This is the Story of Bringing a Traditional Retailer into the Digital Age 7

Friends, let me tell you a story. It might hit home for many of you, but I promise a happy ending. Imagine if you will, your family has run a successful retail business with multiple locations around the region for over 50 years. This was your dad’s life. He was the guy. Everyone knew him, and his name drew people in. He stood for service and quality. He hand-picked the sales people who were on the floor. He knew them all by name. 50 years, every day he managed this business and he loved it. He knew how to bring the people in. You throw a big sale for Memorial Day and Labor Day. Newspaper and TV are the way to go to reach your audience.  Then the internet came, he had a website built because he knew he needed to be online. Then, unfortunately, he died. Along with dealing with his death, now, this business, it’s all up to you.

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In the meantime, the world has changed. There are big box retailers who do what you do. They may not have the selection or service, but people already know them. There are national companies that now, through the internet are selling direct. They send someone out to a customer’s house to make the sale. These guys are outpacing your ad spend and your share of voice. You are not sure where to turn. You think you need help.

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You find an agency who can assist you and recommend what to do.  Through doing an audit of your marketing activity and assets they find TV is not performing for what you are paying. You have no idea who your customer really is, what they need, what they like about your company and what motivates them to purchase. You don’t track who purchased and who didn’t.  You don’t have a way to figure out how long it takes for someone to make a purchase decision. Your salespeople have anecdotal stories about who purchases, what they like, and what brings them in, but nothing with any basis.

Your agency recommends an all-digital marketing plan. This is so outside of what’s been done you are nervous, but you agree. And then the fun begins.

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They start a paid search campaign. Get people who are searching for your product or your service in your location. They start optimizing and you see your website traffic start to increase. They use all kinds of cool features that make your listing seem super big when you search. They even dynamically change copy based on what someone searched.

Next, they layer in paid social. They are targeting people you want, via location, age, income, and other demographic information. You can even target based on what they are interested in. They create pixels on your website that can track who visits and what they do. Then they can target those people with ads based on their interests on your site. Brilliant! You can now test ads and test messaging. You start to learn what your clients like and don’t like through ad testing. You shared that one store was down in sales, and they could target that store area specifically to get more impression and ultimately more traffic. You also start to learn more and more about your customers, such as, they are wanting to transact more online and when its convenient for them, not at your retail location on your regular time schedule. If you pay attention to this, you could be the company that changes with the customer needs, like Netflix, instead of being the company that can’t right the ship, like blockbuster.

More traffic, more leads, more sales. Your marketing dollars haven’t increased, you’ve just changed how you are spending them. Your agency is also able to provide real time reporting. Business Intelligence software that you can see updated every few minutes, on visits, leads, interactions, etc.

With the help of your agency, you institute a CRM system so your sales people can capture information and follow up. You can begin to see your whole sales process and learn how to make it more efficient and effective.

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This, my friends, is a true story, not a fairy tale. With a good agency partner at your side you can transform your business. You also must be willing to take risks and give it time. While digital can be ‘quick’ it still takes time to build brand awareness and consideration. Being open to change is a huge component, because It could have gone the other way – resistance to change could have caused the business to tank and no one wants the evil guy to come knocking.  If you’d like to see if working with an agency is right for your business, let me know if we can help you slay the dragon! Our swords are ready.


Posted by, Lisa Rogerson, VP of Digital at initiate-it, a digital first, full-service agency located in Richmond, VA.