How to make the most of in-store marketing
We’re all aware of the exponential increase in popularity on online shopping, and how it’s affecting the high streets and physical stores around us – some chains are even being forced to close down or shut some of their physical locations due to being outdone by online sales, or to put more focus behind it.
But we’re firm believers that enjoying a real life shopping experience will never be made redundant entirely, because nothing can replace the feeling of browsing your favourite store, picking up and feeling the items, and the instant gratification of buying something you love right there and then.
One way to help your physical store to keep up with those online is by making the most of your in-store marketing. Sure, you can use online techniques to get people to your store, but what are you doing for them once they’re there? Are you giving them motivation to come back? How you use in store marketing will make or break you, and encompasses everything from the layout and branding in your store, to specific product placement and even the people that work in it.
There’s no more important time than the Christmas period to make your in-store marketing the best it can be. Here’s our top tips on improving yours.
Don’t forget about employees
It’s easy to think of in-store marketing only in terms of the stuff you have in your store; products, signage, etc. But that’s not all – the employees and sales advisers in your stores are also vital parts of your in-store marketing efforts.
It can often be the case, especially in larger retailers, that the sheer number of people working on the shop floor means they might not have the maximum employee engagement in their job or the products they’re selling. Whilst it can be hard to instill this in everyone, it’s extremely beneficial to try – the more passionate your team are about your store and products, the more your customers will want to buy them too.
Make a conscious effort to share your core company values and goals with all employees, especially those that will be interacting with customers, and reinforce these brand messages regularly and in an interesting and engaging way.
Invest in hiring experts where you can, and people that you can see have a love or passion for your brand and what you sell, because this is sure to seep through into your customers’ attitude.
Making the most of in-store marketing is all about giving customers a reason to come to your physical store over simply using an online one, and employing and training great people that make the customer experience enjoyable and memorable is a huge factor in encouraging customers to come into your store in person.
Integrate your in-store marketing with social media
It may seem counter-intuitive to talk about using social media to boost your in-store marketing, but it would honestly be backward to look at these two things in isolation when they really need to be used together to have the maximum impact.
Social is inescapable, and it’s highly likely that your customers are on it. It’s become a core part of the buying process, from finding recommendations from people they follow, to looking up reviews or even just following your brand on social if they feel a connection. The good news is, there’s lots of ways to use social media to boost footfall in your physical stores.
One of the biggest benefits of social media is how easy it is to share, well, anything you want! And showing off the in-store experience that you give your customers is definitely something that you want to get out there for people to see. A lot of stores, particularly fashion retailers, now have a designated mirror or area in there store (often in the fitting room) where customers are encouraged to take a picture of themselves and share with the brand on social media. This gives the brand something to share that has come organically from customers, and shows the world the positive experience they had in store; it creates a talking point. Another good idea might be to share a hashtag on customer receipts – anything that gets them talking about being in your physical store.
A way to get your social media audience to turn into real life customers in your store could also be to use your following on social to share discounts and offers. Sending out social coupons that people then have to go in to store to spend gives you a fantastic opportunity to show off your customer service and potentially introduce them to more products they may be interesting, as well as increasing footfall.
Use any data you can to understand your customer
Just like any form of marketing, your in-store strategy shouldn’t be based on guesses, or assuming what you think your customer wants. There’s always data for you to analyse, understand, and then make the most of. For in-store marketing, there are lots of numbers you can crunch to understand shopper habits in your store and how to maximise sales and footfall because of it.
If you’re not already, start measuring things like how many repeat customers you have, what your best selling and worst selling products are, the tills that put the most sales through, most successful departments, areas with the most traffic, what your most loyal customers buy and why they come back to you, any correlations between boost in sales and special promotions… the list is endless. Figure out what metrics are important to you, start tracking them and then act on them. Do more of what sells and less of what doesn’t; it’s as simple as that.
It’s true what they say that knowledge is power, and the more you know, the bigger an advantage you have.
Focus on giving a memorable customer experience
Relating to the previous point on employees, often the main reason that a customer chooses to shop in-store rather than online is because they want to enjoy the actual physical experience that you just can’t get from buying online. Touching the clothes, seeing them up close, talking to expert staff in store, trying items on – all of this adds up to an experience that culminates with the instant gratification of a purchase that they receive there and then, rather than having to wait for delivery.
From ensuring your store is laid out and maintained to the highest standard and in a way that’s easy to navigate, to providing training to your staff to make sure they give the best customer service at all times, there are lots of things you can do to improve customer experience in your store that will make customers want to come back again and again.
You want to use your shopfloor to tell the story of your products to your customers and help them feel immersed in your brand, and it doesn’t have to just be luxury or high end brands that use this tactic – you can give just as good a customer experience in a value store as you can a designer one.
Incorporating interactivity into your shopper experience wherever you can is a great way to make your store stand out too. Appeal to your customers’ 5 senses with things like digital screens or well thought out signage to convey the visual element of your brand, taster stands if relevant or a way to produce a smell in store that will appeal (Hollister do this well). If you have a product you can demonstrate (like a toy shop or electricals), that’s sure to grab customers’ interest, and the music you play in store has an impact too, so make sure it fits with your target audience.
A good way to test your in-store customer experience is to gain feedback from existing customers, or use ‘mystery shoppers’ to get an impartial look at where you can improve.
Make the most of your window display
Sometimes when shopping, we know exactly where we want to go – but sometimes, the joy of window shopping kicks in and if we see something we like in a shop window, we can’t help but follow our feet in to the store to see more!
Don’t underestimate the important of a strong window display; there’s a reason there’s always such hype over the window reveals of big department stores, especially at Christmas time, and it’s because your shop window is the first thing your customers see from the street, and can be a huge part of convincing them to step inside.
You can do so much more with a shop window then just show off some mannequins – thinking about themes, especially seasonal ones, can have a huge impact, and linking that with the story your brand is trying to tell through it’s products each season is where the exterior connects with the interior.
It’s no secret that it’s best to show off your key pieces that you know will be best sellers in the shop window in order to drive people inside, and the products you show in your window should make up a coherent collection that tells customers what they can expect when they go inside.
And, if it fits with your brand, thinking up something more novelty, unique, interactive or unseen before to share in your window can be a way to really make you more memorable.
Find ways to increase the quantity and value of every purchase
Obviously, this is the goal for all retailers, but there are specific things you can do to get your customers spending and buying more in a way that benefits both of you.
Identifying high traffic areas is key, and placing stands there with small, cleverly priced items that your customers are likely to impulse buy. Everyone does this at the till, and it works, but places like stairwells, near lifts, outside changing rooms or doorways could work too.
Grouping products together that work well and you recommend to your customer is also a good way of increasing their spend; this could be as simple as showing off a full outfit, from dress to shoes to accessories, as this might motivate your customer to buy the whole set, or suggesting add on products such as cases and chargers for electricals, or extra software on laptops. Whatever you sell, there will be something you can upsell to your customer that means each sale is worth more to you.
Keep your branding consistent
It’s likely that entering your shop isn’t the first place that people have become aware of your brand – they could have seen you in advertising, been told about you by a friend, found you online first or noticed you on social media. Wherever they spotted you, you’ll have showed them a branded presence. Whether it’s colours, font, tone of voice, general style – they have an impression of you and what your brand looks like, and you need to make sure that it shown consistently when they enter your store too.
That means ensuring your shop fit keeps up with whatever campaign or branding you’re putting out to the public in your marketing; whether it’s seasonal campaigns or a new product line, it needs to come across as soon as they walk into your store.
Want to know a great way of showing off your brand to customers in store, that you can easily update to reflect your latest campaigns…?
Okay okay, you’ve got us – it’s printed bags! We just wanted to mention how investing in printed bags can be a great way of promoting your brand to your customers, as well as the other people they encounter that day. And, if you go for high quality printed paper bags like these little laminated numbers, then the extra branded memento can really add to the in-store customer experience we were talking about earlier.
We know that was a long post so thanks for sticking with it! Hopefully you found it valuable.
If you’d like to find out more about our printed bags and how they can help you make the most of your in-store marketing, get in touch by calling 0191 268 7555, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.