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Archive for November 10, 2014

Use Negative Feedback in Marketing Efforts


There are many benefits to collecting not so great company feedback, but there is one that might be overlooked by some.


I was watching TV the other night when I came across a commercial for eHarmony. It left me wondering if they are using this tactic, as the gentleman asks if the woman he is talking with if she is signed up with eHarmony, and she says she doesn’t have time to answer all of the screening questions. He quickly replies, “Do you want fast or forever?”


It got me thinking – I wonder if one of the trends they are seeing is that potential customers are saying that it is too time intensive to complete a profile, and this is what is keeping them from joining. The company could also potentially be utilizing social media monitoring to learn more about those using online dating sites, what they like and don’t like, and they have taken on what is perceived as a negative by potential customers and highlighted in their advertising, along with reasons why this makes them stronger than their competition.


I thought it was a great way to address features in their advertising. It got me thinking, and I tried to recollect other companies that may have done this. I will admit I’m not a commercial watcher (I tend to flip channels too much), but the only one that came to mind, though it was not quite as a success, was McDonald’s recent “ask us anything” campaign:



Unfortunately, this campaign was deemed “a little too late” for McDonald’s. They were under heavy scrutiny for a long period of time before this campaign was launched, and this campaign was criticized and was not as successful as the company had hoped.


The two examples illustrate a beneficial use of negative feedback or trends being used in advertising. If done at the right time (before there is a significant issue or viral publicity), and used effectively, taking what is perceived as a negative by potential customers and using it effectively in marketing campaigns can go a long way in marketing efforts. Done right, this is a great way to turn a stumbling block into a new customer.


Does Your Store Have Endless Aisles?




I bet you’ve read the subject line and your first thought is, “I wish!”


Retailers have had some challenges as technology and online retailers have created a more competitive space for all, including the brick and mortar retailers. Some have started to embrace the technology and keep shoppers in the stores by offering online ordering in store if you’re looking for something and can’t find it in the store.


This is a great start, but some retailers have taken it a step further. Pier 1 allows customers to order an item that they cannot find in the store and have it shipped to their home for free. This is great, but it involves an employee assisting with this task.


Kohl’s has taken it one step further and offers in store kiosks that allow customers to place online orders directly within the store. While this is a great method to use, according to this blog post, there are some challenges to it.


1. Providing enough kiosks to avoid waiting: according to the article above, Kohl’s offers limited kiosks, and there have been times when customers have had to wait to use them. As seen above, these kiosks are big and bulky, and according to the author, can be difficult to navigate, especially when entering personal information on the touch screen. These types of “custom built” kiosks share these difficulties.


2. Cost: the reason there may only be one or two strategically placed kiosks is due to cost. The custom built kiosks can be extremely costly, and because they are predesigned, they may be more difficult to keep updated. When problems happen, getting the kiosks repaired may be tricky. While retailers realize they are a much needed addition to their stores, there is a cost that may prohibit them from moving forward more aggressively.


So, what’s a retailer to do?


Start with the premise of providing “endless aisles” in a much more compact, cost efficient, robust manner. Turning to tablets and software to provide a seamless experience on a device that users are more comfortable with can be a game changer in retail stores.


Outside of providing endless aisles, strategic placement of interactive tablets can yield additional benefits:


1. Take out the middleman: Pier 1 (and other retailers) do offer the option to order online and have items shipped to your home. This involves interaction with an employee, and the right messaging in store to let customers know this is available. Unless a customer interacts with an employee and finds that this is an option, they may not know and leave the store empty handed. By offering interactive tablets in the aisles, customers can make purchases without needing additional employee assistance.


2. Go further than endless aisles: with the newer technology available for interactive tablets, retailers can do more than simply offer an online ordering system. For example, strategic placement near new items can encourage users to use the tablet to find the right product for their needs. If they want to learn more about a product, one tap of the tablet can show a quick advertisement or tutorial about the product, let the consumer read reviews, and more.


3. Grab data from customers in the moment of experience: while offering endless aisles, companies can make the most of their investment by asking a simple question or two while customers are shopping. This will not only give insight into the use of the interactive tablet, but you will learn more about your customers, especially those who are browsing and end up not making a purchase. This type of data is invaluable and increases the value of your endless aisles.


4. More cost efficient: because the interactive tablets are standard iPads enhanced with software, they are easily updated and managed, and the cost is less than a custom built device. Add to that the fact that the management of all tablets across locations can be done instantaneously, with little to no effort on the retailer’s part, and it’s easy to see why moving to interactive tablets is a great investment. With today’s technology, companies can also set up software to run different videos, products, or feedback type questions based on geography, department within the store, or any other criteria needed.


As competition continues to be more of a concern, and customers becoming even more demanding, endless aisles will become commonplace in the near future. Utilizing an interactive tablet can be efficient and cost effective, and bring continued foot traffic into the brick and mortar locations, giving the e-commerce industry a run for their money.