consistency in the brand experience will be essential. Regardless of which avenue a consumer chooses, you want to guarantee that their experience with your brand will never change, even if it’s delivered through a third party.
  3. Work out the kinks in processing and shipping. Consumers expect to place an order and receive it in the allotted shipping time without any glitches. If a customer has a seamless shopping experience, from discovery to purchase to shipping and receiving, you’re certain to gain one more loyal customer and, if you’re lucky, they may even share that positive experience socially.

We’re seeing rapid changes from all types of companies and business models to try and address how the future of commerce will be conducted. While we’re still in the early days, the promise of social selling could radically change the e-commerce landscape. Only time will tell, but as recent history has shown, it’s the consumer in charge that will lead the way.

To view the original article please visit:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Five Steps To A Personalized Retail Experience

Written by  Ben Saren, Cayan              
VP site only Cayan head shot
As the lines between our virtual and physical worlds continue to blur, the brick-and-mortar retail experience is changing. And there’s a common trend among those retailers leading the way: A movement toward greater personalization.
But while in-store technology like beacons and interactive product displays are becoming more commonplace, large-scale adoption remains a work in progress, creating a less-than-ideal customer experience. A recent report from Google found that 79% of shoppers seek information essential to their purchasing decisions while in a retail store, but only two out of every three actually find the answers they need.
The study also found that personalizing the customer experience is a crucial step in winning back the hearts and wallets of frustrated shoppers who aren’t finding the merchandise or the environment they prefer.
Consumers have more options than ever, both from Internet retailers and brick-and-mortar stores. Having the best product selection doesn’t cut it anymore. (And frankly, the definition of an ideal product selection differs from shopper to shopper, anyway.) Stores need to embrace digital tools in a way that makes millions of shoppers feel like they’re being catered to individually, at least if they want to remain competitive.
Creating a truly personalized shopping experience doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a multi-step process, but one that’s vital for any retailer looking to remain competitive in an increasingly digitally driven world. Here are five steps brick and mortar stores can take to adopt the right technology and target customers with customized, memorable experiences.


Step 1: Understand Your Demographic

Example: In today’s tech-dominated landscape, the market rewards those who know their demographic best. In the case of Toys “R” Us, that audience is parents — and those parents are undeniably busy and always on-the-go.
The toy store understands this reality; parents are not looking to spend hours upon hours browsing aisles, reading descriptions for each toy they encounter. So they created a suite of mobile apps that make it easier and faster to get through the store and back to playtime.
Scanning the Internet for deals is replaced by text and email alerts; in-store barcode scanning allows shoppers to pull up product details in seconds; and shareable wish lists make avoiding duplicates in the playroom effortless. And when it’s time to pay, the store welcomes mobile payments from shoppers, a convenient choice that also allows the retailer to build a relationship with their customers even after they’ve left the store.
The takeaway: While tailoring the shopping experience to your target demographic is only the first step to personalization, it’s a crucial one. The best technology solutions take into account what real consumers’ lives look like. Understanding whether your customer base enjoys spending hours browsing or prefers to get what they need quickly is an essential step in determining where to invest your technology budget.


Step 2: Use Location To Your Advantage

Example: Location-aware technology can help retailers make shoppers feel less like one in a million and more like a shop’s number-one priority. It’s a great second step on the road to personalizing the experience that consumers have with your brand. Retailers large and small are leveraging these technologies to better target and engage consumers not just at the store, but also at specific locations within the store.
Lord & Taylor, for example, has capitalized on this opportunity in several ways, integrating third-party apps like mystery coupon-generator SnipSnap that pings users’ phones with a deal that can only be revealed when inside the walls of a store. This rewards customers for coming to the brick and mortar location and makes them feel like the retailer cares about their visit.
Shopkick’s “shopBeacon” program is another star in the burgeoning area of hyper-local. Currently active at two Macy’s department stores, one in San Francisco and one in New York City, the beacons turn customer phones into personal shoppers, guiding them through the in-store experience from the moment they step inside to the purchase-decision process. In addition to promoting deals and product suggestions, shopBeacon also channels previous in-app behavior to aid in buying decisions. For example, if a shopper indicated interest in a dress while browsing through products on the app, she might get a sale notification when she enters the formalwear department.
The takeaway: Context- and location-aware technology can be very powerful tools for retailers to give customers what they want at the right time and in the right place and truly enrich their local shopping experience. Moreover, with the right technology, major pain points of the brick and mortar retail experience — like crowds and hard-to-navigate stores — can be mitigated, making the entire retail experience more enjoyable and personal.


Step 3: Use Tools To Empower Associates

Example: Dealing with limited inventory and returns from unhappy customers has always been a part of the sales associate’s day — until now. To truly cater to each customer’s specific preferences, more and more stores are bridging the gap between physical stock and the digital world.
How are they doing this? One example is three-dimensional scanning app Shoefitr, a service blurring the lines between shoppers’ digital and actual worlds, bringing its ability to scan customers’ feet and determine ideal shoe size to over 1,000 footwear brands like Cole Haan and Puma. Sales associates equipped with this technology can help customers make more informed purchases, which ultimately leads to fewer returns.
Another player helping make this happen is eBay. The site now offers a selection of retail tools called the Retail Associate Platform, with early adopters including Aeropostale, DSW and Nine West. When a shopper has their sights set on an out-of-stock item, eBay’s platform simplifies the process of getting it to them. Its “Endless Aisle” app provides browsing access to a store’s full stock at all locations and allows associates to process purchases directly via the app. These retailers are now using the platform in 1,500 stores, making virtually any merchandise request easy to fulfill.
The takeaway: When shoppers have trouble finding the item they need, they may decide they don’t need it that bad after all, move on to a different store or go online, eliminating the retailer from the equation altogether. Now, technology like the services offered by Shoefitr and eBay connects shoppers to the items they want and need—no matter where they’re located. Suddenly, the store’s square footage doesn’t have to be so limiting, and sales associates have more ways to connect customers with the products they want and need.


Step 4: Democratize The Personal Shopper Experience

Example: Chico’s has made headlines for its omnichannel success — and rightfully so. The retailer’s tech tool belt includes everything from RFID technology to tablets that enable associates to enter customer information gathered during a visit and continue providing item recommendations once that shopper has left the store.
It was a hefty up-front investment, but it’s paying off in spades. Customer engagement is a top priority for the brand, and now sales associates can communicate with shoppers in a multitude of ways, even scheduling one-on-one styling sessions.
They also feature “tech tables,” touchscreen stations that allow shoppers to interact with the brand in a more in-depth way, not only browsing a greater range of apparel than a single store could stock, but also accessing content that helps them make buying decisions. While consumers are interacting with Chicos’ in-store technology, they’re also providing valuable information that can help the retailer make more informed shopping suggestions.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Chico’s isn’t done with the high-tech advancements; future in-store offerings could include digital signs that sense a shopper’s presence and make customized shopping suggestions.
The takeaway: In order to democratize the personal shopping experience, Chico’s has used technology to offer one-on-one styling, personalized recommendations and access to a wider range of stock than a single store could carry on its own. In doing this, they’ve taken an experience that was once limited to the wealthiest customers and made it available to everyone, making shopping more personal and enjoyable.


Step 5: Use Data To Keep Shoppers Loyal

Example: While the first four steps will help create a memorable shopping experience and put you on the path toward personalization, there’s one final step to ensuring that your efforts don’t ultimately go to waste: fostering loyalty.
Successful loyalty programs go well beyond paper punch cards, bridging the gap between online and in-store experiences. The best programs motivate shoppers to make that first purchase, come back to your store again and again and ultimately develop a preference for your brand. Staying connected to consumers and understanding their shopping habits is the best way to develop loyalty, and the right technology can make this process much easier.
The good news is that today's advanced payment and customer relationship management systems make it possible to learn more than ever about your customers. With this data, you can offer loyalty programs that are tailored to their specific interests and that foster customer lifetime value. This is where the rubber meets the road.
Take the Loyallist program from Bloomingdale’s. Not only are frequent shoppers rewarded with extra points they can redeem for gift cards and complimentary shipping, but the retailer also offers apps that make the shopping experience more personal and memorable.
Downloaders of the Big Brown Bag app, which integrates with the Loyallist program, get the royal shopping treatment with the ability to sync local in-store events with their calendars, manage registries and even settle up their accounts. They can also redeem rewards points right from their phones. By giving customers the tools to personalize their experience and build their ideal interaction with the store, Bloomingdales has taken an important step in fostering loyalty.
Takeaway: Using technology to power your loyalty program is a great way to make shoppers feel like they have exclusive access to a retailer’s best offerings. With services like the Loyallist program that create a more personal relationship between consumer and brand, everyone wins.

The options for bringing personalization into the retail world are vast, so it may feel overwhelming to keep up with the changing times. While we’re still in the early stages of adoption, the technology used by a select group of companies today will soon become mainstream. By following the five steps outlined above, retailers can build an attainable strategy and work to bring the most effective solutions into their stores.
As you work towards choosing which technologies to integrate, keep in mind that the best retail tech allows stores to better connect with shoppers and revolutionize the way they interact with products, long before they step into the store and long after they’ve left. To remain ahead of the pack, retailers need to create and continually refine the shopping experience so it’s easier to navigate, more convenient and better personalized to each individual shopper.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Father's Day Gift Guide 2015

With Father's Day happening this weekend, we're starting to think about what our Dad's might actually want and use this year. Here are a few ideas to get you started!

New York Golf Center has some of the best Daily and Weekly Deals!! This week check out their 30% off with the purchase of three regularly priced shirts. It ends on Father's Day so make sure to check out their website for more deals and gift ideas! Gift Cards available too!
This year go with a gift that you all can use together as a family- a day at the Santa Barbara Zoo! Between all the animals and different exhibits it’ll be a great day for everyone to celebrate together!



For the active Dad, grab him some clothes or sunglasses from Oakley! Whether he decides to go and workout or stay home and relax, he’ll be comfortable and stylish!


Huntington Surf and Sport has everything you can dream of for the Dad who loves to go to the beach! With free shipping over $49 and other great sales happening on their site make sure to stop by and check out what they have this Father's Day.


Just Sports has your sports fan Dad covered. Find him some gear for his favorite team in the NBA, NFL or MLB and get ready for the upcoming season here!


If your Dad is a musician and a fan of the drums then Memphis Drum Shop is where you should look! Choose from hundreds of products and find the perfect gift for your favorite musician here.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Point of Sale Trends to Consider This Summer

Point-of-sale systems have made life much easier for retail owners in an increasingly fast-paced economy. As this summer gets into full swing, PoS developers continue to improve their software to perform even more functions. Take a look at some of the ways you can incorporate the latest advancements into your store.


Trends to Take Advantage Of

If there’s anything customers value, it’s time. Mobile PoS systems make it easier for shoppers to select and pay for their purchases via the sale software on an employee’s tablet. Skipping the cash register line altogether is a dream come true for the time-crunched consumer. It saves your business time as well, enabling you to find relevant data on your inventory and the patron’s own shopping history straight from your all-purpose device.
You don’t even have to be a massive, cutting-edge household name to get in on this trend. New systems (like TouchSuite’s Firefly and Ingenico’s smart tabletPoS) are designed specifically for small businesses, so they can start reaping the rewards of state-of-the-art sales software with mobile compatibility.
Other useful trends that empower the customer while predicting sales include iBeacons and shopping-enabled social media. While these are not PoS systems, they work to bring more shoppers through your door. Beacons send mobile notifications (such as announcements of discounts) when customers are nearby, and social apps help shoppers keep track of where they can get the items on their wish lists through omnichannel integration.
Mobile PoS is currently a noticeable trend in tech-focused stores, but it’s picking up steam as a viable checkout method in the retail industry. Not only do such innovations save time, they are also better than older payment methods at securing monetary info from data thieves.


Mistakes from 2014 to Avoid

As with any new venture, mobile PoS has had some stumbles to overcome. The major concern in 2014 was the security of the new software. PoS-focused malware is nothing new, but the prevalence of the Backoff malware family has proved just how important it is to make sure that newer technology is armored against data invasion.
Therefore, the biggest mistake from 2014 that forward-thinking retailers will wish to avoid is that of underestimating malware developers. With evolving software gaining the ability to compromise cloud data and overcome two-factor authentication, retailers should never get too comfortable with their existing security systems. Just like technology itself, the measures protecting that technology can always be improved.
Problems to be aware of include phishing attacks, software that hasn’t been updated recently, and disgruntled employees who know their way around a computer. Not only your own security, but that of your PoS vendor, is crucial to keeping your customers’ data safe. A highly recommended defensive strategy is to whitelist your system, only permitting it to perform certain functions instead of running the full range of programs it’s capable of. For more detailed security measures you can take, it would be wise to discuss your options with a reputable computer security consultant.
The good news is that it is relatively easier for smaller businesses to stay ahead of the security curve. While national corporations may seem impenetrable because of their sheer size and positions of leadership, last year’s Target breach showed otherwise. The security advantages of being an SMB include a closer connection with your IT professionals, faster PCI compliance, and fewer obstacles to an across-the-board software upgrade. All of these make it harder for hackers to keep up with you than with larger companies, whose technological progress is often lumbering by comparison.


Different Formats to Accomplish Your Marketing Objectives

You may not have the budget to accomplish the impressive technological feats of Nike and Burberry, but you can be a part of the future of retail nonetheless. Converting your operations to mobile and managing your inventory that way is only going to get easier. As businesses prepare to accept contactless payment alongside traditional magnetic cards, in the famous EMV liability shift, this may be the best time to implement upgrades that will put you ahead of the competition.
If you run a high-traffic boutique, the right system will help you build an important reputation for having fast and competent service. In time-consuming industries like hairdressing or furniture shopping, the convenience of your system will add value to your clients’ lives and justify their choice to patronize your business.
If you have already implemented the latest PoS technology in your business, how has it affected your everyday proceedings? If you’re still researching and observing the impact of these trends on others, what considerations would you like to have met before you commit to a system?
To view the original article please visit:

Monday, June 15, 2015

6 Ways You Can Make Your Website More Trustworthy

by Tucker Schreiber
6 Ways You Can Make Your Website More Trustworthy

On average, it only takes someone a few seconds to determine whether they want to stay or leave your website—which can be the difference between a sale you’ve been waiting for, or the loss of a customer.
Part of that decision is made on whether or not they find your website to be trustworthy. 
That’s why we wrote this post. We’ll cover the importance of having a trustworthy website, and things you can do to immediately instill a sense of trust in your business.


Why a Trustworthy Website Is Important

With the possibility of phishing scams, malware—or even just plain poor customer service, people are much more wary with their clicks than ever before.
And, because you’re running an online store where a transaction is taking place, you need to be hyper aware of how your business, and website are perceived.
Luckily, you don’t have to worry about the security of your checkout if you’re using a hosted solution—but what about the process of actually getting a customer to that point?
How can you get someone to trust the face of your website so that they continue to the point of purchasing?
What does it mean to a consumer for a business and website to be trustworthy?
A study by the team at UXMag looked into what consumers thought made a brand trustworthy. We'll apply some of these going forward.
A company is moral. Trust involves the belief that a company is law-abiding and fair while also showing that it cares about its customers.
A product will do what it claims to do. A consumer has expectations that the company’s product will live up to its claims, which are assumed to be accurate and unbiased. Most people trust that when they hit the “send” button, an email will be sent to the selected contact.
Information will be correct, complete, and unbiased. When people trust the information and choices presented, they are less likely to feel a need to go elsewhere.
A product or service has quality. People want to feel confident in their choices and we all want to feel confident that our digital devices are quality products that will safely hold important data.
"A company will protect me." Security and privacy are increasingly a key concern for consumers as they navigate the digital world. People want to know that a company has their best interests in mind. Will a company safely store my personal credit card information and keep sensitive information private?

With that in mind, let's get into some actionable methods of making your website more trustworthy.
You'll have no problem implementing these tactics today.

1. Having a Strong Design Makes a Huge Difference

Think of it like this: you’re walking down the street and are looking for a place to grab something to eat. Do you go into the restaurant with a cracked window, marquee signs with flickering lights, and with a strange odor coming out from under the door? Or, do you go into the restaurant that has beautiful type for their logo, bright lights, and open windows that welcomes people passing by?

Probably the latter. So you should be applying the same principals to your online storefront—your website.

There’s no excuse for having a poorly designed website in this day and age. There are just so many resources available to get something setup that’s beautiful and functional—something that makes people want to learn more about your product, and eventually buy.

But what makes a website’s design trustworthy?

Take a look at these two websites for instance. Which one are you more likely to shop on?


Endy Sleep


Bath Magic Inc.

You would probably feel more comfortable giving your credit card information to Endy simply because of the design and simplicity of their website. There's a certain confidence that Endy perpetuates. It might just be that the hero image model genuinely looks happy compared to the angry woman on Bath Magic Inc.

I don’t mean to pick on Bath Magic Inc. though — as chances are there’s reason behind their design choices. And that's totally fine, but if you do decide to go this route, make sure it ties together well with your brand strategy.

With that in mind, here are some quick tips on how to design for trust:
  • Avoid all caps paragraphs
  • Try to avoid comic-sans font (unless it's a part of your overall strategy)
  • Ensure your website doesn't have any poor grammar
  • Don't use tacky stock images
  • Keep the layout of your website simple
Note: If you have the capital available, it's definitely worth hiring someone who has a vast understanding of design to help with redesigning your storefront if you think it needs some work.


2. Add a Hint of Personality to Your Website

Isn’t it nice when you visit either a retail store, or an online store, and feel as though you’re in good hands?

You might not have even spoken to anyone yet—but you know from a purely visual aspect that everything will be okay. You just know that the people behind the business really care about their brand, and even the products they carry.

Whether that be conveyed through the messaging on their website, storefront, or even something you read online—it’s clear that they’ve built a sense of trust with their customers. But how do they do it?

Let's take a look at the landing page for Tim Ferriss’ website. He has an incredibly loyal fanbase. He's been able to achieve that level of trust and loyalty through consistently providing exceptional content.

For someone who is unfamiliar with Tim, his website is absolutely perfect. I mean, he's literally putting his face on the frontpage of his website!

Not only is the design absolutely stunning, but it includes the following without having to dig for more information:
  • A picture of Tim Ferriss so we know who he is
  • Quotes from reputable brands
  • Star ratings from Amazon
  • A clear call to action

For an online store, a strong message on the frontpage of your website might be all it takes. Or, an about page with pictures of your employees and mission statement is a good idea too. Try to humanize your product pages as well by including pictures of real people using or interacting with your product.

In the past we’ve covered what makes a strong about page—but can you think of ways to go above and beyond, and take this to your homepage as well, much like Tim does?


3. Make Sure Your Website Is Up-To-Date

Beyond just having consistent uptime, fast load speeds, as well as a custom domain—there’s a few other things you can do to ensure the overall health of your website.

Be sure that all of the information on your website in regards to shipping, contact information, product information and more is all up to date. Take some time to go through product descriptions, as well as old blog posts to ensure that there isn't any outdated information that may be misleading to a potential customer.

A good way to subtly display that you're on-top of things is to have some sort of press page, or press mentions displayed directly on your storefront.

For instance, here's what Freshly Picked includes on their storefront after being featured on Shark Tank and Ellen:

Try and keep these as up to date as possible as they act as a form of social proof for your business—and as a result, also add trust.


4. Use Secure Badges to Display That Your Website Is Safe

Now more than ever, online shoppers are hyper aware of their privacy and security. With that in mind, it’s important to be able to prominently display that a visitor on your website is browsing securely.

If your ecommerce solution doesn’t automatically display a notice to customers upon checkout that they are using a secure server as Shopify does, you’ll want to be sure you let your customers know your website is secure by displaying your SSL certificate symbol or a notice informing them of the fact.

There are a few ways to do this as well—whether it be trust badges in the footer of your store, or even a sidebar note that mentions that you’re secure through a third-party provider—anything helps.
Bonus: Try adding McAfee SECURE to your online store as a quick way to add a trust element.


5. Show That You're Active Online

One thing that I frequently do, is check a store’s social presence to see how active they are with their community.

If they haven’t commented, shared, or liked anything online in the past while—how can I be sure that they’re still an active store? What if they’re just taking orders and forgetting about shipping them out?

It’s important to show that you’re engaging with your audience. Whether that be by responding to tweets on Twitter, or sharing product shots on Instagram—it eases a buyer’s mind.

Alternatively, having an online blog for your store is a fantastic way to keep your visitors and customers up to date with what’s going on with your business.

Here's what Bobo Academy includes in the footer of their store:

Not only do they include a Twitter and Instagram feed, but they also have cute caricatures of themselves to add even more personality to their business. It simply feels like a genuine company because they are so transparent with their activity in the community.

You can use a few different services to add your Twitter or Instagram feed to your actual storefront. Otherwise, if you’d like, you can also simply link off to your social accounts using social buttons.


6. Make It Easy for Anyone to Contact You

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to contact a business and not being able to. If you’re a trusting business, then why make it difficult for your visitors and customers to contact you?

By setting up a simple contact form on your website, you’re doing yourself wonders. Even better is if you are an established business and have the ability to provide your visitors with an address they can reach you at.

Here's an example of what that might look like if you have multiple locations:

It's also good to include a phone number for visitors to reach you at. Customers expect that they should be able to reach you whenever they please—whether its through live chat, social media or phone—being responsive is absolutely critical in building trust in your business and website.

Make it easy for customers to actually speak to someone from your company, and their trust will grow.
Bonus: Try using a service like Grasshopper to setup a business phone line.


Now that we've taken a look at some of the ways you can instill trust in your website, it's up to you to start implementing some of these tips.

To view the original article please visit:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Keeping Up With the Shifting Retail Scene

SCAN MAN: Janam showing an attendee how their scanners work and what their booth is all about.
SCAN MAN: Janam showing an attendee how their scanners work and what their booth is all about.    
By Deborah Belgum | Thursday, June 11, 2015          

Retail is an ever-changing landscape that is expanding to different horizons all the time. Many retailers are so baffled about how to be up-to-date and incorporate the maze of software out there that they don’t know where to start.

But experts have one major piece of advice: Do nothing and you die.

Whether you should be sending out emails, setting up in-store events, developing a loyalty program or posting to Facebook, something has to be done. “The first thing I want to set in your mind is if you are unable to recognize and engage your customer across every channel, your competitor will,” said Mike Mauerer, chief executive of Teamwork Retail.

Mauerer was speaking at a one-day seminar organized on June 4 by One Step Retail Solutions, a Glendale, Calif., company that improves retailers’ operating efficiencies through technology. The seminar, called “Taking It to the Next Level,” was held at the Old Ranch Country Club in Seal Beach, Calif.

Most retailers, Mauerer said, are attempting to build extensive customer email lists; posting information on various websites and channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram; and monitoring their online shopping. “They are spending money like crazy on different things, and their staff is overworked trying to keep up with orders and synchronizing various sites,” he said.

While many retailers think that this is embracing the omnichannel way of doing business, they’re wrong. This is called multichannel.

To be truly omnichannel, the various systems have to work on one platform and talk to each other instead of acting as silos of information. That means that if a customer purchases an item with your mobile-phone app, they should be able to come into your store and return it without a hassle. The store employee should be able to call up the receipt at the cash register and see where the item was purchased and make the return easily, delivering something called “frictionless retail.”

“Most retailers are multichannel today,” Mauerer said. They need to be omnichannel, particularly when it comes to embracing shopping on smartphones and melding that system into the rest of the system. “Your customers spend more time on their phones than they ever will in your store,” he noted.


Capturing consumer information

Customers are a retailer’s most important asset. Communicating with them is paramount for conveying messages about promotions, new merchandise and special events.

“The thing that drives traffic more than anything else is email marketing,” said Dan Jablons, owner of Retail Smart Guys, a retail consulting company based in the Los Angeles area. “For every dollar you spend on emails, you get $4 back.”

But developing a good email list can be challenging. “You have to add it at the point of sale,” Jablons advised. “But don’t ask them, ‘Would you like to be on our mailing list?’ That is like saying, ‘I have some extra garbage. Would you like me to drop it on your front lawn?’ You have to make it worth something. Stop calling it an email list and start calling it a VIP list.”

“If they think there is a VIP discount or they will be invited to a special event from being on the VIP list, they will give you their dental records,” Jablons added.

That email list can be used to rustle up customers on a deadly slow Monday. “If you are freaking out about no traffic and you have to pay the rent, send out an email about a discount on sweaters and 15 people will show up,” the retail expert said.

Another successful marketing tool is holding in-store events where proceeds benefit a local charity or organization. Being tied to the community and helping out wins over customers who will patronize your store because it is a part of the neighborhood. Attracting shoppers to an event can involve discounting items, having entertainment or serving food. “As a friend says, ‘If you serve booze and chocolate, everyone will show up,’” Jablons noted.


Developing loyalty

The National Retail Federation recently conducted a study and found that the average American consumer belongs to 23 loyalty programs—from hotels and airlines to grocery stores and drugstores. “Customers want them,” said Ron Friedman, head of Friedman Business Consulting.

He noted that the first loyalty program was developed in 1896 by S&H Green Stamps, with stamps given away with purchases and pasted into books later redeemed for products.

There are various kinds of loyalty or reward programs. Friedman believes that cash back after a purchase is the wrong way to go. “Wouldn’t it be better to tell them about the $5 off before they come into the store?” he asked.

Friedman’s favorite loyalty program is the gift card that can be used by anyone and shouldn’t expire. Transferrable gift cards serve as a referral program to friends and relatives. Customers frequent you more often with a gift card in hand and spend more.

Target is an example of a retailer that gives away a gift card if a certain item is purchased. “When Target advertises this, the item is not on sale. So they get full price on the item, and you have to come back to the store to shop again,” Friedman said.


Hiring and firing

Developing a good sales staff is essential to keeping customers coming through the doors. But how do you do that?

Jablons of Retail Smart Guys suggests auditioning potential salespeople. “Try a sample shift from 1 to 3 p.m. on a Saturday. Tell them you will pay them, and then see if they can start a conversation with a customer who comes into the store and then have them pass the customer on to the sales staff,” he said. “You want to find out if they can start a conversation with a customer rather than having them walk around the store like Frankenstein.”

Jablons also recommends writing a job description and using that job description as a template for training new employees. “Once you have hired them, the biggest mistake I see is that there is not enough time spent on training,” he said.

If you have salespeople who are extremely funny, put them toward the front of the door. Also, train them to be knowledgeable about the products they are selling. “Every vendor has a story to tell, such as these sweaters were knit by monks in the Himalayas. So then your salesperson can tell the customer, ‘These sweaters were knit by monks in the Himalayas.’”

And if you find out your new salesperson can’t operate a cash register or point-of-sale system, don’t keep them. “If you don’t, your next career will be unraveling the crazy things they did at the register,” Jablons explained. “This is the spinal cord of your business.”

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