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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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.

How to Advertise to Your Competition’s Customers When They’re Out of Stock

The more successful you are in business, the more cutthroat the competition becomes. That’s simply the reality that your company must face, regardless of your industry. Strategy is key to maintaining an edge over other companies within your niche, and advertising oftentimes plays an integral role in establishing the mission and reputation of your business. Even with that fierce pursuit of customers, you must adhere to certain rules when it comes to promoting your products and/or services to prospects. This does not, however, preclude you from employing the latest technology to stay abreast of what your competitors may be up to.

Keep Your Enemies Closer

As the saying goes, wise individuals know that it’s best to keep their adversaries under a watchful eye. Such is the case in today’s professional landscape. However, now this principle takes the form of sophisticated monitoring systems you can use to assess your competitors’ prices, behavior and activity. When employed effectively, this approach can even clue you into when your competition is running low on a particular product, and once that inventory finally hits zero, that’s a prime opportunity for you to pump up your efforts to win over some of their prospective customers.

Try These Tactics

Finding new and innovative ways to reach out to prospects should be a constant focus of your business. After all, the best way to expand your company is to establish an ongoing relationship with the very individuals whose patronage you desire. Yet, here are some smart ways to cut into your competitors’ customer base that just may pay off, especially when they are out of stock on a particular product.

 

  • Analyze social media networks: The emergence of social media has made it easier than ever for companies to connect directly with customers. However, it also allows you to check in on your competition and target their customer base. For the purposes of poaching their business, consider digging into Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections and Facebook likes. In particular, you can also pinpoint the demographic you want by investing in Facebook ads.

 

  • Play the Google game: When it comes to the online space, few companies are as omnipresent as Google. As such, the company offers several different venues you can use to target your competition. From honing in on keyword brand terms on Gmail ads to focusing on a predefined audience with the custom affinity audience feature, Google is a key tool you should be using to its full capability to build your customer base.

 

  • Engage in content marketing: If a customer is all set to make a purchase and then finds that product is “out of stock,” the most likely alternative they’ll turn to will be one they trust and/or are familiar with. That’s why content marketing could be such a useful tool in reaching out to your competitors’ prospects. Though not a form of advertising per se, content marketing builds trust with consumers and allows you to emerge as an easy favorite for subsequent online searches customers will engage in to find a suitable replacement for the product they elsewhere found out of stock. Fill the market with blog posts and other content which allows you to highlight your products and stay top of mind for potential customers.

 

  • Kick up your YouTube presence: One of the most prominent trends right now is a gradual leaning towards video content. Targeting customers via your company’s YouTube presence is a clever move to stay in line with your competition. The site allows advertisers to run brief ads before other videos, and this may present a unique opportunity for you to go after competitor content directly. There may be no better way to keep your prospects in the know about everything your product has to offer.

The Right Moment to Strike

Customers may fret when they see that a product they’re interested in is “out of stock,” but the value that this has for your business cannot be underestimated. Consider it a second chance to win back a consumer who was dangerously close to opting for your competition. Such opportunities can be identified and acted on when you have the right strategies in place to facilitate this realization, but remaining top-of-mind with your potential customers helps to ease them into a purchase when that critical moment comes wherein a competitor has depleted their inventory. Remember that remaining persistent and vigilant is half the battle when it comes to fostering growth.

For more details about how you should approach pricing and foster your customer base, check out our new eBook, “A Comprehensive Guide to Competitive Online Retail Pricing Strategies.”

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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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