With the start of a new year comes even more innovation in marketing. While many of the latest trends might seem irrelevant to your c-store, there are a few incoming marketing trends that can provide you with a competitive advantage over other stores. If you can harness the power of these trends, you will also be able to drive more traffic to your store and increase your sales numbers. Here are a few marketing innovations to pay attention to in 2018:
Continued Rise in Social Media Advertising
Even though it might seem like the only marketing platform your c-store needs is signage, you should consider reaching out to customers through social media. There, you can advertise the deals you’re offering, your new products, and overall improve your brand’s identity and messaging. Even if you have little to no experience in social media advertising, with advancements in technology, it is incredibly easy, not to mention relatively cheap to create a campaign to test the waters. Speak to your customers wherever they are, but consider targeting ads to specific geographic regions.
Improved Customer Experience
While most of your competitors might offer similar products, one thing that you can do to separate yourself is to provide a top-notch customer experience. There are a variety of things that you can do to make your customers fall in love with your store including better service from your employees, a better store layout so they can find what they need faster, and a social media presence that gives your brand an identity customers are attracted to. If you aren’t already, you should seek to consistently improve your customers’ experience so they’ll return time and time again.
Encouraging Online Reviews
Online reviews are playing a huge role in customer purchasing decisions. This form of marketing used to only be important to restaurants or online retailers, but more and more customers are continuing to rely on online reviews for every business they frequent. In fact, 84% of people trust online reviews as if they were personal recommendations from friends and family.
Bad reviews can hurt your chances, however, which is why it is important that you offer a top-notch customer experience in your c-store. Sometimes someone will leave a negative review, but if you can drown out that one bad review with dozens of positive ones, it won’t sting as bad. Encourage your customers to leave positive reviews by offering incentives, and you should see a rise in foot traffic in 2018.
In 2018, many expect loyalty programs to continue to trend, and innovative tech is making it easier for small businesses to implement them. The primary goal of a loyalty program is to keep your customers coming back. Once they have points built up with your store, they'll feel like they're wasting their time shopping at another c-store since they won't be earning points there. Look into new technologies you can implement into your POS system so you can start incentivizing customers to return.
Those are a few of the many c-store marketing trends to focus on in 2018. If you can implement even just a couple of them, you’ll greatly improve your competitive standing in your area.