2020 Digital Marketing Insights for Retailers in Ireland
From “mom and pop” shops to large-scale retail shops and everything in between, the retail industry in Ireland is becoming increasingly competitive. Add in e-commerce, and things become even more challenging. The good news is that Irish retailers can harness the power of digital marketing to help them stand out in the crowded marketplace, reach their audience, engage with those most likely to make a purchase from them, and more.
In truth, all retailers should be using both traditional marketing and digital marketing techniques to attract new customers and engage with their existing audience. Of course, not all digital marketing techniques and tactics are worth your time. There’s also the fact that many retailers lack a digital marketing background, which can make it virtually impossible to understand how many of the more effective insights should be employed within a business.
Below, we’ll cover 27 of the most important insights on how Irish retailers can use digital marketing to improve their profitability and grow their businesses.
- Invest in a CRM System: CRM stands for customer relationship management, and these systems can make it simpler and easier for you to remain connected with your customers, to streamline processes within your business, and improve your organisation’s profitability. You’ll discover a wide range of CRM systems out there, from Salesforce to HubSpot, Pipedrive to Zoho, and each brings something a little different to the table. The best advice here is to compare your options, choose one that fits your budget while offering the tools you need, and ensure that it can be implemented easily within your business. Not sure which features are the most important to have? While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here, some of the most critical include the following:
- Contact management
- The sales team and customer opportunity management
- Sales forecasting
- Sales analytics
- Email client integration
- Reporting and dashboard access
- Marketing automation integration
- Support automation
- Mobile CRM
- Lead management
- Create a Rewards Club: A rewards club offers your customers value in exchange for their loyalty (which is why they’re also called loyalty clubs). Simply instituting such a club is a simple, effective way to get your customers to share their email address or mobile number with you. That information can then be entered into your CRM system and used to market promotions to club members. With the right CRM, this is simple to do and can be automated to save time and reduce costs. Of course, don’t neglect the fact that rewards clubs should offer something of value to its members, so make sure that whatever promotions you’re marketing to members are unique and not available to those outside the club.
- Use Google AdWords: Google AdWords can be a powerful tool to drive visibility with your audience through paid displays within the SERPs. This is an excellent way to reach potential customers, but you will need to make sure you’re targeting the right keywords. A little bit of research into the words and phrases people use to find products like yours is invaluable here. It’s also essential that you monitor your efforts and adjust ads as you go to ensure that you’re staying abreast of shifts in search trends and the actions of your competitors.
- Choose the Right Social Media Platform: Social media is a must for retailers of all types in Ireland but remember that not all social platforms are created equal. What is right for one business may be a complete waste of time and money for another one. LinkedIn is primarily for B2B needs, while Instagram is a better fit for companies with images to promote their products. Twitter has morphed into a platform that is primarily focused on news and updates, while Facebook is the most flexible and powerful, providing you with a way to provide updates to your audience, announce the news, share pictures, promote videos, and more.
- Use Facebook’s Ad Manager to Tailor Adverts: Facebook offers powerful advertising tools that allow you to get your message in front of thousands, perhaps millions, of potential customers. However, putting your message on blast is usually not the best way to generate interest or engagement. Instead, use Facebook Ad Manager to tailor your adverts for specific segments of your audience. This ensures much better reach and engagement, reduces your costs, and improves overall success. You can tailor your adverts in a wide range of ways, including geographic location, by demographics, by interests, and much more to ensure that you’re getting the right message in front of the right people at the right time.
- Use Social Media to Announce Special Offers: Social media platforms can allow you to interact with your followers in unique ways. Special offers can be platform-specific and make excellent ways to reward your followers for their loyalty. They can also be used to incentivise new followers and make it easy to track your results, as long as the URL attached to the post leads to a specific landing page. Tracking metrics ensures that you’re able to verify what’s working, what’s not working, and make adjustments along the way.
- Run Competitions on Social Platforms: Everyone loves a good competition. You can use almost anything as a reward – it could be a discount, or it could be something free. The most important thing is that whatever’s being offered should have value to your audience, or you will not get much traction from your competition. The simplest way to run such a competition is as follows:
- Create a post announcing the competition.
- Set rules for entrants, such as “like this post, like our page, and comment on the post”.
- Assign numbers to the comments.
- Use a random number generator to determine which comment wins.
- Announce the winner of the competition with a reply to their comment.
Of course, there are infinite variations on how to run a social media-based contest. The important thing is to remember that it should be fun, should reward your entrants, and should build your brand in a positive way.
- Digital Radio Ads: Digital radio and streaming music platforms have become very popular in recent years. Many of these offer the ability to advertise your products similar to traditional radio spots. This format is often overlooked by retailers, giving you less competition. You also gain the ability to market to people during their daily lives away from traditional digital devices. For instance, many people listen to streaming music during their commute, while others listen during their daily exercise routine. Of course, you’ll need to carefully consider your language, make sure you’re evoking the right ideas, and keep your message short and concise in order to maximise the value of these ads.
- Offer BOPIS Campaigns: While this is not a good option for those without a brick-and-mortar location, a BOPIS campaign can offer a lot of traction for those with a physical storefront. BOPIS stands for “buy online and pick up in-store”, also called click and collect, and the benefit of this method over a pure e-commerce approach is that it gets customers into your physical store where they can interact with your staff, get hands-on with your other merchandise, and there’s a greater chance that they’ll make an additional purchase.
- Offer Free Gifts but Only for In-Store Pickup: Who doesn’t love a free gift? It’s a great way to reduce excess stock while also building loyalty with your audience. However, you can increase the value of these campaigns to your retail operation by requiring your recipients to come into your store to receive the gift. This is a great promotion to announce through social media channels and email, will boost foot traffic into your store, and increase the chance that those coming to your store to pick up a gift will also make a purchase while they’re there.
- Announce In-Store Events: Are you having an in-store event? Whether it’s a wine or beer-tasting, a food sampling, a product demonstration, or something else, you must get the word out about it. Digital marketing tools and platforms give you a simple, effective way to do this – emailing your audience can ensure a good turnout for the event. You can and should announce it on Facebook, too. Make sure that you provide an initial announcement and then a follow-up reminder closer to the event. You could even use Facebook Events to promote it to a wider audience and track potential attendee numbers.
- Offer a Discount for Those Who Bring a Friend: Looking for a unique promotion to run that will increase foot traffic to your physical location? Run an email campaign that encourages the recipient to bring a friend with them to your store in exchange for a special discount unavailable to those who come solo. As with other methods we’ve discussed, this one can also work very well with social media platforms and can be tied into Facebook Events if you like.
- Use a Social Media Management Tool: Social media is an invaluable aid for building a stronger retail business. However, doing all the work manually can be more than time-consuming – it can be impossible. There are numerous social media management tools available that can automate many of the more mundane tasks, help you schedule posts, and ensure that you’re able to track the metrics that matter most to you. Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but some of the more popular management platforms include the following:
- In-Store Redeemable Mobile Discounts: Mobile has become the preferred way of accessing the Internet. You can turn that to your advantage by offering discounts that can only be redeemed in your store sent via text message. Of course, this does require that you find a way to get your customers to give you their mobile number. That can be done through a range of options, including opt-in lists, loyalty clubs, reward clubs, and more.
- Show Inventory Levels in Search Results: When someone searches for products that you carry, it’s important that you do more than simply show them that you usually stock it. In fact, consumers are less likely to visit your store if they do not know what your inventory is like for the product they want to purchase. Google Local Inventory Ads offer a simple way to show searchers how many of a particular item you have in stock at the store, encouraging them to pay an in-person visit.
- Mobile-First Website: In 2018, over 50% of the world’s Internet traffic was through a mobile device. 2019 is expected to build on that trend. What does this mean for Irish retailers? It’s no longer enough to have a website. It’s no longer enough to offer basic e-commerce functionality. Your website needs to be built from the ground up with a mobile-first mentality, which means that it should be easy to navigate on a small screen, and it should be simple for your customers to find what they’re looking for without having to use a laptop or desktop.
- Invest in Local SEO Optimisation: For retailers that run both online and brick-and-mortar shops, local SEO is of paramount importance. It gives you a leg up on the purely online competition, as well as physical stores located in other geographic areas. Make sure that you optimise your website content, meta tags and titles, and other elements for local search including relevant keywords, the neighborhood name, city or town name, and more. For instance, if you run an athletic shoe store in Dublin, “Dublin running shoe store” might be a relevant localisation term.
- PPC Campaigns: PPC campaigns are often thought of as being best used while building your organic search presence. There is some truth to that, but these ads can be useful in many other situations. For instance, you can localise PPC campaigns and reduce your ad spend while increasing traffic to your physical storefront. There are plenty of ways you can do this, such as using AdWords location extensions in-text ads, creating retargeting groups for website visitors, using Google Local Inventory Ads (as mentioned previously on this list), and more.
- Use Press Releases to Your Advantage: Press releases have been used for decades to announce important news and in the digital environment, they can pull double duty. Today, press releases offer the chance to improve your SEO, while also announcing important information and informing the public about your store’s location, products, services, and more. A well-written press release can even be picked up by local and national media outlets to extend your reach even farther.
- Use Product Feeds: Do you sell your merchandise online? Even if your site is only partially e-commerce focused, product feeds can be invaluable tools that enable you to extend your reach, expand your market share, and build your brand. These are really nothing more than files generated by your website that include things like product photos and descriptions, specials, pricing, and the like. They can be submitted to comparison sites, search engines like Google and Bing, and even delivered to consumer feed readers to inform and bolster your presence in the SERPs.
- Go Beyond Search Engines: Sure, Google and Bing are probably the two largest sources of traffic to your website. However, there are so many other options out there. Local business directories and the like can be powerful tools that allow you to not only get your information in front of additional potential customers but to create another listing online. As long as the information is congruent with other listings of your business online (address, phone number, etc.), this can boost your reputation with Google and increase your rankings in the SERPs.
- Consider Affiliate Marketing: If you want to expand your reach while minimising your marketing spending, think about creating an affiliate marketing programme. Essentially, this is nothing more than allowing affiliates to create their own website and market your products on your behalf. They earn a small commission on each sale they make but otherwise are not compensated. You can create and manage your own affiliate programme, or you can use a third-party solution to handle programme management, saving time and allowing you to focus on building your business.
- Offer Free Shipping: Want to compete with more established online stores? Offer free shipping. This is one of the primary ways that Amazon trumps smaller e-commerce operations. It’s not product price in most instances. Consumers today do not want to pay for shipping and will often go elsewhere to find the products they need to avoid those costs. However, while you should consider offering free shipping, it may be worth considering making your customer pay for shipping on any returns, as this can reduce the return rate you experience.
- Segment Your Audience with Personas: Finding traction through digital marketing can be challenging if you’re using the same message for your entire audience. While your product might be the same, each segment of your audience has different reasons for needing or wanting it. You need to turn that to your advantage by segmenting your audience by using personas to create specific marketing messages to each area of your audience. Doing so trumps blasting the same message to consumers with drastically different motivations and needs.
- Consider an App: For many smaller retailers, creating a custom app is not feasible. However, for larger retailers with wider audiences, a branded app can be a great way to not only drive sales but also to engage with your audience in an environment with fewer distractions and no competitors.
- Make the Most of Google Shopping: Google is quickly becoming not only the first place online searchers go but the only place they visit. The search giant is taking steps to better answer questions through the SERPs, and even display products. Google Shopping gives you the ability to display product pictures, prices, descriptions, and more, all above paid search ads.
- Make Your Product Images Crawlable: Your product images can do more than just offer eye candy for shoppers. They can also be important parts of your SEO strategy. Use high-quality images and make sure they’re crawlable by using encoded URLs, alt tags, and the like.
Read on to discover another three valuable digital marketing insights for retailers!
- Make Product Reviews Visible: No one wants to buy a product without any feedback from other customers. Product reviews provide social proof that your product is what it claims to be. Ensure that you make product reviews visible and accessible. Also, resist the urge to use paid-for reviews – always go the route of authenticity.
- Consider Podcast Advertising: Podcasting has been around or many years at this point, but it’s finally hitting its stride. Popular shows can have thousands, even tens of thousands, of listeners per episode, which makes this medium an excellent option for paid advertising, particularly if you’re able to tap into a locally popular podcast.
- Add Video: Video content is one of the most successful formats for digital marketing. It can be incorporated in almost any format, from emails to social media posts to your website pages themselves. Video can add humour, a touch of local flavour, be used to explore product quality or use, and much more.
Use our expertise and assistance
There are plenty of ways that Irish retailers can put digital marketing to use on their behalf. If you’re still struggling, we’d love the opportunity to lend our expertise and assistance. Call us today on 01 808 1301 to learn more about our capabilities and offerings.