It was pretty much the worst case scenario realized for retailers last month. Retail sales declined 2.7 percent in the all-important month of December, drawing to a close the worst holiday season since 1969. With consumer confidence still at record lows, how can a typical retailer hope to survive such dire circumstances? While there are no easy answers to address this multitude of problems, it\’s time for retailers, especially those in the SMB space, to embrace digital marketing to help survive and possibly even thrive in the current economic conditions.

As I noted in my previous article, digital marketing should be top of mind for anyone in the SMB sector, and this is especially true for retailers, both online and \”brick and mortar.\” Here are a few reasons why:

It\’s Affordable-Unlike other more traditional marketing channels, digital vehicles like email and SMS should be within the budget of even the smallest of retailers.

It\’s Trackable-Lower revenues and disappointing sales mean it\’s time to re-focus on maximizing ROI, and digital marketing in its very nature is designed to be trackable. Whether you just want to see how many people respond to a specific offer, or you need more sophisticated conversion tracking, you can monitor, in real time, the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts.

It\’s Attainable-Gone are the days where only larger companies could effective deploy and manage digital marketing strategies. This is especially true for mobile marketing, in which SMB retailers can use applications like our mobileStorm SMS platform to quickly and easily launch highly effective campaigns, such as mobile coupons.

It\’s Adaptable–Being stuck with an ineffective marketing campaign can be a serious blow to a retailer, both in terms of lost revenue or even your reputation. Changing course in the traditional media outlets can be cost both time and money. In the digital realm, however, such corrections can be done with minimal effort and expense.

It\’s Personable–Most forms of mass communication are geared towards the mass market, meaning that the same message is applied across a wide section of potential consumers. Digital marketing allows you to take an inverse approach, giving you the flexibility to customize your offer to a much smaller (and arguably more effective) niche audience.

It\’s Inevitable–Whether or you are currently engaged in digital marketing, the fact is that eventually you\’ll have no choice but to use it. Your competitors will be, or already are, doing so.

What has your experience been like using digital marketing as a retailer? If you haven\’t started, what is holding you back from doing so? We\’d love to hear your thoughts either way.

Until next time,

Steve Chipman
“Analog thoughts in a digital world”