Blog

All posts tagged retail trends

The top 5 reasons small retail businesses fail

The top 5 reasons small retail businesses fail

Around a third of new businesses fail in the first two years, and half in the first five. But many businesses fail for the same reasons. In the independent retail sector, business failure could be prevented by recognising some of those potential pitfalls. So what do small business owners need to recognise in order to continue thriving for years to come? Here are five common pitfalls for small retail businesses.

Limited marketing.

While word-of-mouth marketing is great, businesses that rely on it tend to go broke faster than the small businesses that invest in other areas of marketing. You simply can’t bring in new customers if those customers don’t know that you exist. While small businesses don’t need a multi-million dollar marketing plan, some marketing is essential to survival. Low cost marketing, such as social media marketing, online ads, email newsletters, and advertisements with local news and radio outlets, can help keep the doors open — and customers coming in — for years to come.

A bad location — online and off.

While marketing is essential, some customers will find you simply by driving by your business — if you choose a good location, that is. Convenience is a big factor for brick-and-motar customers, and an out-of-the-way location negates that. Make sure customers can find you easily — and that they’ll come back often — by choosing an ideal location.

Similarly, your business should also be easy to find online. Creating an SEO-friendly website with a simple URL is an important part of building a successful business.

Not charging enough.

Yes, small businesses still have to compete with the big box stores — but many small businesses fail simply because they don’t charge enough to cover overhead costs and leave room for growth. Don’t make what should be a limited time sale a 24/7 deal, or you could end up closing your doors.

Struggling through the slow seasons.

Every business tends to have a slow season — but that’s not the time to put your feet up on your desk and relax. Don’t just sit and wait out the slow season. Build up your marketing tactics, plan a sale or event to get customers in the door, expand your social media marketing efforts. Work  to build a more predictable cash flow, and your business is more likely to succeed.

Buying the wrong merchandise — or too much of it.

What you sell matters, but navigating what to sell and how much can be tough for new business owners. Be sure to look for a product that’s in demand with your particular customers. Understanding trends is your industry helps tremendously when choosing stock. Along the same lines, avoid investing too heavily in a new product before you know how well it will sell.

Small businesses are quick to blame big businesses for their struggles — but if that were the case, the rise of retailers like Amazon would have eliminated every small business. More often than not, it’s the choices that the business makes that determine whether or not the retail company succeeds. By understanding the potential pitfalls, small business owners can navigate their way to a long-running, successful business.

QR codes are far from dead - here’s why your small business should use them

QR codes are far from dead – here’s why your small business should use them

When QR codes first launched, marketers hoped the black-and-white scannable codes would bridge the print and digital world. But despite all the hype, QR codes didn’t meet see explosive growth early on. The codes required a special app to use, which besides eliminating the people that didn’t know how to use the codes, could even take longer than simply typing in the URL address itself.

QR codes may not have had the rapid rise originally hoped for, but in 2019, QR codes are no longer underused, funny looking graphics. Now that most smartphones can scan QR codes without a dedicated app, the use of QR codes are on the rise. A report by Juniper Research suggests the scan-able codes will reach one billion smartphone users by 2022.

So how can small businesses integrate the now hot QR code into their marketing campaigns? Here are five QR code marketing ideas, besides just sending customers to your website.

Use a QR code to link to a digital coupon. Clipping paper coupons are a thing of the past. With QR codes, shoppers can scan a code from a printed advertisement and save a digital version to their smartphone wallet, easily recalling the offer when shopping later. Besides saving a few trees by not printing off all those paper coupons, QR coupons are easier to manage and harder to loose. You can even use the element of surprise and use a code that says “scan to see how big your discount is.”

Use as QR code to encourage social media followers. QR codes can be linked to a number of different things — including your social media profiles. Most major networks will allow you to generate a QR code linked to your social media page. Integrating an easy-to-scan QR code allows shoppers to easily find your social networks, which can increase your followers, and that’s never a bad thing.

Give shoppers more details on your products. The packaging only has so much space. A QR code can help customers easily find more information about that specific product. Think outside the box — link to a how to video, a page of customer reviews and more, simply by adding a QR code to the package.

Send shoppers to a dedicated app using a QR code. Does your business have its own shopping app? A QR code can lead shoppers right to downloading the app, simplifying the process of shopping with an app.

Use a QR code to make your physical location — or even contact information — easy to find. Did you know you can link a QR code to your physical address, phone number or email? If you are using QR codes in marketing placed outside your business, a QR code can help potential shoppers find directions to your location, or even dial in your phone number with a quick scan.

QR codes may not have been successful right off the bat, but thanks to improvements in the technology and widespread use, QR codes are gaining traction. Small business owners can use the scanning codes to do more than just send shoppers to their website.

What is Social Commerce? The Small Business Guide to Selling on Social Media

What is Social Commerce? The Small Business Guide to Selling on Social Media

 Most small businesses today are on social media — but if social media is only for marketing, you may be missing out. Today, many social platforms allow companies to sell directly online, allowing users to shop without ever leaving the network. Fewer steps for shoppers could mean more sales for businesses — but how do small businesses get into social commerce?

 Social commerce is selling on social media networks — not social media marketing, but starting and completing a sale on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This creates a shorter process for buyers, which means your small business may be less likely to lose interested customers before they click that checkout button.

 Social commerce should be kept simple — the whole idea isn’t to give small business owners something else to do, but to make the checkout process faster and easier for customers. With many platforms, users can autofill their details for even faster checkouts. The perks to social commerce shouldn’t stop there — offering exclusive discounts on social media is another way to encourage sales through social media platforms.

 When working with social commerce, images are important — users are more likely to interact with a photograph or video over plain text. And a great image will generate more interest than a mediocre one. Prioritise great images with good light that show off your products. Remember, most social media users are on a mobile device, so making the products stand-out on smaller screens is essential.

 As the platform with the most users, Facebook is a major player for social commerce. To sell on Facebook, you need to set up a Facebook Shop, which is done through a Facebook business page. Once set up, you can add and organise products, along with using tools to see your sales.

 Facebook may be have the most users, but Pinterest is a social platform where many users are actually going there to look for new products in the first place, not to connect with friends. Product Pins are different from typical pins because they keep the current price and stock information intact, along with other features. From buyable Pins, users can easily go to your website to finish the transaction. To work with Product Pins, you’ll need a business account — not a personal one. Pinterest explains how to add them here.

 Instagram is a relative newcomer to social commerce, but an important one. Instagram allows users to shop using product tags in posts, or from product stickers in Stories. To sell on Instagram, you’ll need to get your account approved for shopping — follow the instructions here.

 While social commerce can be a great boon to your business, it’s important to note that e-commerce is typically still the preferred method of shopping online. That doesn’t mean social commerce is a bad idea — but it means social sales should complement your existing web presence, not replace it.

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) 9894 1644 and one of our experts can and will assist you with your needs. Call us today!

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.

4 Trends for Grocery Retailers to Watch in 2017

4 Trends for Grocery Retailers to Watch in 2017

Online shopping has become commonplace — and now the influence of the internet is stretching into grocery stores. Research group Nielsen shared four trends that will influence the grocery retail sector in Australia this year, with online shopping playing a big role as consumers become even more connected into the New Year. So what do grocery retailers need to watch out for this year? These four trends will help grocery retailers adapt to changing consumer perspectives in 2017.

Omni-channel is growing for grocery retailers.

Nielsen research suggests that today’s Australians are more connected then ever — and right along with it, attitude towards online purchases is evolving. As most consumers now have pocketable access to the web, grocery retailers are beginning to transition from brick-and-motar to omni-channel, or stores that are both online and off. The complexities of purchasing groceries and perishables online have delayed the transition past other retail markets, but 2017 should see a big shift towards omni-channel grocery, the research suggests. Already, up to six out of every ten Australians use both online and physical grocery stores — thought some only use that online portal to check weekly sales or read reviews.

Most consumers aren’t loyal to a single chain.

Besides the logistics of ordering items like fresh produce online, the shift to omni-channel is difficult for the grocery sector because most consumers aren’t loyal to a single chain. Now, 64 percent of Australians visit more than one of the four major grocery chains — and that’s every week, a Nielsen home scan suggests. Consumers have several choices when it comes to shopping local for groceries, and those choices could expand with online options. Grocery chains that are able to meet the challenge of driving consumer loyalty will be at a significant advantage, the research suggests.

Australians’ views on food and supermarkets are mixed.

If the challenge of omni-channel and consumer loyalty isn’t enough, most Australians have mixed opinions between retailers and farmers. Nielsen research shows that while 91 percent want to support local farmers, at the same time, almost 75 percent still think they are overpaying for their groceries. Most consumers (64 percent) believe that the retailer benefits most from promotions while over half think price reductions disadvantage farmers. Fighting those mixed perceptions isn’t a simple task for retailers — but being aware of them could prove vital for growth.

Consumer campaigns are essential to driving new growth.

Dale Preston, the director of Insight at Coles, said consumer engagement strategies are essential to creating growth as the grocery retail market — and consumer perceptions — evolve. The growth of Omni-channel options makes personalized outreach both necessary and simpler, since computers can track individual consumer spending habits with something as simple as a rewards program sign-in or scannable loyalty card at the checkouts.

As 2017 begins, grocery retailers face a set of challenges to meeting the demands of a growing market both online and offline. But, armed with the latest research, grocery chains are better equipped to brainstorming new ways of meeting those challenges head-on and creating a strong brand, both online and offline.

5 Trends Driving Female Consumers Today — And What Businesses Need to Know

5 Trends Driving Female Consumers Today — And What Businesses Need to Know

Almost 85 percent of women make purchasing decisions for their entire household, but as a demographic that encompasses many different lifestyles from stay-at-home moms to businesswomen, businesses marketing to women are increasingly struggling to reach the demographic. So what are women looking for in a product or service today? Here are five trends businesses need to know before starting a female-focused marketing strategy.

Over half of all families share shopping responsibilities.

While women are traditionally the family members that notice when the toilet paper is low, almost 60 percent of families divide shopping responsibilities between more than one person, according to Forbes. While more shoppers tend to mean more sales, that also presents a challenge to tracking shopping patterns. Marketing industry specialist Cassandra Moren recommends businesses consider loyalty programs that track households as a whole.

Men are actually outspending women in apparel.

A recent study showed that the idea of women loving shopping more then men is actually just a stereotype — men actually spend more on apparel and shoes by about $10 every month. In the apparel industry, menswear is expected to grow at nearly twice the rate of women’s over the next few years.

Age is no longer a good indicator of life stages.

The workforce is undoubtably changing — over 40 percent of mothers are now the primary (or only) source of income in the U.S., for example, with women making up 47 percent of the workforce. As more women enter the workforce, age isn’t as accurate at predicting life stages anymore. More women are becoming wives and mothers later in life — while older women also often buck the trend and go back to college or start a new career or business venture. The bottom line? Checking that age option when purchasing a Facebook add doesn’t necessarily reach your target demographic every time.

Birth rates are down, but spending is up.

According to Forbes, while birth rates are down as families trend towards the smaller side, spending is actually up. Moms (and dads) spend more on their kids than they did even just a few years ago. Along with trends towards higher kid-related spending, more products are defying traditional age gaps — like adults buying high-end sneaker brands and kids using smartphones and tablets. Brands that offer products and services that encompass a wide age gap could see potential growth, Forbes suggests.

Today’s workforce includes more women then ever before.

As the workplace gender gap closes, Forbes suggests that women have a different attitude towards products. Convenience will play a big role in the purchases made by women, as well as what’s businesses they pass during their commute.

Identifying an audience is an essential step to creating an effective marketing campaign — but “women” isn’t a very specific demographic — encompassing moms, working women, CEOs and retirees, just to name a few. Staying up to date on the latest trends helps businesses identify ways to reach their target audience and grow.

4 Ways To Keep Customers Connected To Your Brick-And-Mortar Store

4 Ways To Keep Customers Connected To Your Brick-And-Mortar Store

The internet is rapidly changing the way retailers conduct business — and yet more and more consumers are looking for connectivity to enhance their experience while inside physical stores. A recent study conducted by Google showed that two out of every three customers cannot find the information they need in stores, with almost half leaving frustrated. By merging the online experience with the digital one, retailers can help drive traffic with more social media followers and email subscribers — and prevent customers leaving in frustration. But how? Here are four ideas to help retailers keep in-store customers connected.

Host a photo contest.

Nothing quite helps drive traffic like the possibility of a prize. Photo contests not only encouraging interaction, but also get customers sharing your brand with the social media followers. Requiring an in-store photo takes that brick-and-mortar and online connection even further. Use something iconic about your store — even something as simple as a kiddie ride that’s at all of your locations or a favorite product — or create a photo booth area specifically for the contest. Create a hashtag so that you can monitor the entries. Require a “like” or follow on your social media in order to enter, and you can continue reaching in-store customers online.

Create a rewards system.

Rewarding customers every time they shop in store — and not with a giant prize like with a photo contest — is another way to both encourage repeat visits and help track of customer data. Stores often use rewards programs requiring the customer’s email, allowing the store to research and track how the customer shops, and what they shop for. In return, the customer receives discounts for participating in the program. This merges the ease of online customer data tracking with in-store shoppers.

Merge online and in-store with an app.

As the Google study showed, 2/3 of customers cannot find the information they are looking for in stores. One way to combat that is to develop an app not for online shopping, but for in store. Store apps can show that location’s sales, what aisle the item is in and even make the online reviews for a product easy to access in the store. Target, for example, merges both the rewards system and app with Cartwheel, a coupon app that also tells customers what aisle to find that discounted item in at their local store.

Make the online information easily accessible in-store.

Some businesses are taking a simpler approach and just putting more effort into providing information in stores, in an easy-to-find way. Electronics retailer Best Buy, for example, puts the product’s online review ranking on the in-store tags, making it easy to compare similar products. To merge the in-store and app-available information, allowing customers to scan the barcode to access full text reviews and details is another option.

Today’s customers are more connected then ever — and yet most still have a difficult time finding the information they want. By finding new and innovative ways to provide the plethora of internet-available information in an in-store experience, retailers can enhance the customer experience. Connecting the retail and online system is also a way for retailers to gain insight into their in-store customers, but with the simplicity of online tracking.