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!

Marketing Ideas For Retailers – In Store Open House

Marketing your business goes beyond sending out postcards or mailers. As a retailer, finding additional ways to market your business is never a bad idea. Holding an open house in store is a great idea.

Open House:

Marketing Ideas For Retailers - In Store Open HouseAn open house is a great way to market any time of year or for big reasons such as you relocated, or remodeled your current location. There are many things you can do, but here are some basics. First, who to invite. Develop an invitation list that includes past customers, friends, family, a targeted group that could be customers, etc. Use your own database for past customers, and even potential new customers.

Pick a Date:

Decide on the date to hold it. Having it in-store is a great idea. It keeps your costs down by not requiring the rental of an offsite location. It also gets customers and potential customers where you want them – in your store! Make it after hours, so that the focus is the open house, not making sales at that moment. Design a clever invitation and send it out well enough in advance to get people excited. Also publicize it as much as possible. Press releases are a good idea. Post the information on your store’s website and social media.

RSVP:

Make sure to request an RSVP to get an idea of attendance, but don’t count on that total as set in stone. These days people often don’t think actually RSVPing is required.

Refreshments and Music:

Be sure to offer refreshments and have music. Music is a great mood setter. Have name tags available so people can get to know each other and you will have a perfect solution to remembering names. Decide ahead of time which items of your inventory you wish to showcase. Be sure to have giveaways and use the items you wish to showcase. Put them in the invitation and advertising. Hold a drawing each half hour or at regular time increments to keep people interested and at the open house.

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Retail Sales – How to Position Yourself as a Socially Conscious Company

Socially conscious. You hear the term often, but do you know what it means? Moreover, do you know what it means to be a socially conscious company, and is it even compatible with retail sales?

Retail Sales - How to Position Yourself as a Socially Conscious CompanyBeing socially conscious means many things. What it means to one person may be different for another. But fundamentally it comes down to your choices, as a person and as a business, and how those choices affect the world we all live in. Being a socially conscious business doesn’t mean you are anti-profit. It just means that you work and do business in a way that positively impacts the world around you. Here are a few things that means:

Be your authentic self. If you are constantly stressed by being someone you aren’t, you aren’t being true to yourself. Being an honest person in your work environment will garner the respect of others and set an example for them. Creating a work environment that is honest and productive is a big part of being a socially conscious business.

Treat those who work for you and do business with you as equal partners in your success and life. Don’t look down on others. Being superior or arrogant causes high employee turnover and customers who leave and tell others not to do business with you.

Know that being mindful of others and how your business affects them creates value, and increases your profits. Creating value not only in what you sell, but in how your business affects your community makes you an invaluable asset to the community. So be mindful of what you can do to help the community by how you donate your time, treasure and talent.

Take time to figure out what your footprint on the community will be and it will come back to benefit you in more than just profits. The benefit will be in how you feel about yourself as well.

Retail Marketing – How to Piggyback Off of Current Events

Have you been brainstorming for new retail marketing ideas? Retail marketing isn’t immune to current events so why not use them to market your technology products? It’s not as hard as you think. Follow a few easy rules and get some great new marketing ideas.

Retail Marketing - How to Piggyback Off of Current EventsThink about the news lately. Stories abound about technology products issues: data breaches and viruses like the Heartbleed virus make people think twice about how secure their devices and information really is. Stories are out there about bad storms, fires and disasters. These are all things that can be used for marketing ideas to market your technology products. Here’s some examples of how:

Data security is a huge issue. Between issues in specific stores and the heartbleed virus, it has made people think twice about using technology to shop and bank online. So market to the security issues. Provide a free phone check to customers to see if their phone software is up to date so the heartbleed virus is ineffective. Once they are there, you have them where they can be sold on other products in your retail business.

Storm or disaster readiness is also a big thing this time of year. Tornadoes through the Midwest, out of control fires in San Diego county, heavy rains in the east causing flooding, all of these cause people to lose power, worry about loved ones and need to stay connected. Offer a free session on how to stay connected in an emergency – favorite apps and disaster preparedness. Then market your technology product accessories like extra batteries, battery boosters and phones with long battery life and great internet connectivity.

One caution; stay away from politics or religion. Current events or not, no matter which side you choose, someone will be offended or put off. Politics and religion are a no no when dealing with retail marketing. So don’t do it. You will lose every time. Choose other events, think outside the box and come up with great ideas to market your retail business.

Retail Marketing – How to Leverage Current Events

In retail marketing today there are many ways to market your business. One of them is to leverage current events. It’s not what most people would think of in marketing, but it can be a very good way to catch the attention of people of all kinds.

Retail Marketing - How to Leverage Current EventsWhen most people think about marketing, using political or economic current events, you know, the things your school teachers used to make you write about, don’t seem to be the top of their list. However, if you are careful not to go too political, or careful not to take a specific side, you could leverage many political or economic situations to your advantage. Here are some examples.

“Did you just find out your insurance was cancelled because of Obamacare? You’ll need to be sure to stay healthy! Try these apps for your smartphone to help stay fit and in shape!” See how that worked? You didn’t take a side, but instead used it to say making a small purchase of a few apps will help.
Primary elections are coming up in many places. Leverage the elections and offer a small extra for anyone coming in with an “I voted” sticker and makes a purchase. Not taking any side, but encouraging people to do their civic duty and vote.

Gas prices are headed north again. Again, an economic pain point for your customers. Offer something like “bring in a receipt for gas of $25 or more and get _.” Just fill in the blank for whatever you decide will be your giveaway.

Summer “staycations” are a great way to grab all kinds of customers. Market an offer to customers for free admission to a local attraction when purchasing a smartphone with a great camera. See in each of these situations you take a hot button and use it to bring in business. Try it for yourself. Think outside of the box and see what you can use to help bring in more sales!

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Did Radio Shack’s Superbowl Ads Hurt Their Retail Stores?

It was one of the best ads of this year’s Superbowl. Radio Shack aired an ad showing the icons of the 80’s, from sports, to music to TV and the movies, ripping a Radio Shack store to shreds, after the employees get a phone call where one told the other “The 80’s called and they want their store back.” Then a new and modern version of today’s Radio Shack was shown. For anyone in their 40’s it was a fun commercial that brought back great memories. But did it help or hurt Radio Shack’s retail stores?

The ad was designed, it can be assumed, to help to try and rebrand Radio Shack. Anyone who has shopped at Radio Shack in the last several years has probably noticed that Did Radio Shack's Superbowl Ads Hurt Their Retail Stores?most stores are outdated, have poor service and are very overshadowed by other stores such as Best Buy for technology. What most found was that the ad was very entertaining, but it appears it didn’t inspire any consumer confidence and cause people to shop there. How do we know this? Well just a few weeks later, Radio Shack announced it was closing 1,100 stores. Economic experts are forecasting failure of the chain in general.

Given the cost of Superbowl ads, the very entertaining ad was an utter failure. That money could have been better spent on training to improve customer service, to improving stores and improving the experience of customers in general. Radio Shack has been around for decades, as the commercial shows very well. Its reputation, however, has fallen into disrepute and customers have left for better service in other, more modern stores. The ad didn’t address how the company is dealing with areas like customer service. The experience of most customers is dealing with unhappy, unhelpful, older, male sales staff, and the entertaining ad didn’t address that perception.

Radio Shack would have been better served using the millions in training, then launching a lower key but perception fighting ad campaign.

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What is the Value of Trade Show Marketing?

What is the value of trade show marketing? Well, trade shows are a big expense. An expense of time, of staff and an expense of effort. Is that expense worth the value you derive from it? It is if you market yourself and make that trade show work for you.

What is the Value of Trade Show Marketing?Trade shows work, that’s a fact. If they didn’t businesses wouldn’t go to them or spend the money to have booths. But if you don’t pay attention to the possibilities and then market yourself accordingly, you will be throwing good money after bad. So here are some numbers: Per trade show events.com, an estimated 110 million people attend more than 4,000 shows in the United States and Canada every year. Now, how many people do you see in a normal day? A few, maybe 20 during the holidays? The potential is enormous at trade shows.

So let’s say an average show has 10,000 people attending. In 10 hours you could see 1,000 people! Realistically you won’t talk with all of them, but even if you only talk to 25 or 50, that is a whole lot more than you would in a day elsewhere. Here’s a bit more to consider with those numbers. 86% of your visitors will be new contacts; 77% of visitors will remember your company for up to 10 weeks. Want some cost numbers? Try these on for size: Cost per lead from show averages $212.00; Cost per lead from field averages $308.00; Cost per sale from a show averages $705.00; Cost per sale from the field averages $1140.00. Of course these numbers will differ depending on your type of business, but it’s about a 40% difference.

The way to ensure that you make those kinds of numbers, you need to market your booth and business. Make sure to staff it well, have good giveaways and get the word out to your mailing lists early and often. The better you do to make your booth the best booth at the show, the better the value will be to you.

Retail Promotion Ideas – Top Spring Holidays

Spring is almost here and there are plenty of holidays coming that you can capitalize on for retail promotion idea. Here are some of the top spring holidays and some ideas to use for promotions.

Retail Promotion Ideas - Top Spring HolidaysSt Patrick’s Day is March 17th and right around the corner. Have fun with this holiday and the wearin o’ the green! Make some green by making fun green. Put green accessories, either the color green or environmentally friendly “green” products on sale. Give a special discount or gift to anyone coming in wearing any kind of specifically St. Patrick’s Day attire.

The first day of spring is March 20th so celebrate the coming of warmer temperatures and sunnier days by offering all kinds of fun things. Send out an email to your customer list with an offer that anyone who comes in with a flower or some other symbol of spring that you decide gets a special gift.

What says spring more than MLB’s opening day? While the first day of the season is March 30th, your hometown team’s may be different. Check it and then celebrate our nation’s favorite pastime by offering fun baseball themed gifts and specials. Find a great baseball app for phones and have it preloaded on all phones sold on opening day!

Easter is one of the best of the spring holidays. It is late this year, April 20th to be exact, and it’s a fun holiday to think up offers. Have a jellybean count jar and offer a great prize. Have a special on pastel colored phones or accessories. Use your imagination and come up with your own favorite Easter Bunny themed specials.

Another “green” holiday is Earth day. Earth day is April 22, right after Easter. Maybe tie in environmentally friendly phones and accessories to the “renewal” of Easter. Have a green for green drive where people bring in their old phones to be recycled. Offer a discount or cash back for each phone they bring in.

Cinco de Mayo, May 5th in English, is a Mexican holiday. Have fun with 5! Buy 5 and get one free accessory. Bring in 5 referrals and get a discount on a phone. Pick 5 favorite apps to be preloaded on your new phone. Think in fives.
Mother’s day is May 11th and if anyone deserves some special treatment it’s mom. Have a special gift ready just for Moms who stop in, no purchase required.

How to Optimize Your Trade Show Booth

You’ve paid for a booth at the trade show and now you need to optimize it to make the most of your space. You spent money to get the space and you also need to optimize the investment as well. So what can you do to make sure that those you attract to your space are the best fit for your business?

How to Optimize Your Trade Show BoothLet’s start with what you SHOULDN’T do with your trade show booth. First, don’t clutter it up with all sorts of things like extra materials or products that you thought you might need, but really don’t. Next, don’t cloud your message. Also, don’t use print so small people can’t see it. Don’t block access with clutter or people who are bored and not working like they should. Not to mention using the same old boring graphics.

Cluttering up your space is a huge turn off for anyone. Clutter confuses people. They don’t know where to look. Things that look out of place are off putting. One thing you should do before the show is figure out your focus, then plan out your space. No one should walk away from your trade show booth wondering what you are selling. That means that no, you don’t bring your entire line and every piece of marketing materials you have. Too much overwhelms people and sends them away from the space instead of inviting them in.

When planning out your signs be sure to convey your focused message in a few ways. First use an easy to read font in print large enough to be easily read. Update your graphics to make them exciting and grab attention. Always stay on message.

Now, add the fun. Give those who would stop at the trade show booth a reason to stop and stay. Give them something to do: a putting green or a Nerf® basketball hoop. Do fun demonstrations with your products that allow them to “play” with them. Be sure to have a drawing for each day of the trade show, maybe even a big overall award as well. This last thing is a way to add to or start a marketing contact list. Just be sure to have a check off that gives you permission to add them to a list. You don’t want to be seen as the “spammers.” At the very least, have some seating at your trade show booth so people can stop and rest for a minute.

Use your space wisely and get the most out of the trade show.