June 26, 2013
Jason Ginsburg, our Director of Interactive Branding, shows how social media marketing and recruiting can be simplified down to three basic questions.
Learn more at our popular blog post Social Media Marketing Simplified.
June 24, 2013
This blog recently celebrated its eighth birthday. That’s a lot of blog posts. I’d thought I’d go through the archives to find the most popular, shared, and retweeted articles.
The winners include two Social Media Superstars, one Social Media PR Disaster, basic principles for good social media marketing, and important employer branding statistics to share with your CEO.
The Top 5 BrandeBlog posts are:
Why Zappos is a Social Media Superstar
Our most popular blog post, here’s a look at how Zappos is using YouTube and Pinterest to revolutionize customer service.
Social Media Marketing Simplified
Ever come out of a social media marketing planning session with your head spinning? This new frontier has created all kinds of vague buzzwords. Surely posting 140 characters isn’t as complicated as all those words imply? Don’t let the jargon throw you. Marketing, branding, and selling on social media boils down to three basic questions.
|Zappos and State Farm are social media champions
Four Things to Make Sure Your Boss Knows About Employer Branding
So you’re not Apple, Amazon, Deloitte, or Disney. Don’t despair. That doesn’t mean you can’t have an employer brand or employer value proposition of your own. Here are four things to tell your boss when you’re putting it into your annual budget.
Why State Farm is a Social Recruiting Superstar
After rebranding with its famous “Magic Jingle” commercials, State Farm Insurance has continued its transformation with a big push in social media and interactivity. Discover the three ways that State Farm engages job applicants like a superstar.
Social Media PR Disasters: #McDStories
They can’t all be superstars. This crisis illustrates that not even a corporate giant can control conversations on the internet. See how it all fell apart for a simple McDonald’s hashtag.
Want to learn more about social recruiting, social media marketing, or employer branding? Contact me or visit brandemix.com.
June 19, 2013
Director of Interactive Branding Jason Ginsburg explains why a strong employer brand is critical to an organization’s success.
June 6, 2013
Jason Ginsburg, Director of Interactive Branding at Brandemix, explains how retailers can combine the best elements of online and in-store shopping for a great customer experience.
June 3, 2013
The great overlap has started.
In the last few months, the worlds have physical shopping and online shopping have collided. Walmart, the country’s biggest retailer, has increased its massive e-commerce effort, using its thousands of US locations as distribution points for same-day delivery. At the same time, Amazon, the country’s biggest online retailer, now ships items to “lockers,” physical kiosks which can be accessed at any time. With Amazon Lockers, Brand Channel has declared “Amazon’s strategy to distribute its products through traditional retail outlets is already underway.”
These retail giants are reacting to customer behavior. They know that customers want an online experience that’s connected to the in-store experience. So how can this strategy be implemented by specialty retailers? Here are some easy steps to get the best of both worlds.
Bringing Online Information to the Store
Price is not the only factor driving customers to online shopping. “Customers demand quick and easy access to relevant product information,” says Mark Brixton in Australia’s Power Retail blog. With turnover in the retail industry higher than ever, and employers unable to fully train their staff, many customers find that sales associates can’t help them make informed decisions about products.
The solution? Make your associates (and managers!) as knowledgeable as possible – even if it means “cheating.” At Best Buy, I once inquired about a camera, and the associate simply pulled out an iPad and looked at the Best Buy website with me, showing all the good reviews. It certainly was better than being told “I don’t know,” which makes me leave the store to find more information.
Another online feature that’s very effective is the recommendation engine: “People who bought X also bought Y.” Store associates can make those suggestions, of course, but there’s another option: reconfiguring your store so that items that are often bought together are actually displayed together.
|Chico’s online recommendations
What about online customer recommendations? Brazilian clothier C&A has “special hooks on the racks in its bricks-and-mortar store” that display Facebook likes for each item of clothing in real time, “giving in-store shoppers a clear indication of each item’s online popularity.” That technology may be a ways off for most of us, but that doesn’t stop you from putting a sign on an item that says, “Our most popular item on Facebook,” or “Our most pinned product on Pinterest.”
Bringing the Personal Store Experience Online
Jiadev Shergill, founder of Bundle.com, told a recent Internet Week New York panel, “Walking into a store and feeling the clothes, trying them on – this is a data point that you can’t get online.”
He recommends “product videos, multiple angles, more product measurement details, and real-world comparisons,” to simulate the in-store experience, making customers more comfortable with an item they can’t hold, use, or try on.
Many have us know at least one sales associate that has been helping us for years, who know lots of our personal details, and uses that information to help us shop. So why not ask for that information during online shopping? Asking for a birthday is expected, but you could also ask for more (optional) information, such as hobbies, favorite colors, or preferred brands. That allows you to offer exactly what the customer wants the next time they visit your online store.
This may seem obvious, but you should also make online returns as easy as in-store returns. Zappos led the way by making returns both free and hassle-free. Now many websites offer that service.
|Zappos provides a video explaining how to return items.
Linking the Two Experiences Together
One good strategy is to keep a customer database that can be accessed by both your online store and your physical store. So when an online customer finally walks into your store, all they have to do is give their name or email address and a sales associate can look at their purchase history, preferences, and recommendations.
To the customer, your online store isn’t some separate entity, so if they’ve bought from your website five times, why should they be treated like a stranger when they finally pay your physical store a visit?
Most importantly, this entire philosophy is dependent on employees to deliver your brand experience. Whether you’ve been in the same location for 50 years or are a new internet startup, your brand has value. And it’s your employees who have the greatest power to make or break it. They’re the ones who shift your message from a concept to an experience – positive or negative. So whichever strategy you implement, make sure your employees can define your brand. If they can’t define it, they can’t deliver it.
I hope these ideas have helped you look at online shopping and physical shopping as two sides of the same coin, with each complementing the other. And if you’d like to create an online store – or refresh an old one – my agency, Brandemix, is happy to help.