Retail stores have traditionally been the go-to places for people’s purchases. Regardless of size, retailers have always had customers visiting their stores albeit the competition. With the advent of the Internet and its meteoric rise in user numbers, brick and mortar (B&M) stores face a new crisis in the form of lost customers. Online shopping offers just about anything a B&M store has to offer, with the added convenience of being able to purchase your desired product within the confines of your home.
However, that does not mean retail stores are going out of business. Even though online shopping is on the rise, as of 2018 it accounts for only 14.3% of total retail sales in the United States. And it would not be far-fetched to assume that number is also the case for the rest of the world, maybe even on the lower side of the spectrum. So it is fair to say that a good margin of customers still prefer physical stores to their online counterparts.
E-commerce, nevertheless, is not the only challenge retail stores are facing. It is not even the biggest one at that. The huge competitiveness of the market means smaller retail stores have to work their hardest to not only break even but also stay afloat. Bigger retail stores, the likes of which include Best Buy and Walmart, can eat up competition like no other can, simply because they have the means and resources to do so. And with so many variables factoring into the success of your retail store—finances, inventory, customer base, etc...—it can be overwhelmingly difficult to sustain your business and keep it operating.
With carefully-designed marketing strategy in place, your retail store may stand a chance and even go as far as being a success. Competition is an annoying obstacle for every party involved but it can help you better your business practices and improve as a company. Therefore, following some of the marketing tips listed below, you can develop a campaign—or a strategy for that matter—that will make sure you attract the right clientele and keep your retail store going.
Effective Marketing Channels for Retailers
Marketing boasts a huge diversity in its channels of communication. All of them are effective in their own way and can target different demographics. Though the selection of which channels you want to use largely depends on budget restrictions and how much of an investment you are willing to make in your marketing. With that said, here are some marketing channels best suited for the retail industry.
- Social Media – Social media is really just an umbrella term for all kinds of social networks (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) which you can use to create an online presence. This is important to create brand awareness and build a customer base on the digital space. Its maintenance costs are relatively low and its reach is high. You can use social media for a variety of purposes, like promoting your store, engaging with customers, customer support and whatnot.
- Email Marketing – this is an ideal channel to disseminate information and create customer royalty. Through email communication let your customers know about the promotions you are running, arrival of new merchandise and sales. Every once in a while, you can reward your most loyal customers with a sales coupon to incentivize them to purchase from your store again. Eventually, after most of your customers have subscribed to your email newsletters, you will know what percentage of your client base is loyal to your store.
- Advertising – the most traditional of methods, the cost of which may be steep but ultimately rewarding. Depending on your budget, you can go from advertising your retail store on a local newspaper or radio station to having your video ads displayed on national TV channels. This guarantees great results and can set your store apart from your competitors as it creates brand awareness among the public. It also gives your retail store credibility and some sort of prestige, as it is not very common for retail stores to be advertised on TV: only a select few stores with deep enough pockets have the resources to do that. So advertising your retail store on a nation-wide scale puts you in the special club.
- SMS Marketing – SMS marketing campaign by far the cheapest alternative to any other method. Its reach is practically limitless and everyone with a mobile phone is a potential target for you.
SMS Marketing Advantages for Retailers
- Cheap and affordable
- Has great reach due to almost everyone owning a phone
- Can send text messages in bulk regardless of the number of customers
- 98% open rate and 36% click-through rate compared to email’s 22% and 2.9% rates respectively
- Higher redemption rate than email
- Creates customer feedback loop
- Facilitates customer engagement
- Can be used for any type of communication: promotional, transactional, news distribution and so on.