Building Brand Loyalty (Part 3)

The Secret Sauce

What brand loyalty comes down to is whether a brand can offer mutually beneficial interactions. 

Mutually beneficial interactions occur when both the business and customer share an experience that goes beyond the sale of a product or service. 

What does this look like? I’m glad you asked. 

We previously discussed how loyalty programs could offer mutually beneficial interactions, but it can also be applied in a broader sense of the business. 

This time, let’s consider a local wine distributor who is faced with the challenge of building brand loyalty. What are the incentives for a consumer to buy wine from this particular retailer, rather than the grocery store? The grocery store is convenient and offers comparable prices, so how do they win customer loyalty?

The answer, as you may have guessed, is through mutually beneficial interactions.

Employing a wine-pairing expert who can make personalized recommendations would be a great start for this wine retailer. They could even assist with menu planning. Taking it another step further, they may begin to host a series of wine tastings. 

With both of these suggestions, there is a mutually beneficial exchange between the customer and the company. Customers gain knowledge and practical advice about how to pair wine, and the retailer learns about customer preferences and information gaps that they can work to close.

When considering the interactions your business can offer, try to come up with original ideas that speak to the values of your brand. Distinctive interactions are more likely to stand out and create a stronger personal association between the experience and the brand.

Digital Experiences

Of course, since we are in a digital era, it’s also crucial to include a strategy for digital experiences.

A digital experience can be as simple as an expert-hosted live stream. Or, it could be as complex as a custom mobile application. In any case, convenience and quality should be a priority when designing any type of digital experience. 

Here are a few additional considerations that are important for digital experiences:

  • Personalization. How can you personalize the experience? By simply addressing a customer by their first name can help them feel more connected with the brand.
  • Customer Benefit. Don’t forget; the interaction needs to result in a mutually beneficial exchange. What is the customer getting and, more importantly, is it valuable?
  • Data Collection. A business will typically collect customer data as part of brand interactions. Consider the type of information that will help drive multiple business strategies for an even bigger impact.
  • Shareability. A digital experience can be much more fun when it’s shared with friends. Plus, it can promote engagement and result in more brand awareness. Now, with whom would you like to share your quiz results? 

Quality Content

If we’re talking about the secret sauce of brand loyalty (and we are), quality content is absolutely essential.

Generally speaking, customers don’t want to feel like they’re being sold something. Instead of approaching the customer like a hunter’s prey, lure them in like an expert fisherman. Customers want to know how a brand’s products or services can address a common problem they’re experiencing. Get them on the hook them by addressing their problem(s), then continue to reel them in with quality content.

For example, we can look at a brand campaign as a kind of hook; it’s appealing and draws people in. To continue reeling them in, consider writing blog posts, producing videos, or developing unique content that provides solutions in an altruistic way.

With this approach, consumers begin to trust that your business cares about their problems and wants to help (regardless of whether they buy anything from you or not). This may sound counter-intuitive, but it actually helps to draw people closer, where they can really see the value of your brand.

Customer Feedback

Do you know what customers are saying about your company? Because you can guarantee that online shoppers do.

Customer reviews are extremely important for eCommerce since shoppers aren’t able to hold the product in their hands or test it before they buy it. A good or bad review can mean the difference between someone buying your product or not.

The good news is that business owners can leverage positive customer reviews to boost confidence in online shoppers.

When potential customers see that others are satisfied with a product, a good review can serve as a measure of reassurance and confidence in the brand. If possible, engage with these customers by thanking them for their review or offering a discount on future purchases.

Additionally, if someone leaves a glowing review of your product or service, it’s worth reaching out to create a potential brand ambassador relationship. Consumers are keen on whether a review or sponsorship is merely transactional, so the more honest and authentic the review, the better it is for your brand.

As far as negative feedback, the best thing you can do is try to repair any lost trust by genuinely considering their feedback. For example, if a customer had a poor service experience, it’s often worth contacting the customer to smooth things over (and maybe get them to update their review). 

So, don’t be afraid of customer feedback, as it can offer valuable insight into what customers want from your brand. By addressing their feedback, whether positive or negative, it can help strengthen consumer trust and loyalty.

20 Apps for Peak Productivity in 2020

A new year offers a fresh start, with 365 opportunities that could change your life!

Whether you’re working on a New Year Resolution, or want to find ways to get more done, here is a list of apps that can help increase your productivity for 2020.

1. Slack (Communication)

Slack is a great way to stay connected with your team wherever you may be. Chat one-to-one or with your group, and create channels where you can have focused conversations.

2. Mindly (Mind Maps)

Track your creative ideas with Mindly, a tool for mind mapping. Formulate topics and subtopics effortlessly, then print or share from the app.

3. Trello (Team Management)

Trello visually organizes your projects, much like a whiteboard full of sticky notes does. You can create boards and add cards to help you keep track of what’s done, in progress, or to-do.

4. Spotify (Music)

Spotify makes the list because it’s no secret that listening to music can help increase productivity. Check out a pre-made playlist for productivity (or whatever mood you’re in), then get to work! 

5. Todoist (To-Do List)

Todoist helps you complete your to-do’s by synching tasks across platforms and devices. More than a to-do list, the Todoist app makes it easy to add tasks quickly, set reminders, and manage your days in a way that helps increase productivity.

6. Strides (Goal & Habit Tracker)

Strides allows you to track anything from habits to SMART goals, with helpful reminders to hold you accountable and charts to keep you motivated.

7. Pind (Task Manager)

With Pind, you can do much more than create to-do lists. You can set location-based task reminders, collaborate on shared tasks, and even get directions to help you plan and carry out your tasks more efficiently.

8. Otter (Voice to Text)

The Otter app allows you to record live audio, but it also lets you search, play, edit, organize, and share your conversations from any device. Use Otter for more efficient note-taking, whether it’s a lecture, business meeting, or organizing your thoughts.

 

9. Fabulous (Daily Motivation)

The Fabulous app aims to help users create a healthier, happier life by building on daily habits and routines. Create your own goals, stay motivated, and gain self-discipline with science-based sessions that can transform your life.

10. Flora (Team Focus)

The Flora app helps you (and your team) stay focused by planting ‘seeds’ that potentially flourish into healthy trees of progress. It’s simple. Plant a seed when it’s time to focus. Stay on task, and the seed will grow. But, should anyone use their phone, the tree dies.

11. Adobe Scan (Document Scanner)

The Adobe Scan app can turn anything — receipts, notes, documents, photos, business cards, whiteboards — into an Adobe PDF with the ability to reuse text that’s been scanned. Recycling content is easier than ever with Adobe Scan.

12. Fiverr (Freelance Work)

Need help with projects outside your wheelhouse? Use Fiverr to find someone to help! Fiverr is the largest marketplace for digital services, making it easy to commission the right person for the right job. Transparent pricing and helpful reviews are also a plus.

13. Toggl (Time Tracker)

Toggl is the time-tracking app that helps you see precisely how you’re spending your time and make improvements to boost productivity. It breaks down your hours by projects, clients, and tasks so that you can see what’s making you money and what’s holding you back. Plus, there are 100+ app integrations to help cut down on distractions. 

14. Acorns (Investments)

The Acorns app is a financial tool that invests small amounts of money, turning it into big savings. You can still control how much you contribute while acorns makes data-driven decisions that help you invest in a way that saves you time and makes you money.

15. Mindvalley (Personal Growth)

The Mindvalley app is for personal growth and development, helping you reach a better state of mind to accomplish everything you want to do. Mindvalley lets you access video-audio trainings and exercises led by world-class best-selling authors, experts & coaches who will coach you through your goals. 

16. Grammarly Keyboard (Writing)

Grammarly is the perfect app to help you eliminate writing errors and communicate effectively with others. Unlike spellcheck, Grammarly offers suggestions on style and tone, and works with Gmail, Twitter, LinkedIn, and nearly everywhere else you find yourself writing.

17. Robokiller (Call Blocker)

Is your phone constantly ringing with calls from robocalls and spammers? Then it’s time to get Robokiller, the app that will save you time and frustration by blocking these unwanted calls, even if they use different numbers. In fact, Robokiller claims a 90% reduction in spam calls within 30 days.

18. TimeTree (Shared Calendar)

Time Tree serves as your living room calendar, work calendar, and social calendar, all in the palm of your hand. Use the Time Tree app to maintain a productive schedule in a space where you can share and communicate with everyone in your life. 

19. Asana (Project Management)

Asana is a project management app that visually organizes your work. Simplify workflows, reduce errors, and see how busy team members are across projects—all in one view. If you have more to do this year, using Asana can help increase your team’s efficiency by 45%.

20. Evernote (Note Taker)

Evernote is a single place for your notes, ideas, lists, and reminders. You can scan webpage content, share information, and even search your notes by voice command. Bring your team’s ideas together and receive reminders about deadlines to stay on track.

Kubernetes as the future of infrastructure

Container organization allows developers to package applications to be deployed more easily and quickly. Containers are enveloping the world of software development for companies of all sizes, from small startups to Fortune 100 companies. The momentum behind Kubernetes, as the future of infrastructure, will not be slowing down any time soon.

What is Kubernetes?

Kubernetes is a platform first developed by a team at Google. The goal of Kubernetes is to provide a container management system. Kubernetes has rapidly become the most popular among the engineers at Google, with many other companies actively contributing to the project. By leveraging Google’s extensive experience of running software on a large scale, Kubernetes can now help run software in a modern cloud environment.

How does Kubernetes work?

Let’s say an application environment is your lunchbox. The contents of the lunchbox are all made and assembled before you put them in, and changing one item in the lunchbox does not impact the other. Each piece is isolated in its own container. The Kubernetes system is like a lunchbox that allows for the expansion of certain contents (scaling), with the isolation of every unique item and the ability to remove any item without affecting any of the other contents (immutability).

Kubernetes eliminates many of the manual processes involved in deploying and scaling applications in containers.

Kubernetes is an open-source platform that automates container operations. With containerization as a trend that’s taking over the world, Kubernetes allows people to run all kinds of different applications in a variety of different environments. If you need to keep track of many different containers, schedule them, and orchestrate them, Kubernetes is your solution. 

Alexa, what do you see?

Computer Vision: The next step in artificial intelligence taking over your life

Computers have gotten a little more human-like than anyone is really comfortable with. Robots can open doors, perform surgery, and create literally invincible tic-tac-toe strategies. It’s a crazy world. But one thing computers can’t do? They can’t see you…yet. They actually can’t see anything or understand the context and content of visual things. Artificial intelligence is trying to change that, and it could help to bring in the future of eCommerce.

Turns out, seeing is actually really hard

Can computers see? Most have cameras, but it turns out the answer is a little more complicated than that. Computer vision is the process of giving computers AI algorithms to detect and classify objects more accurately and efficiently. One example of this already in practice is facial recognition. Don’t panic, but computers are probably already identifying your face all the time.

More practical applications of computer vision are the next step for artificial intelligence, and this will allow computers to see AND understand images and videos.  Computer vision has the potential to streamline processes within every department, from manually entering product codes or barcodes in a warehouse to reviewing eCommerce photos.

Computers with vision are probably smarter and faster than you

Computer vision is starting to play a big part in eCommerce. Think of a world where your customer could search for a product with an image of a similar product on your site. Your computer could scour the entire internet for your products and bring back pictures to use on your site.

Even better, computer vision has the potential to take over retail with facial recognition, cashierless stores, inventory visibility, and visual search. This tech has recently made a noticeable impact in these four vital areas. Walmart has already been using computer vision technology in more than 1,000 stores to monitor checkouts and deter potential theft. So maybe don’t steal from Walmart.

Basically, replace all your employees with computers

Computers with vision have the ability to solve tasks that can be time-consuming, from manually entering UPCs or barcodes in a warehouse to reviewing eCommerce environmental photos for specific products. Its expansive use of big data collection allows the software to grow smarter and faster in decision making.

Today, only 3% of retailers have computer vision technology in place, however, 40% plan to start or finish implementing the tech within the next two years. Computer vision is a possibility for any company looking to streamline processes that take a manual user time to visually review and conduct an outcome.

PeakActivity is a leader in creating future-proof eCommerce. If you think your computers need a little bit of vision to drive your company forward, we can help you out with that. Visit our website for more information.

Are you guilty of bombarding your loyal customers with endless spam emails?

Tips for starting and maintaining an email marketing campaign

With all the talk about online, social and mobile marketing, it can seem like email has been reduced to poorly spelled e-mails promising to cure wrinkles and banish fat or requesting millions wired to offshore accounts (spoiler: don’t do it). But in fact, pretty much everyone still uses email, and email marketing is possibly the best marketing strategy to deepen your relationship with your customer and drive eCommerce revenue.

An email has a personal quality, which makes it a great way to connect with customers. With the newest eCommerce technology, you can even target potential customers who have browsed your site. A great email marketing campaign has become more important than ever to driving greater brand affinity and increases in sales.

Here are a few simple things that you can do to create and maintain an email marketing campaign that your customers with love.

1. Not everyone wants your emails, and that’s okay.

Having a giant email list might look great on paper, but bombarding thousands of people with unwanted emails is super annoying–probably not the best way to gain customers. Your email list should be a collection of email addresses gained by engaging with potential customers through lead-generating campaigns. Sometimes reducing your email list of customers who aren’t interested is one of the best things you can do to gain the support of your loyal customers. 

If you are looking to grow, offer in-store opt-ins and include social sharing buttons to increase the chance that visitors will subscribe. If you create multiple, targeted subscription types, you’ll increase the chance that visitors will subscribe to one of them.

2. Don’t send emails you wouldn’t want to receive

Make your email marketing campaign less spam-like by making sure that each email has a definite purpose. By creating a marketing email calendar, you plan and run a mix of content. 

Promotional emails can include any offers that your users might find beneficial. Email is a great opportunity to incentivize customers with promotions. If you can get them in the door, you can share what you have to offer, and what differentiates you from competitors.

Additionally, all of your blog posts, white papers, and anything else you have to offer can be shared via email. The content will change, but email gives you the flexibility to always be relevant and specific. By making a plan, you won’t accidentally send a ridiculous amount of emails to the same people, and each email can contain something your customers want to receive. \

3. Pretend you’re cool, and people might believe you 

Creating an online brand identity is key to a successful email campaign, as well as maintaining an online presence. Working with your client to understand their brand voice or style is an integral part of effectively speaking to the customer. Choose a tone that best fits your company’s style, whether it be playful or serious, and stay consistent throughout all of your marketing materials.

A brand identity is a way to communicate with the world, stand out from your competition, and create a brand experience that encourages people to engage with you. Build a brand identity that accurately conveys your essence and is flexible enough to evolve with you. If you stay consistent with your identity, you’ll probably convince the cool kids to open your emails too. 

4. Target your customer’s, tell them what they want. 

Yes, your devices are watching you, but it can be super helpful for marketing. With new technology for automated website behavior, you can gain new customers just by targeting people who have visited your site and displayed certain browsing habits. The list of ways to target customers is endless.

One great, not super creepy example is abandoned cart acquisition. Once a user has filled their cart, ensure that they complete their purchase by sending out reminder emails or emails with promotional offers about the items they showed interest in. You can also spread goodwill about your brand by focusing on customers who did make a purchase from you. Send them info about how to properly care for the items they bought.

Email has a long history of stability, and they even get delivered on Sundays. While the email space has evolved, email marketing is more relevant than ever. An email marketing campaign is a cost-effective solution that gives you the power to reach customers in a place most people visit every day — their inbox.

PeakActivity happens to be pretty great at creating email marketing campaigns for our customers. We’ve successfully implemented non-spamlike email campaigns for quite a few companies. One of our customers even saw 76.5% revenue growth by partnering with us. Visit our website for more information. 

User Experience Design (UX): Promoting Usability by Making the Complex Feel Simple

Reader Takeaways:

User Experience Design, commonly referred to as UX, is the process of designing intuitive systems built around the user’s needs. By simplifying the user experience of the operator, the system will allow for more efficient sales to drive increases in revenue.

  • By implementing solid UX strategies, enterprises can empathize with their users to find and solve their frustrations, creating a system that allows for intuitive usability.
  • UX has the goal is to build a system so intuitive to the user that training for use would be unnecessary.
  • By collecting feedback data on the pain points from both users and management, UX can easily incorporate both the user’s needs and the company goals.
  • Using initial customer data, stakeholder interviews, and business goals, UX can grow a product in phases, giving enterprises greater accountability while promoting growth.

 

Understanding how customer needs converge with business goals can carry substantial weight in the process of designing effective retail client platforms. User experience design, commonly referred to as UX, is the process that works to build eCommerce platforms intuitive processes in mind by using data to create a user experience that makes the complex feel simple.

 

By solving for complexity, UX design utilizes intuitive task performance to drive increases in revenue. Replacing less efficient operations with UX design allows introspective simplicity, giving enterprises greater accountability while promoting businesses’ growth. An easy to use eCommerce platform will allow for more efficient sales to drive increases in revenue.

 

Leveraging Empathy to Solve for Inefficiency

In terms of design, user experience is based on empathy. By implementing solid UX design strategies, enterprises can effectively improve how they are engaging with customers, driving their behavior toward revenue growth. User experience research is essentially feeling customers’ pain through feedback. By listening to your customers and finding pain points, you can evaluate how the business goals can converge with the needs of the user. If the user is easily able to complete retail purchases, your revenue increases instantly.

 

When creating a user experience analysis for a national retail chain, it is helpful to begin by gathering data from users through surveys, forums, and competitive analysis. The goals include learning the whole process by going to stores, speaking to associates and managers, and finding how the associates use their tools rather than trusting the way they should be used. In researching for the UX best practices empathize with users to guide the design process.

 

Bridging the Gap Between Job and Tool

After reviewing the user’s needs, a UX team will incorporate the enterprise goals for the design into their analysis. By evaluating everything the enterprise needs in the platform and leveraging all of the data that had been collected, the goal is to build a system so intuitive to the associated user that training for use would be unnecessary.

 

By incorporating both the user’s need to have an intuitive experience and the company goals of creating a high-performance application, UX teams can work to bridge the gap between management and users. While blending complicated internal reporting with the efficiency of maximum intuition, the UX design team can create a prototype built around the user experience with the goals of the company in mind.

 

Building the Future With Phases of Feedback

Using initial customer data, stakeholder interviews, and business goals, the best practice in UX design requires building the product in phases. Once an initial prototype is built, the system can utilize further user experience testing to quickly modify. With user feedback, the user experience team creates the modifications, ensuring many versions of the final product with a focus on maximum user benefit.

 

In the case of the national retail chain, PeakActivity used this type of user experience design research to move an outdated paper-based system into a user-centered prototype for a national retail chain. The prototype has been a great success in pilot stores, promoting positive user experiences and driving sales with increased efficiency.

 

While elevating the user experience, UX design can convert inefficient processes into revenue-building task performance. The UX design mindset works to better connect customer intentions and business growth through forward-thinking progression. Investing in UX is the next step in balancing goals with design. Don’t make assumptions about what your customers want; invest in UX to deliver balanced usability with proven results.