The retail sector is experiencing a drop in revenues, as more and more customers are tapping into the advantages of digital shopping. Indeed, chains struggle to maintain their brick and mortar income in a world where people prefer to browse on an app and click to buy.
Where chains that have embraced online shopping find it difficult to maintain their presence offline, small shops that don’t have the opportunity to build a global digital presence can thrive offline. Indeed, the modern shopper is attached to convenient purchases and sustainability. In other words, communities are protective over their local shops and support small businesses as best they can.
As a result, it can be easier for a small boutique to position its brand on the local market than for a chain shop. Opening your shop can be a challenging adventure at first. Indeed, while the local community is more supportive, you still need to work hard to make sure your brand can get noticed from Day One. Local buyers will only shop with you if they know you exist.
Your storefront has to stand out
You have to work with the local population. Most people don’t pay close attention to their surroundings on a daily basis. You have to consider that in today’s fast-paced working life, most individuals leave the house to get to work in the morning. They don’t take the time to explore the streets for new shops and businesses. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to maximize your storefront visibility. Your choice of paint will play a significant role. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to opt for colors that stand out from the crowd, such as warm yellow tones for L’Occitane in Provence, for instance, which helps to identify the boutique in a busy shopping area. Similarly, you can also add vibrant plastic letters to spell out your brand name, which can catch bystanders’ eyes. Ideally, your brand colors and font should help to differentiate you from surrounding shops.
Make sure your local community knows
Your launch advertising needs to target the local area. In other words, while digital marketing can seem like a cost-effective idea, it’s unlikely to be successful in a specific geographic radius. Instead, you want to focus on boosting brand awareness with the local population. You can use car wraps to keep commuters informed , which can be a neat addition to your day-to-day errands, just as school drop-offs or suppliers pickups. Additionally, getting involved in local events such as sponsoring the local kids’ sports team or organizing a litter pick in the park enables you to boost your brand reputation. Besides, it’s the opportunity of giving your wrapped car maximal visibility! Ultimately, if you want people to think positively about your shop from the moment it opens, you need to time your community involvement wisely.
Google Maps is your best ally
While digital marketing is not a valuable idea at this point, pinpointing your location on Google Maps is crucial to your success. Indeed, most people explore their local area through Google Maps as a way of finding out where their convenience store, independent café, or even bookshop is. The process to appear on Google Maps can take a few weeks; therefore, it’s a good idea to start ahead of the opening. Google will confirm your address via a postcard or a phone call. If you are still in the process of building your store when you apply to appear on the map, using a code on a postcard is the safest and quickest option. You can also add photos of your stocks, interior and storefront to your profile as you get closer to the opening date.
Advertise your launch promotion
There is no secret to it. If you want people to walk through your shop door from Day One, you need to invite them. Whether you’re opening a local coffee shop, an independent gym, or even a sports store, a grand opening event is precisely what you need to gather the crowd. Admittedly, you may not be able to get popular celebrities to your opening parties. However, you can invite local suppliers or partners – which you can contact directly via your Chamber of Commerce association – to join you. Additionally, you can appeal to the local population with an exciting invitation they can’t refuse, such as a free tasting of your coffee brew or goody bags with samples of your products. In other words, prepare a present for your guests.
Get those hashtags trending
While digital advertising may not help to boost your brand awareness, it doesn’t mean you can’t find your local customers online. Platforms such as Instagram offer the ideal environment to showcase your products and decor alongside trendy hashtags. Don’t miss the trends such as #smallbusiness and #retailers but don’t be afraid to get creative and reach out to your local area by including your location in the hashtag. Additionally, you can also join some of the most artistic communities online by encouraging your customers to share their snaps for an online contest, for instance. Coffee shops and sustainable fashion are some of the most popular Instagram profiles and enjoy an active online community.
Get in touch with local influencers
Last but not least, you should get involved with your local influencers as soon as possible. Local lifestyle bloggers, foodies, reviewers, or even your local mom blogger with a shared interest are all suitable candidates. Unlike VIP influencers, your local influencers are bloggers who have developed strong ties with the area. While they may not have a large audience group, they have a huge impact on the local community. Getting them to talk about your brand can dramatically influence your reputation in the region. It’s a good idea to pick people whose lifestyle and content match your target audience. Influencers are also the first to suggest promotion and giveaway contests to keep their readers entertained. You can work closely with them to define what a good gift would be and listen to their opinions.
Appearing in a busy shopping street can feel overwhelming for a small shop. However, you can build a strong connection to your local community to support your presence. Small and independent shops can represent serious competition against chain brands in a small community.