Right now, retailers around the world are making their way through uncharted waters. They have entered 2020 in an attempt to cope with the ongoing shift to e-commerce, and they end the year as they limp to the finish line amid a recession caused by the pandemic and renewed physical restrictions on business activities.
Amid this sadness and pessimism, you might think the retail strategy is unfavorable. However, a look at the available data indicates that this is not true. By contrast, shopper surveys found that 76% of Amazon Prime members will go to great lengths to make purchases at a small independent local retailer, even if they have to spend more.
This goes against conventional wisdom, it is not a trend that seems to be disappearing. It is part of a growing movement toward social awareness. A Mastercard Pulse survey found that 75% of shoppers say they plan to sponsor local businesses based on their values in the future.
While reaching new audiences through e-commerce is important for diversifying revenue, this also indicates the growing importance of remaining relevant to local markets. Here are some strategies that retail entrepreneurs can use to target and attract local buyers.
Digital Ad Geofencing
One of the best and most effective ways for retailers to reach local shoppers is by designing digital ad campaigns that target them based on their geographic location. With the geofence, retailers can limit their ads to viewers in certain regions. This can be incredibly helpful in increasing foot traffic and driving impulse purchases.
Imagine, for example, an ad campaign that offers a limited-time discount on the price of certain products. If the offer expires in a few hours and a passerby sees the offer on their smartphone in time, you can try to take advantage of the offer. Digital marketers like Click Intelligence have used this subtle tactic on behalf of small retailers to make a big splash.
It's also one of the important marketing tactics Best Buy has used to help defend itself against Amazon. The results of these efforts speak for themselves as the retailer reported better-than-expected sales figures for the same store for several consecutive quarters.
Data-driven marketing personalization
Since many retailers are still restricted to small cars on the roads and other operations limited by the pandemic, they are stealing a crucial feature: a confrontation with buyers.
This fact makes collecting customer data more important than ever. The data enables personalized marketing messages that can help build a customer relationship. For example, keeping an eye on important customer dates, such as birthdays or anniversaries, can help retailers create targeted and relevant marketing messages and suggestions, helping to recreate the intimacy of personal interactions.
Additionally, tracking the buying habits of local customers can provide valuable marketing information. Suppose a retailer can determine which watches a particular customer typically buys. In this case, they can target them with an SMS marketing message when they are most likely to be drawn to the store's website.
According to Adeptia CEO and sales and marketing expert Lou Ennuso, using data to better understand and serve customers is essential for modern retail growth. "Consumer data is the key to delivering incredible customer experiences. With sales experience within the Fortune-500 brands, I have seen for myself how faster and smarter processing of customer data can enable even the largest brands meet the specific needs of their customers, "he explains. The same effect can help small retailers personalize the shopping experience for their customers and become a trusted partner in their area.
Local automated advertising
In addition to geographic targeting, small retailers can also use AI-based automated ads to target high-value demographic ads in their area. It allows small retailers to use their limited ad money to make a massive impacts without meticulously managing their campaigns.
Services like AdCritter or SEO Robot offer AI-managed software advertisements as part of a broader set of digital marketing tools that make it financially viable for small retailers to use new technology to reach local customers. It also makes it possible for a retail startup to run sophisticated multi-channel digital campaigns without having to put together an internal marketing team.
These platforms can help small retailers standardize e-commerce and personal marketing operations. By leveraging real-time customer redirection and optimization technologies, retailers can help potential local customers move from online to offline sales and vice versa more easily.
Don't forget the local markets
The next few months will be crucial to the success or failure of a host of small retailers and emerging retail companies. They can expect the headwinds from the COVID-19 pandemic to continue and possibly the recession to continue. While e-commerce can help us reach new markets, retailers still have a lifeline available in the form of local shoppers who want to nurture them and see them succeed.
Through local marketing expertise and personalization efforts, retailers can establish connections with a local customer base that they will see through the current crisis and beyond. Additionally, it will help build and anchor a brand as an essential component of the communities it serves.
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