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Mother's Day: Independent retailers, capitalise on what you do differentl


Mother's day spending traditionally eclipses that of father's day, with the UK forking out £928m on cards and gifts for 2016’s Mothering Sunday celebrations. This makes it one of the biggest dates in the retail calendar after Christmas! Independent retailers should be securing their share of this cash, tempting shoppers away from corporate competition by capitalising on what they do differently.


Social events like Mother's Day are a celebration of the people your shoppers love. By tapping into that emotion you're able to draw positive associations with your brand. This allows you to market and sell your products in a personalised way. Small retailers are perfectly placed to draw this emotional, personal connection in the minds of their customers because of their size alone. What big brands gain in size and reputation, they lose in personalisation.

Welcome customers in

It’s easy to create a warm and familiar atmosphere in a small retail environment. This can be done through the decoration of your shop, the music you play and above all, through valuable customer and staff interactions. Friendly conversation builds rapport and allows employees to identify customers needs. This allows them to make suggestions, upsell products and secure a positive impression of your business. These exchanges go a long way in perpetuating a small time, family feel which comforts customers while encouraging them to spend.

Why not try extending the family feel by holding an event? This is a good way to boost footfall by creating a sense of occasion. Holding a child-friendly event, such as offering a discount for children, means you can also garner additional custom from other parental figures, ie dads, grandparents and friends.

Being inclusive of non-traditional family set ups removes the risk of excluding potential customers. Your marketing could recognise this by celebrating the value of other women who play dominant roles in your customer's lives, such as step mums, grandmas and sisters. By playing on the nostalgia associated with happy memories and experiences, you have an opportunity to encourage a sale, as well as boost average spend per head. Prompts such as A-boards,in-store posters and social media campaigns can induce this nostalgia and tempt customers in.

Shout about it

If your products lend themselves well to the Mother's Day theme, or you sell traditional gifts such as flowers, jewellery or chocolate, make sure you advertise these products through all the communication channels you have available to you. Alternatively, if you don’t sell standard mother's day fare, is there a creative or humorous way you can market your products with a Mother's Day slant? Having too tenuous a link can turn customers off so try and hit the right balance if you do want to give it a try.

Consider running a “Remember when…” campaign and encouraging people to add pictures and stories onto your social media platforms. This is an opportunity for them to celebrate the special person in their life in a public forum. This kind of user generated content is very valuable for engaging with customers and promoting your brand amongst social media connections. Running competitions, quizzes and giveaways incentivise customers to engage with you on social media, making them more likely to visit your on and offline stores.

Smart retailers will start promotions early. Think about how you can best get your message out there for little to no cost. Update your website to celebrate the theme and showcase key products and that are likely to encourage further engagement. Social media is another great way to do this, especially if you already have an established following.

Offer them more

Rather than tempting customers by discounting products and cutting prices, why not offer them more? Offering gift wrapping services is a popular choice among harassed parents with no time to wrap awkwardly shaped gifts. Offering this as a complimentary service, or even at a nominal fee could swing the purchase in your favour, especially if you advertise the service before they’ve got to the counter!

Another way to offer consumers more choice is by designing a gift guide to help them choose the perfect gift for their loved one. Many people struggle when it comes to gift selection so take advantage of their uncertainty and use it as an opportunity to showcase your products. Grouping products by theme or price will help customers find an appropriate gift and allows you to show a range of products that will cater to all budgets.

Conclusion

While the retailing has become increasingly competitive with large corporates dominating the market, independents still do some things better. By honing a valuable and engaging experience at all stages of the customer journey you can encourage more interaction with your brand throughout the year. By leveraging the marketing potential of Hallmark holidays such as Mother’s Day, you have the opportunity to on-board new customers and increase brand awareness among those consumers and their connections.



AUTHOR

Erin Heenan

Erin joined Epos Now in 2016 as an in-house content writer for the marketing department, making use of 10 years experience working in busy restaurants. An avid fan of shopping and eating out, she is committed to helping retail and hospitality SMEs get the most out of their businesses.



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