17 Retail Marketing Ideas For Shoe Stores

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As a shoe store owner or manager, you are always looking for new ways to market your store. Here are 17 retail marketing ideas that we discovered while researching shoe stores in Canada.

  1. Send out a monthly or weekly email newsletter to your customers - Ask them at the till if they'd like to sign up for your e-newsletter. Keep them subscribed by bribing them. Each month have a draw for a $100 worth of free shoes in your store. You can use your email list to follow up with your customers and invite them to shop with you again.
  2. Optimize your website for the search engines - A lot of people research products and services they're interested in purchasing online first. They will go to Google and type in "shoes [their city]" or something similar. If your website doesn't show up on the first page of Google's search results, you won't get the business. This is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
  3. Set up a Facebook Page for your business - As of January 2011, over 50% of Canadians have a Facebook account. Many of them spend hours on it everyday. Setting up a Facebook Page for your business is free, so this is a cheap and easy way to reach your customers. You can post store news, specials, fashion information, links to articles, pictures of your products and store, and much, much more.
  4. Partner with friendly companies to create a fashion blog - Find several companies that don't directly compete with you, but serve the same market that you do. Set up a free blog at Blogger and give everyone accounts. Tell everyone to start posting tons of helpful fashion information. Each business can post a display ad on the blog and post a special or two each month.
  5. Showcase your goods and services on your website - Instead of just listing the brands you carry, you can actually post photos and information about the specific shoes you have in stock. There are web-based programs, such as Magento that make this really easy to do.
  6. Create a Rewards Program and invite your customers to join - you can award points to your customers as they shop in your store. Later, they can redeem these points for gift certificates.
  7. Collect your customers' birthdays and send out birthday cards - Keep track of the month and day of your customers' birthdays, and then send out a birthday card with a special coupon on their big day. You can easily track this in shoe store pos software or you can create an Excel spreadsheet.
  8. Sell gift cards in your store, especially around the holidays - If you have a customer list, you can let your best customers know that you have gift cards available. This way they can hint to their friends that a gift card would make a good present.
  9. Test the specials advertised on your website - Most shoe stores post specials on their website. It's possible, using Google's Website Optimizer, to run tests on these specials. You can set up several coupons, for instance, and Google will tell you which one gets more interest.
  10. Market to your customer database - Don't forget to advertise to those who have already bought from you. Keep track of your current customers and ask them to buy from you again and again. Give them a good reason to come back and shop again, and they probably will.
  11. Post specials to the free advertising sites, such as Kijiji and Craigslist - I've noticed several shoe and clothing retailers posting ads to these mediums. It's free to post ads to these sites, so you have nothing to lose by posting ads regularly.
  12. Record videos and post them online - It's easy to create videos using modern technology such as flip cameras. Why not set up a video blog (vlog) where you and your staff can share fashion tips, show off your latest stock, and tell your customers about your upcoming special events. You could even set up your own Youtube channel.
  13. Look to other industries for marketing ideas - Don't just copy the marketing ideas of other shoe stores. Look at what other types of retailers are doing, such as computer stores and even restaurants. I noticed that several shoe stores had created a stamp cards, like Subway used to have. As people buy shoes, they're given stamps. When they fill up the card, they get a free pair of shoes or a discount on their next pair. I'm not sure that this would work, but it's an example of taking a marketing idea from another industry and trying it in your shoe store.
  14. Post a daily offer to Groupon to attract more business - Groupon uses social media and collective buying to send you guaranteed customers. You set a minimum number of buyers, and if enough people buy, the deal is on. If they don't, it isn't. Groupon makes their money by taking a cut of each groupon.
  15. Add your business to Google Maps - A lot of people search for shoe stores in their local area, using Google Maps. You can list your business on Google Maps by creating a free listing. There's no reason not to do this.
  16. Prove your advertising claims - Advertising legend, Claude Hopkins, said it best: "Platitudes and generalities roll off the human understanding like water from a duck." I've noticed that a large number of shoe stores claim to have the most comfortable and most stylish shoes, but they don't offer any proof of this. People will ignore these claims if you don't prove them. So give them a reason why your shoes are the most comfortable and the most stylish. Tell about how you went to trade show after trade show and looked at thousands of shoes. Use actual figures if possible. We visited this many tradeshows and looked at this many shoes. Those that we've decided to stock are the most comfortable and most stylish of them all.
  17. Use testimonials in your ads and on your website - Ask some of your best customers if they'd provide you with a testimonial of why they like shopping in your store. Ask them if they can give you a photo to go along with the testimonial. If you say that you have the most comfortable shoes, no one will believe you; if your customers say it, they'll be believed.

There are many ways a POS system can help you to market your store.  Please contact us today for more information.