12 Retail Marketing Ideas that Work

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Every retailer is is looking for new ways to drive in foot traffic, sell more to their existing customers or optimize their marketing and advertising budget.  But every once in a while everyone needs some fresh ideas – or to revisit some old ones they have forgotten about.  With that in mind here are some tips and ideas to improve your marketing efforts.

Twelve Proven Retail Marketing Tips and Tricks

1. In-store Events – Social media makes it easier than ever to announce a party. Open houses, holiday markets, seasonal gatherings, “how-to” seminars; they’re all bigger and more creative than ever. One of our favorites in the apparel business is the holiday men’s and ladies’ night promotion.  The ladies come one week to make a wish list, and the men come the next week to enjoy snacks while they shop off their ladies’ wish lists.

 2. Vendor Events – Some retailers have told us their most successful store events and promotions featured a favorite product line or merchandising event hosted by the vendor or rep. Let them set up a special display and spend the day in your store telling customers about their products.  They may help you with advertising the event and the extra labor in the store is a cost saver!

4. Artists Nights – Store events that bring artists and authors and their creative works onsite for exhibition events can consistently bring in first-time visitors. Why? Because many of these artists actively use their social networks to promote their products and appearances. In effect, you are able to reach an entirely new audience and add to your mailing list for little to no cost.

 5. Press Releases – We’ve advised more than a few retailers to learn how to write a simple press release so they can promote their stores in the press. There are dozens of free on-line services that will distribute your release on line and you can also send it to your local news outlets.  Write releases about new product lines, store renovations or special events such as a charity shopping event with 10% of all sales benefiting the local organization.  Fundraisers are particularly effective with local media.

7. Get Personal – Send birthday cards and thank you notes to your best customers.  If you are uncomfortable using traditional mail, you can post on Facebook so all of the customer’s friends will see it.  And don’t forget to include a “birthday gift” of a coupon for a discount on your products!

8. Cross Market with Local Merchants – Whether it is coupon promotion with the local pizza shop, sponsoring a local sports team or buying a large display ad or billboard as a consortium, there is power in numbers.  Working together, local store owners can tell their story and studies show that customers want to buy local and will even spend a little more at a locally owned store if they are given a reason to do so.

9. Renovate and Remodel – Keep your store looking fresh and unique by reinvesting some of your profits in your physical plan.  This gives your customers a reason to come back over and over and it gives you something to talk about in your press releases and on your social networking sites.  Renovations do not have to be expensive… Invest in fresh paint, new lighting or new signage and then start talking about it!

10. Renegotiate with Your Vendors – The experiences of more than a few retailers indicate it’s worth a try. Whether it is your waste management, merchant services, landlord, suppliers or your marketing providers – each of them wants your business and many will negotiate more favorable terms in order to keep your business.   Work on negotiating bulk rates or bundles with your advertising partners in particular.

11. Invest in Omni-Channel Marketing – Today’s customers do not see the difference between on-line or brick and mortar retail.  For them every channel is valid and they have access to them all, so invest in building an on-line ecommerce site and then feature it in your store, on the web and through social media.  The best part is that every channel gives you an opportunity to collect the customer’s contact information so that you can reach out to them about your store and your products.

12. Give extra attention to your top spenders – Identify the top 20 or 30 customers and reward them with coupons, discounts, VIP shopping events, and a little extra attention when they walk through the door.