The holiday season is upon us once again, but with growing challenges around supply chain and logistics because of COVID-19, the way your brand approaches retail marketing will matter more this year than in the past.
So, how can you use your retail store to differentiate yourself this holiday season? Keep reading our 2021 holiday retail marketing guide to find out!
What is Retail Marketing?
Retail marketing refers to how you market your physical stores and the products and services offered there. With the right retail marketing strategies in place, you can enhance the customer shopping experience and drive sales for your business overall. Just like you might promote your online store, it’s equally important to remind customers that your brand exists IRL too.
There’s more to retail marketing than just the products offered inside though. It's also important to market the overall shopping experience that your customers will benefit from by choosing to walk into your store. If the products are great and the experience is top tier, you will keep customers coming through your doors! But they'll only find out if you market the opportunity to visit.
Why Retail Matters this Holiday Season
So, why does retail matter this holiday season? You may be wondering whether retail is still relevant considering the global pandemic and the boom in ecommerce. However, giving attention to retail marketing may pay off even more than ever before due to the high levels of competition online.
Simply put, if you don’t have a solid retail marketing strategy in place, you won’t maximize the customer shopping experience and you'll risk your customers going elsewhere to shop this season. You don’t want to leave it up to the consumer to remember to come into your store – you need to remind them that you’re there and all the reasons why they ought to walk in!
Unlike with online though, you can be more targeted with your retail marketing. The truth is that while your e-commerce store is available to everyone, your stores are likely only a resource to those who live close by. This limitation can actually be to your advantage – for example, if you wanted to spend advertising dollars on promoting your stores, you wouldn’t need as big a budget because you only need to target locals. Plus, once customers walk in, even if they don’t purchase, you can continue to market your location to them so long as you make an effort to capture their contact information. Don't forget that while winning back customers after each sale may require consistent and effective retail marketing, it’s much easier than converting a new customer all together.
Other reasons why retail marketing is essential for the 2021 holiday are the concerns about supply chain and the lingering effects of COVID-19. There is also increased digital competition and greater reverse logistics costs for your brand.
Let’s review some of these concerns in greater detail:
One of the biggest reasons that retail is important this holiday season is better manage your reliance on shipping. Between rising shipping costs, clogged ports, and limited materials, many consumers and businesses are worried about what the holiday season will look like. Customers are already starting to stock up for the holidays, so marketing local products to local customers will help skirt fulfillment challenges.
Lingering Concerns about COVID-19
Lingering concerns about COVID-19 and its effects on consumers and the economy will also play a major role this holiday season. Many businesses are unsure about whether customers will feel comfortable shopping in stores or what holiday shopping will look like post-pandemic. Retail marketing can be your friend here - think about how you can give customers the confidence to walk in by readily sharing your stores' safety and cleaning protocols. The more peace of mind you can give consumers, the more likely they are to choose your store over someone else's for the in-person purchases.
Increased Digital Competition
With the increase in digital competition, retail marketing is a great way to ensure that customers choose to convert in-store where conversion rates and AOV's tend to be hire.
Reverse Logistics Costs
Reverse logistics costs are also a concern. An accommodating return policy is a benefit to customers and improves their shopping experience, but it can be detrimental to brands – especially when it comes to holiday items that can’t necessarily be restocked after the season passes.
It can also be expensive to return items to warehouses, recycle them, or donate them. As such, motivating customers to shop in-person where return rates tend to be lower will help to decrease the spend on your brand's end (while also increasing customer satisfaction).
5 Ways to Drive Traffic to your Stores this Holiday Season
Now that we've covered the basics of retail marketing – and why it matters this holiday season – it is time to explore various ways you can increase awareness and traffic to your stores. Here are our top 5 tips for driving traffic to your physical location during the holidays:
1. Connected Holiday Windows
Connected holiday windows are a great way to engage with your local audience and increase the number of customers you have coming into your store. We’re not just talking about decorating your storefront and reminding customers that it’s time to shop for the holidays – you need to take it a step further and add connectivity!
For example, you can incorporate a QR code that automatically links your audience to your holiday catalog or offers them a coupon for their next purchase. You can include it as part of the seasonal décor, but it adds a level of functionality that your shoppers can take with them and engage with later on.
Likewise, you can use your store window to communicate ways for customers to get in touch with the store online or through social media. This is an opportunity to expand your omnichannel retail efforts and let customers engage with your brand even if they don’t have time to walk into the store.
How to make friends with QR codes
QR codes offer omnichannel brands an easy way to incorporate digital experiences into the physical world. Learn more about why QR codes exploded in popularity during COVID and how you can take advantage.
2. Store Holiday Parties & Events
If you are looking for a way to thank your top customers and encourage them to come to your physical location, consider hosting a store holiday party.
Everyone loves a good party, and this can give your shoppers an excuse to stop by, speak with your associates, and pick up some last-minute gifts for the holidays. A store holiday party is a unique and memorable event – you could even encourage your customers to make it an annual tradition!
Consider giving out party favors or free samples at the event so that customers can try out new products and provide feedback. You can even encourage them to make additional purchases with a discount or special one-time coupon.
You can promote your store holiday party via traditional channels like email marketing and social media. But your store teams can also promote the event when they speak to customers in-store or by emailing or texting them directly using a platform like Endear.
3. Holiday-Focused Services
Another way that you can generate more foot traffic to your stores this holiday is to offer in-store services for the season. Consider incorporating gift-wrapping stations, shopping lists, and other holiday-focused offerings that can’t be replicated online.
The holidays can be a busy and stressful time for many individuals and providing services that can make life easier for them can go a long way. Perhaps you can allow them to buy gift cards for their friends or family or cater to other needs that they might have – the goal is to make the experience valuable and unique to shopping in-person.
4. Retail Social Media Takeovers
Did you know that retail social media takeovers can effectively boost your marketing effort during the holidays? Invite your store team members to take over your social media channels like Instagram and Facebook so they can remind customers that they are available for face-to-face help and promote the items that are immediately available to locals.
Putting your store associates front and center leading up to the holidays allows you to raise awareness and ensure that your customers are thinking about your store.
5. Promote your Stores Online
Make sure that your e-commerce site has dedicated content and landing pages about your physical retail locations. As a starting point, this page should list out your stores’ addresses, ways to get in touch, and other basic information.
But if you want to take things a step further, you can integrate your inventory with your e-commerce experience so that online shoppers can even see what items are readily available in their city or neighborhood. This approach not only speeds up time to purchase, but also eliminates the need to ship items.
6. Special Holiday Offers
It’s no secret that shoppers are looking for a bargain during the holidays. There are so many gifts to buy and savings to search for, so don’t forget to provide special holiday offers to encourage them to stop in. Your offer doesn't have to always be a discount though.
For instance, you can offer a small token of your appreciation to anyone who shops in your store. It could be a small keychain, a flower, a box of chocolates, or another small symbol of gratitude to thank them for their business. The holidays are a time to give back and give thanks, and this type of offer can help you build a special relationship with your customers.
7. Incorporate Holiday Decorations
There is no doubt that incorporating decorations outside and throughout your physical store can help you enhance the customer shopping experience during the holidays. Nothing gets people more excited for holiday shopping than listening to festive music and walking through a nicely decorated store!
With that said, make sure to offer your clients some holiday cheer when they enter your store. Whether that involves playing Christmas music, choosing a holiday fragrance, or putting up a tree, the idea is to get them into the spirit of the season and remind them why they enjoy shopping in-person in the first place.
No matter which strategies fit with your retail business, don’t forget that the people who are most inclined to make these efforts work are your store associates. By equipping them with a tool like Endear, they can serve as the best megaphones for all the tactics you use to promote your store.