Sara Cotter

Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, claims supplier

Retailers don’t need to spend a fortune on digital marketing to make it effective, a supplier has claimed.

With eight out of 10 consumers conducting research online before making a big purchase, independents can’t ignore the digital domain if they want to be noticed in a crowded market, Uform marketing manager Sara Cotter (pictured) has argued.

Tools, such as social media, are an ideal way for retailers to showcase their work at minimal cost. However, retailers need to choose the most relevant ones for their target audience and maintain these properly.

“The beauty of social media is not only its cost-effectiveness, but how it provides you with an insight into how people are interacting with you,” she said. “At the click of a button, you can gauge how many likes, shares and mentions your brand is getting.”

She argued that video is “the most effective” tool when trying to engage with audiences, and that it doesn’t require spending thousands on as smartphone and tablet technology today is more than capable of producing good video.

However, it’s important to keep your message clear and video short, at around one to two minutes.

Cotter advised retailers to ensure their website is as user-friendly as possible for people visiting it on different screen sizes.

Despite the growing importance of online, Cotter suggested that retailers shouldn’t forget about the tried-and-trusted methods, such as print advertising, local PR and word of mouth.

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She claimed that there are still consumers who like the touch and feel of a glossy magazine. However, she explained that any print ads should be shared digitally to increase your reach, such as taking a picture and sharing it on your social media channels.

Local publicity such as fund-raising initiatives or cooking demos in a retailer’s showroom gives personality and a voice to your business and can help generate footfall.

Cotter said retailers should not forget about the power of word of mouth.

“Word of mouth is the one form that consumers trust above all others and the one that’s most likely to drive footfall to your showroom,” she said.

However, she explained that putting resources into marketing is pointless unless you have a good showroom.

“You’re in the market of selling kitchens, if you don’t have a showroom that shows off your product offering to the highest standards possible, you’re in the wrong business,” she concluded. “This doesn’t just apply to the kitchens on display, it extends to your shop window. You want your showroom to be a place of inspiration, somewhere people can be blown away with ideas. Product placement is also crucial. Do you have the ranges on display for your target market? You might well choose to have a £50k kitchen showcased with all the bells and whistles, but if you’re demographic falls within the £8,000 to £20,000 market, this won’t convert to a sale.”

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