It goes without saying that retail businesses (or any business) should priorities PR as an investment either managed in or outside of their business. But PR aside I wanted to spotlight do-able areas of much needed focus as some retailers apprehensively prepare for another year of what may bring more tough times. Whether your business is a global high street retail brand, online fashion start-up or high-end iconic national/international retail brand; the perennially moving retail landscape is one retail businesses should be amped about.
Most people love to shop. Most people are a retailer’s dream – just looking to be lured by awesome product, fashion or otherwise. That hasn’t and will never change. The way we shop has. The retailers that adapt and evolve to retail shopper trends will always stand ripe for the pickin’.
So what should fashion retailers do right now to make their businesses more profitable? Create an amazing online and in-store experience, invest in content marketing and back it all up with awesome product. Simple.
Invest In Your Online Store
It’s time retailers stop competing with the online market and become competitive in the online market. For real. Can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. But there’s no room in the online space for vanilla. This doesn’t mean you need a massive website budget (although it helps). Small website budgets can still create an efficient and effective online shopping experience (just ask us to create one for you). But it’s important to get the branding, copywriting and functionality right from the start. In that order.
It’s time retailers big and small really invest in their online store. It’s the first meaningful interaction most shoppers will have with your brand. It should be the hardest working employee of any business and is therefore worth investing in. It should be making money for you while you sleep (insert global shoppers or late night Google trawlers). Make your online space count!
It baffles me that retailers (some seemingly uber professional) make it so difficult to shop online. A simple functionality that is often left out is the ‘shop all’ or ‘view all’ or ‘new listings’ function. Sure we want to shop by category or designer sometimes, but more often than not we want to see it all and we want to see it NOW. Clicking in and out of product categories (especially on a hand-held device) is tedious and frustrating (next please!). Quite simply, the etailers who make shopping online easy, more easily make sales.
Shoppers still love a bit of ROBO action (ROBO = Research Online, Buy Offline), but if they can’t research to begin with; there’s no way they’re taking the risk to go in-store and waste precious time unless they know what they want is in there to be found. That brings us to the in-store experience…
Invest in the In-Store Experience
It’s time retailers take the in-store experience up a notch. Shoppers still want to see, touch and smell product. But above all they want to be surprised with memorable moments they will forever associate with a brand. It’s time to re-think retail.
Gone are the days where retailers told you what you needed to buy “c’mon down”! Now, more than ever before, it’s about community and collaboration. It’s about creating an interactive, living, breathing meeting place where oh… you can buy that dress too! Anyone can sell a black dress, but not everyone sells it with an amazing experience. The heart of successful instore retailing lies in using that prime shop floor realestate as a place where your target audience can belong and connect with your brand.
Use technology in-store in ways that fire the imagination, which effectively turns your shoppers into roving ambassadors for your brand – because they want to share the experience digitally with their friends. Seamlessly integrate your online and in-store marketing efforts so the two retail spaces work together and not against each other.
Use store vacancies to your advantage and set new standards with how you take your product to the people. Long-term retail leases are no longer affordable or necessary for many retailers. It’s all about the power of the pop-up – get out of the shop box and take your product to the path of the people.
Invest in Content Marketing
Search engines are constantly matching Googlers with relevant content. If there’s no content on your website (other than an About section, product images, prices, payment and postage details) then how can Google possibly drive traffic to your site?! Start building the personality around your brand via your website and social media platforms and share your story with the world. Don’t know how to create fresh, engaging and relevant content, or simply don’t have time? Easy. Ask us to manage it for you.
Invest in Collaborating with Your Customers
As well as curating a fabulous, relevant collection of goodies, season after season – give your shoppers the chance to ‘crowdsource’ or in other words, let them play an interactive role in the product you sell. Let them submit ideas and make decisions on products or capsule collections via your social media platforms that they can see the fruits of in-store and online. Remember it’s no longer about telling him/her what she needs, but about sharing and caring by way of collaboration. Let your shopper become a part of your brand.
If you thought 2013 was the year of ‘online versus in-store’ or ‘international versus local retailer’ (insert Topshop, Zara, Uniqlo, H&M) you ‘aint seen nothing yet. It’s time to get excited, re-think how you’ve done retail in the past and shake your retail approach up.
Words by raraPR Founder and Creative Director, Jade Roberts.