The ever-changing retail technology landscape keeps marketers on their toes, with little time to reflect. But with 2016 on the horizon, looking back can give important and telling indications for what’s to come for retailers in 2016. So even though it’s still October, we truly appreciate CIO.com taking the time to share their 7 Tech Lessons Retailers learned in 2015. Give it a read, and then check out the take-aways from 2015 to see how referrals fit in with the challenges facing retailers today, and tomorrow.
1. Sales associates need to be tech empowered
The personal connection and level of engagement that can come from a positive sales agent interaction results in the perfect time to ask for a referral. On top of that, referrals empower sales and customer agents by allowing them to promote and track their personal referrals through every consumer they engage with.
2. Omnichannel is not a choice
Marketers know that to stay competitive, their consumer experience has to bridge all devices and locations, online and off. And their referral program is no exception. In order to capture positive moments and drive acquisitions, advocates need to be able to easily share the program from their desktop, tablet, and mobile, and friends need to be able to convert just as easily.
3. Cyber-crime isn’t going anywhere
Fraud can infect every facet of retail. At Extole, we’re focused on giving retailers the security they need to auto-fulfill rewards, as well as auto-decline fraudulent activity. Because of this, retailers can see and control who is coming through the referral channel, and driving revenue for their brands.
4. Same-day fulfillment is mission-critical
People want their products, and they want them now! The same thing goes for referrals. When a friend converts, advocates who shared should be able to get their reward instantly. A referral program should be able to automatically fulfill rewards without sacrificing quality. It makes for more customers, an effective referral program, and happy marketers.
5. Personalization must be real-time
The retail marketing battle for the last 5 years has been personalization. Personalization now spans the entire consumer experience that includes emails, display ads, social, and stores. But even still, there’s nothing more personal than friend to friend communication. Smart marketers can utilize referral programs to leverage this intimacy into bringing more customers, and better customers, to their brands along the entire customer journey.
6. Stores need to reflect local preferences and products
If a company wants to be viral with a specific message in a specific market, they need their customers to spread the word. Marketers that have the ability to run referral programs targeted at different segments of their audience are able to do just that. With referrals, brands introducing new products, new promotions, and/or new locations can market through their customers, instead of just to them.
7. Testing, learning, and using data is a must
As for any acquisition channel, referral programs need to be tested, optimized, and customized for the best results. Testing is the best way to find out what works, and what doesn’t. Extole works closely with our customers to make sure their referral programs are firing on all cylinders.
The best part about yearly learnings in October? There’s still time to get your referral program up and running in 2015! Maybe CIO.com is on to something…