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Sometimes, just by throwing up a fresh and innovative marketing program, a company can discover new ways of delivering value to its customers. So, keeping this point in mind, we will give our readers 15 main fresh, low-cost retail marketing ideas that are easy to implement and can be implemented using minimum communication skills and within budget. This may also involve offering a slight discount at some point in time, but we can guarantee that by learning and following these tactics, you would greatly benefit as a company.
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Digital marketing, conversion rate optimization, customer relationship management & othersProblems that may arise whilst its implementation
So, here are they:-1. Create a card that asks the customers to give online reviews
As a real-world example, an inquiring customer was helped by his consultant to get established on Google Places, TripAdvisor, and other related directories. Now, that client plans to introduce variations of this card to its customers. Such an easy and profitable idea!2. Create a combo of products that offer discounts instead of buying them separately
One way of increasing the average transaction amount is to increase the overall revenue. Thus, you should offer your products in packs or combos, which would be liked by the customers and would start to be content with your brand. Hence, satisfied customers mean returning customers, and your business will flourish.
For example, McDonald’s had to introduce the Happy Meal, which worked wonders for them. Similarly, other retail and fast-food joints launched the idea of offering combos of coffee, pastry, sandwich, chips, and a beverage. Those in the women’s boutique business ensemble hats with handbags saw their fortunes slide upward. So the moral of the story is to be creative!3. Create a photo contest for customers
This is a very efficient tactic to help showcase their talent and your products to the customers. Many of your loyal customers would take pictures of your products, which would be shared and reused on your website, stores, and marketing materials. After all, it isn’t said for nothing “a picture tells a thousand words.”
For example, a chain in San Francisco by the name of Pizza Orgasmic has a gallery of its customers on its website wearing the brand’s t-shirts and also hangs framed photos of some of its top customers. Another chain, George’s Music in Pennsylvania, runs a photo contest via its Facebook page and asks its fans to post their pictures with their instrument onto the wall.4. Announce your own Group on-like offer on your Facebook page
Your Facebook fans would most likely observe the offer and will bring in non-Facebook users in a group to your store. This process of introducing new customers via existing customers is a win-win situation for everybody. For example, Tropic, a Mexican restaurant in San Francisco, offers free drinks to a customer who brings in 5 new ones. Thus, in my view, if you run a restaurant chain or a pub, you must consider implementing an offer just like that or introducing a Happy Hour scheme to get in more customers in the unoccupied hours.5. Tweet or e-mail a special word that customers can share to cash a discount or a free gift
This is a new scheme introduced by many retail marketers, especially through social media platforms. In this, the marketer shares a specific word or phrase that a customer can see on the company’s official Twitter or Facebook page. They can then memorize or note down the word and share it at the cash counter of the company’s retail store to avail of special discounts or, in some cases, a free gift for themselves.
A conscious marketer always knows how difficult it is to draw in more and more customers and fulfill their wishes. Yes, this activity involves a lot of time and effort, and one has to overcome many challenges to be a successful marketer.Low-Cost Retail Marketing Tips
So, we will present a few tips for the benefit of low-cost retail marketing to help our aspiring young marketers and the more experienced ones as well. Some of them are as as follows:1. Keep track of all marketing activities
You may not have ever calculated the ROI (Return on Investment) on your most recent previous marketing activities. But this is not a good habit. You may not even know whether the last marketing campaign was a success. Were your goals measurable and specific? However, it’s very important to set specific and achievable goals and then develop a mechanism to track those objectives for each marketing effort launched, whether online or off. You must also be very clear about what exactly you are trying to achieve with your marketing efforts. Is the goal to get more visits to your site, generate more revenue by sales, or get more and more post-sales customer reviews?
Whatever your goal is, make sure to track all progress made to get a valuable understanding of how to go about in the next marketing campaign. An effective retail marketing strategy is to learn from your previous mistakes and try not to repeat them. You can also get some help with this, especially with the help of retail training software.2. Free marketing openings
A good marketing strategy is to use the upcoming trends in social media in your business and get customers involved. Place your company’s posters and flyers on your community bulletin boards and busy places on the road. You can contact other local retail marketing companies to share your company’s marketing material and broaches so that to have them placed on their spaces at various spots. For example, you can collaborate with a partner organization similar to yours in size and domain, and you could be sold for each other! For example, your retail store dealing in grocery can partner with a fast food joint to offer a special package, a gift from your store, or a dinner for family or movie tickets for free. Such marketing innovations may cost you little in terms of printing and distribution; however, the overall benefits are large and encouraging for your business.3. Repetition 4. Follow-up 5. Be a resource for your customers 6. Workers’ training
Workers’ training does not only consists of how to open and close, work the register or keep the items stocked. It should include another significant aspect – selling. It has been witnessed that when a company trains its employees, the art of selling its overall chances of success greatly increase. Customers automatically become more content and loyal when your employees are skilled, efficient, and knowledgeable.7. Test
Just like a mechanic tests for the fault before he can proceed with the actual repair process, you, as a marketer, must also test your marketing campaigns’ degree of success. You must also test your marketing materials in conjunction with one another to ascertain which is doing better. Test a segment of your mailing list for the appropriate version and send that version to the entire list after getting the result. Such a testing procedure is also very valuable for email marketing, direct mail, and landing pages.8. Targeted Approach 9. Construct customer relationships
Getting personal can sometimes help. Yes, it’s surely true in the world of marketing. It is an effective way to tell your customers that “you care.” Marketing doesn’t always mean selling. This is proven by your effort, which helps build long-term relationships. Believe me; your customers appreciate it when you wish them on their birthdays and anniversaries or remember other important life events.10. Public Relations
Although they are different terms, marketing and public relations have a common objective; to make the customers aware of the company’s products, services, and offerings. Whenever you have made a new product, hired someone, conducted an event, or made a charitable contribution, first make a press release and send it to local newspapers, magazines, TV stations, and websites. Optimum coverage isn’t always guaranteed, but your business would definitely earn the public eye when prospects and customers see your press release through the media.Retail Marketing Conclusion Recommended Articles
Here are some articles that will help you to get more detail about Retail Marketing Ideas & Tips, so go through the links.
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A short guide to help review if and how you use Pinterest
Prompted by interest in my first post on the marketing opportunities for Pinterest a couple of weeks ago, I thought a more considered ideas post might be useful. So I’ve summarised the key points that I feel are relevant to consider if you’re set on taking your brand onto Pinterest. I’ve not got into the mechanics of how it works, others do it better already. First things first…A reminder – what is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a platform for crowd sourced visual content grouped into topics (mostly lifestyle at the moment). From a broader perspective, it’s a social network that allows users to visually share new interests by ‘pinning’ images or videos to their own or others’ ‘pinboards’ (a collection of ‘pins’ that have a common theme).
Maybe this cartoon explains it best (source) it’s addictive!
Crucially, Pinterest has a huge visual emphasis, a lot of shared mood-boards is how it first stuck me. It represents a collated view of a person’s lifestyle or set of interests. The benefit to the user is that I can discover ‘people like me’, and so stuff I might like.Gorgeous design
The design of Pinterest is pretty unique which is adding to its appeal with non-marketing-or-tech-geeks, Mashable covered this here – essentially the user benefit is that it’s pictorial and panel orientated, highly visual and easy to move around different topics.
Text content is at a minimum and you’re not forced into a linear, reverse chronological order browsing. This makes it the opposite, from an experiential perspective, to most blogs, Facebook or Twitter.Before you dive in
Two important questions…
Have you got enough time and resource to take on another social media outpost? It’s best to not have magpie syndrome and just dive in because you can, resources for all of us remain at a premium, no matter how hot Pinterest might sound right now. Of course, worst case, you can create an account and trial it, but consider the reality of pitching time into another outpost in the social media mix since you’ll probably have to steal that effort from somewhere else. More importantly…
Does your brand have a natural place within Pinterest? Is it a relevant part of your strategy right now? I ask this since Pinterest, as it stands at least, is all about lifestyle content and I’m assuming it always will be weighted that way. Real people sharing real stuff that they’re interested in. Of course you can come up with ideas to bridge into that (more on that below), yet I’d sense check if it feels natural for your brand at this time? If you’re already creating relevant content for a blog or a social media marketing plan then it may be a natural, low-effort step for you. The main users right now are 18-34 year old upper income women from the US, so did think about that.So you think Pinterest is worth exploring for your brand?
Great – it’s seriously on the up as the fastest growing site, ever! This post by Techcrunch covered how the site has surpassed 10 million users after only 9 months. That’s the fastest growth ever for a standalone site. Users aren’t spending that much time at the site just yet — about 90 minutes / month, compared with 7 hours for Facebook. But it’s clear that Pinterest is a huge phenomenon. Most interesting when you consider the hype around Google+, Pinterest has also taken off among non-techies/geeks/marketers first, unlike Google+.Ready to dive in? Our tips for Pinterest marketers
1. Register with a business email (and Twitter) on account set-up: Once you receive an invitation to sign up for Pinterest (it’s still invite only!) use the same email address you use for your business Twitter profile, then sign-up with Twitter in order you can easily share your new pins through your Twitter account. Pinterest doesn’t offer a connection to Facebook business pages, so Twitter it is. Of course, choose your company name as your username then add a company description, logo, and a website link.
2. Don’t upset fellow pinners! The site naturally discouragse blatant self-promotion. If there is a photo or project you’re proud of, great, just don’t use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion.” [Read: get lost marketers!]. Think up creative ways to promote your brand on the network – showcase the lifestyle that your brand promotes. If you’re a footwear company like PUMA, a pinboard of PUMA shoes is a no-no. A pinboard of a people wearing them, especially famous folks like Professor Green, Thierry Henry or Aguero, ideally in cool places, would be much better for fellow pinners to interact with.
3. Be worth following with great visual content: To get started, spend time looking around, this way you’ll get some great ideas and a feel for how the network works.
See this post here on some of the most successful brand who are using Pinterest effectively so far. Get your great, non-promotional content uploaded – see point 2! This way, new followers will have a reason to follow your pins; just as you would populate a brand new blog before you start promoting it. What images, graphics, info graphics do you have or could you easily get together?
4. Promote your presence externally:
Add the Pinterest follow button to your website and write a blog post to promote it.
Promote your presence on Pinterest through your other social networks by encouraging your followers/fans on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter to follow your pins!
Consider a Pinterest contest (see below).
Start following users you think would want to follow you back.
5. Create a fan Pinboard: You can allow other users to contribute their own pins to your hosted pinboards, so involve fans and customers in your marketing as you would in any other social channel. Dedicate a pinboard to your top fans or customers – ask the customer to pin images that showcase your brand within their lifestyle. Does your product allow the user to look good, be better at something, feel better – get images the illustrate that, think of it as a pictorial testimonial.
7. Demonstrate an expertise on a topic: Become the go-to Pinterest account for pins about a certain subject or topic relating to your industry. You’ll see this by looking around the network. Some people are really owning certain spaces and you’d have to say there’s an early, possible gold-rush potential within Pinterest at the moment to do just that. I like this graphic designer and their logo love board – a great, simple idea. What about other forms of design, art, fashion that are so immediately relevant this way, so easily done. Harder for those of us that need to find the lifestyle link – but the principal is their with a little imagination – more on that here…
8. Learn about your buyer personas: View pinboards of your customers, learn more about who they are and what they’re interested in. Use Pinterest as a tool for understanding the interests and needs of your ideal customers. Then… show your expertise within those areas, be valuable and interesting. Very simple, and very time consuming to do it properly. Yet that’s surely the opportunity.
9. Remember videos: Pins can be videos as well as images – worth remembering! Existing footage you can use, interviews, fun stuff?
10. Integration with other channels: Do you attend or run offline events that your fan base would find interesting to see behind the scenes? How about features around the best photos and video footage – this is good for those not attending and it helps you generate buzz and promote the next event you run or will be present at. Consider online integration too – you can use hashtags in Pinterest, if you use them then create a pinboard around it, tag it with a hashtag you’re using on Twitter and Google+ and help integrate Pinterest within the campaign. You can use your Pinterest account to promote a relevant section of your site this way – driving multiple links (traffic) back to your domain around a particular topic, theme or campaing. Assuming the content is good enough of course.
11. Showcase your people: How about a pinboard that showcases life around and in your organisation, whether day-to-day stuff or events, even parties. It’s subtle, basic stuff but every little helps.
Just remember that as a social network Pinterest requires that you spend time to increase your following, engage with those followers, keep your presence updated, and generally add value to the eco-system. It’s not another magic bullet, of course.
What are your ideas on using Pinterest – do let us know!
Whether you own a plumbing business or manage marketing for plumbers, you know how difficult it can be to stand out in such a saturated (pun intended) market. Plumbing is a notoriously competitive industry where plumbers are going up against both small locally-owned businesses and big plumbing chains with massive marketing budgets (and always-on TV commercials).
But, to be successful in getting new customers and retaining current ones, you simply need the right ideas for your marketing plan.
So, we’ve got you covered with plenty of plumber marketing ideas broken down into:
Ways to get found on Google.
Tactics to try on social media.
Other ideas to test as part of your plumber marketing.
Let’s get going and watch the new customers flood in!Plumber Marketing Ideas to Get Found on Google
Most plumbing businesses either don’t have a storefront or rarely have customers visit them at their office or storefront location, which can make it difficult to show up in local search results, like on Google.
And, we know that 93% of customers begin their search for a business on search engines, which means it’s a must that your plumbing business shows up there.
Here are some ideas to incorporate into your plumber marketing to help you show up on Google.1. Claim & Verify Your Plumber’s Google My Business Profile
The first and best step to take to show up on Google is to claim and verify your Google My Business profile.
Walk through the steps to claim and verify your Google My Business listing to own the information that customers see about you.
If you’ve already claimed your listing, make sure all your business information like your phone number, address, and hours of operation are accurate.2. Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
For home services businesses like plumbers, Google My Business gives you the option to list your business as a service-area business. You can add the zip codes or radius of your service area to increase your chances of appearing in search results when customers in this area search for a plumber.
Once you’ve added your service area, you can further optimize your Google My Business profile by adding relevant photos, including information about your business, and updating your business category.
This plumbing company has done an excellent job optimizing its Google My Business profile.3. Get Google Reviews & Respond
By getting positive Google reviews, you can also increase your chances of showing up on Google for relevant local searches.
For example, when a potential client searches “best plumber dallas,” they’ll be shown Google My Business results with a 4.0 rating or above.
You want your business to show up for searches like this on Google to increase your chances of getting new customers from search engines.4. Invest in Local SEO as Part of Your Plumber Marketing Strategy
You can’t show up in local search results on Google without local SEO. A good local SEO, or search engine optimization, strategy will increase your chances of ranking on Google for relevant local searches by optimizing your website, its content, the backend components of your website, and offsite factors like your listings, reviews, and social sites using the best local keywords.Plumbing Advertising Ideas to Reach New Customers
Showing up organically (AKA without paying) on Google is important for your plumber marketing, but it shouldn’t be the only strategy you rely on.5. Run Google Local Services Ads for Your Plumbing Business
Another benefit of Local Services Ads for plumbers is that in order to run LSAs, your business has to be Google Guaranteed or Google Screened, which you obtain by undergoing and passing a background check as well as insurance and licensing verification. This signals to searchers that your business has been “approved” by Google, and in some cases, Google even offers reimbursements for customers who aren’t satisfied with the service they received from a business they contacted through an LSA.
Learn more about Local Services Ads here.6. Don’t Forget PPC Ads
This is what you see when you search “best plumber dallas” before any organic search results – like Google’s 3-pack – even show up.7. Retarget Website Visitors 8. Invest in Branded Content
The purpose of branded content is to educate your community while positioning your business as a trusted resource. This can be an especially effective tactic for plumbers because it’s an easy way to set your business apart from other plumbers in the area and can give you increased reach in a specific community.
Your branded content campaign could include seasonal tips to protect homeowners from plumbing disasters, warnings about plumbing scams that might be happening in your area, or a special interest story about your plumbing business and your impact on your community.
Here’s an example of branded content that highlights this plumbing business’s dedication to providing free training opportunities to people looking for work in their community.Plumbing Marketing Ideas to Try on Social Media
When you think of plumber marketing, your first thought might not be social media, but the truth is that social media marketing can help you build trust, nurture a community around your business, and engage with both current and prospective customers.9. Create Educational Videos
Creating and sharing videos is a great way to use your plumbing business’s social media pages to engage your audience and be seen as a resource.
You can create and share videos about how to fix common plumbing mistakes, tools every homeowner should have, and what to do in case of a plumbing emergency.
By creating and sharing educational videos on social media, you can also establish trust with your audience because they’ll get used to seeing you or your plumbers and build a connection to your business.10. Ask for Facebook Recommendations
When you set up a business page on Facebook, you can get recommendations (reviews) from your customers.
Facebook recommendations pull into your Bing listing and can also help you win over new customers who find you on social media.
This plumbing business has 70 recommendations on its Facebook page.
Plus, it gives you another place to boost your online reputation, which can only help you stand out from the competition and build more trust in your business.11. Run a Facebook or Instagram Contest
If you’re looking for a way to grow your audience on social media, you can run a Facebook contest or Instagram giveaway. Social media contests are a great way to increase engagement, get new followers, and create some word-of-mouth marketing.
Follow our tips for creating a Facebook contest here.12. Advertise Your Plumbing Business on Facebook More Ideas to Try as Part of Your Plumber Marketing 13. Contract with Apartment Communities
As an apartment renter, I don’t typically have a need for plumbing services because I call my apartment maintenance to fix my plumbing issues. If they can’t fix the issue for me, then they call the plumbing company that they’ve contracted with to complete the service.
Partnering with an apartment community can help your plumbing business capture new customers, build a relationship with future homeowners, and establish a steady stream of business.
This could be you!
Contact apartment communities and multifamily businesses with properties in your area to pitch your business and see if you can be added to their roster of emergency plumbers.14. Build Relationships with Complementary Businesses
Another way to market your plumbing business is to establish a relationship with a complementary business – like a real estate agent or a landscaping company that doesn’t offer plumbing services.
Through this type of partnership, the real estate agent or landscaping company can refer your services to their clients, and you can refer their services to your clients – it’s a win-win for all involved!15. Run a Referral Marketing Program
Another way to get referrals as part of your plumber marketing is to create a referral marketing program for your existing customers.
You can reward customers for referrals by giving them a discounted or free service, and you can also consider providing a small discount for new customers to encourage them to try your services.
Make sure to include a link to refer your business on online billing statements and in email communications, and you can have your plumbers leave referral coupons or flyers with customers to give to their friends and neighbors.16. Send Plumbing Specials with Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great way to stay top of mind with your customers and encourage new customers to do business with you.
You can share helpful tips and content – including the videos you create for social media – in your emails to get people interested. Plus, make sure to email any specials, discounts, or promotions you’re running. Seventy-five percent of people look for deals in their email inboxes!Make Your Plumber Marketing a Success
By using these ideas for your plumber marketing, you can get new customers, build trust, and keep existing customers engaged until they need your services.
Here’s a recap of these plumber marketing ideas:
Claim & Verify Your Google My Business Profile
Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Get Google Reviews & Respond
Invest in Local SEO
Run Google Local Services Ads
Don’t Forget PPC Ads
Retarget Website Visitors
Invest in Branded Content
Create Educational Videos & Share on Social
Ask for Facebook Recommendations
Run a Facebook or Instagram Contest
Advertise on Facebook
Contract with Apartment Communities
Build Relationships with Complementary Businesses
Run a Referral Marketing Program
Send Plumbing Specials with Email MarketingStephanie Heitman
Stephanie is the Associate Director of Content for LocaliQ and WordStream. She has over 10 years of experience in content and social media marketing and loves writing about all things digital marketing. When she’s not researching the latest and greatest marketing news and updates, she’s probably watching reality TV with her husband, reading, or playing with her two pups.
Other posts by Stephanie Heitman
American politicians are in a hullabaloo over the 500,000 Foxconn low-wage jobs in China that they claim could be stationed in the United States, but no one seems to pay attention to the booming “App Economy” that created roughly the same amount of decent jobs stateside. Both sides of the aisle have made public statements on how the Cupertino, Calif.-based Company should bring its grueling $0.31-an-hour factory occupations home.
President Barack Obama reportedly once asked the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, “What would it take to make iPhones in the United States?” at the Silicon Valley Summit last year, and Jobs allegedly responded: “Those jobs aren’t coming back.” The New York Times described why those positions are not returning last month. You can watch the Republicans, perhaps besides Ron Paul, be just as dumbfounded about the labor issue in the video above.
“Nothing illustrates the job-creating power of innovation better than the App Economy,” contended a new NetTech sponsored study (PDF) released today. “The incredibly rapid rise of smartphones, tablets, and social media, and [apps] that run on them, is perhaps the biggest economic and technological phenomenon today.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is currently unable to track App Economy employment numbers. TechNet is a “bipartisan policy and political network of technology CEOs that promotes the growth of the innovation economy,” and it enlisted Dr. Michael Mandel of South Mountain Economics to conduct analysis from The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine database and track accurate employment statistics.
Dr. Mandel’s conclusions illustrated that the industries housed under the App Economy’s wide umbrella are responsible for an estimated 466,000 jobs (including spillovers not depicted in the above graph) across the states…
“America’s App Economy – which had zero jobs just 5 years ago before the iPhone was introduced – demonstrates that we can quickly create economic value and jobs through cutting-edge innovation,” said President and CEO of TechNet Rey Ramsey. “Today, the App Economy is creating jobs in every part of America, employing hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers today and even more in the years to come.”
Obviously the App Economy is not just Apple, but its ecosystem pioneered the new economy and is leading the charge.
The App Economy includes “pure” and “infrastructure” careers across Apple, Google, Facebook, Zynga, Electronic Arts, Amazon, AT&T and other app-related positions at large technology companies based in America. TechNet’s study claimed the No. 1 metropolis for App Economy jobs is New York City at 9.2-percent. However, San Francisco and San Jose surpass New York City with a joint 14.8-percent total. California tops the App Economy states list at 23.9-percent with New York trailing far-behind at 6.9-percent.
Measuring the App Economy involved many metrics, including counting the number of apps in each particular app store across the various platforms, as well as how many developers published. According to the study, the Apple App store saw 529,550 active apps by Dec. 12, 2011, which 124,475 active publishers uploaded. These statistics, combined with other methodology data, estimated that the App Economy generated almost $20 billion in revenue in 2011.
“The App Economy, along with the broad communications sector, has been a leading source of hiring strength in an otherwise sluggish labor market,” said Dr. Michael Mandel.
Professions in the industry include positions for programmers, user interface designers, marketers, managers, and support staff. The analysis indicates that the App Economy is fluid and booming quickly, and the amount and site of app-related jobs are “likely to shift greatly in the years ahead.”
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Our recommended blogs that every retail and E-commerce professional should be following to use the latest innovations and grow their sales General E-commerce sites
The E-commerce Times News Network. We start here since this is the Granddaddy; some of us remember it from the dot-com boom days of 1998 when it focused on tech stories, and it’s still running. These days it’s really broad, covering retail marketing techniques, but it’s still got the latest on tech issues like security and payment.
Digital Commerce 360
. This may be a new publisher to you, even if you’ve worked in E-commerce for a long time. The reason is that the venerable Internet Retailer (IR) has recently rebranded. As before, it’s US focused and covers developments by the main marketplaces and in different sectors.
Internet retailing. The similarly named Internet Retailing focuses more on UK and European suppliers and examples, with the latest merger and acquisition news on European providers. It doesn’t tend to have so much analysis on practical best practices these days (plenty of these examples to follow).
Econsultancy. Like Smart Insights this blog covers a range of sectors but recognizes the importance of retail and E-commerce, with examples of best practices in this sector.
Smart Insights E-commerce marketing strategy channel. We’re well-qualified to write about this one. Our focus across the whole blog is on digital strategy and optimization. It’s perhaps no surprise, given our name, that we also share compilations of KPIs on performance benchmarks that are of interest to retailers, such as Desktop vs mobile E-commerce conversion rates.
Many of the best sites on getting better results from E-commerce are from vendors. Here’s our pick.
Practical Ecommerce blog. We naturally thought of this blog first in this section. It’s been around, nearly as long as the E-commerce Times. We like its main channels which are Marketing, Conversion, Management, and Design and Development. Be warned though that some of the articles can be quite thin and aren’t necessarily specifically on E-commerce specific issues.
Shopify blog. This is a well-known E-commerce platform and well regarded practical blog for retailers to learn from. Naturally, it does tend to focus on smaller SMB retail topics and examples of using its own platform.
Big Commerce. This is one of our favourite blogs on this list. The reason? In-depth content on retail growth strategies, with examples. Its categories tick all the boxes of the topics that matter: E-commerce design, E-commerce marketing, how to sell online, online payments, and shipping and fulfillment.
Practicology blog. We’re recommending this since it has a firm focus on retail improvements, from a consultancy specializing on E-commerce.
Blue Leaf blog. This is another specialist, in this case a design and platform implementation vendor. They have relatively few blog articles; instead, here I’m recommending them for their quarterly ‘Inspiring Great Retail’ series, available in print, which we find useful for examples of the latest trends.Operations-focused blogs on cross-border commerce, marketplaces, payment and fulfillment
PayU blog. As an alternative payments provider, PayU naturally covers the topic of payments, with a strong focus on best practices for cross-border eCommerce. (Note that PayU is a content partner of Smart Insights and commissioned us to compile this round-up, but all viewpoints are our own.)
E-commerce Expo Insights. This blog covers topics from one of the largest European events on E-commerce, including payment, fulfillment, and marketing.
Flex E blog. With discussion and examples of the latest models in fulfillment, this blog focuses on the US market.
Tamebay. This blog has intelligence and news for all businesses and business people who want to improve their use of online marketplaces.Stories to inspire start-up retail entrepreneurs
In this final short section, we look at a different type of blog which is more personal since they’re from owners of businesses explaining how they have grown them.
E-commerce Fuel. Different from many of the other blogs we have featured, E-commerce Fuel is described as a ‘private community for 6 and 7 Figure store owners’. It also has a blog covering how to manage the growth of SMB E-commerce blogs.
A Better Lemonade Stand. This blog has a nice domain name and in-depth articles with strategies owners can use to grow their retail store.
Customer loyalty is the name of the game when it comes to long-term retail survival. While one-to-one relationships have been an ongoing quest for years, the adoption of retail beacon technology — and coinciding geolocation functionality — could be just the boost retailers need to cultivate these coveted relationships.
Too often, however, retailers lack the understanding of the details impacting this customer demand. Even more sobering is that half of retailers struggle with how to uniquely identify customers, or predict customer traffic or footfall in stores, according to “The State of the Industry Research Series 2024: Customer Context Power — A Success Imperative,” a report from Edgell Knowledge Network. However, the adoption of retail beacon technology and associated geolocation capabilities can help retailers achieve their long-term engagement goals. Beacons are low-power, micro-location gadgets that use Bluetooth technology to transmit signals to consumers’ mobile devices. When tied to a geolocation application, this combination takes on an entirely new role — one that can identify the geographical location of a person via their personal smart device.
Resembling a traditional global positioning system, beacon-based geolocation programs help retailers track and communicate with smartphone-connected shoppers via push notifications that reveal targeted promotions and up-selling opportunities, among other campaigns, all delivered based on the specific aisles or merchandise displays consumers approach. Retailers are so bullish on the value of beacons that 38 percent of companies will add the functionality over the next three years — an increase of 224 percent, according to “Mobile Technology — Transforming the Customer Experience,” a report from Boston Retail Partners. The following brands are already seeing success through the use of beacons.
Focused on engaging its “PowerUp” loyalty members and creating a more personalized store experience, GameStop is using beacons to merge geolocation via mobility. Championed by GameStop’s Technology Institute (GTI), the company’s innovation division, the initial project encompassed 36 stores throughout its Austin- and College Station-based Texas test markets.
The company embedded beacons in dedicated store zones separated by product categories. As shoppers move their smartphones close to devices installed on store shelving, they instantly receive real-time, digital content that’s specifically tailored to their areas of interest — and all communications are delivered via push notifications through the retailer’s app.
“Digitization of the physical retail space has always been a top priority of GTI,” says Charlie Larkin, senior director of technology innovation at GameStop. “Through our initial deployment of the iBeacon platform, there are numerous ways to leverage the emerging technology to deliver a next-generation shopping experience.” Pending positive feedback, GameStop said in a statement that the company plans to add 60 more locations.
The HBC Department Store Group
The HBC Department Store Group operates more than 130 Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor department stores across North America, and each location welcomes thousands of shoppers daily. Eager to automatically deliver branded content and personalized offers to in-store shoppers, the retailer installed beacons throughout its locations to trigger unique and relevant content to shoppers as they navigate multiple departments.
An end-to-end beacon platform delivers targeted content and offers to consumers based on their specific location and behavior at the store. “We recognize the appetite for mobile experiences that cater to our customers’ immediate needs and preferences, while also providing a seamless and effortless experience,” says Michael Crotty, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Hudson’s Bay Company and Lord & Taylor. “Beacon technology is the future of retail marketing. The platform will assist us to make every customer visit to Hudson’s Bay or Lord & Taylor even more rewarding.”
The iconic department store chain is conducting its own closed beacon beta at its New York City Herald Square and San Francisco Union Square locations. Macy’s beacon platform welcomes shoppers when they enter a store, presents location- and department-specific deals and discounts, makes recommendations and delivers rewards — all without the customers having to open a dedicated app. The program also merges the omnichannel experience by reminding the shopper via push notifications if desired merchandise is available when they enter the store.
These are only a few examples that illustrate the power of beacons and geolocation tools. As retailers become more comfortable with the technology, they too will be on pace to meet customers’ increasing expectations and drive long-term loyalty.
Read more about the potential applications of beacon technology in retail settings.
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