Retail Marketing Strategy For Small Business

There are many marketing strategies for a small retail business that are affordable and effective. Here are some examples and tips.

As an owner of a small retail business your Marketing Strategy must be ongoing and current. If not, your business will not be successful. This kind of intense advertising can be very expensive but not always.

Although you do have to allocate at least 3% of your gross sales for marketing (and this may not seem to be a lot), as a small business you have many ways to increase your sales without spending a lot. Before you begin constructing your marketing strategy, review the basic definition of retail.

Retail is defined as the sale of many different goods in small quantities directly to the consumer. You have to reach many, many people with your ads and promos in order to increase sales. This is true no matter what your target market is (women, teens, or a mixture). You also see these customers on a daily basis and this, too, has to be considered in your plans.

Listed below are a number of marketing ideas you can implement with a small marketing budget. Other small retail establishments use them with varying degrees of success. The best method is to use a few you really like for a month or two, track the amount of business each generated, keep the good ones and replace the slow one with another idea. That's basically your marketing strategy; to promote your business each and every day in every way possible and stay dynamic. People are dynamic so your marketing should be dynamic as well.

Since target customers need to hear your marketing message at least seven times to influence a buying decision, you should place an ad in the many small newspapers in your area and keep it there for at least a month. They'll cost about as much as one glossy ad in some big paper or magazine that will only run that one time.

Combine these to an ad on your local radio station; shop around for the more popular stations with reasonable prices. This, too, should run two weeks or more.

A Web site reaches thousands of people but it takes time to reach lots of people in your area. It can cost more than five hundred dollars to set it up since it has to look professional or it will do more harm than good. You also have to keep it up to date. I'm only mentioning it because you're reading this from a computer but I don't advise it unless you have both time and money to invest in it.

Another good idea is to contact your vendors (suppliers) and ask each to participate with you in co-op advertising. As an example, Pepsi will lower its price on their two liters if the retailer sells it for less and puts up sale signs throughout the store. Visit your competitors and see what brands they have on sale. If you carry the same or a similar brand, give them a call. Your salesman will give you the phone number and contact person.

Do you sell any products endorsed or established by a well-known individual (an author, actor or cook"¦)? Contact that supplier and ask about a personal appearance in your store to promote that product. Don't stop with one or two bookings try to book one celebrity a month for 6-12 months in advance and don't forget to advertise it. Start at least six weeks before the personal appearance and continue up to the day of the event.

Compose a flyer each month with different items on sale for that month. You can distribute it at the cashier's area. You also can mail them out to people in the area. Use your local phone book or go on the Internet for sites that have mailing lists. Most offer their services for a fee but a few are free, you just have to look.

Are any of the name brand products you sell have ads of television or in magazines? Take advantage of this and position the item in a prominent area. Display other, related, items not on sale with the item. Three out of five customers that pick the sale item will also pick-up one or more of the other items you have displayed with it.

Another important aspect of good marketing is the business itself. It has to have a fresh look all the time. Your store should be clean and bright and fun to shop in. Go over every area daily and assign a person to handle the particulars.

Last, but most important is your customer relations, day-to-day marketing strategy mentioned earlier. It's a well-known fact that customer referrals are a big part of successful retailing. A customer has to be very happy with a business to refer their friends and associates to shop there. Make sure you have a well thought out Customer Relations chapter in your Training Manuel and make sure every employee utilizes it. It should include basic politeness, how to actively listen to a person, how to respond to various situations, what body language the employee should assume when dealing with a customer, etc.

Once the employee is proficient in all this, train them to solicit information about what the customer thinks of the business and service. Do not make it too complicated, just a question or two. You could even make up a suggestion card and have the employee give one to each customer. Increase the odds of it being completed and given back by including some sort of contest or give-away that the customer is eligible for by returning the card.

The information received on these cards will also help you compose a preferred customer list. Use this list to send (at least twice a year) discount coupons or special sale hours to these customers.

These are just a few retail marketing ideas. I'm sure that you have a few of your own, prompted by this article. Try them. No matter what promotional ideas you choose, make sure that you work on them every day. Also, be open for more ideas and change what you do periodically. Remember, as a Retail Entrepreneur you want to thrive, not just survive. Good luck!

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