Recent articles and events re-inforce the narrative started a few years ago: the retail shake-down cruise is nowhere near over. Issues with once mighty giants like Sears Holdings filing for Chapter 11 – on life support waiting for last minute funding, JCPenny becoming a penny stock for the first time since the 70’s, and others trimming back in 2019, puts more pressure on mall operators like Simon Property Group to reduce lease amounts just to keep large retailers viable.
While this might sound like bad news for all retailers, we believe for SMB retailers, it might be a good time to re-negotiate the lease on your retail space, or trade up to a more attractive location. Consumer confidence is carrying a growing economy now, bolstered by a positive business environment overall, so now may be a great time to open up a new and unique concept that focuses on a great customer experience. Great experiences are still few and far between, and many of the retail formats already dying have been tired and uninspired for a while now.
Marketing support and tools for SMB’s has never been better, with marketing automation tools, social media and access to suppliers’ marketing portals all making it easier than ever to keep consumers engaged and coming back for more. Marketing automation that is delivered through a software as a service model (SaaS) allows SMB’s to create a customer database, deploy email and social marketing campaigns and track results – all without investing in IT staff, servers and its associated overhead and upkeep. For those of you with more ideas than time in the day, outsourcing has never been easier. Professionals that specialize in online video, lead generation, data acquisition and multi-touch marketing campaigns are also eager to help you grow your business when you need to get to the next level.
So in 2019, while online ecommerce continues to eat into large, generic and uninspired retail concepts…online enabled marketing platforms and service delivery can help SMB’s promote their unique and memorable experience-based concepts.