New Season, New Retail Strategy: Five Ideas for Amping Up Your Approach this Fall

Fall is finally here and with it comes a chance to refresh your retail strategy just in time for some of the biggest shopping events of the year. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Columbus Day and other holidays are right around the corner, and before you know it, we’ll be in the midst of holiday shopping season. Now is a great time to prepare for the upcoming festivities and try out some new techniques to wow customers. 

Here are a few tips for amping up your retail strategy this season: 

1. Get ready for EMV. 

This year, fall is bringing more than back-to-school shoppers. It’s also bringing new rules and regulations that will increase payment security. It’s likely you’ve at least heard rumors of the October 2015 liability shift, which will hold all US merchants using non-EMV-compliant technology responsible in the event of a fraudulent transaction made with a chip card. With the deadline rapidly approaching, it’s important that retailers know what the shift means for their business and, most importantly, that they prepare accordingly. 

That means upgrading payment terminals so that they’re EMV-compliant and training employees to recognize chip cards and show customers how to use them correctly should be a top priority. If you’re planning on sprucing up your retail strategy this fall, preparing for the liability shift and embracing EMV-compliant technology is a great place to start. You’ll be safe in case of fraud and your customers will be glad you took the time to improve security. 

2. Embrace mobile payments. 

It’s estimated that 416 million NFC-equipped phones will ship in 2015 alone. That means many consumers are equipped with this technology and you should be ready. There’s no better time than the present to start accepting mobile payments.

Not only are your customers capable of making mobile payments, studies show consumers are likely to spend more money when paying with their phones. Accepting Apple Pay, Android Pay and soon-to-launch Samsung Pay could be the competitive edge you’re looking for this fall. Start by evaluating your current hardware, make sure your terminal is NFC-compatible, enable NFC and you’re ready to go. 

3. Take mobile beyond payments.

Already accepting mobile payments? Take things one step further! There’s more to mobile than just payments. Android Pay comes with the built-in capability to integrate loyalty programs and discounts and a similar functionality is coming to iPhone users with the release of iOS 9 this September. Additionally, Android Pay offers an open API, meaning retailers can integrate new payment methods and loyalty features into a store’s existing mobile app. Try using these features to keep customers engaged in your rewards program. 

4. Amp up your appeal to Generation Z. 

Chances are, you know Generation X like the back of your hand and you’re starting to understand what Generation Y is all about, but what about Generation Z? Just when you thought you had your customers figured out, there’s a new set of shoppers shaking things up. Generation Z includes roughly everyone from ages 10-20, accounting for over a quarter of the population. These are your back-to- school shoppers and it’s time to start appealing to their unique characteristics. Start by building a presence on all screens (TVs, phones, desktops, laptops, tablets and gaming devices), create personalized marketing strategies and foster loyalty via social media. 

5. Consider restructuring your loyalty program. 

Loyalty programs can be hugely effective if they’re structured properly. Consider giving your strategy a facelift if it isn’t bringing in the results you’re looking for. For starters, trim the fat by removing initiatives that annoy shoppers. A recent Capgemini Consulting survey found that consumers dislike hard-to-redeem rewards, offers that aren’t personalized and program structures that appeal to wallets instead of emotions. It’s also important to remember that there’s more than one way to thank loyal customers. Consider refreshing your approach with instant rewards for signing up, member-exclusive discounts and deals and online shopping portals so shoppers can redeem rewards anywhere. 

How are you improving your retail strategy this fall? Send us a tweet @Cayan and let us know!

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