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Retail Crisis Management: How to Prepare for Emergency Situations and Business Interruption

Retail Crisis Management: How to Prepare for Emergency Situations and Business Interruption

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There’s no denying that we now live in a physically and digitally connected world. The benefits of being globally interconnected are visible in the growth and stability of the world economy over the past decade since the 2008 global financial crisis. But history and economies are cyclical. We were already looking at a potential downturn before the recent coronavirus global pandemic started but retailers are now looking at the most unpredictable global business environment in decades. This is where retail crisis management helps to give businesses options to manage the unknown.

For businesses that were launched in good times, owners will now need to quickly adapt to the challenges of managing uncertainty and risk. Like any other business, owning a retail store comes with its fair share of risks. Even at the best of times, store owners must deal with operational risks that impact cash flow. After all, the US economy was strong for the majority of 2019, yet U.S. retailers still lost 50.6 billion due to inventory shrinkage alone.

With the help of new technology, there are ever more ways to tackle theft and organized retail crime, but they are not the only challenges facing retailers today. Whether it’s a natural disaster in the form of a fire or flood, supply chain disruptions, or an employee ranting about the company on social media, unexpected retail risks can have a huge impact on your bottom line. 

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help minimize the risk of unexpected emergencies, plan for interruptions to your retail business, and do your best to protect your employees, assets, and reputation.

I’m not by any means a risk management expert. I am, however, a repeat small business owner. So I know what it’s like to face the terror of a sudden downturn AND not be prepared to deal with negative cash flow. If any of the tips below help others minimize their stress or better prepare for the next crisis, that’s good enough.

External Threats

external threats

Environmental disasters are external crises that are generally out of the control of any one private business. These include forest fires, hurricanes and, of course, global health pandemics. Because these are environmental and often cannot be predicted, these are often the most costly. They usually impact the economies of entire countries, can cost billions of dollars in damage to affected businesses and homes, and require a long recovery time. Besides the $1 billion in lost sales experienced by retailers during hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, these disasters resulted in $125 billion in property damage.

Business Insurance for Major Disasters

Nobody really likes to purchase business insurance but it’s often critical to the survival of a company in the face of a business-interrupting disaster. Even if you don’t live in an area that is prone to serious storms or other seasonal events, you need to make sure you have enough insurance to cover fire/water damage for your inventory, assets or property. Not only is this type of coverage mandatory on some leaseholds, it’s the only way to protect yourself against legal claims if there is 3rd party damage during an incident, which is also a key part of retail crisis management.

It’s important to remember that environmental disasters can be considered “acts of God” or “force majeure” and can nullify some insurance depending on your carrier and the type of plan you have. While some companies will step up at times of crises, you shouldn’t count on the possibility of coverage in the middle of a disaster if your plan has such exemptions. This is exactly why you should always read your insurance policy to understand what type of financial coverage you are actually buying. If the language in the fine print is too much, write to your insurance broker to make sure they give you a clear written response on what coverage you get with your insurance premiums

Technology, Flexibility and Adaptability

Mobile POS User

Adaptability for a business today is often tied to flexibility and technology. How flexible your processes are will determine how quickly you can adapt to different market environments. For retailers, this means using technology and tools that will allow you to immediately change how you are selling or taking payment with customers. The latest cloud systems not only automatically back-up your data, they work on any device and allow you to sell wherever your customer is. So when your store suddenly loses power, you can switch from your till to your mobile phone to keep selling.

For retailers dealing with the impact of COVID-19, for example, shutting down may not be an immediate option. Small businesses who cannot afford to shutdown or are looking for better ways to manage the impact are encouraged to:

  1. Add or Expand Digital Sales Channels including e-commerce for shipment or pick-up in store.
  2. Offer Contactless “Leave At My Door” Delivery with prepaid orders online, by phone, fax or email.
  3. Make sure you have a Google My Business profile and keep your store hours up-to-date.
  4. Encourage Visible Hygiene Management in store by having all staff use gloves or wear masks. Have hand sanitizers readily available at the checkout area, near doors with handles, etc.
  5. Encourage Social Distance In Store by increasing the space in the checkout area between cashiers and where shoppers are waiting to pay. Stop offering samples unless they are pre-packaged.
  6. Encourage “Contactless” Payments (e.g. tap or Apple Pay) and discourage the use of cash to protect your staff wherever possible. You may want to increase your “contactless” limit with your merchant processor but remember that you are liable for any potential chargebacks on “contactless” payments.
  7. Minimize Any Processes that Require Touch such as loyalty programs that require a tablet. Print out a QR code or signage for your web site and encourage users to sign up on their own phones.
  8. Sell In Store Gift Cards with an Incentive (e.g. extra $15 for every $100 gift card) to encourage shoppers to come back to the store when things are back to normal.
  9. Offer Free Pens to shoppers who don’t have their own. It’s a cost-effective gift that discourages the use of public pens and helps customers remember you. Remember to minimize touch when offering them.
  10. Join Local Social Media Support Groups to stay engaged with the community. These are not commercial spaces so don’t sell unless it’s appropriate but find out what your community needs. Here is a great example of a small business that found a way to give back.
  11. Communicate Proper Treatment Procedures when staff are sick. Make sure all managers and staff know what to do when they are sick. There is a lot of information out there – be sure to refer to the most credible medical sources in your country. In Canada, that will mean the public health authorities for your province or territory. In the US, the CDC is a reliable authority for guidance. For further details, you can also review the steps to prepare worksplaces for COVID-19 published by the WHO.
  12. Limit Stock Quantities for any essential household and medical products to avoid stock outs.

Internal Threats

Not all emergencies are external. There are a number of internal risks within a company, many of which aren’t any less significant to the survival of a business than, for example, a natural disaster. You’ll want to work with workplace safety experts if your workplace involves food, hazardous materials or any type of production but for most of us in retail, cash flow, reputation and operations crises are usually top-of-mind for small business owners.

Cash Flow is the Lifeblood of a Business

retail cash flow

I’m not the first business owner to say that timing is everything when running a business. During good times, this can refer to being in the right place when unusual opportunities present themselves. During bad times, this refers to whether you are financially in a position to survive when there is an interruption to the business. And more often than not, retail crisis management refers to your cash flow position because you need to have access to liquidity or credit to be able to get through an unusually slow period – you can’t sell hard assets quickly or for a good price in the middle of a crisis. So yes, while a natural disaster is completely unexpected and is out of anybody’s control, what you can control is the position you are in when disaster strikes.

I’m certainly not trying to preach about the virtues of keeping unused cash in the bank (assuming there is even any) instead of reinvesting in the business, etc. But if you haven’t already, you may want to get approved for a line of credit only for emergencies when the business is booming or you have the opportunity to. The key is to get credit when you don’t need it and to not use these emergency resources for any daily operations. Yes, hindsight is 50-50, and this won’t help you if you’re already dealing with an emergency but history does repeat itself so can better prepare yourself for the future.

Operations Resilience Planning

Operations Planning

Operations covers many different parts of a business. It’s not possible to list every area a business owner or manager can review but, by and large, most retailers should always have some sort of plan in place for:

  1. Succession or delegation if management is incapacitated
  2. Data loss or privacy breaches
  3. Supply chain breakdown

1) Management Incapacitation

Nobody ever wants to think about a scenario in which they aren’t around. But the fact is, if you are a small business owner, you are likely an employer and others depend on you for their livelihood. You can plan for every possible risk but if you cannot issue payroll, approve payments or make important decisions when they need to be made, you’re exposing your business to extra risk. Make sure you have a contingency plan in place for your own responsibilities including who is authorized to access company bank accounts during an emergency. Speak to your accountant or lawyer to learn more about the options.

2) Data Loss or Privacy Breaches

Data Loss or Privacy Breaches

Just as many people rely on smartphones to remember all of their contacts, the data you use to run and track your business is irreplaceable. In a retail business, this usually refers to your POS data. Not only is the information stored in your POS system critical to your business decisions (e.g. how much product to order based on sales, etc.), it’s also a legal requirement in most countries to both collect sales taxes and report profitability.

Ransomware and database hacks

Not only do natural disasters damage physical structures like storefronts and warehouses, they can also lead to a loss of important company files and data. Environmental disasters aside, as a business, you are also exposed to ransomware or database hacks on a daily basis. Luckily data security is definitely something you can more affordably control now in the age of cloud computing. It doesn’t matter what type of technology you use in your business operations. Don’t take a chance with unexpected damages or hardware failure with your business data. Store it in the cloud, or better yet, use a cloud POS system so that you can run your business from anywhere. After all, even if your data is secure, you need access to your POS system and other retail management tools to be able to continue operating.

Privacy Strategy

With GDPR in Europe and ever more privacy regulations everywhere around the world, it’s important for small businesses to start on the process of developing and implementing a privacy strategy to protect their reputation with customers. There’s no point stressing out over the fact that you may have missed certain regulatory deadlines. Regulators and customers everywhere would rather see that a company has a plan and is working on improving rather than giving up or saying “it doesn’t apply to me.” For some basic steps you can take to get started on how to better manage privacy in your small business, you can refer to this blog post.

3) Supply Chain Breakdown

Global Container Yards

If just one link in a retailer’s supply chain is broken, it can have a significant impact on business operations and profit. Which is why retailers need to be able to react quickly to unexpected supply chain events – whether it is a natural disaster, supplier failure, political or labour strife. 

While there is no way to prevent these events from taking place, there are measures you can take internally to minimize the impact of such disruptions and be better prepared including:

Retail Crisis Management is Risk Management

Having total supply chain visibility involves looking at possible environmental, social, and political risks. Identify possible “what-if” scenarios – what happens if a supplier is facing a weather disruption and loses power? Do you have an alternative source? What if there are transportation delays? What if political events drive up prices of raw materials? These “what-if” scenarios are numerous and may seem unlikely to occur in the first place. But it’s important to know what that list looks like first so that you can start to develop contingency plans to have more options when an unexpected crisis does take place.

Look at manufacturing and distribution coverage

Supply chain coverage

Depending on the size of your business, broaden your connections by reaching out to suppliers in different networks and regions. Seeking out alternate suppliers in different locations will help you re-route orders if one of your suppliers is negatively impacted by an external event.

Transport flexibility

Unexpected issues and events can arise when inventory is being transported to and from distribution centers. For instance, merchandise can be stolen, delays can occur, and weather disruptions can cause damage to roads and transport routes. To prepare for these risks, it’s important to have transport flexibility. In other words, if one avenue of delivery is disrupted, ensure that you have the capability to switch and depend on another logistics channel. If instead, you opt to go for a third-party logistic provider, it’s a good idea to ensure that they can also provide the same kind of flexibility.

Remember that changes in lead times with suppliers during a major disaster will likely change the speed and cost of transport you will need. Do a cost analysis of what your business can afford to spend to get products to you and make sure you have the credit or cash flow necessary to fund the upgrades. During an emergency, you may need to consider foregoing profits or even taking a loss simply to keep enough revenue flowing through the business to cover fixed overhead costs.

Reputation Management

reputation management

Brand reputation and reputation management are critical to a retailer’s success. In fact, a report done by Total Retail shows that 90% of shoppers have chosen not to purchase from a company because of its bad reputation. Which is why consumers are increasingly relying on reviews to determine the quality of a business.

But, certain circumstances can arise that can quickly impact the viability and perception of your brand – e.g. a distraught employee publicly telling off a customer, poor management of health risks, etc. – creating distrust amongst consumers, and so on.

Help your retail business build a reputable brand and better prepare for compromising situations:

1) Be transparent about company policies and preventative procedures

In the case of an external crisis, consumers start distrusting businesses. Under these circumstances, it’s best to get ahead of the situation by reassuring employees, suppliers, partners and shoppers that you are taking preventative action or being as proactive as you can. During the recent coronavirus pandemic, StichFix made sure that members were aware of the rigorous cleaning process their clothing goes through between rentals to minimize any fears customers had about the cleanliness of renting clothes.

2) Manage negative reviews promptly

Gathering customer reviews is one of the best ways to make a good impression on a potential shopper. And even if you receive negative feedback, remember that it’s normal (and more realistic) for companies to receive a few bad reviews, just as long as you respond promptly and clearly show to customers that you are taking action. To learn more about customer review management and how to respond to reviews, click here.

3) Clearly communicate staff expectations

Setting clear company expectations with every new employee will pay off in the future when you’re trying to contain a potential public relations emergency. You may not be comfortable with the unconventional employee handbook Telsa gives its employees but the point is that you can’t expect employees to know what you expect without giving them some guidelines. Depending on the size of your business, it shouldn’t be an extensive document but it’s worth those late nights or legal fees to get one prepared since you will be sharing it repeatedly in your company. And, of course, communication doesn’t stop with orientation or handbooks. Part of retail crisis management is clearly communicating with employees and setting a good example during and after any crisis. There’s no better way for senior management to walk the talk.


We hope you found this article helpful.

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What Should I do as a Small Business in the new Privacy Environment?

What Should I do as a Small Business in the new Privacy Environment?

GDPR famously came into effect in 2018 but since then, CCPA in California and PIPEDA in Canada have both changed the privacy landscape further in North America. Now more than ever, retail owners have to be prepared to deal with customers who have questions about privacy. More specifically, questions regarding the collection of their personal information , what retailers intend to do with it, and how they will protect it from misuse/data breaches.

The best thing you can do right now is start on the process so that you protect your reputation with customers and be prepared when the US or Canadian government changes local privacy regulations again. After all, regulators and customers everywhere would rather see that you have a plan and that you’re working on improving rather than giving up or saying “it doesn’t apply to me.”

Rome wasn’t built in a day

For many small businesses, even knowing where the data of their customers and other people is stored is already hard. This is especially true nowadays with so much data being used and so many integrated systems. For most of us in North America, we’re just starting to consider how best to handle privacy in our day-to-day operations.

To make it easier, we’ve listed 8 basic steps for you below to help you get started on your privacy regulation journey within the context of PIPEDA, GDPR, and CCPA (download our GDPR checklists). These 8 steps are not necessarily enough for compliance with the different privacy regulations but they are a step in the right direction. Only you can decide the data risks you are willing to take with your business but hopefully this will help you clarify what those risks are.

1) Do a Privacy Audit for Personal Data

Download our checklists to make a detailed spreadsheet or summary of where you keep and collect personal data in your business.

2) Check if you currently handle Personal Data Outside of the Country

If you do already handle sensitive Canadian, American, or European personal data, we would recommend that you get further legal assistance as the different policies (PIPEDA, GDPR, and CCPA) already require that you comply. Here is a good comparative guide you can reference to understand the differences between each act.

3) What reason(s) do you have for collecting Personal Data?

Determine what lawful basis you have to collect personal data. Consent? Contract? Legal Obligation? Legitimate Interests?

Remember that you will need to list all of your reasons or lawful bases in the published privacy policy of your web site. Your lawful basis is the legal reason why you can collect and keep personal data so be cautious to think through what you choose or ask for legal advice on this. The different privacy policy regulations require that you explain why you chose to change your lawful basis should somebody make a complaint against your company. 

4) Review existing data and delete any unwanted data

This is probably the most painful part of this exercise. If you have been patiently collecting customer or lead data for years, you will need to make the difficult decision to determine as to whether it is necessary for you to keep all of your existing data. In some instances, you may find that you have been collecting data for years that you never use. In others, it may be that you have some concerns about the source of a list of leads you received in the past. Whether you decide to keep the data or not, it is important that you are aware of what you have so that you know the risks.

5) Update company policies and agreements

Spend some time reviewing all of your existing policies and agreements but especially your privacy policy and your terms of service. If you don’t have either published on your web site yet you’re not alone as many small businesses don’t realize that existing US and Canadian regulations require privacy policies. Now is a good time to have one drafted and added to your site so that you comply with current local requirements and other regulations on this issue.

Remember that the point of these different policies was to make privacy handling more transparent and easier for the average reader to understand as pages and pages of legalese defeats the purpose of any of the new regulations. Depending on the industry you’re in, you will want to have a lawyer look over your policies and agreements but if you’re a small retailer simply looking for a basic privacy policy, you can consider using the free policy generator offered by Shopify or iubenda which has free and paid versions (click for discount code) to post on your web site.

It’s also a good idea to let your email subscribers know whenever you make major revisions to your privacy policy although we would recommend that you add these updates to your regular email updates to ensure the best open rates and visibility.

6) Revise company processes and suppliers

Moving forward you should only gather personal data you need and make sure you have lawful grounds to process it.

Add and document consent wherever possible in your business processes. Consent has to be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous (pre-ticked boxes aren’t allowed) on all of your forms (digital or paper). For email marketing, use reputable services such as MailChimp that are legally compliant so that subscribers are able to unsubscribe at any time.

7) Review all 3rd party processors and sign Data Processing Agreements (DPAs)

It’s also important to consider the privacy practices of your suppliers if you share any data with them that contains personal information. Be understanding that many North American businesses and most small businesses aren’t ready for updated privacy regulations but just make sure that your key partners are making efforts to improve how they handle privacy in their operations. If you’re sharing data with large processors such as Google Analytics, Facebook or MailChimp, you should sign the Data Processing Agreements (DPAs) or review the privacy settings they have for customers that share personal data with them. We’ve listed a few key processor DPAs below:

MailChimp

Google Analytics

Facebook

8) Review your company data security

You cannot have privacy without security. While there’s no such thing as 100% security, every business should review who has access to company data and whether current security settings and back-ups are sufficient.

What we’re doing at TAKU Retail

Like so many of you, we too are doing our best to try to meet ever-changing market expectations. And we’ve made the conscious decision to move towards a higher standard of privacy management so that you can feel confident about how we operate at TAKU Retail POS. To do this, we have recently updated our privacy policy, added consent options to our web forms and our web site cookie handling.

retail privacy policy

This post is an updated version of an original post published on the ACE POS retail blog.

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Valentine’s Day Retail Stock Photos

Valentine’s Day Retail Stock Photos

Valentine’s Day is here! So, to help our store owners out, we’ve put together some Valentine’s Day retail stock photos!

All images are free for commercial use, no attribution is required. 

You can download the photos for free here


Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Valentine’s Day Retail Tips

Valentine’s Day Retail Tips

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Which means that it’s time for retailers to spread the love.  

This year, shoppers are planning on spending an average of $196.31 on their loved ones. And with 55% of consumers expected to celebrate, total spending is estimated to reach a historical record of $27.4 billion

The best part is, you don’t have to be in the chocolate or gift industry to win the hearts of consumers! Keep reading to find out how you can take advantage of the record spending expected this Valentine’s day. 

3 Ways to Increase Store Sales this Valentine’s Day 

1. Add a Valentine’s Day section to your store and website

Valentine’s Day is infamous for being a last minute holiday. So, to make it easier for last minute gift buyers and shoppers, place all of your Valentine’s Day related merchandise in one section of your retail store and website.

If you own a physical retail store, dedicate a corner of your store to Valentine’s day so busy shoppers can grab and go. Consider creating a vibrant point of purchase display with Valentine’s Day colours (see the example below). Making use of signage to guide shoppers towards deals and merchandise will also help make the shopping experience more convenient. 

valentines day retail merchandising

With more and more shoppers browsing online before purchasing in-store, it’s also good practice to dedicate a section of your website to Valentine’s Day – regardless of whether or not you sell online.

Have a look at what Mejuri is doing for Valentine’s Day below. The retailer devoted a whole page on their website to Valentine’s day and even created a gift guide for shoppers. 

2. Create a retargeting strategy

Selling to existing shoppers is easier and more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. So, consider retargeting shoppers who have made purchases at your retail store during the holiday season.

To target these shoppers, you can create an email campaign to inform them of your upcoming Valentine’s Day promotions. It’s also a good idea to create a Valentine’s Day gift guide to include in your email campaign. 

In addition to email, running Facebook Retargeting Ads is an effective way to connect with shoppers. Facebook even gives merchants the option of uploading an email list when running retargeting ads. 

You don’t need a crazy budget either – retargeting ads generally perform well with a small budget of $10- $15 a day. 

valentine's day retargeting ads

3) Find a Valentine’s Day angle

Not in the chocolate or jewellery industry? That’s ok – you don’t have to sell Valentine’s Day related items to capitalize on the holiday. 

You can always find a unique angle to sell your merchandise. For example, Apple found a brilliant way to position their products for Valentine’s Day, using the slogan “Love is in the Air” to promote the iPad Air. 

And remember – about half of consumers will not be celebrating the holiday. Rather than alienating this customer segment, cater your marketing message to single people by encouraging shoppers to treat themselves. 

For example, Mac is a retailer that recognizes the power of self-love as a marketing tool. In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, the retailer sent out an email campaign encouraging shoppers to treat themselves for the holiday. 


Happy Valentine’s Day retailers! And happy selling! 

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#valentinesdayretail #sellmore #increaseretailsales #builtforretail #cloudpos #retailpos

3 Essential Off-Season Marketing Strategies for Retail Stores

3 Essential Off-Season Marketing Strategies for Retail Stores

As a retailer, you’re bound to experience high and low seasons. 

Periods of slower sales can happen for many reasons such as natural seasonality (e.g. Halloween supplies), the weather, or competitive promotions. Whatever the reason for your slump, it’s important to view your off-season or slow periods as a potential opportunity. 

Low seasons are actually the perfect time for retailers to focus on their marketing efforts. With a little bit of creativity and planning, you can make it through your off-season with not only more new customers, but a larger base of followers to promote to. And who knows, you may even find a new revenue opportunity in the process!

Keep reading for 3 strategies that you can use to keep your retail business profitable during your slow periods.


Why an off-season marketing strategy is important

There is a common misconception that businesses should only invest in marketing during their high season. But this isn’t the case. Your slower seasons are actually the time when you need the sales lift from marketing!

In particular, an off-season marketing strategy is key to: 

  • Building local and online awareness: Knowing is half the battle. Shoppers don’t know what they’ve never seen. Marketing during the off-season gives your retail business time to build online presence and brand awareness with target shoppers. You can educate customers on what your store has to offer and how you are better than your competition. This way, once your peak season hits, you will be top-of-mind with shoppers. 
  • Minimizing your overall marketing costs: Ad spend decreases during the off-season as less competitors are bidding on ad space. This means that you can get more exposure at a lower cost versus advertising during your high season.
  • Getting ahead of your competitors: Besides getting new shoppers in your door, marketing during the off-season also gives you the opportunity to start building your own mailing lists or followers. This is particularly important as you need time to attract a following of people interested in what you offer. But by starting earlier than your competitors, you will be ahead of them by having a new list of potential shoppers that you can market directly to during your high season. 

3 marketing strategies for the off-season 

When we’re talking about marketing, we are specifically talking about digital marketing. While traditional marketing has its place, for most privately owned businesses, digital marketing offers the easiest way to promote your business, especially during your off-season. After all, today’s average shopper now spends more time with digital content than traditional media.

1) Gather online customer reviews

customer reviews

Online reviews are an important part of the consumer shopping journey. In fact, 90% of shoppers read customer reviews before visiting a business. And according to Google, 2 out of 3 shoppers say having positive reviews was an important factor in selecting a business or store to purchase from. 

With so many people basing their purchasing decisions on reviews, gathering reviews should be a key marketing strategy for your business all year round. But the off-season is usually the best time to ask loyal and long term shoppers to leave a review on your Google My Business (GMB) profile, especially now that you can create a GMB shortname unique to your business. You can then use customer reviews as promotional material across all of your digital platforms including your social media and store website. By staying active online and promoting positive customer testimonials, shoppers will remember your retail business when peak season hits. 

2) Consider paid marketing options 

google analytics

Digital marketing benefits retailers of all sizes as it is always the fastest way to cost-effectively access an incredibly targeted audience of shoppers. The advantages of digital marketing include: 

  • Fast impact: Compared to traditional marketing, paid digital marketing will make an impact much faster. Depending on the type of campaign, you can get up and running in minutes.
  • Flexible and accountable: The results of digital marketing are much easier to see so you can immediately know whether a campaign is working and make changes right away. This is a major difference from traditional marketing where your investment is a one-time deal since you can’t make changes once a flyer or a radio ad is printed or produced.
  • Lower overall cost: A well planned out digital marketing campaign can reach a targeted audience at a much lower cost (as long as $10/day) than traditional marketing methods.

Click here to learn more about the benefits of digital marketing for retailers. 

Run Google Local Inventory Ads (LIA)

Over the past several years, an increasing number of retailers have looked at running Google Local Inventory Ads (LIA) during slower periods. In Sidecar‘s 2019 Benchmark Report: Google Ads in Retail, the LIA performance of several retailers was examined. It turns out, LIA clicks grew by 16% and revenue increased 15% year-over-year.

Sephora, Canadian Tire, and Williams-Sonoma are some of the big box retailers who have seen success with Google LIA. Now for the first time ever, Local Inventory Ads are also available to independent retailers who are looking to attract local shoppers. And the best part? They are available in an automated way that doesn’t require retailers to hire new staff or keep inventory stock levels updated.

To learn how you can easily implement Google LIA together with your POS system, click here.

While Google LIA has proven to be a viable marketing strategy all year round, it is particularly effective during off-season for the following reasons: 

  • Bids are lower: As mentioned above, there are fewer competitors buying ads during off-season – which means lower ad spend is required to gain impressions. 
  • Marketing costs are minimized: LIA only showcases in-stock product and will automatically turn off when stock runs out, reducing your marketing costs. 
  • Get in front of local shoppers who are actually looking to purchase your products: Google LIA displays in-stock product to shoppers within a certain Km radius (you have full control over the geographical range) who are actually searching for products that your store sells.

3) Promote your business on social media 

With the rise in social media and e-commerce, shoppers are closer than ever to retail businesses. Not only do you have a way to directly showcase your products and store, you can now build up your list of followers for personalized offers.

While websites are still a great way to offer a “digital window” into your store, with the rise in social commerce (e.g. Facebook Shops, Instagram Shopping, etc.), it’s very important for retail stores to be active on social media.

Check out these 6 tips to help you grow your social following more quickly during your low season:

  1. Pick no more than 1 or 2 social media platforms to avoid spreading yourself too thin. Just make sure you’re picking ones your target customers commonly use. See how the various social media platforms differ.
  2. Make sure you have a verified Google My Business (GMB) account and are active on it. GMB is one of the best free online marketing tools available for small businesses today. Not only does GMB help local shoppers find you on Google Maps, it has options for you to post content (e.g. special offers or events) which improves your SEO.
  3. Improve your content design with cost-effective graphic tools. You don’t need to be a designer to use drag-and-drop tools such as Canva that even have free versions.
  4. Use original images for the best results as these rank better on SEO.
  5. Don’t forget to include the links to your social media accounts on email signatures, invoices, receipts, ads and on any window displays.
  6. Clearly display your social media links at the cash register and train your staff to encourage shoppers to sign up for special offers while they are waiting.

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#retail #retailmarketing #attractlocalshoppers #retailpos #cloudpos #digitalmarketing #offseason #marketing

Holiday 2019 Retail Stock Photos

Holiday 2019 Retail Stock Photos

It’s the busiest time of the year for retailers! So, to help you save time, our team has created a collection of beautiful, high quality holiday stock photos. 

All images are free for commercial use, no attribution required. 

You can download them here. 


#holidayimages #stockphotos #royaltyfree #holidaystockimages