It’s easy to think that joining an initiative like Small Business Saturday is just a pointless jump on the bandwagon. ‘What’s the point?’ People are shopping on the Internet and what can I do about that? More than you think.
Interestingly, that may be the case but face-to-face communication has never seemed more attractive. There are times when you want to hear a specialist’s opinion or you want an experience. Internet shopping is here to stay, but that’s not a reason for brick and mortar businesses to roll over and die. Small Business Saturday is an opportunity to show people what you are made of and why the experience of shopping is more fun than simply ordering on line.
How do shops create a different offering?
How can we use Small Business Saturday to increase foot traffic and demonstrate why specialist retailers are a valuable part of the retail landscape? Alex Andrade-WalzDelete from Spatially offers some brilliant advice:
“Focus on the experience, not the savings. Discounting prices across the board is rarely sustainable for a business’s margins, especially if you’re competing against economies of scale such as the Amazons and WalMarts of the world. Fortunately, local shoppers aren’t necessarily chasing the lowest cost. According to Oracle, 81% of shoppers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Small businesses have a golden opportunity to capture their share of the holiday market by focusing on service—everything from greeting customers as they come in, to offering personalised recommendations, to giving your store a homey feel for the holidays.”
So here are a few more ideas to help you get the best from Small Business Saturday and through the rest of the retail year….
Be creative and upsell personally.
Websites are using AI to create vast banks of data. It all began with Amazon’s ‘People who bought this also liked…’ and it was a pretty amazing development. Now companies can be more personalised online and can predict what your future needs might be. Fab. But what happens when you buy a black jumper and you get more examples of black jumpers fed to you? Wouldn’t I like someone to say, ‘Hey you bought that roll neck black jumper last month and now we have some pretty amazing necklaces or scarves’ to help you ring the changes. Your jumper could look like this, or this? It’s about using data in a human way. Retail emporia are in a great position to achieve just that.
Loyalty and advocates are what you are after.
If you are to set up a loyalty scheme you can keep track of what people spend and their tastes. Some people love TKMaxx but personally I can’t be bothered to trawl through the endless hangers. I lose the will to live. A personal shopper who might say, ‘This will suit your shape, style, colouring – try it on’ would get my vote every time.
Be the person customers want to hang out with.
Our customer journeys are being revamped by the use of technological developments. Companies can interact with customers but a wave, a smile, a cup of coffee and a chat about latest fashion from a shopkeeper that’s in touch means much more. Shops need to be inspirational and aspirational. They need to create a sense of ‘blink and you’ll miss it. Lidl and Aldi do this successfully. If you are not there every week you’ll miss their latest bargains. You can tweet, text or message latest products and even set timers for people to buy before a certain date or time. If you make use of mobile you can create a one to one personalised conversation that your clients will love. It takes attention to detail and with care can augment shopping experiences.
Create omnichannel experiences where you can.
You might want to work hand in hand with a digital marketer to create an omnichannel experience that’s seamless. As Forbes says, “We no longer live in a single-channel world. If you have ever checked Facebook while watching TV or scanned websites while shopping in a store, you’ve experienced our multichannel culture.” The thing is the end point is your shop rather than ecommerce – although why not develop that too? Just focus on the experience and make your precious customers feel special.
Think about how you can disrupt the market place.
What can you add? What can you take away? How can you fulfill a specific need or solve a problem. You may well find there’s a way of establishing a revenue stream you’ve never considered before. Customers are drawn to the unique – so find whatever it is about your brand and let it shine.
Don’t forget word of mouth is not just about voice to ear.
Social media can make a massive difference to your brand and people’s perception of it. It can drive footfall and keep you top of mind even when the store is not open. For more information about how word of mouth now runs the world, read this post from VKN Digital.Once upon a time shops had a very special place in society and could once again. Click To Tweet
The shops were local and used to be meeting places, a place for new ideas and plenty of gossip. Trusted shopkeepers became a valuable part of the community. They just have to find slightly different ways of achieving that in the twenty first century.