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3 Reasons Why Physical Stores Still Matter in the Age of Online Shopping

3 Reasons Why Physical Stores Still Matter in the Age of Online Shopping

With the advent of online shopping, the necessity of having a bricks-and-mortar store has been under question for quite some time.  Yet why do so many online-only retailers – from Bonobos to Amazon – have instead decided to make a move into the physical retail sector?

Although some sectors do thrive in the e-commerce space, others flourish more with in-store sales.  Luxury brands, for example, report that more than 80% of their transactions occur in-store, despite having an online presence.  Discount stores are another example of a retail business that is still successful from purchases done in physical stores.

To know more about why this phenomenon exists, let’s take a look at some reasons why having a physical store for your business is still important.

Better shopping experience

Having a physical store means providing a better shopping experience for your customer.  Why?  Well, for retail especially, consumers still want to be able to see products directly.  This is especially true for apparel products.  Sometimes, this doesn’t translate into a direct sale – the customer may instead buy the same product that they see in your bricks-and-mortar store, online.  It’s possible that they do this because of convenience, availability of stock, or even a discount coupon.

It is crucial to integrate your online store with your physical store.  One way to do this is by offering in-store pick-ups.  Another way would be to integrate your customers’ online shopping identity with the one they use for offline purchases.  This would allow you to implement customer loyalty programs that are cohesive throughout different shopping channels.

More purchase channel for customers

Above all else, having a physical store means that your customers have more than one way to get your products.  Online shopping tends to be based on a clear intent – as in, your customer visits your website with the intention to buy a product that you offer.  In-store shopping intention is not as clear cut.  Consumers can buy your products from physical stores because your store was the closest place available.  It is also likely for product purchase to happen impulsively.

Offering more than one purchase channel, allows you to access different types of consumers. Though this probably means different marketing approaches, it nevertheless ends with a conversion.

Get new customers

Owning a physical store means that you increase your brand awareness.  Even if it doesn’t directly translate into a sale, walk-in customers who browse your products will know your business exists if you have a physical store.  Of course, combining this with an online store is the best of both worlds. This is because your brand will be first in their mind if they choose to purchase a product in your retail sector. Especially if your competitors only have an online presence, and do not have a physical store.

Additionally, by having a physical store for your online retail business, you can ensure that you reach consumers who prefer to have a first-hand experience before becoming a loyal customer.

Please call the Photo Direct Customer Service Team if we can assist you with any of your needs.  We are here to work with you!  03/9894 1644

Five Ways to Implement Better Customer-Centered Marketing

Five Ways to Implement Better Customer-Centered Marketing

There are various marketing approaches that small retailers can engage in to convert sales.  The best one, however, is an approach that is centered on your customers.

For small retailers who already have loyal customers, just by knowing how to satisfy your existing customer base, you can easily increase the number of your conversions without having to add massive-scale advertisements.

Here are several things to keep in mind when building a customer-centric marketing approach.

Know who your customers are

What are the kinds of people who buy your products?  Are they female or male?  Do they have kids?  What kind of work do they do?  It is important to have a lot of details about your biggest customer base to be able to build the right marketing approach.  For example, if you’re a clothing company, it is absolutely crucial to know which size often sells out most, or whether you tend to make more sales during certain seasons.  This information will impact your business’ long-term plans.  From what products to sell to when should you hold big discount events. Which social media channel to use for marketing would also be highly influenced by the customer information you manage to collect.

Hear what they have to say

Most people have some form of social media presence these days, and they tend to use it most often when they have something to complain about your business or when they have something to praise about it.  Be sure to hear them out.  Pay attention to when your business’ brand is being mentioned. What do they have to say about it?  This would be useful for you to determine what you are doing well already and where you need to do better.  When complaints do arise online, be sure to know how to handle them gracefully. Ask them what happens and be sure to provide a solution to the problem when possible.

Send forms to fill out

Now, you don’t need to make a super-long survey that will tell you all about your customers.  If anything, you probably shouldn’t do that, since it will probably not garner the data you want. Instead, make sure to ask short and prompt questions that are relevant to what you want to know.  Another way to ensure better engagement on your online forms would be to send out embedded forms via newsletter email. This will allow your email subscribers to respond without having to visit a different website.

Find out what keeps their attention

If you maintain a website for your business, be sure to connect Google Analytics to the site.  By doing this, you can get insights on what your website visitors are doing when they engage with your website.  What type of webpages gets the most clicks or views?  On what webpages do conversions happen, if there are any?  Tracking down this information would help you in building the right content to attract your customer base.

Learn from your unsuccessful leads

Getting this information can be tricky, but if you succeed, it will be helpful in knowing where improvements need to be made.  When you understand why some of your leads do not turn into conversions, you can make some necessary adjustments to your approach. Maybe your new product line is unsuitable for your customer base?  Or is it because you are not promoting them in the right channels?  Take this step after you have collected enough information on your customer base.

Please call the Photo Direct Customer Service Team if we can assist you with any of your needs.  We are here to work with you!  03/9894 1644

All Retailers Need a Solid Presence Online

All Retailers Need a Solid Presence Online

Purchasing products today is significantly different than it was even 20 years ago. The customer is now, rightfully so, seen as extremely valuable — and their expectations and needs are at the top of most businesses’ minds.

Much more emphasis today is being placed on meeting customers where they are, and customers today are on the internet. That has forced businesses to not just get on the internet but improve their online visibility.

The internet is the most efficient and effective way to reach customers today. If you don’t have a robust online presence already, there are two main ways you can immediately do so.

Improve Your Website

All your online efforts need to start with a website that is both designed well and is easy to use. Your website serves as the first impression to your potential customers. If the website doesn’t look impressive right from the beginning, your customers are likely to bounce from it.

That’s step one. Step two is to make sure that your website is easy for people to navigate. Once customers see and like your website, they need to be able to navigate around easily to find what they need. If they find this process frustrating, they’re again likely to bounce.

Your website also needs to load and work fast. Customers today don’t have the patience to wait for your website to load.

With more than half of all internet traffic coming on mobile devices, it’s also essential that your website loads properly on all mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. If your site isn’t set up with the proper coding, it won’t look like it belongs on a mobile device, which is a key indicator to potential customers that you’re not up on the times.

Get Social (Media)

Retailers need to consistently reach current and prospective customers. In the past, this was a challenging, and rather expensive undertaking. Today, social media platforms make reaching your target audiences easier than ever.

As of July, more than 3.6 billion people worldwide used social media. Facebook led all social media platforms with 2.7 billion users worldwide. Instagram had 1.16 billion. TikTok had 689 million, and Snapchat had 433 million. By 2025, the total number of people using at least one social media channel is expecting to increase to 4.41 billion.

Social media is such an effective marketing outlet for retail businesses for a number of reasons. First, it’s free. Anyone can join any social media platform without having to pay a fee, and set up a page to attract customers. Second, it’s a two-way communication platform. It allows customers to interact directly with businesses in a way they’ve never been able to do before.

And third, it allows a business to show its personality. Through sharing photos, messages, products and contests, for example, a retailer can not only market to but also connect with potential customers around the world.

Many retailers with little-to-no marketing budgets have been able to attract a significant following on social media that has led to them grow their customer base dramatically. Like any marketing effort, though, it’s important that you clearly define your social media goals and then track your progress toward achieving them through metrics.

You can do this by measuring the engagements with your social media page — such as the number of people who follow, comment, like and share your content. You can also do so by setting up benchmarks that allow you to see where you started from and where you’ve gone since instituting new social media marketing plans.

Two other key metrics to use are click-through rates (if you choose to spend some money on social media advertising) and referral sources (to see how visitors found you).

By building a strong presence online through a robust website and steady social media following, you’ll be harnessing the power of the internet to take your retail business to the next level.

Please call the Photo Direct Customer Service Team if we can assist you with any of your needs.  We are here to work with you!  03/9894 1644

Increase Sales with these 10 Christmas Marketing Ideas

Increase Sales with these 10 Christmas Marketing Ideas

There are still five weeks until Christmas, but it’s never too early to start marketing your business to increase your sales.

Christmas is one of the most important times of the year for eCommerce businesses and missing out on the boost in sales it brings can be devastating. That’s why it’s never too early to start planning for how you’ll market your business this holiday.

Here are 10 Christmas marketing ideas that will help take your business forward this year.

1. Plan ahead

The saying goes that practice makes perfect, but that can also apply to planning. Setting actionable goals for your Christmas sales will help you see what you’re up against.  Then, putting an actionable plan into place will help you achieve those goals and measure your success along the way.

2. Customize packaging

Consumers like to get into the holiday spirit as they shop. One way that you can do that is by customizing your packaging for Christmas.  You’ll be making your products more attractive to those who purchase your products and those who receive them as gifts.  In fact, this is something that can leave a lasting impression on people, which could boost your sales year-round.

3. Create bundles

Another tried-and-true idea is to create special Christmas bundles of some of your products that complement each other.  These are very attractive to consumers, as it makes buying and gifting easy.  It also looks extra special when it’s given as a gift come Christmas time.

4. Create an online catalogue

So much of Christmas shopping happens online these days.  This is especially true this year during the coronavirus pandemic.  This year make sure you give extra attention to your online store.  One great way to do this is to create a digital version of an old-fashioned Christmas staple — a holiday catalogue.  This allows people to browse all the products you’re offering, some on special, for the Christmas shopping season.

5. Make a gift guide

While you’re creating an online catalogue, take it one step further and create a special gift guide.  This can feature all your special products that you have this holiday season, and any of your most popular items.  This will allow you to quickly target products you want customers to purchase.

6. Partner with other small businesses

A great way to market yourself and reach new customers is to partner with another small business like yours.  For example, if you sell coffee, find an eCommerce business that sells coffee mugs, and try to partner with them.  This way, you could cross-promote each other through both of your marketing efforts, allowing both companies to potentially reach new customers.

7. Be transparent with dates

One challenge many eCommerce stores face during Christmas is fulfilling orders and getting them shipped in time for the holiday.  Postal services are always extra burdened this time of year.  You don’t want to disappoint your customers by delivering products they bought as gifts after Christmas.  So, make sure to set and communicate purchase deadlines.

8. Stock up

Along those same lines, make sure you have enough product on hand to meet all your orders.  The last thing you want to do is run out of your most popular product and not be able to fulfill someone’s Christmas purchase.

9. Ship for free

Customers have a lot of choice when it comes to Christmas purchases.  One way to convince them to purchase from you is to offer free shipping on all purchases. You can run this special for the entirety of the Christmas shopping season, allowing customers to spend more on their loved ones.

10. Give back

Christmas is a time for giving back and helping those in need.  A great way that you can participate and help support charities is by donating a portion of your sales to a specific charity.  Choose a non-profit organization that means a lot to you.  Then, take a percentage of every sale you make and donate it to them. Communicate this to your customers, too, and they’ll be more likely to purchase from you.

Please call the Photo Direct Customer Service Team if we can assist you with any of your needs.  We are here to work with you!  03/9894 1644

6 Things Small-Retailers Need to Prepare for Christmas Shopping Season

6 Things Small-Retailers Need to Prepare for Christmas Shopping Season

Christmas season is coming soon, and retailers everywhere need to gear up to prepare for the influx of customers coming. This includes you, as a small retailer, since Christmas customers will be heading your way re their Photo Gifting needs when they’re looking for unique gifts for their loved ones.

Christmas customers tend to prefer large retailers because they want a smooth Christmas shopping experience, which they assume small retailers tend to lack. With this in mind, there are certain things you need to prepare to ensure that you’re providing the best customer experience for your Christmas Photo shoppers.

Stock-up on Christmas-friendly products

Use last year’s Christmas sales data to determine what products you need to stock up more. Customers who come for Christmas shopping will prefer to have a section in the store that they browse, so decorate this spot with Christmas ornaments. Most importantly, prepare gift wrapping kits so you can offer a gift-wrap option to your Christmas shoppers. You should also have gift card products ready in-store.

Prepare your store for Christmas shoppers

You can decorate your whole store with Christmas-themed things. You can also play some holiday music during the Christmas season. Be sure to hire additional employees for certain days, like the week lead up to Xmas Day, when there will be more customers. Always have some small change ready before you open the store during Christmas season. Little things like this, helps create a better Christmas shopping experience for your customers.

Market your Christmas season promotions

Although new Christmas shoppers will come, you should also make your store the first choice for Christmas shopping to your existing customers. Do this by sending a Christmas email newsletter containing discounted offers. Also, update your social media with discount codes posts and Christmas product offerings. For in-store promotions, provide a Christmas card for your loyal customers with an enclosed discount voucher for their next visit.

Make a special Christmas-only event or products for your store

Aside from promotions, you can also make a special collaboration or limited edition products for the Christmas season. It is also possible to hold a Christmas event, such as a charity drive, in your store. Doing this will help attract customers who are looking for specialised gifts and increase your brand awareness. Use social media to advertise and don’t forget to stock the products accordingly.

Optimise your product delivery for Christmas

Christmas delivery can be a nightmare, so it’s crucial for you to plan ahead. Be sure to update customers on your Christmas delivery date range. You can also circumvent this situation by offering a click and collect service if you also operate an online store. To entice customers to visit in-store, you can also extend your opening hours. Return and exchange policies should also be clearly informed to customers prior to their purchase.

Offer a post-Christmas shopping discount

The best way to engage a new batch of customers after the Christmas shopping season will be to offer a post-Christmas discount. You can send them an email newsletter and post updates on your social media, but you can also do this in-store by putting posters on your storefront. Doing this also helps you move out your remaining Christmas products stock.

Photo Direct are here to assist you with any needs or enquiries, please call 03 9894 1644.

Ho Ho Ho!

5 Tips for small businesses to master social media in 2020

5 Tips for small businesses to master social media in 2020

Social media is no longer a maybe — using social networks to connect with your customers, for free, is an essential part of running a business in 2020. But, social media can be difficult to master and slow to get started. Choose one or two social networks to focus on where your target audience spends the most time. Then, to focus your efforts and build your business on social media, try these five ideas.

Set clear goals that are easy to measure.

What do you hope to accomplish on social media in 2020? Setting a goal helps focus your efforts and is essential to keeping your social media campaign on track. Once you have set your goal, however, take it one step further. Determine how you will measure that goal. List the social media metrics that you will monitor to determine how successful you are at achieving that goal, such as the follower count, engagement, or post reach.

Share content, not commercials.

Too often, businesses treat social media like one big commercial. Don’t. Instead, share posts that are useful to your followers. Share tips, advice, insight, inspiration, or even, if it’s on brand, humour. Posts on sales and promotions should be a small percentage of what is shared on your page. Sharing content from other pages is another way to build your page without loosing followers for sounding like a commercial.

Get creative with strategy.

There’s more than one way to create success on social media platforms. Brainstorm options to jump start your social media, and choose more than one strategy as you move forward in order to create a variety of content. Remember to treat social media as a conversation and engage with users, commenting on other posts and not just creating your own posts. Giveaways are another good strategy for growing your follower count, as well as creating hash tags.

Schedule posts.

Once you have a goal and strategy, start scheduling posts. Set aside one day a week or one day a month to schedule posts to your page. This both ensures that you have a regular stream of content and encourages more thought-out posts. Avoid scheduling too far in advance, or you won’t be able to use the information that you’ve learned from determine what posts are successful and which ones are not.

Use analytics to adjust your strategy.

No matter what network you use, it likely has some analytics that tell you how each post performs. Don’t neglect this data. Look at your most successful posts. What time of day were they shared? What content did you use? What format? Using analytics, you can recognise trends such as the best time of the day to share, or perhaps that asking a question increases the engagement on a post.

5 Ideas to Increase Foot traffic at Your Stor

5 Ideas to Increase Foot traffic at Your Store

Foot traffic increases sales for small businesses — and now, more than ever, foot traffic is increasingly important. Besides ensuring customer safety, how can small businesses encourage more customers to come through those doors? Here are five ideas.

Inspire loyalty with a rewards program.

Loyalty programs help keep customers returning to your store instead of a competitor. Thanks to technology, loyalty programs can also be data-driven, sending your loyal customers coupons for the items they are most likely to shop for or on days when they are most likely to shop. Research different loyalty program providers to see if a program would be a good fit for your business.

Try coupons that require return visits.

Coupons can be great tools for getting more customers through your doors, but some coupons can get them through your doors twice. A coupon such as spend $20, get $5 off your next purchase will have customers returning to use that second coupon. Be sure to set an expiration date on that discount, and don’t hide the fact that the discount applies to the next order in the small print, or you’ll give potential life-long customers a bad taste of your business on their first visit.

Create a catchy window display.

You could increase your foot traffic and encourage customers to walk through your door simply by what you place in your window. Brainstorm catchy themes or funny motifs for your storefront that would allow you to display your product. Displaying a major sale item in the window is also a great idea. Don’t have a good window or want to draw attention even from further away? Try a sidewalk sale, which is also a great way to get rid of clearance items.

Build a display off-site.

Window displays only work for people who are already walking by your store. To bring in even more customers, consider building a display that’s off-site. Consider renting display space at the local mall, or trading spaces with another business in a cross-promotion. Renting a booth at a local event is another way to grab the attention of people that wouldn’t typically walk past your window.

Support local and share online.

Many customers go out of their way to support a local business. Be sure to include in your inventory locally sourced products. That won’t do much, however, if customers don’t know about those local items.  Use your social media channels to advertise the fact that you have local products to people in your area — use the social media platform’s tools to limit the audience by location.

Increasing foot traffic at your store often requires more creativity than cash — which means it’s a great way for small businesses to grow without a big budget for advertising.

Please call Photo Direct Sales Team on 03 98941644 if we can assist you.

5 Keys to Organising Stores for Better Sales

5 Keys to Organising Stores for Better Sales

Ever buy more than you intended at a store, just because something you walked by caught your eye? Just like items in the checkout lane are easily added to an order, the way that your retail store is organised can play a key role in how much time customers spend in your store — and how much money. Here are the five keys to store organisation that small business owners can capitalise on.

Almost all customers will walk by the display that’s to the right of the door.

Customers tend to shop counter-clockwise in a circle around the store, says Profit First author Mike Michalowicz. That makes the display that’s to the right of the entrance a valuable spot. Place your high value products and displays here, Michalowicz suggests. Positioning your best display here will encourage more of your customers to walk by.

What do most people come to your store for? Place it far from the door.

The more time that customers spend in the store, and the more items they walk by, the more money they are likely to spend. Grocery stores place their frequently bought items — milk and eggs — in the back of the store because then customers will walk by several displays to get there. Identify what customers are most often coming to your store for, and strategically place those items so that customers walk through more of your store.

Eye-level shelf space is prime real estate.

Customers are most likely to see items that are at eye-level. Of course, not all items can be placed there, but that information can help you choose which shelf to place what product on. High value items can go at that eye-level shelf, while related items that aren’t quite as valuable can go on the top and bottom shelves. Keep in mind, too, that the definition of eye-level varies based on the height of your customers. Products geared towards kids should be lower on the shelves.

Maximise the space that you have.

Small businesses don’t often have the resources to create giant retail spaces — and that’s okay. Work to create a space that’s inviting, rather than vast. Find a balance between creating a store that feels cluttered, and creating a store that feels empty.

Keep products easy to find.

While strategising where to place your products in the store, don’t let retail strategy override the obvious — products should be easy to find. Keep related products near each other, and organise in a logical way by product category. Yes, you should keep customers moving through as much of the store as possible, but don’t allow them to leave frustrated because they couldn’t easily find what they were looking for. Be sure to use extra signage after rearranging for returning customers who may be thrown off by the new arrangement.

Using strategy when organising your store can help customers stay longer and even grab more items off the shelf — just make sure that your organisation scheme will also make sense to anyone looking for an exact product.