Mobile Marketing Tips for Independent Retailers
In previous articles, I’ve focused on the benefits of mobile marketing for small businesses. But of course, there are many types of small businesses. In this upcoming series, the focus will be on mobile marketing for a specific type of business. First in the spotlight is an Independent Retailer. Whether you have a consignment store, designer boutique, bicycle shop, furniture or candle store, you share the same type of obstacles that can get in the way of selling your products. The two main ones are slow periods and moving inventory.
Many large retailers like Macys or Nordstrom suffer the same obstacles; however, independent retailers are especially designed to benefit from mobile marketing because they are small and nimble. They can implement mobile programs quicker, adjust as necessary and be able to see more benefits, faster. Many of them already have the foundation for an excellent mobile marketing program because they have a high, positive engagement with their customers, provide excellent customer service and know their customers well.
Consider, Trader Tots, local children’s clothing and toy consignment store in Grandview. It’s been a family owned, neighborhood business for 26 years. Their longevity is based on providing great merchandise at a great price for families with young children. Since they have a stellar reputation in the community, their customers would be happy to engage with a text messaging program because they trust and value information from the business.
Another good example is the Alternative Resale in Grandview. They sale men’s and women’s clothing but what makes them unique is that they sell bridal and formal wear for men, women and children. It’s another example of a store that provides excellent customer service. One of their customer service tactics is a loyalty program. This is an excellent feature that can be mobilized making it extremely convenient for customers and allows for excellent tracking of your customer’s favorite and frequent purchases to further help to better serve their needs.
Just like many other small retailers, these two businesses know their customers well and provide excellent service. These business traits are great pre-requisites for creating a mobile marketing program that will take their positive interaction with their customers to the next level.
Below is your list of specific mobile marketing tactics for independent retailers. Use them and you’ll get smart and effective engagement with your customers.
- Make sure your site is mobile friendly. Whether your site is mobile responsive or a completely custom designed, you HAVE to be mobile. Customers now expect your website to be easy to navigate on their smartphones. This increases their time on your site which ultimately leads to more engagement with you and sales for your business.
(Note: If you don’t have a mobile website, Facebook is mobile friendly. So, engage and keep your Facebook page very active until you’re ready to create your mobile site.)
- Allow customers to engage with you FIRST. Create in store marketing materials that make it super easy for customers to connect to your mobile presence. Mobile coupons, QR codes, VIP loyalty programs, digital scratch ‘n save all create interesting ways for customers to engage with your mobile presence. When you create avenues for customers to make the first move, they are indicating a willingness to trust you and they want interesting ways to stay connected to your brand.
- Content is ALWAYS King. Create a text message marketing program to keep your customers in the know by delivering relevant, compelling and interesting content. For example, before new merchandise arrives, send images or video that creates anticipation and excitement. This provides incentive for your subscribers to stay opted in to receive your messages on a long term basis.
- Strategic communication with a mobile optimized form. Many customers use contact forms to communicate with businesses. A mobile optimized form makes it more intuitive and easier for you and prospects to engage in more meaningful communication. Make sure to create customized forms in order to get more detailed information about your customers. The more you know about your customers, they better you can serve them.
- Use holidays to your advantage with text message marketing. Holidays are wonderful for creating a mobile marketing strategy around. Create a marketing campaign that includes a pre-schedule calendar of dynamic text messages based on your sales or promotional goals. You will be in control of your messaging and the analytics gained are immeasurable.
- Share the love. Because you are a small business, it’s easier to get instant feedback from customers. So, get testimonials of customers finding that perfect gift for their spouse or friend. Better yet, provide images of happy customers with purchases or at least images of products that make your customers happy. Then share the great news on social media and your website.
- Make it worth their while. Although everybody loves a deal, shoppers are bombarded with deals, coupons and promotions. Make the incentive to join your Mobile VIP Club a compelling one. It should not be your normal coupon or discount but something that makes them feel special and worth the effort to join the club. You can even create a special “Happy Hour” event to make it an extra special promotion.
- Be Social. Include links to your social media in your mobile website and app. Make sure that when customers connect with your social media profiles, they are up to date with relevant content and show engagement with you and customers.
- Significantly increase getting found on the internet. Unaware to most independent retailers there are over 300 online directories that will list your business information. Listing in them expands your online reach tremendously. Here’s a list of the top 10 major directories where you can list and manage your business information: Google, Bing, Yelp, Yahoo!, Merchant Circle, City Search, FourSquare, Local.com, Yellowpages.com and Whitepages.com.
- Consider Mobile Commerce. More customers are expecting to purchase your products via a mobile device. There are now multiple platforms to go mobile that will fit the budget and needs of small retailers. Especially now that many customers can easily comparison shop on their smartphones, you want to make sure your site is mobile optimized to keep them engaged with you.
There’s a chock full of information here. My suggestion is to focus on one or two tactics and see implement them into your current marketing strategies. The next focus will be on professional speakers. Those who are coaches, trainers, authors and anyone that regularly speaks in front of large or small audiences.
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