How Retailers Make You Spend More

At this time of year, the retail market always gets more competitive, cluttered and chaotic. However, given the sector’s contraction in 2017, it is more important than ever to maximize your sales during the upcoming holiday season. To inspire you to stand out and sell, here are proven best practices from four retail dynamos to help you boost your sales revenue to stay competitive and grow your e-commerce site so you end 2017 strong.


  1. Zara- Fast Not First


Global fast fashion powerhouse Zara knows location is everything. The retailer selects real estate strategically, opening stores in areas where it can cozy up to high-fashion brands. By surrounding Zara stores with upscale retail stores selling exorbitantly priced products, Zara looks significantly more affordable for products that appear somewhat similar to its neighbors’ – which motivates shoppers to buy from Zara.

zara color trends chocolate

The products at Zara reflect trends popular among upscale apparel brands rather than Zara’s direct competitors like H&M or Forever 21. As a result, Zara’s merchandise looks high-end and feels exclusive, which improves the brand experience by offering a premium look for an affordable price. Similarly, for your online assortment, make your products look closer to your aspirational competitors than your actual competitors so shoppers feel like they get more value when they buy from your company.

Zara also strives to be fast, not first. The company adapts to fashion trends at a comfortable pace for most of its demographic, while keeping its merchandise rotation fresh and timely. Instead of having a first-to-market mindset, Zara taps into consumers’ strong fear – and regret – of missing out. The retailer uses scarcity to boost consumers’ desire to buy items immediately rather than risk coming back later and finding their size is gone. That’s why at Zara stores “there’s always something new, and clothes are never stacked too high,” which influences Zara shoppers to pay full price to seize the opportunity to buy right away. On your e-commerce site, the timing of trends is everything, as you don’t want to be too early or too late with trends. Identify your optimal window and consider limiting your inventory to activate consumers’ fear of missing out, as the scarcity principle can boost sales.


  1. Target- Try Getting Out


Have you ever noticed the lack of background music in Target stores? It’s deliberate. The mass merchandiser’s decision to exclude music is an attempt to make the customer experience more enjoyable by preventing shoppers from being distracted from all the fantastic in-store deals. How can your e-commerce site cancel out the extra “noise,” such as decluttering your homepage or making the buying process as simple and streamlined as one-click ordering so shoppers can concentrate on discovering and buying great products?


In a Target store, consumers may find that navigating to their desired aisle is like going through a fun maze filled with treats, great deals and eye-catching displays. Similarly, keep your online customer journey positive and enjoyable from the homepage banner to the checkout page by designing a customer-centric, inspiring web architecture. Fill each webpage with attractive and even unexpected products to surprise and delight shoppers to make them more willing to explore and spend.


Just like customer experience leader Starbucks, Target excels at anticipating customers’ needs for a frictionless customer experience. Associates focus on helping people rather than pushing products. For instance, store associates proactively look for the next problem to solve, rather than aggressively trying to sell. Attentive associates notice shoppers’ patterns and pain points to serve better. On your e-commerce site, which scenarios pop up often, and what can you learn from them to better anticipate consumers’ out-of-the-box needs? For instance, perhaps you can simply let customers try before they buy to prevent the hassle and time associated with product returns to improve brand trust, sales and loyalty.


Winding through Target’s spacious store footprint can tire out shoppers as they navigate from one corner of the store to the other. The retailer grasps their exhaustion as an opportunity to wave relaxing products in shoppers’ faces to encourage pampering to reinvigorate them. Similarly, your e-commerce site should match your customers’ lifestyle needs to the products you recommend they add to their cart. Use data on consumers’ preferences, past purchases and consumer reviews to determine which items to recommend as solutions to their pain points, which can encourage them to spend more.



  1. Sephora- Trying is Believing


Cosmetics giant Sephora generously offers shoppers free trials and samples to take home, the retailer encourages consumer awareness and engagement,  increasing the likelihood that shoppers will like and buy their products. This tactic reflects the principle of reciprocity: when someone gives us something we feel compelled to give something back in return. Do you “give to get”? Do you allow shoppers to sample your products to help them believe in your merchandise and trust your company?

sephora product display

Also, who among us can resist adorable travel packs? Sephora displays these miniature products at the checkout counters- impulse purchases masquerading as endearing, affordable luxuries. With their single serve size, innovative packaging and colorful assortment, travel packs look irresistible, which increases their sales, even when their unit price is a smidge ridiculous. Does your e-commerce site offer single-serve units or the equivalent – something small, cute and too attractive to turn down?


Sephora also offers a 60-day return policy. The company permits the free return of used products if a customer exceeds a certain purchase amount. That way, if a beauty item irritates their skin or a lipstick looks less flattering at home, shoppers feel assured they can return the item, which increases their likelihood to buy it in the first place. How does your return policy compare to Sephora’s?

  1. Macy’s- Pay More To Pay Less


Department store chain Macy’s is using its new loyalty program to reward customers based on how much they spend, so when shoppers spend more, they pay less. Providing a direct relationship between purchases and discounts can inspire repeat purchases by rewarding their loyalty.  On your e-shop, do you reward your customers with discounts and offers after their purchases to motivate them to keep coming back?
Another way Macy’s convinces shoppers to buy more is with discount bundling. By offering multiple products at the same time, the retailer increases the average transaction value and appeals to consumers by showing how much they save by buying the products together rather than as individual items. Consider bundling multiple products on your website and emphasize the savings shoppers receive if they buy the items together.


By offering a full refund on cosmetics, Macy’s earns consumer confidence because shoppers know they avoid the risk of having to keep a purchase they regret. Consumers feel more willing to spend if they know they can return a product without any hassle or financial consequences. Does your e-commerce site offer a full refund policy to make shoppers more open to buying?


Macy shoppers do not need a receipt to exchange items, which makes the shopping experience smoother, friendlier and more generous than exchange policies that demand receipts. Easy exchange policies make customers more willing to buy. When online customers shop on your site, what exchange policy do you offer?
These proven customer-centric tips helps major retailers persuade shoppers to buy more. These effective tips can also help you boost your e-commerce website sales and – best of all – there’s still time to implement them to maximize your holiday sales this year.

We’ll be up looking at the data while you’re chasing bigger targets. Optimize your retail business and always stay ready for the New Age Shoppers. Get a free assessment !




Private Label Products: Are They National Brand Killers?

There is a high chance that you’ve bought a private label product at least once in your life. It can be tomato sauce at the grocer, or it can be pills at your pharmacy—The fact is that people have become comfortable with private label products. Read on to know about private label definition.

What Is A Private Label?

Private label definition —A product that is sold by a third party manufacturer or a contractor, under the brand name of a retailer.

These products are commonly known as OEM (Other Equipment Manufacturer) products. These private label brands can help in boosting the margin of the retail store, and if it’s done the right way, it helps the store earn credibility from the customer’s trust.

Private Branding Examples

For those of you who are still asking yourselves ‘what is a private label’, you would understand it more clearly with the help of an example. Target sells a lot of branded snacks that are manufactured by companies like Frito-Lay. They also sell their own brand of chips under the name of Archer Farms— Target’s own private label brand.

Great Value is an in-house brand of Walmart, that was launched in 1993. This is an international and a fully developed brand, though the products are not produced by Walmart themselves.

Another private branding example is Cott Corporation, that manufactures beverages for a large number of supermarket chains. There are many hair salons that create their own branded line of shampoos and other hair care products. Restaurants create their own spices and condiments brands, that have become popular with customers.

Growth In Store Brands And Private Label Brands

People choose private label brands over large brands because they are a lot cheaper. When it comes to the food and beverage sector, private brands are a massive segment. There was a research that was conducted in 2014 that showed 93% of the American woman who were surveyed, opted to buy private label brands in order to save money. Archer Farms(Target) and 365(Whole Foods) are some of the most well-known  private brands in this sector.

Even when you’re shopping for food, you could see for yourself that there are a lot of in store brands that are increasing in number across all the channels. There are many customers who feel that there are no differences at all between the quality of large brands and private label brands. However the growth of both brands depend upon the customer experience.

If these brands provide a satisfying customer experience, then people keep flocking to their stores. Though large brands are the dominant player in most of the categories, there are a lot of in-house brands that do better in sales than their branded counterpart.

Pricing In Store Brands And Private Label Brands

When it comes to private label pricing, it can be hard to find the right benchmark. The quality, product name, etc. can differ to a large extent when it comes to private label brands and national brands. Retailers have full pricing powers for private label brands, and so they are responsible for selecting the right kind of price for their products. Before pricing the products they should be aware of the overall cost, and they should have a clear idea on how the particular product price range is placed.

This is where the use of price optimization software is beneficial. The complex algorithm that price optimization softwares use, help retailers to know how shoppers behave according to the different product pricing strategies, in order to maximize their sales and profits.

There are many shoppers who are hyper aware about the best prices of products that they are about to shop. Online retailers need to keep up in order to attract these type of customers. The data provided by price optimization softwares can help retailers to make the necessary markdowns in order to beat their competitors deals. The pricing data also consists of information about the inventory, so that retailers can mark up their price if their rival’s inventory goes out of stock.

Advantages Of Private Labelling

There are many retailers who are interested in stacking up their shelves with products that have their own name on it. Following are the reasons why the intend to do so.

Production control: Third party manufacturers proceed work, based on the direction provided by the retailers. This allows them to have complete control over three things—quality, ingredients and the price.

Retailers have the control over pricing: Since retailers have complete control over the product, they can determine the cost and the right profitable price for the product.

Branding control: The retailer can choose the right kind of design and packaging for the product.

Profit controls: Since retailers have the capacity to control the cost and price of the product, they can deduce the profit levels their products can offer as well.

Adaptability: If there is a demand for a new product in the market, private label brands can immediately commence production, while it takes a longer time for larger companies. And so private label brands can easily adapt themselves to rising market demands for new features.

Customer Loyalty: If a customer likes your product, they keep coming back to your store. They would not think twice to try other products with your label on it. Loyalty is something that is rare in the retail world, with in house brands, you could bring a new wave of customers to your store!

Building Your Brand: With private label brands, you can build your own brand. If you choose the right category of products to sell them, you can have a breakthrough. If your product is loved by customers, you can also expand to different categories of products.

Disadvantages of Private Labelling

The disadvantages of starting a private label brands is few. You’re a safe player as long as you have the required financial resources to develop the product. Some of the main disadvantages include:

Depending on the manufacturer: The quality and production of your product simply lies in the hand of the third party manufacturer. That is why, it is important to partner with well-known and well established companies to produce your products. Or else, if there is any problem that your manufacturer is facing during production, you’re the one who’s going to be facing a lot of heat.

Limited customer access: Products of large brands can be found in almost all the stores. But when it comes to private labeling, it can only be found in your store. This can be of an advantage, because it makes customers return to your store often.

Co-op funding: When a retailer sells a national brand, he gets co-op funds in order to promote and market the product. With a private labeling, you do not have this benefit. You have to use your own money if you’re planning to promote your brand.

Store Brands and Private Label Brands: The Winner

Based on the number of approaches, methods and strategies, retailers achieve greater margins by offering the right product at the right price. Retailers should understand the customer’s demand for products when it comes to the brand and private label landscape.

Retailers are making themselves strong with the help of their in house brands. They are able to do so by connecting themselves with the shoppers, and winning their trust. Instead of treating private brands as an enemy, manufacturers of large brands should have a collaborative mindset, that allow retailers to sell both national and private brands effectively.

Both manufacturers and retailers can benefit from joint-promotions. If one group of shoppers prefer a national brand in a category, and another group of people prefer a private label product, then consider promoting both of them at the same time period.

Concluding, both national brands and private label brands are equally preferred by shoppers, as long as the quality remains high!

Are You Making These Retail Financial Compliance Mistakes?

As a rule of thumb, every business today is obligated to specific regulations in the sector in which they operate. Retail is no exception and is perhaps one of the more demanding business sectors due to the volume of work involved. Retailers must ensure they are fully in line with retail financial compliance standards to avoid numerous consequences such as fines and restrictions from regulatory bodies, damage to brand reputation, and so on.

However, many seem to be making critical mistakes. Running both an effective and a compliant business is a tough task. But you know what they say – when the going gets tough, the tough get going. That is why in this post, this time we’ll focus on the retail industry’s financial compliance aspect and the mistakes retail businesses make more often than not.

1. Not being PCI compliant

Is there a more vital aspect of a retail business than processing payments? Sure, you can argue that having a clear-cut supply line is crucial or that beating your competition in terms of price or offer is equally or more important, but at the end of the day, nothing quite matters at that last, final step – the purchase. As most of the payment transactions are card-based, accepting credit cards is a bare essential for every retailer, both online and brick-and-mortar type. Leaving holes in that system for others to exploit ultimately impacts everyone – the business, customers, financial institutions, software developers – everyone.

Thus, you might be surprised to know that a staggering 80 percent of retailers fail to pass interim PCI compliance assessments, according to Verizon’s 2015 PCI Compliance Report. Even more depressing read is the company’s 10th annual Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. Of the almost 2,000 breaches analyzed, 88 percent were accomplished using a familiar vulnerability or exploit, including PCI-related issues.

Percentage and count of breaches per pattern
Percentage and count of breaches per pattern

Image: Rapid7Community

Source: Verizon

Percentage and count of incidents per pattern
Percentage and count of incidents per pattern

Image: Rapid7Community

Source: Verizon

All card brands require companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information to maintain a secure environment and demonstrate compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This standard was designed with the sole mind of protecting payment card transactions and cardholder data from malicious activity and theft. This is a continuous and ongoing operation (something we’ll touch upon later) and is one of the best things a retail store can implement to protects itself in the long run

2. Not using proper technology

Over time, technology has advanced to the point that it even helps with financial services by addressing the heavy burden of compliance in rather innovative ways. In addition, this produced various other benefits that include significantly improved decision-making, better and clearer risk management through the use of artificial intelligence, as well as an enhanced user experience for the customers. To grapple with the increasing compliance requirements, retail businesses should implement systems that are up to the task. This means creating processes with specific requirements that lead to consistency for all customers.

The focus should be on implementing solutions that allow efficient management through mapping, dynamic modeling, and adequate qualitative and quantitative data (the more, the merrier). For instance, having a software suite that tracks your and competitor’s inventory spares you the unnecessary cost of absent-minded auto-renewing orders of items that don’t sell. That way, you can create more efficient pricing that best reflects your pricing margins. As such, the system in place should be replete with reports, alerts, analysis and dashboard tools that allow a proactive management of the entire process. This helps retailers target the problems before they create any sort of compliance issues with customers and lead to chargebacks.

3. Not having regularly scheduled compliance checks

Due to the fluctuating nature of the retail market, rules and regulations are constantly on the spin and you may not be aware and caught up with new disclaimers. Hence, it’s important to implement compliance checks every once in awhile to avoid being slapped on the wrist by a governing body. This especially holds true to your website which acts as a gateway to your business. Things like appropriately displaying business and application disclosures, disclosing the risks for non-deposit investment products (NDIPs) and a host of other disclaimers in an accurate matter sends a signal to your customers that your business is operating with the best intentions.

Example of a website disclosure for financial advisors
Example of a website disclosure for financial advisors

Image: Twenty Over Ten

Bonus: overlooking the security elements
In today’s online world, not paying attention to necessary safeguarding solutions and failing to implement them can be extremely harmful and significantly increase a company’s risk for breach, as well as non-compliance. Being apprised of the current threat environment helps you address and resolve potential threats and vulnerabilities in a swift fashion. This is paramount, end of discussion.

Well, just a bit more discussion. There are things every retail business can do to protect itself, like making sure that software has the latest patches, implementing a two-factor identity authentication feature, and encrypting sensitive data. These are all basic cyber security measures, the online equivalent of “locking our windows and doors, brushing our teeth and using our seat-belts,” as said by former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, arguably a man who knows a thing or two about security. With retailers looking to protect a multitude of different resources like customer information, payment card details and such, it’s safe to say that it’s in their best interest to utilize these solutions to help prevent unauthorized access and a lasting damage to their business.


Non-compliance with an industry standard in the financial department can have severe consequences for a retail brand, most notably to its bottom line. Compliance is not easy and issues are poised to surface sometime. If a retailer has a continued history of compliance, it will be much easier to deal with any problem. That takes preparation and due diligence, from larger things like PCI compliance to using the right tech for assistance and a more streamlined operation to the smaller details like disclaimers on your website. Given the costs and charges that are incurred for being non-compliant, every retailer needs to be smart about this. It simply doesn’t pay off.

Millennials vs. Baby Boomers: Retail Sales Strategies That Appeal to Both

For decades, marketers have spent every last cent they had tailoring their retail sales strategies to appeal to Baby Boomers. Boomers, once the largest generation, have now been overtaken by Millennials, who are the largest living segment of the population. Millennials, who are roughly ages 18-36, are the generation everyone loves to hate, dismissing them as lazy, whiny, and unwilling to work. Continue reading “Millennials vs. Baby Boomers: Retail Sales Strategies That Appeal to Both”

10 Retail Marketing Blogs You Need to Read

There are blogs popping up left and right, claiming to have the freshest, most juicy information on making money in the marketing world. How are we to know which links are worth our while? How many times have you clicked on something promising, just to have to sift through a bunch of blabber and jokes that aren’t funny in order to get what you need? OR, maybe you’re the type that enjoys a little humor with your info! Continue reading “10 Retail Marketing Blogs You Need to Read”

How to Boost Retail Sales with Automated Discount Pricing

The retail space has certainly long known that pricing is a key factor in a customer’s decision whether to purchase a given product or service. However, while how much something costs is far from the only element influencing the sales process, pricing strategies continue to evolve as the marketplace becomes more and more crowded with emerging retailers. In particular, discount pricing — itself a tried-and-true method of boosting sales — has become less about simply dropping price points and more about strategically adjusting to fit the ever-changing nature of the market.

Continue reading “How to Boost Retail Sales with Automated Discount Pricing”

Empower Your Business With Social Media Hashtags


It was back in 2007 that the concept of the hashtag was first proposed. Twitter received a suggestion to use the hashtag for tagging group conversations. Initially Twitter rejected the idea, perceiving that the idea was too complicated for the fun-loving and fast-moving social media users. Over the span of a few short years, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have evolved and are no longer platforms for simply for peer-to-peer communication and funny cat videos. They are engines for commercial success – for brand growth and development along with marketing and promotional activity.

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The Power of the Brand Mapping/Positioning in Retailer’s Life


Kit Kat, Hersheys, Snickers, MnMs, Cadbury, (okay… so we love chocolate), Pepsi, Coca Cola, Parle-G, Bournvita, Parachute Hair Oil, Complan, Tata Salt, Johnson’s Baby, etc. What do these names have in common? Everyone knows them, and what they stand for. Most of these are all items of daily use or for quick consumption- most, in India still can be brought for 50 Rs. Or less. But they are institutions that we have grown up with- just like our religions. We know them like a good friend who was with us and still is. They are BRANDS.

Continue reading “The Power of the Brand Mapping/Positioning in Retailer’s Life”