By Ashley Carestia//August 31, 2023
By: Ashley Carestia//August 31, 2023
New products keep your business fresh and promote engagement. They bring customers back into the store and get people excited about your brand. Plus, loyal customers will always be interested in your latest offerings.
This doesn’t mean that promotion of new products can be neglected. A carefully constructed release strategy is essential in the success of new merchandise. However, it is not just your newest offerings at stake as it’s important to implement the proper promotion strategy and tactics for all your products.
There are ways of promoting new products that will lead you to early sales and overall success, and the following methods of release will get people excited about your store. Excitement over new arrivals will lead to an improved customer experience and an increase in overall sales.
The sudden spike in e-commerce sales in 2020 has been readjusted over time. The e-commerce shares of total retail fell in 2021 and 2022 after the initial pandemic jump. Prior to the pandemic, the growth rate of e-commerce had always outpaced overall retail sales. Since restrictions started to ease and physical stores started reopening again in mid-2021, the e-commerce growth rate has remained lower than the growth of retail sales.
Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar is on the mend. The rebound for physical stores may be partially driven by some consumers making a conscious change. Globally, 47 percent of consumers said they were significantly more likely to purchase from retail stores that have a local presence, according to Omni Retail.
Research by Forrester predicts that in 2024, 72 percent of U.S. retail sales will still happen in-store. Amidst all these changes, there lies a significant opportunity for brick-and-mortar retailers to use their current momentum and capitalize on the slowing of e-commerce. A focus on personalized customer experiences will be the key to differentiating brick-and-mortar retail from e-commerce shopping.
Brick-and-mortar stores can host events, personalize the shopping experience for each visitor or even partner with other businesses to create something brand new.
So, what does this new post-pandemic shopping era look like in practice? That’s where the fun begins. For example, this summer the anticipation of the new Barbie movie had been overwhelming. We saw hot pink themes all over our newsfeeds and inboxes. However, that’s exactly how to roll out new products with excitement that will get your customers excited, plus there is a significant opportunity to capitalize in on trends outside your industry.
Brick-and-mortar retailers can get creative. Here are a few suggestions:
Sip & Shop
Hosting an event at your store is another way to encourage shoppers to buy directly from your business. It can be a shopping event, or a ticketed event for a craft or painting night, live music or a contest. You can also host a pop-up event and invite other local businesses into your store.
Build Hype Early
Let your customers get excited about your new products as early as possible. They shouldn’t find out about a product after it hits the market. Make sure they know about it well before its release, as the anticipation makes the product more desirable. This ensures that people want it as soon as it becomes available. The result is an exponential increase in early sales. You can start this hype at a particular event or through digital channels. Doing a preview at a certain event increases the inclusivity of your new product. It makes everyone who attends (either physically or digitally) confident that they heard about it first.
Your business can also use social media or video marketing to promote your new products early. You can show off what’s new and give customers an inside look at your brand. According to Biteable statistics, mobile video consumption rises 100 percent every year. Also, social video generates 1,200 percent more shares than text and images combined. Use these tools to build hype and spread the word on your fresh merchandise.
Add a “New Arrivals” section on your website and on signage in your store. When you release new products, have a dedicated section for new releases. This will help current loyal customers to come across your latest item arrivals. It also illustrates to your customers that you update your stock frequently.
The “new arrivals” section should be easily seen on your website’s homepage. Include it under your products tab. It can also appear as its own section within the main navigation bar. This increases the exposure of your new products and will provide a better digital customer experience.
Let’s Get Visual
Window displays are always a favorite. Not only does it showcase your new arrivals, but it’s also fun to create. Allow customers to see your new products by providing a variety of display products from different angles in your window. This will give customers a better idea of what your product looks like and how it functions. Besides, who wouldn’t want a hot pink Barbie window display!?
If you are not already sending out on-brand emails, the time to start is now. Use an email platform, like Act-On or Constant Contact, to organize and send communications to your users. You should have the ability to segment your audience into different categories to target a specific group of customers.
Email campaign categories may be separated based on engagement, abandoned carts, visitors who have not signed up for your loyalty program, recent purchases and demographics.
This will increase the more you target your new products to relevant customers. By understanding your customers, you will not waste time or money when promoting new releases.
Social Media Promotion
In addition to email, you also need to embrace the power of social media. This is where you create an exclusive brand community and make your customers feel like they are building an authentic relationship with you. Over 53 percent of consumers say they are likely to buy from brands that are transparent on social media.
When crafting your new product promotions on social media, center it around your customer journey. Create content that is driven by customer experiences. How do people interact with your company and brand? Create stories and share pictures of your latest releases centered around your customers.
Offer a Product-Release Contest or Giveaway
As previously mentioned, contests are a great way to increase visibility on social media. This also extends to giveaways on other platforms. This type of promotion is a great way to acquire new customers, with your loyal consumers sharing the contest or giveaway across their social media platforms. A stand-alone social media contest is a great way to promote new products. For example, say 800 people enter your contest by liking and sharing. You can then be sure that at least 800 people have interacted with your brand. The content will also have been seen by any friends or followers of the contestants.
Timing is Everything
Timing can make or break any new product release. Make sure you plan your product’s release from the announcement to the end of the marketing campaign. Each promotion should be well placed within your product release timeline. Be sure to announce your new arrivals early.
You want the world to know about your product before its release, but you don’t want the news to grow stale. Spread out your marketing and promotions to keep the momentum of your new release.
Embrace omnichannel strategies – brick-and-mortar doesn’t have to mean only in-person shopping. For instance, brick-and-mortar stores can also offer online ordering with in-store pickup, deals on social media for in-person shopping and more.
Lastly, have a plan for after release day. Keep the momentum going on your products after they are available. It will boost sales by keeping the release fresh in the minds of people who haven’t made a purchase yet, and you can include sales and promotions after the release.
The release of new products, depending on your business type, should be treated as an event. In the days leading up to your product launch, increase your promotional activity. All of your followers on social media should know about it. Your website should also highlight the release.
So, come on retailers, let’s go “Paw-ty!”
A successful fashion model for 25 years, Ashley Carestia also is founder/CEO of Bark Fifth Avenue, a luxury retail boutique and brand. She has earned the respect of her colleagues through arduous work and dedication, being awarded the Small Business of the Year Award by the Atlanta Women’s Chamber of Commerce, the Women of Influence award from Pet Age and Entrepreneur of the Year by Women in The Pet Industry.