Local Store Marketing 101: The first question we all learn is “Who is Your Target?”. Initially, we want to understand basic demographics: age, sex, ethnicity. Those are the easy data points that we can learn from any US Census. Today’s CRM and big data strategies allow companies to know a lot more about their customers. What they purchase. How much they spend. What else they purchase. These are great insights that can help influence customer behavior. Online retailers take advantage of this data all the time. But, brick and mortar retailers have a much harder time of it—while they can influence their customer’s behavior with CRM tactics—there are a million other things that can impact the customer before they hit the front door, drive-thru or walk-up window.
We often miss the other things that impact a customer’s life—the elements within the trading areas they live in, travel through, work within and play within. Understanding your trading area is one of the most powerful tools you have to drive your sales and transactions. When was the last time you really did a deep dive to make sure you had a good handle on who your customers are and what they are experiencing in their daily lives?
Take a Look Around…What Do You See?
Stop for a minute and think about the area around your own home. How much has it changed over the past 5 years, 10 years or even more? Has there been new road construction? Is there a new mall that opened up nearby? Were apartments built in the area? Churches? Did a school close? A new business park open? A factory down size? Has your city decided to host new or reoccurring events… such as festivals, fairs, parades and concerts?
These are the things that impact your customers the most. These are the trading area elements that you need to understand, to see where your biggest opportunities might come from. Yes, it definitely helps to understand your customer’s behavior. That your customer, John, stops by every Tuesday and buys a large coffee—but, understanding that John works in the factory down the street, along with 2,000 other potential customers might help even more.
Not a One-And-Done
It’s absolutely critical that you find out as much as possible about your trading area. This is not a one-and-done event. You probably knew a lot about your surrounding area when you first opened your local business. But, times change…neighborhoods change …people change…your neighboring businesses change. It’s important that you frequently review your trading area and get a good understanding of where new business and business expansion might come from.
This take some effort, but the investment is well worth it if it means that you will have a better understanding of your customers. If it helps you understand what might be meaningful and desirable to them. What will help make their lives run a little more smoothly. And what will ultimately lead to more business for your retail location. I encourage you to spend at least one day a quarter evaluating your trading area. Look to gain a better understanding of the new and potentially powerful insights that will lead to strong Local Customer Engagement and a more impactful Local Store Marketing Plan.
Interested in learning more about creating LSM plans for your franchise or multi-unit business? Check out 7 Questions to Ask When Building a Local Store Marketing Plan #LSM #LocalCustomerEngagement #LocalStoreMarketing