Advertising the Store of the Future

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You’re setting up an online store, making use of weight-sensing shelves and implementing new shopping technology throughout your store . . . why are you still advertising in the newspaper?

The Store of the Future is where the customers are – online. And, to make the most of your online opportunities and connections, it’s essential that your store (brick or click) also has a dynamic social presence to entice and delight potential customers.

What does that mean? Like, Facebook?

Yes . . . AND! When it comes to affordable online advertising, retailers have a few distinct options. What you choose for your store ultimately depends on your offering and your audience. So, it’s important to consider both before you begin.

There are social networking sites, like Facebook and LinkedIn, that offer affordable options with great reach. There are also networks for microblogging, like Twitter, and video/photo sharing, like Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest.

Oh my. Where do I begin?

Go with the big dogs.

There are tons of social networks pouring onto the scene, but the fact is that these small-time societies aren’t going to give you the bang you need for your buck. So, be sure to start with the most popular platforms. Once you have a reliable revenue stream coming from social media, you can allot smaller portions of your budget to experimental communities.

What are the big dogs?

Facebook boasts 1.5-2 billion monthly users. Let that sink in a minute. Hint: It’s roughly a quarter of the world’s population.

YouTube welcomes a whopping 1.5 billion users to their video-based platform. So, if you have an idea for a How-To series or want to share a transformation you’ve captured with your GoPro, this is the place to do it.

Instagram has 500 million monthly users. While this doesn’t sound like much by comparison, we’re willing to bet it’s more than the readership of your local newspaper! Plus, the Gram has the highest engagement rates of any social network.

Pinterest sees 175 million monthly users pass through its portal. The benefit to you is that this audience is intentional about searching for products and ideas and making subsequent purchases. These people WANT to redecorate their rooms and homes!

That’s great, but what’s in it for me?

When it comes to social advertising, retailers enjoy a more targeted audience than traditional routes – like television or radio. Plus, you get farther reach. Remember, these are global communities. Your local stations only broadcast within a certain radius. In addition, you’ll:

  • Grow Sales

  • Expand Your Fan Base

  • Capitalize on Social Proof

  • Enjoy Faster, Easier A/B Testing

That’s cool. But, what do I say? What’s in a social networking ad?

You can share a variety of things. But people most commonly use:

  • Blogs or Whitepapers

  • eBooks

  • Coupons

  • Site- or Storewide Discounts

  • Announcements for Free Shipping

  • Limited Time Offers

  • Giveaways

  • Contest Announcements  

How do I get started?

Do your audience research to determine where your target customer spends their time. Then, create a series of ads to attract that person. Just be sure to start small – as social media advertising isn’t a silver bullet that’s going to lead millions to your door the day after you launch. There is a trial and error period where you must learn a new system and figure out what your ideal consumer likes to see.

Just remember:

  • Creativity Counts

  • Use Keywords

  • Hashtags Matter

  • Keep A Clear CTA

  • Offer a Value Proposition

  • Engage and Interact

The Store of the Future isn’t just about new technology and cool gadgetry – although that’s a big part of it! It’s also about meeting customers where they are, communicating in new and more cost-effective ways and adapting to the shopping behaviors established by a robust online world.

With a little bit of effort and a lot of patience, you’ll find that this exciting new world isn’t scary at all. It’s an easier way to do business! That’s why companies like Amber Engine are happy to lead the way in showing both retailers and manufacturers that there is a more efficient way to conduct the day-to-day.