10 Retail Marketing Resolutions for Success in 2015
Many experts believe 2015 will be a defining year in the midst of a shift in marketing dogma. Evolving technology isn’t the only reason, either; custom attitudes are shifting, branding is becoming more important than ever, and competition revolves around customer service increasingly more than price. For brick-and-mortar retailers, the changing times present both never-before-seen challenges and opportunities. Naturally, you want to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities; to that end, the following details ten retail marketing resolutions you can make to succeed in 2015.
1. Engage customers in-store
A lot has been written about how to engage customers via social media, but how much consideration have you given to engaging customers in the most social setting of all: face-to-face? It’s no secret that ecommerce continues to shrink in-store customer traffic. To counter this, come up with creative and fun events to bring customers to your store: a gift-wrapping clinic with wine tasting, for example. You’ll get to know your best customers on a more personal level, gain valuable feedback, have the opportunity to make sales, and earn long-term loyalty.
2. Big-time brand promotion
Branding will be huge in 2015. Customers are increasingly concerned about service and personalized experiences; your brand represents the entire customer experience. Take advantage of every opportunity to make sure your brand is noticed: strategically-placed stickers, posters, and banners; branded retail bags, bows, and boxes; dedicated visuals, colors, and symbols to match your image.
3. Revisit your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Your Unique Selling Proposition, or USP, is at the core of your brand and the cornerstone of your business. What do you do different and better than your competitors? What is your customer experience? Who are your customers? What makes you unique and the best choice in the marketplace? If your USP isn’t well-defined, it will be difficult to connect with customers. On the other hand, a great USP can help propel your brand to success.
4. Add personalized convenience
You can offer personalized convenience to give your business a competitive edge. In-store gift-wrapping with personalized greeting cards is one way to do this. Preparing personalized “gift baskets” for different types of customers is another. For example, if you sell different types of bath and beauty products, you could create a gift basket for “the time-challenged mom” and another for “the pretty princess.” Customers will identify themselves with a given basket, your store, and your brand.
5. Investigate site-to-store
If your brick-and-mortar business is augmented by online sales, you should inquire with your suppliers to see if you can offer a site-to-store program. More customers are taking advantage of such programs to avoid shipping costs, get their products faster, or simply because they prefer to shop online and pick up in person.
6. Consider an employee training app
A single iPad and a task management app can help you manage your shop more efficiently and also serve as a powerful training system for your employees – who, after all, are your front-line marketers. You can create training programs that teach employees how to greet customers, how to help customers find the perfect item, how to be helpful without being overwhelming, how to up-sell and cross-sell, and how to maintain your brand image, among other things. A small investment in a training app can yield excellent return as employees buy-in to your philosophy and become true brand advocates.
7. Check out geo-fencing
Geo-fencing is one term given to the concept of location-based mobile marketing. If your shop is located in a busy mall, for example, you might be able to send push notifications to phones within 100 yards of your storefront. Your notifications could promote your special offers, instant coupons, and other incentives to get customers in your store, instantly.
8. Get dedicated to direct-mail marketing
Direct-mail postcards and other mailers stand to be big in 2015. There are several reasons for this, starting with the fact that direct-mail marketing continued to prove successful in 2014. A younger consumer pool accustomed to the digital world appreciates tangible marketing materials. Plus, direct-mail is more personal and meaningful, which lend strong brand connotations. Dedicate a portion of your budget to sustained and targeted direct-mail marketing for greater success in 2015.
9. Write that blog
It’s tough for small retailers to maintain a blog – where do you find the time? However, writing a regular blog can help you earn customer trust, increase your local search engine rankings, and establish your expertise in your field. It can also prove to be a powerful marketing tool for your products, services, and promotions. Start with a 300-word post each week; once you have a couple dozen posts, promote your blog to every customer who visits your store.
10. Try something new every quarter
With so many changes on the horizon – or already in motion – the year 2015 will be one of discovery. No one can say with absolute confidence which marketing strategy will work best for you, or if you’re using the most efficient marketing tools for your company. As such, you should always be on the lookout for new marketing opportunities to try. Not every one will pan out, but those that do can become reliable income streams for years to come.