Category Archives: Retailer Incentives

New Study Finds Free Gift with Purchase Drives Increase in Customer Retention & Sales

New Study Supports Our Findings: Gift With Purchase Best Way To Increase Loyalty & Retention

Increase loyalty at retail with gift with purchase

Utilizing a free gift with purchase can increase loyalty and sales, according to a new survey.

Austin, Texas: In my many blog posts, I write about the importance of utilizing gift with purchase in your promotional activity — rather than price discounts or a free sandwich after 10 concept.

An new study from  Harris Interactive and commissioned by IDR Marketing Partners reveals about two in five Americans are very-to-extremely likely to purchase more often from a shopping Web site after receiving a free gift and another 40 percent of Americans are somewhat likely to.
The survey also goes on to show that:

  • Consumers Come Back for More: Almost 90 percent of free gift receivers indicate that they are at least somewhat likely to buy more frequently from an online retailer after receiving a free gift.
  • Shoppers React Favorably to Something Extra: Sixty-five percent of free gift receivers say they are at least somewhat likely to share their experience with others online, about half offline.
  • Online Retailers Urged to Include Free Gift: Online retailers see value in including a free gift with customer orders, though less than half do.
  • Women More Likely to Share: Of the four out of five Americans that are at least somewhat likely to share their experience with others offline about a shopping site after receiving a free gift with purchase, women are found to be significantly more likely to share their positive experience than men.

A free gift with purchase should not be another item that you sell – but something that can be complementary or even non-related.

We did thousands of convenience store and car wash promotions where the consumer received free watches,free music downloads, free watches, etc. — but not free gasoline or an extra car wash — and had sales increases that averaged over 18% – with a high retention rate 6-12 months after the promotion ended.

A gift can also be complementary–such as a booklight when buying $50 in books, or a music download card when buying a new MP3 player.

The key is that the gift has a high perceived value – higher than a coupon or free gasoline or an extra sub sandwich.  In addition, the free gift has trophy value and will be remembered long after the money savings have been spent or the gasoline, soft drink, sandwich, free car wash etc has been consumed/discarded.

 Make your next loyalty or incentive program more effective by choosing the right gift with purchase.

Your customers will be glad you did.

And you will be pleased with the bottom line profits, as well.

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Using On-Pack Promotions to Increase Retail Sales

How Can On-Pack Promotions Increase Retail Sales?

using on pack promotions to increase retail sales

Case Study: Using on pack promotions to increase retail sales

Austin, Texas: Many of our consumer product manufacturers ask us for inexpensive ideas to increase retail sales for them and create some buzz.

One of the simplest programs are to use an on-pack promotion to stand out from the competition.

When sold as a complete promotion, an on pack program can be used with a buy-in program – to ignite short term sales, and be utilized with creative point of purchase materials to go with end caps, shelf talkers, counter mats or other marketing tools.

Studies show that more than 35% of product purchases at retail are spur of the moment- and an on-pack promotion can help your product become that impulse sale.

On-pack promotions can range for free product to a coupon offer, and even include:

Gamification: Gamification is a great way to take a consumer to a branded app or game for increased exposure to your brand. Although popular for many target audiences, this method is best suited for the younger generation.

Augmented Reality: A very unique application that can create virtual 3D images from a smartphone scan. These tend to get a high percentage of pass-along value for a brand. Click here to see a creative use of augmented reality.

SMS Text-to-Win Promotions: With nearly 300 million smartphones in the US alone, SMS Text-to-Win promotions can create an opportunity to showcase high end gifts on the POP and create greater excitement.

Gift With Purchase: This is one of the most popular programs because everybody is a winner. All they have to do is purchase the required number of products and send in proof of purchases for a free gift.

Not only is the Gift with Purchase On-pack offer the most popular, it requires the least amount of legalese–since it is not a drawing, contest or lottery. It is simply Buy and Receive.

An example of a Gift With Purchase on-Pack Promotion is the Vitamin Water Card shown.

As a spokesperson for Vitamin Water®, Kelly Clarkson added a musical edge to the brand’s image. They wanted to find a way to increase sales of Vitamin Water, while helping to promote Kelly’s new album.

An on-pack promotion was designed to reward customers that purchased bottles of Vitamin Water with a free Music Download, plus an exclusive video download of a remixed cut from the album.

It was a successful promotion for Vitamin Water, for the retailers and for customers – making it a win-win-win event–generated from a single on-pack promotion.

The use of creative on-pack promotions can help you to generate an immediate boosts in sales, as well as to create excitement for your product in a powerful way that encourages customer brand loyalty.

Tired of the same old money off coupons?  Try a creative on-pack promotion and help your brand stand out.

Happy Promoting!

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

How to Stop Showrooming and Increase Retail Sales

There are Ways to Slow Down the Negative Impact of Showrooming on Your Retail Business

Ideas on how to fight back against showroomingAustin, Texas: Unfortunately, showrooming is here to stay.

According to Wikipedia, Showrooming is when a customer visits a brick and mortar retail location to touch and feel a product and then goes online to buy the product at a lower price.

With the growth of price comparison apps and ease of visiting the web on smart phones, consumers have been trained to scan bar codes and research pricing before purchasing.

I just read an article that states that states that almost half of U.S. online shoppers plan to make fewer trips to the stores for holiday gift purchases this year. Instead, many will make use of shopping apps on their mobile device.

How can a retailer compete?

Some people have tried covering up a UPC bar code- but that is plain dumb.  In fact, I would imaging that doing this would also make a customer try harder to bypass the retailer–figuring that they must be covering it up for a reason.

One answer is to only purchase products from vendors that are exclusive or not sold to mass merchants.  However, this can only work to some degree – as consumers are often looking for brand name, licensed products and the latest items that they have seen promoted or advertised already.

My two suggestions: Bundling and Gift wiith Purchase.

Bundling is where you offer a shirt with a scarf for a special price. That makes comparing apples to apples much harder.

However, sometime the customer only wants the single item – and then you are back to an easy price comparison dilemma.

The best option is a Gift with Purchase.

With this option, you give the scarf free with a purchase of gloves, or give a free 10-song music download card with the purchase of an electronic device.

The perfume and cologne companies are masterful at the gift with purchase concept–when you get a gift basket with the perfume and bath gel ….. or a free gym duffel bag with the latest masculine cologne purchase.

Think out of the box.

Don’t give gift cards- as it is too easy to calculate the value— then deduct that amount from the purchase price.

I am a big proponent of branded merchandise–whether it is a stuffed toy with a embroidered scarf with the store’s logo – or branded shopping bag, music download card, stainless steel sports bottle, etc. By creating a proprietary item, the perceived value is often much higher than actual cost– since you would be buying these items at a wholesale discount.

It also serves as an advertsiing vehicle for your brand– which will keep it in the minds (and hearts) of our customers for much longer than a discount would.

Make it harder to scan and compare like items.

By offering a value-added gift, you can help tilt the advantage in your favor.

Here’s to a successful holiday shopping season.

 

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Can Your Logo Design Be Costing You Sales?

Your Logo may need updating if it doesn't portray your image properlyNew Survey Says 41% of Americans Don’t Trust Companies with Logos They Don’t Like

Austin, Texas: I came across this recent survey that shows that consumers place a great value on the look of a business’ logo design.

Granted, the survey was done by The Logo Company, a company that designs logos for a living.

 However, they had some interesting results:

1)  41 percent said that they didn’t trust companies and brands whose logos they didn’t like.

2)  32 percent of those polled said that they wouldn’t buy or use anything from a company or brand whose logo they didn’t like.

3) 63 percent said they wouldn’t trust or buy from a company with a bad logo because it made the brand look “cheap” if they had a badly designed logo.

4) When asked to state the main reason they chose a new brand of product, a majority of those polled, 59 percent, said it was the packaging, while 38 percent said it was the logo.

5) When asked what they thought made a good logo, 44 percent of people said they liked it to look “simple,” while 41 percent thought “color” was more important.

Poor sales?  Maybe blame your logo. Sure beats blaming yourself or your marketing and sales team.

But, perhaps there is some truth in the fact that your logo can build trust and shape perceptions of your company.

What does your logo say about your brand?

Is it time to re-visit your logo design?

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

5 Tips to End Showrooming At Your Store

How to avoid showrooming at your storeIdeas to Prevent Showrooming at Your Store

Austin, Texas: Showrooming is a way of life for retailers these days.

Customers can easily scan any bar code at your store and comparison check on a smartphone in seconds .. then decide to buy elsewhere.

So, how do you combat showrooming?

Do you ignore it and hope it goes away?  Heck no.

Showrooming is here to stay.

Do you cover up the barcodes (like this retailer does) and hope customers are too stupid to enter the product in by some other method and compare prices? No, you will just antagonize your customers more and make it look like you have something to hide.

Best advice:  you address it with a full-press attack.

Here are some ways to combat showrooming

1) If you are a local business, stress your ties to the community.

Don’t just donate a portion of your proceeds to the school’s sports teams or other extra-curricular activities—get involved with them.

Be seen at the games.

Be the biggest supporter of the team.

Be visible in your community and people will want to support you.

2) Be a valued resource in your community

One example of this in my hometown of Austin, Texas is Run-Tex, a local chain of athletic footwear.

Paul Carrozza the owner of the chain, is always on TV talking about running in general and they are the host site for many local 5K, 10K and marathon packet pickups, which draw in hundreds of runners each racing weekend. to their store.

He has become the go-to guy for all local media when talking about exercise, fitness and running.  Their site lists all upcoming running events within a 100-mile radius or so– so their company becomes THE running source in town.

Will people still comparison shop?  Sure, but in the long run, more than enough consumers will buy from Run-Tex than buy from Zappos to support their local business.

Write blogs on your field of expertise.

Give away knowledge and the products will take care of themselves.

An educated customer can be your most loyal customer.

3) Gift with Purchase

Perhaps the best way to differentiate your offering from another is with a gift with purchase.

A gift with purchase works well because your offer is different enough to make comparison shopping moot.   Some examples are a free bottle of shoe cleaning spray with a pair of running shoes.  Or a free 5-song music download card with purchase of back-to-school backpack.  Or a free sports watch with heart rate monitor with the purchase of a an elliptical machine.

Think out of the box. Sometimes the gift can have nothing to do with the product– like a free sports bottle with the purchase of cologne or perfume.

The key is that it has to be of some value compared to the product itself – and it avoids discounting.

4) Bundling

This can be in the form of bundling–where the shirt also comes with a coordinating tie at a price somewhere between what you’d normally sell both items separately for.

Another option is bundling a service to go with the product–like an extended warranty, training of the high tech product, etc.

Although bundling is better than discounting, I would suggest the first three options before going with bundling, as it still erodes margins.

5) Meeting or Beating Prices

No one can be so high minded to say to always walk away from meeting or beating prices.

Depending on the markup and profit of the order, some may be tempted to “take the money and run” – -albeit at a discounted profit.

But use this technique at your discretion.

Consistently matching competitors with deeper-pocketed, national competitors who may have more purchasing power is a no-win situation.

Do you walk away from it?  Depends on the situation and the potential for future business from that customer.

Price matching can be your last resort in dealing with customers — but it is all the other things that you can offer (see steps 1-4 again) that can help prevent this occurrence from happening too often.

Fight back against showrooming — and compete on your strengths.

Happy Promoting!

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

New Ways to Add Much Needed Revenue to Your Retail Store

What Are You Doing To Seek Out New Profit Centers?

is your business looking for new ways to increase revenue opportunities?Austin, Texas: I recently read an article detailing how grocers are adding sit down restaurants in their supermarkets as a way of adding revenue and improving ROI.

This is a great example of taking some of the positives of your major competition and configuring it to fit your own sales model.

Instead of rolling over and losing 100% of the eat-in business, more and more grocery stores are enticing a segment of this population with their own restaurant section.

Are you continuously looking for opportunties to expand your sales opportunities?

Take a few minutes and write down the main benefits of your major competition.

Don’t just think of intra-industry competitors. Think alternative options.

Full service car washes vs. drive-thru convenience stores.

Athlethic clothing store vs. fitness center with a retail store.

Vitamin shop vs. that same fitness center with a retail section of protein shakes, bars and vitamin supplements.

Coffee shop vs. convenience store , sandwich shop or donut shop.

Once you can visualize the types of competition that is siphoning off some of your business, you can be more pro-active in winning some of it back.

Talk to your customers.  Ask them if they would support your new endeavor.

Be creative in your ideas.

Brainstorm.

Think out-of-the box.  Maybe very much outside of the box.

As the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them.

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Value vs. Price: Ideas to Help Out-Innovate Your Competition Without Cutting Prices

Ideas to help increase sales without cutting pricesAustin, Texas: The media has been reporting that many major retailers, like Wal-Mart, Staples and Bed Bath and Beyond are offering lowest-price guarantees this fall in hopes of stimulating immediate sales, at the expense of long-term profitability.

For many, it seems like a return to the free-falling days of Fall 2008.

But can low price truly be your competitive advantage?

There can only be one lowest-priced brand per category, and if every company shoots for that nadir, then innovation, marketing, packaging, branding and other areas of differentiation would fail to exist.

Sure, the economy is soft, but consumers want value.  Why else would Apple be outselling its lower priced competitors in the phone, tablet and computer markets?

Don’t settle for the bottom.  Customers still want to be wowed, or at least, pleasantly surprised.

Where will you be building your strengths?

What will you be doing to differentiate your company from others?

What new niche can you serve?

What niches can you expand to?

Can you value-add your product or service?

Can you add snob-appeal?

Are you selling value, rather than price?

Can you run a cross-marketing promotion to entice demand rather than discounting price?

Spend the next several hours preparing for your Value-Added Plan, instead of thinking of ways to cut your price.

Your company needs bolder ideas to grow and expand its bottom line.

Price cutting just to meet or beat your competitors, doesn’t make sense.

What are you going to do to out-think and out-innovate your competition?

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Gaining Customer Loyalty Through the “IT” Factor

build your restaurant's brandAustin, Texas:  While on vacation last week, our family spent a few days in Seattle before embarking on an Alaskan cruise.

While sight-seeing downtown, we stood in a long “line” at a fish restaurant called Ivar’s, where we  shouted out our order and huddled with a mass of people waiting for our tasty fish n’ chips.  Not more than a block and a half down from this restaurant were several other similar restaurants— all offering fish n’ chips and all with attractive storefronts —  but none with any lines.

What was the difference?

Later that day, we went to Pike Place Market, where one fish stand had a crowd of people standing, watching the employees toss frozen fish around, while most of the other frozen fish vendors did not have much of a line at all.

What was the difference?

Across the street from the market was a Russian bakery called Piroshky’s that literally had a line wrapped around the corner.  In fact, it seemed to be the only place in the building that had any business at all.

What was the difference?

Two days later, in Alaska, we wanted to go on a whale watching boat tour, only to find out that the one we wanted has been sold out for weeks, so we had to settle for another tour that still had ample seating. It was very nice, but we felt shorted in the end because it wasn’t the tour that our neighbors had bragged about.

What was the difference?

Why is it that some restaurants and other retail establishments have that special “it” factor, while others, with better food, do not have what it takes?

Is it luck? Possibly. Perhaps a food critic happened to a restaurant, wrote an article and created buzz.  This can certainly help in the short-term, but eventually, if the food quality was lacking and the pricing not commensurate witht he atmosphere, this placxe would no longer capture the attention of the public.

Is it the pricing? Probably not.  Lunch at Ivar’s cost us over $40 for three people – and it was considered fast food. We were not looking for lowest price, we wanted to go to a place that seemed “happening”.

Is it the food (product) quality? Could be. But the fried clams tasted very similar to what I used to get at Howard Johnson’s all-you-can-eat restaurant I remembered as a child. Tasty.  But not the end all of fried clams.

Is it the location?  Doubtful.  Sure, the fish market that had the longest line was in a corner location, but so were a few other fish markets. Location can certainly help attract walk-in customers, but I have seen many prime location restaurants and retailers fail miserably.

All these factors, when taken individually, can have a small impact. But, when taken as an entirety, these factors can make any company shine brighter than the others.

But, all four of these places above were recommended to us–either through Facebook, through a Google search or by someone else.

  • What is your company doing to create an “it” factor?
  • How are you differentiating yourself from your competition?
  • How are you getting your name out in front of your customers?
  • How are you creating referrals?
  • How is your brand being perceived?
  • Do your customers perceive your image the same way as you perceive it?  If not, why not?
  • Are you making it easy to get “tagged” on Facebook?  If my wife can’t easily tag your business on her iPad, then you are not going to get an instant referral.
  • Are you using social media to build your brand, or are you “too busy to find the time”?
  • Are you asking your employees for feedback?
  • Are you talking to your customers all the time?  Are you also listening to them?

Take some time and think about what you can do to become the place with the “it” factor.

  • Create an identity.
  • Build it.
  • Brand it.
  • Promote it.
  • Live it.
  • Preach it.
  • Become the “it”.

Start right away. Customer loyalty begets referrals. Every business needs both to survive and to thrive.

What are you going to do to become the “it” retailer in your community?

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Lessons to Learn From the Borders Bankruptcy

Management strategies from Borders BankruptcyAustin, Texas: I read with great sadness about the closing of the Borders book chain as they liquidate their stores due to bankruptcy.  I used to love spending time shopping the latest mystery novels and buying my kid’s children’s books to read with them.

I stressed the words used to because it has probably been about six years since I have walked into a Borders store, as I mostly buy my books online through Amazon.com.

Obviously I wasn’t the only customer who switched to online book buying, so why did Borders’ management not notice this shift in buying preferences and make adjustments, like Barnes and Noble’s did?

Are you making the same management mistakes that befell Borders?

What can we learn from this fall from grace?

The biggest lesson is the failure to act.  Surely, your company has seen changes in the past five to ten years in the way customers interact with you.  Have you taken notice?

Are they still going to the same trade shows?   I have seen trade show attendance drop dramatically from year-to-year at most of the shows I still exhibit at, and have cut many marginal shows from my schedule–with nominal difference to my bottom line.

Are they buying a higher percentage of product from your website compared to from your sales force or retail locations?  Take a close look.

Can you close some marginal stores? Reduce store hours? Better train your telemarketers? Introduce a more convenient way to buy?

Are you studying and preparing for future trends?  Look at trends in many industries and you will see seismic shifts.  Are you paying attention to them, or burying your head in the sand–assuming people will continue to buy from you because they always have in the past?

If you are a middleman, how long will it be before your customers are able to buy direct more easily? Information is ubiquitous, omnipresent and free.

People are researching and buying real estate online.

They book their own travel online. Heck, I remember when we had a travel agent book our sales team’s travel schedules about a decade ago.  Do you think they saw the shift coming?

They even shop for dating partners online–so don’t think that your industry is above and beyond the realm of obsolescence.

Take some time and envision where your industry will be in five years and in ten years.   Then think about how that will affect your company.

Be pro-active.  Take steps now to try new ways of marketing.

Social media–definitely. But that is only one step. It will not change an industry, just help you get noticed more easily.

Spend time and try to envision changes that have been taking place in your industry and others–and how they might apply to your own business.

This will require deep thought and some forecasting, but if you don’t plan for deep changes coming soon, you might be headed for the same future as Borders.  If you take the time now, you might stay ahead of the curve, and be more like Barnes and Noble–who developed the Nook e-reader and BN.com to stave off competition from Amazon.com and live to fight on.

I hope you take this challenge and build your business for the coming decades.

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Recent Study Sheds New Light on Quick Service Restaurant Industry

new study sheds new light on QSR industryA new study from Consumer Reports sheds some new light on customer perceptions of the quick serve restaurant industry.

The magazine issued its first-ever quick-service food chain ratings, which included 53 chains in the fast casual, quick-service and pizza segments.

Other than the actual rankings of each restaurant, the study revealed some important trends that can help shed some light on the QSR industry, such as:

a) Customers appreciate friendly service. It is more than food. A smile still goes a long way.

b) Diners want better food. Many restaurants scored higher for service — specifically, speed and politeness — than for food. Customers are not expecting epicurean delights from QSRs, but do expect good taste.

c) People are still looking for value. Only 54 percent of the population cited low prices as a reason for picking a specific restaurant. However, only 19 percent said they received “excellent” value for their money. Are you giving customers’ their moneys worth?

d) Customers are not always honest about their desires. Consumers want healthy, but don’t order healthy. When asked if they had eaten a healthful meal at their most recent visit to a chain, only 13 percent of those surveyed said yes, despite the increasing options of healthier fare. At pizza chains specifically, only 4 percent said yes. Are you marketing your food as healthy?

e) Diners want full service experience at quick service restaurants. This might be an example of wanting it all, but diners were much less pleased overall with quick-service restaurants than with casual full-service eateries.

f) Customers are loyal. Survey respondents bought lunch or dinner at one of the featured chains four times a month on average. Thirteen percent visited these establishments 10 or more times a month. What are you doing to win over more of these loyal customers?

g) Economy is still an issue. Twenty-two percent said they eat out less often than they used to because of financial concerns. Are you running specials or offering value-priced meals?

Other trends evident at chains include barbell pricing — mixing low-price choices with patented specialties and pricier items; upgraded facilities, including the addition of a second drive-thru; additional delivery options such as online ordering for pickup; expanded menus to include snacks and breakfast; reduced fat and sodium; and catering to food allergies and sensitivities such as offering gluten-free choices.

What can you do to better enhance customers’ perceptions of your restaurant?   After all, perception is everything.


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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in promotional products aimed at a tech audience. Since 1981, Robert Piller has worked with Fortune 500 companies, as well as startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses using the latest and most cost-effective marketing strategies and incentives.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. He can be reached through LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest hi-tech promotional products –including imprinted speakers and ear buds, tablet and cell phone cases and bags, promotional stylus pens, imprinted chargers, USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.