10 Steps to email marketing success for retailers

One of the most publicised, and indeed best, ways of reaching your customers and attracting new customers to your business is email marketing. We have all encountered a viral marketing campaign, and in many cases we have taken up a service or bought a product because of one. The fact is that email marketing works; but what factors should be taken into consideration when embarking on such a campaign?

Here are ten tips to make your email marketing campaign a massive success.

Make Subscribing Easy

This is a pretty straightforward reason to begin with. The easier you make it to subscribe to your email, the more subscribers you will get. Don’t make it obtuse or complex to subscribe to your email and you will benefit massively.

email marketing retailer

Be Informative

Tell your subscribers explicitly and simply what they can expect. Tell them whether you intend to send them updates regarding the company, special offers, or whatever you will populate your emails with. It’s vitally important to tell your readers what to expect and how often to expect it. Don’t soft soap them, or take advantage of them in any way. Be straightforward and transparent.

Make Customers Feel Welcome

Send all of your customers a welcome email. This reminds people that they’re on their list, and reassures them that singing up was a worthwhile act. You could even send new subscribers a special offer or exclusive content, in order to welcome them on board.

Be Aware of Branding

Branding is one of the biggest buzzwords in the world for a reason. It works. Your emails should not merely fit into the brand that your company is projecting, it should make a contribution towards building it. Make your emails match the colour scheme of your company, and ensure that the tone of the text is appropriate. If you don’t think you can write well enough to do this; hire someone.

Make your Emails Easy to Read Quickly

Make your emails easy to read via scanning. We’d all like to believe that information we produce and send out is of vital important to people, but of course the complete opposite is the case. You need to be able to grab people’s attention quickly with your emails, so break them up into manageable bite-sized pieces. Don’t send out emails that are one wall-like monologue of text. This will not go down well, it cannot be digested, and people will not take it in or give it their due attention. Use headlines to tease the email, and make the subject line to the point and clear as well. Optimise for Mobile, more than 60% of emails are read on a mobile device, ensure your mail can be easily read on a mobile device.

Send People Things That They Actually Want

This might seem straightforward, but…send people content that they actually want. This is probably the most important tip in all honesty, as people will not continue to read emails, look at them, or even remain a subscriber if they perceive that they are not getting anything out of it. One of the most basic facets of consumer psychology is to make people feel as if they are getting something for nothing, and this should be the absolute by-word of your approach to email marketing.

Maintain an Accurate Publishing Calendar

Keeping a publishing calendar will be extremely useful for you. Don’t underestimate the commitment required to produce a regular viral marketing campaign. If you send too many emails in too short a period of time then you will annoy your subscribers, but if you don’t send anything for months then you will be forgotten. Plan your time accordingly.

 Proofread and Edit Diligently

There is nothing that screams amateurism more than basic spelling and grammatical errors. Make sure your work is proofread diligently, ideally by someone else, and ideally by someone else with editing skills and a proven reputation. If you can’t acquire such a person, make sure you run it through a suitable word processor spellchecker.

Run Systematic Tests

Finally, test out whether your emails are working, and different approaches to the process, not to mention the visual appearance of your emails. Send test emails to colleagues, or use a testing program to make sure your emails are suitable. When you look at your test emails, consider what you’re trying to convey. Get the opinions of others, and encourage them to be constructive and objective.

If you take on board these ten tips then you have every chance of crafting a successful email marketing campaign that will bring value to your business.

Start a Customer Loyalty Program – That adds value

In the competitive world of e-commerce, businesses are always looking for the latest innovation or gimmick that can give them the edge over their competitors. Some such approaches can be something of a dead end, but one tried and tested scheme which has added value to many websites and businesses across the planet, is the customer loyalty scheme.

A well executed customer loyalty program can not only incentivise your existing customers to generate more business for your site, but also entice new blood to your site as well. On the other hand, a poorly conceived program can simply cost your business money. So what are the key elements to ensuring that a customer loyalty program is successful and adds value to your business?

Here are five elements of a customer loyalty program that you may particularly wish to consider before setting one up.

kounta, collect rewards

Kounta Point of Sale offers a fantastic integration with Collect rewards, enabling you to reward loyal customers at the point of sale

Small Business Opportunity

The first thing to note is that many owners of small or even medium-sized enterprises fallaciously believe that offering a customer loyalty program would be disadvantageous to them. In reality, Forbes magazine has argued that offering a customer loyalty scheme is one of the best ways for a small business to differentiate itself from competitors.

Exploit Consumer Psychology

If anyone doubts that businesses can take advantage of basic consumer psychology, ask yourself this simple question. Why does every single retailer in the world sell its products for some variation of 95 or 99 cents? $4.99 just psychologically feels less than $5.00, even though in practical terms the distinction is almost completely meaningless. Similarly, a customer loyalty program can take advantage of human nature by making customers feel that they are closer to their goal than they actually are. This can be achieved, for example, by stating that customers will receive two of the ten points that they require to receive a free reward just by joining the scheme. This will actually work far better than merely stating that they need to collect eight points; people try harder to achieve a goal when they perceive that they are closer to achieving it. Artificial progress actually works nearly as well as real progress. Another important element of building a successful customer loyalty program is to actually make the customer feel that their loyalty is being rewarded. Loyalty works both ways; of course, a business hopes to retain the loyalty of the customer moving forward, but this will be far easier if they feel that the business has been genuinely loyal towards them.

There are several key components to building this loyalty, and in many ways they resemble the qualities of loyalty involved in healthy human relationships. Trust and transparency are particularly important, thus a business should strive diligently to ensure that the customer loyalty program is both straightforward and delivers exactly what it purports to do. The last particularly powerful element which will help customer relationships is the element of surprise. Everyone likes nice surprises, and occasionally offering the customer something valuable that they weren’t expecting (regardless of whether it is actually anything out of the ordinary) will always be perceived positively. If you can tie this to a celebration which also elicits positive feelings such as a birthday or Christmas then you can reap further Pavlovian benefits from this.

Rewarding the Right Behaviour and Targeted Marketing

One should never view a customer loyalty scheme as a way to compensate for a poor bottom line, or a way to resurrect an ailing business. They are a useful supplementary tool for an already successful and fundamentally sound business. But a customer loyalty program can enable a business to engage in targeted marketing based on the data gleaned from it. This is extremely important, as successfully offering customers something that they actually want that they didn’t know existed will make them value the program and your business.

Additionally, it is possible to reward what your business views as ideal customer behaviour by aligning your loyalty program with such behaviour. This enables you to ‘select’ ideal customers, and hopefully to influence non-ideal customers’ behaviour favourably. There is a great deal to be gained by running a customer loyalty program, and it is not something that should be dismissed lightly, and certainly not without investigating the prospect first.

Introducing Kounta Insights

Today we launch Kounta Insights, an advanced analytics platform that gives users the ability to dive deeper into the valuable data collected from their store’s Point of Sale and make smarter use of Big Data.

Kounta Insights is a custom-built platform that handles complex metrics and generates comparative data about products, customers and staff to empower key decision makers within the business, in real-time.

Designed specifically for emerging brands, high-volume outlets, franchises and multi store operations, Kounta Insights can collect, store and process an unlimited amount of data from the Point of Sale.

Kounta

Furthermore, the high-speed, fully scalable and customisable platform provides permission driven user access to unlimited data volumes and customisable reports, especially useful for franchise groups.

With Kounta Insights, businesses can use the data for:

  • Product Management – monitor the success of new product offerings and compare with previous figures to view real growth and manage cannibalisation.
  • Customer Interaction – identify customer behaviour by data trends using store and product level sales analytics.
  • Staff Performance – use track staff POS activity for better performance reviews and management.
  • Periodic Sales – filter and compare data, using time and date based parameters to understand and identify seasonal business opportunities.

“Kounta Insights will allow businesses to make smarter use of the wealth of data that’s already being captured by their POS system. Ultimately, it comes down to how a business uses that data to deliver a better product and service to stay ahead of the curve.”

We will begin the roll out of Insights (currenly in Beta) in July and plan to have Inisghts availble to all customers by August.

Starting today, you can take Insights for a spin by contacting us for a free trial

Kounta Insights is another unique offering from the Sydney based Point of Sale company. Kounta’s powerful and secure Cloud service allows businesses to access their data and manage their stores from anywhere in the world.

For more information on Kounta Insights, visit: http://kounta.com/insights

Choosing the right POS System – 8 Factors to consider

Choosing the right Point of Sale (POS) system for your business can be something of a minefield. With many competing products in the marketplace, selecting the POS solution that is right for your business can be an involved undertaking. So here are eight factors that you should take into consideration when selecting the ideal POS system for your enterprise.

Budget

The costs of POS systems vary significantly, particularly with regard to what sort of customer the company envisages selling to. Some POS solutions involve upfront costs, while others will require a monthly payment from the vendor. When budgeting for the ideal POS system, it is wise to consider how much you will spend on the solution, but also how much money your POS system could save and / or make your business.

Platform Flexibility

It’s not ideal to sign up for a fancy new POS system, and then find out that it can’t accommodate a certain proportion of your customers. Unquestionably, flexibility in terms of the number of payment options and platforms that a POS system is compatible with is absolutely essential; any failings in this department will simply translate to money down the drain. With its vast array of mobile device options, the POS system offered by Kounta scores well in this department.

Required Hardware

Different POS systems have conflicting hardware requirements, and again you don’t want to be caught short in this area. Having to shell out on expensive new hardware would obviously have to be factored into any fiscal calculations that are made. Thus, systems that will run off an iPad or laptop could be particularly beneficial for a small business.

Ease of Use v Feature Set

The ideal POS system would be, of course, packed with functionality, while being extremely easy to use and set-up. Unfortunately, we don’t necessarily live in the ideal world, so you will need to weigh ease of use against the features set within a POS system. You might want to consider such issues as ongoing training and initial outlay, but generally speaking complex orders will necessitates a highly functional POS solution, regardless of cost.

Growing with your Business

choosing the right POS

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Selecting a POS system that does the job required at the outset and which is cost effective would seem to be a no-brainer for small businesses. But this is no use to you should it become obsolete a few months down the line. The best POS system are scalable, enabling customers to buy what they require as they need it, and sign up for new features as the growth of their business necessitates it.

Transparent Pricing

Traditionally, POS systems have been rather expensive, but contemporary solutions offer pricing structures that can suit smaller budget. However, it is imperative to ensure that there are no hidden expenses in any POS solution that you sign up to. The most reputable provider will have a completely transparent pricing model.

Security

Naturally, with any payment-related system security is of critical importance. Customers will not even consider using Point of Sale Software which doesn’t guarantee their safety and privacy at all times, and any bad publicity in this area will definitely be hard to overcome. With high-profile hacking incidents having made the press, and recent revelations about the NSA and other government programs, people are seeking peace of mind in this area more than ever before.

Thus, sophisticated encryption and the non-storage of credit card information are an absolute must. It is also extremely worthwhile to consider a cloud-based POS system, as this will be more less open to being compromised.

Detailed Reporting

Lastly, if you’re going to get everything possible out of your POS system then it should feature a robust reporting system. This will help you analyse how successful the POS system has been within your business, and help you identify ideal customers and demographics related to them.

A POS system that can track sales by department, item, and hour will be extremely useful, enabling you to organise your business more efficiently, as well as gathering vital information on which of your product lines are successful. Detailed reporting will help with sales, accounts and business plans, and should be considered an essential feature of any POS system.

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