If there’s too much competition in an industry, it’s definitely retail. Thus we bring the best retail store marketing tips here.
But why? In the past 2 years, HubSpot measured that searches of ‘businesses near me’ increased by 900%!
This is clearly due to population growth and the increasing demand has led to a number of retail businesses popping up – whether its a home-based entrepreneur, more franchises of an existing brand or an entirely new brand entering the market.
This makes marketing for retail stores all the more challenging in today’s world.
Luckily, with all this competition come amazing marketing channels, and the right knowledge of SEO coupled with these will get you right on track to boost sales.
Along with e-store marketing, I will also be discussing great marketing ideas for physical stores:
#1. Conduct A/B testing to improve conversions in retail store marketing
When I was new to this, it took me a while to get this right.
That’s fair considering it’s a tricky concept and even now, only 17% of marketers are using A/B testing for their landing pages.
Despite the fact that A/B testing is underutilised, it’s crucial to improve sales because marketing for retail stores is only effective if customers are actually purchasing products from you.
The entire concept of A/B split testing (Page A being your product page and Page B being your checkout page) is to ensure that you reduce your bounce rate and increase conversions.
That brings me to my main discussion – how to conduct the actual test.
Step 1: Before you run the test, you need to optimise everything on your website.
Make sure you’re using meta titles, headings that include main/supporting keywords, effective meta descriptions, call to action in the right places and URLs that are short, include keywords and describe your content.
These are all the things that you need to test.
When you minimise issues, it’s easier to test and find out whether your improvements are working.
Step 2: There are a number of analytical tools that’ll conduct A/B split testing for you.
If you’re on a tight budget, Google Analytics will do it for free.
These marketing tools offer features such as heat maps (to show where user behaviour and interaction is concentrated), mouse recording (tracks visitor movements on site which can point out issues like difficult navigation) and performance measuring tools to optimise your page and then conduct A/B tests to measure effectiveness.
Here, Optimizely shows how much difference A/B testing can make to your conversions in just 6 months:
If you’re looking to invest in any of these tools, check out my detailed review on different tools for marketing to find out pricing, features and how each tool rates overall.
If you want to conduct A/B split testing yourself or want to know how it works, check out Neil Patel’s ‘A Beginner’s guide to A/B testing’.
So this sums up A/B testing, but that’s only one part of SEO.
If you’re currently focused on improving your website’s SEO to generate sales, check out my complete guide on How to master Search Engine Optimisation.
#2. Break out of the clutter and go for SMS
There’s a concept that marketers call ‘marketing clutter’, which arises from too much exposure to marketing content in the retail store marketing.
Marketing for retail stores can be done via social media, Google, apps, SMS, email, malls, billboards, TV advertisements and the list goes on.
Even I get tired of picking up my phone in the morning just to see advertisements on every social media app.
What this naturally does is that it becomes so overwhelming at one point, making consumers filter out most of the information they see.
I know I’ll see an ad within a Facebook video so I’ll take my eyes off the screen while I do something else.
Technically, the brand may consider it a view but I haven’t retained any information which renders their efforts ineffective.
Here’s why SMS comes into the picture.
The reason behind this is because it has been around a long time and there are newer platforms which marketers believe to be more efficient.
However, if your goal is to attract the attention of customers, SMS is the way to go.
It’s personalised, it’s cost effective and it has an open rate of 98%!
You’d even be reaching the consumers that go on a social media cleanse from time to time.
Plus, it’s faster than any other channel because 90% of texts are read within the first 3 minutes which means that you could send a promotional text at the last minute and you could still get a great response on your offer:
Plus, this text message above also goes to show how well SMS is integrated with other apps.
You could hyperlinks within texts to download apps, make payments, get security codes, receive alerts about sensitive information such as bank transactions and it also works great as a digital loyalty card.
Thus, if you aren’t already conducting an SMS campaign for your retail store, it’s best that you start now.
#3. Innovate with videos
You can hit the bullseye when marketing for retail stores by posting interactive content.
Videos fall in the list of the biggest marketing trends for 2020 because millennials and consumers in general are moving towards interactive content.
If your SMS or Facebook post is too long, you’re losing out on most of your viewers that get bored while reading or don’t even bother because it’s not as appealing as visual content:
Your goal should be to increase the engagement of your viewers.
Go for live sessions, video content and interactive episodes (these allow viewers to choose how the story pans out by clicking on options, in case you haven’t seen the Black Mirror episode).
Make sure that you engage with viewers in comments, for example, a lot of food bloggers and chefs are teaching recipes in live classes online.
The most effective live sessions would be those in which the chef answers queries of viewers in the comments while making the end product so they have a better idea of how to make it in their own kitchen with their own tools.
Thus, if you plan on holding a live session, make sure you keep an extra person around to read out the comments so that the face of the video can respond to them.
If you own a clothing brand, a great idea would be to host a virtual fashion show.
Recently, some of the top designers in Pakistan came together and decided to showcase some of their new collections, each from their own home due to COVID-19:
It’s an amazing idea for you to take inspiration from, but what’s even better is doing an interactive episode on it.
This allows the viewers to view the collections of their favourite brands only and by giving them control, you’d also be increasing engagement.
You can use platforms such as Episode Interactive to create your own story for viewers to watch.
#4. Focus on your window display
Coming down to your physical stores, your window display can make or break your marketing strategy.
You could have great products in your store but if you’re not making them look good in your window display, then no one will walk into the store. Your first impression really is the last impression!
Here are some things that you need to keep in mind when marketing for retail store window displays:
- Think out of the box – don’t limit yourself and go with the most unique idea that you can come up because standing out is what will capture potential customers’ attention. Go with bold colors, ideas and products
- Make sure your window display is in the right place. One of the biggest reasons for low customer turnout in stores is because the window display placement isn’t correct i.e. placed in a corner, too high etc.
- Lighting – This one is a game changer. You need to place lights and measure light intensity in a way that it hits the perfect spot and compliments the products on your window display
- Come up with a theme and go from there – the best window displays always have a story behind them
- Change your window displays at the right time – you want to change your window displays every few weeks to avoid monotony. Similarly, you don’t want to be changing your displays so often that you overspend on decoration and dry out your resources
To help you get a better idea of how your window display should be, take a look at Sahling perfumes in Germany:
You didn’t expect a perfume shop to straight up put a nose in their window display, right? Believe it or not, this store display was considered one of the most innovative in the world.
And come to think of it, it can be annoying for customers when marketing reps from perfume shops are passing out free samples in malls.
Yes, that attracts a few customers who may be looking for perfumes, but an idea like this is definitely going to attract everybody.
Also notice how the lighting is placed in a way that it highlights the huge nose because that’s what the store wants customers to see.
At the same time, they’ve also managed to put in a number of their products in the display and the visual indicates that they are all quite appealing as the nose smells them.
#5. Retarget your existing customers
Previously, I’ve talked about how you can retarget customers who abandon their carts or view a product but don’t purchase it.
It’s important to remember that you need to target these customers immediately when they are still on the fence on whether they should buy your product or not:
Your retargeting success rate goes down every minute that is wasted after they visit your site.
Every time I visit Charlotte Tilbury or The Body Shop, I see their ads everywhere as soon as I open my phone again.
This goes to show that every brand retargets customers because it’s a highly effective marketing tactic.
However, there is one retargeting tactic that most brands miss out on and I’ll tell you what it is.
Suppose your brand sells shoes.
Make categories of all the customers who bought slippers, heels, joggers etc.
Then make a list of the expected life of each of these categories of shoes.
Now what you need to do is that if a customer bought casual slippers from you that will most likely last 6-8 months, retarget them 6 months later.
‘Need new shoes? Check out our store for an exclusive discount or visit our online store and get them delivered straight to your doorstep!’.
When you target customers at a time when they are in NEED of your product, it’s much easier to get them to purchase.
Marketing for retail stores is never ending.
There’s simply too much competition out there for marketers to sit back and relax.
However, every idea that I’ve discussed in this article is extremely effective and crucial in getting ahead of competitors.
These ideas are either too underutilised or they are trending so much that there is no survival without them.
The key to implementing a successful marketing strategy is to invest in research and development.
If you don’t have an entire department for that, make sure your marketing team keeps themselves updated with the ongoing trends and channels that other companies aren’t using which can be taken advantage of.
This is a step you can’t miss out on because trends are ever changing in the business industry and businesses that don’t keep up become outdated.