How to Grow Your Retail Business Locally: 5 Proven Ways

15/12/2023

DID YOU know that there are around 350,000 small businesses in Scotland alone? That’s a whole lot of competition to set yourself up against. But, with a strong retail marketing strategy and a standout brand identity, you can build a company that stands out in your local community.

Not sure where to get started? Here are some expert tips to help you grow your retail business locally. 

Set Up a Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile is a fantastic tool that’s completely free and easy to use. By adding your business to the search engine’s carousel, you’ll be highlighting your shop to the local community and making it easier for your audience to find you online. 

To get started, you’ll be asked to create a business profile. Include as many details as you can about your brand, including your location, opening hours, a link to your website, and images of your shop. Google will then add your business to its Places feature, which pops up at the very top of search results for relevant queries, skyrocketing your online visibility without costing you a penny. 

For a profile that stands out, focus on collecting positive reviews through Google. Businesses with more 5-star ratings tend to be pushed higher up the Places feature, giving you a competitive edge over similar shops and making the choice easy for your potential customers. To quickly build up reviews, we recommend using a digital tool to make the task easier. 

Magic’s retail reviews platform, for example, automatically sends out review invites and encourages customer feedback. It makes it easy to compile your reviews from across platforms, too, for stress-free management of your brand identity. 

Join in With Local Events

Local events are a goldmine for small businesses looking to grow. Becoming an active member of your community helps you advertise your brand, build a trusted reputation, and reach a wider audience, all of which will lead to a long-term revenue boost. 

Look out for events in your area that you could join in with, including late-night shopping and local markets. There might be occasions that aren’t specific to shopping – like local music festivals and parades – that you can still join in with by creating a themed window, handing out goodies, and offering discounts on the day of the event. 

Remember, too, that you don’t have to wait for events to come your way. If you have a good idea for your community’s retail scene, get together with other local businesses to bring it to life and establish your shop as an asset to your area.

Use Data Analytics

Around 52% of retail businesses are using data analytics to shape their decision-making. If you take out the big-name brands and leave only the small, local shops behind, that figure is very likely to drop, making it a viable option to give your brand a competitive edge.

But even if 90% of small shops were using data, we’d still recommend you do the same – the fact that they’re not is simply a bonus. 

So, why is data so important? There are a huge variety of reasons, including that analytics can identify:

  • Customer demands
  • Customer behaviour
  • Best-selling products
  • Products with the highest ROI (which aren’t always best sellers)
  • Which days are your most profitable
  • Which seasons are your most profitable
  • Which marketing strategies see the best results

They can even inform how your audience responds to tiny changes, such as switching from free delivery to paid-for delivery on your website, giving you a wealth of valuable information.

All of this data gives you strong evidence to base your decisions on. Rather than following your gut or what you think has worked in the past, you’ll have a greater understanding of what your customers want and what leads to a revenue boost.

Improve Your Retail Experience

A lot of marketing these days is done digitally. But, that doesn’t mean you should forget about your brick-and-mortar shop.

The physical space your brand inhabits can drastically impact your overall success, helping you sway customer decisions, improve brand experience, and boost profits from impulse purchases. 

There are tons of studies you can use to help you here, too, such as the fact that shoppers usually look left when they enter your shop before moving towards the right. This means that you can pull them in with an enticing display to their left, before focusing some high-ROI and best-selling products on their right. 

A little bit of research goes a long way when you’re visual merchandising. If you can plan your shop a little more consciously based on consumer behaviour facts, you might just see a big uptick in your sales.

Some of the areas to focus on include:

  • Your shop layout
  • Product placement
  • Point-of-sale (POS) impulse items
  • Lighting and scents
  • Window displays

Don’t forget to keep using your data to monitor if your visual merchandising is working, too. If an item in your window display has seen an increase in sales or those POS impulse buys are adding up, you know you’re making the right decisions.

Build a Social Media Retail Marketing Strategy

Social media is a marketing haven for small, local businesses. You can cater your strategy to suit your budget and directly engage with your audience, making it a no-brainer if you’re looking to gain a little more attention.

Social platforms also provide an easy way to grow your digital presence. Considering that 99% of Scottish consumers now use the internet to find brands, taking up more space online is never a bad idea.

When getting started with social media, stick to just one or two platforms that suit your retail marketing strategy. These should be platforms that your audience actively uses, as well as ones that make it easy for you to show off your brand. As a local retailer, we recommend starting with Instagram and Facebook.

Conduct plenty of competitor research as you build your profiles. Which posts by competitor businesses attract a lot of engagement? How are local brands connecting with your community via social media? You’ll get a lot of helpful hints from other businesses doing it right.

Once you’re set-up, remember to engage with your audience, too. Even if someone isn’t following you, you can still reply to their comment on your local Facebook page or on someone else’s Instagram post, getting your name out there and building up a friendly, helpful brand image.

Final Thoughts

Growing your brand doesn’t have to be an expensive or time-consuming process. With some expert know-how and a solid retail marketing strategy based on these tips, you can make this year the year that your local retail business thrives. 

For more business advice and to stay in the loop with the Scottish business community, be sure to take a look at more retail posts on Scottish Business News.

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