CCA Sports Blog

June 6, 2017

CCA Sports Retail Services Partners With OIA   

The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is a membership-driven trade organization that is a force for the outdoor industry in recreation and trade policy, sustainable business innovation and increasing outdoor participation. OIA has also assembled best-in-class service provider partners to offer OIA members business savings programs and additional benefits, and we are excited to announce that CCA Sports Retail Services is a new OIA service provider partner! Click here for more information.

May 10, 2017

Consumer Financing 101   

We've been hearing from more and more outdoor and winter sports retailers that customers are asking for financing when they come into their shops. Now is a perfect time to cover the key fundamentals of consumer financing, and uncover some of its myths:

Customers Use Financing At Other Retailers...And Expect You To Offer It Too

Customers are used to having financing offered to them when they shop at other stores, whether it’s by a sales associate, advertisement or signage.

When customers come to your store, more of them are expecting that you will have financing options available, particularly if they are planning to make a large purchase. If a customer walks in planning to buy a new kayak, backpack with tent and sleeping bag, or a pair of skis and expects to be able to use financing but you don't offer it, at best you've disappointed them. At worst, you've lost the sale.

Financing Incentivizes Customers To Return To YOUR Store

Why? When customers get approved for financing through our private label card program, they receive a card with your store's name on it.

Retailers have been offering store cards for decades because they know it encourages loyalty. The next time a customer plans to make a purchase, they are far more likely to go to the store where they have a line of credit and whose card is in their wallet.

You're Not Putting Your Customers In Debt By Offering Financing

In fact, you’re actually putting them in better financial position than if you accepted their credit card instead. With a credit card, the customer has just one month to pay off their balance before the higher rate on their outstanding balance kicks in. With financing, you’re giving your customer the opportunity to pay off that balance over an extended period of time, without penalty.

Let’s be frank - if you’re choosing not to offer financing because it’s a moral issue for you, then you really should not be offering credit cards as a form of payment either. Plus, why limit the payment options you accept? Give your customers more ways to pay and they will thank you.

Don't Assume Your Customers Will Not Want To Use Financing

"Our store is in a wealthy area so our customers don't need financing." We hear that one a lot. Sure, your customers may be able to afford a high-ticket purchase with cash or credit card, but don't assume that's how they would prefer to pay for it.

If given the choice, many customers will use financing so that they can make their money work for them, by putting it in an interest-bearing account, an investment, etc.

For example, a customer who could easily afford a $3,000 kayak purchase may instead choose to use 12-month financing so that they can get their kayak (and accessories) now while earning interest or dividends on that $3,000 over the course of the year. They will make the required payments each month, pay off the balance at the end of the 12 months, and now have extra income earned on that $3,000 by not having spent it in one lump sum.

The key is giving your customers the ability to make that choice. By offering them another way to pay with consumer financing, you are increasing the likelihood that they will buy from you.

March 31, 2017

Are You Really Reaching The Majority Of Your Customers?

When the topic of marketing comes up with retailers, sometimes we'll hear comments like:

“We’re putting our marketing efforts towards social media.”
“We use email primarily because it’s cheap and effective.”
“Most of our business comes from word of mouth so we focus on getting reviews.”  

Retailers that put all of their marketing ‘eggs’ in one basket run the risk of leaving significant dollars on the table. With stores dealing with lower traffic counts and high costs of new customer acquisition, the value of previous customers is greater than ever. Staying in contact with recent customers should be a priority, yet often they are ignored after they make a purchase. A major cause of this can be attributed to the  retailers’ marketing mix (or lack thereof).

If you are relying on just one or two marketing channels there's a good chance you are not reaching a large segment of your customers. To maximize sales, be sure to avoid these common retailer misconceptions around marketing strategy:

1. I Don't Need To Market To Customers Who Just Bought From Me.

The rationale is that it’s a waste to market to a customer who just spent a lot of money at my store, because he or she won’t be buying from me again anytime soon. 

The reality is that you are much more likely to get a response with your marketing efforts from this customer than a prospective customer. Did the customer buy all the accessories they need to go with their ski purchase? Was your customer informed of any maintenance packages you offer on fitness equipment? Maybe another family member needs a new elliptical, kayak, or sleeping bag. Don’t assume that a customer who just dropped some serious coin won’t buy again in the near future. The key is timing and giving them reasons to come back. 

Enrolling them in a rewards program and/or offering financing during their initial purchase (which gives the customer an open line of credit on a card with your store’s name on it) and then following up with a thank you email after the purchase are all effective tools to get this customer back sooner than you think. 

Plus, these customers can help your word-of-mouth efforts. Since they just bought from you they are much more likely to give you a positive review, so be sure to include an option for them to do so in your thank you email.

2. My Email List = My Customer List.

Email is an inexpensive and effective tool, but most stores have email addresses for only 20-50% of their customers. That’s a lot of customers not hearing from you if email is your only form of advertising. A good exercise is to download your customer list and sort by email address. This will put in perspective exactly how many customers you do not have email addresses for. You certainly will want to make an effort to get their email, but that will take time. 

To maximize results now, take your top customers from the past 2 years with mailing addresses but no email addresses and mail at least a portion of them. While a postcard costs more than an email, it will be worth it to get your top customers who haven’t heard from you back into your store to make another purchase (which also gives you another opportunity to collect their email).

3. My Customers Are Just Like Me.

Many retailers make the mistake of “mirror” marketing – assuming their customers are similar to them and take in information the same way. 

"I don’t like getting texts so we don’t use text messaging."
"I don’t really see the point in (enter social media platform here) so we focus our efforts elsewhere.”

Sound familiar? If so, you’re doing mirror marketing. Just because you don’t see value in something does not mean your customers feel the same way.

Some customers may prefer emails and Facebook, but others may prefer texting and Instagram. With a multichannel strategy you will reach more customers via the platform they prefer, making your efforts more effective.

4. Who Has The Time To Do All This? Not Me!

The problem for many retailers is bandwidth. But with today’s technology, many tools like email follow-ups, rewards programs and social media content can be automated, saving you time to focus on other areas of your business. Where automation is not an option, your team can be a big asset, particularly with social media. They likely spend more time on social platforms than you do – take advantage of their knowledge while giving them the opportunity to do something new that they will enjoy.

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February 22, 2017

Do You Know Your Net Promoter Score?

As a retailer, you know better than anyone that customers are not just sharing their shopping experiences with their neighbors and friends- they’re sharing them with everyone. Online review sites and social networks have given consumers powerful platforms to express their opinions, and these amplified voices are why "word-of-mouth" has become so influential. Customer satisfaction, or lack thereof, can make or break a business today. That’s one of the main reasons why Net Promoter Score (also known as Net Advocate Score has become the "go-to" metric for many retailers.  

Do You Know Your Net Promoter Score?

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the measure of a simple question that you ask your customers- “how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or family member, on a scale of 0 to 10?”
Customers who give a 9 or 10 are considered “promoters” or "advocates", while those who give a 6 or less are “detractors” (“passives” are customers who submit a 7 or 8 rating.)
The NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. NPS is a valuable metric because it enables you to quantify your customers’ satisfaction. As the old saying goes, you can’t improve what you can’t measure. NPS gives you a single, quantifiable metric that you and your staff can focus on to improve the customer experience in your store. If your NPS increases, in all likelihood your customers’ satisfaction is improving along with it.   

How Do I Get Customers To Give Me Their Feedback, And How Can I Track It?

First and foremost, you need to make the decision to ask your customers the NPS question consistently. This should occur within a short period of time after a customer’s purchase, when their experience is still fresh in their mind.  Next, you need a mechanism to deliver the question to your customers and effectively record and tabulate their responses. It also needs to be easy from an operational standpoint – if it requires a lot of manual effort, it will likely fall off the radar, another well-intentioned initiative that becomes a casualty once the season is in full swing.

Easily Track Your Net Promoter Score With Ski & Outdoor Club

Retailers who are members of CCA Sports Retail Services are able to easily track their NPS through CCA Sports' automated customer follow-up program. Ski & Outdoor Club sends triggered thank-you emails to customers on behalf of the store after their purchase. These customizable emails give retailers the option to include a survey button that customers can click on and answer the NPS question.

Respondents’ answers are then fed back into the retailer’s Ski & Outdoor Club dashboard, enabling stores to not only view their cumulative NPS, but also compare their score to the average score of other participating retailers. Stores are also able to download each customer’s individual responses and comments.   

Now more than ever, understanding how your customers view you is critical to your long term success. Net Promoter Score gives you that insight in a tangible way. Use it to your advantage in 2017!