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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
Use original images for the best results as these rank better on SEO.
Don’t forget to include the links to your social media accounts on email signatures, invoices, receipts, ads and on any window displays.
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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Seeing as the Christmas season is the largest shopping event of the year, the stakes are high for retailers. And while there may not be a one-size fits all approach to achieving holiday retail success, there are tried and tested strategies that will help steer you in the right direction.
We’ve put together a list of time-honored tips to guide you through the Christmas retail rush so you can boost your store sales and have a successful holiday season.
Check them out below!
How to Increase your Store Sales this Holiday Season
Not only does a unique and compelling holiday window display help you stand out from competitors, it also drives foot traffic. In fact, window displays act as a silent salesperson or a billboard for your retail business – they entice passersby and nearby shoppers to enter your store. The right window display will turn the heads of shoppers so your sales associates can close the sale.
Good lighting, bold shapes and colours, and creativity are all essential elements of a compelling window display. Incorporate your merchandise into the display by focusing on how it makes the perfect gift for a loved one, how your products are ideal decorations for a Christmas party, or how your clothing would be great to wear at the office holiday party etc.
Offer Free Gift Wrapping
Offering gift wrapping services is a great way to earn customer loyalty. Convenience is a big selling point during the holidays and shoppers always appreciate businesses that can help them save time and effort.
Free gift wrapping can even act as a competitive advantage for your retail store. Shoppers will be compelled to buy from you instead of your competitors. And in may cases, they will see your store as the perfect place to go for last minute gift shopping.
It’s a good to idea to pre-wrap certain quantities of popular merchandise. Also, consider displaying smaller gift baskets at checkout so shoppers can easily add to their orders.
You may worry that offering promotions throughout the holiday season will eat at your margins, but an increase in traffic and sales will most likely make up for it. Offering numerous promotions throughout the month of December is a good way to build hype and keep customers coming back.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
Offer big discounts (30%-50%) throughout the month: if you sell big brand or well known merchandise, this strategy will work especially well for you.
Offer BOGO deals: studies have shown that offering something for free is oftentimes more effective than a discount.
Have exclusive offers for VIP customers: This gives you more control over your margins and at the same time, allows you to build a loyal customer base.
Remember to make use of social media and email marketing to advertise your promotions! It’s always a good idea to put up sales signage (banners, decals, window signs) so that nearby shoppers can become aware of your discounts.
While a BOPUS strategy provides shoppers with a ton of convenience and flexibility, it comes with it’s fair share of benefits for retailers too, including:
Increased rates of impulse purchases
Lower return rates
More foot traffic
Decreased shipping costs
Satisfied and loyal shoppers
For retailers who do not have an e-commerce site, Google Local Inventory ads are a great way to drive shoppers to your store with BOPUS offers. Click here to find out how your retail business can easily implement Google LIAs.
Google Local Inventory Ads (LIA)
During the days that lead up to Christmas, Google searches with local intent increase. This is likely due to the fact that shoppers are reluctant to depend on online retailers/shipping and would rather go in-store to purchase gifts.
Loss leaders in retail are items or merchandise that are offered either at a significant discount, at minimum profit margin, or sometimes even below cost to entice shoppers to make a purchase.
This pricing strategy has been used by many big box retailers and discount stores to encourage impulse buys and has been met with great success.
Simply put, the intention behind this marketing tactic is to bring shoppers in-store and once they’re there, encourage purchases of higher margin items to make up for the profit lost on loss leaders.
Examples of Loss Leader Pricing
You have probably encountered loss leader pricing more often than you would think while shopping. Can you think of a sale that seemed too good to be true? Your local grocery store may have been selling eggs at a steep discount or your favorite clothing brand may have sent you an email advertising their sweaters at a ridiculously low price point.
These deals may have you thinking “there’s no way that the retailer is making any money on these items”. And in most cases, you’re right! Let’s take a look at some common examples of loss leader pricing in retail.
1) Grocery Store Staples
Grocery store staples such as milk, meat, and eggs work really well as loss leaders. Because they are regularly bought commodities, discounts and low prices are sure to attract shoppers. These items are strategically placed at the back of the grocery store to promote impulse purchases. Because shoppers have to walk to the very back of the store to purchase these staple goods, it is likely that they will be enticed to purchase other items as well.
Printers are also commonly used as loss leaders to encourage shoppers to purchase complementary items like ink and printer paper. While printers are often sold at or below cost, the price of ink is extremely high. Loss leader pricing is used to get shoppers to purchase the printer, and create the demand for ink which again, is relatively expensive.
3) Gaming Consoles
While the price of gaming consoles may seem high, they are actually sold at or below cost. For example, Microsoft Xbox gaming consoles are strategically sold below cost to encourage consumers to buy higher margin video games.
The Pros and Cons of Loss Leaders
1) Sell Slow Moving Inventory
If you have a slow moving or overstocked inventory item, choosing to price it as a loss leader can help you move it faster. This will result in more shelf space, less inventory, and an increase in cash flow.
2) Promote Complementary Items
Strategically choosing your loss leaders can help you increase sales of other items in your store. For example, let’s say you’re looking to increase the sale of a certain brand of women’s razor blades. In this case, you would price the associated razor as a loss leader. Once consumers buy the razor that complements those razor blades, they’ll have to come back to purchase the blades as well (which you can choose to sell at a higher margin).
1) May Hurt Your Brand Perception
Drastically discounting items can affect how consumers view your brand. Many shoppers associate lower prices with poor product quality. And overusing loss leader pricing can give consumers the wrong perception of your retail store. Remember people want high quality merchandise at good price points, not garbage.
2) You can Lose Money
There is risk associated with loss leader pricing – which is why you must closely monitor sales of complementary products and of the loss leaders themselves. There is a chance that customers will only purchase the loss leader itself in high quantities. Meaning lower or no sales of complementary, high margin items which results in less profit for your store overall.
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65% of shoppers state that it is because the deals are too good to pass up
28% say that it is due to tradition
22% state that they like to begin their holiday shopping during the weekend
21% of shoppers say that it gives them something to do
17% state that it’s a group activity with their friends/family
Keep reading to find out how you can take advantage of these trends and increase your retail sales this upcoming holiday weekend!
6 Retail Store Marketing Tips
1) Assess your Online Presence
Recent consumer research shows that nowadays, shoppers are conducting Google searches prior to visiting retail stores. In other words, online information is what drives shoppers to purchase in-store. So even if you do not have an online store, it’s important to assess and revamp your online presence prior to the Thanksgiving weekend.
If your business cannot easily be found online, there’s a large chance that you are losing out on potential shoppers. So here is a quick checklist that will help you assess how your retail store appears online:
Check to see if you business information and holiday hours are updated on Google My Business. You can use tools like Yext to run a scan of how your business appears on listings/online directories across the web (Google, Yahoo, Bing etc).
Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly – mobile friendliness is a major ranking factor used by Google when deciding how to rank your website. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly test to check the mobile-responsiveness of your website.
Check review platforms like Google My Business and Yelp and make sure you are consistently replying to customer reviews. You’ll want to ensure that your customers are regularly leaving reviews as 90% of customers read online reviews before visiting a business. Click here to find out how you can gather more positive reviews for your retail business.
So, in order to capture this chunk of customers, it’s a good idea to run sales and promotions post Black Friday weekend. Not only will you be able to draw in more shoppers and sales, this strategy will also help you get rid of any slow moving or remaining stock.
To reach as many shoppers as possible, take advantage of email marketing and other digital marketing tools to promote your post Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals!
By partnering with local businesses, you can provide unique deals that shoppers will have a hard time passing up. And this way, you don’t have to risk low profit margins. In fact, you can still sell products at regular price or even at a premium.
The best collaboration strategies include:
Selling products in bundles: Packaging products that complement each other in one product bundle is a great way to increase your store’s average order value. For example, pairing three lipstick shades with a skincare product or, bundling sweaters with a free bag. In order for this strategy to work, it’s obviously a good idea to partner with a store that sells complementary products.
Offer partner promotions/discounts: Another effective strategy includes cross-promoting. For example, shoppers will receive 10% off of total sale or free shipping at your partner’s business when they purchase $50 or more at your store. You can print promotional material on your receipts and customers can use this as a voucher.
Black Friday is a great opportunity to strengthen your brand’s engagement with your loyal shoppers. After all, they are your target customers and the ones that are the most interested in your products.
By introducing the idea of exclusivity in your email marketing campaigns, you trigger psychological rewards like a sense of belonging and importance. This is why exclusivity makes your promotional offers appear more attractive to shoppers and encourages them to visit your store.
Remember – shoppers are bombarded with emails during this time of the year. So make your emails stand out with:
a clear incentive in the subject line (for example: Exclusive VIP Sale)
a personalised subject line (personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened). Alternatively, you could include the shoppers first name in the email opening line.
a short, simple, and to the point message.
5) Promote Scarcity
As mentioned above, the majority of shoppers (92%) believe that strong deals will be offered all throughout the holiday season. And with so many competitors offering deals during the weekend, shoppers are left with a lot of decisions to make. That’s why it’s necessary to create a sense a urgency with your Black Friday marketing campaigns.
Urgency and scarcity are widely used marketing tools in retail. And for good reason – creating a sense of urgency in shoppers increases demand and ultimately leads to more purchases.
The following are some strategies that you can employ to incentivize shoppers to act fast:
Set Deadlines: Create an incentive for shoppers to take action by running your promotions for a limited time. One effective way to create time pressure is to include a countdown timer on your website or in your email campaign. Show your shoppers how many days, hours, and minutes are remaining for them to get a deal on their favorite items.
Use FOMO (or fear of missing out): Scarcity drives shoppers to take action. In order to promote scarcity, it’s a good idea to highlight that certain items are limited or low in stock on your e-commerce site. If you do not have an online store, it’s a good idea to run Google Local Inventory Ads and specify that certain items have “limited availability”. You can do so by adjusting the input for the availability attribute for all relevant products.
6) Run Google Local Inventory Ads
Multichannel and omnichannel shopping are quickly becoming the new reality of retail:
This Black Friday weekend, you can get in front of these multi-channel shoppers with Google Local Inventory Ads. These ads work by targeting nearby shoppers who are searching online for products that your store sells. Google LIAs are effective because they capture shopper intent at the moment that they are looking to purchase.
Click here to learn how your store can easily implement Google LIAs together with your POS system to increase store sales and foot traffic.
Good luck and have a Happy Thanksgiving weekend!
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