Small is mighty. As shown by our recent post, In Retail, Small is Big, smaller consumer goods suppliers and retailers have an enormous edge in today’s evolving market.
Since we published that post, a new report found that Millennials favor small food companies, which have gained market share in 62% of the top 50 packaged food categories.1 LaVito, Angelica. Millennials like small food companies, but big brands aren’t dead — yet. CNBC. June 15, 2017. In the cosmetics and baby categories, small companies that sell natural and organic products continue to thrive.2Garcia, Tonya. How small cosmetics companies are changing the face of beauty. MarketWatch. April 8, 2017.3Howe, Neil. Nothing’s Too Good For My Baby. Forbes. November 30, 2016.
To take advantage of the encouraging trend toward small, here are a dozen practical, budget-friendly tips to help your small retail company to embrace its size and succeed during this period of retail reinvention.
- Emphasize your uniqueness
Shoppers love variety and diversity on store shelves, and they savor the thrill of discovering new and different products, companies and experiences. Today’s shoppers also want to see behind-the-scenes, so share authentic brand stories, including the history and heritage of your company and products, to cultivate an emotional connection to your company and show how you add unique value.
- Connect through outstanding customer service
Happy customers are your best marketing asset. Having a customer-centric culture and consistently delivering attentive, personalized customer service can help your small company stand out from larger rivals. Adding a personal touch and building relationships through excellent customer service can make customers feel special, which can lead to sales, positive word of mouth and growth for your company.
- Entice shoppers with savings
Everybody loves a great deal, particularly savvy, value-oriented Millennial shoppers. Let your customers know you appreciate them by periodically offering deals that fit your marketing budget. Lure new customers and reward loyal ones with money-saving deals, including discounts, promo codes, private sales or free shipping.
- Stand out online
Great digital content levels the playing field for companies of all sizes and it can influence purchase decisions. Grab customers’ attention with fun, attractive images and videos on your website, blog and Facebook, and share gorgeous product photos on Pinterest and Instagram.
- Demonstrate innovation
Do your products offer a fresh approach to your category or niche? If so, celebrate how your company thinks differently. Nielsen found 81% of Millennials are willing to pay more for innovative new products, so show shoppers how your products are refreshingly distinct from everything else on the shelf.
- Show corporate social responsibility
In general, today’s shoppers – especially Millennials and Gen Zs – are conscious consumers who are willing to pay more for sustainable products. Share how your company makes a positive social, ethical or environmental impact, and consider aligning your brand with a relevant social or environmental cause that matters to your target audience.
- Educate shoppers
Inform and inspire consumers by sharing helpful information to make their lives easier, such as recipe ideas, beauty tips or proven suggestions for specific groups, such as new parents or pet owners. Add value by solving your customers’ common pain points, like how to prepare a week’s worth of fast, healthy meals or how to protect children’s sensitive skin during the summer.
- Build trust by sharing shoppers’ feedback
Make it easy for customers to share what they think about your brand, as it shows you care about their feedback and you are willing to continuously improve their customer experience. Allow consumers to provide online reviews and testimonials of your products and company–recent studies found 92% of customers read online reviews and 55% of shoppers say online reviews influence their buying decision.
- Try crowdsourcing
Spark product innovation by crowdsourcing – directly asking your customers for their opinion on new products. Crowdsourcing deepens engagement and provides powerful market intelligence through open dialogue. For instance, food suppliers can ask for new flavor suggestions and baby product retailers can ask for suggestions on how to adapt their stores to better accommodate parents and infants.
- Encourage user-generated content
Make your marketing more interactive and personal by inviting consumers to share images of themselves using your product or shopping in your store. On your website, blog or social sites, let shoppers share relevant content, such as their favorite recipes or their proven skincare tips. Publishing consumers’ creative ideas makes them feel valued, which could convert them into passionate brand advocates for your company.
- Think local
Local is hot. Consumers want to know what’s available in their community. In response, offer local specials and promotions, and target consumers with direct mail, flyers or ads. Help nearby shoppers find you online with greater ease by using local search marketing, including online ads, Google Maps, Apple Maps, Yelp and TripAdvisor. Participate in local events and check out the Location Based Marketing Association, which holds events in major cities.
- Show you’re trendy
Tell shoppers how your offerings are relevant to their lifestyles and values. Emphasize how your company and products align with emerging consumer trends, including health and wellness, natural and organic, and sustainability.
Applying these suggestions can help your retail company take full advantage of today’s “Small is Big” trend, so you stand out and sell more.