In 2012 we witnessed the development and evolution of social media and mobile marketing. As a result, Americans are connected to technology 24/7. The Huffington Post reported in 2012 that 84% of survey respondents couldn’t go a day without checking their device. As a small business owner, this means technology will continue to play a critical role in retail.
Stay ahead of the competition by incorporating these five retail trends for 2013 into your business strategy:
1. Social and Mobile Marketing Continue to Dovetail
Social and mobile marketing strategies are beginning to converge as consumers use their smartphones to conduct online searches more frequently. According to the Next Web, Inc. more than 60% of Facebook's users are currently accessing the site through a mobile phone.
Retail entrepreneurs must develop a strong mobile social media strategy. Social media and mobile ecommerce are not going away and companies that embrace and innovate using these platforms will thrive.
2. The Savvier Shopper
Shoppers are more educated about products than ever before. The “showrooming” trend – where consumers visit retailers to look at the goods in person and then buy them online – will increase in 2013.
Retailers should work on maximizing customer service to entice customers’ to continue to buy in-store instead of online.
3. Cash Elimination
There will be an explosion in mobile payment acceptance in 2013. Innovative companies leading the way in this area include Square and PayPal. Increasingly, retailers will begin to favor electronic payments.
This trend could offer retailers easier credit cards acceptance. For example, Square has a set-up time of three minutes on a smartphone and offers retailers an easy way to accept credit cards without using a landline. Additionally, some retailers are using Square so the sales associates can be actively selling on the sales floor instead of ringing-up customers behind the register.
Shoppers are hungry for an in-store experience that not only provides them with the products they are searching for, but also in an environment that is visually stimulating with a top-notch customer service experience.
Specialty retailers should consider offering specialized classes and an increased number of in-store events to engage their customers. For example, a gift shop located in Syracuse, NY, Metro Home Style in Massachusetts brought in an interior designer to teach a class about chic entertaining and an independent camera store, Concord Camera, locatetore in New Hampshire began offering weekly photography classes to teach customers how to take great digital photos.
5. Partnering for Profit
Over the last few years many small business owners have recognized the benefit of working together to co-market their companies instead of operating as competitors. Marketing initiatives such as Small Business Saturday® have created the opportunity for business owners to partner in innovative ways such as creating a downtown Shop Small event on the day after Black Friday. As a result of these partnerships, businesses are able to attract new customers and sell more products or services.
Retailers might consider reaching out to business owners in their area to run a co-op advertisement, or to create a collaborative event such as a ‘Ladies’ Night Out’, or help one another by agreeing to distribute coupons or flyers for the other business. For example, one local gift shop in Minnesota partnered with a local florist. The local florist delivered 24 free roses to the gift shop every Friday, which in turn sent emails inviting customers into the store to pick-up their complimentary rose. The gift shop mentioned the florist in a weekly promotional email and handed out coupons. Both businesses reported an increase in sales as a result of the marketing program.
For retail entrepreneurs, the time to innovate and execute new marketing strategies is now. By jumping on these five new trends you will position your company for success in 2013 and beyond.