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On-site Marketing

On-site retailers tend to focus much of their marketing budget and energy on external communications– reaching the public and getting them to cross the threshold. This is wise. Developing a customer base and compelling potential customers to visit the premises is the fundamental mechanism of a successful on-site business. A well-targeted, multi-faceted marketing campaign of print ads, radio and television commercials, fliers, direct mail, coupons, incentives– all presented on the foundation of a consistently branded “image”– will ultimately bring customers to the door.

It is important to bear in mind, however, that a marketing campaign does not stop at the door. Marketing– how you communicate with the public– should also be the basis for what customers experience once you have drawn them to visit. The investment in high-quality external communications pays off by bringing the public to you. A wise retailer knows not to squander that investment. What potential customers experience once at your retail site will determine whether or not they become paying, repeating customers.

To offer finite advice on how to market successfully in-store is impossible. So many factors require consideration. Physical space, product/service type, modification restrictions, clientele demographics and a host of other variables need to be taken into account in an on-site marketing plan. A qualified marketing consultant can balance these issues, and work with you to ensure that your external marketing campaign links seamlessly to the in-store experience.

Although there are no cure-all solutions that will work for every retailer, there are a few key points that should always be considered. Following these guidelines will help create an in-store experience that will keep customers coming back:

Keep the image consistent–

This is as important to in-store marketing as it is to external communication, and is the primary consideration in linking the two efforts into a successful whole. Whatever colors, logos, lettering, catch phrases, etc., that were used for the external marketing campaign should be apparent for the customers’ immediate recognition when they are on the premises.

This does not mean to go over-board, turning your business into one big advertisement. It does mean, however, that the psychological connection between your public image and what you actually provide should be automatic. The in-store aesthetic should be consistent with that of your external communications and should be appropriate to your clientele. Consistent on-site branding implies that you are what you claim, and suggests a high level of professionalism.

Use space sensibly–

Space-usage correlates directly with consistent branding. Your retail space should be configured (as much as is practically possible) so that your aesthetic is apparent throughout. For instance, if your store uses indoor signage to keep a consistent feel, consider whether the signage is visible everywhere customers go. If not, consider using color to make the connection in areas where the signage is not visible. Ultimately, there should be no part of the customer area that is left out of the overall experience.

Regarding store layout, an important general consideration should also be the balance of positive and negative space. A retail space that is overly crowded by shelves, merchandise, etc., can be inhospitable to patrons. On the other hand, a retail space that is too open and empty can suggest a business that is ill equipped, poorly stocked or fly-by-night. The determination of space should be influenced by your business type, clientele demographics, and general aesthetic. An experienced marketing professional can help you get the best results from your retail space.

Keep it clean–

Clutter can be appropriately kitschy. Shabby chic can make your customers feel cozy. Rustic backwoods charm can be exactly what makes your customers feel at home. But regardless of how far your marketing aesthetic veers from the sterile and predictable corporate-chain model, everything needs to be clean. In fact, cleanliness is actually what makes the more cluttered in-store aesthetics work. And needless to say, if your retail space is of the open, orderly variety, areas that are unclean will stand out tenfold.

Although not a true marketing strategy, keeping your retail space clean ensures that you are making the most of all of your marketing efforts. A clean space is another form of positive communication with the public, and is the best way to present the image you have created.

Talk the talk–

On-site customer service is an essential component of a marketing campaign that successfully builds repeating customer relationships. How a customer is treated can bring a brilliant marketing campaign together, or make it a completely wasted effort.

The manner in which you provide in-store customer service should be consistent with your public image, marketing aesthetic, and clientele. A retail business that markets itself with high-energy communications should offer deliverables with the same zeal. It pays off to take the time to establish some protocol regarding how customers are handled. The net result is a complete marketing cycle, the value of which can be measured in customer satisfaction and business success.


On-site retailers tend to focus much of their marketing budget and energy on external communications– reaching the public and getting them to cross the threshold. This is wise. Developing a customer base and compelling potential customers to visit the premises is the fundamental mechanism of a successful on-site business. A well-targeted, multi-faceted marketing campaign of print ads, radio and television commercials, fliers, direct mail, coupons, incentives– all presented on the foundation of a consistently branded “image”– will ultimately bring customers to the door.



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