A retail business that doesn’t generate more and more sales is doomed to fail at some point. At the same time, sales generation isn’t a walk in the park.
Some might even say it’s not for the faint-hearted. There’s a lot that goes into making sure that your retail business generates adequate sales, enough for its survival and growth.
There’s a lot of moving parts that need to be considered, chief among them is the consumer.
Retail businesses, whether it’s the good old brick and mortar setup or eCommerce (or both), require the identification and execution of appropriate retail marketing strategies in order to compete favorably.
Without a solid retail marketing plan, it is virtually impossible to not only generate sales but also push products let alone attracting new customers.
What Does a Retail Marketing Plan Entail?
Marketing entails paying attention to how your prospects, existing customers, the entire market, or a segment you are eyeing perceive your business. What are they saying (online and offline) about your company and its products? Are you already enjoying a competitive edge, or has its pursuit turned into a mirage?
The adoption of the right marketing strategies can be highly beneficial to your retail business. It will help you drive brand awareness, generate a particular trust for the products you offer both online and in your brick and mortar stores.
The implementation of the right marketing strategies can also help you acquire a stream of new customers, earn you referrals through word of mouth by satisfied customers, and ultimately, enhance the allocation of scarce resources within the marketing department.
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To identify the most suitable marketing strategies for your retail business, you need to pay attention to a couple of factors and address them accordingly.
In this post, we highlight some highly-effective retail marketing strategies that you may want to consider adopting depending on your business model.
1. An impressive storefront
The rate at which eCommerce stores have continued to grow has forced physical stores to experientially try and increase their appeal. Note that, unlike in the past, competition has intensified and the consumer is more liberated and informed than ever.
They know that they have multiple options as far as purchasing products is concerned. Your retail business, therefore, requires several things that make it stand out. You must do everything possible to provide a great experience.
Unfortunately, many businesses overlook this critical aspect of their retail marketing. You need to realize that the only way to make your brick and mortar store appealing and in turn attract customers just like the online stores, is by optimizing the design of your storefront.
When it comes to brick and mortar stores, the design of the storefront must not just be clear but also be in line with the demographic you are targeting. An easy way of getting it right is to utilize custom designs with a minimalist approach in mind. In other words: borrow from eCommerce in general or from your own online shop in particular.
Pursue a design that subtly attracts the customers rather than screaming at them. Remember to keep your curb tidy and clean. The right storefront goes a long way in impressing shoppers and attracting customers into your physical store.
Other ways of creating an attractive curb appeal include constantly changing the window displays, storefront landscaping, a sitting area (it not only looks nice, but it also helps you establish social proof), and eye-catching signage.
What about eCommerce storefronts?
Well, the same rules apply to your websites and social media platforms. Consider aspects such as website navigation, loading speed, blog posts, the presence of mobile-optimized user interfaces, and the visibility of search engine optimization.
Depending on how these elements are used, they can act as a pull or push mechanism for bringing in customers or chasing them away.
2. Personalization is Key
Many retailers are unaware of the critical role that personalized experiences play in their businesses.
Among many other things, personalization makes your customers more interested in your brand. It also leads to more business leads and in general, happier and loyal customers. As such, personalization should become a fundamental aspect of every retail business’ marketing strategy.
The most successful retail companies always put the customer first. They are fond of monitoring the behaviors of their customers and are keen on leveraging their needs to improve their purchasing process. Optimization of customer experience can also help you boost revenue.
Personalization of customer experience, if approached correctly, is always a winning strategy. Ninety-six percent of marketers attest to the fact that their efforts to make customer experience personal has always helped them to take their relationships with customers a step further.
How can a business create personalized experiences?
i. Encourage customers to create profiles on your platform
These profiles will assist you to execute other strategies. Once they have built their profiles, you will be in a position to track their behaviors. As long as it is helping to improve their experience, customers don’t mind companies monitoring their behavior.
Customer profiles and monitoring their behaviors will help you achieve several things including the ability to recommend products. To encourage them to create profiles, make it easy for them. Have as few fields as possible.
Both the business and the customer benefit from this strategy. Your retail business will experience increased sales and the customer will enjoy a better experience which will keep them coming back and eventually become brand evangelists.
ii. Segment your email subscribers
While collecting email addresses should be every business’ priority, the ability to offer a personalized customer experience is dependent on your ability to deliver relevant content to their email inboxes. The most effective way of achieving this is to segment your email list.
While everyone who subscribes to your email list may be interested in your brand, they don’t necessarily have similar needs and wants. Marketers must learn how to generate marketing emails that do not land in their subscribers’ spam folder.
Grouping your subscribers into distinct lists, based on their needs/wants/ will go a long way in helping you deliver relevant information to your entire email list.
Email list segmentation allows you to speak to your customers according to what they want to buy or hear from you. Besides giving users what they want, you also increase conversion rates.
Personalization is just in its initial stages. The future of personalized customer experience will bring to an end inefficient practices. Advancement in technology will drive personalization at scale for firms of all sizes. Customers will become more personalized than ever with the presence of machine learning and improved decision making.
iii. Customer loyalty programs
Forget about one-time sales when executing personalized customer experience. Instead, focus your efforts on obtaining customer retention capable of bringing about recurring purchases.
And a well-thought our customer retention technique can help you achieve this. Studies reveal that a whopping 82 percent of shoppers are more likely to purchase products from brands that offer loyalty programs.
At the same time, loyal customers tend to spend more money on products or services because they have learned to trust your brand. Their average order value is significantly higher than that of first-time buyers.
The period within which your customers have been shopping with your retail business also affects their order size. Bain & Company performed a study to determine the correlation between how long a customer has been buying from a firm and the amount of money they spend during every visit.
They discovered that shoppers of apparel buy 67 percent more per order after being with a brand for over 30 months compared to what they spend on their first purchase.
They found a similar trend in other categories they studied. This means that repeat customers exhibit a high lifetime value and consequently a higher value per every order, over time.
There are various ways of setting up a productive customer loyalty program. Examples include:
- Rewarding customers after they reach a predetermined number of purchases or visits.
- Set rewards according to spending tiers where for instance, you get to reward the highest spenders. This tactic encourages your customers to spend more money than they have been spending.
- Introduction of a point system where a customer accumulates points during every purchase and then redeems later on. For instance, one point for every $5 they spend on your products.
- Charity programs where customers can choose to donate their rewards to causes they hold dear.
Customer loyalty programs are an incredible way of getting more loyal customers and they can hardly forget your brand and everything it has to offer. Of the utmost importance is to understand your customers and then enhance your strategies of providing value to them.
iv. Listen to customer feedback
This is yet another excellent way through which you can achieve personalized customer experience.
If a customer feels like a brand doesn’t care about them, they move on to the competitor without thinking twice. The use of interviews and surveys will help you get customer feedback.
Go a step further and implement customer feedback software in your retail store. This way, your customers can directly communicate with you about their purchase as well as the level of customer service they get in your store.
However, that isn’t as far as it goes.
Listening to customer feedback means implementing the suggestions they make to improve their experiences.
That said, you don’t go-ahead to implement suggestions without analyzing the outcome of the feedback. Implementing for the sake of it fails to deliver an impressive return on your investment.
However, in a situation where a big percentage of your customers are offering similar feedback as well as suggestions to enhance your process, it is worth taking it seriously.
By implementing these changes, you give your customers a sense of belonging. They feel part of the process and are likely to create a bigger bond with your brand.
Besides fixing issues in your process, you may also use the information you receive from customers to offer special promotions and whenever possible, offer direct responses to customers with discounts.
3. Customer Research and Analytics
Many retail businesses use analytics reports for other reasons besides marketing. For instance, you might already have reporting and analytic software for managing retail inventory or gauging the sales performance of your workers.
You’ve probably not realized that you can use these reports to get insights into the purchase behavior of your customers, and hence, find a basis for your company’s marketing strategy.
For instance, your analytics report may reveal skyrocketing sales in a given product. How do you use this information to your advantage?
One practical strategy is to pair the popular product with related products in your store and then inform customers of the ongoing promotion via a campaign. In turn, you get to leverage a product’s popularity to grow sales for other merchandise.
The analytics reports may also reveal products that are lagging in sales. To jump-start sales, you may come up with innovative promotions or discounts.
4. Your Pricing Strategy Needs a Tweak
Setting prices for products or services can be quite challenging. Too high prices could result in you missing out on valuable sales. On the other hand, setting them too low, could mean missing out on valuable revenue. The key is to devise ways of striking a balance.
One of the factors that retail businesses should consider when setting prices is the product demand which is always changing because of market or seasonal changes. Consumer trends and the actions of competitors may also lead to changes in the demand for products.
As such, you must stay on top of the pricing game to ensure that your inventory moves accordingly. For this to happen, you must be willing to keep changing retail prices strategically in a manner that not only attracts customers but also covers costs and brings in a reasonable profit.
5. Leverage Social Media
Today, nearly all retail businesses enjoy some form of social media presence. The difference is that only a few have managed to fully leverage the capabilities of social media.
First things first: how powerful is social media when it comes to business growth?
Social media’s importance in business is increasing at a lightning speed. More and more people join social media sites every day and proceed to use them regularly and efficiently.
As such, the social media industry is expected to become even bigger in the years to come seeing that it is booming more than the world has ever experienced.
One of the reasons for the high social media usage is the ever-improving mobile possibilities for users that makes it easier for them to access social media, with each passing day, irrespective of where they are.
Besides, the majority of social media networks are available in the form of mobile apps, and most importantly, highly optimized for mobile browsing. As such, users can access their social sites on the go.
Here are five ways to fully leverage social media fully.
People are more likely to have confidence in your brand if they have already heard about your company and its products. As such, they are more likely to purchase from you. A strong brand will help you to support all your sales campaigns.
Make use of social media to share the values of your brand, engage existing and potential customers, and also find influencers as well as brand advocates.
ii. Pursue customer relationships
You cannot grow sales in retail business without building relationships with your customers. Besides buying from you, established customer relationships also give birth to repeat purchases.
A retail business can use social media to establish customer relationships. A good way of doing this is to share useful information, avail engaging contests, and also giving your customers strong reasons to interact with your brand on the internet. This will go a long way in keeping you top of mind when the time for your customers to make purchases comes.
iii. Use analytics
You can also leverage social media with the help of analytics. Successful sales companies and representatives are continually identifying new places to locate new customers. One of the best platforms for this is social media.
Irrespective of the social media platform your company is using, whether Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, there are tons of analytical data as well as targeted advertising opportunities to maximize on. Make use of these metrics to fine-tune your retail marketing strategies and consequently, boost sales.
iv. Support sales campaigns
Today, organizations have to deal with multi-dimensional sales campaigns. Hence, it is imperative to deploy all the available resources to optimize the effectiveness of all your sales campaigns.
Consider using social media to share company promotions, sales, and deals with your target market. You will close more sales when more people are aware of your ongoing campaigns.
6. Customer Service
The number of people who turn to social media for customer service is growing at an alarming rate. Whether it’s an issue they have, a complaint, or a question, the majority of consumers prefer social media channels to traditional avenues of customer service when it comes to airing their concerns and other forms of feedback.
Firms can also use social media sites to interact with customers who have a need. Utilize these communications to your advantage to win customers over, and in turn, increase sales.
7. Don’t Neglect Your Employees
Your people are your greatest assets. You need to take care of your employees, for them to take care of your customers.
There are two major ways of achieving this namely;
i. Provision of sufficient employee training
One of the advantages of substantive employee training is that it can set you apart from your competitors. Consider organizing regular training sessions as well as conferences to not only retain employees but also keep up with industry trends. Failing to train your employees will make you lag in the industry.
The last thing you want is to struggle to stay in business for neglecting your workers as far as training is concerned. Train your employees as soon as they are hired. This is a great strategy of ensuring that your team has commendable customer relationship management, upselling, and retail selling skills. Also, perform continuous training periodically to reorient them according to new and emerging consumer trends.
ii. Keep your employees motivated
Your very first brand ambassadors are your employees. To get the best results from them, you need to give them incentives from time to time.
Proper employee compensation can help you create an exemplary impression on your customers. Memorable experiences can only be created by employees who feel justly compensated.
Your customer retention rates are bound to grow if you can hire and retain customer-centric, long term, and dedicated employees. Other benefits you are likely to gain from a motivated workforce include reduced employee turnover and increased profitability because they will work even harder to grow sales.
Besides better pay and compensation packages, you can also motivate workers by engaging them. Give them a sense of belonging. Improvise ways of making them take ownership of the company and its processes.
For instance, you can encourage your sales and marketing team to share new marketing and customer relations management ideas with the rest of the staff because they are more likely to have a better understanding of your existing and potential customers – thanks to their one-on-one dealings.
Depending on the size of your retail business, you must have embraced several software and applications to ensure a smooth workflow and enhanced productivity. The software market is filled with solutions for various business functions including customer relationship management, social media marketing, and email marketing.
Using all these solutions can be hectic at times in the absence of an integration platform and that’s why retail businesses – both online and brick & mortar stores – are encouraged to pursue integration.
Take the case of SodaStream – Israel-based manufacturer of home carbonation products. With more than 80,000 retail stores across the world, the company’s distribution in the United States alone requires effective management. Therefore, a platform must be installed to simplify business processes.
The company was therefore on the lookout for an integration platform capable of helping them to manage tickets for their US subsidiary and others coming via the internet to utilize Zendesk.
With the help of SyncApps, the firm managed to integrate Zendesk for NetSuite. In turn, they can now migrate tickets into NetSuite, bring Zendesk tickets up to date with NetSuite IDs. As a result, SodaStream can detect the successful creation of tickets in NetSuite, expose the customers’ address fields, and then have them updated on the customer database in NetSuite.
You are now fully armed with practical and easy to adopt ideas for retail marketing. Determine what is suitable to your company based on its needs, and the overall goal and then look for the best implementation strategy.
If you are looking for a suitable integration solution for your retail business, speak to our experts today! We’re available 24/7.