Retailers live and die according to the amount of attention they are able to generate for their stores.
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Each year, retail operations spend big bucks for marketing campaigns that may or may not achieve the desired results. Unfortunately, they may be overlooking a proven marketing resource that is right beneath their nose: Their customers.
For centuries, small business owners have known that one of the most effective forms of advertising is word-of-mouth advertising. Today, some retailers are taking this idea a step further by completely integrating customer feedback into their marketing efforts. The principle behind this growing trend is to market with your customers instead of marketing to them.
By relying more heavily on the customers themselves to market their merchandise, retailers gain the advantage of credibility. Everyone says they have quality products. But if you can provide customer-based support for the quality of your products, the believability hurdle becomes much easier to overcome.
There any number of ways you can turn your customers into marketing copywriters for your business:
Print & Media Ads
The most obvious way to unleash your customers on the buying public is to feature their comments in your print and media ads. But to do that, you first need to create a method for collecting feedback from your existing customer base. Although response cards are okay, you'll need to step up your game to achieve the greatest impact. Sales staff should be trained to spot extremely satisfied customers and to solicit comments from them as soon as the sale is complete.
Another great way to solicit positive feedback from your customers is through your company website. Instead of hiding your contact information deep inside the site, why not feature a place for customers to offer comments and feedback on the front page? If your website is well-trafficked, you will have more than enough comments to choose from in a short period of time.
Many of the customer comments that are included in print and media ads either endorse the business in general or highlight a feature of the business, e.g. its customer service program. However, you can also recruit your customers to help you market specific products and merchandise via the internet. Although it works best if your website provides detailed information and ordering procedures for specific products, you should be able to modify your approach to include a broad range of site formats. If your company's website isn't a possibility, you can always print an annual product guide incorporating customer reviews and comments.
Ratings are yet another way to use customer satisfaction as a tool for promoting your business. Although the internet provides a ready-made rating resource, the most widely recognized rating system is still the star rating system. Products can be displayed with a prominent rating icon indicating the number of stars it was given by people have bought and used the product. Likewise, if a product is featured in a print or media ad, the star rating provides a little something extra to catch the public's attention.