How to Build a Retail Marketing Plan

With today’s crowded marketplace, it has never been more essential to ensure that you have a sound marketing strategy in place to foster the growth of your business. Modern consumers are so regularly overwhelmed with content coming from all angles, social media, email, commercial, billboard, all vying for their patronage and hard-earned dollars.

This challenge is especially true when it comes to the retail space, which has faced quite a bit of disruption over the last few years thanks to the rise of eCommerce businesses. But traditional brick-and-mortar or digital based — all eCommerce businesses need a retail marketing plan to reach their full potential.

Heading to Market

To set yourself apart from other eCommerce businesses takes more than just a cursory idea of what your customers want. Rather, you must develop a deeper understanding of your place in the market and devise a thorough strategy that is tailored specifically to your product and the users you hope to reach. Only then will you be able to tap into your business’s potential for growth and realize the most effective ways to engage your customers. Here are a few steps you can take to jumpstart your company’s retail marketing plan.

  • Identify your mission statement: Before you launch any kind of marketing effort, it’s absolutely imperative that you first establish a firm grasp of your business’s mission and objective in the marketplace. More specifically, you must know the need your business fulfills with customers. This understanding of your value will inform all subsequent decisions you make regarding how you market your product.
  • Know your target audience: Once you know enough about the role your business plays in the market, the next step is to establish a clear idea of your ideal customer profile. These two are, of course, inextricably linked, but many companies neglect to recognize that how your business is designed and marketed plays an integral role in determining your potential customer base upfront.
  • Decide on your branding: Now that you have defined your mission and audience, you need to then decide how to best connect the two. Everything from your logo to the outward messaging you send consumers shapes the specific branding of your business. Take a look at the competition for inspiration, and consider how you can distinguish yourself in the eyes of your prospects. What makes your approach different? For example, are you leading with price or quality? At this stage of your marketing strategy it’s critical to review your pricing and identify how it comes into play.
  • Establish a marketing presence online: Given the age of social media we live in, it should be no surprise to realize that your business should have a presence among leading sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. However, your online presence doesn’t extend solely to these. Sites like Yelp, YouTube and Google Plus can also help expose your business to new prospects and boost your search engine optimization (SEO) ranking.
  • Define yourself as an expert: In recent years, content marketing has become a more central way to gain awareness for your business, but it’s only one of many ways to establish the expertise your business brings to customers. You can also build upon this with partnerships with other companies, guest posts on popular sites (yes, even for free!) and events that position your business as a thought leader within your industry. This goes a long way toward building your credibility among prospects.
  • Monitor results and adjust accordingly: Even if you are actively marketing your business already, you need to be prepared to adjust your strategy when something isn’t working. This flexibility to recognize a failed effort and to switch things up is essential to develop the further growth of your business. To keep your company from staying stagnant, be sure to have analytics in place to monitor results and act quickly if changes are needed.

The Future Awaits

While the technology involved in eCommerce lends businesses a certain flexibility, this aspect alone is not enough to keep your business afloat. Every day, new challengers are entering the fray, and there’s never been a more critical time to review the marketing plan you have in place to reach your target audience.

These steps are simply the start of a grander, more effective approach to connecting with consumers. Endless possibilities await you, and you’ll truly need to stay vigilant with your retail marketing strategy to achieve the continuous improvement and forward growth your business deserves.

For more invaluable insights into how you should approach marketing your eCommerce business and use automation to drive future success, check out our new eBook, “Key Automated Marketing Strategies for eCommerce Store Success.”

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iPhone 7 Launch: Between the Lines

As the dust settles, we scrutinize the live streaming of Apple’s much-awaited launch event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco frame by frame to bring you the salient aspects of the new iPhone 7’s launch strategy. Here’s what most people may have missed or overlooked amidst all the reviews, live comments, and the brouhaha:

Something bigger in store for the future.

Needless to say, most of us were expecting a more dramatic update to the iPhone considering it has been three years since the last redesign, but Apple seems to have a more long-sighted plan. Next year marks the tenth anniversary of the original iPhone. In hindsight, it is more apparent now that Apple would be saving its big new launch for 2017, and according to rumors, it’s indeed going to be big. So instead of fulfilling on a redesign overdue, they launched flashy updates like Airpods and a double-lensed camera which have received fairly polarized reactions.

People always resist change, this isn’t terribly surprising. But here’s the thing: Strategically, now is the perfect time to make this huge change and wait another year before launching a redesigned iPhone.

The pricing strategy is weirdly genius.

So the iPhone 7 begins at $649 and the iPhone 7 Plus at $769. Apple claims they haven’t changed the price from iPhone 6 and 6s. What’s new is the elimination of the 16GB phone- both iPhones are offered in three configurations (32GB, 128GB,256 GB)  with an update on previous iPhones, now starting only from 32GB. So the older phones aren’t getting cheaper. A misleading price assortment if you’re looking for the ‘best value’ iPhone.

Walk into an Apple store from next Friday with $649 in your pocket, and you could walk out with either a 128GB iPhone 6s, a 32GB iPhone 6s Plus or a 32GB iPhone 7- the best and obvious choice being iPhone7.

Also, the highlight of the launch is the new Jet Black finish. So you still have to pay $100 more to get the ‘It’ phone. So what may look confusing and senseless will actually be driving people to at least get the latest entry level option and desire more. Retailers, please take notes.

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have clear demarcations in offerings. With half of the promising new camera updates only in the Plus, which won’t be offered right away, Apple may have set a smart anticipatory differential between the two.

Apple embraces Retail’s new favorite model: Subscription Commerce.

While this is not a new initiative by Apple( it started with 6S), it is even more successfully  complementing this launch’s objectives. As discussed above Apple will surely want 6S users to upgrade, late adopters to grab the 7S edition and the unconvinced lot to look forward to the bigger launch in 2017. The Apple Upgrade Program gets customer loyalty and maintains a continuous interest. With $27 and $32 monthly installment plans, it will get people opting for the subscription-based upgrade more than ever before. For higher-capacity phones, and especially for a phone that costs $969(iPhone 7 plus 256GB), a contract buy might be your most sensible option after all.

Can this be inspiring and inspired from one of 2015-2016’s biggest trends in retail strategies? We believe so.

Of course we’ll talk about Fashion and Retail.

Apple Inc. is more fashion savvy than one might think. Remember rose gold? That was a major jewelry trend that started in 2013, embraced by Apple making its widespread in 2014, preceding Pantone’s Color of the Year announcement of rose quartz being one the two predominant colors last year.

Could it be a coincidence with the ultra glossy Jet Black? We think not.

Black was buzzing as an unorthodox summer color trend in 2015 and with the introduction and hype around Vantablack, the blackest black material discovered last year, it would make an obvious choice for reintroduction in iPhone’s offerings.

One of spring season’s hottest selling item is the slinky satin black slip dress. From Alexander Wang to Zara, the style in a dull gloss, not unlike the blasted ‘Black’ finish in iPhone 7 and 7S, has been a clear winner everywhere. Fall 2016 fashion runways were dominated by the ‘Vinyl’ look- high-gloss patent leather and PVC, particularly in black.

From MAC’s 2016 Liptensity shade Stallion black to the high gloss beauty looks on the runways, the prevalence of Jet Black did not evade the Beauty sector. Apple seems to know what’s up.

The verdict.

While it may not really be Apple’s ‘best iPhone ever created’, they have managed to make all the right noise and we don’t see the popularity dipping as yet. They are playing the long game and it may just pan out right for their sales.

There are a few major expectations unmatched-like shatter-proof glass and waterproof body (it’s only water resistant now) and of course a new design, Apple may need to get some extra legwork done. And it’s not very comforting knowing Apple still provides products that charge almost $1.00 per gigabyte in 2016. But then again, if we paid less (read: reasonable) for memory we might not have as much pride in ownership.

Pokémon Go – A True Game Changer For Retailers

It’s been just a few weeks since ‘Pokémon Go’ was released — a game that lets you live between the real world and its virtual one — and the world has gone crazy. Attracting kids and adults alike, this game has taken the world by storm, and is being played by millions of iPhone and Android users across the globe.

While players exercise their needs to discover new Pokémon, retailers stand to discover tangible benefits from the game — brands and marketers have more than one reason to be a part of the ‘Pokémon Go’ craze.

Leveraging The ‘Pokémon Go’ Madness To Your Advantage

Pokémon Go is the most downloaded app since its launch. If reports are to be believed,attractive advertising opportunities are making their way to the app shortly. You will be able to make the most of this by posting ads to drive traffic to your stores.

But we’re not just talking about possible ads in the future.

The search for Pokémon can take players anywhere — even your store. While many store owners prevent players inside their stores (unless of course, they intend to make a purchase), others are happy with the increase in foot traffic, even if it’s Pokémon-induced.

The ‘PokeStop’

Retailers can also consider purchasing a Lure Module with the gaming app, which takes you to PokeStops—places in the game that allows you to collect Pokemon balls and eggs so that you can catch more Pokémon. These PokeStops last for 30 minutes, enough for customers to look around your store and make a purchase.

Many eateries in New York saw a rise in sales after they dropped a lure. Some restaurants are actually advertising their locations as Pokémon Gyms and PokeStops.

Store owners are also coming up with special deals for Pokémon Go players. Retailers also have other ways of attracting players into their stores. According to the Financial Times, Niantic Labs (the creator of Pokémon Go) is planning to let businesses and retailers sponsor locations for gaming activities.

Although nothing has been confirmed by John Hanke (the CEO of Niantic Labs) yet, several techies claim to have discovered evidences in the game’s code that big eateries have forged such a partnership.

To sum it up, here’s a list of things you can do to capitalize on the Pokémon Go craze:

  • Advertise on the app: Though the creators are yet to announce the release of Pokémon Go’s advertising platform, it’s just a matter of time for it happen. Advertising on the app can go a long way in helping you getting noticed.
  • Sponsor a PokeStop: Many retailers are already sponsoring PokeStops at their brick-and-mortar stores, in a (highly successful) bid to attract players. You can use this to your advantage, opening PokeStops at all your outlets.
  • Offer Game Support: The game makes use of the GPS app present in mobile devices; as players stay glued to the game for long hours, their batteries get depleted fast. Your store can throw open your doors, offering it as a sort of free charging hub. This is sure to earn you goodwill; as players stay in your store for a longer bouts, you might even be able to convert a couple of leads.

Hanging signs like ‘Pokémon-friendly’ on the window can also attract tired and weary players who are finding it tough to hunt their Pokémon down the main street. You can also connect with players on social media, alerting them on recent developments like rare Pokémon spotted near your store or starting campaigns like ‘free gifts for Pokémon Go players,’ and otherwise using the popular app to drive sales.

An Insight Into The Future

Is the Pokémon Go craze here to stay? It’s hard to say how long this craze will last. However, as of now, it’s being used by millions of people, and the number is likely to increase in the coming days and weeks as well. Retailers and brands can jump on the bandwagon, taking advantage of this craze to attract more foot traffic into their stores.

The Pokémon Go fever still seems to be growing. While many retailers and businesses have already delved into its potential, there are still many other things that retailers can learn from the app.

Pokémon Go is a great example of how seamlessly the virtual world can blend with the real one. It’s a solid example of augmented reality. This great app succeeded in not only blending both worlds, but actually incorporating real world interactions into a game world effectively.

Friends (and strangers) playing this game get off their couches and talk to each other to hunt down Pokémon.  The best way to look at this game would be as a smartly designed platform that connects multiple pieces of technology to create a powerful product that can be monetized in various ways.

This is possibly the best time for retailers to make the most out of it, as the future of this game is still uncertain.

Why Jeans and Jackets are Placed Close Together in Shops…

Walk into a ‘store’ today and you suddenly experience the shift in environments. Out of the heat or cold or general chatter on the street, store spaces are made inviting, with a décor that goes with the brand. And of course the racks of products, accessories, etc placed at intervals, divided by artsy pieces or some other form of divider. It is almost like walking into a sacred space!

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The Internet of Things: Transforming the Retail Industry

2015 has brought with it a revolution, when it comes to disruptive technologies and innovative methods of utilizing the same. One of the most popular trends to grace the world today is the Internet of Things(IoT). Actually calling it a trend would be counterproductive.

IoT is not really a trend- because it is definitely here to stay and spin the world in new directions. IoT has already made itself indispensable. From smart cars to smart homes, IoT exists in the grey area between accepted technologies and awesome new gizmos that rule the market today.

The surprise though, is that in spite of IoT being a buzz word, it has not become as mainstream as, say the internet or the mobile, or even virtual. Not everyone everywhere is aware of the huge implications that IoT already has and will have in their lives.

This is largely because IoT is not retail ready. Of course there are many new gadgets coming up every day that are collectively termed as IoT. But can you really imagine one person wearing or using 50 different objects to harness the power of the Internet of Things?

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