Here are some tried and tested ideas, which will help to give your store(s) the edge over the competition.
Marketing is all about creating value for your customers; about increasing customer retention, recommendation and repeat business, in order to generate increased value for you in return. You don’t just need people through the door (though that is a start!) you also need them to buy, and to come back and buy again.
There are 3 key questions to ask:
Who exactly is my target market?
• Local people only, or is your store so specialist that people will travel long distances? This will determine whether you need to promote and advertise locally or nationally.
• Is it a particular socio-economic group? Is your store aimed upmarket, or at the discount buyer? You need to tailor your marketing to maximise the impact with your target market.
• A particular age range? If you mainly serve the youth market, then you need to use media which they will see, or offers they will value; but if you mainly serve the over 50’s you need a different approach.
• Men or women, or both? Again this will affect your chosen media.
• People in specific professions or occupations? Research the appropriate trade associations, or professional bodies – do they have websites or magazines where you could promote your store?
• People with specific interests? Explore the specialist magazines, websites etc…
How Will I reach Them?
The answer will be partly determined by the answer to the first question, but some possibilities are:
• Make sure your business name or logo clearly identifies the ultimate benefit of what you are offering, in a way which will appeal to your market; keep it simple, short and memorable. A store called “Gifts for Gardenlovers” or “Green-finger Gifts” is precise and clear; one called “SmithsStore” or “Universal Wonder” gives no clue.
• Set up a professional-looking website designed to appeal to your market – collect email addresses online in exchange for freebies/ vouchers for your store.
• For the youth market, use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or other online resources.
• For the senior market, place posters or flyers in locations which are likely to be visited by your potential customers (libraries, doctors’ and dentists’ waiting rooms, church halls, community centres etc.) or advertise in the local paper or free-sheet, perhaps with a promotional discount voucher.
• Give some of your knowledge away in exchange for visibility – offer to speak at schools and colleges; write for the local paper; or speak on the local radio on a topic related to your business
What Will I Offer Them? What incentive can you offer customers to persuade them in to your store, to boost their average spend, and to increase their repeat buying visits?
• Discount vouchers to be used at your store (perhaps on certain slower moving products, or on certain days when your trade is usually slack). Add an expiry date to stimulate a sense of urgency.
• Give-a-ways – a small free product with each purchase over a certain value; “3 for 2” offers; or “Buy-1-Get-1- Free” promotions.
• Linked purchases – buy product A and get product B at a reduced price. This can encourage customers to buy 2 products when they would otherwise only have bought 1.
• Loyalty or reward schemes – issue a card to be stamped each time the customer buys, with a full card entitling the customer to a free product, or a discount on their next
purchase (but make sure the cards and stamps are kept under control, or you could end up with an unexpected rush of claims!)
• Run a competition in-store, with the prize being an attractive product. Advertise the competition widely in the locality, perhaps requiring people to visit the store in order to enter.
• Host an open evening at your store, and invite potential and regular customers for drinks and nibbles and a chance to see/test your latest products, with a discount for
purchases or orders placed on the night. This is just the tip of a very large iceberg – try brainstorming some more ideas? The best marketing ideas for retail stores
are the ones that you think of and personalise to your store – these have been just a few to help you get started”