Today’s consumers have a myriad of choices at their fingertips and more access to information than ever before. In just minutes, they can check online reviews or even write some, making the shoe market an increasingly competitive one. Most importantly, clients are powerful enough to either force a store into bankruptcy — which has been happening at a record pace over the last few months — or to grow it into a shoe giant. Which strategies, then, should footwear retailers use to stay competitive and please their customers?
1. Make Every Customer Interaction Count
Whether they shop online or in store, customers expect memorable omni-channel experiences. CRM software solutions enable retailers to create highly effective and targeted marketing campaigns that take into account what truly resonates with their customers. Did customers respond to your latest sneaker marketing campaign or did they prefer the previous one? Clienteling can also help store associates leave a positive lasting impression on customers by constantly nourishing and building the relationship they’ve created.
2. Drive Sales by Creating a Convenient Shopping Experience
The easier you make the shopping experience in your brick-and-mortar store, the likelier customers will be to return. Similarly, when they browse your site, customers expect pages to load quickly and checkout to proceed smoothly. A customer who learns that his merchandise requires three weeks delivery will likely abandon his cart without thinking twice. Footwear customers are particularly demanding: when purchasing online, they expect free shipping along with short delivery times. Shoe retailers have responded with average free shipping thresholds and delivery times that are the lowest in the retail world (Chain Store Age).
3. Manage Footwear Inventory Effectively
Make sure that you carry just the right amount of shoe inventory you need on hand, in the right size and color, anytime and anywhere. Integrated inventory management systems enable retailers to take their strategy up a notch and verify that they have an adequate supply of shoes currently favored by the market. Analytics solutions can also help indicate which styles are selling best. Using mobile solutions, store associates can also assist customers anywhere, without ever needing to go to the backstore.
4. Send Emails Tailored to Each Customer Segment
Emails targeted to specific segments have a higher opening rate (14.31%) than unsegmented versions (Forbes). After all, why email your male customers, who have previously purchased sneakers, to inform them of a flash sale on high heels? Personalized emails can boost sales, but also make each customer feel special.
5. Create Meaningful Content That Reflects Your Brand
The importance of creating engaging content for customers is often underlooked. However, by making the experience more meaningful, merchants can achieve better ROI. Creating a community on social media makes the shopping experience even more agreeable. Including interactive links to your e-commerce platform can also increase your visibility online. Customers can be inspired by dynamic images of others modeling the shoes they wish to buy. It is also vital for footwear retailers to invest in e-commerce platforms that are equipped with integrated SEO, as they help maximize site visits.