Nudge at NRF Retail Converge

Nudge at NRF Retail Converge

This week, Nudge will be going deep into the world of retail at NRF Retail Converge! This week-long event takes a multi-disciplinary approach to retail, covering everything from customer experience to supply chain logistics. The schedule is jam-packed with keynotes, speaker sessions, and a marketplace where Nudge is chatting with thousands of retail leaders about how employee communication drives sales, CX, retention, and much more. 

Visit Nudge’s marketplace booth today!

Nudge at The Millennium Alliance’s Transformational Retail and CMO Virtual Assemblies

Nudge at The Millennium Alliance’s Transformational Retail and CMO Virtual Assemblies

This week, Nudge is exploring the trends and challenges facing the retail and marketing worlds at The Millennium Alliance’s Transformational Retail Virtual Assembly. This two-day invite-only event brings together retail leaders from across North America to talk about the changing world of retail as we begin to navigate a post-pandemic reality. Nudge is also at the Transformational CMO Virtual Assembly, where we’re talking to leaders about the technology and trends driving marketing teams this year.  

These are uncertain times. As we face changing consumer behavior, heightened experience expectations, and other challenges, it’s time to take a hard look at where these industries are headed – and, for Nudge, the role that employee experience and better communication plays in that exciting future. 

 

4 ways Nudge can boost your customer loyalty program

4 ways Nudge can boost your customer loyalty program

I love customer loyalty programs. They’re in my blood. Before I co-founded Nudge, I worked with Loyalty One to develop a new line of business for Air Miles; years before that I was a frontline associate myself, responsible for creating that meaningful customer experience and building customer loyalty. 

And so I saw first-hand how effective incentive and loyalty programs can be. After all, customer loyalty programs are a no-brainer for many retail, hospitality, and foodservice organizations looking to tap into the benefits of customer and guest loyalty. Whether you’re offering up rewards, special deals, or a sense of status, loyalty programs are a fantastic way to increase revenue and return customers. In fact, one recent study on loyalty programs found that 70% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand with a good loyalty program, and 77% say that loyalty programs make them more likely to continue doing business with brands. 

There’s an additional benefit to organizations that implement a customer loyalty program: data. Using a program to monitor guest or consumer habits means organizations can make personalized offerings and fine-tune the customer experience like never before. And customers are on board; the same study found that 87% of loyalty program members want their behavior monitored in order to receive personalized engagement.

But here’s the thing: as effective as customer loyalty programs can be, I know from experience how inconsistent the in-store execution of these programs can be. Without a way to engage with your entire workforce, there’s no way to fine-tune how everyone is talking about the program – and identify what tactics work the best for boosting the program company-wide. 

That’s why it’s so exciting to me when I can show organizations how Nudge can take their customer and guest loyalty programs to exciting new places. When you have a direct line of communication with your workforce, you can drive activation and adoption to the next level. 

Here are four ways Nudge can boost your loyalty program:

1. Nudge gives your team the loyalty program info they need

Boosting customer loyalty programs with NudgeWhen it comes to getting customers and guests to join and interact with a loyalty program, it’s so much more than a sign at checkout.

Your employees need to live and breathe your loyalty program; they need to know it inside and out. If your team doesn’t know how to talk about the program, if they don’t know how to sign people up, if they don’t know what offers are most enticing to what customers, you’ve lost out on an incredibly valuable opportunity to improve conversion and gain a loyal customer.

But it can be a challenge to share information across an organization – how do you ensure all your frontline employees are all getting the same information that will empower them to really sell your program? How do you find that tactical consistency that’s going to scale up sign-ups and activation?

The answer, of course, is Nudge. With our digital communication platform, it’s easy to disseminate information to your entire workforce by leveraging their favourite device: their phones.

With Nudge, core information about your loyalty program can be kept in a central communication hub, and bite-sized targeted communications will keep your team in-the-know about program details, updates, and more. You can even use knowledge quizzes and surveys to make sure everyone has the info they need to sell your program. 

2. Nudge keeps loyalty program initiatives top-of-mind

Whether you’re enticing sign-ups or boosting participation, incentives and initiatives are a crucial component of any loyalty program. But for these initiatives to really take off, you need full buy-in from your employees.

It’s never been more important for your employees to be well-informed. Today, many loyalty programs are often paired with a rewards app to seamlessly bridge the gap between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores. Armed with this new technology, your guests and customers are coming into your business extremely well-informed about the program’s initiatives and incentives. And your employees need to be more informed. 

Imagine you’re a guest at a hotel. Your app has educated you about some extra rewards the loyalty program is offering to elite members this month. You walk into the hotel, and the first associate you encounter not only doesn’t recognize you as an elite member – they don’t even know what rewards you’re talking about. Suddenly, the experience is broken. This interaction damages the guest’s impression of the brand experience, and might impact their choice to return – even as a current loyalty program member. 

With Nudge, this disconnect doesn’t happen. You’re sharing crucial intel to your workforce in real time – but you’re also monitoring knowledge retention and engagement through our analytics to ensure that every employee at every location is armed with up-to-date knowledge about the program’s happenings. 

3. Nudge celebrates your program champions

Boosting customer loyalty programs through points with NudgeWhat’s the best part of any loyalty program? The points! That gamification of loyalty is what truly drives customers to desired behaviors. 

Guess what: the same is true of employee performance. Nudge leverages a gamified, points-based approach to communication that keeps employees engaged and using our app, every single day. Additional recognition points and pins provide motivation for your workforce, highlighting specific contributions, lifetime achievements, and other milestones. In other words: use our points program to get your employees to sell your points program.

There’s an additional benefit beyond that intrinsic motivation: Nudge’s gamified system helps organizations to identify the top-performing locations and individual employees that are really promoting your loyalty program. You can reward teams that deserve recognition – and also tap into those best practices that are bringing your program to life. More on that below…

4. Nudge identifies great ideas for boosting your loyalty program – and scales them

Ah, that incredible team that just seems to have a knack for signing customers up. That employee that always knows how to make elite guests feel special. Once you’ve identified those star performers, how do you tap into that magic, and scale it at an organizational level? What are they saying to guests? What three words seem to resonate with customers? When in the transaction are they bringing up the program? What rewards have guests really excited this month? What, in short, is working? 

With Nudge’s communication platform, great ideas don’t get lost. Top performers are identified and recognized – but you can also go that step further to tap into what it is they’re doing right. Topic-based forums and upward feedback channels let you crowdsource ideas and best practices from top-performing locations, and share them across the organization organically. 

Customer loyalty programs have a magical ability to make your customers feel like they have a unique and personal relationship with your brand. The lifetime value of that loyalty member is infinitely valuable. But to really tap into the power of your loyalty program, you have to first empower your employees with the knowledge and support they need to really shine. Nudge makes that happen. 

How 4 companies accelerated change during the pandemic 🚀

How 4 companies accelerated change during the pandemic 🚀

For many industries, COVID-19 has been a lesson in rapid change. Last week at DX3, Canada’s retail, marketing, and technology expo, a roundtable discussion explored how four companies are staying relevant – and resilient – by accelerating projects, iterating roadmaps, and more. 

Here’s a look at how four companies accelerated change during the pandemic. (Hint: it’s all about their frontline employees!) 

Mastermind Toys launched a digital platform in 5 months

Sarah Jordan joined Mastermind Toys as CEO in January 2020 – and within two months, her stores were shut down coast to coast. “We were a retailer who did not have a contactless curbside option, and our website, our web experience was severely lagging our competitors,” explained Jordan at the DX3 roundtable. 

To catch up, Jordan and her team focused on the customer experience. “In the middle of a pandemic, we launched a brand-new digital platform. We did it in five months, from scratch, including all of the ecosystem around it, including a customer service platform, review platform; you name it. Everything was overhauled.” By Christmas, they were offering one-hour curbside pickup – with signature wrapping paper, no less. 

How they did it:

“Progress over perfection,” says Jordan. “Also, the employee experience drives the customer experience, and so for me the employee experience mattered in all of this.” For Mastermind, a big component of that was bringing employees into the decision process, and giving them space to collaborate and share ideas. 

“We want everyone to co-create with us; it’s one of the reasons why we rolled out Nudge. The biggest change is how empowered our frontline feels to provide ideas and best practices, and it’s been game-changer for us.” 

Nudge veered off its product roadmap to give brands what they needed

Nudge has spent a decade building the complete digital solution for empowering frontline workers and driving better business outcomes for companies – but when COVID-19 hit, the needs of Nudge’s customers changed. Fast. 

“We took our product roadmap, put it all out on the table and reoriented around our customers’ needs,” said Brennan Wilkie, Chief Revenue Officer at Nudge. “Courage means doing the right thing even when it’s hard. Or especially when it’s hard. And we saw a lot of businesses doing that, putting people before profit – their employees and their customers alike – but it changed the way they operated. So we reacted to this change.” 

The result? Nudge found new ways to help brands communicate and engage with their frontline workers, and stay nimble in the ever-changing pandemic reality. 

How they did it:

With so many of Nudge’s customers representing retail, food service, and other essential businesses, they refocused the product roadmap to focus on tools that would help teams navigate the rapidly-changing protocols and restrictions. For example, automated onboarding was developed to get employees ramped up quickly when businesses started reopening, and a task management feature was fast-tracked to help managers reinforce new, one-off and recurring tasks. 

“What do they need to strengthen their business, and how do we reorient what we do to best serve them?” said Wilkie. “It was a great challenge for us and one we’re proud of. It was the right, reactive move at the right time.” 

Sobeys did a last-minute overhaul of a launch two years in the making

The early days of COVID-19 were a flurry of activity for grocery stores. “The grocery industry became an essential service effectively overnight,” said Sarah Joyce, Senior Vice President of E-Commerce at Sobeys Inc. “Everybody just moved immediately in the same direction with agility and velocity in a way we never have before to react to the change around us.” 

But while they were implementing plexiglass, one-way aisles and senior shopping hour, the company was also prepping something else: Voilà by Sobeys, a large-scale robotic automated warehouse grocery home delivery service. “We were preparing for two years for the launch of a new business, and pretty much the entire launch plan changed in the final weeks,” said Joyce. 

“We had to talk to our suppliers about what product was actually available for us, given the constraints that they were facing. We had to change our delivery protocols so that we could have increased sanitation, contactless delivery, and all of the new important emerging safety protocols in that field. And then we had to change our entire marketing launch plan – the messaging, the channels – to reflect the mood of the nation and the state of the reality of where everybody was in and how we were going to reach them now compared to how we might have prior to the pandemic.”

How they did it:

“It was agility and it was empathy,” said Joyce. “Everything we were doing was on behalf of the customers and the teammates – and everything we were doing was as quick as humanly possible.”

In other words: investing in their people was a crucial component to accelerating change. “Our teammates were the real heroes of the last year, and they continue to deliver exceptional customer experiences to the customers that are still coming in our stores or receiving our deliveries. They make all the difference.”

Marriott stayed relevant with new COVID-relevant offerings

When travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders brought occupancy from 80% down to 2%, Marriott International quickly shifted their focus from luxury events and corporate travel to creative new products geared toward current needs. For example, Work Anywhere with Marriott Bonvoy offers room packages for remote workers who need a break from their home office. They also focused on the contactless experience, like mobile check-in and mobile keys. “We needed to make sure we were keeping travellers feeling confident that, if they needed to travel, they would be safe. Or if they were considering travel in the future, we’d be ready,” said Laura Pallotta, Regional Vice President of Sales and Distribution, Canada, at Marriott International. 

Marriott also has an eye to the future. “We know the luxury segment is pent up,” said Pallotta. “We’ve already seen it in the U.S. with our luxury brands. They have missed major milestones in their family: birthdays, graduations, weddings, that kind of thing. They’re buying out suites; they’re spending a ton of money. So we’re definitely looking at how to make sure that we’re out in front of that customer.”

How they did it:

For Marriott, accelerating change started with listening closely to what’s actually needed, both now and in the future. Now, that means bleisure and staycations; in 2023 or 2024, that means a luxury boon. But beyond that, it goes back (again!) to the employees. “Mr. Marriott always says that if you take good care of your associates, they will take good care of your customers, and the customer will come back. So I think that’s really the foundation of our culture,” said Pallotta. 

 – – –

The biggest takeaway from this DX3 roundtable? Success starts with your employees. Especially during unprecedented times, investing in the employee experience is the first step in next-level customer experience, loyalty and more.  

“Always be consulting”: The new store associate mantra for improving the customer experience

“Always be consulting”: The new store associate mantra for improving the customer experience

With growing customer expectations and direct-to-consumer brands gaining momentum (and market share), you may be wondering, how can brick and mortar excel in this new environment? At the Future Stores East Conference in Miami, leading retailers shared their hypothesis on building for the store of the future and the role technology, people, and processes will play in evolving the customer experience.

While AI and other emerging technologies received notable mentions, one thing is clear – store associates will continue to play a critical role in delivering a remarkable customer experience in-store, even as brick and mortar becomes increasingly digitized.

Meet rising expectations with consultative sales practices

Store operations leaders will be familiar with the age-old sales mantra, ABC or “always be closing”. This expression has previously been used to encourage store associates to find the quickest opportunities for a sale when interacting with a customer in-store. According to Gene Lunger, EVP, Licensee Operations, Business Development & Retail Education at Ashley HomeStore, this model is no longer sufficient to meet the rising expectations of today’s customers.

Instead, Lunger recommends that brands focus on consultative sales practices, which helps store associates uncover the unique needs and preferences of customers to effectively guide them along their path to purchase. Leading retailers that are able to encourage genuine associate-customer interactions, with a focus on consulting-like practices, will be able to deliver more personalized in-store experiences and improve overall customer satisfaction.

Empower store associates by sharing the “how”

To develop consultative sales practices in-store, frontline store associates must not only be empowered to take ownership of their role in delivering the customer experience but also understand the specific actions that will deliver the right experience. To do so, April Wagner, Sr. Director of Customer Experience Strategy at Best Buy, shared her methodology for enabling Best Buy associates to deliver on their customer experience vision.

Wagner shared that developing a CX vision provides a north star for all of an organization’s efforts, aligning associates to deliver not just a positive experience but the right positive experience — one that delivers on the promise of your brand. Once a brand’s north star has been established, it can then be broken down into the actions and behaviors store associates can take to deliver the experience customers need, want and expect from your organization.

At Nudge, we believe that technology can help brands influence and inspire store associates to deliver consistent and remarkable in-store experiences. To learn more, check out our Lookbook,written especially for experience-driven brands who are seeking more meaningful experiences for their customers through their physical footprint.

The “future” of retail is a throwback to the physical store

The “future” of retail is a throwback to the physical store

As reported in a recent Retail Dive article reflecting on key takeaways from NRF’s 2020 Big Show, physical retail is experiencing a “comeback” of sorts. Though industry commentary has been refuting the “retail apocalypse” for years now, the offline channel continues to offer compelling new reasons for the importance of physical stores, including cost of customer acquisition, digital communication fatigue, and the old fashioned need for human connection.

Reduced ROI on digital customer acquisition: Direct-to-consumer (DTC) was once a low-cost model that dangled the dream of high profit margins for brands whose digital storytelling would pay off in e-commerce transactions. As more and more brands invested in digital, advertising rates on popular social platforms such as Instagram and Facebook skyrocketed, raising the cost of customer acquisition to a disproportionate level. In this context, a physical footprint is no longer looking like a high overhead cost.

Deluge of retailer brand media: Communication from even our favorite retailers is hitting a point of extreme consumer fatigue. Retail Futurist Doug Stephens spoke on Day 1 of NRF and reflected on digital advertising losing its “edge,” even as it becomes more prolific, as reported by Retail Dive. “We are swimming in a sea of media and communication from brands,” he said, and “stores are the new channel for retail.” Hearing a Futurist call stores a “new channel” brings an intriguing perspective the reintroduction of brick and mortar into the 2020 conversation.

Consumers are seeking human connection: This brings us to the enduring theme of the need for human connection, which only seems to strengthen as digital gets more pervasive. Even as the online channel expands its share of transactions, industry reports continue to reveal up to 90% of purchases in some retail categories still taking place in-store. It comes of little surprise that we’re seeing a resurgence of consumers seeking out a more personal connection with the brand, one that can’t be replicated online.

At Nudge, we believe strongly in the influence of store associates in the ongoing “human factor” of brand affinity. Read more in our Lookbook, written especially for experience-driven brands who are seeking more meaningful experiences for their customers through their physical footprint.