Retail Store Marketing – Coordinating Your Marketing Efforts With The In-Store Sales Staff

Marketing isn’t just the responsibility of you, the store owner. No, your staff should also be aware of and supporting your marketing efforts. In store sales staff is just one more way to market your business and get the word out.

Include Your In Store Staff in Marketing

There are a few ways that you can market your retail business and your sales staff should be aware of each of them. Why? Because they are your front line in spreading the word. That and you don’t want them to look incompetent if they are asked about marketing efforts by customers! Also encourage your sales staff to spread the word with their social media as well.

Gift Cards

Retail Store Marketing - Coordinating Your Marketing Efforts With The In-Store Sales Staff great way sales staff can help with marketing efforts is through the use of gift cards. Why? Well research has shown that people who shop with gift cards tend to purchase full priced items rather than waiting for sales. It makes sense, since gift cards aren’t customers spending their own money.

Customers also tend to spend more than just the face value of the gift card. Both of these situations mean increased profit margins for you. Even better, about 20% of people who get gift cards never use them. That’s 100% profit for you.

More Gift Card Stats

Customers who use gift cards are also less likely to return or exchange items, lowering transaction costs. A policy idea for your store: use gift cards for returns. This will eliminate cash refunds and means that the money you took in during the initial sale stays in your store, not in their pockets.

Loyalty Program and Online Research

Loyalty programs also attract and keep customers. Both are programs your sales staff must be aware of and push. As a store you should be letting customers know about your programs using social media. 88% of customers research online but buy in store and 78% of small businesses attract new customers through social media. Have a website because customers who come into your store after visiting your website spend 37% more than those who don’t. So don’t miss out on that boat!

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Retail Promotion Ideas For Valentines Day

Retail promotion ideas for Valentines Day is the next thing on the sales promotion agenda now that Christmas and New Years are just around the corner. Valentine’s Day is only about a month and a half or so away! So now is the Retail Promotion Ideas For Valentines Daytime to promote Valentine’s Day. A technology store needs some smart promotions to connect Valentines Day to technology products. Read on for some great ideas.

A “heart wall”

Have a “heart wall” where customers can submit decorated hearts to help decorate. Make it a contest and award the winner an accessory for their phone or a percentage off the purchase of a new phone. You can do several awards: best heart, most romantic, most poetic, etc.

Put up a spot in the store where customers can share things they love. Not just people, but food, movies, songs, even their favorite phones, apps and accessories.

Create cards

Create small Valentines Day cards that your customers can add to their purchases. Make some fun, others romantic. Bill it as a way you are saving them a trip to the card store. Your extra customer service for them.

Communication

In a technology store finding a “romantic” gift isn’t easy. It’s not jewelry or candy or flowers. But what you can push is communication. All good relationships have good communication so approach it from that angle. How to keep in touch with those they love. Show all the ways a smartphone or tablet can help them keep in touch with others. Show them apps that will enhance communication. Use your imagination!

Charity

Don’t’ forget to appeal to their charitable side. Offer a donation to a local charity: shelter, food pantry, etc., from each sale. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the times we usually think about this, but then donations fall off. Give a local one a pick me up and bring in new customers by showing that the love of Valentine’s Day is more than just romantic.

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Event Marketing Tips For Sales People

Holding a marketing event can be a great way to expand your business, but what good is an event if you don’t get traffic to it? In order to get people there you have to plan a great event with great giveaways. Here are some event marketing tips for salespeople to get people there.

The Key to Attendance

Event Marketing Tips For Sales PeopleThe key to attendance is your giveaways. Yes, you have to spend it to make it, and most people won’t show up for nothing. So you need to make sure your “swag” is the swaggiest!

So what is it that your target crowd would want? Tips for salespeople here: That is the most important question of your event marketing planning! Your swag should do a few things. First, it should represent your business. That means it should be something that tells people what your business sells or stands for. Be careful here, don’t give away something that could damage your reputation.

Have a Drawing

If you can do it, give a small swag bag to everyone and keep the best giveaways for a special drawing. How you do that is the next important step in your event marketing. The reason you are giving the event is to build your prospect and customer lists. The drawing is how you do that.

Promote Your Fabulous Giveaways

Next, make sure that you let people know what that fabulous giveaways are. First, let them know everyone leaves with something. Next, shout about that special drawing from the rooftops. Use your event marketing to the fullest. Do yourself a favor and make sure that attendees have to help your database in order to have their name in the drawing. Don’t make it slips to be filled out. People are notorious about only putting a name but not any other information. Ask for business cards instead.

Event marketing is important, and making sure you have the deck stacked in your favor to make it a success is something you should be planning. Make sure your giveaways are great and build your business through the data you gather.

Should You Let Your Sales Staff Participate In Social Media

It’s been the bane of employers everywhere: staff using social media on company time. So if you have sales staff, should you keep them from using their social media for work and on work time? Actually, it might be a good idea to let them check their Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest while at work… within reason.

Social Media and the Salesperson

Should You Let Your Sales Staff Participate In Social MediaEmployers complain about the time suck that is social media. Many have blocked the websites from their computer systems so that it doesn’t distract employees from doing their jobs. Is that a good idea?

Sure if you have an employee who doesn’t need to stay connected to other people in order to successfully do their jobs. In sales, being able to have a forum to prospect easily is important. Social media does that for a salesperson. Yes, you probably have a bunch of social media for your business, or you should, but how much more reach will you have if you let your sales people use their own social media to prospect?

Good Guidelines Needed

Think about it. They have their own lists of friends on their profiles and pages. People who might not know about your business. Letting your sales people use their personal social media to market and advertise your business just broadens the list of people who know about your business. That means they may be on their personal accounts at work. That also means there will be a need for guidelines in work use.

A Written Agreement

Set up guidelines for the time they should be allowed to use it at work. If it becomes an impediment to helping customers actually in the store, then you have a problem. So, calendar times during their work day when it’s allowed, and times when it is not. Have a written agreement with them about how they can post. Obviously you want posts that are appropriate, grammatically correct and spelled well. What they post about your business reflects on your business.

So let them post, comment, like and push your business on their social media!

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Strong Retail Marketing Strategies for Christmas 2014

Strong Retail Marketing Strategies for Christmas 2014If you think it’s too early to start your retail marketing strategies for Christmas, think again! In fact even though back to school just ended, some larger retailers have started their Christmas marketing campaigns already.

Kmart started their push for Christmas layaway, specifically calling it “not a Christmas commercial.” No it is not too early, you need to be putting your Christmas marketing plans in action for ecommerce, email marketing and traditional marketing, not just in a single marketing channel.

Start with online, email and ecommerce, strategies. Most consumers do some portion of their holiday shopping online. That means that for brick and mortar stores, getting their attention online is really important. Begin by promoting your online presence: your website, Facebook page and other social media outlets. You should be targeting key shopping keywords now like “Best Technology Christmas Gifts for 2014″ and “Hot Christmas Presents for 2014″. While it is tempting to try and make these evergreen and not year specific, Google definitely rewards sites that have current information available.

That means also working on your social media campaigns. Use your social media presence to allow customers to do online shopping with you. How? Specials only available through your social media. Tie them to an “order online, pickup in-store” kind of deal that will get them shopping and also in your store. That can help drive in some in-store impulse buys.

You can definitely use email to reach current and past customers. Have exclusive email offers to drive traffic into the store as well, tracking which messages drive the most engagement and sending that type the most often to your list.

Don’t forget your offline strategies too. Some are as simple as getting into the spirit, but be careful with this one, it can backfire if you start too early! Once you get into the season, appeal to the senses. Sight, smell, hearing: decorate, music and smells like cinnamon, vanilla and other “Christmassy” smells. For example, food smells get people wandering in and buying.

Don’t forget that people are in a much more giving mood during the holidays. Use the time to support local food banks, or a current charitable situation. Not to be Machiavellian about it, but make sure to alert local media or take pictures so that you can get the marketing impact down the road.

Lastly, be grateful for your customers and be sure to give them something extra as well.

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Are 2D Barcodes the Wave of the Future?

2D barcodes are a new way that retailers are implementing retail marketing today. But what are 2D bar codes? Are they QR codes? Are 2D Barcodes the Wave of the Future?In some cases they are the same thing,  but not all the time. QR codes are a type of 2D barcode, but not all 2D barcodes are QR codes and need a separate kind of reader. How can you use them?

Retail Marketing Potential

2D barcodes have a lot of marketing potential for all kinds of businesses. They are easily placed anywhere and can be easily targeted to your customers. They efficiently provide information that can be accessed via their smart phones. Consumers are used to the “point and shoot” aspect of using a scanning app on their phones to access information. That hurdle has already been scaled. There are other ones to overcome before you make the 2D leap.

The Downside

Adoption of 2D has been slow mostly because people aren’t aware of them and what they do. Then there’s the added step of a need for a separate barcode reading app. Another issue is that consumers have found that the experiences with them have been disappointing. Not any different from the hurdles faced when QR codes hit the marketing world, so consider the down sides temporary.

Overcoming Hurdles

Here’s how to overcome them.

Start by using 2D barcodes. Use them and place instructions around about them and what value it adds to their experience. The best part is that using them now is low cost to the retailer and that is a huge plus. The few extra instructions needed for your customers can be as little as your staff being excited about them and showing them off.

So ask your retail marketing company how 2D barcodes can be the wave in your future, then dive in and get wet!

Why Online Retailers Are So Focused On Building Big Lists | Retail Sales

Online retailers seem to have it over brick and mortar retailers because of big lists. Is having a big list key in getting ahead in Why Online Retailers Are So Focused On Building Big Lists | Retail Salesretail sales? Well, Netflix basically put Blockbuster out of business because they had a huge list. Amazon built a big list because they discounted their way into it. One place to look is at how they are trying to break into online grocery operations.

Food has been a hard area to break into online for a variety of reasons.  One is that many people don’t believe that they will get the freshest product, meats, fish and dairy products online.  Many like to shop themselves and pick it out themselves.  Another reason is because shipping fresh or frozen items is expensive.  Then there is the lure of impulse buys that boost their bottom line in stores.

It has been done.  Britain has successfully done so and other countries are following suit. But it took time. Tesco, Europe’s second biggest retailer, took 17 years to bring its online grocery business to the market and make it a success.  Now it’s successful.  Tesco isn’t building its online business for the sake of just having an online business.  Instead it is doing so to make money.  They are aiming to attract more big-spending food shoppers AND those who buy general goods.  General goods sell at much higher margins than groceries.

They also found that customers who buy food online as well as in store spend twice as much as those who only shop in store. So much for lost impulse buys! Bigger yet, those who also buy general merchandise spend three times as much.

Amazon is also venturing into groceries.  AmazonFresh is available in certain areas and they bundle orders of groceries with fresh foods from local specialty stores partnering with Amazon.  What they have found is that the operating margin for AmazonFresh could be as high as 13 percent in denser urban areas.  It takes work, but looks like it will be a money maker.

5 Innovative Ways to Stay in Touch During the Sales Process

Staying in touch with prospects during the sales process is important. These days there are innovative and fun ways to do just that. The more fun it is, the less annoying you are to the prospect ad more likely to make the sale. So how can you do all that?

5 Innovative Ways to Stay in Touch During the Sales ProcessSocial media is one way and there are so many ways to do it, and there are so many different social media outlets! LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram… what to do! First things first, find out what your prospect’s favorite social media outlet is, then suggest your page or profile. Don’t stalk them! Get permission! Instagram can be fun because you can post fun pictures of their favorite products or ideas of what to do with them and tag them in it. It will get them excited about getting their hands on it to try out all the cool things you posted.

Facebook and Twitter can be a good way to keep them up to date on offers and such. Twitter is super easy to do and only takes a minute to tweet out something fast. Twitter also is very very hot right now, everyone is tweeting! Facebook is a great place to put up your newest deals and new products.

Another, more traditional way is to pick up the phone. Just call! If they don’t answer just leave a quick “just touching base” message. Offer to take them out for coffee or a beer! Yes, really. Sometimes we have to put down the technology and remember that sales is a person to person business. Doing too much with technology can come across as avoiding them.

Just make sure you keep in touch. Prospects will quickly lose interest if you don’t and the sale will never happen.

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What is the Best Time to Get Testimonials in the Sales Process?

Part of the sales process should be asking for testimonials. We all know that testimonials are a huge boon to your business. Customers pay more attention when someone else has good things to say about your business than when you say good things about it. The problem is you haven’t been getting any. People haven’t just What is the Best Time to Get Testimonials in the Sales Process?offered to give you a testimonial, but you don’t feel ok about asking. You know you have to ask, so when is the best time to be asking for those testimonials during the sales process?

Asking customers for testimonials can be uncomfortable, so many people put it off until it never happens. Hoping they fall into your lap won’t get them there, planning the asking into your process will. Asking is scary, but really, what’s the worst that can happen? They say no? Really, that’s it. So when are good times to ask? Well, once you’ve solved their problem. When they tell you how happy they are with your product or service. When you deliver on your promises. When they thank you. If you think about it those are the most natural times to ask. Always deliver on your promises, pay more attention to our customer’s needs and you will have more testimonials!

But if it’s still uncomfortable, try this instead. Provide every customer with a survey at the end of the project or transaction. Send it in an email or put it in with their receipt. Offer a fun extra for completing it. Use questions such as “How did you benefit from using our company?”, “Describe why you feel that working with us was successful” or “If a friend was on the fence about whether to work with us, what would you say to them?” Don’t forget to leave a space to let them actually write out comments and there you have your testimonial!

Don’t hope a testimonial happens, make sure it does. Get over being uncomfortable and ask.

Social Selling: Can Retail Compete By Using Social Media?

You hear it all the time, all businesses should be using social media or they can’t compete. But does social selling work for retail? Yes and no. Some forms of social media are great for retail, others, not so much.

So what doesn’t work? Retailer blogs. A survey done by Compete Inc. showed that less than 8% of shoppers read retailer blogs or forums. They may be a great way to reach others, but if you are relying on a retail Social Selling: Can Retail Compete By Using Social Media?blog to attract customers, don’t. A better idea may be to use the shorter blog functions on social networks like Pinterest or Tumblr.

There are a few things that work well. Facebook and Twitter pages do get traffic. Using it to post sales and promotions will get you noticed. Compete found that 55% of people visit Facebook pages ad 52.1% visit Twitter pages to keep up on offers, sales and the like. About half also visit and enter sweepstakes or giveaway contests on both sites. What works too is when other customers “like” or follow (for Twitter) your page. What happens is their friends see the “like” and come to see what is there that got their friend’s interest. Call it a virtual “word of mouth” that is very effective in getting you a broader range of potential new customers.

The key to which social media to use also depends on your target audience. The survey also made that very apparent. Here’s why. More men use Twitter for retail information, but people over 55 tend not to have a Twitter account and those who do don’t follow retailers. Twitter is good for getting information out quickly on daily sales and offers. More women use Facebook and Pinterest for shopping. Pinterest is a great creative outlet for retailers in food, lifestyle and fashion.

Social media is effective for retail, just know what works best for you and don’t spread yourself too thin using media that doesn’t work.

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