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How to nail your in-store marketing in a small store

Many independent retail businesses spend a significant amount of their budget on advertising to drive footfall into their store; but they miss out on potential sales because of poor store layout and a lack of in-store promotional materials.

In-store marketing has the power to turn prospects into converted customers and drive add-on sales. But where do you start?

Look in from the outside

Do you have any shop window space? Go outside your store and look in from the outside. If you were a passer-by would you be tempted to enter? Your window space is your most valuable piece of in-store advertising; think of it the same way you do your website homepage. You want to communicate your brand to passing trade; as well as using your products, a simple window cling can add colour or advertise a special offer.

Step inside

When you walk into your store, what's the first thing you see and where are your eyes drawn? Ideally your best sellers should be as near to the entrance as possible; you know these products sell well, they are a safe bet and the perfect introductory point. The entrance to your store should have a distinct space to give your customer time to orientate themselves, so position these products close to your entrance but don't over-crowd the space.

Watch and learn

Have you ever simply observed the way your customers move around your store? This can be insightful. Nine times out of ten, first time visitors are likely to pick up the first thing they see, it helps them familiarise themselves with their surroundings and your products. However this can be different dependent upon the store layout and product – take notes.

Identify opportunities

As a rule of thumb your high traffic areas tend to be the till point and fitting rooms (if you have them), so make the most of these areas. For example, if you're a clothing retailer try merchandising a wall next to the fitting room with jewellery and accessories. It will prompt your customers to consider whether they need something to match the item they plan on purchasing. At the till point customers have already made the decision to purchase an item and are in a purchasing frame of mind. This is why we tend to advertise lower value items here. Try placing a brightly coloured Dump Bin near your till point that advertises special offers.

Create a flow

No matter how small the space, you want to encourage people to move around. If you're a relatively small store you might have to use a free-flow layout. Instead of having defined aisles, the angles and corners of fixtures guide customers around your store. If space is tight you may find a free-standing display unit helpful, providing shelf space but with a relatively small footprint. You can brand these with your company logo, text and colours too.

Copyright © 2015 Mark Simpson, chairman of Simpson Group which runs the Shop4Pop website.

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