During an economic recession, the retail industry has taken a big hit as customers simply don’t have as much discretionary income as they used to. Whether your shoe store is part of a large chain or is just a small independent retailer, you should always be on the lookout for new, interesting marketing ideas that can stimulate business. Here are some great ways to put your best foot forward.
- In-store events– Customers need to know the benefits of your shoes, be it that they are edgy and fashionable or that they provide a comfortable walking experience. Hosting an in-store event like a fashion show or a teaching session will not only generate buzz and awareness for your store, but also sell a lot of shoes! Have your featured products fully-visible using a vertical banner or even a window cling so customers know which shoes they’re going to learn about.
- Loyalty cards– Most women have a shoe fetish, so create a loyalty program that keeps her coming back for more shoes. This could be a punch card or you could even use a computer-tracking system. After a certain amount of pairs purchased, your customer will receive a free (or at least discounted) pair. Not only do you sell more shoes, but you also retain loyal customers.
- Shoe care– A great way to make your store more marketable is by offering shoe care services such as shining, stretching, and even minor repair. If you really want to offer a first-class experience, offer complimentary shoe repair services. You probably won’t be able to do this in-store, but set-up an agreement with a local shoe hospital or cobbler. Your client will appreciate the VIP treatment, and this ensures they’ll visit your store at least twice (once to drop off the shoes and again to pick them up). Odds are they’ll find a new pair in at least one of those visits. Display vinyl decals at your cash wraps letting customers know these special services you offer, and make sure your sales team is mentioning it as well.
- Sponsorship/donation– Sponsoring local events is a great way to build a positive business reputation. In exchange, you’re usually able to advertise at these events with a vinyl banner or in the program. Another unique idea is to create a shoe-donation program. Work with charity groups such as the Salvation Army to donate a pair of shoes for every X amount you sell. This is a huge PR boost and makes your business socially-responsible. It has certainly worked for TOMS.
- Family bundles– If you are a shoe store that caters to all customers (men, women, and children), create a family bundle package. Offer a special discount when customers buy a pair of shoes for every member of the family, or even have a buy one-get one special. You’re a one-stop shop for the family, but it may take a special deal for customers to realize that.