Show of hands: Who else is tired of the term “retail apocalypse”?
News of retail store closures filled the headlines in 2017. And the reasons were obvious – It’s really frustrating when sales go down or when you’re just not getting enough foot traffic. Marketing a retail storefront, when you have a host of online stores and big shot counterparts, can be REALLY daunting.
Or is it?
Well, to start off with, according to National Retail Federation, retail sales were up 4.2% year-over-year in July 2017. In fact, every month this year has seen a steady increase in sales over the same period last year. So retail stores do have good news heading into 2018. To give this growth more impetus means strategizing your marketing according to this changing customer behaviour.
As we draw the curtains on 2017 and welcome 2018 in today’s post, I’m going to discuss the changing customer behaviour and out-of-the-box marketing strategies that you might have not explored yet. Also, how you can easily implement them using beacons, digital advertisements and more.
1. Be locally relevant
Years ago, every Starbucks felt exactly the same. And then they asked themselves, can 23,000 Starbucks across countries and cities feel the same way? Can the approach to marketing be the same throughout the globe? The answer to these questions got the team to build some of the most stunning coffee shops in different parts of the world, which were locally relevant in terms of the ambience, services and customer appeal.
A local appeal to your retail store helps consumers connect better with the brand.
2. Location-based advertisements
The forecast calls for location-based ad spend to jump from $133.2 billion in 2013 to $158.6 billion in 2018, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.6 percent.
Six years ago, location-based advertisements was a fancy marketing strategy. But today we are reaching a level of wireless penetration where nearly one-third of the world’s population owns a smartphone.
A smart implementation of location-based advertisements could drive a lot of footfalls into your stores. Here’s one of the interesting implementations of location-based advertisement –
A bookshop owner in Orlando, US, deployed beacons for sending out notifications about in-store offers to smartphones nearby. But that’s what most retailers are doing in 2017!
What’s the catch?
This retailer deployed beacons near a book fair! This means he was broadcasting notifications for the same books the consumer wants to buy but at a discounted price. That’s the power of location-based proximity marketing!
3. Give people a reason to visit your store – Memorable in-store experience
Online shopping is obviously on the upward trajectory, but what sets mom-and-pop stores apart?
The experience at the store!
In a survey conducted by the consultancy PwC, millennials said 52% of their holiday spending would go on experience-related purchases. In 2018 and years ahead, stores can’t just be about distributing products. They need to be about distributing experiences.
Here are few ways you can make their experience worthwhile at your store –
- Send them a welcome message as soon as they enter your store.
- While in the queue, offer them a time waster – something to read, funny GiFs, memes or information about a new product
- Offer rewards for completing tasks within the venue – for eg, take a selfie with the latest tech in the store etc
- Deploy beacons on mannequins. Push notification about products displayed on the mannequins.
- Detailed parking information and assistance
- Speed the payment process by offering contactless payment
- Push recommendations based on shopping habits and preferences
4. Step up the social media strategies – Retarget customers online
Back in 2016, 8 out of 10 Americans used Facebook, and 70% of these users visited the site every day. This ratio has only gone higher in 2017. These statistics are compelling enough reason to tap into social media. But what makes social media all the more relevant for physical businesses, is its ability to retarget users on Facebook.
It’s really powerful.
Here’s how retargeting works –
- A customer visits your store to check out cool and trendy stuff. But she did not make a purchase. Now that might be due to multiple factors – she was in a hurry or wanted to compare it to other option etc.
- Later, she starts to see the ads for the same product on her Facebook and Google pages.
- You’ve now caught her eye – Now she’ll return to your store ready to buy!
Implementing this in your physical store is a breeze.
Beaconstac allows you to insert your Facebook pixel id on the campaign cards. So if a customer visited the card but did not make a purchase. She starts seeing the ad for the same product on her Facebook feeds.
5. Experiential retailing
Post the retail apocalypse, many retailers are questioning the traditional experiences of a store. And they are now looking for solutions. There are many mini-experiments that are taking place – especially with experience retail. Every store wants to provide that aha moment to its visitors.
Retailers are experimenting with food hall anchors, entertainment-focused tenants, restaurant and beverage offerings galore. They are focusing on creating a sense of place by providing somewhere friends can gather, shop, eat and enjoy a social experience.
This survey conducted by National Retail Federation is compelling enough reason to try to tap into experiential retailing.
One of our retail customers in Denver, U.S. experimented with the experience rich retailing. To add a more powerful layer to the experience, she used beacons to inform and guide customers to these experiences. She saw a 53% increase in the footfall traffic in a quarter.
6. Data-driven retail decisions
Data-driven decision making is no more a luxury – it’s a necessity for staying relevant and competitive in retail. Most retailers agree to this but are held back due to the cost involved, the complexities in capturing it and so on. There have been several attempts to capture data in-store, but it’s either too expensive or too intrusive in the shopping experience. Depending on your specific use-cases there are several data platforms you can utilize.
Beaconstac also makes data collection really simple for retailers. In between broadcasting location-specific messages, beacons also track a host of analytics about your retail store and customer behaviour – daily shopper traffic, popular product displays, commonly combined items and more. What are the four essential metrics you need to track?
These beacons are up and running in less than 15mins, and doesn’t require a developer. It fits your budget (check it out) and involves no complexities.
Wishing you all the success for 2018!
Are there any other marketing strategies for the retail industry that you think will be trending in 2018? Let us know in the comments below.
If you are planning to try out beacons for your retail stores, take a look at Beaconstac(Retail), that includes everything you need to get started. Using Beaconstac you can set up your own campaign, without a developer’s help!