Small retailers often face the tough job of competing against big stores that have more resources – more money, bigger advertising budgets, and well-known brands. Don’t worry, there’s still hope. Small retailers can still compete with big box retailers if they focus their efforts. Here are some strategies that can help small retailers compete successfully with larger stores.
Focus on personalized service
One effective strategy for small retailers to compete with larger, big box retailers is to focus on personalized service. Small retailers can move faster and offer in depth service that is hard for larger retailers to match. By getting to know their customers, small retailers can tailor their offerings to meet customers’ unique needs and preferences. After all, studies have found that personalized experiences improve a customer’s satisfaction and improve sale conversions by 10%-15%.
Personalized service can take many forms. For example, independent retailers can greet customers by name, remember their previous purchases, and make recommendations. Point-of-sale software with strong built-in customer management tools can easily help with this. The retailers can also offer a range of services like free gift wrapping, personal shopping assistance, and customization options. In this way, small retailers can create a welcoming atmosphere that makes local customers feel valued and appreciated.
By providing personalized service, small retailers can stand out from larger retailers that often offer a more impersonal shopping experience. Personalized service will lead to loyal relationships with customers. This loyal customer base can be a key advantage for small retailers, as it can help to drive repeat business and generate positive local word-of-mouth referrals.
Small retailers can serve niches
Offering unique and niche products is another way small retailers can compete against big box retailers. While big box retailers typically carry a wide range of products, they often prioritize popular and mainstream items. Small retailers, on the other hand, can offer unique and niche products that are not commonly found in big box stores. According to a study by ComCast, 44% of consumers say they are more likely to shop at a small business if it offers unique products not available at larger stores, so consider how you can serve niche markets in your business.
Stand out from larger competitors and attract customers seeking unique or rare products through niche offerings. For example, a small retailer that specializes in outdoor gear can offer specialty sports products that are not found in big box stores (e.g., custom made mountain climbing shoes).
To offer unique and niche products, small retailers need to identify their target market and understand their needs and preferences. To identify potential products to offer, they can conduct market research, attend trade shows and conferences, and stay up-to-date with industry trends. Additionally, small retailers can partner with local creators and craftspeople to source unique products that are not available elsewhere.
Another advantage of offering unique and niche products is that it can bring in loyal customers who love those products, and they will likely come back to the store and tell others about it. This can help small retailers build a reputation of being a special spot.
Emphasize sustainability and ethics
Small retailers can beat big box retailers by focusing on sustainability and ethics. Consumers today care much more about the environment and ethical business practices. So it makes sense that they’d prefer businesses that share these values.
Small retailers can use eco-friendly packaging, source products from local or sustainable suppliers, reduce their carbon footprint by using renewable energy, and recycle. Customers around the world have expressed that they are willing to pay more for sustainable products.
To keep it going, independent retailers can also prioritize ethical practices such as fair labor and trade, transparency in supply chains, and donating to social causes. Prioritizing sustainability and ethics will help you attract loyal customers who have a deep connection to these causes.
Small retailers should focus on local communities
Independent retailers are an important part of any community. Building a strong local community presence is another way that small retailers can differentiate themselves from big box retailers and compete. Small retailers who engage in their local communities can build relationships with customers, establish trust, credibility, and develop a loyal following.
How can a local retailer get involved? For starters, they can participate in local events and sponsor community activities. These can include: charity events, fairs, sports leagues, or parades. They can also collaborate with other local businesses to promote each other and create a sense of unity.
Small retailers can compete with larger retailers by focusing on personalized service, serving niche markets, emphasizing sustainability and ethics, and building a strong local community presence. By doing so, they can differentiate themselves from big box retailers and attract loyal customers. With dedication, creativity, and attention to detail, small retailers can successfully compete against larger retailers and thrive in the retail industry.
If you’re a small retailer looking to compete against big box retailers, consider using an all-in-one retail point-of-sale system with built-in CRM tools like TAKU. Our tools can help you manage your customer relationships more effectively by enabling you to track customer data, purchase histories, and preferences, to tailor your marketing and promotions to their needs. Learn more by clicking below.
There is an art to marketing your brand to retail shoppers. Because marketing is constantly changing, you need to adapt your marketing strategy as customer habits change over time. Here are 6 retail marketing strategies that will shape retail marketing over the next decade.
1. Personalized Experiences
A growing marketing strategy is the use of personalized ads and experience. 80% of shoppers reported that they’re more likely to do business with a brand that offers a personalized experience. Additionally, almost half of most customers want to see ads targeted at their interests.
So what is personalized experience? This generally means customizing promotions and discounts to the wants of a specific customer versus a generic message to all customers. Understanding the individual tastes and wants of your customer has never been easier. Modern POS systems allow you to track customer info, as well as their purchasing habits which you can use to create personalized experiences for them. For example, if a regular customer often buys colorful socks, but they have not made a purchase recently, you could send them a personalized in-store offer related to socks to encourage them to visit the store.
2. Visual search
Google’s image search is going to be a game changer in retail marketing. Searchers can upload images onto Google and reverse-search them, finding where others have uploaded the image on the internet. Give it a try here.
This can allow people to see images of a product online, save it, then find easily find stores that sell the item. There is a reason why Gartner said that visual search is one of 5 technologies that will have a great impact on the world of digital marketing in the years to come. It can improve nearly every stage of the buyer’s journey. We predict that marketing strategies that use product images and content with visual search will become common practice within the next 5 years.
3. Strategizing for featured snippets
Featured snippets are short descriptions on websites that help you show up at the top of a Google search. The purpose of a featured snippet is to help users find a quick answer. You have probably experienced it before when you Googled a question and saw a quick answer at the top of the search results. That was a featured snippet.
This feature of Google is especially helpful as attention spans continue to decrease in recent years. Currently average attention spans are only 8 seconds long. This means it is essential to catch someone’s attention quick, or risk losing it altogether.
Featured snippets help reach catch audiences’ attentions quickly, however it can be difficult to get featured snippets. Check out this article on how you can optimize content for featured snippets. It’s worth mentioning that TAKU Retail is the first retail management software to be a trusted Google Partner. TAKU can help businesses appear higher up on Google search results and Maps when people search for you online.
4. ChatGPT and AI Chatbots
You have likely heard about how people are now using ChatGPT to search for information or to learn. But there are an increasing number of ways that AI chatbots can help retailers save time and money including:
AI-generated marketing content. With access to so much data, AI chatbots are an easy way to quickly write content for social media or even the text for marketing campaigns on the fly. Think less writer’s block, and more engaging posts.
Researching product trends for purchasing. ChatGPT’s knowledge is limited at this point, but the advantage of AI is that it will get smarter over time. It’s ability to analyze data from millions of websites makes it more likely to highlight product trends for you faster than searching for them online.
Scheduling tasks, and overall time management. ChatGPT can help you create a daily work schedule and handle time-consuming tasks including things such as performance reports, shift schedules, etc.
Solving problems. Because of the knowledge it has access to, ChatGPT is very good at generating ideas, drafting business plans, and estimating the costs to solve problems for your business. You should still always get secondary advice, but ChatGPT is a good starting point, even if only to check that you’re on the right path.
5. Accessible and inclusive content
This is one of the most underrated of the 6 retail marketing strategies we are touching on today. It’s important for marketing content to be of quality, but what’s the point if it’s not easily understood? Making content more accessible could include adjustable font sizes (or more legible ones), more use of images to convey information for cognitive or reading impairments, and transcripts for videos/podcasts to name a few. The goal is to ensure that as many people as possible can actually engage with your content, and hopefully understand it. Reducing barriers to your content is key and will ensure you can maximize your reach.
6. Metaverse marketing
If you’ve read our metaverse blog post, you’ll know that more and more people are embracing the digital world. Technology will continue to change how humans interact with each other, extending to how they interact with businesses as well. This is why so many retailers are investing into marketing on the metaverse. Read our metaverse post to learn more about how augmented reality (AR) is being leveraged by big brands such as Ikea to enhance their customers’ shopping experiences.
The next decade is going to be an interesting time for marketers and entrepreneurs alike. As new strategies for promoting your business will continue to grab people’s attention, the promotional game is surely to continue to change. Make sure you’re staying ahead of the curve by subscribing to our blog.
As Spring is finally here, people are going to be heading outside much more often, especially after the last several years. With increased foot traffic outdoors, retailers should be looking for ways to bring some of that foot traffic into their own stores. If you are a retailer, you may be wondering: “How can I attract more local shoppers?” Well, in this article, we’ll go through how brick & mortar businesses can attract more shoppers.
Exciting in-store experiences to attract more shoppers in store
In-store experiences have definitely become more common. People today are always looking to participate in new experiences. Here are some ideas for interesting experiences you can curate for your consumers:
1. Photo ops
Set aside a small space in your store (or even outside your store) where customers can take photos and share their visit on social media. This space should get customers excited. Some ideas include: a chalkboard with some unique art related to your business, a custom neon sign, or even an installation of some beautiful plants along with some decoration. Get creative here, and allow your brand to shine through. Don’t forget to put up photos of other shots for ideas.
The pictures your customers take will end up advertising your store for free through the customers’ social media posts. It also creates a positive association between your brand and the consumer.
Reminder: Offer a small incentive to get shoppers to tag you in their posts. Tagging is important to increase visitors to your social media accounts.
2. In-store events
Another way brick & mortar shops can attract more shoppers is through exciting events in store. By events, we don’t mean things like sales and promotions. Although those can be effective, we recommend running events such as: lessons/classes in something related to your business, having an expert in your industry come in and host a seminar, or the reveal of a new product line.
Make sure that the event you are hosting provides value to your business. The event should be related to the industry your business is in, but not something you already offer in some way.
For example, a vacuum shop could host a seminar on how to go about spring cleaning. The vacuum store doesn’t offer spring cleaning services, but people who are planning their spring cleaning will most definitely be using vacuum cleaners. So offering them a guide on how to effectively go about the cleaning will give them an added benefit and encourage the purchase of a new vacuum.
Even if they don’t end up purchasing a vacuum, this event will still bring them into the store, but more importantly the event will allow the customer to perceive your brand as the expert on cleaning. Now they will be more likely to think of your store when considering their next vacuum purchase.
3. Partner with others to host pop-in shops
Another way to increase foot traffic in your store is to host pop-in shops for other businesses. This works best when the other businesses are related but not directly competitive to yours. Simply designate a spot in your store to host another small business’s pop-up stop to offer items that help sell your own products. For example, a bakery shop could host a pop-up shop for a small artisan jelly business or a coffee shop could host a pop-up donuts business.
Attract more customers in store through low cost merchandising tactics
Retail merchandising is key to creating a positive customer experience. A strong merchandising strategy brings the products to your customer rather than the other way around. Here are some modern merchandising tactics your business can use to engage your customers.
1. Storefront Window Display QR codes
A cost efficient way to attract more customers in your store is to use QR codes in your window display. This allows them to be accessible to everyone passing by. These QR codes allow anyone with a mobile device to easily learn more about your products, even when your store is closed.
QR codes are easily changeable which allows you to regularly update them every time you change your window display.
A way to modernize your store merchandising strategy is to use signs to cross-sell other products. Most in-store signs today take up space but only promote one specific product. Adding cross-selling signs allows you to use the same amount of space but promote multiple products at once. Simply merchandise products together that are known to be bought together and create a sign that presents that to your customers.
Adding signs that say “Buy this if you like this” or “This goes great with this” is simple, but it’s enough to draw attention to other products.
3. Highlight your Google profile & Google Reviews
Another way brick & mortar shops can attract more local shoppers is to highlight popularity and your Google reviews. Google prioritizes local businesses when nearby shoppers search online. Make sure that your Google store listing has accurate information including your address, store hours, etc. A good omnichannel system will be able to easily manage this information for you.
Highly engaged reviews are important for new customers that have never visited your store. A sign at the front of your store stating “ Google best seller” or a good quote from a Google review would attract new customers into your store. Some ideas include:
Printing out users’ reviews and placing them near the product
Placing a sign at the front of your store with the products that are gaining the most recognition on Google
Putting up a sign that offers an incentive for shoppers to leave reviews
Omnichannel to attract more shoppers
Retail stores that sell in-store and online use omnichannel software to easily turn online visits into bigger in-store sales. Omnichannel software is what allows retailers to offer real-time inventory and BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In-Store or what is sometimes called Click & Collect) to customers without any manual work. With the right system, customers can place orders online and pick up in stores when the same system notifies them that the products are ready.
1. Real-time stock availability
Showing real-time store stock levels online allows customers to see real time stock availability so they won’t be disappointed when they get to the store. A positive shopping experience encourages returning customers. Using a tool such as TAKU’s built-in integration to Google or to your own online store lets you easily showcase your available store products online without any effort.
2. Buy online pickup instore (BOPIS)
Customers love to shop online but don’t love the shipping costs or the amount of packing materials used to send products out. By allowing them to pick up their order in store it solves their problem while also creating an opportunity for your business to upsell, lower merchant processing fees and reduce return rates.
BOPIS reduces the friction between your online store and your in store experience for happier shoppers. And using the right all-in-one technology will increase sales while reducing the operational costs of fulfilling from the store.
Attract more customers by offering In-Store Exclusives
In-store exclusives are a great way to attract more nearby shoppers. Local customers are willing to shop in person instead of online if there’s a strong value-add. You can give your customers this reason by offering in-store only exclusives. Here are a few in-store exclusives you can offer:
In-store only promotions/deals
You can create an exclusive feeling for your in-store shoppers by implementing promotions and discounts offered only with an in-store purchase. This is where your store can offer any promotion or deals worth sharing. Some examples include:
Offering some products only in store
Grouping bundles of your products and selling them as a combo
Giving coupons that can only be redeemed in your retail locations
Creating a seamless shopping experience for your store has never been easier with TAKU. Besides running all of your in-store and online sales in one system, our built-in free Google listings allow you to easily advertise your real stock availability to nearby customers. TAKU Retail can also help you easily integrate BOPIS into your business. If you want to learn more about it, click the button below for a free demo.
October to December marks the peak shopping season for retail stores. It’s a time when many retailers plan for an increase in shoppers. As the world moves out of the global pandemic, retailers need to be ready for customers with new shopping behaviors.
According to a Google study, 70% won’t consider purchasing something without seeing it online: whether it is an ad, browsing through a website, social media, or email newsletter. This means that retailers need to start ramping up on their online efforts early: whether it is sending weekly newsletters or updating social media on a regular basis, “online storefronts” are more important than ever to shoppers.
People often flip between discovery (window-shopping) and shopping (looking for products mainly based on functions or features) until they are ready to make a purchasing decision. Of the two, discovery is more emotional and can often override the rational thinking behind shopping. Which is why online “pre-shopping” discovery is so important to the entire shopping process now.
A Statista survey showed that up to 50% of people are planning to do their holiday shopping in-stores. This means that retailers need to be ready to showcase new merchandise and discounts online to shoppers even before they make it to the stores.
In 2020, up to 79% of people left their holiday shopping until one-week before Christmas. This is good news for retailers because they are able to push their efforts to the very last minute. The same study showed that 64% of shoppers planned to shop in-stores. After more than a year of restrictions, people are eager to get out. This is great for physical stores that are able to target shoppers when they’re nearby.
Convenience plays a huge role in purchasing decisions today. “Now near me” searches have grown 100% worldwide. Options for store-managed e-commerce have also increased a lot. Because some shoppers will always leave holiday shopping until the last minute, local stores have a major advantage. After all, everybody has experienced shipping delays given the increase in online shopping. Instead, more local shoppers are searching for ways to buy online and pickup in store (BOPIS) to avoid delays.
The key to successfully offering store pickup for online orders is inventory accuracy. This means using store operations software that offers real-time stock information in-store and online. One way to make sure that your store appears online is to use Google’s free product listings and Local Inventory Ads (LIA). Learn more about how to increase foot traffic to stores with Google here.
For last minute shoppers, retailers can offer store pickup. Not only does this avoid delivery delays, it helps encourage shoppers to purchase extra items when they come to the store for their orders. Make sure that your order pickup area is well-merchandised with suitable impulse products. And consider switching to an order pickup system that will allow staff to checkout customers. There’s nothing worse than losing sales from a in-store shopper just because a customer doesn’t want to line up again to pay.
A lot has changed over the last two years. When the pandemic started in 2020, retail was heavily affected. Now that we are in a post-pandemic world, retail has once again changed. Some trends from the pandemic are sticking around, and some are not. In today’s blog we are going to go over several post-pandemic retail trends.
Post-pandemic inflation affects spending
We’ve touched on inflation affecting consumer spending. The early months of the pandemic saw an increase in spending by consumers. However as interest rates and inflation continue to increase, consumers are making mindful decisions to cut back on spending. Although the lipstick effect continues to explain why small luxury items are continuing to sell, discretionary spending is decreasing overall. Consumers are spending less and less on things such as clothing and meal kits.
Brand loyalty is shifting post-pandemic
Younger consumers are leaving brands they were once loyal to. 39% of consumers (mostly Gen Z and Millennials) have left behind trusted brands to try new ones. At the same time, older shoppers are prioritizing convenience and supporting more local businesses. The bar is higher than ever to earn brand loyalty today but it’s still important to retailers everywhere.
One of the most powerful tools for earning brand loyalty is a loyalty program. These programs actually make 60% of global consumers into brand loyalists. But instead of simply discounts, consumers are increasingly saying that loyalty is about ‘exceptional experiences’ or a ‘sense of trust.’
Store-ception (stores within stores)
Another trend which is gaining more traction are stores within stores. Now that people are physically shopping in stores after the pandemic, this trend is big! A common example of this is the beauty counter within a pharmacy. Usually these spaces have lighting catered to beauty products and special signage.
Since stores have reopened, this trend is skyrocketing. Brands such as Target now have small Apple stores within their stores at multiple locations. This gives retailers the boost of “subletting” floor space to an aspirational brand with it’s own established customer base. This attracts more foot traffic and gives shoppers a better in-store experience.
Home investments are slowing down post-pandemic
Traditionally during a recession, people are more likely to “nest” and spend more time at home to save money. This recession will be different though as shoppers everywhere are tired of isolating at home after several years of lockdowns. The traditional boom in home products happened early on during the pandemic. As as result, shoppers have already invested in their homes and the demand for products and brands related to nesting has been on the decline as consumers return to stores, restaurants and travel.
As shoppers have less disposable income and have already spent money on home improvements – the nesting boom is coming to a halt. Although there are less people willing to spend on home improvement now, the people who are able to spend are going to spend more.
A focus on healthy living
Unsurprisingly, there is increased interest in personal wellness post-pandemic. During the pandemic, products related to outdoor fitness and healthy living were in high demand. Luckily for retailers in health and wellness, this trend is still strong amongst shoppers as the pandemic has reminded everybody about the benefits of healthy living.
The focus on healthy living extends to food and drinks. While normally alcohol consumption increases during a recession, over-indulgence during the pandemic has lead to an overall decrease in alcohol consumption, particularly amongst high-income or young consumers.
The changing role of e-commerce
E-commerce was all the rage during the pandemic. With stores closed everywhere, shoppers had no choice but to shop online. But e-commerce is more than just another sales channel. These days, it is also a key marketing tool.
As shoppers have returned to stores, retailers have downplayed e-commerce sales as they tend to have lower margins. According to Google, 46% of consumers will check online for product availability before purchasing anything in-store. While in-store, these customers are also more likely to make impulse purchases which are often higher in margin.
Throughout 2022 we’ve been emphasizing that customers want convenience. The flexibility that omnichannel delivers is a powerful way to offer convenience to consumers. Buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS) is being used more and more every day. In post-pandemic retail, stores with true omnichannel operations are the most successful as retailers today need to sell wherever shoppers want to buy. Omnichannel strategies lead to 80% higher rates of store visits. People want to be able to start their purchasing journey online and finish it in-person (or vice versa).
Better customer relations via technology
Omnichannel retail platforms allow store owners to save data about their customers. This data can then be used for personalized marketing materials which is more effective at driving sales.
In the current world of retail, having an online catalog is essential. Customers are spending so much of their time on the internet, being able to reach them online is now crucial. Yet many merchants still rely on physical print catalogs. While this is still a great strategy, there’s no reason not to add a digital catalog on top of that.
Times are different now, physical marketing materials should be an add-on, not your main strategy. After all, online ones are much easier for consumers to access since most people always have their phones on them, and they can provide a lot more information. Not to mention, they are much easier and cheaper to keep up-to-date.
5 reasons you should have an online catalog
We understand that many brick & mortar stores may not have the resources or technical skills to set up an e-commerce store. However, it’s very important for all physical stores to at least start an online catalog for shoppers.
Here are 5 main reasons why you should:
1 – Shoppers buy more when they know what products you carry
Google’s research indicates that shoppers avoid stores when they do not know what’s available inside the store. After all, the majority of shoppers do research online today before heading out and stock availability helps shoppers decide which store to go to. Making it easy for shoppers to see what you have available on your shelves today drives more foot traffic to your physical store, which then increases your sales since impulse buys and upselling increase basket size.
2 – New customers can see what you offer
You’ll be able to attract more new customers if your products are showcased online. People who are learning about your business for the first time will be able to better understand what you offer, even before they step foot in your store. If you use a modern system such as TAKU, your POS will automatically update your product showcase on Google so that nearby shoppers see real-time stock levels that adjust in real-time even as you sell.
Having stock levels update automatically is a key difference with a digital product showcase vs. traditional print catalogs as shoppers today expect stock information to be accurate whether they buy in-store or online.
3 – Digital catalogs are easier to share
Digital catalogs are great since they are so easy to share. In the age of social media people are always sharing things with others. Where a physical catalog requires someone to actually hand their friend the catalog (which may be out-of-date), a digital one can be shared around the world in a few clicks. It’s easy to see why this is a good thing, the more people that see your catalog – the more potential sales you could get. Similarly, shoppers are more likely to consider retailers recommended by their friends or contacts.
4 – Digital catalogs offer 24/7 customer assistance
Having a digital catalog reduces the amount of time spent answering general questions. If you have a product showcase, your shoppers will have 24/7 access to photos and product descriptions. This eliminates the need to have employees repeatedly answering the same questions. This also relieves some of the burden on your sales team as they will spend less time answering explaining product details and more time selling. This will in turn improve your overall customer service.
It’s best to think of an online catalog as a marketing investment. There is a cost to set it up in the beginning, but once it’s up and running, it provides free sales assistance and will quickly pay itself off.
5 – It will help you understand your customers better
Since an online catalog will be on your digital channels, you will be able to collect data that will be useful for digital marketing. The collected data will help you gain better insights into your customers and even answer a few questions along the way. Analyzing data collected from your digital catalog could help you answer questions such as:
Which of my products have the most views online?
Are people aware of my business? Are they interested?
How many people are making purchases based off of my catalog?
Do I need to change the products I am carrying?
How can I get more people to sign up for my email list?
Do my customers research products before purchasing?
Overall, a digital catalog helps to enhance your customer service. It allows shoppers to conveniently check what is available, find out information regarding products, and even share with other potential customers.
With an online catalog you will be able to reach more shoppers with less effort. It will also allow you to save money over time compared to physical catalogs. It is an investment which will quickly pay for itself. As a retailer you should consider adding or improving the digital catalog for your store. Happy retailing!
Want to start displaying your products online? TAKU’s Google SWIS integration allows your to showcase your inventory on Google in real time! To learn more click on the banner below.