Driving foot traffic to a specific bricks-and-mortar retail outlet may seem something of a traditional art, and it is critical for any business to have a support programme that can be delivered through localised thinking applied to compelling marketing communications.  Whilst traditional media remains an important part of the mix, use of digital technologies is, unsurprisingly, seeing the most significant growth.

Creating your local retail tool kit

New store openings have it easier with a more obvious focus; there are many tools at a marketer’s disposal to make ‘Day One’ as big as possible, with opening events promoted on local radio, press advertising and prominent OOH, launch promotions in-store, and a newsworthy reason to create lots of PR at both a local and national level.  Maintaining momentum is another task, and established sites need to act past full-on awareness-driving, and tap into giving consumers the easiest purchase path from consideration through to commitment to buy – right through your front door.

Location-based marketing is a very empowering sector in the overall marketing ecosystem. The emergence of this is driven largely by a high-penetration (but still rapidly growing) smartphone culture, improving digital and online technologies, and the bypassing of traditional media (such as print newspapers) by consumers.

The power of location for retail

We are now in a world where every person, place, and thing will soon be “real-time” geo-addressable or tagged – unless, of course, individuals specifically “opt out”, even temporarily.  Such a world enables us to create both one-to-one and one-to-many marketing messages that can be targeted to support individual retail locations, allowing us to reach and engage with our audience through tools and platforms that capture the geographic location of the audience.

The delivery mechanisms used for location-based marketing include mobile sites, apps, text messaging, optimised SEO, digital OOH, and smart TV.  By knowing the position of a consumer relative to bricks-and-mortar retail locations using geo-fencing technology, marketers can trigger relevant alerts and reminders, and provide relevant value-added information, discounts or deals when and where the consumer needs it.

Great retail expectations

The goal for retailers is improved traffic, loyalty, word-of-mouth advertising and, of course, sales. Marketers want effective consumer targeting and improved ROI, while customers demand relevance and value. The ability to tailor the messages that reach the consumer is a key benefit of location-based marketing, and allows marketers to effectively plan specific store support in a much more targeted way, and therefore measure it too.

As we have said in some of our more recent blogs, the constant new development in mobile and digital technologies is transforming the retail industry in a significant way.  All traditional-focussed businesses are impacted by these new capabilities, and retailers are increasingly expected to tap into these engagement opportunities to communicate relevantly with consumers.

Embrace your digital self

To ensure you’re ready to tap into new technologies to effectively communicate with your customers, there are a few front-of-mind points that are vital:

  • Use accurate location data.  It sounds obvious, but you must start with complete and accurate data for your location.  Anyone who uses Google Maps listings regularly, will have noticed that companies often have missing or incorrect phone numbers, inaccurate opening hours, and that the pin placements are wrong or inconsistent.
  • Optimise for mobile discovery.  How does a national coffee house brand become the local cafe? Google+ makes it simple – local links + local content + local engagement = local caff.  National retailers that embrace the Google+ local pages for their stores will win big in mobile discovery, as consumers are usually looking for a particular category of retail outlet.
  • Keep messaging relevant and local. Publish local landing pages for each location to maximise traffic and provide a customer experience that’s enriched with relevant content such location-specific offers and events, reviews, product listings, photos and videos.
  • Just get started…  It’s easy to get stuck into planning ad infinitum, and larger organisations will find this particular jumping-off point more difficult to get to than smaller, and potentially more agile, companies.  However, technology and consumer expectations are moving on at such a pace that just getting going will mark a huge step-change in ensuring your marketing outputs are delivering locally.

Speak to us today to find out how we can help you get the most out of your local retail marketing activity.

Caroline Finch-Denham

Account Director