Retail experts offer marketing tips

Published 2:34 am Friday, July 27, 2018

Small or medium-sized business owners should be the No. 1 cheerleaders of shopping in Andalusia, participants in a retail strategies workshop were told Thursday.

Carmen Cristo, director of public relations for NaviRetail, which recently con ducted an in-depth analysis of local retail trends, offered tips for building local trade.

“We need to broaden the focus, and market Andalusia as a city,” Cristo said.

“Be a team player,” she said. “Your fellow local retailers can be an asset to you.”

She suggested that businesses partner for events, cross-market products, and align efforts to encourage consumers to keep their dollars local.

She also suggested that local retailers adopt hashtags to brand Andalusia. For instance, in Tupelo, where she lives, local business owners use the hashtags “#tupelocal” and “#mytupelo.”

Retailers also need to evolve with the times, she said.

“Small towns might be slow to jump on the latest marketing trends, but stay up to date on them and become an early adopter of those that are appropriate to audience,” she said.

She suggested considering a mix of traditional and modern advertising.

“Every business needs to be online,” she said. “For you that might be Facebook, or Facebook and Instagram.”

Cristo also suggests paying attention to the shopping experience in a store.

“Adapt store hours to when your customers are able to shop,” she said.

Both Cristo and NaviRetail CEO Casey Kidd harped on this point.

“If you are only open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., you are basically marketing to those who are unemployed,” Kidd said.

Signage also is critical, especially when trying to stop traffic, Cristo said.

“People who are passing though town can’t see inside, and they can’t see what a nice person you are,” she said.

NaviRetail also offered individual sessions for retailers Thursday afternoon.