Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Slow Traffic? 3 Small Things Small Retailers Can Do

Written by Doron Levy

Ya ya, the economy is in the toilet and swine flu will destroy us all but we still need to buy milk and Ipod accessories and hairbrushes and party supplies. I’ve looked at a lot of ways that smaller guys are marketing themselves these days and I’ve whittled them down to 3 effective ways to build up your presence if you are a small shop operation:

Number 3:
You would be surprised at how much traffic community bulletin boards get at the local grocery store. I was at my local No Frills a few days ago and there was a crowd of people hanging around looking at all the ads and posters on the board. A daycare that we use advertise heavily on these boards and when speaking to the director, she stated that she gets at least 10 referrals a week from these posters. If someone can sell their 1982 Corolla, why can’t you sell your products? You can probably post up a flyer on there for free and the costs for maintaining a more permanent ad are minimal. Try to barter with the store manager.

Number 2:
The sandwich board. Oh how I love these. Obviously some merchants are going to read this and say, there is no way the landlord or mall manager is going to let me put a board out in front. You would be surprised. A very upscale mall here in Toronto is now allowing merchants to put small signs outside their locations in an effort to capitalize on foot traffic. Effective signs have big block letters with some sort of price on them. Having a price is important, it’s what draws them in.

And number 1:
Community presence. I have dwelled on this in the past but I cannot stress how important it is to get out there and build relationships with local kingpins. I will start with the cons: NONE. Okay, here ar the pros: it’s free marketing, it shows you care about the community, it shows that you are sensitive to local cultures, it will tell you what kind of products to carry, you will build a reputation for yourself in the community, it’s free marketing, it’s free WOM (there is that acronym again!) marketing, and the list goes on and on.

As you read this blog, these are things you can do right now. And I mean right now. Close this browser and hustle….

Doron Levy is president of Captus Business Consulting. Captus provides support to the retail industry. His blog can be found at and can he can be reached at

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