Each month we track the latest news and trends in the loyalty industry. With the holiday season upon us, we’re also following the latest data on eCommerce spending and shopping behavior during this busy time of the year.
According to an IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, Cyber Monday set a record for the largest shopping day in history. With almost $1.5 billion in sales, this year’s Cyber Monday was up 30% over last year’s. Also, mobile devices played a much larger role in the shopping experience this year, with 13% of sales coming from mobile devices (an increase of 96% from last year).
In this Mashable article, a recent Google study detailed how people increase their search activity through mobile devices on holidays compared to regular days. The increase ranged from 7%-40% depending on the holiday, and in a separate study, Google found that 80% of tablet and smartphone owners will use their devices for their holiday shopping.
Three important initiatives for motivating loyalty members are examined in this PROMO magazine article. “Give’em what they want”, “VIP mentality”, and “Keep it simple” are discussed.
We were pleased to be named a Best and Brightest Company to Work For this month. We were recognized for our achievements in human resources, work-life balance, recognition, and community initiatives. Congratulations to our wonderful team!
Each month we scour the web for the latest news and data about the loyalty industry. Here are a few of the articles we enjoyed and wanted to pass on.
As October comes to a close, we gear up for another busy holiday season. In this Internet Retailer article, holiday season data and projections are examined. One interesting point, 50% of consumers will have already started their holiday shopping by the end of October.
According to a study detailed in PROMO, 53% of consumers this holiday season will seek out discounts as part of their shopping experience.
A PriceGrabber study looked at the most popular gift categories for this upcoming holiday season. Clothing and gift cards lead the way. Learn more in this MarketingCharts article.
This infographic from Daily Infographic examines the needs and behaviors of online consumers. The infographic looks at mobile spend, top conveniences consumers look for, what influences their buying decisions, and much more.
Each month we read a slew of interesting articles about developments in loyalty programs, eCommerce, and technology. Below are a few of the interesting ones from the past couple of weeks.
With Halloween right around the corner, we have holiday shopping (and candy corn) on the mind. We came across the following Experian data about Halloween eCommerce and marketing trends. Did you know that 67% of all Halloween sales revenue last year came 3 or more weeks prior to Halloween?
The next couple of months can make or break a company’s year. According to eMarketer, online holiday shopping will increase 17% this year, with total spending expected to exceed $54 billion. Time to finalize those marketing plans and prepare to take advantage this holiday season!
Loyalty programs are always trying to outdo one another, offering new and innovative perks to drive loyalty. In this Los Angeles Times article, you can learn more about Loews Hotels & Resorts’ newest addition to its loyalty program – free access to faster security lines at airports.
Have you recently woken up in a cold sweat realizing the Holiday season is creeping up on you? It’s okay… you’re most likely ahead of the game in terms of your media planning and marketing strategy for the season. However, it’s going to take more than a few display banner ads sporting your stellar logo to support your customer acquisition strategy. Here are five holiday loyalty building tips to help grow and engage your consumer base.
1. Curated Gift Picks
It’s all about empathy when planning your marketing. Place yourself in front of your average consumer’s computer or mobile device. What’s the biggest woe in holiday shopping? What to get Mom? Dad? Sis? Little Susie? You as a marketer of XYZ merchandise happen to have a plethora of knowledge on what sells. So put it to use and curate landing pages that contain special gift picks. Trust us; it will keep your consumers coming back! Or, if you are looking for effective product placements, look for sponsorship opportunities of buying guides and advertorial-style content.
2. Newsletter Opt-In At Your Check-Out
Consumers are bombarded with emails during the holiday season, but if used properly, they can be an effective communications channel to promote special offers and deals. Make sure that as consumers are checking-out on your site, they can opt-in for future mailings full of enticing exclusive offers, giveaways, etc.
3. Interactive Gift Pinterest Board
We’re visual creatures. While it’s true that Pinterest has remained adamant about not allowing affiliate links on their boards, it doesn’t mean you can’t host your own board, where you invite your customers to pin their favorite products on your site. Incentivize consumers by creating a contest around it in which you select a random pinner. This will result in a consumer-created gift guide that you didn’t have to do yourself that will also bring in more organic search traffic.
4. Time Sensitive Offers
Seems like a no brainer, right? Even so, there is a countless number of Marketing Managers out there who spend a vast amount of time selecting their media buys, but when it comes time for their placement, the offer just isn’t there. A static 120×90 banner of your logo is not going to incentivize shoppers to go to your site. It will spread brand awareness, but isn’t this all about performance? So always think conversions. What brings in conversions and return purchases? Exclusivity and limited time offers. So when merchandising your offers, provide exclusive coupon codes or don’t even bother sending the creative. The evergreen on LinkShare or CJ isn’t going to cut it.
5. Contextual Deals
For example, say you are a sporting goods retailer placing an ad on a sports lover blog or a coupon hungry forum. It’s important to find out what pages you’ll be placed on and base your ads accordingly. If you’re getting an ad placement on a post about fishing gear, makes sense to offer a discount for rods and accessories, don’t you think? Or let’s say you are a beauty retailer. It would be wise to place an ad on a loyalty site’s buying guide for Mom’s and offer an increased pass back on that placement. It may require some effort in tailoring deals for every media outlet, but the ROI will be there.
Interested in learning more tips on how to really win big this holiday season? Email us. We’d love to discuss strategies with you.
Merchant Development Manager
We’re always reading about the trends, issues, and news impacting the loyalty industry. Here are a couple of recent articles for your enjoyment:
According to a recent survey, 45% of consumers use the sense of anonymity the Web provides to purchase certain items online that they would not purchase in-person. This interesting infographic also provides some valuable data on other consumer shopping experiences and preferences.
With back-to-school shopping still in full swing, this recent study looks at the influence coupons and deals have had on the shopping season so far. 38.5% of shoppers said more than half of their purchases were influenced by coupons, promotions, or sales.
Everyone knows that a loyal customer is invaluable to a company’s bottom line. But how are you measuring loyalty? This piece in ClickZ looks at the important questions you should be able to answer about your loyalty program and most valuable customers.
FreeCause is in the middle of its company-wide initiative to teach all of its employees how to code in 2012. In this article in the Boston Business Journal, the project is reviewed, including the achievements we’ve reached so far.
Below are some interesting articles and news we came across this month relevant to the industry. We hope you enjoy!
The National Retail Federation announced it’s latest forecast for back-to-school shopping this year. The average family will spend $688.62 on supplies, clothes, and other school materials, up from $603.63 last year. Total spending for back-to-school season is expected to top $30.3 billion.
In this Chief Marketer article, the three ‘R’s of loyalty are examined – reward, recognition, and relevance, which is argued to be the most important at this stage of customer loyalty practices. Steps for improving current loyalty programs are also featured.
A negative customer experience can be ignored, or embraced with the hopes of turning it into a loyalty building opportunity. In this article in The Globe and Mail the author looks at steps a company can take to embrace a customer complaint and use it to gain customer appreciation and loyalty.
Lastly, our very own director of project management, George Ogata, wrote a piece for Computerworld on how companies can utilize the agile framework Scrum to avoid many of the project management problems that plague companies today.
Here are several interesting articles from the month for your enjoyment.
There were several studies that came out forecasting online spending – two of which intrigued us. This Internet Retailer article details back-to-school e-commerce – 46% of online shoppers plan to spend more this year. Another Internet Retailer article describes a recent study looking at global e-commerce over the next couple of years. Did you know that global e-commerce sales is expected to top $1.25 trillion by 2013 and the number of Internet users will increase to more than 3.5 billion?
We know that images add engagement and interest to content, and now we can quantify how much value they add? This infographic from Daily Infographic looks at the effect images have on e-commerce, searching, and social engagement.
You’ve heard of hotels rewarding loyal users with points, but what about getting a 2-hour salsa lesson, a steak dinner, or a ride in a fighter jet for your loyalty? This CNBC article looks at some of the more unique hotel loyalty programs and what your points can earn you.
Last Friday one of our team members attended TEDxBoston – a collection of radical ideas and passion for changing the way people live, learn, and work. We asked Tom Patterson, our Sales Associate, to recap his thoughts and impressions after attending the event.
Why were you interested in attending TEDxBoston?
As a long-time fan of TED Talks, this local free event sounded like a fun and interesting opportunity. Having watched many TED talks before, no matter who the speakers are, or what the topic is, I always find myself engaged and intrigued. Also, as a sales person who presents in front of audiences and prospective clients, being able to effectively and passionately present is obviously an extremely valuable skill set to possess. It’s inspiring to watch people who are so well spoken and entertaining and that is why I was excited to attend TEDxBoston.
What was your impression of event?
At other conferences I have attended everyone is very focused on the topic of the keynote speaker, but with TED the main draw is being able to listen to multiple topics across various industries. Attendees appeared to be very open minded and ready to be engaged. This was something that I really loved about the experience. The entire event was focused on Innovation, and I think that people get very excited and even emotional about that.
What speakers/sessions impressed you the most?
All of them were great! There were a few however that I was particularly impressed by.
- Andrew McAfee, is a principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business, MIT Sloan School of Management, and he gave a speech called Race Against the Machine. The speech covered how technology is replacing higher skilled jobs. I thought this was a great topic. It touched on the explosive growth in technology over the past decade and how it has affected the job market and economy. It had me thinking a lot about our own company and where advancements in our technology can be made to reduce the time and resources needed to launch a solution for a client.
- Laura Winig, executive director of Venturing Out, gave a fantastic speech titled From Offender to Entrepreneur. I LOVED this speech! 65% of released prisoners end up back in prison at some point, and the number one reason being the fact that they struggle to find a job due to a company’s’ unwillingness to hire a convicted felon. Winig took the idea of venture capital and applied it to the prison system. She started Venturing Out which educates and prepares inmates who are about to be released. She did this because she noticed that very few convicted felons could get legitimate jobs after they were released, but there were a number of them that were successful because they created their own jobs. By the end of this speech people were laughing, crying, and standing to applaud. I’m obsessed with venture capital so I found this incredibly amusing and relevant.
- Sam Liberty and Kevin Spak gave one of the most engaging and amusing speeches titled Tales from the Cardboard Fun Lab. Liberty and Spak created a board game and spoke about the process and venture. As odd as it may sound, I could easily relate this to FreeCause. We are still very much connected to our start up roots and I thought it was funny how many similarities there are between starting a company and a board game. Liberty and Spak were great public speakers and it made me realize that there truly is a lot to be learned from board games.
Anything else of interest? (Food, location, etc…)
The venue, while a lot smaller than I thought it was going to be, was sufficient and attendees were able to get pretty close to speakers. TED does a great job at making everyone feel comfortable – they provide popcorn, lemon aid and candy. The last speaker was Barbra Lynch, a renowned chef in Boston, who provided the entire audience with basil leaves and specialty tomato dishes. It, as well as the entire TEDxBoston experience, was a real treat!
Below are several interesting reads from the month for your enjoyment.
As you more than likely heard, our parent company, Rakuten, announced that it made a major investment in social bookmarking website Pinterest. Our CEO, Michael Jaconi, played an integral role in bringing this deal together and he spoke to both BostInno and Boston Business Journal about the deal, his role, and why the two companies were interested in working together.
Brands are trying to use innovative new ways to engage consumers and improve the brand-consumer experience. In this SmartMoney article, five growing perks to joining loyalty programs are identified and discussed, with examples of how major brands are instituting each perk to attract and retain loyal members.
Speaking of new and innovative ways to connect with consumers, this piece by GigaOM looks at how mobile payments are becoming increasingly prevalent on apps for loyalty programs and deal sites.
Lastly, this Marketing Chart article details a recent A.T. Kearney study which shows the rate at which global consumer spending is increasing this decade compared to previous ones. Spending is forecasted to increase 47% from 2010 to 2020 compared to only a 27% increase from 2000-2010 and 22% from 1990-2000.
Here are a few relevant loyalty industry reads for your enjoyment.
FreeCause has been making headlines with some recent exciting news and achievements. First, after reviewing our year-end data, we announced that we generated more than 1 billion rewards for consumers in 2011. That’s an impressive 36 points every second! Secondly, we are thrilled to announce the hiring of our new Chief Technology Officer, Antoine Hage, to the FreeCause team. Antoine brings a wealth of technical and leadership experience to FreeCause and will lead our engineering team as we create the next generation of rewards technology.
Imagine making a purchase with your bank debit card at a retailer, and when you later check your bank account activity you see the same retailer is offering you a discount on a future purchase. You do not have to enter a promo code or print out a coupon, your bank does it all for you. According to this TIME article, Bank of America is experimenting with a similar program now and may roll it out to their entire customer base soon.
The Super Bowl is almost here! While experts and analysts are crunching numbers trying to find who has the edge on the field, as this article in The Star-Ledger details, consumer marketers are doing their own number crunching as well. However, they’re focused on the teams’ fans instead of the players.