Part Three: Marketing and Merchandising
If you’ve been following our blog series, How to Build Your Retail Store from the Ground Up, you’ve had a busy few weeks of construction! We started with the foundation (your business plan), then built the frame, walls, and roof (choose a location), and today we’ll look at adding the figurative paint, décor, and furniture with marketing and merchandising.
Now that you’ve chosen a location for your store, it’s time to strategize. How will you display your products? How will you encourage customers to come in and check out your new store? Let’s start by taking a beat. Stand in the center of your store and look around the entire space. Visualize what you want your store to look like. Is it bright and colorful, or maybe more natural and rustic? Deciding on the atmosphere you want to provide for your customers will help you in your search for paint, décor, furniture and fixtures!
In this post, we’ll share some guidelines, tips, and tricks for effectively organizing and marketing your store. As you read, always keep in mind that these are suggestions. Ultimately, your store is your dream and you should create an atmosphere within it that is uniquely you. Let’s start with some guidelines for merchandising in your store.
- Merchandising Guidelines
- Build Attention-Grabbing Displays
- Marketing and Engagement Tips
- Customer Experience
Appealing merchandising is important to today’s consumers. Even though online shopping has grown in popularity and convenience, many consumers prefer shopping in person over shopping online. Why? Simply because shopping online can’t replicate the experience of shopping in a store. Consumers want to see true colors, feel fabrics, and try things on before they make a purchase.
Knowing this, it’s important to be strategic in your approach to merchandising. Keep these five guidelines in mind when planning your displays:
- Create interactive displays that allow your customer to experience your product.
- Experiment with pricing until you find the price point that works for you and your customers.
- Offer high-end, low-end, and middle merchandise. The high-end products generate buzz for your business and help to attract customers, while the middle merchandise is typically what they will purchase from your store.
- Change your inventory every three months, to cycle with the seasons.
- Market your merchandise towards the lifestyle you are trying to attract.
To read more about these merchandising guidelines, visit thebalancesmb.com.
Another way to draw customers in is with unique displays that capture attention. Every business does this differently, so there are no real rules or guidelines for us to share with you. When dreaming up displays, unleash your creativity! Visit other local shops to see how they create theirs and watch how customers interact with them. You can also find inspiration from a quick Google search. Here are a couple of articles with examples that may help you in your quest to create displays that are unique and impactful.
Gaining loyal customers will be an important contributing factor to your store’s success. You’ll need to do some effective marketing to attract new customers and keep current customers coming back for more. Here are five marketing tactics to consider for your store:
- Build a community on social media.
Social media is one of the best (and free) tools you can use to raise awareness and demand for your store. Try reaching out to people that practice the lifestyle you are targeting and invite them to check out your store. Offering a coupon or discount for their first visit doesn’t hurt either! If you want to see an example of a brand that has successfully built a community on social media, check out @brewnuts on Instagram.
- Use ‘retailtainment’ events relevant to your target audience to engage customers with your store.
A ‘retailtainment’ event can be anything from a grand opening party to a friendly game or competition for the community. The only requirement for this type of event is that it draws people in and allows them to engage with your store. This is a great way to generate buzz for your store and get people interested.
- Offer free products or exclusive offers when customers visit your store.
A great way to encourage the curious customer to make a purchase is with an exclusive offer! Try greeting your new customers at the door to offer them a coupon off their purchase today for stopping in. Or, welcome them in and let them know they will receive a free gift with their purchase today. These tactics give you some personal time with your customers and give them incentive to make a purchase.
- Show customers how you can solve their problem before they even walk in to your store.
We often go shopping when we have a problem that needs to be solved. For example, if the drain is clogged, we go to the store for liquid plumber. Customers all have problems they need solved, and sometimes they don’t remember until they’re walking past your window display. Create targeted materials and displays that show customers this is the place to find what they need.
- Create experiences for your customers that they will be excited to share with friends.
Separate from retailtainment events, these experiences should be part of the every day in your store. For example, let’s say you’re selling board games. A way to create a memorable experience would be to have store-use versions of those games, along with tables and chairs available for customers to sit down and play a round.
Above all, remember that your customer is the most important marketing tool you have. Even high-priced marketing agencies will tell you that nothing beats word-of-mouth marketing. That is why it’s so important to create the right experience for your customers. Remember to focus on the problems your products solve for your customers, and how your products relate to the customers’ lifestyle. Watch how your customers engage with your displays and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Gathering as much honest information as you can will help you create more effective displays in the future. Plus, you’ll become known as someone who truly listens to what their customers have to say, which is some of the highest praise your shop could receive.
There’s only one more post to go in this series! Visit our blog again next week as discuss presenting your new construction masterpiece to the world. If you haven’t already, check out the rest of the posts in this series: