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.
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.
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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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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Your business category on your Google My Business listing is used to describe the type of business you operate (pet store, hardware store, grocery store etc.).
It’s important to be specific when choosing your business category -the category you choose determines how local shoppers find you!
For example, if your primary category is “pet supply store”, your business will show up on Google when shoppers search for “pets”,”pet food”, or “pet supplies” in the area.
Important Things to Note
You can only select 1 primary category for your GMB listing.This is the category that people see on your business listing. It is also the most important – Google prioritizes your primary category in it’s search algorithm.
You can select up to 9 additional categories (other than your primary category) to describe your business. Focus on selecting the most relevant and specific categories for your business.
You can’t create your own category. It is best to choose a more general category if you cannot find the one that you had in mind.
Google can detect category information about your retail business from across the internet (including your own website and other mentions from across the web).
Which can be broken down into the following points:
1) Be as specific as possible when choosing a primary category. The more specific you are when choosing your primary category, the less local stores/businesses you will be competing against. For example, if you sell gift baskets, choose “gift basket store” instead of “gift store”.
2) Your primary category and additional categories should describe your retail business as a whole. Don’t add additional categories in an attempt to list all of your products, amenities, and services. For example, if you run a furniture business that also includes a pastry shop, avoid adding the category “pastry shop”. Instead, the pastry shop owner should claim their own listing and choose “pastry shop” as their primary category. Google suggests that you select categories that complete this statement: “This business IS a” rather than “this business HAS a”.
3) Try minimizing the amount of additional categories that you add. Although you may be tempted to select as many categories as possible, it’s important not to. Doing so will negatively impact your store’s local ranking. Only choose categories that directly apply to your business!
Note: Skip adding categories that seem redundant. Again, you should focus on adding the categories that are most specific to your business. Google will do the rest of the work! For example, if you choose the category “children’s furniture store”, Google will implicitly add more general categories like “furniture store” and “children’s store”.
For more information, on how to choose a business category, click here.
It’s the single most important tool that store owners can leverage to gain local exposure. But it’s not enough to just have a listing, you must optimize it so you can reach as many local shoppers as possible.
In this post, we’ll discuss the first step in optimizing your business listing.
What is NAP Consistency?
To get started, Google My Business will request basic store information including your store name, address, and phone number (also known as NAP).
This will act as the starting point for your store’s local seo.
It is extremely important that the NAP you provide Google My Business is exactly the same as the information listed on your website. Otherwise, your ranking in search results will be negatively impacted.
In fact, your store’s NAP should be consistent across the entire web – including other local directory listings and your social media.
This is known as NAP consistency: it can be defined as having your store’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistently listed the same across the entire web.
NAP is critical for any retail store that wants to rank high in organic search and be found locally. This is because NAP is what causes your retail store to appear in local or geo-targeted searches. In other words, when a user searches for product or store information, Google uses NAP information to decide which stores to display in the search results.
NAP Helps Google Determine Legitimacy
It’s important to note that Google prioritizes businesses and sites that it believes to be legitimate. And to determine the legitimacy of a business, Google will reference how a business’s NAP appears across the web (including websites, local directory listings, social media profiles etc). If this information is not consistent, Google won’t know to display your store information to local shoppers.
NAP Consistency Checklist for Retailers
1. Decide how to format your name, address, and phone number.
Tip: Keep your business name, address, and phone number consistent. For example, if you use Allison and Bret’s Pet Store, 123 Main street, and 555-555-5555 on your website, don’t use AB’s Pet Store, 123 Main St., or (555)-555-5555 on Google My Business.
2. Post your NAP on your website. You’ll want to ensure that it is visible on specific parts of your website including: a prominent location on your homepage, your contact page, and the header/footer on the rest of your webpages. You may also want to include an embedded Google Map of your business address on your contact page (this acts as a strong local SEO signal).
3. Post your NAP on your Google My Business listing. Remember, it has to be exactly the same as the information listed on your website.
4. Improve local SEO by listing your business on local directories. Again, NAP on each listing should be consistent with your Google My Business profile and your website. The following are some online directories that will help your store appear in local search results:
Bing Place for Business
5. Add your NAP to your social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc.).
6. Once your NAP is listed across the web, make sure to periodically check that it is accurate and consistent.
Looking to increase foot traffic and store sales? Easily implement Google Local Inventory ads with our new Google integration. Learn more here.
Google Local Inventory Ads (LIA) significantly increase retail store sales by turning nearby shoppers who are searching online into in-store customers.
River Island, Best Buy, and Williams-Sonana Inc. are examples of retailers who have successfully leveraged Google LIA together with their POS systems to grow foot traffic and sales. Now, smaller retailers have the chance to do the same with a minimal budget.
Keep reading to find out how you too, can take advantage of this opportunity to increase your retail sales.
Local and Mobile Searches Lead to In-Store Purchases
There are two factors that make Google LIAs so effective:
For retailers, this means that there is a lot to be gained by being easily found online. The challenge then becomes figuring out how to give target shoppers the answers they are looking for at the exact moment that they are searching.
This is where Google Local Inventory Ads come in.
Google LIAs helps store owners succeed in these micro-moments – by capturing shopper intent and most importantly, the sale.
What are Google Local Inventory Ads (LIA)?
Local Inventory Ads showcase product and store information to nearby shoppers who are searching on Google. They are different from traditional Google ads as they are designed to drive shoppers to your physical store. While users also have the option of purchasing online (if you have an e-commerce store), LIAs are meant to attract nearby users and only show when a shopper is within a certain range of your store.
When shoppers click on an ad, they are taken to the local storefront page which can be either a Google-powered product listing or your own e-commerce site. Here, they can view other in-stock merchandise as well as important store information such as business hours, directions, current promotions, and more.
Below is an example.
When I search for “laundry detergent near me”, Local Inventory Ads appear next to the search results. Both Canadian Tire and the Home Depot are currently running LIA campaigns for laundry detergent (pointed out in red below).
I know that at Canadian Tire and the Home Depot, the items are definitely in stock because of the “in store” label.
How do Local Inventory Ads Work?
Let’s take a look at the example below.
Canadian Tire is looking to increase foot traffic to their physical stores. So they’ve purchased Local Inventory Ads hoping to target local shoppers like me. They’ve set up a Google Shopping campaign that showcases ads to shoppers within a 45 km radius.
As you can see above, I’ve made a search on my mobile phone for a ceramic stove top-cleaner. Like most people (87% of shoppers), I frequently turn to a search engine as a resource for product information.
By looking at the search results, I can see that Canadian Tire has what I need in stock and the closest store is only 2 km away.
I decide to head to the store because I am certain that they have the product that I need. A store associate is able to tell me more about the product in-store and even recommends I try out a surface scraper. After my conversation with a store employee, I’m happy to purchase both products.
LIAs let local shoppers know that you have the items they are looking for – at the exact moment that they are searching for it. The ads even create a sense of urgency and encourage shoppers to act by letting them know when certain items are low in stock.
2) Advanced Geo-targeting Capabilities: Target local shoppers who are actually nearby the store and are looking to purchase. Advanced geo-targeting capabilities allow retailers to reach target shoppers within a certain km radius.
3) Measure Campaign Results: See how your ads are impacting your bottom line. Monitor the effect LIAs are having on foot traffic and in-store sales – and adjust your campaign bids accordingly.
4) Gain a Competitive Edge as an Independent Retailer: In the past, Google LIAs were only available to national retailers. But now, independent retailers have the ability to run high-performing ads on Google with a minimal budget. For as little as $150-$300 per month, store owners have the ability to drive local foot traffic and increase store sales.
5) Automatic Ad Optimization: To minimize marketing costs, LIAs automatically turn off when products sell out. Not only does this benefit your bottom line, it also results in a better shopping experience for your customers.
To learn more about how your retail store can easily implement Google LIAs to increase foot traffic and in-store sales, click here.