To make matters worse, online shopping has taken the world by storm. Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, said this about the competition: ‘Your margin is my opportunity.’ Online shopping isn’t popular with consumers just because their prices are low. The whole experience of buying things online is more efficient and quicker.
Retail Apocalypse: The end of retail?
The term ‘Retail Apocalypse’ started gaining momentum in 2017. Major retailers like Walgreens, Gap have closed hundreds of stores this year. This does not bode well for small retail businesses.
Logic dictates that if big-box retailers cannot stay functional, what hope is there for smaller retail chains?
That’s where it gets interesting. Although hundreds upon hundreds of retail stores have closed or will be closed this year, this is by no way shape or form the death of retail.
Americans are actually spending more time and money in-stores. Given the tax cuts, people have more cash than ever to spend but there is a catch.
Stores that have been able to emulate the experience and ease that comes with online shopping are thriving. The others are struggling to catch up.
Rupert Murdoch is onto something. Small retail businesses do not need to fear big-box retailers. What they need is to get a hang of the trends and technology that can catapult them to the top. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of marketing strategies based on best practices.
Disruptive marketing strategies for small retail businesses that you need to implement NOW
1. Social media ads and boosting its efficiency:
Customers are choosing a multi-channel buying experience and social media plays a huge part in that. In fact, they are 71% more likely to make purchases based off of social media referrals. Social media is also the No. 1 choice for 31% of consumers to browse for new items. That is motivation enough to create a strong social media presence. Companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies. 80% of Instagram users follow a brand. It is not surprising to note then that 25% of Instagram posts are single video-ads. Why consumers are drawn to social media for their purchase decisions is simple. It holds companies accountable and encourages them to be transparent with their buyers.
This free and easy-to-use tool by Google is one of those retail marketing ideas that small retail businesses often forget about. It helps businesses manage their presence on Google including Search and Maps. 88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours. (Nectafy)
Millennials seek instant gratification
71% of millennials shop online. But, they also crave instant gratification which isn’t what online shopping is known for. Orders often get delayed leading to understandable frustration. This means having your business listed on Google is also the best way to market to millennials. They are 2x more likely to visit your store and get what they need if it means they can skip the delivery period (KPMG).
3. Google Adword
Investing in Google Adwords is an essential retail marketing strategy. 86% of consumers use the Internet to find a local business (WebVisible survey) and it helps to understand that Google owns 71% of the search market share. (Netmarketshare.com). So while investing in SEO and getting organic traffic is great, Google Adword may just be the extra push your retail store needs. 98% of searchers click on on a page that is on Page 1 and Google AdWords ensures that. Businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on AdWords. (Google Economic Impact Report)
Tips to make Google ads more effective – beacon retargeting
Just like with Facebook ads, the Beaconstac dashboard can also be used to retarget customers using the Google Adwords. This helps invoke the ‘Familiarity Principle’ which essentially states that users tend to develop a preference for things that they see often.
Retailers have understood that if they want to stay relevant, they will have to adapt to newer and improved retail marketing ideas. Bluetooth beacons are an extremely cost-effective option to do just that.
While there are several options through Proximity Marketing can be carried out, BLE beacons are the best option out of them all. Beacons can augment salespersons, entice users with attractive offers, help customers navigate and make it easy for them to pay at stores. Ensuring that a customer has a unique shopping experience is key because customer experience is going to be prioritized over price and product as the key brand differentiator by the year 2020.” – Walker
This technology is also in line with the emerging trend that places self-help in a retail store as the first choice. By 2020, according to Gartner predictions, customers will handle 85% of their relationship with a business without interacting with any humans whatsoever.
Beacons are also the key to personalization. Since notifications are only sent out to a shopper in close proximity to an aisle or a product, the notification becomes extremely relevant to them. The level of personalization can be even greater if a brand app is used.
But app or no app, beacon marketing is a great strategy to have in your marketing arsenal.
Businesses looking for an app-less solution should consider NFC stickers and QR codes that require no additional app and are extremely cost-effective.
Since most Android and iPhones natively support NFC and QR codes, small businesses can rely on these technologies to engage with new customers and BLE beacons to improve the experience of loyal or frequent customers.
‘If you can’t beat them, join them.’ This old adage holds a lot of truth when it comes to newer marketing strategies for retail. An important facet of marketing is exposure online as well as offline. 52% of consumers cite at least one offline channel as a source of initial awareness before a purchase (KPMG). An alliance with the stores in your locality will prove fruitful in the long run especially if you partner up with a store that has an intersecting audience. Another way to increase foot traffic is by organizing fun events in the locality. Take cues from Lyngby Storcentre, a Danish shopping mall, that launched a digital treasure hunt using beacons that allowed shoppers to collect points by hunting for beacons and redeeming those points to buy products.
The primary reason shoppers love shopping in-stores as opposed to online is to be able to see, feel and experience the product first-hand ( KPMG). Make offering an experience to customers a priority in your retail marketing strategy.
Placing a beacon on the mannequins that entice customers to try out the same outfit and tells them where to find it in the store is instrumental in bettering the customer’s in-store experience.
Take inspiration from Scala that attaches BLE beacons to their products and allows customers to simply pick up a product and learn more about it. If shoppers pick up two products, they are able to compare those two products. A simple video explaining how a certain product works are also beneficial as 73% of people confirm they are more likely to buy a product if they are first shown a video that explains the product well.
Welcoming window displays
The window display is like a billboard for your store. To a shopper, everything that they need to know about the store can be ascertained from the window display. The obvious move is to make it as engaging and aesthetically pleasing as possible. Take it one step further by attaching a beacon that attracts potential customers who are in the general vicinity.
7. Take the digital route to advertise your business
Digital business cards and brochures
In the age of digital media, make use of the mobile culture and give out digital business cards and brochures instead of printed flyers that people are more likely to throw away.
Don’t advertise on TV or in magazines. Try podcast instead
Even when it comes to spending money on ads, its best to avoid TV or magazine adverts. According to DMA research, 62% of people take no notice of TV advertisements and either mute or change the channel in order to avoid the ads. Magazine and press ads fare no better. 81% of people don’t bother reading the magazine or press adverts.
In 2018, 6 million more Americans listen to podcasts weekly versus 2017. To put in perspective, more than twice as many Americans listen to podcasts weekly vs. watching Sunday Night football, the highest rated television program.
8. Understand the seasonal peak and plan your campaigns
The holiday season is when shoppers spend more money than usual. In 2017, from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, more than 174 million Americans shopped in stores.
According to research by the National Retail Federation, approximately 40% of holiday gift givers begin their shopping before Halloween and 9% start before Labor Day! However, an equal 40% wait until November. There is also a small segment, 15% to be exact, that do not start shopping until the first two weeks of December. It is imperative to study the shopping trends and plan campaigns accordingly.
Product packaging is more crucial than you think. One-third of a consumer’s decision is purely based on product packaging (The Paper Worker). In order to succeed, small retail businesses have to put in an effort so that their packaging stands out from their competitors.
The colour of the packaging can sway purchase decisions.
Even the colour of the packaging is important. The brain reacts to certain colours in different ways. For example, white is seen as a symbol of purity, simplicity, and safety. Blue is the most liked colour across the globe. Before landing on a colour scheme, you should test some of them out on your target audience.
“Until Amazon creates a drone that can cut your hair, there’s a physical and real reason to come to the store.” – Mary Dillon, CEO, ULTA Beauty
Mary Dillon is right. Consumers are going to brick-and-mortar stores but you need to give them a compelling reason to do so.
Some interesting things that you can start implementing right away –
Free Delivery – Offering free delivery encourages 9 out of 10 users to purchase. (Walker Sands Communication)
Use online coupons and offers – Mobile offers are redeemed 10x more frequently than print offers. (eMarketer)
Personalize recommendations – 64% of consumers want personalized offers from retail brands. (Salesforce) 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, OR knows their purchase history. (Accenture)
All these three tactics and more can be implemented using beacons. If you’re interested in taking your retail store a step further in the digital age, consider using Beaconstac. An end-to-end solution that does not require you to know any code.
With all the short-term challenges that retailers and brands face – health and safety, decreased labor force and consumer demand, one solution that has consistently proven to be effective is contactless or zero-touch marketing strategies.
As businesses and organizations prepare themselves to flatten the curve and curb the spread of COVID-19, reduced manpower, postponed or canceled events and overall uncertainty have emerged as unwavering issues.