We all know that customers are inundated with promotional offers and product emails trying desperately to capture their attention. Day in, day out, they are bombarded. Couple that with the fact that marketing is getting increasingly sophisticated and personalized (check out our study on apparel personalization and customer loyalty); it's becoming very hard to compete for customer's attention. It can be overwhelming for small to mid-size retailers when you don't have the budget or access to sophisticated marketing resources. But here's the thing, with a customer oriented strategy and retail CRM software that can support and track your efforts, you can be as effective as the big guys.
Inbound marketing is a concept that is on the rise in online marketing; it's a concept that brick and mortar retailers — from single to multi-store— can use to build customer engagement, retail loyalty and trust. Hubspot was one of the pioneers in inbound marketing - here is their definition, "Inbound marketing is an approach focused on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful — not interruptive." Essentially the customer has a pain point and you are there to help solve it with helpful resources.
Okay, so how does that apply to brick and mortar retail (and pos software for that matter)? I've actually seen it in action twice in the past 2 weeks! Retailer, Sur La Table, recently sent out a catalog to its customer base that wasn't exactly a catalog! In fact, it was a summer recipe book. Of course they used their product in all the shots but I'm betting that "catalog" has a much longer shelf life than most. (I kept mine because the recipes looked delicious). Next, after I purchased a scarf from retailer Johnny Was, guess what I received? A cute booklet that showed me 12 ways to tie my scarf in novel and fun ways (along side other awesome product shots of course!). I kept that one too. The point is, that although the medium was still more traditional and disruptive, the message and content provided the customer (me) useful, helpful, handy resources that made a bigger impact than just a boring old catalog.
How to make that work for you? You'll need a little creativity, good customer data, and the overarching frame-of-mind that you want to earn your customer's loyalty by sharing valuable info and resources with them. They can be delivered in any number of ways — an event, postcard, booklet, email, blog or social media post— it's the content that counts. And it can be very simple.
POS Customer Data The first step is to ensure that you are getting enough data through your pos software to ensure that you can properly segment and target your customers. Make sure that you can create custom fields at the item level, segmenting your items by brand, category, size, color, season. Go one step further. Create fields like pattern type, heel height, material, trend... Next, think about getting the right customer data in your point of sale retail crm at checkout (ie) birthday, anniversary, favorite color, how did you hear about us etc...
POS Custom Reporting With all the data being captured by the POS, you can now pull custom reports to identify ways to segment your customers - which might then spark some creative ideas. Use the reports to identify ways that you can re-engage current customers or spot the trends and provide resources to captivate new customers. Springboard Retail integrates with Mailchimp to make content email marketing campaigns easy. Thirdshelf, a modern loyalty program that makes it easy to segment customers by engagement level and get them back in store using more traditional retail loyalty programs, is also a partner to Springboard.
Creative Marketing Now is where you get a bit creative. The key is to approach it from your customer's point of view - what will engage them in unexpected and helpful ways. An indirect sales approach is subtle, but can do alot to build loyalty over the long-term. Here are a few examples...
- Seeing a spike in the sale of suede shoes? How about a blog post on your website on how to care for and clean suede shoes. You can always show a few of your top sellers! Make it informative, add pictures and resources and you may just find yourself with a few new customers who find you via a google search.
- Silk scarves popular this spring? How about a postcard that shows 6 ways to tie the scarf, mailed just after the purchase, inviting them to come in for a personal demo. Chances are the customer will keep it in her closet; it will be a constant reminder of your store.
- Jean sales up? How about an email that thanks the customer for their purchase and links them to a video on how to repurpose your old denim? Like this one. Or, one that shares 5 local shelters that take clothing donations.
- Selling alot of table cloths? How about a video sharing best ways to remove candle wax and/or stains from table linens.
Snap a few pictures to accompany your written content. Share on instagram or in an email. Take a video and post it on You Tube. Once you start creating this content you can continue to use it to engage new customers all year long! With a flexible and customizable CRM and a little creativity, you can market your retail enterprise just like the pros by engaging customers in ways that delight them and make their lives easier!
To learn more about how Springboard Retail can add value to your growing retail business by increasing customer engagement and retention...