When we talk about marketing, we are talking about an activity that many physical stores (especially small ones) neglect, partly due to a lack of budget and partly because they believe they can entrust it to acquaintances who “get along” or “manage for them the social channels”.
Marketing is not only essential for the success of any business, but especially in the retail sector, it is assuming ever greater importance.
Almost determining its success or failure. Marketing, simplifying (I don’t mind the insiders), is that discipline of the economy that deals with:
- Study the market in which a company operates;
- Analyze the similar actors already present and their characteristics;
- Study people, the customer target I want to refer to;
- Create a brand and a product with distinctive values and elements of the activity I want to carry out and take care of it overtime;
- Communicate my presence on different channels and find customers;
- Make a relationship with them and consolidate;
- Selling my product or service at the right place, price, and promotion;
- Gather feedback from customers;
Restart From The Beginning
Not a trivial activity. The better companies are at doing all these activities, the more likely it is that every step will be taken in the right direction.
Imagine that the company hasn’t carried out all the market and target customer analysis activities. Imagine now that the company focused solely on making a perfect product to their standards.
Despite the actual quality of the product, there is a very high risk that they have created a good that does not really satisfy the customer’s needs and tastes.
Or, it could happen that despite the product being exceptional, it can’t reach customers to communicate with them and sell.
Not doing Marketing or skipping even one of these steps, risks frustrating the other processes or not being able to express the full the potential of the product.
The Advantage Of Physical Stores
In recent years we have witnessed a strange phenomenon.
I am referring to the “pure players,” companies born as e-commerce that have started investing in offline points of sale. But why should companies like Amazon think of having a physical location if physical stores are closing and are in difficulty due to the advent of e-commerce?
Physical contact and sensory experience in the store are elements that play a key role in marketing. These elements make it possible to forge a more intimate, almost personal relationship with users and, therefore, to make people loyal to a
Brand. It is a significant advantage for all physical stores that cannot be missed.
If a store like McDonald’sdoes it by changing the flavors of sandwiches, continuously modifying its stores, experimenting, and trying to figure out how to satisfy the new needs of its consumers, why shouldn’t a smaller physical store do the same?
Another important advantage for stores is related to content creation. With a dedicated physical space, commercial activities can create events, exhibitions, and change furnishings.
All these activities are gold for content to be used on various channels or for campaign promotions, better than a simple marketplace manager.
Know Your Target Audience.
The first place to start is the target. Know the person you want to sell your product to. Who is he, what does he do in life, and how old is he? Know his fears, his desires. Why does he want to buy from you? What do you expect? What are its values? What are your objections? How do you find out about theproduct you want to buy? And what channels does he use, and where can you find him?
Answering these questions will allow you to get to know your audience better, know what they want, and know in advance how to give it to them.
Brand, Between Values And Distinctive Elements
Once you have an identikit of your customer, you can focus on creating a strong brand. Through the brand, it is said that a company becomes tangible, that it acquires its own identity.Indeed it is so. And in order for the brand’s identity to
be recognized, it must have a differentiating element. An element that distinguishes it from the competition.
To find the distinctive elements, do these two steps:
What are all the competitors who are going to serve the target I have identified? How do they position themselves?
What are they doing?
This way, you will have clear ideas about what is already on the market and, therefore, cannot be replicated.
What are my strengths? What am I or can I specialize in?
With this second step, I’m going to identify the characteristics that allow me to be perceived as different from others, and there I can find room for growth for my brand. To differentiate yourself, you can specialize in a specific niche of the market (e.g., cafe for university students), on a particular product (e.g., skirt store), or on how you make the product (e.g., carbon-free clothing store – without CO2 emissions). Whatever the distinctive element, make sure it reflects your values and that there is an audience you are going to satisfy.
Experience: Engage The Senses And Connect
Third practical tip. Make spending time in your store enjoyable.
Today’s consumers are looking for novelty, for experiences that can bring them value in everyday actions such as shopping.
Your job here is to create multi-sensory experiences.
Create a store and products that can involve all 5 senses.
Renew the design and furnishings of the shop. Tell your brand and your values through the colors and spaces inside. Create a shape that can be recognized.
Create an atmosphere that is pleasant to hear. With background music based on your favorite tastes.
Stimulates the touch through the use of particular materials and works on the packaging. Also, work on creating a connection to the brand also through the scent or taste.
In addition to the 5 senses, you give your customer the opportunity to cross the threshold of your door for other reasons as well.
Create events and workshops dedicated to him to bring value.
Ask yourself, what might it need? If in the bars they can create musical evenings, you can indulge yourself as you like. And finally, focus on hospitality. The most important experience is represented by the human factor. Train your staff to empathizewith customers, become their friends and advisers, and they will come back to you.
Omni-Channel, Right Place At The Right Time
Once you have studied your audience, create your (differentiated) Brand and create the sensory experience for your store, let yourself be found.
Be present. In the right place and at the right time. After figuring out which channels they use, let them find you. This way, your customer experience will improve a lot.
Give your audience the choice of where to contact you, and make it seamless to switch between channels.
The more touchpoints you have with the customer, the more likely they are to contact you. The more leads you get, the more likely you are to sell.
Lead Generation, Attract Clients.
We are in the age of attention. We are constantly caught up in new information, trying to get our attention. Don’t wait there too for them to come by themselves. They won’t since you have a well-maintained social media page or website.
Find ways to capture yourself too and attract new contacts who can be transformed into customers with whom to build a relationship. Both online and offline. For example, create free products or samples to use. A first visit or free consultation. Or create free guides or articles in which you can give the value, a taste of what they may need.
And then sponsor, and invest in online advertising to land your audience on your pages and make yourself known.
Of all 5 areas listed, choose one. Pick one area of focus on starting with and applying what you read right away. In this way, you will already bring value to your brand, your product, and your marketing system, and it will be easier to apply all the others too.