The Importance of Customer Reviews

The Importance of Customer Reviews

Word of mouth marketing has evolved in the last decade or so. Consumers are increasingly placing their belief in social proof and credibility. A recent study by Brightlocal, states that 98% of shoppers read online reviews for local businesses.

Customer reviews have the potential to bring your business to new heights, but they can also affect your business’s reputation negatively. However, there’s no need to worry because this article focuses on the essentials of customer reviews and provides excellent strategies to obtain positive feedback from customers.

What are customer reviews?


Essentially customer reviews are the opinions of someone who has visited your store which reflects their personal experiences, satisfaction and overall impression. Customers can leave a review on various platforms dedicated to them. One of the most popular websites being Google My Business, which we’re sure you’ve seen before. The reviews will cover many aspects of your business, from performance, store atmosphere, customer service, etc.

How can customer reviews benefit your business?

Perspective of person looking at reviews

Customer reviews play a significant role in shaping the purchasing decisions of others, which can be leveraged to your advantage in attracting more customers to your business. With positive reviews you can build a positive customer reputation and public perception. By using some of your best reviews you can provide prospective customers testimonials to encourage a purchase. Additionally customer reviews can improve your business’s brand awareness, SEO, etc.

As we’ve mentioned before, social proof and credibility are really important in a business success, but how? Social proof indicates that others have had a positive experience with a product/service and this can influence customers to choose your business. Likewise credibility aids in trust and it also enhances trust in your business with potential customers.

On the other hand you may think that negative reviews will only hinder your brand’s reputation. But these negative reviews can help with finding flaws in your service so that you can improve.

How can you get positive customer reviews

In order to get positive reviews you must first offer your customers an exceptional experience. But once this is done you have to reach out to your customers to leave the review. Here are some great ways to initiate this.

'Please leave us a review' sign with a QR code that links to the review site
You can purchase a sign like this here—or create your own!

Asking for reviews will never hurt—always encourage your customers to leave a review. There are a few ways to do so:

  1. Asking customers to leave a review at checkout
  2. When following-up via email or SMS
  3. Rewarding customers for leaving reviews, etc.

A great way to secure reviews is to make it as easy as possible to access the review page. We suggest using QR codes like in the example above.

Dealing with negative reviews


How should you deal with negative reviews? If you are given the opportunity you should always show initiative and respond quickly to your unsatisfied customers. Then offer these customers a solution to their problem. This way you can try to change your customer’s opinion of your business.

If you are interested in learning more about Google reviews, check out one of our previous blogs, the importance of Google reviews. In this article, we talk about how to handle both negative and positive reviews as a small business.

Hopefully this article can help you improve the reputation of your business, and helped you understand how to support customer reviews. If you are interested in marketing, business, and the newest retail news, subscribe to our blog.

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4 Tips To Maximize Your Retail Sales For Father’s Day

4 Tips To Maximize Your Retail Sales For Father’s Day

Father’s Day is fast approaching right after Mother’s Day. According to the NRF, Americans are expecting to spend around $20 billion this year. Are you using the right strategies to increase Father’s Day spending? Here are 4 great ways to take advantage of this annual celebration to maximize your sales with your customers.

Don’t forget to check out our recent Mother’s Day post for other ideas: 4 Ways Retailers Can Sell More This Mother’s Day.

Image of gift father's day gift

Power of referral marketing

Marketing can be a tough nut to crack, but there’s one technique that’s been proven time and time again to be incredibly effective: word-of-mouth (WOM). People trust the recommendations of their friends and family more than any other form of advertising. So, why not harness the power of this approach with a referral program?

Offering your loyal customers a unique link to share with their loved ones rewards their loyalty and helps you expand your customer base by tapping into the power of their personal networks, creating a win-win situation. You don’t need to limit WOM to your online store. You can offer customers coupons to share with their friends and family. This way you can drive customers into your physical store as well.

Image of referral card from eko.
Here a great example from eko. ceramics

Exclusive items

Looking to give your brand a boost and stand out in a crowded market? One strategy you might consider is offering exclusive items. These products can help differentiate you from your competitors, but they can also create a sense of urgency for customers.

For example, imagine releasing a limited-edition Father’s Day item that’s only available for a short time. This creates a “must-have” mentality among your customers who know they need to act fast if they want to get their hands on the exclusive product.

And the data backs up the effectiveness of this approach: 49% of consumers said they were more likely to make a purchase if an item is marketed as exclusive or limited edition.

The exclusive strategy isn’t limited to just a single product either. You could offer exclusive/limited-time bundles or promotions as well.

So don’t miss out on the potential benefits of offering exclusive items. Create a unique selling proposition and offer limited-edition products to drive sales and grow your brand. This taps into customers’ desires for exclusive products. Ultimately, you can drive more sales and grow your brand in exciting new ways.

Zing's limited run seasoning combo

Create a gift guide

Looking for a way to help your customers find the perfect gift for Father’s Day? Consider creating a gift guide! Not only does this showcase your products in a unique way, but it also provides customers with personalized options to choose from.

For example, if your store specializes in outdoor gear, you might create a gift guide for “Adventure-loving Dads”. This guide could feature items such as hiking boots, camping gear, and portable grills. Or if your store focuses on tech products, you might create a guide for “Tech-savvy Dads”, featuring the latest gadgets and accessories. With the right approach, a gift guide can be a powerful tool for driving sales.

Detox market gift guide sorted by price
Here’s a great example from the detox market, sorting gifts by price

Themed contest

If you’re looking for a way to generate buzz around your brand and engage your customers, consider running a themed contest. This is a fun and exciting way to get your customers involved with your brand, and offers them a chance to win a prize.

For example, a Father’s Day-themed contest, where customers are asked to like and share your post to win. Or, if your store specializes in a particular type of product, you could run a contest that encourages customers to get creative and show off their skills using those products.

A themed contest helps create more exposure for your brand, but it also shows your company’s commitment to the community. By offering customers the chance to win a prize, you’re demonstrating that you value their loyalty and are willing to reward them for it.

Example of companies instagram post contest

Hopefully you can make use of these unique ways to increase your sales this Father’s Day. For more helpful tips, you can subscribe to our blog. TAKU wishes you and your family a happy Father’s Day!

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4 Ways AI can improve your retail business

4 Ways AI can improve your retail business

In 2023, AI (artificial intelligence) has already made significant progress in the retail industry. Besides AI chatbots like ChatGPT and AI-generated visuals like those created by Midjourney, there are many more ways AI can be used in retail. For instance, AI-powered recommendation engines can help retailers personalize the shopping experience for each customer by analyzing their browsing and purchase history.

AI has the potential to revolutionize the retail industry and in this blog we’ll introduce to you 4 great ways AI will change the retail industry.

ChatGPT screenshot

1. Automation

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has various benefits, among which automation stands out as a significant advantage. AI is capable of automating tasks, leading to cost reduction, improved efficiency, and accuracy. By implementing AI-powered systems, businesses can free up their employees’ time to focus on more complex and creative tasks, resulting in a more productive and efficient workforce. An example of automation is the use of chatbots and virtual assistants, which can help customers with their queries at any time of day or night, reducing the workload of customer service staff while improving response time.

Projected impact of automation by core of merchandising activity by McKinsey & Company

We will definitely be seeing a wave of tools designed to automate more retail processes in the coming years. It’ll start with big box brands having access to these tools. However, in time—these tools will become accessible to smaller businesses.

2. Personalized recommendations

AI can continuously analyze customer data, such as purchase history, browsing behavior and demographics. It can provide product recommendations, choose the most attractive products and make every customer’s experience more enjoyable. Here are some examples of how AI can help with personalized recommendations

  • Contextual recommendations: The AI analyzes customer data such as location, time of day, and the weather. It then provides recommendations that are right for the customers currents needs.
  • Collaborative filtering: The AI makes recommendations based on other users preferences, it compares similarities between customers purchase history’s and preferences.
An example of how AI product recommendation could look

3. Fraud protection

AI is a great tool when it comes to security. AI systems can analyze patterns that show signs of fraudulent activities that may be difficult for humans to detect. It can detect abnormal transactions that differ from normal purchasing patterns. For example if a customer suddenly uses a new device, at a new location, or purchases larger quantities, AI can automatically flag such behavior as fraudulent activity. Fraud can be found in both e-commerce and brick and mortar stores, with theft an increasingly costly problem for retailers. A report in late 2022 states that shoplifting has become a $100 billion dollar problem. Here are a few examples of how AI can prevent shoplifting in your store.

  • Video surveillance: AI-powered video surveillance can be used to monitor the store and identify suspicious behaviors. By identifying patterns such as how long a customer stays in a specific part of a store, unusual body language or repeated visits to the same section.
  • Sensor technology: Some stores use sensors to track the movement of merchandise. AI can be used to analyze unusual patterns in product movement. For instance, if an item is misplaced or repeatedly picked up and returned to the same location.
  • Predictive analytics: AI can also be used to analyze historical data about shoplifting incidents in your store. It can identify patterns or trends that may have resulted in a higher likelihood of shoplifting. By identifying these patterns you can prevent shoplifting by increasing security in an area that has a higher pattern of shoplifting, or changing the layout of the store.
Vector art of a hacker behind a laptop with a lock symbol on it

4. Lowering business costs

AI can greatly lower the operational costs at your business by making it easier to automate and collect large amounts of data to automate routine tasks. Some examples of how retailers use data to lower business costs include:

  • Optimizing operations: AI can identify various inefficiencies in business operations. Then it can streamline the processes, reduce waste and improve overall efficiency.
  • Supply chain management: AI can also analyze the data from suppliers, transportations providers and other sources. This can help with reducing transportation costs, improve delivery times and the overall cost of carrying inventory.

Not only can AI reduce business cost, but it can also increase business sales. AI can help with demand forecasting, allowing you to better understand your customers’ buying behaviors and to anticipate their needs. This can lead to improved inventory management and more effective marketing strategies, resulting in increased sales and customer loyalty.

Vector art of predictive analytics

AI has already made significant progress in the retail industry and has the potential to revolutionize it in the coming years. AI-powered automation, personalized recommendations, fraud protection, and lowering business costs are just a few examples of how AI can benefit retailers. With AI’s ability to collect and analyze large amounts of data, it can greatly improve operational efficiency and customer experience, ultimately leading to increased sales and customer loyalty. As AI technology continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how it transforms the retail industry and the shopping experience for consumers.

We are always excited to see what’s brewing in the world of retail. If you are too, consider subscribing to our blog

4 Ways Retailers Can Sell More This Mother’s Day

4 Ways Retailers Can Sell More This Mother’s Day

Originally published April 29th, 2021

Mother’s day is around the corner and shoppers are expected to spend big this holiday. According to the NRF, last years mother’s day spending was expected to reach $31.7 billion and with an average spending per person expected at $245.76.

Discover 4 effective strategies to maximize your Mother’s Day sales by tapping into consumer spending behaviours. Read on to learn how you can sell more this year.

4 Ways To Sell More On Mother’s Day

1) Offer Convenience

Approximately one-quarter of shoppers prioritize convenience when choosing a Mother’s Day gift. To cater to these busy shoppers, ensure that your store and website offer a hassle-free shopping experience.

One effective approach is to set up a point-of-purchase display showcasing your Mother’s Day merchandise. Use signage to guide customers to the display so they can quickly find and purchase the perfect gift.

Image taken by B.Lovely Events

Maximize your sales potential by leveraging your website or ecommerce store. Creating a dedicated section for Mother’s Day gifts is an excellent way to drive sales. Make it easier for your customers by including product recommendations, such as a “Top Products for Mother’s Day” or “Most Popular Gifts for Mom” section.

If you have an ecommerce store, consider promoting popular fulfillment options on your website, such as Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) to encourage safe and convenient purchases.

2) Give Your Shoppers Gifting Inspiration

Over 80% of shoppers rely on retailers for inspiration when selecting gifts, presenting an opportunity for businesses to provide creative solutions. One way to cater to these shoppers is by developing a gift guide that offers unique and thoughtful ideas for Mother’s Day.

To create an effective gift guide, begin creating gift ideas suitable for various types of mother figures such as aunts, grandmothers, godmothers, and new mothers. While your guide should showcase items available in your store, you can also incorporate unique and personalized gift ideas, for example, homemade options.

Ensure that your gift guide is easily accessible to shoppers by featuring it on your website homepage. Given that many customers will be searching the internet for gift ideas, placing the guide in a visible location and including a call to action such as “Looking for the perfect gift for mom? Explore our Mother’s Day gift guide!” can help draw their attention and encourage engagement with your brand.

Not only will this create a better shopping experience for your customers, it will also help you appear higher up in search results.

You can also create email guides to send to your mailing list and printable guides to give to walk-in shoppers.

Mother's Day Retail

3) Run Google Shopping Ads For Last Minute Shoppers

With 84% of adults expected to celebrate Mother’s Day, it’s safe to say that many last-minute shoppers will be frantically searching online for gift ideas. To reach these time-pressed customers, consider using the power of GoogleAds to promote your products and special offers to local shoppers. By listing your merchandise on Google and optimizing your ads to target nearby consumers, you can effectively capture the attention of these last-minute shoppers and drive sales.

Here are some tips for driving traffic to your website or store prior to Mother’s Day:

  • Maximize the visibility of your Mother’s Day merchandise and minimize advertising costs by creating a dedicated campaign for these products, using custom labels to differentiate them from your regular inventory.
  • Increase your chances of converting shoppers into buyers by utilizing remarketing lists to specifically target individuals who have already engaged with your website. This includes those who have previously visited your site, returning customers, and those who have abandoned their shopping carts online.
  • Use descriptive titles and high-quality images.
  • Given that 15% of shoppers are looking for cost-effective gift options, it’s important to ensure that your promotional offers are easily accessible and visible to potential customers. One effective way to accomplish this is by prominently featuring your promotions on your Merchant Center.
  • Incorporate relevant holiday keywords into your product titles and descriptions to help increase your visibility and drive traffic to your website. Consider targeting general keywords like “Mother’s Day Gift,” “Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day,” “Mother’s Day Flowers,” and other similar phrases that shoppers are likely to search for.
Example of product packaged in mother's day theme from bath and body works
here’s a great example from Bath and Body Works

Check out our other blog about other ways to get those last minute sales in your store.

4) Mother’s Day Gift Baskets

44% of shoppers are looking to find a gift that is unique or different.

That’s why it’s a great idea to create unique gift baskets for different shoppers

Some good ideas include a Mother’s Day Skincare Gift Basket and a Mother’s Day Healthy Snack Gift Basket. Click here for more Mother’s Day basket ideas.

Gift baskets can be an excellent option for shoppers who are struggling to come up with the perfect gift for their mom. Consider grouping discounted items with regular-priced items in each basket to create a sense of added value and make shoppers feel like they’re getting more for their money.

Increase your sales potential this Mother’s Day by strategically up-selling and cross-selling gift baskets to every shopper who walks through your doors. By bundling products together in a gift basket, you can increase your store’s average order value and offer customers a more complete gifting solution.

Take a look at baskits bundle packages

We hope you found these tips helpful. For more helpful tips, you can subscribe to our blog. Happy Mother’s Day and happy selling!

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#Mothersday #retailtips #retailmarketing #retailsales #cloudpos #sellmore

The Barcode celebrates its 50th anniversary

The Barcode celebrates its 50th anniversary

Despite its simple appearance, the barcode is a powerful tool in the retail industry that boosts efficiency and makes shopping easier. This year marks the 50th anniversary of barcode technology. In fact, the BBC considers it one of the 50 things that made the modern economy by revolutionizing inventory management, store checkout, and manufacturing.

Example of male scanning barcode

The creation of the barcode

The barcode went through several milestones. The person credited with inventing the barcode is Joseph Woodland. During his career, Woodland worked at IBM and even worked on the Manhattan project during World War II. The barcode came about when Woodland noticed that three dashes and a dot resemble the letter “J” in Morse code. This was the spark that led to the creation of the pattern recognized around the world today.

After World War II, the West experienced a boom which created plenty of opportunities in the retail industry. This is when Woodland introduced the barcode as a retail solution, specifically to solve the problem of supermarket staff taking too long to organize and deal with products.

The prototypes

The interesting thing is that the barcode itself was not the main challenge for Woodland. Instead, the real challenge was in the creation of a reliable device that could easily read barcodes. Woodland initially looked at the movie industry, where a device called a “phonofilm” shone light through slits. A computer would then electronically read the light to produce sound waves. Eventually, Woodland realized that the light did not have to shine through the slits but could instead reflect off the bars and back into the device to read the information.

At the start, Woodland created a prototype of a “barcode reader” by using a 500-watt light bulb inside a box made of thick black oilcloth to keep out daylight. The bulb would shine a narrow beam onto a paper sheet with black and white lines, which reflected the light into a pickup device. The device would then converted it into a unique electronic signal. However, the light was too intense, causing the paper to catch on fire. This led Woodland to put the idea on hold because he could not find a light that could reflect the barcode without causing it to ignite.

The idea of the barcode resurfaced in the 1960s with the invention of lasers—an ultra-focused ray of light that could scan back and forth across a label without setting the paper on fire. The first official design of the barcode was made in the 1970s, once lasers became reliable enough. The initial design was circular and resembled a bullseye. To promote his new innovation, Woodland included the chance to win a prize for those who scanned the barcode.

retro photo of the first prototype of barcode

The modern barcode

As you know, the evolution of the barcode did not stop with the circular design. The circular shape presented its own challenges. For the scanner to read the barcode, it required clear print and an undented tin. Enter George Laurer, who would play a critical role in the redesign of the barcode. Ultimately, he decided to return to the original rectangle design, which proved to be highly successful.

In June 1974, the barcode made its first appearance at a Marsh’s supermarket in Ohio. The first item scanned was a 10-pack of Juicy Fruit gum, priced at $0.67. This historic moment marked the beginning of millions of barcode scans to come.

Image of the item that was first scanned with a barcode (Wrigley's chewing gum)

How barcodes have evolved over time

The most common barcode today is still the traditional rectangular barcode that most of us see every day on products. These type of barcodes are called 1D or one-dimensional barcodes.

With modern personal computing and smartphones, traditional barcodes have helped to inspire newer barcode technologies as well.

QR Codes

QR codes (a topic we’ve looked into before on this blog) are 2D or two-dimensional barcodes that can store more information than traditional barcodes. They can be read from any angle and contain more information in less space, making them versatile for a variety of uses. Retailers use QR codes to direct customers to product information, reviews, and promotional content. QR codes have also become popular in mobile payments, allowing customers to complete transactions quickly and securely. This has helped to streamline payment processes and provide a more convenient shopping experience for customers.


RFID, also known as “radio frequency identification”, is a further extension of traditional barcodes. It is essentially a tag (or label) with built-in devices that use radio frequencies to transfer data. RFID technology has several advantages over standard 1D barcodes. RFID tags can be read from a distance and do not require direct line of sight to the scanner, making them more convenient to use. They are also capable of storing more information and can be modified or changed.

RFID tags are useful in many ways. As the cost of labor and staffing shortage have grown over the past decade, more and more retailers have started to use RFIDs track inventory and minimize theft.

For example, large retailers such as Zara have switched to RFID for faster physical inventory counts. Where before physical inventory count required a lot of staff (and possibly closing the stores), RFID makes stock take as simple as several quick scans of the store. Larger stores have even added overhead RFID scanners to be able to track the location of products to make it easier for shelf restock and locating inventory.

As the cost of RFID tags (and tagging products) continues to go down, RFID will increasingly be used by smaller retailers in a greater variety of ways.

The barcode has revolutionized the modern retail industry as we know it today. The sound of the beep at a supermarket checkout instantly reminds us of the barcode. It is not just a series of black and white lines, but technology that has significantly improved the efficiency of stores and continues to shape modern retail.

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Tips for Retail Stores: Increase Back-to-School Sales

Tips for Retail Stores: Increase Back-to-School Sales

Back-to-school is one of the top spending events in retail. According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers spend more on back-to- school shopping than Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day combined. Retailers who don’t sell back-to-school supplies or clothing can still benefit from one of the biggest spending seasons of the year. Keep reading to find out how you can take advantage of the back-to-school season and increase your retail sales.

Smart Retailers Leverage Back-to-School

Back-to-school season can be stressful for some seasonal businesses. It may sometimes mean lower sales and a decrease in foot traffic.
Back-to-school is a time of change for many people – teachers, parents, and most importantly students. Many see it as a fresh start and a time for new perspectives. Smart retailers will play on these feelings with creative marketing tactics.

3 Back-to-School Promotions to Help you Sell More

Even if your store has no connection to back-to-school or college, you can still engage with your shoppers in a memorable way. Here’s how: cater your promotions to shoppers by using change as a marketing tool. Listed below are 3 promotion strategies that can help you sell more.

1) A free gift with every purchase made

This type of promotion offers every shopper who spends a certain amount in-store ($50 or above, $60 or above etc.) a free item. One example of a gift with purchase could be a back-to-school basket with different school supplies. You can also print your brand name on each of the items in the basket. It doesn’t necessarily have to be school related either – popular store merchandise or a gift card are also effective gifts. The benefits of this promotion strategy include:
  • attracting shoppers’ attention
  • increasing the likelihood of impulse buys
  • making it easier to up-sell and cross-sell
  • improving shopper experience
  • enhancing attraction and remembrance of your brand
back-to-school basket

2) Back-to-school discounts

56% of consumers have stated that they have not started their back to school shoppingAnd 49% say it is because they are waiting for the best sales. So consider offering discounts on your merchandise before students go back to school. If you do not sell back-to-school merchandise, don’t fret! Back to school discounts aren’t just for retailers who sell school supplies or electronics. Remember to create a back-to-school tie in! As retail expert Bob Phibbs explains, “When you draw the attention of your customers to their garden, that room, or those drapes, then they will see themselves replacing, learning, or fixing-up, and then they will come into your store to get whatever new things they need.”
back-to-school sale

3) Run a Social Media Contest

Social media contests are a great tool to increase sales and generate a buzz online. As most shoppers (college students and millennials especially) are conducting product research online, it is also a great method to reach target shoppers. This back-to-school season, 49% of K-12 families and 45% of college shoppers are planning to shop online. So get in front of these consumers by running a giveaway or contest with effective prizes. Here are some ideas for effective prizes:
  • A “back-to-school survival kit” for different ages of students.
  • A de-stress prize such as a gift card for a popular restaurant or spa nearby (consider partnering with a local business)
  • Free tickets to fall festivals, concerts, apple picking or other events
social media

Promotion Examples

Here are some examples of creative back-to-school tie ins: A store that sells cleaning supplies could offer discounted packages for college students. It could be marketed it as an all-in-one package for cleaning dorm rooms. A health food store or grocery store could give away healthy meal plans and recipes for college students. Or alternatively – recipes for preparing healthy lunches for children. Families love including their pets in holidays, birthdays, and other milestones. So a pet store could offer back-to-school merchandise for pets! Pet-smart is a great example of a store that has leveraged back-to-school. In the past, the retailer has taken advantage of the back-to-school season with their school-themed pet gear.

Want to know more about how to increase foot traffic to your store?