Maximize Your In-Store Marketing Efforts

While advertising can bring customers to a store, it can also work from within your store. Today many retailers realize how important in-store advertising can be to their bottom line.

Despite the drop among television viewers between 18-34, television advertising is still a 50+ billion dollar industry. Meanwhile, in-store advertising accounts for just over 15 billion dollars. This does not mean that retailers prefer advertising on television by a 3 to 1 ratio: It means that you can spend a lot less money advertising in your store. Moreover, you'll find that it can be highly effective.

A common strategy among retailers is to first release sufficient (though not high-budget) marketing and advertising in order to draw people to their place of business and then to advertise and promote heavily inside of their business. The theory is that people come into a retail establishment with one or a few key items in mind; the goal is to entice these shoppers to buy more with well-planned advertising and marketing within the store.

In-store advertising can:

  1. Trigger recall. The human memory is far more likely to recall an item upon seeing it again. In-store advertising can serve to trigger such recall.
  2. Introduce new products. Unfamiliar products may not draw people to a store, but within the store such products can attract attention through their look, feel, or smell.
  3. Promote sale items. While a "one day only" newspaper ad can draw people to your store, in-store sales place those lower prices in front of your customer and encourage additional -- and even impulse -- buys.
  4. Provide more information. Whether you use a plasma screen or simple signs to highlight your featured merchandise, you want to communicate the information to your customers that will convince them to make smart purchases.

Of course, in-store advertising is most effective with a strategy. This means to first determine where to place racks, cubes, platforms, mannequins, and especially your well-designed signage in order to best display your merchandise. High-traffic areas -- doorways, cash registers, fitting rooms, for example -- should be your first consideration.

Other considerations when planning your in-store advertising include:

  • Creativity. Position your products in an interesting manner or on an original backdrop. Remember: You want to catch the eye of your customers as they pass your displays.
  • Lighting. Make sure all areas where advertising is present -- whether it's as a display or as signage -- are well lit and attractive.
  • Hands-on activities. Toy stores have displays where kids can play. Supermarkets have in-store samples. Tech stores let you test much of the merchandise. What can you do to tempt your customers?
  • Themes. Is it back-to-school time? Mothers' day? Thematic in-store advertising can focus around a specific season, holiday, or even a new trend or fashion.
  • Store layout. If your toys are in the back of the store, batteries should be as well. If women's clothing is located on the lower level, fashion accessories should be advertised and displayed en route to and from those escalators. Consider the layout of your location and how your customers get to the goodies that they seek. Then, advertise along the routes that they have to take, just as you see ads for hotels and restaurants along interstate highways.
  • All five senses. You've already designed the look of your advertisements and displays, but sound and smell should not be left out of in-store advertising. Customers will be curious about the music they hear or the enchanting aroma they smell. If you sell edibles, feature samples of a particular product each day. These are all things that can encourage purchases and repeat patrons.

In-store advertising and promotion can be a huge boost to your business. Of course, the subtlety of the advertising and the type of displays will need to match the tone and ambiance of your retail establishment. From bargain bins to haute couture, never underestimate the potential for additional sales when you work to lure customers to "unwanted" merchandise, or those items that they did not anticipate wanting or needing when they first entered.


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