For a business to survive and thrive in the current retail landscape, it needs to successfully market its products and services. Marketing is a vital tool that can be used to establish brand awareness and attract new customers. If done effectively, it can help increase sales and establish your business as a serious competitor in the marketplace. Thanks to Marketing and Merchandising expert Brent Newey from Retail Help for this informative article.
Retail Marketing Ideas For Your Business
Whether you are running a brick-and-mortar or online business, the ultimate objective of marketing is to draw attention to your business and be noticed. Your marketing activities should help you sell your business and character, as well as your products and services. Some marketing activities can be expensive and time consuming, therefore you must carefully consider which promotional activities will best meet your business needs. Having an effective retail marketing strategy is a key to the success of any business.
This is an effective way of promoting your products and services and is usually a paid form of promotion. When you advertise you tell potential customers who you are, where you are and what you can do for them. You can advertise in newspapers, magazines, on radio, television, online (Facebook), outdoor signage, posters, flyers and postcards. You don’t have to spend lots of money to advertise and promote your brand, but you should always make sure your advertising considers where your target audience is.
Window and footpath displays can attract foot traffic and help you stand out from surrounding stores. Create effective, unique and relevant window displays to draw customers into your store. Use blackboard signs in front of your store (where permitted) inviting customers in. Aim to catch the customers eye as they are passing by your store, by writing clever and imaginative messages on the sign. Create a good impression with your retail space. Customers are more likely to notice your business and purchase from you if they like the way the store looks and how your products are presented.
- In-Store Promotion
Take advantage of the customers already shopping in your store. Use signage to highlight new products and specials. Encourage your staff to promote upcoming sales or events to your customers and invite them to visit again. Ask customers to sign-up for email or print communications from your business and reinforce any privacy concerns. Have your employees wear your products (clothes, shoes, accessories etc) to promote sales. Provide product demonstrations or offer free samples to help drive sales.
- Email Marketing
This is an effective way of attracting new contacts or existing customers. It’s relatively inexpensive and email marketing lets you tailor your messages to different types of customers and build customer relationships. As most people check their email daily, it can be a powerful marketing tool for your business. Be sure to use an email service that manages your subscriber list, provides simple & customisable email templates and sends your emails out for you. Use email marketing responsibly and always gain your customers’ consent before sending emails and ensure you have an unsubscribe option.
- Social Media
Social media enables you to connect and communicate instantly with potential customers in order to promote your retail business. It’s easy to set up, however it does require planning and time spent managing all your social media, in order for it to succeed. Focus on a few social platforms that best suit your business. As a retailer, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are good starting points. Being social media savvy contributes to the overall success of a business. It provides many different avenues for customers to find you and connect with you.
Most customers want to believe that they are getting a good deal. Offering incentives is an easy and appealing way to entice customers, encourage goodwill and promote your business. Be creative when considering incentives or choose from some the following ideas:
- Price reduction – coupons for dollars or percentage off and “buy one get one free” type offers
- Loyalty programs – points systems or reward cards (e.g. buy 10 magazines and get the 11th free)
- Free samples – the sample itself is the incentive
- Bonus product with purchase – buy $70 worth of cosmetics and get a free carrying case
- Free upgrade with purchase – buy a car and get free floor mats
- Prize Draws – every purchase is entered into a free prize drawing competition
- Event Marketing
Hosting in-store events can be a cost-effective way to bring attention and potential customers to your business. Incorporate the event to your business (e.g. a bookstore hosting a book signing by a local author or a kitchen goods store holding cooking demonstrations.) To make the most of the event, be sure to promote it via email, signage, flyers, your website, social media and good old word-of-mouth.
Connecting with local charities and participating in local activities is a great way to increase public awareness of your brand and develop a strong network. Sponsoring a local sports team, farmers market, or annual event provides exposure for your business and integrates you into the community. Performing charitable work for a single event or ongoing volunteering for a specific cause is also another way to generate awareness and positive impressions about your business.
- Trade Shows and Exhibitions
Participating in trade shows and exhibitions is an effective way to promote your business and the products and services that it offers. They are also a great way to interact and engage face-to-face with current and potential customers. Attendees of trade shows and exhibitions usually have a genuine interest in the products and services on display, that is why they attend the event in the first place. You can use this opportunity to network with other industry members, grow your customer base, and gain valuable sales leads. Keep in mind that it can be quite time consuming and costly to get involved in trade shows and exhibitions, so consider your business situation and do your research first.
Using SEO in your marketing strategy is quite important in getting customers and leads for your business. Simply having a website is not enough, you must ensure that it is structured and contains content that is relevant to your visitors as well as the search engines. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of increasing the visibility of a website on search engine results pages. It is necessary if you want people to find your business online. You want to be one of the first names that “pops up” when people search for your type of business. Consider what keywords you use, how search engines work, which search engines are being used by your target audience and what customers are searching for. Optimising the structure and content of your website will help grow your business and increase sales.
Forming alliances or brand partnerships with other businesses can contribute to the growth of your business and influence customer perception in positive ways. You can offer more products and services and reach more people by collaborating with a non-competitive business that complements yours. If planned carefully, a strategic partnership can offer unique competitive advantages that benefits both parties. It gives you an opportunity to expand the overall reach of your business to a complementary group of customers and potentially increase sales.
Marketing is a vital and necessary part of your business and requires research, time, planning, and appropriate budget allocations. Good marketing helps customers understand who you are and why your product or service is better than, or different from the competition. Promoting your business using simple and effective marketing methods, can boost your customer base and ultimately increase your bottom line. This should then allow you to spend more time on managing your business and getting your customer service levels right.
Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.