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3 Ways Millennial Retailers Are Modernizing Their Marketing

From the days of bazaars and souks to the early departmental stores like Sears and Macy’s, retail has always been driven by modernization. Every new business owner has had to navigate the turbulent waters of their times – consumers wanting and expecting new things, always looking for a better shopping experience.

This was true in the 1800s – the 2014 documentary, Secrets of Selfridges, makes it quite clear that success in retail has always involved keeping your finger on the pulse of the times. Selfridge’s innovations literally changed customer behavior and mindset.

We are undergoing a similar revolution in today’s digital-social age. Here are some things that modern retailers and marketers are doing to help new businesses flourish.

Reach Your Customers Through The Channels That They Like

This isn’t actually as new as people might think! For ages, stores used to take out print ads in magazines, give out pamphlets, and attempt to reach customers through all manner of advertising and interruptions. What’s changed is that now the consumers have more power than ever to ignore messages they aren’t interested in – everyone’s looking at their phones now.

While people have been expressing some frustration with Facebook in recent times, not many people have actually left the platform. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp all remain valuable channels to build relationships with your customers.

So what do you do? You start by showing them what they can expect from your store!

  • Get good pictures. Invest in good photography to put your products in the best possible light. Every retailer I’ve talked to has said that this is a huge game-changer.
  • Focus on people. Share behind-the-scenes stories about your staff – who are they? What do they do? How do they prepare your products?
  • Entertain, don’t sell. Update your social media pages regularly, and make sure to use an honest, natural voice that fits what people want to see and hear. People don’t want to be sold to when they’re scrolling through their various feeds on the train – they want to be entertained. So entertain them.

Use Events To Help Your Customers Build A Relationship With Your Space

Rent is one of the biggest costs for retail businesses – whether you’re selling coffee or doing people’s nails, the rent is a sunk cost that you can’t avoid paying.

But the space is also an asset that can be reused and repurposed. Lululemon famously turns some of their stores into literal yoga studios after hours. According to former CEO Christine Day this positions Lululemon stores as a “fitness and conversation hub”. It also increases customer engagement, encourages regular visits to the store, and keeps the brand constantly top-of-mind.

What events could you organize in your space to encourage customers to visit? You don’t necessarily have to organize something large-scale – even small events, like inviting a local artist or musician to perform, can give your customers something to talk about and look forward to.

Use Modern SMB Tools And Apps To Get An Edge

It’s easier than ever to start a business today – and a lot of businesses exist to serve other businesses! You can take advantage of these to use as leverage to get more done and focus on the things that matter most to you.

Freshbooks is great for invoicing and expense services, and removes a lot of headache and logistic work for so that merchants can focus on their products.

MailChimp is simple and great for running your email marketing. It has templates that you can use and easily populate with your branding.

CandyBar makes it easy for you to run your loyalty program without paper cards or downloaded apps – you can solicit feedback from your customers and share those reviews on your social media platforms.

It’s possible to get carried away with trying out all sorts of new tools – so at the end of the day, remember to focus on the fundamentals. A great cup of coffee, a delicious meal, a beautiful manicure in an inviting environment – these are the things that never change.

Contributed by Visakan Veerasamy, the blog editor at ReferralCandy, a recognized leader in referral marketing software for e-commerce businesses.

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