Annex Cloud Featured at SAP Customer Experience LIVE

by Sean Ogino |

Annex Cloud Featured at SAP Customer Experience LIVE

SAP Customer Experience

Next week Annex Cloud, an SAP-preferred vendor and leader in customer loyalty solutions, will be featured at this year’s SAP Customer Experience LIVE Conference in Orlando May 6-8. Leaders in the retail space gather from around the globe to discuss storytelling and the importance of positive brand experiences. Annex Cloud’s Chief Strategist Al Lalani will be … Read more

5 Secrets to Airbnb’s Marketing Success

Airbnb marketing

According to Morgan Stanley, Airbnb will account for 6% of the total lodging industry by 2020. With Airbnb’s unique peer-to-peer model of local hosts offering their homes up, they are dominating the travel industry. Travelers looking for an authentic stay in a new location are flocking to Airbnb. They’ve immediately created a loyal customer base … Read more

Which Famous Marketer Are You? A Personality Quiz

Which Marketer Are You?

Which Famous Marketer Are You? Have you ever watched Mad Men and just been in awe by how suave Don Draper is? Or watch Shark Tank and think how cool it would be one of these gurus? Well maybe you have more in common with these famous marketers than you think. We thought it would be … Read more

Creating Your Full-Funnel Facebook Ad Strategy

Facebook Ad Strategy

To create a full-funnel ad strategy on Facebook, not only must you have a great funnel, but your landing pages need to be on point as well. You can write the best ad copy and target the right audiences, but if your landing pages are missing valuable information that the prospect needs to make their … Read more

Have You Planned Your 2019 Customer Loyalty Strategy Yet?

customer loyalty 2019

They say the sales results you see in Q4 come from the work you do in Q1. With the new year right around the corner, retailers everywhere are finalizing their strategy. Perhaps you’re considering a customer loyalty program or you have one but want to see more growth. Have you and your team implemented a … Read more

Partner Spotlight: Subscriptions 101 with ReCharge Payments

Partner Spotlight

You’ve probably seen subscriptions popping up left and right in ecommerce stores, maybe you’ve even thought about adding them to your own offerings? But as a store owner, does it make sense to incorporate subscriptions into your store? If only you had some data or figures that prove why it makes sense! Good news, you’re … Read more

7 Steps to Referral Marketing Success

referral marketing

In this age of information overload, 82% of customers are making purchase decisions based on recommendations from their friends and family. While brands and retailers have many different ways of earning these recommendations, many are finding the benefits of referral marketing by tapping into their customers’ networks. By offering customers incentives for referring your brand … Read more

Partner Spotlight: Strengthening Your Loyalty Program with Email Personalization

Annex Cloud & Maropost

Why Personalize? Personalization is far from a new trend in marketing, but there’s a big gap between what companies should be doing and what they are doing. Most companies know personalization is a powerful way to connect with customers—both to bolster brand loyalty and drive purchases—but many aren’t quite sure how to go about introducing … Read more

Let’s Talk: Leveraging User Generated Content

User generated content

  We’re really excited to bring back our “Let’s Talk” segment, where experts in marketing and loyalty come to discuss industry trends. This week, our Chief Strategist Al Lalani discusses best practices in user generated content. What are some practical strategies for optimizing your UGC? What do trends in peer recognition tell us? With 47% … Read more

White Paper: How to Surprise & Delight Your Customers with Loyalty

surprise & delight customer loyalty

Every retail and ecommerce brand has asked themselves the same question at one point: How do we surprise and delight our customers? The answer isn’t a simple one, as consumers are becoming savvier about which marketing tactics are being used to pique their interest. In fact, economic trends show that overall consumer trust is declining among institutions … Read more

Ask an Expert: MacKenzie-Childs’ CMO Speaks Customer Loyalty

mackenzie-childs marketing

Welcome to our new segment, Ask an Expert! With this series, Annex Cloud interviews some prominent figures in ecommerce and retail to gain insight on industry trends. This week, we interviewed Larry Shaw, Chief Marketing Officer of MacKenzie-Childs. Since 1983, MacKenzie-Childs has designed home decor and artisan furnishings in their quaint farmhouse in Aurora, NY. Every teapot is hand-painted and each clay cookie jar is carefully molded. We worked with Larry on building their trulyMC customer loyalty program, and this is what he had to say:

What is the single greatest inspiration behind the trulyMC loyalty program?

Every year we have a live barn sale where over 25,000 of our most devoted customers visit our farm in Aurora. These people have so much passion for what we do so we wanted to take that experience and apply it on a grander scale. By implementing trulyMC, we were able to begin building and shaping that community.

Larry has over 25 years of retail experience and has implemented many creative initiatives since joining the MacKenzie-Childs team as CMO in 2016. Their branding is built on the quality and craftsmanship of the pieces they sell. They built a powerful marketing strategy behind their products with three retail stores, an ecommerce site, and a strong social media presence. However, adding a tiered customer loyalty program has been a total game changer for them.

What effect has loyalty had on your customer retention efforts?

After only eight months of implementing our omni-channel loyalty program with referral marketing, we’re already seeing a 9-10% increase in our customer retention rate. To see those numbers so quickly has been remarkable for us.

In addition to the increase in retention rate, they also saw major increases in average order value, new content subscribers, and purchase frequency. So much so that we decided to co-author the MacKenzie-Childs Loyalty Case Study with them, which dives into how we built the program and why we saw so much success.

mackenzie-childs trulymc loyalty programHow do you think Annex Cloud has helped you reach your goals?

Annex Cloud has been willing to customize their platform and processes to accommodate our specific program needs. It being a tiered customer loyalty program, we knew it would require some customized features. But instead of seeing it as a negative, Annex Cloud saw it as good challenge.

To dive more into how we helped MacKenzie-Childs build more loyalty with their customers, check out our case study! Annex Cloud’s unified platform with customer loyalty, user-generated content, and referral marketing functionality allows brands to customize their programs to their unique specifications. To learn how Annex Cloud can help you with your customer loyalty needs, contact us for a free consultation!

 

Partner Spotlight: Why Email Marketing Should Be at the Heart of Your Customer Loyalty Strategy

Annex Cloud & Maropost

In the past few years, customer retention has come to attract quite a bit of attention. And while retention may not be as sexy as acquisition, the ROI is far more appealing. By the Harvard Business Review’s account, it costs between 5 and 25 times more to acquire a new customer than to keep a current … Read more

The “Makeup” of Sephora’s Marketing Strategy

Sephora's Marketing Strategy

It’s no mystery that Sephora has seen major wins in the beauty industry. Since 1969, this cosmetics brand has sold millions of units in retail stores worldwide and continues to thrive today. But what is it about Sephora’s marketing strategy that sets them apart from similar companies like Ulta and Glossier? What is it about them that other brands just can’t keep up with? The short answer is loyalty. More specifically,  how they use personalized loyalty to build a community of beauty advocates.

Unique Customer Loyalty Structure

What differentiates Sephora’s marketing strategy is its approach to rewards. Though they do have a points-for-purchase model, there is so much more that goes into it. For example, in their rewards bazaar, they have new incentives every Tuesday and Thursday and customers can browse a massive gallery of available products. And their unique collection offers limited edition and exclusive product releases solely for its rewards members. With more perks like free makeovers and complimentary birthday samples, it’s easy to see why so many beauty enthusiasts rave about Sephora.

Sephora's Marketing StrategyTo get a better understanding of why people are so loyal to the brand, I asked long-time customer and beauty enthusiast Erin Duff her thoughts on Sephora. “I’ve been a Sephora member for over 11 years and it’s because they have such high quality products from so many different brands. I love that you have the option to spend a few rewards points for a sample of something or save up and get big like a custom makeover.”

User Generated Content

Sephora has set the standard as far as what cosmetic brands should be doing with their user generated content. Take the Insider Beauty Community, for example. It consists of forums surrounding beauty tips, live chats with influencers, and stunning photo galleries. But what I think they do really well in UGC is visual commerce. With many gated channels like Makeup is Life and Best Hair Ever, users are able to post and see pictures to help them guide their purchase decisions. All of this has helped grow Sephora grow and sustain a massive presence with over 15 million subscribers on their website and social media.

Omni-Channel Loyalty

Whether it’s online sales, in-store, or at events, Sephora uses creative ways to retain its customers among all channels. They do a great job of advertising their loyalty program to their network and it’s evident by their impressive online sales and growing list of retail locations. Their unique spin on omni-channel is the work they do with live events. They are constantly advertising beauty classes, makeover events, and of course their epic annual conference Sephoria.

Sephora's Marketing StrategySephoria is a one-of-a-kind live forum where influencers, patrons, and celebrities all collaborate and discuss what’s happening in beauty. Their events and creative marketing strategies help reach a more engaged community and turn Sephora’s avid followers into brand advocates. “By fostering personal connections and generating brand love over the years, it’s only natural that we leverage their input and further strengthen our program beyond just perks and discounts,” says Deborah Yeh, senior vice president of marketing and brand at Sephora.

Sephora’s network is continuing to grow and there’s a reason for that. They have implemented many of the right marketing and loyalty strategies to not only grow their customer base, but to retain it as well. Annex Cloud believes that the right combination of customer loyalty, user-generated content, and omni-channel strategies are the keys to retention. We work with many similar beauty and fashion brands and use loyalty to help them nurture and build real relationships with their customers. If you have any questions about marketing or loyalty, contact us or schedule a consultation today!

Case Study: How to Build a Successful B2B Loyalty Program

B2B Loyalty Case Study

B2B Loyalty Overview:

It is very true that there is no one-size-fits-all loyalty program. Especially not in the business-to-business industry. The B2B space is such a specific market with a narrower audience, so it must be treated as such. That means audience segmentation and personalized incentives are that much more important. This study will review how Annex Cloud helped two industry-leading companies build out their B2B loyalty programs and what impact it had on those brands.

Goals of B2B Loyalty:

Though the strategies may differ, there are several common goals of a B2B loyalty programs. These businesses both needed to increase customer spend and increase customer lifetime value. This can be challenging in B2B because the market is not only competitive but niche as well. They wanted to build brand advocacy and basically create a community of ambassadors. They also needed to reduce discounts on items. We live in an economy so deeply entrenched by discounting that retailers and B2B companies alike have the challenge of migrating away from it as to maximize product return.

Our Solution:

Every loyalty solution has its challenges but B2B requires another level of personalization. Both of these companies opted for Annex Cloud not only because we have a unified marketing platform with customer loyalty, user-generated content, and referral marketing capability, but also because we work with businesses to create a custom implementation strategy.

Annex Cloud also helps companies nurture their relationships with existing customers through personalized incentives, which in turn increases customer spend and average customer lifetime value. These incentives inspire customers to become brand advocates where they’re more likely to take actions like referring a friend or reviewing an item. It’s about following the customer journey from beginning to end and building a true community around their B2B brand.

B2B Rewards:

The key to rewarding in the business-to-business space is allowing your customers to sample your products risk-free. If you offer an impressive product catalog with a great loyalty offering, they are more likely to purchase. It’s a low risk scenario if built surrounding high-margin products. This B2B model implemented by Annex Cloud has proven to help support sales and drive revenue.

Consumer Electronics

Client A: Consumer Electronics

Objective:

Our client, a leading consumer electronics company, built a very successful model around selling office electronics like computers, monitors, copiers, and printers to small businesses around the world. They wanted to implement a B2B loyalty program that would sign up more users and build a community of brand advocates.

They had so many questions about best practices for strategy and segmentation. How do we best incentivize with the B2B model? How do we grow our customer base while creating meaningful relationships with our existing customer base? They chose Annex Cloud for its experience in creating very personalized incentives specific to the B2B industry.

Results:

Soon after launch, we saw major wins for the program. By designing a solution specific to our client’s B2B sales goals, we positioned them as a leader in SMB loyalty. Since initiating this campaign, we have already signed up over 100,000 businesses for the program. We also saw a 7% increase in repeat purchase rate and a 9% increase in customer lifetime value. However, probably the largest takeaway from the program has been building a community of 10,000 brand advocates. By building a custom solution with Annex Cloud and by leveraging their user-generated content, our client is seeing a huge increase in partnering businesses and overall brand awareness.

b2b loyalty

Client B: Physician Loyalty

Objective:

Our other client is a large specialty healthcare company with an array of products like over-the-counter and prescription pharmaceuticals. Their primary objective was to build a loyalty program targeting physicians, which of course brought a lot of challenges. How do we keep a physician’s attention when there’s so much competition in healthcare? How do we reduce discounting and still keep them engaged? Luckily, Annex Cloud specializes in using long-term incentives to keep attention and to help reduce discounting.

Results:

By implementing a tiered program where discounts depend on the physicians’ spend, we have been able to see major benchmarks in performance. We have now signed up 70% of our client’s current customer base since the launch of the campaign. We also saw a 6% increase in customer spend and an 8% increase in customer lifetime value. But what we’re most impressed by is the 25% decrease in discounting. For a healthcare company of that scale, to reduce discounts by a quarter is a huge plus. By working with Annex Cloud to award returning customers and by personalizing incentives, our client was able to surpass its goals in customer acquisition and discounts.

To learn more about how Annex Cloud can help your business grow, contact us or schedule a demo today.

Why Your Ecommerce Sales Strategy is Incomplete Without a Customer Loyalty Solution

Customer Loyalty

Once upon a time, an ecommerce company could get away with just a simple website that sold products. Then one day the industry progressed to the point that we all needed to incorporate an email service provider. And now, we have Amazon, Walmart.com, and the other retail powerhouses creating new standards for ecommerce fulfillment, price, and service. According to TechCrunch, Amazon accounts for 49% of all ecommerce sales. The closest competitor is eBay with 5% of total ecommerce transactions. This chaotic battle for market share has forced other retailers to get creative with how they use customer loyalty to incentivize their customers.

Ecommerce SalesThe Amazon Effect:

In 2017, Amazon saw $177 billion in sales revenue. This year, they’re projected to clear $258 billion. Features like Q&A, item comparison, and peer reviews have forced smaller retailers to get creative with their own user experience.

They also built one of the most unique customer loyalty programs in retail history. With its innovative paid loyalty model, Amazon Prime has changed the way millions of us shop each year. It’s also very diverse in scope, as Prime subscription benefits can range from free two-day shipping to streaming thousands of movies. And now that Amazon has acquired Whole Foods, it’s become that much more convenient for the customer. And to think it all started with books…

The Issues:

With the dominance of the third party aggregators like Amazon, Google Shop, and Walmart.com, it’s becoming harder and harder to keep a consumer’s attention. So many factors come into play on why this is such a problem.

Distractions:

When your products are being advertised on third party sites, they’re being compared apples-to-apples against hundreds of similar products. Google Shop’s comparison tool places the most relevant goods with the best price right next to your products. Not only that, but customers are channel-hopping across various ecommerce sites, social media, and other sources to get as much information as possible about your product. According to a study done by CommerceHub, 86% of purchasers change channels when buying online. So if your reviews, Q&A, and product descriptions don’t check out, your potential customer has a lot of other options to choose from.

Trust:

customer loyaltyThe cost of acquisition is currently higher than the cost of inflation, a detrimental stat for marketers and ecommerce professionals. This is attributed to lack of trust in retailers and institutions in general. “The trust that consumers have in brands is going down tremendously,” stated Al Lalani, Chief Strategist of Annex Cloud. “Customers are researching more and looking for peer reviews across many channels, thus increasing the acquisition cost of that customer.”

The Solutions:

Though there is no one simple solution to this problem, there are a few strategies that can help your brand better position itself against the competition.

Omni-channel:

It’s so vital for a brand to have a strong presence across all industry-related platforms. That includes a great ecommerce store, third party aggregators, mobile devices, and social media. Once a customer is acquired through a good omni-channel campaign, it’s important to incentivize them to return for future purchases. This is done with omni-channel loyalty. Say you’re a shoe manufacturer and a customer just purchased your shoes on Amazon. Because advertising on Amazon means more cost to you and more distraction to your customer, it’s in your best interest to convince the customer to purchase from you directly in the future. This can be done by incentivizing the consumer with offers like $10 off their next shoe purchase or offering free socks with each purchase.

Retention Through Customer Loyalty:

No matter how you acquire a customer, it’s important to make them want to buy from you again. The cost of acquiring a customer is greater than the cost of retaining a customer, so incentivizing right after the initial point of purchase is your best chance of nurturing that relationship. According to Ciceron, a satisfied customer will contribute on average 14x more revenue to a business compared to a dissatisfied customer. It’s about not only rewarding after a purchase, but incentivizing them when they take actions like posting photos with your products. It’s about breaking out of the points-for-purchase model and building a real community around your brand. When you cater to your customers, they gain a sense of inclusion and are more likely to purchase in the future.

Annex Cloud helps bridge the gap between retailer and consumer. By working with the retailer and creating a custom loyalty solution, we generally see an increased average order value and decreased cost of retention. The old days of getting by on an ecommerce site alone are behind us. It’s an absolute necessity for retailers to incentivize their customers with customer loyalty. If you either don’t have a loyalty program or you just want to get more out of your program, contact us and we’ll be sure to help you out!

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