CX Day is October 2nd!
How are you celebrating Customer Experience Day? Enter our sweepstakes and you could win $100!

OFFICIAL RULES: 

WHO: Anyone (18 years or older) with a legal Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook account can enter!

HOW: Simply tag BARE International with the hashtag #CXMeans and share what customer experience means to you! You may enter more than once, and we encourage you to share with your friends and family! You can either complete the sentence “#CXMeans…” like this example:

“#CXMeans going the extra mile!”

or by merely providing an example and including the hashtag:

“I received the wrong size, and they offered to send me a new sweater without waiting for the other one to be sent back! #CXMeans”

All entries must include the hashtag #CXMeans AND tag BARE International so we know you’ve entered! 

WHEN: While we always encourage you to share what Customer Experience means to you, we will stop taking official entries the day after CX Day: October 3rd at 11:59 GMT.

WHAT: One lucky GRAND PRIZE WINNER will win $100 USD! 7 additional winners will be awarded a BARE goody bag, valued up to $50! All winners will be selected at random.

 

GET OUR HANDLES & FOLLOW US!

Instagram: @bare.europe

Facebook: bare.international.europe

Twitter: @BareEurope

 

GOOD LUCK!

By entering, you agree to allow BARE International to use your comments, tweets, stories, and/or shared images for marketing materials including social media posts, blog updates, and others. Winners will be selected at random and will be distributed the following way: 1 grand prize winner will be selected from across all BARE offices and social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook). 7 additional winners will be selected at random; 1 from each of the following BARE Offices: US/Canada, Chile, Brazil, Europe, Singapore, China, and India.

BARE International issues a complete release of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook by each entrant or participant. Let this post provide further acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

It’s not just ‘back to school’ for kids; businesses all over the world are spending their time looking for more ways to grow customer loyalty. ‘Longevity’ is no longer synonymous with ‘guaranteed business’. What worked fifty, twenty, or even just a year ago are, well, “so last year.” Here, BARE International shares an article by Zeynep Ilgaz for Entrepreneur on how Old-School Industries Require New-School Customer Experience.

‘Millennials are slowly but surely becoming the coveted buyers of not only B2C, but also B2B products and services. According to Accenture, millennials spend roughly $600 billion per year, and Pew Research Center tells us that this age group now makes up the bulk of the U.S. workforce. With this in mind, be advised that it would be a big mistake for your or any other brand to not adapt to millennials’ behaviors and preferred experiences.

Over the past few years, our old-school company realized we needed to adjust our approach for reaching the next generation of consumers in order to maximize growth potential. So, here are the steps we took:

1. PERSONALIZE THE EXPERIENCE.

Customers no longer buy products and services. They purchase experiences by way of products and services. Therefore, businesses skilled at delivering more personalized experiences will end up driving customers through their doors again and again. Let’s say, for example, that you’re able to recall a customer’s name. In that case, 56 percent of consumers said that they’d be more likely to come back (Accenture). Now say you can recollect a person’s past purchases — that would spur another 65 percent to return. An Infosys report echoed these findings, reporting that 31 percent of consumers surveyed wanted a more personalized shopping experience. In other words, personalization is a surefire way to not only bring customers on board, but also keep them there.

2. OFFER ROUND-THE-CLOCK SERVICE.

Customers value the independence to gather information and make purchases wherever and whenever they like. If you’re not catering to these now-basic needs, trust that someone else is. And you could be guiding your business right into the arms of the competition. According to a 2017 RetailDive survey, 65 percent of consumers conduct online research before deciding to buy. Additionally, eMarketer recently revealed that two-thirds of millennials surveyed said they’d rather shop online than in a brick-and-mortar store. It’s a no-brainer to give customers the opportunity to order online, but you should also post research about your offerings to illustrate how your business is the perfect solution to customers’ problems. Our company did just that with great results. We also took it a step further by offering 24/7 live chat for questions and complaints.

3. PEPPER THE INTERNET WITH HELPFUL CONTENT.

A website can be a bit like an island. You’ll stock it with all the necessary supplies, but still need to give people a means of getting there if you want them to use it. Inbound marketing is that means. According to research from HubSpot, just 16 percent of marketers polled said that outbound practices provided high-quality leads. That’s not much to rely on. Consumers don’t want a hard sell; they just want some help. By lending your expertise and offering a little assistance, you become a trusted ally and more likely to attract and keep business. In fact, content marketing delivers more than three times as many leads as outbound marketing does, according to the Content Marketing Institute. It also costs 62 percent less!

Still, to be successful, content marketing requires a clear and consistent strategy. The goal is to build a massive library of content that organically appears in search results and can be found on third-party sites. Strategic content serves as the boat leading consumers back to your site. Of course, success in this realm takes time and effort; so don’t hesitate to find contractors who can help.

Whether you’re selling old-school skateboards to teens or new-school software to CEOs, the current era calls for a modernized customer experience that mirrors how people want to buy products. Old is new again.

In a world where people do almost everything virtually, you’d be surprised by how many businesses have yet to adapt. At this point, it’s critical for companies in old-school industries to ditch the “we’ve always done things this way” mindset and begin listening to what consumers want — nay, expect — and what that is, is a personalized digital experience.’

Is your business going to outlast your competition? Assess the strengths and weaknesses of competitors using real-time data. BARE International’s Competitor Analysis reports provide comprehensive insights geared to give you the industry advantage. Ask us how.

Read the full article at the source here.


CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE RESEARCH & INSIGHTS BY BARE INTERNATIONAL

Your business challenges are unique. Our proven success across industry categories stems from asking the right questions to help you address the challenges you face everyday. Each solution we offer is customized to meet your needs, providing actionable feedback to help you make critical business decisions. We treat you the way you want to treat your own customers, providing a dedicated project team to give you the attention you deserve and an infrastructure spanning the globe to provide the resources you need to understand your customers’ experiences.

  • Customized Research Solutions
  • Immediate, Actionable Feedback
  • Dedicated Project Team
  • Family-Owned, Global Capabilities

Get in touch today to receive a complimentary evaluation of your business. We look forward to working with you.

‘Traditional retailers are feeling the heat. Even as competition intensifies, shoppers’ visits to retail stores are declining every year, leading one industry veteran to ominously ask his peers, “Is anyone not seeing large traffic declines?”’ Here, BARE International shares a study by Emma Sopadjieva, Utpal M. Dholakia, Beth Benjamin for Harvard Business Review on 46,000 Shoppers Shows That Omnichannel Retailing Works.

Online retail, on the other hand, is thriving. Retail sales through digital channels (including mobile sales) increased by a massive 23% in 2015. Much of these gains have gone to online retailers. Amazon is the biggest beneficiary, now accounting for 26% of all online retail sales. What is more, as it continues to expand aggressively into new categories like grocery and fashion, Amazon’s existential threat to traditional retailers is greater than ever.

Just ask Alexa.

OMNICHANNEL STRATEGY IS A PANACEA FOR A DIFFICULT ENVIRONMENT

Under these hostile conditions, traditional retailers have staked their futures on omnichannel retailing. The omnichannel strategy hinges on the idea that providing a seamless shopping experience in brick-and-mortar stores and through a variety of digital channels not only differentiates retailers from their peers, but also gives them a competitive edge over online-only retailers by leveraging their store assets.

Such thinking assumes that despite its costs, there is significant economic value to be gained from providing digital channels to traditional store shoppers, and fusing the shopping experience across channels. Retailers are counting on an omnichannel strategy to be their “killer app.” But is this true? Are omnichannel shoppers more valuable to retailers?

We set out to answer this question by collaborating with a major U.S. company, which operates hundreds of retail stores across the country. We studied the shopping behavior of just over 46,000 customers who made a purchase during the 14-month period from June 2015 to August 2016. Customers were asked about every aspect of their shopping journey with the retailer, focusing on which channels they used and why. And they were also asked to evaluate their shopping experience. Of the study participants, only 7% were online-only shoppers and 20% were store-only shoppers. The remaining majority, or 73%, used multiple channels during their shopping journey. We call them omnichannel customers.

OMNICHANNEL CUSTOMERS ARE AVID USERS OF RETAILER TOUCHPOINTS

Our findings showed that omnichannel customers loved using the retailer’s touchpoints, in all sorts of combinations and places. Not only did they use smartphone apps to compare prices or download a coupon, but they were also avid users of in-store digital tools such as an interactive catalog, a price-checker, or a tablet. They bought online and picked-up in store, or bought in the store and got their purchases shipped.  In what follows, we count each app, digital tool, and shopping venue provided by the retailer as a separate channel. 

THE MORE CHANNELS CUSTOMERS USE, THE MORE VALUABLE THEY ARE

Our study’s results are revealing. They show that the retailer’s omnichannel customers are more valuable on multiple counts. After controlling for shopping experience, they spent an average of 4% more on every shopping occasion in the store and 10% more online than single-channel customers. Even more compelling, with every additional channel they used, the shoppers spent more money in the store. For example, customers who used 4+ channels spent 9% more in the store, on average, when compared to those who used just one channel.

Surprisingly, conducting prior online research on the retailer’s own site or sites of other retailers led to 13% greater in-store spending among omnichannel shoppers. This finding goes against the grain of the conventional wisdom that spur-of-the-moment, impulsive shopping bulks up the topline of traditional retailers. Instead, our findings suggest that deliberate searching beforehand led customers to greater in-store purchases. And it also flies in the face of conventional thinking about showrooming, which is that traditional shoppers conduct their research in the store and then buy online. Instead, we find that this retailer’s omnichannel shoppers are engaging in webrooming behavior, which has become especially prevalent among Millennial shoppers.

In addition to having bigger shopping baskets, omnichannel shoppers were also more loyal. Within six months after an omnichannel shopping experience, these customers had logged 23% more repeat shopping trips to the retailer’s stores and were more likely to recommend the brand to family and friends than those who used a single channel.

There is one important caveat to our findings. The correlations we report here shouldn’t be confused with causation. We can say from our study that omnichannel shoppers are more valuable to the retailer with confidence. But whether such customers were loyal and engaged with the retailer to begin with or whether the richer, multi-touchpoint shopping experiences of its omnichannels led them to spend, return, and advocate more remains an open question. Regardless, our study firmly endorses traditional retailers’ logic of embracing an omnichannel strategy and using it as a differentiator to fight the online retail onslaught.

In today’s channel-rich environment, omnichannel capabilities drive the engagement of core shoppers with the retail brand and ultimately draw them to the physical store. Traditional retailers with physical stores will do better not only by leveraging the power of the online world, but by synchronizing the physical and the digital worlds to provide shoppers with a seamless, multi-channel experience that online pure plays simply cannot match.’

BARE solutions are aggregated into one platform, giving insights on how your platforms, from your brick and mortar locations to your Yelp page and more, are working together to create a seamless customer experience.

We offer omnichannel research support so you know how effective (or ineffective) your omnichannel strategy is! All of your online branding investments, from a personalized app to your employee’s training, are used to engage and connect with your customers in hopes to provide a seamless customer experience for your customers. 

Read the full article at the source here.


OMNICHANNEL RESEARCH SUPPORT & INSIGHTS BY BARE INTERNATIONAL

Your business challenges are unique. Our proven success across industry categories stems from asking the right questions to help you address the challenges you face everyday. Each solution we offer is customized to meet your needs, providing actionable feedback to help you make critical business decisions. We treat you the way you want to treat your own customers, providing a dedicated project team to give you the attention you deserve and an infrastructure spanning the globe to provide the resources you need to understand your customers’ experiences.

  • Customized Research Solutions
  • Immediate, Actionable Feedback
  • Dedicated Project Team
  • Family-Owned, Global Capabilities

Get in touch today to receive a complimentary evaluation of your business. We look forward to working with you.

‘Business coach and consultant Dan S. Kennedy and customer retention expert Shaun Buck present a systematic approach to help you keep, cultivate, and multiply customers so you replace income uncertainty with reliable income through retention and referrals.’ Here, BARE International shares an excerpt by Dan S. Kennedy for Entrepreneur on 5 Ways to Grow the Value of Each of Your Customers.

 

‘Businesses that fail to fully monetizing their customers often fail outright, and many more will in the challenging years ahead. This is so because nothing is more difficult or costly than new customer acquisition.

There are five specific ways to create the maximum possible customer value:

The more technology advances, the more it’s integrated into our daily lives. As people change their behaviors, marketers, salespeople, and customer support reps will need to react. Instead of thinking of a desktop experience, a mobile experience, a tablet experience, we’ll need to pursue one, holistic approach — an omni-channel experience. 

WHAT IS OMNI-CHANNEL?

At its core, omni-channel is defined as a multi-channel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated customer experience.

And omni-channel experience? Omni-channel experience is a multi-channel approach to marketing, selling, and serving customers in a way that creates an integrated and cohesive customer experience no matter how or where a customer reaches out. The customer can be shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or in a bricks and mortar store and the experience would be consistently seamless.

OMNI-CHANNEL VS MULTI-CHANNEL

Do you have a multi-channel or an omni-channel customer engagement strategy? Do you know the differences between the two? Let’s start with definitions …

Multi-channel (i.e., “many” channels), while less integrated, allows customers to purchase wherever they prefer to browse and shop.

Companies with this approach are adopting two or more channels to engage their customers, however, they are not necessarily focused on delivering a seamless / consistent message across multiple touch-points. Furthermore, these programs don’t necessarily factor in optimizing the customer experience based on the different devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets and laptops) clients use to interact with the business.

Omni-channel (meaning, “all” channels) unifies sales and marketing to create a single customer experience across your brand.

While companies using this approach also use multiple channels to engage their customers they distinguish themselves through two additional factors; consistency and focus on devices involved within client interactions. These businesses are diligent to ensure that their customers receive the same experience and message through different channels and devices involved within their interactions with the firm. For example, a company that provides customers with the ability to engage it through a mobile app, social media portal and website would be focused to ensure that the look and feel as well as the messages they receive across each touch-point are seamless.

Omni-channel and multi-channel marketing are two unique strategies that both aim to reach consumers and potential consumers by leveraging mult ple channels. Marketers must make the shift to focus on omni-channel efforts in order to increase customer retention and in turn, revenue.

WHAT DOES OMNI-CHANNEL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE LOOK LIKE?

According to My Customer, if a bank customer has a question about a fluctuation in their mortgage rate, which happens to be an Adjustable Rate Mortgage. The customer might call to speak with a live representative. A few years later, when their rate fluctuates again, he or she might call to ask another question. As the customer is calling, the agent will be able to pull up all the details about the customer and their specific situation as well as find out whether the question they asked a few years ago was resolved. Assisting the customer becomes easier for the agent with the context of that customer’s history. Without the omni-channel context, they would have to frustrate the customer with several background questions before being able to resolve their request.

Moreover, the multi-modal capacities inherent to an omni-channel experience enable an agent to text the customer a confirmation and/or a link to further info while the customer is still on the phone. If the customer is late for a meeting and wants to continue the conversation by email, or follow up a few hours later by live chat, that’s also easy. Any agent who continues the engagement will be able to pick up where the previous agents left off in full context, presenting “one face” to the customer—and a surprisingly smart face, at that. Almost like hitting the pause button on a DVR and resuming the program right where you left off.

WHY IS OMNI-CHANNEL SUPERIOR?

Let’s take a look at another great example of a full-fledged omni-channel experience – the Disney app.

Disney’s various customer touchpoints are so interconnected that the user experience never ends. You don’t need to buy a ticket online, show up at the park, and take a gamble on lining up anymore.

Now, you buy a ticket, download the app, scan your Fastpasses, check ride times, and explore customized content before even setting foot in the park.

Once you’re at the park, you can easily navigate your way around, find Disney characters on a live, and interactive map before get your picture taken at the store, have it show up on your app, and purchase when you get home.

The entire experience is a never-ending sensory overload of the Disney brand that contains one critical factor: Consistent, seamless integration. No matter how or where a customer interacts, the shopping experience is the same.

WHY CHOOSE OMNI-CHANNEL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MANAGEMENT?

According to Aberdeen Essentials, companies with well-defined omni-channel customer experience management programs achieve a 91% higher year-over-year increase in customer retention rate on average, compared to organizations without omni-channel programs. These organizations also average a 3.4% increase in customer lifetime value, while those without omni-channel programs actually diminish customer lifetime value by .7% year-over-year.

Another study by Business Insider found that shoppers who engaged on multiple channels made purchases more often:

FINAL THOUGHTS…

The majority of shoppers now hit multiple touchpoints before making a purchase. Limiting yourself to one or two platforms and lacking the seamless integration you’ve seen here can be detrimental to your long-term growth. In the end, an omni-channel customer experience is the most granular, detailed, and efficient customer experience an organization or representative can provide.

Always look for new outlets and ways to connect each and every channel. Create an experience that isn’t locked into a single platform. Rather, create an experience that can be completed and repeated on each.

Want to know innovative ways to gain insights using an omni-channel strategy? Contact a customer experience research specialist at BARE International today.

‘The race to own customer experience is on! Companies are recognizing the importance of delivering an experience that makes them stand out from their competition. Some are learning the hard way. Here, BARE International shares an article by Shep Hyken for Forbes on Customer Experience Is The New Brand.

Last year United Airlines had a brand crisis, in which $1.4 billion in value was wiped out overnight when a passenger’s experience went viral on social media. And, you may not have heard about Juicero, but it fell victim to brand crisis when it was discovered the proprietary juice packets needed for its $699 juicer weren’t so proprietary, resulting in the company dropping the price of the juicer to $200, and then ultimately going out of business.

Be it customer service, product quality or just the way the customers feel about the companies they do business with, customer experience rises to the top of whether or not the customer will decide to keep doing business with a brand.

Today, 89% of companies compete primarily on the basis of customer experience – up from just 36% in 2010. But while 80% of companies believe they deliver “super experiences,” only 8% of customers agree. In other words, companies have a long way to go. And, that means there is tremendous opportunity to disrupt a competitor or gain market share in an industry. Everything a brand does – the way it does its marketing, research, advertising and more – all play a role in shaping the customer’s experience. Focusing on customer experience management (CXM) may be the single most important investment a brand can make in today’s competitive business climate.

It used to be that customers could communicate with companies in only three ways. They could visit the business in person, write a letter or call customer support. Then came faxing, and then email. Today there are even more ways customers connect. They use Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and more. And, when customers do connect with you, they expect to be known and served “on demand” regardless of the channel they are using.

And, there are some customers who, when they don’t get the service they feel they deserve, complain. But, not to you. To the rest of the world on the aforementioned social channels. The good news is that some of the customers who are happy will share that across the social channels, too.

With so many channels through which customers communicate, it seems like creating a powerful and memorable customer experience is more complicated than ever. Technically, that’s true. But, on the surface, customers want the same things they’ve always wanted, and that is to be taken care of. They may be more demanding. They may want problems resolved faster. But that’s understandable because technology has given us the tools to provide that kind of speed.

And, here is something very important to consider. Customers don’t care if you claim you have omni-channel or multi-channel capabilities. They only care that they can connect with you, the way they want to connect with you, and when they want to connect with you. They go through the channel that’s easiest and most convenient for them. It could be a phone, a desktop computer, a tablet – whatever communication method they are most comfortable with.

I’ve written about this in previous articles. Jeff Nicholson at Pegasystems calls this “Channel-less Support,” meaning the customers have no idea how many channels a brand offers, and really don’t care. They just want to communicate on the one that’s most convenient for them.

I recently connected with some friends at Sprinklr, a company that has created what it refers to as a CXM (Customer Experience Management) platform to unify all these different channels into one. Its solutions enable customer support centers to unify 25 different communication channels, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. They shared some insights for every type of company to consider when it comes to improving CX.

  • All interactions and data need to be in one place: The customer may reach out to a company for support over live chat. The next time it’s on the phone. And the time after that, the customer uses instant message to connect with the company. Even though the interactions came across different channels, the person currently interacting with the customer must see them as one long conversation.
  • To the customer, it’s all one big team: Customers don’t care which department they talk to when they need help. They just want to get their questions answered and their problems resolved. A company may have different teams, but the customer doesn’t care. As mentioned above, the solution is to bring all interactions and data into one place. When technology doesn’t work together, neither can teams. When teams can’t work together, they can’t give a personalized customer experience. This frustrates both customers and employees.
  • Create consistency in your processes to create consistency for the customer:When companies get big, they often have multiple teams with multiple processes. This can become painfully frustrating for customers who end up talking to different people in different departments. There could be conflicting information and explanations. That leads to confusion, and often a loss of confidence. Ultimately, that can lead to lost business.

The company may define its brand promise, but it is the customer who decides whether or not the company delivered on its promise. There’s a lot riding on delivering a positive customer experience. You hire and train good people, but you must also give them the tools they need to deliver a CX that not only meets the customers’ expectations but makes them want to come back. Be there for them – no matter how they reach out to you – be consistent, and build your brand through satisfied customers.’

Read the full article at the source here.


MYSTERY CUSTOMER RESEARCH BY BARE INTERNATIONAL

Your business challenges are unique. Our proven success across industry categories stems from asking the right questions to help you address the challenges you face everyday. Each solution we offer is customized to meet your needs, providing actionable feedback to help you make critical business decisions. We treat you the way you want to treat your own customers, providing a dedicated project team to give you the attention you deserve and an infrastructure spanning the globe to provide the resources you need to understand your customers’ experiences.

  • Customized Research Solutions
  • Immediate, Actionable Feedback
  • Dedicated Project Team
  • Family-Owned, Global Capabilities

Get in touch today to receive a complimentary evaluation of your business. We look forward to working with you.

Thanks to technology (define ‘Instagram-worthy’?), we see exponential change in what defines an ‘experience’ when you’re shopping. Here, BARE International shares an article by Harley Finkelstein for Forbes on 5 Trends That Change The Way Your Customer Shop

 

A few weeks ago, my wife pulled me into a big name department store to look for an engagement gift for a friend. I rarely set foot in department stores anymore and I thought the experience might be nostalgic, even fun. Within seconds I was full of regret. Trying to navigate floors and floors of haphazardly organized, uncurated stock in search of a specific product wasn’t just frustrating, it was defeating—second only to the difficulty in trying to flag down an actual salesperson to help us out.

There’s no excuse for a shopping experience like that any longer.’

‘We all now have supercomputers in our pockets. We’ve come to expect a limitless catalogue of products, immediate insight into functionality and user reviews, comparisons with related products and, in some cases, same-day delivery. Responding to these expectations, progressive retailers—online and offline—are finding increasingly creative ways to raise the bar and put an end to the one-size-fits-all approach to retail. Just putting stuff on shelves no longer cuts it.

Here are 5 trends transform[ing] shopping for the better in 2018.

1. Experiential shopping, minus the gimmicks

From espresso bars in salons to popup lemonade stands in stores, experiential shopping was all the rage 2017—almost to the point where it became a gimmick. It’s not enough anymore to add superfluous bells and whistles (or the ubiquitous DJ) in a bid to appear on trend. Retailers that are winning in the realm of experiential shopping are doing their homework to ensure the experiences offer real value to their core clientele.

Take London’s House of Vans, which made a concrete commitment to counterculture when it opened a custom BMX and skate park in the bottom of its flagship store. This wasn’t an afterthought: it was a dedicated effort to give customers a place to do what they love. This same upleveling of experience is happening digitally. Victoria’s Secret’s millennial-targeted PINK Nation app is a social media network that offers games, prizes and of course, discounts and promotions. But what sets it apart are on-campus events that move the socializing offline and create opportunities at colleges and universities for members to forge real-world connections. The key here is that these experiences are incredibly authentic—not cheap marketing tactics. They add meaning and value for the customer.

2. Next level personalization

Of course, one of the surest ways to create meaning for your customers is to craft a product or service expressly for them. Better, bigger data, streamlined digital interfaces and on-demand manufacturing mean that bespoke customization is the new retail frontier. As a black t-shirt aficionado, I have to single out Son of a Tailor, which jumped on my radar this year by beating traditional retail at its own game. All I have to do is input my chest measurement onto their site and I get a perfectly tailored, made-for-me shirt delivered right to my door, complete with monogrammed initials and a fit that’s far superior to anything I’d find off the rack.

But individual innovation isn’t limited to online retailers. I’m a long and loyal customer at Harry Rosen, despite rarely setting foot in one of their stores. I don’t have to. Every year during the retail “Super Bowl Season”—that frantic period between Black Friday and Christmas—I get a visit from one of their sales associates with all the clothes I need. By leveraging rich customer data, plus the human touch that comes with brick-and-mortar, traditional retailers are rising to the occasion in the new shopping landscape.

3. AR that’s actually useful (and AI that’s not annoying)

Long limited to tech fantasies, augmented reality and artificial intelligence have finally crossed the chasm into being…well, useful. AR integrations in apps from stores like Magnolia and Ikea have solved a major problem with online shopping: they let you see products in your space before you buy. Just point your phone at your living room and see how that new couch or coffee table fits in. Similarly, Gap’s DressingRoom app is bringing the AR magic into the apparel space by enabling users to see garments on a mannequin of their selected size. And it won’t stop there. A future is in sight where you’ll be able to point your phone in the mirror and see how those same threads will look on your body.

Meanwhile, chatbots have finally found their place. Brands are figuring out the best way to use artificial intelligence isn’t to replace humans, but to help them. Relegating digital agents to the grunt work, like sending out tracking numbers and shipping updates, is freeing up human capital for complex tasks, like handling customer concerns, dealing with special requests or building business strategies. Finally, human and machine are working in harmony to create a better experience for the customer.

4. Mobile goes mainstream

The data says it all: mobile checkouts are on the rise. Almost 65% of Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales occurred on mobile across Shopify platforms in 2017. It’s a trend that will only continue with mobile shopping on pace to eclipse desktop or tablet in the not-too-distant future. Outside of our platform, nearly 35% of e-commerce purchases were made on mobile in 2017, a rate that’s predicted to jump to nearly 40% over the year ahead.

Fuelling this are more mobile-friendly sites, better phones and reduced barriers to checkout thanks to integrated payment systems through iPhone and Android. Facial recognition is another game changer. With the new iPhone X, I simply look at my phone and my purchase is on its way; soon, I won’t even have to do that. Voice commerce is poised to revolutionize online shopping with Siri, Alexa and Google Now standing at the ready to make purchases with simple verbal commands. For retailers looking to keep up, embracing this new tech and making e-comm on mobile frictionless should be priority number one.

5. Social shopping (finally) finds its niche

Social media today is a lot like the town square of yore—the place where everyone gets together to socialize and window shop. But, until recently, actually purchasing something on social media was painful and inefficient, and most people saved their shopping for traditional retail sites. No longer: in-app purchasing on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest has evolved dramatically in recent months, enabling social media users to finally pick up their goods without leaving the virtual neighbourhood.

And just like neighbourhoods, every platform is different. We learned through our latestintegration with Instagram that featuring just one or two products—rather than an entire catalogue—can be key to catching someone’s eye. Just take this Braniacs projector or Ripple Yoga Wear jumpsuit that were all over the site for Black Friday. The rise of in-app shopping means social media is finally bringing one of the time-honoured traditions in retail online: the impulse buy.

The biggest trend of all in 2018: change. Fueled by technology, shopping is evolving in ways we couldn’t have anticipated even a few years ago. (I’m talking to you, Alexa.) But for retailers who can keep up—and leverage new tools to give people what they want, when they want it—the promise may well be more customers and higher sales than ever in the year ahead.’

Read the full article at the source here.


MYSTERY CUSTOMER RESEARCH BY BARE INTERNATIONAL

Your business challenges are unique. Our proven success across industry categories stems from asking the right questions to help you address the challenges you face everyday. Each solution we offer is customized to meet your needs, providing actionable feedback to help you make critical business decisions. We treat you the way you want to treat your own customers, providing a dedicated project team to give you the attention you deserve and an infrastructure spanning the globe to provide the resources you need to understand your customers’ experiences.

  • Customized Research Solutions
  • Immediate, Actionable Feedback
  • Dedicated Project Team
  • Family-Owned, Global Capabilities

Get in touch today to receive a complimentary evaluation of your business. We look forward to working with you.

Do you know how customers view your company? Brand reputation is essential to the success of any business. Stand out from the competition; invest in these core, or ‘Golden’, branding strategies. 

Thanks to the competitive market, customers have many options of products and services to select from, and they often rely on the brands that convey greater credibility via brand reputation. Optimize your brand reputation and win the customer’s trust before they even walk into your store!

1. DEFINE YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION

Every company needs to look for elements that differentiate it from the competition. Looking for innovations is essential to adapt to the needs of the customer. The value proposition is just that: a set of products and services that highlights the company before its opponents.

However, do not confuse price with value. The price is the amount that the buyer needs to shell out to buy something. Value is determined by the public; that is, it is the way the products and services are seen by the consumer. It is worth remembering that the perception of employees, suppliers, and partnerships also count.

Therefore, the first step in designing a successful business is to define a unique and extraordinary value proposition. Additionally, be sure to define your company’s missionvision and values ​​to create a solid foundation for growth.

2. INVEST IN A UNIQUE & MEANINGFUL VISUAL IDENTITY

One of the first contacts that the customer has with the brand is through the visual identity, either by the front of the establishment or by the packaging of products, business cards, advertisements on television, or scattered throughout their location.Have you ever walked into a store just because you were attracted how the storefront looked? The aspect of an intriguing visual identity, or branding, is essential to convey trust and facilitate the company’s identification. Here are some examples: When you open a bank card, you soon recognize the sender just for the colors used, right? It’s that kind of identification you need to create for your brand.To develop an efficient visual identity, hire skilled professionals. They have in-depth knowledge about concepts, colors, shapes, fonts and even studies that support findings on how the brain works with recognition and likeability.

3. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER

Knowing who you are dealing with is critical to devising effective strategies. Only then will it be possible to understand what the customer expects when they purchase the product or service. Gather as much information as you can, such as name, age, sex, marital status, profession and even hobbies. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools can help you collect this data.

With all this knowledge, it will be possible to build your consumer database, customize service, create strategies for loyalty, generate trust, and optimize brand awareness. When you are able to build a customized experience journey for your customer, they remember and prioritize you for future business.

4. USE CONTENT MARKETING

Investing in online strategies is essential to gaining and retaining customers, expanding the company’s exposure and gaining credibility. Leverage the virtual environment to implement content marketing actions. This method serves to generate authority for the brand by producing useful information for its target audience.So, how do you do that? A popular strategy is to create a corporate blog to inform and educate your reader! For example: Do you run a cosmetics store? Provide posts about which shampoo is ideal for each type of hair, or showcase a tutorial on how to apply eye shadow. You produce materials of interest to your audience and, at the time of making the buying decision, they will help keep you and your products in mind. After all, you are a thought leader in that industry!

Additionally, content marketing helps to understand the needs of customers and offer products that will actually meet their expectations. Extend strategies for social networks and share posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Pro tip: Be sure to remember that it is important to adapt the materials to each type of network. Instagram, for example, is a highly visual channel. Therefore, ensure the post has an image as the focal point for Instagram, versus an attractive tagline and interesting hashtags which are prevalent in Twitter.

5. STRENGTHEN CONSUMER RELATIONSHIPS

Imagine: your company receives a critique on a popular social media channel, and your loyal customers resolve to defend the brand. This is the ultimate goal of relationship marketing: to win over loyal consumers who can act as brand ambassadors for your company at certain times. The strategy consists of defining actions to generate and maintain a positive connection between the company and the public. In addition to loyal customers, relationship marketing aims to build trust and authority for the brand.

One of the key tools to strengthen consumer bonds is through targeted email marketing. Personalized email marketing makes it possible to send congratulations on special dates, provide promotions, gifts or benefits for the next purchase, and even offer after-sales service. Email marketing can be a strong ally of content marketing, as well. Be sure that the content of your emails are valuable, and think “quality over quantity” when it comes to emails: there’s no sense in creating a nice opportunity for your clients if they’re just going to hit ‘delete’ as soon as it comes to their email box! Another option to improve consumer relationships are through loyalty programs. You can offer unique advantages so that consumers choose your company instead of looking elsewhere.

6. BE VIGILANT OF CUSTOMER FEEDBACK, ESPECIALLY CRITICISMS!

Provide communication channels so that consumers have a way to provide feedback. In this process, criticism is even more important than praise because it shows the points of dissatisfaction and encourages the improvement of products and services. What’s more, this openness influences how the customer perceives the brand. By realizing that the company is interested in the buyer’s experience, not just the money, the customer knows they matter to the company and the brand, and the result is a strengthened relationship.

Brand awareness ultimately affects business results, so investing in branding strategies is crucial. A brand that positions itself as a thought leader in its industry attracts more consumers, and build a loyal fan base faster. Follow all these Golden Rules, and watch your company’s positive reputation grow!

Let BARE International showcase your brand reputation by aggregating all of your customers’ experiences into one platform. Contact us today for more information, we look forward to speaking with you.

Omni-channel. Multichannel. Cross channel. What is the difference and which is more effective at engaging and delighting your customers? Here, BARE International shares an article by  for Forbes on What Does Real Omnichannel Service Look Like?

‘Omnichannel emerged as a term for B2C retailers, describing the ability for customers to have a consistent experience over traditional channels and new, information-rich digital channels. In the world of CX, it has come to mean that customers can move from channel of engagement to channel of engagement while always progressing along the customer journey. That means seamless journey continuity, from first touch to checkout, support, returns, and beyond.

There is a hierarchy of customer communication, and they mean different things for customers and agents…

Multichannel: This is the table stakes for modern businesses. Channels have multiplied, and being reachable on more than one is absolutely the bare minimum. Customers expect every business to answer an email, pick up the phone, and respond to a conversation on Twitter. Continuing that conversation across channels is better, and new technologies have made that possible. You can call an agent and have them look up your history and respond over email—though it’s not always smooth or easy. It’s rare to have a conversation with customer service agents and never have to repeat yourself or enter new information. After entering our account details into a phone tree or using a chatbot, we’ll be asked for them again by a live agent, and forced to start the whole process again when calling back—even though logically it seems like all this info should be stored in one place and readily at hand.

Cross channel: Simply being able to communicate is only part of the picture. Communicating vertically with a customer on a single channel does not reflect the way they interact with your business and how they expect you to assist them. Cross channel means a customer can move from one channel to another without completely losing the thread of the journey. You can hang up the phone and then reach out about the same issue over chat on a company’s homepage, and even if you aren’t connected by the same agent, they can pull up the information they need and maintain the interaction without you having to start from scratch.

That’s great and the contextual approach is the key, but it’s still not true omnichannel.

Omni-channel: Real omni-channel requires making the customer the focus, no matter what the channel is. It means that you’re understanding and responding to conversations in real time, not just having a lot of conversations at once. No matter where they contact you, the customer journey has to be progressing—no repeating, no steps backwards. Wherever your customers contact you, it’s crucial that you have the full context of their history with the business. Each interaction has to be pushing the customer journey forward. A customer that’s chatting with an agent on a desktop site can switch to SMS while they’re on the go, pick up the phone and speak to the agent if they need to go into detail, then receive a recap over email from the agent after they’ve finished the conversation.

No matter if your customer is asking a question on your site’s live chat or sending an email to support, the response needs to be informed by their past behavior to get the right response and drive the right action. This means a fundamental shift in the way service and experience organizations operate.

The Agent Perspective of Omni-channel: In the past, agents have owned a specific channel. Some would be trained to answer the phone, others would be assigned to chat and email, but it’s unlikely that they would move across multiple channels—in the contact center industry, this is called blending. Should these channels blend, or will that cause agents to be less efficient, and struggle to respond with maximum speed and efficiency? If you want to deliver true omni-channel, that requires a new mindset.

If your goal is to deliver a great experience that raises your customers’ lifetime value and increases revenue, rather than just trying to answer support tickets as quickly as possible, then your agents’ roles are subtly different. They aren’t just channel specialists who are trained to respond with efficiency as their top directive. They own the customer relationship, and have all the information at their fingertips to deliver a personal, high-touch, and rewarding experience. The agent needs to be able to follow the customer, regardless of the many channels they may use to interact with your business. If you’re customer-first, your agents need to follow your customers.

There are certainly businesses that rely on contact centers who will refute this. They will insist that agents are only skilled enough for the one or two channels they’re trained on. The high volume, contact center as cost-center model will not be going away, but the businesses that rely on it can never become truly omnichannel ready if they don’t change. But the reason they’re relying on this model is not because agents aren’t able to handle more channels and a nuanced approach.

Now, the customer service agent’s star is rising. They are primed to evolve their role beyond answering channel-dependent tickets. Instead, at omnichannel organizations, they will become more like an experience associate or customer representative. They’ll need all the context of the customer relationship in a single view. And they’ll use automation and streamlined workflows to do away with mindless, repeatable tasks so that they can focus on what matters: the complex, emotional work required to sustain customer relationships.’

Read the full article at the source here.


BARE International is proud and humbled to be chosen, for the second year in a row, as a preferred Mystery Shop Company for shoppers around the world.

Bare International is the recipient of the 2018 Shopper’s Choice Award. In 2017, BARE International celebrated 30 years of supporting businesses worldwide in creating excellent customer experiences. The Shopper’s Choice Award was created to allow Independent Contractor members to vote on their favorite Mystery Shop Provider.

MSPA Americas (formerly known as the Mystery Shopping Providers Association of North America) is the trade association representing the customer experience industry throughout the Americas, founded to strengthen the customer service industry and provide timely, actionable and impactful resources for shaping the future of business communities.

“I found BARE to be a professional and honest company that treats its shoppers with respect,” says Mystery Shopper Gabriella Lopez, “I look forward to seeing the exciting shops that come up on their job board and learning about their new and innovative methods of measuring customer satisfaction.”

Jason Bare, Global Business Development Manager and Jeff Rose, Project Manager were in attendance to accept the award at the Annual ShopperFest Event in Grapevine, Texas.

“BARE currently partners with a wide range of industries that provides great opportunities for our Evaluators – everything from ordering a pizza to staying at a hotel. As we continue to grow, we are always looking to expand our database of enthusiastic Evaluators,” says Jason.


As an evaluator for BARE International, you become a valuable part of providing game-changing insights to our clients. You can have an impact on how our clients provide customer service and make business decisions. The same ethical standards we uphold when designing, implementing, and analyzing research strategies for our clients also applies to you as one of our evaluators.

We strive to create opportunities as worthwhile to you as your work is to us. 

For interest in becoming a BARE Evaluator, please visit Evaluators Page for more information.