Top challenges faced by local retailers

Top challenges faced by local retailers

The past two years have pushed retailers to their limits, with many unfortunately not surviving. This has also created a push towards switching to online shopping in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Reading and adapting to quick market conditions have often been the key to retailers surviving the crunch. 

There’s a myriad of other elements impacting retails, such as the following:

  1. Staffing issues due to COVID-19: With new variants emerging and rules constantly changing, it’s difficult for businesses to stay ahead of the curve. As infection rates continue to fluctuate, staff often need to be furloughed, creating problems for rostering and shift scheduling. 
  2. Expensive deep cleaning: The cost of cleaning is likely to have increased for most retailers, and they fight to keep their stores safe and hygienic to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect both staff and customers.
  3. Less foot traffic: Due to lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and general caution, people are choosing to spend less time in crowded retail locations like shopping malls or busy high streets. Instead, they’re opening for shopping online or limiting shopping to their necessities. 
  4. eCommerce: The pandemic and various lockdowns have pushed many businesses to migrate online to survive, creating an environment of intense competition as companies fight for their share of voice. This has also driven up the cost of marketing and ads in a crowded digital marketplace.
  5. Marketing on a budget: Marketing has become a more significant challenge for retailers because of increased online competition and tighter budgets due to lower revenues. Many retailers rely on foot traffic, but there are fewer entry barriers when that’s removed. It puts everyone from independent retailers to major chains and franchises on an even keel.
  6. Privacy changes: Facebook, Apple, and Google are making widespread changes to privacy policies that give consumers greater control over what information is shared with advertisers. This, of course, is a good thing for consumers but makes digital marketing more challenging and less accurate. This leads to increased ad spending with lower revenues.
  7. Supply chain issues: Keeping an accurate gauge on sales and demand is crucial for planning stock orders and maintaining stock levels. This balancing act can be challenging because retailers have enough stock and don’t miss significant trends without over-purchasing too much inventory. Additionally, the timing of orders is essential as delivery times are constantly changing due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With so many new and emerging challenges being faced by retailers going into 2022, it’s hard to see an end in sight. However, business owners should focus on customer loyalty, providing a delightful customer experience, and get creative with ways to connect with their audience. 

It’s predicted that the next big thing in marketing for 2022 will be a focus on social selling, which is a great place for retailers to start targeting. 

Social selling has many benefits for brick and mortar businesses, including helping you reach new audiences, boost your search rankings and online traffic, and help establish your business in your local community. 

To support your local marketing efforts, Mobeo drives online traffic in-store with our suite of solutions, which can be customized to fit your individual business needs.

Talk to us today about how we can help boost your digital footprint.

Top tips for increasing conversion in your store

Top tips for increasing conversion in your store

The art of increasing the number of people who visit your store, whether physically or online, into paying customers is called “conversion rate optimization.”

Your conversion rate is calculated as the percentage of purchases compared to the total number of people who came into your store on a specific day. 

There’s a few different tips and tricks for how to improve the conversion rate for your store:

  1. Upselling and add-ons: Selling products in a package or complete solution rather than a single SKU. The profit margin generally comes from the second product sold because marketing expenses and fixed costs eat away the margin from the first product. Also, at the point of checkout, either the counter or at the website checkout, provide a range of commonly purchased items as impulse purchases. Another principle of retail merchandising is to place one main product with two companion products next to it, making it easier to upsell.
  2. Staff Scheduling: The best way to schedule staff shifts is around the peaks in shopping behavior throughout the day. This helps ensure that customers receive the proper attention during these busier periods. Additionally, staff deployment to serve customers instead of tending to routines like stocking shelves or pricing is equally important. Finally, staff must be available to shoppers to encourage sales and improve conversion rates.
  3. Staff Development & Training: Helpful sales associates who listen to customers and make recommendations can significantly boost conversions. Effectively training employees to help a shopper explore product options, ask about concerns and make helpful recommendations pays dividends. It’s always a great idea to create a collaborative environment by holding regular staff meetings to get everyone involved and on the same page. Incorporating weekly or monthly sales targets with incentives is a great way to boost morale and get staff excited. Employees are the most effective at upselling because they are on the ground, talking to customers, building trust, and making recommendations to the customer based on their needs.
  4. Keep it moving: Reducing lengthy queues is vital because sometimes customers will avoid stores with long lines because they perceive the wait time will be too long. Unfortunately, long wait times often harm the customer experience. You can overcome this hurdle by placing registers at the back of the store or having multiple checkout counters so that there are numerous shorter lines instead of one long line. An alternative to this is ditching POS all together by going mobile.
  5. Plan the layout: There’s proven consumer psychology at play when a customer steps into a store. These insights can be bolstered by clever retail merchandising to improve conversion rates. For example, your store’s first 5-15 feet is the “decompression zone,” whereby the customer soaks in the store environment and decides whether to continue their journey. Additionally, studies have shown that people tend to turn to whichever side they tend to drive on when they walk into a store. For example, people in the US, you’re more than 90% likely to turn right when you enter a store, whereas people in Australia, the UK, or New Zealand turn left. This means the direction that customers turn towards is your “power wall,” where you should display high-margin goods and ensure it’s well-stocked, clean, comprehensive, and easily navigated. You should also aim to remove excess merchandise from the store by having just one size of each product on the floor to keep it from looking cluttered.

As a note, if you’re starting conversion rate is truly abysmal (think 15% or lower), you should check your marketing. You may be mis-marketing your store, bringing in shoppers expecting something completely different than what you offer.

With these tips and tricks in mind, you should rethink your marketing and communications if your starting conversion rate is 15% or lower. 

Mobeo provides a powerful way to utilize hyper-local ads to drive traffic in-store and pick your products off the shelves; talk to us today.

Mobile Wallets in the new Contactless World

Mobile Wallets in the new Contactless World

With a global shift away from paper cash, physical loyalty cards, and checks towards digital payments and contactless transactions, more than 68% of consumers now use mobile payment apps for their everyday purchases.  

Mobile wallets have digitized payments, loyalty cards, coupons, public transport, tickets, airline passes, and car keys. 

The University of Illinois published a study in 2020, which found that there had been a 54% increase in the number of consumers using mobile wallets while shopping in brick-and-mortar stores compared to 2019. Interestingly, transaction size increased by 2.4% and purchase frequency by more than 23%.

But you may be asking what’s contributed to this supersonic growth and adoption?

Here are a few contributing factors that have played a role:

  1. Hygiene: With the advent of COVID-19, consumers are more conscious of cleanliness than ever before. Contactless payments provide an easy way to avoid having hundreds (if not thousands) of people touching the same surfaces, like the touchpad of a credit card terminal. 
  2. Security: Mobile wallets offer better protection against fraud because customers must unlock their smartphones before wirelessly connecting to a POS reader. They also use biometric authentication to secure fingerprint or facial recognition payments. Biometric technology is more secure because it checks something that cannot be changed or passed on, like a pin code or password. Additionally, the wallet cannot be accessed without getting past lock screens and biometric checks if the phone is stolen. Mobile wallets don’t store credit card numbers on the device. Instead, each transaction is “tokenized” using cryptography which verifies payments without sharing sensitive information. 
  3. Speed: Transaction processing times are up to ten times faster on mobile devices than with credit cards. The mobile wallet and POS terminal are connected to the internet, which means data can be transmitted much faster than the traditional one-way data transfer.
  4. Convenience: It’s easy to leave home without your wallet accidentally, but it’s much harder to leave your mobile phone at home since we’ve come to rely on them more and more. Also, mobile wallets remove the need to remember different pin codes or how many points are stored on each loyalty card, as all of this information is retained within the mobile wallet.

Mobile wallets have snowballed in popularity, with most shoppers carrying a smartphone with them at all times, making it a more accessible form of payment rather than cash or credit cards. Looking further into the future and at countries that already have widespread adoption of mobile wallets, it’s possible to conceive that almost all transactions will be digital within a few years.

Mobeo’s mobile wallet platform seamlessly supports both Apple Wallet and Google Pay. If you’re ready to explore how mobile wallets could boost sales for your business, speak to us today.

The Rise and Fall of Direct-To-Consumer

The Rise and Fall of Direct-To-Consumer

There’s mounting evidence that wholesale remains more profitable regardless of the mass shift towards the direct-to-consumer model due to Covid.

It’s been found that wholesale provides greater control, access to data, a higher revenue per item sold, and total gross margin when compared to similar businesses that utilize a DTC model. This can be further demonstrated when comparing these businesses’ EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes).

Contributing Factors:

  • Increasing competition – as more businesses migrate to the virtual space, more noise is created as more businesses bid for a share of voice.
  • Privacy – The inception of GDPR and CCPA regulations has limited the capacity for businesses to communicate unsolicited messages to potential customers. 
  • Ad blockers – due to the noise created by the increasing competition and bombardment of ads at various audiences, installing ad blockers have become more commonplace, making it harder for DTC brands to be seen. 
  • Returns and free shipping: e-Commerce spent its early years highlighting widespread “30-day return policies” and “free shipping,” which is taking a toll on DTC margins. 
  • The rising cost of ads – with more DTC competitors in-mark than ever before, the cost-per-click is skyrocketing. This can eat into the merchant’s profit margin or even exclude them entirely if their user acquisition cost is too high.

Although DTC profitability benefits from reduced rent and labor costs, other expenses add up over time. For example, fulfillment, logistics, heavier marketing, technology, and high returns. 

Ultimately, both DTC and wholesale have pros and cons, so it’s up to the brand to decide which model is best for their business.

Why are brands attracted to DTC in the first place?

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have created an environment of comfort and necessity around online shopping. People worldwide have adapted to “stay at home” orders that require many purchases to be made online. Even as the world starts to reopen, some of that online shopping behavior will remain. 

Additionally, DTC provides companies greater control over their brand, customer relationships, sales channels, and fulfillment. 

When does DTC make sense:

While wholesale has a clear edge over DTC when comparing EBIT most of the time, there are some situations where DTC makes sense. However, this often depends on the product.

To determine whether DTC suits a brand, two questions need to be answered:

  1. Can we accurately target the right customers?
  2. Are these customers happy to shop online and from a single-brand source, or would they prefer to shop in-store where there’s a variety of brands available?

If both of these questions are yes, it may be worth exploring a DTC model.

However, keep in mind that, based on data, only brands who also sell their products via bricks-and-mortar stores do well in DTC.

Support for Wholesale brands:

Talk to us today if you’re looking for a powerful way to utilize hyper-local ads to drive traffic in-store and pick your products off the shelves.

Why Local Marketing Should Be A Priority In 2022

Why Local Marketing Should Be A Priority In 2022

Local marketing involves businesses with a physical storefront or those who sell their products via retail stores using digital marketing strategies to target new and existing customers in the vicinity to drive traffic in-store. It’s also commonly referred to as “neighborhood marketing.” 

Having the ability to target locally can be potent if executed well. This article will highlight some of the most prominent benefits of including local marketing in your strategy for 2022.

1. Cost-effective

Paid hyperlocal ad campaigns are a fantastic way to target your local audience. However, there’s also a lot of other creative and cost-effective ways to generate visibility in a local area. For example, local directories, community pages, message boards, local newspapers, or events are great ways to get your business name out there. 

2. Highly targeted

Given that most customers choose to shop within 10 miles of their home, the geographic area that businesses need to focus on can be limited to that radius. This helps keep budgets down and allows retailers to focus on very clearly defined personas.

3. Attract more customers

With leaps forward in geo-targeted and hyperlocal advertising, it’s easier than ever to attract a crowd and add ‘buzz’ to your business by combining buyer intent and the customer’s location. This is one of the best ways to convert online and foot traffic into new customers because once a customer is physically close to your business, there’s a much higher chance of coaxing them into making a purchase, especially if you have introductory promotions available.

4. Smooth-out lulls

Many businesses experience peaks and troughs throughout the day. For example, a cafe might experience lunchtime rush hour but could be much quieter in the afternoon. In addition, scheduling location-based marketing campaigns helps to smooth out the flow of customers throughout the day. For example, it’s common to see restaurants or bars offer “happy hour,” which usually runs during the quieter afternoon hours from 3 pm – 5 pm.

5. Improved brand affinity

Having your local community as your audience means you will have a clearer understanding of their needs, wants, interests, and trends. This increased understanding will enable you to create marketing messages and promotions that will appeal to your community more meaningfully.

6. SEO implications

Search engine optimization and your organic search ranking are affected by many factors, but one of the most important is the number of backlinks your site has. Backlinks are external websites that link to your website. If you list your business on local directories and social media platforms, this will contribute to the number of backlinks to your site. For example, you are listing your business on Yelp, Facebook, Google My Business, and other directories.

Conclusion

Local marketing has many benefits for bricks and mortar businesses, including helping you reach new audiences, boost your search rankings and online traffic, and help establish your business in your local community. 

To support your local marketing efforts, Mobeo drives online traffic in-store with our suite of solutions, which can be customized to fit your individual business needs.

Talk to us today about how we can help boost your digital footprint.