It’s easy to make retail marketing too complicated, or entirely too tactical. But the more retail businesses I see and speak with, big and small, the more I realize they all need to focus on three things:
1. A great customer relationship management system.
This is key. It’s the hub of all information you have about every customer. Who they are, how often they shop, what they like, when they last visited, etc. If it’s really good, it stores wish lists that their family, friends, etc. can access. It tracks their birthdays and anniversaries, their ring size, their favorite candy, whatever is relevant to your business and the relationship you have and are building with each customer. Without a great CRM system (and there are plenty out there complicated enough for enterprise retail as well as simple enough for small storefronts), it’s too easy to commoditize your customers as one. But when every customer is unique, and you have the ability, knowledge and tools to treat them uniquely, great things happen to order frequency, basket size, and referrals.
2. Seamless point-of-sale registration & data capture.
Too many retail businesses worry about advertising. They get fixated on direct mail, or newspaper ads, or other expensive ads to target prospective customers. Many of those same businesses have customers walk into their storefronts every day (either in person or online) and fail to capture anything beyond the occasional transaction. How many people visited your business today? How many email addresses did you capture? How many newsletter subscribers did you add? What were you able to learn from them with just a couple seconds, or a simple question at the register, to deepen your understanding, relationship and communications with that customer? Your biggest marketing opportunity walks in and out of your doors every day.
3. Regular, contextual, passive marketing.
Yes, you can leverage that newfound information to tell everyone with a birthday this month to come in for a free appetizer. You can remind spouses that anniversaries are around the corner. You can get very complicated with your marketing back to the customers you manage in the CRM system, as well as capture at the point-of-sale. But if you’re just getting started, keep it simple. Start a newsletter. Teach your customers something. Demonstrate regularly your expertise and value. Give them a simple reminder, a quick one, of who you are and what you do and what you can provide the next time they’re ready. It doesn’t take much. Don’t overthink this part, just start doing it. Give your customers an excuse and more opportunities to buy and refer.
Matt Heinz is principal at Heinz Marketing, a sales & marketing consulting firm helping businesses increase customers and revenue. Contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.heinzmarketing.com.