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5 Retail Trends for Small Business in Australia to Watch in 2019

5 Retail Trends for Small Business in Australia to Watch in 2019

The retail space is constantly evolving, adapting to meet new technologies and changing with the demands of consumers. 2019 will be no different. So what retail trends should small business owners in Australia stay on top of in the New Year? What trends can businesses integrate to grow in 2019? Here are five ideas, predicted from the Retail Doctor Group, on 2019 retail trends.

Technology will influence sales from smart phones, subscriptions and voice control.

Technology trends often influence retail sales and 2019 is no exception. Smart phones are continuing to takeover a majority of online sales, so small businesses need to ensure any online ordering platform is mobile friendly. Subscriptions through online stores are also predicted to grow, and could spark ideas for growth for small business. A photo / print shop, for example, can run a subscription special for a monthly set of keepsake prints or photo-albums covering that month’s milestones.

Retail focus continues to shift.

Consumers are placing more importance on factors like experience over the actual product, RDG suggests. “Boring” stores will lose sales, the group says. Curation and customisation will help retail shops stand out from the competition and feel a little less boring so do something about this and NOW”.

Convenience shouldn’t be overestimated.

Customers often pick where to shop for convenience, like a brick and mortar store’s proximity, or the easy online ordering system. 2019 is a good time to make sure your online store is simple, and your hours convenient and easy to find online. Brainstorm ways to make ordering more convenient for your customers, and you’ll likely reap the rewards.

Data is king.

Personalisation and convenience is important — and data is the way to determine just what that means for your particular customers. Gathering data through customer rewards programs, surveys and studies can help retailers tailor their business experience to their particular customer.

Specialisation is a good thing.

Good news for small business — RDG predicts specification is better than generalisation in 2019. Most small businesses are already smaller speciality shops — but businesses can brainstorm ways to highlight this specialisation over the course of the next year.

Some predictions will make a bigger splash beyond 2019 rather than steady growth this year — trends like robotics and machine learning are just coming onto the retail scene, but likely aren’t at a spot for adoption by small businesses just yet. Pinpointing the latest retail trends can help businesses understand what customers are looking for and where to focus for improvements in 2019.

Call Photo Direct Support Office (03) 98951644 and one of our experts can and will assist you with your needs. Call us today!

5 Ideas to Increase Post-Holiday Sales in January

5 Ideas to Increase Post-Holiday Sales in January

The holidays have come and gone and the calendar has turned to a new year — and with it, the holiday shopping season has dissipated. For many businesses, January is a month of slow sales. Consumers overspent during the holidays and aren’t as actively shopping. But businesses shouldn’t just cross their fingers and ride out the slow season. Here are five ideas to increase post-holiday sales in January.

Encourage gift card spending (and exchanges).

After the holidays, consumers may have several gift cards to spend. Encourage them to spend during the slow season with sales and social media campaigns. Consider post-holiday needs and run a special focused on that. For example, print shops can offer discounted album for customers to print of their images from the Christmas-New Years season.

For retailers, January is often the biggest time for returns and exchanges. Push for the latter with specials, well-placed product displays, and excellent customer service.

Launch a unique marketing campaign.

Combat slow sales with a January marketing campaign. Brainstorm ideas for an unusual sale, new product, or social media campaign. If you’ve always wanted to try a video campaign on social media, for example, now is the time to try.

Businesses can also begin focusing on the next holiday. Photographers, for example, can run specials ahead of Easter or Mother’s Day.

Host an event or contest.

In the slowdown after the holiday, why not create your own reason to get customers in the store? A contest or event is often a great way to boost a business during a slow down. Host an event to battle the winter blues. Run a giveaway on social media. Encourage customers to come into the store with in-person contest entries.

Reach out to holiday shoppers.

If you’ve been collecting emails and information from holiday shoppers, now is a good time to use it. Follow up with holiday shoppers and reach out with an exclusive offer, just for previous customers. Word the email like a friend, not a business — ask about their holidays before launching into any sales materials. Be sure to keep emails short and infrequent — no one likes junk mail.

Focus on ways to improve while shopping is slow.

Sometimes, a slow down is exactly what a business needs. If that’s you, instead of focusing on reversing the slow down, take the time to take a breather, and work on business tasks that can’t be tackled during the busy season. Update your website. Plan social media posts ahead of time.  Improve the appearance of your store. Invest in new tools to help your business run smoothly. Take the time to service equipment, like printers and computers.

The holidays may be over, but the work never stops for small businesses. To fight the slow season, try new ways to bring customers in like encouraging gift card spending, launching a campaign, hosting an event, reaching out to previous shoppers, or simply focusing on improvements that can’t be mastered during the busy season.

Contact the Photo Direct team on (03) 9894 1644 and use our expertise to build your business for 2019 and beyond.

What’s Next? 5 Key Retail Trends Experts Predict for 2019

What’s Next? 5 Key Retail Trends Experts Predict for 2019

As the calendar begins to approach the end of 2018, business are already looking to the next year — and the trends that come along with it. Analysing retail trends can help small businesses identify where to grow next to keep up with what customers are looking for. So what retail trends are experts predicting for the next year? Here are a few trends for small businesses to keep in mind.

Artificial intelligence is growing.

More and more, artificial intelligence is changing the face of technology. But retailers could see shifts too because of this technology trend. Today, shoppers can ask Alexa to order them something — that’s a prime example of artificial intelligence working inside retail. Small businesses probably can’t afford to develop their own digital assistant, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the trend. AI software can help streamline your tasks and save time, or help customers save time. Watch out for AI trends that could help in both, like Messenger bots for answering commonly asked questions or smarter software for helping customers design photo albums.

Shopping isn’t just one channel any more.

Today, more customers are looking at multiple channels before digging out their wallet (or digital payment). Retailers with more than one way to buy will likely be rewarded. Besides a brick and mortar store and website, consider selling on social media outlets, in apps or with third-party companies. While there are more ways to buy than ever, the traditional isn’t going anywhere — statistics predict 45 percent of consumers prefer the physical stores anyway.

Think personal and custom.

Shoppers have always loved a bit of personalisation — remember how easy it was to find your name on a pencil or a key chain in the 80s and 90s? But what’s changed is the technology that makes personalisation easier to do. From including a first name in those marketing emails to creating custom photography packages, brainstorm ways that your business can offer a custom experience. Personalising ads by reaching out to target groups is also a good idea — if you also respect user privacy.

Recommendations are still essential — and easier than ever.

Word of mouth isn’t going anywhere, but it’s becoming word of fingers — those written reviews play a big role in business today. While online reviews have been around for awhile, experts predict increasing importance on recommendations, in whatever form. Make it easy for customers to leave a review by adding a review tool to your website. Encourage reviews on your social media page. If you don’t have one already, claim your business on review sites like Yelp and Google’s listings.

Focus on mobile reach.

Online shopping has been around for some time, but mobile shopping is getting its time in the sun. Statistics show a growing number of consumers are shopping on a smartphone, not a desktop computer. Start by making sure your website is responsive, looking good both on desktop and mobile. Consider outlets that are easy to access from mobile — like selling through social media. Make sure your online ordering system is just as easy to use on a smartphone.

5 Ways to Build Your Social Media Following

5 Ways to Build Your Social Media Following

Social media can be a great tool for small businesses — but once you get started, that follower count seems to creep up rather slow. Building a social media following is even more essential ahead of busy seasons, like the upcoming holidays. But you don’t need to wait years before you actually have a significant follower count, with a few tricks, you can accelerate your social media presence. Here are five ways small business owners such as print shops and photographers can increase their social media following.

Share fun, informative content.

First things first, no one is going to follow you if all your posts are marketing. Create content worth following — that means something that’s fun or informative. Create funny memes centered on topics related to your business. Share links to helpful articles. Craft tips that are helpful for your target audience. For example, wedding photographers can share wedding planning tips. The more worthwhile your content is, the easier growing your follower count will be.

Run a contest.

Shares can drastically increase your reach and the number of followers. Creating a contest is an easy way to encourage shares and new followers. Give away something related to your business — like a product or gift card for a service. In the contest, require entrants to like your page and share the contest post. Those actions will help boost your follower count and help new people to see that contest. Online contest tools can help make contest planning a bit easier.

Create an exclusive coupon for followers.

Another way to encourage followers is to share exclusive offers on your social media page. That gives customers a very good reason to follow your page in order to see and use those discounts. Think of email coupons, but on social media. Facebook, for example has an option for businesses to create an offer. This creates in-store or online coupons for customers to use.

Make it a two-way conversation.

Too often, small business social media pages are all talk. One of the best ways to increase followers is to engage with them. Besides just creating posts, comment on other posts, and share posts from other users. When followers comment on your posts, be sure to respond or like the comment. Social media is about being social, not a one-way conversation.

Try boosting posts.

Social media advertising can often reach hundreds of people just for a five dollar bill. Experiment with boosting posts and targeting your business’ audience. On Facebook, for example, a wedding photographer can advertise only to couples that list engaged under relationship status. Try boosting images or video, offers or helpful links.

Social media followers climb slowly at first — but once you start sharing the right kind of content and interacting with other users, those numbers grow quickly. Always share worthwhile content that’s fun or informative more than you share content that’s strictly marketing. Try contests, coupons, conversations and paid social media ads.

Print Marketing Materials To Increase Your Sales

Print Marketing Materials To Increase Your Sales

Digital content today is a must — but as many businesses begin ignoring print, the effectiveness of print marketing is actually increasing. With digital content, you have one chance — a headline — to capture attention. But with print marketing, you have much more space and the possibility of using a colourful design and photographs to capture that potential customer’s attention. Print gives your audience something physical to hold attention much longer than the few seconds it takes to read an email. Here are some print marketing opportunities that you may be missing out on.

Business Cards

Word-of-mouth marketing isn’t going anywhere — but boring white business cards are. Today, it’s easy and inexpensive to create an eye-catching business card that reflects your brand and grabs the attention of those that you may come across. Instead of the traditional plain white background, create a business card that’s as memorable as that in-person meeting. Printing technology today makes it easy to print high-quality images on both sides of the business card. Well-designed graphics also work well. Even finding metallic prints and die-cut business cards today is easy to do. While you’re making the card modern, include a QR code for easy access to your online presence.

Brochures

Eye-catching with plenty of space for information, brochures are seeing a resurgence. Unlike a business card, a brochure doesn’t just get tucked inside a wallet — they’re placed on desks and fridges. If you can make a brochure that’s attractive and informative, your band can stay around longer than a website click.

Like other print materials, however, the brochure has evolved too. Don’t feel constrained by the traditional designs like the tri-fold. Think outside the box. Better yet, hire a designer instead of using a template for an even more eye-catching design.

Post cards

Potential customers will probably hold a post card that they’ve received in the mail a lot longer than they’ll spend reading an email. As more marketing shifts towards email marketing, direct mail begins to earn more attention — and it should. Design is important here too, but so is what you put on it. Discounts and coupons work well for this type of print, because customers are more likely to keep it around longer.

Thank you cards

This print product works particularly well for service businesses that rely on repeat customers, such as photographers. Sending along a thank you note with the final product is more likely to leave a lasting impression than the work alone. Printing custom thank you cards that fit your brand simplifies the process while also keeping it professional.

Signs and photo prints

Always a staple in brick-and-mortar stores, signs are still a viable way to promote your business — if you think outside the box. Gone are the gaudy, busy signs and in their place are modern signs and posters. Photographers and print shops don’t even necessarily need all that marketing text. A canvas of a newborn photo hung inside an area hospital with a business card in the corner, for example, can be a great print marketing material that’s not over the top. If you are a photographer or print shop, use prints and canvases to show off the quality of your work and display some business cards next to that print to show who’s behind that quality work. Even better, find a way to display that image where potential customers frequent, like inside a bridal shop for a wedding photographer.

Digital marketing is huge — but as more companies move to digital, printed marketing materials have less noise. Printed marketing doesn’t have to be traditional either, with modern designs and outside-the-box placement.

Business: Do you know where to find your target market online?

Business: Do you know where to find your target market online?

The internet is wonderful for searching — just a few keywords and you have millions of results at your fingertips. But what about businesses searching for the right audience? That’s a bit less cut and dried. Do you know if a majority of your target audience is on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest? Understanding where your audience spends most of their time can help boost your social media marketing, from ads to organic content. Here’s who’s on each of the top five social networks: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Facebook

Facebook is the largest social media network, boasting numbers in the billions. The size means that Facebook probably has some section of your business’ target audience, though there may be better networks depending on who your audience is. Around two thirds of the network is Gen Xers, so this is the primary network to use for reaching those born before 1980. That’s not the only generation on Facebook though — Millennials are more likely to hit the share button here. The network also has slightly more women than men, but not enough to be crazy significant.

YouTube

YouTube has a higher percentage of men than women — but the ten percent difference suggests not ignoring the platform entirely for female target audience. The video-focused platform is also the most popular among Generation Z, youth born between 1997 and the current day. That means YouTube should be a serious consideration for anyone targeting anyone under age 21. (Along with Snapchat, a network that’s heavy towards younger users.)

Instagram

Instagram is also more popular among the youngest demographics, though with a billion users, the network reaches many types of people. The network is also slightly skewed more towards women, but like most of the other networks, gender isn’t big enough to deter a business with products focused towards men. Remember, Instagram is a visual network — which makes the network well suited for visual ads and products.

Twitter

The micro-blogging platform is most popular among users between age 18 and 29. More than 90 percent of users on Twitter follow a business, so it’s a good network for creating organic content campaigns. The network is most popular in Japan, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia. The short and sweet nature of the network is great for businesses that are witty or well-spoken.

Pinterest

Pinterest is likely the network where gender plays the biggest role — 45 percent of women in the U.S use the network while only 17 percent of men do, though the male demographic is growing. Pinterest’s idea board style makes it ideal for brands in home decor, fashion, weddings, parties and food, as well as anything that can be part of a DIY project. The age group most likely to look on Pinterest for something to buy are the millennials.

Social media marketing is a must, whether through organic, unpaid content or ads, the networks serve as a way to quickly get a message out to potential customers. Social media also helps consumers continually see a brand, rather than a one-and-done approach. For the best results, however, you need to determine what network is most likely to reach your audience.

Potential clients silent after that first email? Here’s what to do

Potential clients silent after that first email? Here’s what to do

You open your email and your heart rate picks up when you see an email asking for more information about booking a photo session. You maybe already imaging the images that could result when you send out an email with some details and, probably, a price sheet. And then — nothing. That client that seemed so interested never responded. What should photographers do about leads that don’t stay in touch? While some client-photographer matches just weren’t right, there are some things you can do that might encourage a potential client to take the next step.

Don’t jump to conclusions.

First, don’t just assume that because they aren’t responding that they hate your work or fainted when they saw your prices. Sometimes, these potential clients are sending out half a dozen emails to different photographers and are just starting their search for a photographer. Yes, sometimes, it could be your prices, but it could also be they emailed another photographer and they like that style better. Or, maybe your reply got lost in an inbox with hundreds of other emails.

Give them time.

Sending a quick reply to the initial message can actually increase the odds of getting a booking — but clients don’t have to be as speedy to respond to you. They may be thinking about it, waiting for other photographers to respond, discussing what you’ve already sent, or maybe they just don’t check their email that often. Wait about two days before following up — too long, and they may have moved on, too short and you appear rude and impatient.

Follow up, and be detailed.

Don’t just assume that because that potential client didn’t respond, they aren’t interested. Following up can show persistence and dedication (provided you’re not rude about it) and can bring a lost email back up to the top of their inbox.

If you just sent a quick response to the initial email, take some time to send details in the follow up. The more they know, the more reasons they might have to choose your work over another photographer’s. It may be helpful to put together a pre-written email so sending out details doesn’t take up hours of your time. Let them know why your work is different and what to expect.

Offer an invitation.

Emails are quick and easy — and impersonal. Include an invitation to hop on a phone call or meet for coffee to chat more. If you didn’t completely loose their interest, a chance to meet in person or chat on the phone may be what they need to get to know your work and feel more confident in their decision.

Don’t sweat the small inquiries.

Some people will reach out and find that you’re not the right photographer for the job. That’s just part of business. If you do get a “thanks but no thanks” kind of reply, make a mental note of the reason and move on. Rejections are part of every business and learning how to handle them is essential to building a successful photography business.

4 Strategies for Creative Business Owners to Work Smarter, Not Harder

4 Strategies for Creative Business Owners to Work Smarter, Not Harder

Running a creative business means juggling multiple hats — and, sometimes it feels like you’re wearing that business owner hat 24/7. But by working smarter, not harder, creative business owners can find ways to expand — and push that work life balance more towards life. Just ask Hangatu Wyld, the owner of The Salty Fox, an online boutique for men’s fashion accessories. She’s currently expanding her business internationally. She recently sat down with Australia Post to share with other business owners just how she managed to move from working out of a pantry to an international company. Here are some of the ways she encourages other business owners, such as photo business owners, to work smarter, not harder.

Research to mitigate risks.

While she first started choosing products for the store, Wyld choose them based on what would fit inside affordable packaging for shipping. Now, there’s more research involved in order to launch a product that’s likely to do well. Using Google Keyword, she finds out what online browsers are searching for. She also keeps a close eye on the competition and looks at what competitors are offering.

How does that apply to photo businesses? By continually researching and keeping an eye on the latest trends, photo business owners can pinpoint new services and new types of prints to offer. With research and a close understanding of the industry, the risks aren’t as great.

Encourage more high-volume sales.

Another way The Salty Fox has grown is by encouraging high volume sales with free shipping for orders that are above $50. The concept isn’t an uncommon one (even Amazon uses it), but many customers are easily swayed to buy one more item rather than paying for shipping.

That same idea can be used when shipping out prints to customers online. By including a free shipping with a certain order amount, customers may be encouraged to buy a bigger print or another product.

Automate tedious processes.

While it’s just Wyld and her brother running the business, she’s able to keep the staff small without adding unnecessary stress through automation. She automates tasks that aren’t in her skill set, like automating an Adwords campaign. Automation can also be used for tedious tasks, like confirmation emails and other customer service.

Photo businesses can take a step back and look at what part of their business could be automated. Technology has made it easy to automate online print orders and even send those images directly to your wide format printer. Other tools speed up the process to book a new photo client, for example.

Look for key trends.

Finally, the way The Salty Fox has begun the process of moving to international sales is by spotting key trends. One of those trends showed visitors that weren’t in Australia, prompting the launch of sales in New Zealand and soon, other countries.

In the same way, photographers can keep an eye out for trends that show what tomorrow’s clients may be looking for. Whether that’s a different print product or a new type of session or something as simple as a cute prop, watching the trends can help business owners work smarter, not harder.

Working smarter doesn’t have to mean working solo — Photo Direct’s team is here to help evaluate your business and spot potential for expansion through new tools and products. Contact us at sales@photodirect.com.au or 03 9894 1644 today.