According to statistics, about 50 percent of small businesses fail in the first four years after set up. Over the years, the retail business landscape has experienced drastic changes and marketing your business has become even more challenging, especially for startups and small businesses.
In retail, the growing number of competitors has made marketing and lead generation much more complicated, and traditional marketing approaches are not enough to boost business. Online and offline media should come into play, and your business must learn to innovate with its marketing strategies to stand out. For a retail startup with very limited resources, it can sometimes feel overwhelming and difficult to achieve.
The good news is there are several best-practice marketing approaches to get startup businesses into the competition. Let’s look at some newbie-friendly marketing approaches you can utilize for your business.
Building a Website Is Not as Expensive as You Think
According to reports, the market penetration in buying from digital sources will rise from 42 percent in 2014 to over 47 percent in 2018. As a new retailer, you will need to take advantage of digital channels to boost your sales, and you’ll need to have a solid online platform to drive traffic; the main medium to do this is an easy-to-navigate website.
Unfortunately, many new and small retail businesses are starved for capital, and oftentimes feel limited to relying only on a traditional brick-and-mortar store. Perceptions persist that building websites are painstaking task for new businesses, and the maintenance costs are high, both in terms of time and money.
However, those perceptions aren’t always the case. While there might be arguments about free web hosting for business such as low storage space and lack of security, for starters, it can be the entry to marketing and expanding your retail business online. You don’t necessarily need an online store, but you do need an online presence.
You can test several free web hosting services available and choose the best for your business. Then, when you are ready to own your domain, you can upgrade your account and start building traffic.
Never Underestimate the Power of “Word Of Mouth”
Whether you have a brick and mortar store, an online store or both, your customers’ referrals are one of the best marketing strategies you can take advantage of, and the good news is … they’re free.
Nielsen reported 92 percent of 28,000 respondents worldwide said they trust referrals from people they know over other advertising methods. For startups, customer service is of utmost importance., and you can ask satisfied customers to refer you to people they know and encourage them to leave reviews on various social platforms. Simple word of mouth can produce more customer interactions, so take advantage of the opportunity.
However, as helpful customers’ word of mouth can be, it can also facilitate your downfall. In retail, it’s near impossible to please every customer, every time, and over time you will encounter disappointed and perhaps even unreasonable customers. It’s always challenging, and it’s best to be prepared with following tips.
- Respond promptly
- Work to clearly understand the cause of the issue, from the customer’s perspective
- Don’t get defensive when explaining your position
- Never assume – get confirmation from your customer that the issue has been addressed
- Thank your customer for their feedback and use it to improve your business
Build Brand Identity Online; Increase Retention in Physical Store
You need to build a brand identity so people learn about your business. One of the best ways to boost your brand identity is through online marketing. Make use of your website and integrate social media profiles. Join online communities so you can expand your reach. When you are starting to drive online traffic, convert them to leads and direct this traffic to your physical store.
Your physical store is the best place to increase customer retention. In your store, you can provide shoppers with a more personal and face-to-face approach compared to online, and retention happens when first-time shoppers become loyal customers. Your returning customers are as important as the new ones, so take good care of them by providing the excellent customer service they expect.
Customer service excellence is not limited only to how well you market to shoppers, but also how you address other needs. Accessibility of your store to all walks of life is one good example. Provide extra care to those with special needs and they will keep coming back. You can also come up with loyalty programs, CRM strategies and seasonal promotions that entice customers to purchase again from your store. Remember, more often than not, shoppers value experiences more than products when they shop.
Every successful business has different marketing strategies bringing them success. But, no matter how diverse marketing strategies are and no matter how big they have become, they all have one thing in common – they started as a newbie and have been where your business is now.
Most successful retail businesses have never settled for what is readily available for them, and although there are always resource constraints, these businesses worked tirelessly to maximize their marketing efforts and build a large, loyal clientele. And, now, it’s your turn. As a new, young business, you have several fundamental marketing strategies to help boost your business. All you have to do is make it work.
About the writer: As a Scoopfed editor, Key Acanto shares her knowledge and insights about business and marketing in both online and offline mediums. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
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