For small retailers and owners of traditional brick and mortar stores, competing with the big brands and chain stores can be very tasking. In an industry where the goal is to sell more volume at lower prices, this can be extremely challenging.
This is why all small retailing outlets and brick and mortar stores need unique marketing strategies that will help them reach their target audience, sell more products and generate more revenue.
Get a Website
This sounds obvious, and it should be. But you’d be surprised how many SMB types I’ve talked to that run their brick-and-mortars without any kind of website.
Traditional brick and mortar stores are great — this isn’t an argument for the death of traditional retail. But a web property allows you to not only tap into the market of online-only shoppers, it gives you a great platform you can use to support your physical retail business. The boost from e-commerce will be a big help, but simply having a website for your business with an active blog can help you generate interest and sales.
Use Customized Flags, Signage and Banners
On the other side of the coin, there are a lot of entrepreneurs who have embraced the digital, but to the exclusion of proven methods of traditional advertising. A hole-in-the-wall store with a website may capture the potential of online sales, but you’re missing out on the local community if you aren’t using your signage to contribute to your funnel. Many brick and mortar stores simply don’t use customized flags, banners, and signs enough. Yet, these are proven to drive considerable foot traffic and get people to your store year-round, not just during specific events like an opening or a sale.
I’ll give you an example: A few days ago, while driving around town on an errand, I spotted a few really great looking flags. I had to pull over to get a good look at the flag –which by the way, is for an event that’ll be happening this Saturday- and get the details of the event.
The interesting thing is that it wasn’t just me. There were also a few other folks –mostly pedestrians- checking out the flags. Ironically, these flags were close to a billboard that most people ignore.
My point is that people noticed the flags. Flags when properly customized can stop people in their tracks and get you significant business. Even better is the fact that it typically costs far less than traditional advertising methods such as radio advertising. So, get your custom flag today.
Advertise in Local and Online News Media
There are still ardent newspaper readers and folks who still prefer to peruse the ad sections of newspapers. So, pick your city’s local newspapers and run your ads in them. The best way to get great results from this is to run those ads when you have a special event or clearance sales coming up.
You could also run a special discount campaign in those papers. Most people, particularly those older than 40 prefer the feel of paper and the “ritual” associated with it. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t check out the online versions.
So, while you’re doing the traditional newspaper ads, don’t forget to run your ads on their online media sites. People who read online news sites are typically those in 20-40 age range. So, cover all your bases by running the ads on both platforms if you can afford it.
Facebook Ads for Brick and Mortar Retailers
Facebook recently introduced advertising plans specifically aimed at brick and mortar retail stores. The advertising products include:
With the Store Locator, users can quickly identify retail stores carrying whatever products you search for on a map. Searchers will also get important information such as opening and closing hours, address, travel time to the store, website address and phone number
The Store Visits provide information to retailers about people who viewed retail stores online and actually visited in person. You can find out more about the advertising products on this Facebook post.
Anyway, many small sized brick and mortar stores are getting good success with Facebook Ads. So, you should add it to your own retail marketing checklist.
Incredible Customer Service
Many retail stores –particularly the big ones- don’t place as much premium on customer service as a tool for supporting their business and encouraging sales. This is where small retail stores can out-do them and cut into their market share.
Many customers yearn for the personal customer care service that they can only get in smaller retail stores. Big retail stores can sometimes feel a bit lifeless, with service being careless or absent. Smaller brick-and-mortar retail stores can improve on this and develop excellent customer care service that will drastically increase patronage.
People will spread the word about an unusually friendly staff at a retail store, resulting in increased word of mouth advertising and revenues for your business.
In fact, I dare say that you should budget 20-40 percent of your advertising budget on training your staff to be the best customer-centric staff in any retail store and see what happens to your bottom line.
But if there’s one takeaway from all of this, I would say that the state of modern marketing furnishes us with a wide variety of tools for reaching diverse crowds in more ways than ever before. As a business owner, you need to make sure that your advertising strategy takes advantage of the combined power that this wide array of tools affords you to reach your customers.