Posts Tagged ‘e-commerce’

Hip to be square: Demystifying the QR code

June 2, 2011

They’re called QR codes, and they’re seemingly everywhere these days — you may have noticed them in store windows, magazine articles, and other places where you’d usually find traditional advertising. But what exactly are they, and what function do they serve for retailers?

“By the book definition, they’re two-dimensional barcodes that can be scanned by a mobile device or camera phone, which would lead you to a phone number, SMS text message, or URL,” says Scott Bronenberg, regional sales manager for Advanced Telecom Services.

In newbie terms, QR codes are similar to regular product barcodes — only instead of listing a price at the checkout counter, they act as portals to a retailer’s mobile website or other information. Users scan the code, and in turn, the code sends the user to whatever the retailer has linked to the code — whether mobile website, coupon, or other information.

“Right now, people are using QR codes to [redirect] users to their websites,” Bronenberg says. “But what we’ve found is that there’s so much more we can do with further integrating that landing page. Be it Facebook, Twitter, an opportunity to download an app, watching a video, and live streaming.”

QR codes were first developed in Japan as early as 1994, when they were used to track automotive parts — sort of a mobile tagging system. It wasn’t until just about a few years ago that they caught on in the United States. “We’ve been working with QR codes for about a year and a half, and the growth is spiking right now,” Bronenberg says.

And, with mobile phone companies like Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile planning to offer phones equipped with QR scanners rather than have users download these scanners themselves, Bronenberg muses the interest in them will multiply — not fade out like other marketing fads. “Right now, they’re like the shiny object in the room — they’re new, and unique. But if people get more comfortable with them, their growth could be endless,” he says. “They’ve been in use in Japan for awhile now. If we as marketers can do a good job of executing what’s on the back end, they will be here to stay.”

Besides linking to a website or social media page, one could also run various promotions with QR codes. Frank Mazza, Advanced Telecom Services’ QR code production director, recently helped develop what the company calls a “scannenger hunt.” Retailers would place QR codes around their store, asking consumers to scan them to view and download exclusive content. Mazza also suggests that dealers place QR codes on showroom vehicles that link to videos of vehicle demos or customer reviews. “[Customers] can scan them, and they can see the vehicles in motion [in a video],” Mazza says. “They have all of the details they need on their phones. You could also tie the QR codes in with vehicle servicing.” The best part? Customers have access to all of this interactive content, all without having to leave your store to get it.

Advanced Telecom Services helps retailers build custom apps and marketing campaigns to link to these QR codes. The company offers customization, building, setup and development services that start at $500, plus monthly maintenance fees. Customized QR codes that are branded according to your business start at $100. Bronenberg and Mazza also run a website, QRcode2.com, where one can generate generic, black and white QR codes for free. “A lot of people who use the standard QR code just link it to their website,” Mazza says. “But the thing is, yeah, you can use them for free, but you want to brand it, from the outside and inside. That’s what we do. We’re creating a landing site for you. The works.”

Dealers: How you can jump on the mobile-shopping bandwagon for free

February 18, 2011

Hey dealers:
I’ve got an assignment for you that may propel you headfirst into this year’s top marketing trend: mobile e-commerce. Why should you care? In this morning’s Learning Experience Marketing session with Craig Cervenka at Dealer Expo, it was said that an estimated 75 percent of people will try mobile shopping at least once this year. 75 percent. If that doesn’t reel you in, how about if I tell you that your assignment will take just 5 minutes, and it’s free.

Here’s what you do:

Make sure your business is listed in Google Places.

1. Visit places.google.com

2. In the bottom right corner, click on “Google Places for Business.”

3. Create a Google account or log in, if you already have an account.

4. You’ll be redirected to a page where you can “List Your Business.” Just follow the directions on the page. If Google doesn’t have the information on-hand, you’ll enter your address, website phone number, and some other pertinent information.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: If a local customer Google’s your dealership name, or even a keyword like “motorcycle jacket,” you have a better chance of landing on Google’s front page for local results. There will be a map, your address, web address and phone number, all there for them to see. Also, Google automatically formats its Places pages for mobile screens (iPhone, Android, etc.), so you’ll get a nifty little mobile page as well.

— Cynthia

Great video/commercial from RevZilla.com — can your store top it?

September 24, 2010

The guys over at RevZilla.com just put together this video/commercial and I’ve gotta say it’s pretty fantastic. I don’t see a lot of local marketing programming done by my locals dealers — not their fault, I just DVR most of the TV I watch. While I can’t very well endorse the part where the rider pull off the main road like that to blast through the forest (are those approved trails?) I can certainly say it speaks to something we’ve probably all felt like doing — whether it was over a median, up an embankment to an off-ramp or over the tops of the cars in front of us.

That said, this is pretty well done piece of advertising for the e-commerce site that we wrote about in our print mag back in June. Read it here and here. Enjoy.

Ask Your Customers This One Question

May 10, 2010

A Simple Way To Measure Customer Satisfaction

Joe Delmont

If you’re like most other business owners, you have fewer customers today than you did two or three years ago. It’s not your fault, that’s just the way it is. The question now is, How well are you serving those fewer customers, when each one is more important than ever?

That brings us to today’s topic: Customer satisfaction surveys. These surveys are great and can provide plenty of valuable information for owners and managers, whether you’re running a bricks and mortar operation, an e-commerce business or an operation that does business in both spots. There are a number of experienced and competent research firms to chose from if you want to develop a full-blown customer satisfaction program. But what if you just want a snapshot; what if that’s all you can afford today?

Here’s my suggestion: Pick up a copy of the “Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth, a book written by Fred Reichheld and published by Harvard Business School Press. Then, consider asking your customers, The Ultimate Question. The approach, developed by Reichheld, is a relatively quick, easy and inexpensive way to find out what your customers are saying about your company, your products and your service. The approach is not perfect, but it could give you a useful snapshot of the way customers think—and talk— about your operation.

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Online Retailers Getting Better at Service — How About You?

April 1, 2010

Does your dealership sell online? How’s your follow up? How are you helping your customers with the buying experience or are they just free to roam and stumble?

Thought we’d pass along this bit of info from Internet Retailer magazine.

According to E-tailing Group Inc., more online retailers have made their websites easier to shop and are responding promptly to consumer inquiries. The group’s 12th annual Mystery Shopping Study found that such top retailers/e-tailers as REI Co-op and Blue Nile responded to customer e-mails in less than 30 minutes.

The study also found that the organizations E-tailing Group 100 study group allows shoppers  to sort site search results by price, category and brand. Also, most of these businesses link to social networking sites.

Other interesting findings? About 60 percent of the businesses in the study group over guides, how-to content with audio and/or video on their websites. And a bit more than half offer video product demos on product pages.

Keep in mind that these are the websites/retailers training your customers on what to expect from their internet shopping experience. Just as Nordstroms, Banana Republic, the Apple store, and Best Buy are training them what to expect of brick & mortar retailers.

In other words, as time goes on and as new generations of people get into powersports — or when older enthusiasts return to riding — they are going to have an entirely different set of wants and needs from their retailing experience. What does this mean for your dealership? The best way to find out is to go out and shop the major retail stores in your area and take careful note of how you’re treated or mistreated. Steal, beg or borrow new ideas from those businesses who are competing with you for your customers’ expendable cash.

Stopping Internet-Phone Use In Your Dealership

March 4, 2010

Or Can You Make That Phone Habit Work For You?
Some Retailers Have. Here’s The Story.

It was the second day of a 20 Group meeting and the discussion turned to employee cell phone use. It was one of the hottest topics of the weekend.

“How can I stop my employees from spending so much time on their cell phones during working hours?” one asked. “They’re on the Internet all the time.” The question struck a nerve, and the discussion was off an running.

The consensus: Internet phone use in dealerships is out of control and there doesn’t seem to be any easy way to stop it. But do we really want to stop it? Using that ingrained habit has proved profitable for some retail operations like yours.

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