How providing a customer journey will boost your sales.
What’s it all about?
When all is said and done, the success of marketing your retail business boils down to how well you as a retailer can connect with your customers. At it’s core, this is what marketing is all about; the reason why successful businesses, from small grassroots ventures to massive multi-national companies collectively spend millions of pounds every year on enriching their relationships with those who matter most- The people who want your products.
The eternal struggle with any business tends to centre around the question: Why choose me?
There is no magic formula to successful marketing (if there were, we’d all be millionaires!), but in today’s digital age we have more tools than ever at our disposal to answer this question and shout from the rooftops about why we should all get out our wallets and buy specifically from you over your competitors. By deploying these tools effectively, our marketing strategies are made infinitely more valuable to our businesses, and in time we will start to really reap the rewards through business growth and development.
Once upon a time, consumers were fairly easily to market to. The public were far less informed about, well, everything really, and the retail market was far less competitive than it is now. It was also a much simpler time in advertising, but this was befitting of a time before 24/7 access to endless media content, information and choice. Now we’re marketing to a public who has all of the above, and so we have to adjust accordingly- It’s no longer enough to send out a few flyers and hope for the best, we now need to actually communicate with our client-base.
Consider this scenario:
We’re just around the corner from summer, so Jane decides to have a look online for some new sandals; her current pair are a bit dull from being worn to death all summer long last year!
She googles ‘practical summer sandals’, and opens a few of the most promising looking links on the first couple of google results pages (this is where SEO is your friend!).
The first page is a nice, clean looking website with lots of different sandals to look at. The prices are ok, so she bookmarks the pair she likes best and thinks ‘maybe I’ll come back to these later’. She decides she’ll have a look elsewhere first, and maybe have a look around the shops in town too for something similar… There’s nothing that is telling her that she must buy these exact sandals from this exact website right now. She has no emotional connection to this product other than ‘they look nice’, and although the website is nicely designed and highly functional, the effort hasn’t been made to say to her: Look, there’s a very important reason why my sandals are better than everyone else’s!
Jane clicks on the next tab that she opened. The top of the page shows a number of cool product options, but there is also some eye-catching media in the mix. Curious about the video, she clicks ‘play’, and watches a short clip about how the materials used to make all of the sandals on this website are cruelty-free, and made from eco-friendly sustainable sources. The CEO speaks about how they are proud to source and sell their products which are all approved by the Fair Trade Foundation. Now she’s very interested in learning more about this product and clicks through to the company’s social media sites where she sees very personal, chatty communications with customers on Facebook; lots of interesting, vibrant photos of not just products but behind the scenes photos, new concepts and relevant memes/content on their Instagram and Youtube videos of vloggers trying out and giving positive feedback about the sandals that Jane has her eye on.
Immediately, the emotional value of the product has skyrocketed in Jane’s mind. How could she possibly buy from Website 1 when Website 2 has sold the product to her heart so thoroughly?
She forgets about that bookmark that she made before (and finally deletes it when she clears out her bookmarks folder 5 years later!), but she definitely doesn’t forget to tell her friends about this amazing company she found online, which they should all check out, when they compliment her new Website 2 sandals that summer.
The irony here is that perhaps Website 1 and Website 2 source their sandals from the same wholesaler, but Website 2 gave themselves the edge by appealing to the sentiments of their customer base. They put in the research and truly understand their client profile because they speak to them through social media every day, and therefore they understand how to market their products most effectively.
But what about me?
The scenario we’ve outlined here is admittedly not the most literal representation of the USPs that most businesses have to work with, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use these same techniques in your marketing arsenal to improve sales, and encourage a healthier relationship with your customers.
- Consider making some customer biographies that describe your typical customers. By doing this you can clearly visualise the direction in which you need to take your marketing strategy.
- Invest time in social media. Companies without some kind of decent social media output really struggle in today’s economy, and whilst you don’t necessarily need to have 24/7 live contact with your customers, you’ll find it endlessly beneficial to update your pages daily, encouraging your customers to give you opinions on relevant news, products and even ideas for the future of your business!
- Check your business plan. What is your USP? How can you best convey this information to the customer in a way that really packs a punch?
Make a list of other reasons why your company is really great, and plan ways to highlight them every time a customer lands on one of your social media pages or your website.
- Consider a wider variety of media content for your site. Video use, for example, has really taken off in recent years and with good quality video cameras being more affordable than ever, it could be a great time for you to invest in creating even more captivating content for your site and social feeds.
It can feel like a bit of an uphill battle going through the motions of figuring out marketing strategies and weighing up which ones will make your ROI worth it, but honestly the best thing that you can do is have fun with it. Do your research and get a little bit crazy with it- Don’t bother sticking to worn out formulas or play it safe all of the time. Sometimes you need to just go wild because chances are, if you’re having fun with a concept, so will your customers. Allow your enthusiasm and creativity to radiate out into your online spaces, and we guarantee that you’ll make yourself and your customers much happier!