under increasing pressure from the phenomenal rise in Internet shopping. Our once diverse high streets are now dominated by hairdressing salons, nail bars, coffee shops and charity shops. Airy and interesting buildings, once home to local banks, are now the echoing chamber of some good (and some naff) restaurants. Eating, drinking and preening ourselves represent the few things left that can’t be bought on-line. It’s no wonder that the humble high street shop has to do more now than ever before to survive.
Small high street businesses have to come up with innovative marketing ideas to survive. It’s tough, but not impossible. Here are 5 ways to make your high street shop pop.
1. Create an inviting look
You want passers-by to notice you. More importantly you want passers-by to come in and buy. It’s imperative for businesses on the high street to create an inviting look. A commercial awning or canopy can make your branding stand out and give your business a more professional stamp. For example, take a look at these commercial awnings from Aquarius Blinds.
If your business is a café, coffee shop, restaurant or deli offering snacks, consider an outside seating area (even if it’s just a couple of bistro-style tables and a few chairs). Umbrellas and café barriers with your logo will also reinforce your brand. Passers-by are more likely to be tempted in when they see a buzzing crowd enjoying your specialities outside.
2. Host experience events
We can buy almost anything we want now on-line. More now than ever before people expect more from their high street shopping experience. The fact is, shoppers need more than a shopping transaction to coax them away from the comfort of their own living room.
Business Advice recently reported on a study carried out by Barclaycard. The research found that high street business owners are tapping into consumer demand for in-store experiences by hosting events and providing entertainment alongside their product offering. As a result these businesses are increasing their annual turnover by an average 14 per cent. Classes, courses and exclusive sales previews are enticing shoppers to stay in stores longer.
Internet Retailing also report on the Barclaycard study and add: “Gen Z shoppers are so experience-oriented that one in six 18-24 year olds (15 per cent) report that having in-store events after hours would encourage them to choose one retailer over another.”
Younger customers are much more likely to be attracted by in-store events. On the study, George Allardice, Head of Strategy at Barclaycard Payment Solutions, gave shops a positive aim, “Retailers who take advantage of the opportunities in the experience economy can really reap the rewards.”
Experience events don’t have to cost the earth. Evans cycles set up Ride It, a series of road and off road cycling events all over the UK to engage more with potential customers.
3. Focus on fabulous customer service
If you’re new to the high street, you’ll get some inquisitive folk on the hunt for a new experience. But, you’ll have to work hard to get the word out to those who aren’t as keen on trying new products or services, even if you look enticingly better than their favoured store. When word gets around that your customer service is exceptional you’ll be building a reputation that will stand you in good stead.
Remember, one bad review could put some potential customers off for life. Train your staff to offer exceptional customer service. Here are some excellent customer service tips to be getting along with.
4. Get seriously good at social media
Instagram about it, Tweet about it, share on Facebook and other social media platforms. Social media is playing an ever more important role in retail and is no longer just a tool to inform customers. Social media is the main medium for shops to update, interact, promote and engage with customers to improve the shopping experience.
5. Emphasise your USP
Research your competitors and find your unique selling point (USP). It’s your USP that will help you to stand out from the crowd. You need to let people know what it is that makes you different. Why should people come to you and not a competitor?
Your USP should be a part of your branding and should be consistent across store presence, product packaging, website and any signage or advertising. With consistent branding you’ll be projecting a clear and concise message. Make your brand identity more consistent. This will in time help to make your shop have a more solid presence on the high street, and build trust and loyalty with customers.