Katy Black, marketing director for Verona, one of the UK’s largest tile distributors, offers retailers her top tips for enhancing marketing activities to deliver the best results in store
Get to know your customer profile
Profiling and understanding the customers who typically visit your shop is essential. Different customers will have different needs, so for best results you need to switch your marketing approach to suit various audiences whether its tradesmen, homeowners or developers. Is your showroom more suited to retail customers or commercial projects? Either way tailor it to that market to ensure your clients feel you can support their needs and wants.
If it is mainly a retail audience, find out where your customers are coming from, why they chose to come to you and how they heard about you. You can gather this information easily with the help of a quick questionnaire, either online to your database or in store as purchases are made.
Many homeowners visit showrooms with an idea of what they are looking for and have found inspiration online or in magazines to help them create their dream room. It’s always best to keep up to date with current interior trends to understand how to style and create your room sets to capture the attention of your customers. For example, spa-style bathrooms, wetrooms and open-plan kitchens with large format floor tiles are in demand so any of these styles would be ideal for a room set display. By creating a real-life environment, consumers can quickly and easily see the design possibilities and are more likely to buy into the whole look from floor to ceiling.
Customers want to be visually stimulated by showroom designs, so visual materials are crucial. Displays are particularly important so customers can touch and feel materials. Tiles are far more than a look; they are sensory so ensure your customers can feel the textures and finishes. Take advantage of the support on offer from manufacturers, whether it’s discounts on room displays or new POS material. Offer samples, where applicable, so homeowners can try colours and finishes in the comfort of their home.
Refine your selection
Too much choice is a huge distraction for many customers. Although it can be a challenge to get the balance right, you need to offer a selection of designs that meet the profile of your audience whether more contemporary or traditional.
Most customers are frustrated if pricing isn’t obvious and easy to calculate. Make it easy for them, with a clear indication of pricing so they can easily work out how much they will have to pay for the look they want.
Ad hoc marketing can result in a bigger overall spend and lack of consistency, so focus on creating and delivering a clear 12-month plan which outlines your marketing activity, including in store, digital and traditional methods, targeted towards your main customer base. Look at key trading times throughout the year such as Easter, summer and Spring Bank and plan your activity around these dates to generate increased sales. Your customer profile will dictate the type of events and promotions you offer whether it’s an exclusive ‘meet the designer’ gathering, or a price driven promotion.
There is no getting around it; a digital strategy has to be implemented to ensure you are capturing the attention of your customers at the beginning of their decision-making journey. Visual social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest should fall within your portfolio. There are no golden rules when it comes to content, but here are some top tips:
- Use lifestyle photography for inspiration
- Get hold of case studies if you can
- Respond quickly to messages or posts and stay engaged with your audience
- Provide guidance and top tips
- If you’re not getting any reaction to your social posts, review them and cut the ones that fall on deaf ears. Quality over quantity!
- Look at what times you get the best response to a post, and stick to the same each day
- Consider advertising to generate more followers in your area and broader awareness
- Avoid the hard sell and keep content light
Alongside this, a professional website is your digital shop window. Keep it updated, clear and easy to use. Include an about section, contact info and FAQs. Make sure you’re listed as a stockist on your supplier’s website and ask them for lifestyle photography and product information to inspire visitors on your site. A positive, two-way relationship with a manufacturer can reap rewards. Most manufacturers will look to support you closely, providing marketing support for product collections that you can effectively repurpose in store and online.