Becoming a digital merchant: 10 digital marketing ideas for the retail sector

Becoming a digital merchant: 10 digital marketing ideas for the retail sector

It’s easy to say online shopping. For numerous shopkeepers, accustomed to the brick and mortar point of sale and old-fashioned ways of selling, the idea of going online and becoming digital merchants can be intimidating.

Behind a digital showcase there are investments to be made in terms of money and time, and technical skills required. Not to mention social media: essential for visibility, they are often considered too complex and strenuous to manage continuously.

And although almost everyone likes the idea of being online to reach a wider target and increase their earnings, not everybody knows where to start.

Here are some digital marketing tips for retailers to stand out on the web without too many complications, and become successful digital merchants!

From social media to video commerce: the 10 most effective digital marketing ideas for retailers on the web

1. Expand your community with contests or giveaways

If you’ve just landed online, then certainly you don’t enjoy a big following on social media.

Don’t worry: let’s start expanding this community with specific social media marketing initiatives to reach that goal.

Have you ever heard of contests or giveaways? These activities are implemented by brands or retail brands that, in exchange for a like on the page or participation in a game, offer products or experiences as a gift to users.

All you have to do is give away some products or services for free and tell users. Perhaps also leaning on other brands to communicate the initiative to as many people as possible, asking them to follow your page and share everything on their personal channels: and in no time at all, there will be a chain reaction that, like an avalanche, will expand your community.

Any user who spends free time on social media will certainly appreciate a brand that is present and active on those media.

A fundamental digital marketing strategy for retail is to preside over these channels – especially virtual ones – where your community gets its information proving you are connected. Being able to create a direct line of communication on social media answering customer questions in real-time, is a very effective strategic lever for engaging consumers and reassuring them, as well as the first step to becoming real digital merchants.

3. Study a rich editorial plan

To be a good digital merchant, remember not to use social media merely for promotional purposes: posting fun and interesting content is one way to engage the community making customers more active.

In digital marketing for retail a simple trick is to post the main anniversaries or holidays, even if they’re not so “traditional”. What do we mean? In addition to a greeting message – mandatory! – for Christmas or Easter, find some unconventional holiday on the calendar: if you are a pastry shop, for example, it would be nice to create an ad hoc post on 5 February for World Nutella Day, while, if you sell toys, you might be interested in knowing that National Barbie Day is celebrated on 9 March.

A thematic perhaps slightly ironic post, can engage the community and stimulate sharing, to the full advantage of your visibility.

4. Create a custom hashtag

Hashtags are fundamental tools, on Instagram and Twitter, for any company that wants to connect with their community by creating storytelling around their brand.

If you want to light the fuse of the social conversation about your brand, don’t miss this opportunity. Create a custom brand hashtag, with your brand name that is unique and recognisable and let users use it to refer to you in the photo and video content they post online.

Don’t forget to “repost” everything to engage the community!

5. People love stories

Fast, instant and easy to follow: social media stories are increasingly loved by users and increasingly used by brands (almost 65% of brands use them).

They like it because they say so, in a fresh and friendly way, the life of a brand or a sign and provide useful content without being boring. Use them to present new products, to show glimpses of the store, to do some tutorials less conventionally or to introduce customers to the new ShopCall video call shopping service. 😉.

Besides, through the stories you can interact with customers, asking questions and doing surveys. Do you want to know if your followers prefer panettone with or without candied fruit – perhaps to drive your restocking – or do you want to get feedback on the recent restyling of your store? You just have to post a story containing a survey or an open question to invite users to respond!

6. Promotional emails really work!

Don’t be afraid to be intrusive: according to a recent survey, most consumers like being informed by the brands they relate to about promotions or other offers, at least every month (86% of respondents), if not even weekly (61%).

Take advantage of this to send promotional or entertaining emails , to a defined mailing list of customers: it is a winning digital marketing strategy for retail and will be an opportunity to maintain contact with them.

7. Harness the power of video

A video is worth a thousand words, especially when it comes to marketing. Engaging and persuasive, a video is certainly more performing, especially when it is done live and not pre-recorded. The principal social platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, easily allow you to communicate with your community through live videos: with a single message, you can reach thousands of users at the same time, taking the opportunity to simulate a virtual tour in the store, to respond to some frequently asked questions or to explain your products and services’ characteristics.

Video is a must-have element in a digital merchant’s marketing strategy.

8. Go with video commerce!

Not only informative: the purpose of videos is becoming increasingly of a commercial nature. Thanks to the innovative video-streaming platform dedicated to the retail world, such as ShopCall, video can enhance the sales strategy enriching the customer experience of online buyers. This is especially true at a time when travel is limited and entering a store can be problematic. Offer the customer the possibility to connect via video with the desired store, communicating face-to-face with the shopkeeper, provides added value without comparisons.

9. Bring backstage prestige

To give added value to a product, there is nothing better than showing what is behind it: suppliers, artisans and local production companies add preciousness and care to every item or service.

Use social media to highlight the behind the scenes of your store: with the consent of your partners, publish what happens in the “back shop”, also giving visibility to the faces of those who make the production of the goods possible with their work.

You will benefit from it in credibility and trust.

10. Music!

The soundtrack is fundamental during the shopping experience. It can inject energy and zeal, or on the contrary, relax and promote the tranquillity of consumers.

It’s quite likely that when shopping was mainly done in the store, you took care of these aspects studying a playlist that matched your brand’s personality and the tastes of customers. And now that shopping is mostly done online? Don’t lose track of everything and retrieve that sequence of songs: post it on dedicated platforms, such as Spotify, to let customers breathe your brand experience even when they are not physically inside the store and use social media or an email to inform them of its publication.

And if you like, why not create branded playlists for special events, holidays or anniversaries? It’s a nice and simple way to always stay top of mind!

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