If you are planning on opening a retail, fast food, or dental office in a retail site, have a marketing plan in place and functioning that kicks into gear on the same day you sign the lease for your new space. The days of just hanging out a sign and waiting for the customers to walk in the door are gone. Develop a coordinated marketing plan designed to bring a rush of customers to your door when your business is new and fresh. This applies whether you are opening a barber shop, clothing store, restaurant or sporting goods store. It applies to every kind of store.
Marketing is one of the two keys to success in launching any business. Innovation is the key to marketing. Innovation within a new retail business could be the product your selling, but it should always be central to the brand and style you present to your potential customers.
A good marketing plan will integrate five different types of marketing that you need into areas you must cover to open your business with a bang.
1) Make your store front signs unique. Generic signage like “DELI” or ‘MARKET” only tell passers-by that you exist, but they do little to say, ” come in, I’m good, I’m different.” Create a brand identity to prominently display on the front of your building. This branding will create positive overflow into all the other areas of your business.
2) Traditional media; ie. newspaper press releases, cable and radio commercials, brochures and mailings are powerful, and yet, I rarely see small businesses use one. Tradition media is a great tool for getting yourself and your business known. They can coordinate a media blitz focused on the day you open your doors, as well as, your ongoing effort to keep your business name in the public eye.
3) Website and social media have changed forever how people shop. Having and using a website effectively is not an option it is a must. Using the new social media mobile platforms is probably a “must” for the future. People expect to see your business on the web. Static fixed websites are on the way out. Flexible blog platforms, which allow easy updates and make for a more friendly online environment are “in”.
4) Grand openings and politicians go hand in hand. Get the word out to the surrounding neighbors, friends, set up a grand opening, which would include local politicians, radio personalities or anyone else who might drive traffic. be sure to keep the traditional media aware of our grand opening and participating dignitaries.
5) Merchandising your store is the last element of a successful launch. I know that large retailers spend millions working and reworking their merchandising plans and layouts.
Yes, it will cost some money to do these things. Think of it this way: you are taking the risk to open a new store so why not make a complete commitment. Put everything you’ve got into it and spend the money that a full-blown marketing plan will take. After watching numerous stores open with poor marketing and most eventually failing there is no question that doing it right means a complete marketing effort.