AMAZON: THE GOLD STANDARD IN CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE (PART 2)

Is it any surprise that Amazon Payments has become a success story? Well, sort of. Despite Amazon’s well-earned reputation for developing efficient eCommerce solutions, going toe-to-toe with PayPal is no small task. The truth is that both services work quite well, and each has carved out its own (very large) niche in addition to the places where the two overlap. I’ve been seeing Amazon Payments pop up quite often in my day-to-day life as a consumer lately, and simple, safe, efficient payment options are always en vogue from a business perspective.

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HOW THE IN-STORE EXPERIENCE IS EVOLVING, THANKS TO MOBILE

If you have been shopping at a Banana Republic Factory store in the past year, you may have noticed something new. Banana Republic is working with “flok,” a third-party customer experience platform, to deliver a more tech-friendly shopping experience for loyal customers. The details are mostly familiar – rewards for repeat customers, product recommendations, a virtual help desk – but Banana Republic is also looking for ways to go beyond the standard branded app. Working with flok’s platform, rather than producing a standalone app, is just one interesting example.

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HIRE FOR PASSION, TRAIN FOR SKILLS

Then…

– Listen to them, and make sure you take actions that let them know you are listening. Every human being needs to feel that their contributions are appreciated and that their opinion matters. Otherwise work is a mindless drudge with no purpose (other than a paycheck), and the employee has no emotional connection to the work they do or the company that employs them.

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#RETAILRELEVANCY… EXPECTATIONS, ENGAGEMENT, AND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Retail Relevancy has never been more… relevant. In part one of my conversation with my friend and business partner John Andrews, we touched on Alexa, Amazon, and the evolving way that consumers experience retail. In part two, we’re continuing that conversation, and digging into how the modern retail experience (when it’s done right) should empower both employees and customers to engage on a human level. Let’s dive into some of the highlights:

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ARE YOUNGER GENERATIONS DICTATING THE PATH OF INFLUENCER MARKETING?

No matter how you slice the demographics, young people hold a lot of sway on social media. They influence social conversation, establish trends, and tend to help social sites thrive when they show up in large numbers. Part of this is the power of numbers. According to Pew Research, 82 percent of US adults age 18-29 actively use Facebook, though the 65+ demographic is no slouch at 48 percent. However  a recent study highlighted by MediaPost suggests that one in three young social media users qualify as influencers.

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NO MATTER WHERE TECH TAKES US, CUSTOMERS STILL NEED A HUMAN TOUCH

If you’re aiming for omni-channel excellence, or simply looking to thrive on your channels of choice, don’t forget about the human side. In fact, it should be your first priority. With every new trend and communication channel comes new opportunities to connect, so it’s natural for marketers to seek out the most promising tools for the job. The challenge is that every trend has an expiration date, and it’s too easy to sacrifice the fundamentals in favor of the hot, new tool with an unknown shelf-life.

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BUILD YOUR BRAND REPUTATION WITH KINDNESS

What does it mean to build a reputation? I’m not talking about brand recognition, or even the quality of the products or services you offer. Those things are important; however, a reputation is something more. It’s the little things…those moments of unprompted kindness and consideration that stick with you for a lifetime. In other words, the stuff that you truly remember.

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WHAT 2016 TREND IS DEFINING (OR REDEFINING) MARKETING?

One of the biggest trends I’ve seen in 2016 is that more marketers have decided to stop talking past their customers, and start talking to them. It’s what I like to call “Looking People in the Eye Digitally,” and it’s great to see people embracing the concept. That’s the good news. On the other side of the ledger, the brands that have embraced personal, relationship-focused marketing present a stark contrast to the many that are still locked into the old, impersonal status quo. Industry-wide change takes time, when it happens at all, but your business doesn’t have to wait for the rest of the industry to catch up.

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#RETAILRELEVANCY… WHERE WE STAND, WHERE WE’RE HEADED, AND WHY IT MATTERS

The path to purchase is not just evolving – it has evolved. How are brands responding? I sat down with long-time friend and business partner John Andrews, for a live stream discussion on the path to purchase, the evolution of retail, and even some inside insights on our Amazon purchasing habits (spoiler alert: John’s a big fan of peanut butter).

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