Social media is all around us these days. Everyone from kids to grandparents are on at least one social media platform. So it is important to learn how to use this modern tool to boost your brand both online and in person. In fact, there are strategies for retailers focused around social media. Yes, there is such a thing as a social retail strategy. Today we will take you through what such a strategy is, and why it is important for you to have one in place.
So, what is social retail?
Social retail is an essential part of a modern omnichannel retail strategy. Social retail is using social media to communicate and engage with customers while also selling to them in-store and online. In a nutshell, the strategy succeeds by rewarding customers for sharing products they love. After all, many customers love to share their new purchases and favorite brands on social media. This is especially so when that product or brand aligns with their personality. The idea of social retail is to incentivize your customers to continue doing this – hopefully making it a habit.
For those who are familiar with word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing, social retail is just a modern, digital version. You want customers to be so happy sharing your products that their friends and followers begin to try them out as well.
It’s important to remember that it isn’t only about sharing your brand and products on traditional websites or social media channels. Some of the top performing brands in social retail feature their products on virtual platforms as well, in other words, metaverse retailing. A great example of this are some brands releasing their collections on Bitmoji. Even though they are not yet making money off of Bitmoji users wearing their brands, they are generating a lot of brand awareness.
You should keep in mind that a social retail strategy is not ideal for every type of retailer. Are you selling the type of items people would like to share? Are your customers the type of people to even want to share their purchases? These are some of the questions you should consider before investing in a social retail strategy.
Why you should do it
Whether or not your business has a large social media presence, it’s still common for customers to post about their experience online. If you provide a good experience, customers will advocate for your business and products online. It was found that 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising. So maximize this free promotion by having a social retail strategy that includes referrals.
Since social media is a place for people to connect and communicate online, it’s the best place to start or continue building a loyal community for your store. Once a community is established, your community members will be some of the most frequent buyers. They will even act as ambassadors for your store by promoting it to their friends and families. The beauty of the community is that users will inevitably end up building connections and bonds through shared experiences and values. This will boost the positive feelings associated with your brand – reinforcing your brand’s loyal community. Through a brand community paired with the right customer management tools, you’ll get to know your audience more and have better data and understanding on their expectations, wants, and needs.
How to do a social retail strategy
The first step is to decide which social media platforms you will use. It’s always better to use more than one, but take some time to consider which ones your customers are more likely to be active on. When setting up business profiles on each of them, make sure you are tagging your page with common keywords associated with your business. For example if you have a grocery store, you will want to use tags or hashtags such as: grocers, produce, food, etc. On top of that, you want to make sure your profile pictures are consistent across the board. These two steps will really help customers to find your profiles on social platforms.
The next step is to start creating content and posting! Make sure that your posts aren’t just random. Schedule them out and organize what type of posts you want and how often you want them uploaded. Create a good mix of promotional content, fun content for engagement, and content that speaks about the values of your brand.
Try to encourage customers to post or tag about your products! You can do this by showcasing their posts on the company account, having photo opportunities in-store for them to post about, hosting small giveaways or events for them to take part in, etc.
Just a reminder, not all of these examples work for all business types! Pick methods you think would work best for your own business. As long as the end goal is to encourage customers to share. Finally start adjusting your accounts and what you post based on feedback & data from your customers.
A social retail strategy is almost a given in 2022. If you haven’t started one yet, now you know why and how you should start. With 59% of the world on social media – you should be investing time and energy into boosting your brand on social and digital channels.
TAKU Retail has all of the tools needed to start selling on social media, and collect data on your customers. These essential tools will help you engage in the ultimate social retail strategy. Start today!
Accessibility is an important feature to have in any business. Around 15% of people around the world live with a disability of some sort. In the US alone, this statistic is 26% of the population – about 61 million adults with a disability. Given the numbers involved, it’s important for retailers to consider whether their operations and products appeal to disabled people’s needs.
Besides automatic doors and wheelchair ramps, there is still a lot that retailers can do when it comes to accommodating disabled people.
Why is accessibility important
As we’ve mentioned, a good portion of the world lives with some form of disability. And as a retailer you want to make it as easy as possible for all potential customers to shop with you. A survey conducted in the UK reported that 78% of disabled people found it difficult or impossible to access most shops and malls. Making stores more accessible to 78% of disabled people is an easy way to increase your customer base and improve sales.
Access for people with disabilities improves access for everyone.
At its core, accessibility in retail is ensuring as many people as possible can easily shop with you. When most people think of making a store more accessible, they often think about making it easier for people who use wheelchairs or canes to access the store. But accessibility can include more than that. It is also about making sure anyone can read the signs in your store, or that anyone can feel comfortable in your store.
The types of accessibility issues
There are a few types of potential accessibility issues your shoppers could have. The common barriers to accessibility are:
Visual: This is for people who have a hard time seeing things, or even those who cannot see at all.
Mobility: This is for people who have difficulty moving around, such as people in wheelchairs or people with crutches.
Auditory: This is for people who have a hard time hearing or cannot hear at all.
Learning and/or cognitive: This is for people who may have learning disabilities such as dyslexia.
It is important to consider whether your store is inaccessible to people who fall under one or more of these categories. Are you doing enough to provide a satisfying shopping experience to these people?
The issues that arise from inaccessible retail
Besides just the financial losses a store can get from inaccessibility there is more to consider. At the end of the day, people with disabilities are still people. We must be empathetic to their concerns and needs.
When stores are inaccessible, people with disabilities are further made to feel like they are not a valued member of society. Just imagine if every time you had to go shopping you had to deal with an obstacle course at the same time. It would make you think that the business does not want you there or is making it as hard as possible for you to be there. Unfortunately, this is the reality many disabled people have to live with.
Some other consequences that can arise from your store being inaccessible are:
Stress & anxiety
Problems getting to certain products or services
This surely makes you ask, how can I make my business more accessible?
How can you make your business accessible
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of what accessibility is. Now we can move on to the most important part – how to actually make your business accessible to more people!
Evaluate your store
The first step is to take some time to assess your store. Are there places where people may have trouble with accessibility? Perhaps a certain aisle is too tight for people to move through easily if they are using a mobility aid, such as a wheelchair. Or maybe some of your signs are hard to read due to small lettering. Even things such as lighting can affect accessibility. Make a list of all of the potential issues within your store so you have an action plan to start.
Understand your region’s accessibility regulations
Each country, state or province has its own rules and regulations when it comes to accessibility. Make sure you do some research into what your region specifies. This will also help you prioritize tasks within your action plan.
Examples of accessibility features
Here are some common solutions to accessibility issues. Keep in mind, these are just a few examples.
Ramps and automatic doors
Large lettering on signage (72pt font is a standard size for more accessible readability)
Wide doors to allow people in wheelchairs or walkers to pass through
Braille on some signs
Comfortable lighting (not too bright but not too dark either)
Using patterns instead of only colors for differentiation for those with poor color vision
Flexibility at the point-of-sale (portable card processing machines or with long cables, ample room at self-checkout stations, etc.)
If you have TVs or screens, make sure closed-captioning is turned on
Include people with disabilities in your marketing
Be open to suggestions from people with disabilities
Now that you know your region’s regulations, and you know what in your store needs work, you can begin taking action.
Once you have core accessibility issues resolved, you can take extra steps to make your customers with accessibility feel more included. Examples of this include:
Offering products which will appeal to people with various physical needs
Quiet spaces to give consumers a break from all of the hustle and bustle in your store. This is very effective for customers who experience sensory overload.
Have magnifying glasses that allow visually impaired people to read smaller texts and labels
Review websites and online stores for sufficient meta information for user navigation (versus just product information) as those who are visually impaired often use audio tools to read aloud online content
QR codes on product labels which will allow customers to inspect product information from their smartphones which have built-in accessibility modes
Hiring employees who know sign language
These extra steps will really help customers with disabilities feel included and accommodated.
Train your staff
While having accessibility features is a great thing, it is important that your staff, the people who represent your business, are also trained to serve customers with disabilities. Making sure that all of your staff are trained in the basics of accessibility etiquette will result in every customer getting the best customer service. You can find some services and products that help with disability awareness/etiquette training here.
Online accessibility matters too
As mentioned above, accessibility doesn’t just stop at your physical store, but extends to your online sales channels as well. A survey in the UK showed that businesses lose a combined £17 billion due to a lack of online accessibility. This highlights the economic importance of making your digital sales channels accessible, beyond it being the right thing to do.
Make sure it is easy to navigate your website and that you include alt-texts on all images and navigation functions (e.g. buttons). Since people with visual impairments use applications to read aloud website content, alt-texts on images help describe and differentiate them to users.
Ensure readability on your website. Use legible fonts, clear color contrast and appropriate font sizes. This extends to captions on any video that may be on your website. Also make sure that you are using headings to organize text content on your site. Having a structure to your text content allows it to be more understandable to users with cognitive disabilities. For more info on web accessibility check out this Hubspot article.
Accessible businesses thrive
The best type of businesses are able to serve as many customers as possible. And offering access to those with disabilities, improves access for everyone. This makes your business more successful and a stronger member of your community. Please take some time as soon as you can to evaluate where you can improve accessibility in your business.
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With spooky season right around the corner, retailers should be getting ready. Having a head start on marketing for a holiday is essential. The best retailers prepare at least a month in advance for most holidays. We have created a free resource page with Halloween marketing resources that any business can use!
On the page you will find various materials that you can use in your Halloween communications. This includes: Halloween hashtags, retail promotion ideas, over 20 royalty-free Halloween stock images, color schemes, a spooky Halloween font, and some inspiration for your Halloween displays.
Click here to access the TAKU Halloween marketing resources!
Some of the best marketing opportunities come during various holidays. Staying ahead of your holiday calendar and preparing is the key to boosting your sales. Check out our blog on year-round holiday marketing.
As the infamous Staples ad campaign once exclaimed, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year”. No, they weren’t talking about Christmas time – they were talking about back-to-school season! It’s one of the most exciting times for retailers as shoppers are out and about looking for great savings as they or their kids are heading back-to-school. It’s always important to get prepared as soon as possible, so here’s how to prepare your retail store for back-to-school season.
What are people looking for this back-to-school season?
It’s no surprise that inflation is on the minds of most shoppers today. As the cost of living continues to soar, people are reviewing their budgets. In fact, over 75% of parents are shopping based on school provided lists and will be budget-aware. What does this mean for retailers? Well it’s an ideal time to use in-store displays to show off promotions and deals. Make sure your customers realize the savings they could gain from your deals. This will encourage impulse purchases.
Households surveyed revealed that average spending per student is expected to rise by 8%. Reaching around $661 of spend per student. This means retailers are going to have to work to earn their share of back-to-school budgets. Back-to-school sales aren’t growing as much as last year, but they are still growing regardless as life transitions back to normal after the pandemic.
Back-to-school tax holiday
Saving money is getting harder and harder, so state governments have decided to get involved this back-to-school season. For example, in the US, 18 different states are participating in tax holidays to help parents save on school supplies. Below is a list of the states participating. Learn more here.
States participating in a back-to-school tax holiday
If you are a retailer in one of these states, you should try to coordinate your store promotions with the tax holidays. This will ensure the best back-to-school excitement.
Students aren’t the only ones
You should keep in mind that students aren’t the only ones looking for great back-to-school deals. Teachers and school administrative staff are also in the market for supplies! Make sure you offer deals on the types of items they would also be looking for. Things like coffee mugs, tote bags, class room supplies, etc. You can also offer specific deals for teachers. Give them discounts for certain supplies unique to their needs.
Preparing for the masses
Since many businesses deal with large waves of customers during back-to-school season. You and your business need to be prepared for the rush. You will need to make sure that you are stocked up with inventory. Having a POS which can help you keep track of inventory is a huge help! You should also consider whether you need to place restrictions on certain products. This could mean limiting customers to certain quantities of items.
You will also want to consider whether your physical store can handle a large amount of foot traffic at once. Do you need to limit the number of customers inside the store? Do you need to readjust shelves / displays to accommodate customers? Can you handle large lineups of customers? If you’re dealing with a staffing shortage like many businesses everywhere, technology solutions such as self-checkout kiosks can help you speed up sales while keeping your labor costs down.
Make sure people know about your deals
There’s no point in preparing awesome back-to-school deals and promotions if no one knows you’re offering them. So you will need to advertise them. There are many ways to advertise your sales. For instance, you could send out flyers (a classic strategy), run paid social media or Google local inventory ads. Another great strategy for smaller local businesses is to find local Facebook groups or to boost on Facebook Marketplace which is popular for local search. You can easily share your back-to-school promotions on said groups.
Back-to-school season is an exciting time for many retailers. This year, to earn your share of the shoppers’ limited budget, you will need to be prepared. Plan in advance, offer great deals earlier, and make sure people know about your promotions in as many channels as possible. But also keep in mind how you’re helping to ease some of the financial burden for families facing times of struggles.
Simply showcasing your inventory online is another great way to drive customers to your store. This is a tactic that will be even more useful for back-to-school season. With TAKU you can easily have your inventory shown online. To learn more click on the banner below!
You may have heard of the retail term “guideshop” in the last several years. Brands such as Bonobos have had great success with guideshop stores. This retail strategy is a throwback to the idea of “showrooms” and works particularly well for retailers in the age of ecommerce. In fact, running a guideshop is also known as “showrooming”. But what exactly is a guideshop and why should retailers consider it for their physical stores?
A physical store where customers can experience the products before purchasing it. The physical store only showcases the product for customer experience but do not sell any physical items. Customers place orders in the physical store [that] will be delivered to their homes.
It’s easy to understand why guideshops are also known as showrooming. After all, showrooms are traditionally physical locations where businesses display merchandise so that consumers can engage with products before ordering. One of the best modern examples is Dyson’s demo shop. Showrooms and guideshops typically carry little to no inventory for immediate purchase.
Who should consider this store strategy?
Showrooming and guideshops are traditionally best for retailers who sell products which customers prefer to take a look at, try on, or test out before purchase. Typically these products don’t sell as well if only sold online. In particular, showrooms are great when the retailer’s products physically take up a lot of space or are of high-value, both of which makes it hard to stock inventory in-store. Think of things such as appliances, furniture, jewelry, etc. With furniture for example, retailers have limited warehousing space since their stores need a lot of display space. But their shoppers often want to physically see how big a piece of furniture is, how comfortable it is, and how it feels in person before purchasing.
The change today is that non-traditional showroom products are also able to use guideshops to offer better customer service with smaller, more cost-effective shops. This is exactly how Bonobos guideshops work. They are smaller stores where customers can go in and try on the entire product line for delivery at home. But Bonobos has made an effort to provide above-average customer service by training employees to help customers find the right fit and size.
Not only are guideshop stores easier and cheaper to operate without the cost of carrying stock, better trained sales associates encourage higher sales per shopper. And naturally, because customers will have a profile setup for their pickup or delivery, all of the shopping data in-store and online is stored for better customer service and personalized digital marketing.
Another key market for guideshops are retailers that manufacture or sell their own private-label brands. When you sell a brand that cannot be found anywhere else, there isn’t a risk that shoppers will try on merchandise in-store and buy the products elsewhere. In this case, guideshops offer a cost-effective way to run more smaller physical stores without the carrying costs of traditional brick & mortar stores.
What kind of customers does this appeal to?
Guideshops tend to attract shoppers that enjoy touching, seeing or interacting with products before buying them. The slower, discovery process involved with customer service-driven guideshops and the inconvenience of carrying products around while shopping makes guideshops more attractive to shoppers in urban centers or walkable main streets. The strategy generally works even better for high value items where shoppers expect superior service and delivery may be considered more secure than walking around with a bag from an expensive store. For example, people often visit the Apple Store to test out new devices since they are expensive. But oftentimes during checkout, Apple shoppers will have their purchase shipped home to avoid carrying a bag around with the Apple logo on it.
The benefits of retail showrooms and guideshops
Hopefully this article has helped you get a good idea on why showrooming is great. To recap, here are the benefits of using a guideshop store strategy:
Lower costs: Carrying less inventory is the easiest way to lower the overhead costs of your business. Keep in mind, you can also offer store pick up options to keep costs lower!
Better experience for customers: Employees focus on helping customers find the perfect product for them and even upsell additional ones.
Sell more things: With less space required to stock products, showrooming allows stores to showcase more products. Retailers can sell products without having to stock anything and can simply order for delivery after taking payment.
Now that you understand what guideshops are, consider whether this could be a good strategy for your retail business. It is definitely a retail trend which will continue to change the way people shop.
Learning the ins and outs of retail is a journey. But it doesn’t have to be scary. TAKU is here for you. Check out our retailer’s glossary to read up on the 100 most essential terms in the world of retail! Click on the image below to learn more.
Independence day is just 3 weeks away! This year is sure to be an exciting one. Lockdowns are over and much more people will be looking to celebrate than the last two years. While everyone is out celebrating with a heart full of patriotism, it is the best time for retailers to take advantage. Learn how to boost your 4th of July sales by reading more.
Independence Day promotions
Promotions are a staple for any holiday. If you are in the retail game, chances are you already know this. But a little reminder never hurts anyone. To get ready for the fourth of July, consider some special promotions you could offer.
Ideally these promotions should involve Independence Day related merchandise. If you don’t have items that relate, or you can’t offer promotions on those items, don’t worry. People will appreciate a good promotion regardless. Your 4th of July promotion could be a simple BOGO (buy one get one) offer, slashed prices on certain items, or even bundling some products together.
Free food for the 4th of July
To get customers to come to your store, you could host a barbecue. After all BBQs are tradition on Independence Day. There’s a saying: “nothing is better than free food”, and we are confident your customers will agree. Offering free food is one of the best ways to get customers into your store. Since your store might be closed on the holiday, you could host the barbecue the day before or a couple days before Independence Day.
Social media tactics for Independence Day
As a business owner in this day & age – you should already know the importance of using social media for marketing. So take a look at some of our favorite tactics to use this Independence Day.
An exciting contest will always garner interest. Now you can easily leverage this idea to build interest in your business. Having a giveaway or a sweepstakes would be a great way to get customers to interact with your business. Get shoppers to follow, and repost your post to be entered in the contest. While you’re at it, you could advertise your barbecue on the post; kill two birds with one stone.
Paid ads to promote
Even though paid ads can be competitive, they also deliver results. They work even better when you target local audiences as there’ll be less competition. It also saves you money as you are more likely to reach your target audience. Now you could do organic social posts as well, but paid ones guarantee that they actually show up on people’s feeds. So use ads to promote your 4th of July sales and promotions.
4th of July pricing strategies
Life is getting expensive thanks to inflation, so consumers are always on the lookout for savings. So offering consumers great 4th of July sales is an awesome way to get them to purchase stuff. There are a couple of different pricing strategies you could use this Independence Day – here are some of our favorites.
Sales on national products
Independence Day is chalk full of patriotism, so take advantage of it! Offer discounts on merchandise in your store that are made domestically. Support the American economy in these tense times, and also drive up your own sales! If this is doable for you, we highly recommend this pricing strategy.
Loss leader pricing
For a more in-depth look at loss leader pricing, check out our blog post on this subject. But you can easily use loss leader pricing as a tactic to get more sales in your store. Once again you can use 4th of July related items in this, or just use other products. For example if you sell sparklers in your store, you could sell them at a loss while having lighters/matches being sold at a slight premium right next to the sparklers. As usual, be sure to try and keep these items deep inside your store. This way shoppers are forced to browse your other merchandise as they make their way towards those items.
Bulk purchase discounts
Offering cheaper prices when customers buy in bulk is an age-old pricing strategy. Use this classic strategy with a 4th of July promotion. It’s classic to have bonfires on Independence Day. So let’s say you are a hardware store, you could sell fire wood and offer discounts when consumers buy in bulk. Since shoppers will be looking to buy fire wood anyways, you can make sure they buy it from you with this discount. As an additional tip, you could sell your fire pits right next to the discounted wood. This type of bulk discount could be applied to other items like one-time cups (since people will be having barbecues and picnics). Like we already mentioned, make sure you are placing these discounted items in the back of your store so customers browse through your products.
There are so many different types of deals, promotions, and advertisements you could use to boost your 4th of July sales. We named some of our favorite tactics in this blog, but if you come up with other tactics – be sure to share them in the comments below! We are wishing you all a happy Independence Day this year.
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