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Part 2: Increasing Sales in a Brick-and-Mortar Store

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

As discussed previously, brick and mortar stores will always play a crucial role in our retail economy. Various strategies can optimize marketing efforts for such establishments well into the digital age.

First, consider your team. Brick-and-mortar establishments require in-person staff. An effective team requires careful selection and training. Owners should consider the importance of well-prepared employees who can deal tactfully with a diverse public.

A labor shortage confronts us, which complicates the selection process. However, a well-developed, individualized training process can prevent complaints and in-store meltdowns, as well maximize customer satisfaction. A well-developed staff can strengthen the business from the foundations upward.

Second, think about the store layout, especially at the checkout stand. “Impulse buys” can garnish a business owner’s bottom line. Furthermore, convenience and professional décor can improve the customer experience overall.

Consider space for events. Perhaps Santa can visit for Christmas, or the business can sponsor a local festival. Such promotions can even provide photo-ops that memorialize the business’s engagement with the local community. 

Third, replace print signage with digital screens. These screens can facilitate updates as well as display several messages together.

We are past the days of constantly refreshing on-site advertisements by manufacturing physical signage. These advertisements waste money, time, and are bad for the environment. Digital screens can perform the same tasks in a way that is not only more economical but more engaging as well. 

Fourth, as we have discussed, entrepreneurs should not forget their digital marketing skills just because a physical building houses the core of the establishment. 

Within the store itself, Wifi marketing may provide a digital strategy to build a loyal following. Wifi marketing entails free Wifi in exchange for, perhaps, an email address. Starbucks users may be familiar with this marketing strategy. The business owner controls the homepage and may also collect email addresses for further advertising.

Providing free Wifi inside the store can facilitate the compilation of an email list and expand social media presence. However, beware of the ethical implications of data collection. Each year, respect for the privacy of consumers has assumed greater prominence.

Perhaps your customers do want to stay in the loop. Through social media, applications such as Eventbrite or Facebook Events can keep your clientele up to date about current events involving your company. The same efforts can keep your business at the forefront in the minds of your customers so that in times of need they will think of you rather than your competition.

Finally, remember the value of search engine optimization. Make sure to optimize your online presence so that you show up first in local searches. 

Careful website design is one such strategy. Other strategies may include plugging your business elsewhere on the Internet that may attract consumers interested in your product.

Consider the use of video in your Google my Business listing. This innovation adds continually refreshed video content right to the listing that comes with a Google search. 

Overall, remember the importance of the digital age even when setting up marketing practices for a brick-and-mortar store. At the same time, a wise store layout and skilled use of events and promotions can keep your establishment relevant in the twenty-first century. Brick-and-mortar will never die, and nothing can beat the face-to-face experience that comes with integration into the surrounding community, digital or otherwise.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here:

https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

Marketing in a Brick-and-Mortar Store in the Digital Age

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Within this blog, we have emphasized the trend toward online marketing. However, remember that in-store marketing still exists. Brick-and-mortar stores continue to prosper far and wide. Not even a virus can demolish the brick-and-mortar of a boutique store that can offer in-person interaction. 

Make no mistake: neither we nor others can deny the importance of the shift toward an Internet economy. The online marketplace gives us impulse checkout, but brick-and-mortar entrepreneurs can always rely on the homeliness, comfort factor, and practicality of traditional shopping.

Within a brick-and-mortar store, many strategies can showcase an exciting new product. A kiosk with a live person can display pamphlets and distribute coupons. Live product demos can give samples and demonstrate the uses of a product that has made its way into your store’s supply line. Also consider the store layout, the checkout experience, and product packaging.

Tiny, physical stores are far from endangered. Especially in smaller communities far from expensive downtown districts.  Actual physical “shopping districts” are very much alive and well.

First, packaging multiple, related products together can provide suggestions about ways to use products. For example, packaging different kitchen ingredients together might provide a cooking tip as well as an introduction to the local culinary scene. Similarly, marketing a product with a service could build enough consumer confidence to wipe that gadget off the shelves.

Also, good product packaging may speak to the whims of an outsider who might not have seen the product in the past. Even many larger companies are novelties outside certain locales. Try purchasing fresh cheese curds in Arizona rather than Wisconsin, or Cincinnati-style chili in Texas. Creative packaging can attract curious visitors who simply have not ever seen that kind of product in the past. 

Second, loyalty programs are not just for chain stores. Such programs can reward loyal customers with discounts while building a database of consumer information. Many stores even use QR codes to provide benefits to loyal customers. Other institutions may experiment with different methods. Small stores may be well advised to learn effective strategies to strengthen relations with their customer base, technical or otherwise.

Third, free samples of new products along with coupons can open a floodgate of curious customers. Smaller physical stores may have access to local supply chains. These establishments may have inexpensive links to fresh produce, local goods, or even toys or technical products. Distributing small amounts of inexpensively obtained local merchandise can win positive favor with customers as well as the suppliers themselves.

Fourth, business owners should remember that the digital age is upon us despite the charm of the physical storefront. Even the most technologically inept should maintain at least the basics of a digital presence.   This includes using social media.  Your company website can provide a sense of stability and legitimacy, as well as provide a seed for the creation of a wider fanbase.

Physical stores have the advantage of face-to-face interaction. Owners of small physical businesses should avail themselves of modern strategies to reach their customers. Small institutions are not “selling out” by learning simple methods to strengthen their marketing efforts. Your workplace should not only be a home-away-from-home for yourself, but for your customers, and Veteran Business Owners should use every means at their disposal to build that special place.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:   https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

The social media age has brought attention to the various Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok accounts of countless well-known influencers. Such influencers can range from celebrities to smaller-scale social media personalities. 

Some of these influencers have great recipes, some design beautiful clothes, and some developed a following through their own inertia. Endorsements from these personalities can bring huge profits. However, many ask for high prices in return. Smaller business owners can find their own niche partnering with users with their own localized networks in their own industries.    Below are a few suggestions:

(1) Consider your strengths, interests, and motives for becoming a small business owner:

Most small businesses start with special expertise, interest, or hobby. These days, fellow travelers are often online. Joining a community is the best strategy. Within your interest group, you may find communities. Within one of these communities, someone may happily promote your product on their YouTube channel, Facebook community, or other localized sites. The trick? Find people with a genuine understanding and interest in what you have to offer.

(2) Always respect micro-influencers, especially those who operate within your own niche:

Kim Kardashian charges a fortune to promote a product on her Instagram and other social media sites. Small business owners need not look for endorsements from a Kim Kardashian or a Paris Hilton. Small businesses tend to work through their own specialized niches. Obviously, paying Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton a fortune to advertise your brand-new transmission generator would increase sales short term. 

However, a more cost-effective strategy would zero in on the local industry, as well as local hobbyists and business people who might have used it for such a contraption. These localized groups may even have distribution networks that can place your new product or service in front of the right interested parties.

(3) Remember the power of free stuff:

After zeroing in on the right community, business owners with a new concept may benefit from distributing samples of a new product itself. Free samples have long promoted new recipes, inventions, and contraptions. Innovations like YouTube can spread the word throughout your interest group or industry. 

As a first step, a business owner should find the right group of people. Luckily for our generation, the Internet can help to foster that process. Next, an independent businessperson can share their innovations with the relevant community. Next, hopefully, a satisfied well-wisher may provide an online demonstration! 

(4) Try to develop a long-term plan:

Baby steps can grow your concept further. Business owners with a new idea can slowly reach their tendrils outward by reaching out to fellow travelers. Depending on your goals, profits should come first, and profits come from you and your partners doing what you best. Perhaps your plans entail only a small business that can keep you personally fulfilled while keeping you comfortable economically. Perhaps you have wider ambitions. Either way, never underestimate the strategic use of social media micro-influencers. 

Remember, though, practicality is key. Extravagant use of widely visible personalities can only waste time and misdirect efforts towards people who will roll their eyes at a promotion of the product that neither they nor the influencer has any genuine interest in. However, in the age of the Internet, plenty of lucrative micro-influencers may give you a foothold right in the industry where you mean to take root.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

Brick-and-Mortar Store in the Digital Age

Share this Article:
Share Article on Facebook Share Article on Linked In Share Article on Twitter

By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

Within this blog, we have emphasized the trend toward online marketing. However, remember that in-store marketing still exists. Brick-and-mortar stores continue to prosper far and wide. No virus can demolish the brick-and-mortar of a boutique store that can offer in-person interaction. 

Make no mistake: no one can deny the importance of the shift toward an Internet economy. The online marketplace gives us impulse checkout, but brick-and-mortar entrepreneurs can always rely on the homeliness, comfort factor, and practicality of traditional shopping.

Within a brick-and-mortar store, many strategies can showcase an exciting new product. A kiosk with a live person can display pamphlets and distribute coupons. Live product demos can give samples and demonstrate the uses of a product that has made its way into your store’s supply line. Also consider the store layout, the checkout experience, and product packaging.

Tiny, physical stores are far from endangered. Especially in smaller communities far from expensive downtown districts, actual physical “shopping districts” are very much alive.

First, packaging multiple, related products together can provide suggestions about ways to use products. For example, packaging different kitchen ingredients together might provide a cooking tip as well as an introduction to the local culinary scene. Similarly, marketing a product with a service could build enough consumer confidence to wipe that gadget off the shelves.

Also, good product packaging may speak to the whims of an outsider who might not have seen the product in the past. Even many larger companies are novelties outside certain locales. Try purchasing fresh cheese curds in Arizona rather than Wisconsin, or Cincinnati-style chili in Texas. Creative packaging can attract curious visitors who simply even have not seen that kind of product in the past. 

Second, loyalty programs are not just for chain stores. Such programs can reward loyal customers with discounts while building a database of consumer information. Many stores even use QR codes to provide benefits to loyal customers. Other institutions may experiment with different methods. Small stores may be well advised to learn effective strategies to strengthen relations with their customer base, technical or otherwise.

Third, free samples of new products along with coupons can open a floodgate of curious customers. Smaller physical stores may have access to local supply chains. These establishments may have inexpensive links to fresh produce, local goods, or even toys or technical products. Distributing small amounts of inexpensively obtained local merchandise can win good favor with customers as well as the suppliers themselves.

Fourth, business owners should remember that the digital age is upon us despite the charm of the physical storefront. Even the most technologically inept should maintain at least the basics of a digital presence, including on social media. That website can give a sense of stability and legitimacy, as well as provide a seed for the creation of a wider fanbase.

Physical stores have the advantage of face-to-face interaction. Owners of small physical businesses should avail themselves of modern strategies to reach their customers. Small institutions are not “selling out” by learning simple methods to strengthen their marketing efforts. Your workplace should not only be a home-away-from-home for yourself, but for your customers, and Veteran Business Owners should use every means at their disposal to build that special place.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here:https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

Blogging Through the Sales Funnel

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By James Pruitt, Senior Staff Writer

The blog format can provide a standardized template for beginners in web design. In a professional context, the sales functions of a blog can engage viewers and possibly start the slide through the sales funnel.

A blog can inform in a manner that can speak to shared interests with the reader. A blog can facilitate a meeting of the minds. SEO (search engine optimization) can even lead common travelers into your line of thinking and lead to fruitful business arrangements.

The best advertisers know their audience. That connection can travel for miles when shared needs raise the prospect of a business relationship. Bloggers blog to people they understand, with shared hobbies or backgrounds or struggles. This shared connection may coax the writer and their audience into a synergy that can propel them through their tightest economic needs.

Should bloggers try to trap visitors into the sales funnel, and send them slipping into what has become a rabbit hole? Of course not. The point is to establish a mind-meld that can open a hatch into a prospect’s economic, business, and personal life.

First, bloggers can blog about ways to use their products. Perhaps your widget has more than one function in varieties of contexts. The shared connection between the blogger and the reader might, for example, be hiking, or electronics, or gardening, or cooking. Perhaps some hiking device can be used for both warmth and as an emergency flare. Maybe some electrical components can fit into various devices. Maybe that fertilizer can be used for several kinds of plants, and maybe that cooking device is good for both frying and baking.

Bloggers should demonstrate their familiarity not only with their products but with the uses of their products. New small business owners should establish themselves as members of a community. Hence, they can establish collegiality with other members of that community and show they are marketing to peers with whom they relate and respect.

Second, bloggers should use discretion with calls to action and refrain from “hard-sell” tactics. For the most part, blogs should provide information. 

Sales pitches should arise where and when appropriate. Consumers are smart and can distinguish between an informative discussion and a crass attempt to shove a pitch down their throat. Assuming a new entrepreneur starts their small business adventure within your community of shared interests, you should not fall out of character. Blogs should come from a place of sincerity, as should the resulting sales pitch, in order to ring true.

Third, remember to iron out technical issues. Blogs should work equally well on desktops, tablets, and phones. In some cases, that vacation trip is just when your potential clients realize the need for that special portable gadget. Also, on a technical note, remember the importance of themes when using website-building applications. A good choice in themes, along with associated plugins, can prevent a scrambled online display in any one type of device.

In short, blogs can help draw customers through the sales funnel, but the customer’s journey should remain a fun slide rather than a trip through a rabbit hole. Entrepreneurs who become bloggers should remember the origins of their ideas and remain members of a community rather than stalkers of hapless prey.

VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association hope that this article has not only been valuable but provided some unique perspective.  We work hard to bring you important, positive, helpful, and timely information and are the “go-to” online venue for Veteran and Military Business Owners.  VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association.   We do not charge members any dues or fees and members can also use our seal on their collateral and website.   If you are not yet a member, you can register here:  

https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

We also invite you to check us out on social media too.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vamboa

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/VAMBOA

Do not forget that VAMBOA members receive significant discounts on technology needs.   Check them out here: https://vamboa.org/dell-technologies/ 

 

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