Traditional retail has not died under the shadow of e-commerce, it has merely shifted gears. If you need evidence that retail is still alive, pay a visit to London and walk down any busy commercial street. You will not find a shortage of retail stores advertising everything from consumer goods to cheap meals.
Marketing has always been, and still is, the key to retail success. Marketing is especially important now that brick-and-mortar retail establishments are competing so aggressively against their e-commerce counterparts. But no worries. If you own a traditional retail business, you can market and track your business in 5 easy steps.
Step #1: Go All-In on Multimedia
Is a picture still worth a thousand words? You bet it is. So our first step is to go all-in on multimedia marketing. For purposes of illustration throughout the rest of this post, let us imagine that you run a coffee shop selling a full variety of coffees, teas, and pastries.
At the top of your marketing efforts should be pictures. Post your pictures on social media, on your own website, and any other place that will accept them. Nothing is more inviting to potential customers than a great picture showing a hot cup of coffee along with a cake or muffin.
Complement your pictures with videos. What’s more, do not make your videos just moving representations of your pictures. Add music and dialogue. Add creative graphics. Make your videos fun to watch.
Tie it all together with a memorable profile image on each of your social media pages. Your profile image should be something that triggers the imagination. The more visual stimulation it offers, the more effective it will be.
Step #2: Engage Customers with Contests
The contest is one of the oldest marketing tools in the retail box. It is just as effective today as it has ever been in the past. So why aren’t you running contests? You should be.
Here’s an example: write 10 coffee-related trivia questions on your menu board and leave them for three weeks. During that time, invite your guests to write down and submit their answers. For every correct answer a guest earns points that can be redeemed at a later date for a free cup of coffee or a pastry.
Step #3: Host Live Events
Live events are an excellent marketing strategy that few retailers take advantage of. Indeed, a good live event could be a marketing gold mine. You run a coffee shop, so plan an after-hours tasting session in advance of launching some new flavours. You can make this an invitation-only event or make it a public event with a nominal fee. Either way, your guests will feel privileged to be able to take part in the tasting.
Step #4: Engage with the Competition
As odd as this sounds, engaging with your competition can be very effective for marketing purposes. Get with other coffee shop owners willing to share their experiences with you. Pick each other’s brains, learn from one another, and perhaps consider sharing training opportunities. You can all help one another without hurting your own businesses.
Step #5: Track Your Progress
The final step is to track your progress using software with reporting capabilities. A point-of-sale (POS) solution would be good for a retail coffee shop. POS software allows you to track your sales at a glance. A good package will also include marketing and analytics reports as well. By looking at all the data and comparing it to your marketing efforts, you can figure out what is working and what is not.