In the last few years, well-known international brands like H&M, Zara, Gap, as well as Japanese companies like Uniqlo and Miniso, have established operations in the Australian marketplace. So, how can local retailers stay competitive?
As more and more foreign retailers look to establish their presence within Australia, local retailers are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with these retail giants that seem to have an endless pool of support and resources. Hence, local businesses are increasingly pressured to find ways to safeguard their share of the consumer market.
Many local retailers make a common mistake when they try to compete with global brands; they engage in a pricing war. Not only do global retailers have the backing to support sustained price reductions, local businesses simply cannot afford for price to be the key factor. A price war is a slippery slope to the rock bottom.
Instead of focussing on pricing, local retailers need to turn to non-product content to give them a competitive edge over international peers. Utilising local expertise and experience is crucial and should already differentiate local businesses from global competitors.
Offer a holistic service, not just the product
Contemporary customers are spoiled for choice with a multitude of retailers at their digital fingertips. Local retailers can only stand apart from their global competition by looking at providing value through other means whilst increasing the loyalty of their existing customer base.
Retailers that offered a holistic and personalised service via content marketing strategies have found that they nearly had a conversion rate six times higher than their competitors. If that wasn’t enough, content marketing leaders also experience 7.8 times more site traffic than their counterparts.
With these figures in mind, here a few ways to maximise content marketing strategies:
- Add a personal touch to emails
Emails have a proven track record in engaging with customers directly. In fact, recent research has found that “email still has a bigger installed user base than Facebook”. Businesses should leverage the vast reach of email as well as their pool of consumer data in order to connect with their customers. When combined with personalised messaging, customer loyalty and retention will be increased.
One simple yet effective way to achieve this is by including a call-to-action at the end of every email. The call to action doesn’t have to always be related to a sale; it can also be leveraged as an opportunity for businesses to share valuable insights on specific products and topics. By appearing less ‘salesy’, customers will be able to connect to the brand on a deeper level.
- Communicate and be transparent
Amazon’s success is exemplified by their near-flawless communication with their customers. From relevant promotions, delivery status updates to post purchase reviews, Amazon makes sure to keep their customers in the loop via constant emails. Not only does this level of transparency promote trust between the customer and the business, it reinforces Amazon’s position as a reputable and reliable brand.
Local Australian retailers cannot afford to overlook this strategy. They must ensure to communicate with customers at every stage of their purchase journey and to provide relevant information. Emails that are timely and specific contribute greatly to the customer’s relationship with the brand.
- Turn FAQs into sales
The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page is notoriously dull. Many perceive FAQs as a dry but necessary part of any respectable website.
Yet instead of answering the FAQs professionally, leverage answers in a creative manner that demonstrates insight while showcasing the brand’s personality. Actively look to assist customers in making an informed choice with the information provided.
FAQs can also be presented in different formats that demonstrate innovation and personality. Consider YouTube tutorials, shopping guides, or even live Q&A sessions to connect with consumers in a different way.
Ultimately, the key to competing with international retailers lies in the relationship between local brands and their consumers. In order to be successful, local retailers need to focus on providing all the additional benefits listed above as to retain consumer loyalty and trust. By offering a holistic shopping experience to their existing customers, the number of consumers that are enticed by global organisations will be kept at a minimal.
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