Marketing is an essential part of any retail experience. Whether you’re the largest retail store in the world or you just have a small shop tucked away in the back corner of a small building in a small town, your marketing efforts will attract attention to your store, your products, and your prices. The way you market yourself will be an key indicator of how successful you will be. Are you promoting yourself? Or are you promoting the value of the products that you have for your customers?
It all begins with your time. For small businesses, it is very easy to be managing the daily operations of a retail store and run out of time to create an effective marketing campaign. Make time, even if it is after hours, and you’ll come up with an imaginative idea that will work with your budget thanks to the following proven ideas that other retailers are currently using.
Effective Marketing Ideas for Retail
1. Offer Training Classes
Any time you offer something of value for free, you’re creating the opportunity for a sale to be made. Training classes in literally any subject can bring people into your store that normally wouldn’t be there, but coordinated training classes are often the best.
2. Provide Giveaways
Monthly drawings for free products will always create some level of excitement for your store. The better the prize happens to be, the more buzz you’re likely to create. You don’t have to provide hundreds of dollars of value or free vacations to gain attention, but you do need to provide something that your customers will find to be useful.
3. Information Works
Takeaway information is often just as effective as a blog when it comes to promoting the value of your retail location. You may not generate a sale every time someone walks through your doors, but with information in-hand, you have a way to stay at the top of someone’s mind so that when they do have a need that you can fulfill, they’ll come to you first.
4. Get Testimonials
Customers love to hear from other customers about how great a retail store happens to be. Good shopping experiences that are shared will encourage others who are on the fence to try out your shopping experience. Put these testimonials into your printed materials, create video testimonials for an online presence if you have one, and even encourage online reviews so that your reputation can benefit from the praise.
5. Put Your Logo Everywhere
Much of the retail process is about branding, so get your logo placed on everything possible. Get t-shirts printed up with your branding on it. Use business cards. Anything that is printed or has packaging is an opportunity for you to spread some more awareness of your brand identity.
6. Hand Out Awards
Recognition doesn’t have to be about your store for it to be effective. Create a community award that you hand out to businesses or individuals. Invest a little into the award to make it something a little nicer than your basic cheap plaque. Solicit nominations if you want, name people as award winners who have been helpful to your location’s development, and you’ll have information that the local media might just find to be press worthy.
7. Have a Current Press Kit
You never know when someone might stroll in and want to do a story about your retail store. When you have a press kit available that is up-to-date with all of the details of your business, you’ll be able to hand out the specific details that are needed to promote your business effectively in the press.
8. Join the Chamber
Your local Chamber of Commerce is one of the best networking resources you have, so be sure to join and take advantage of all the events that are sponsored. Host after hours events if you can, be part of sponsored events, and get involved with your local community.
9. Know Your People
Advertising only makes sense if you know that people will actually see your advertisement. If you sell baby products, for example, a good time for television advertising would be in the late night slot because lots of parents are up in the middle of the night with their infants. Spots at 10am? Not as effective. If you’re targeting kids, then you’ve also got to place advertising where parents and kids will be. The seat of a grocery cart? That’s effective. A billboard outside a coffee shop? Not as effective.
10. Create Specialty Products
You’ve got to set yourself apart in some way and nothing is more effective than having a unique product for your community to purchase that no one else has. Look at your target demographics, see what it is that they could use that is missing from other retail outlets that are local, and then do your best to provide that product at a competitive price.
11. Provide a Premium Experience
People will pay more for a premium shopping experience and they’ll travel a long way to get it too. Provide 1-on-1 attention, offer recommendations based on the relationship you’ve developed with that customer, and go the extra mile to meet their comfort. You’ll be able to charge a premium price because you’re catering to specific needs that aren’t received everywhere.
A free sign is a good way to advertise and there are lots of free signs available in your local Adopt-A-Highway program. Most programs only require two cleaning efforts per year and in return, you get to have two signs that indicate to drivers that you are taking care of the environment in some small way. It’s definitely a win/win situation.
13. Hold a Good Sale
JCPenny proved that fair and square pricing is not what customers want. If you’ve got a day that is consistently slow, then use that day to hold a meaningful sale where your customers will feel like they’ll get a good bargain to boost your sales.