Last week, John McHugh, president of Brainstorm was invited to speak a quarterly meeting for the Luxury Shops at Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington, NY. The event was hosted on February, 25th in a private room at Brio, a Tuscan restaurant in the Walt Whitman Shops. Representatives from major Luxury brands such as Apple, Brooks Brothers, Kate Spade, Microsoft and Tumi were in attendance and geared up to discuss marketing efforts to drive qualified shoppers to the newly renovated shops.
Mr. McHugh headed an interactive discussion focused on the importance of Community Outreach and Digital Marketing for retailers. The talk was well received and followed by a round table discussion where representatives from the shops shared successful marketing strategies of their own. It was an insightful and fun night for all that attended.
“I just want to say thank you so much. Last night was a great success. I really learned a lot from your talk and I think the retailers did too.”quotes Tyler Andrews, Interim Marketing Manager at Walt Whitman Shops.
Here is a brief overview of Mr. McHugh’s presentation:
According to study by Echo Research, 82 percent of U.S. consumers consider corporate social responsibility (CSR) when deciding which products or services to buy and where to shop. This fact illustrates that customers want to buy from retailers who give back to the community. Plus, an interesting finding was that Mothers and Millennials are two groups that are particularly interested in community-minded businesses.
Examples of community outreach for retailers:
Hosting a charity event – Partner with a local charity.
Sponsoring a benefit – Walks and relays or golf outings.
Sponsoring local events– Town parades, children’s events and sports teams.
Giving back to groups – Such as: Teachers, Police, Firefighters.
Networking organizations & groups
In addition to community outreach, digital marketing tactics such as online reviews, local search and social media prove to be powerful drivers of sales for retailers.
Online reviews are very influential for customers that are researching and pre-shopping before entering a brick and mortar store. In fact, a study by Harvard business school showed that every star in Yelp equates to a 5% increase in sales. “In this day and age, retailers need to be pro-active and monitor online reviews. They should be responding promptly to negative reviews and asking satisfied customers to post reviews”.quotes McHugh.
Local Search, which is the process of optimizing local business listings and maps on sites like Google, Yahoo, Bing, YP and others, is also a top contender for driving local traffic. Businesses should be monitoring these websites on a regular basis to ensure business name, address, phone, category, photos, hours & reviews are all correct and consistent.
Last but certainly not least is Social Media, offering many new advertising opportunities for retailers, especially on Facebook and Instagram. Now businesses have the ability to run campaigns ultra-targeted by age, location, likes and interests. And if advertising is not in the budget, Mom’s groups, which are available in many Long Island towns, offer organic exposure and can open up a dialogue with thousands of local Mom’s. A positive mention in one of these groups almost always guarantees an immediate increase in store traffic.
Community outreach and social media are two great methods of establishing loyal customers and differentiating businesses from their competitors. Plus, in most cases, these tactics will drive more sales and cost less than traditional advertising.
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