5 Small Business Marketing Secrets from Big Box Retailers

Big box retailers like Target and Walmart have marketing down to a science and rarely do they stray from these tried and methods.  It’s worth it to take a look at these successful retailers to see what strategies they use that might work for your business too.

1.         The Secret of Reach: Big box retailers understand that the secret of success is in the numbers, large numbers that is.  So they focus on reaching out to the masses through media such as television, radio, newspaper and direct mail with a focus on their target market.  The idea is the more people in your pipeline, the more people you can convert to qualified buyers.    Now if you own a small home-based business, I’m not suggesting you advertise in the Sunday paper to gain more customers.  However, the law of large numbers remains true.  To be more profitable, reach out to a large quantity of targeted prospects.

2.         The Secret of Consistency: Big box retailers also understand the concept of out of sight, out of mind.  That’s why they employ a consistent advertising strategy.  Grocery stores mail out sale ads every Wednesday and put them in the Wednesday newspaper.  Consumer goods stores like Target put out ads in the Sunday paper.   Furthermore, they use strategies like social media, email marketing, and television advertising all in an effort to keep their brand in front of their target customer on a regular basis.

3.         The Secret of the Loss Leader: A loss leader is a marketing strategy in which a business offers a product or service at a price that is not profitable.  Stores like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy understand that in order to entice the consumer into your store to buy there’s no better way than to offer a great deal on a product they may want or need to use every day.  The idea is that the customer will buy other, more profitable, products once they get into the store.   Of course, be careful when using this strategy.  Make sure the manufacturer allows you to price your product as a loss leader.  Also make sure that you have enough of the item in store.

4.         The Secret of Psychological Pricing: Studies have shown the consumers have emotional reactions to the way that prices are displayed, and make decisions accordingly.  Because of the way we read numbers, $19.99 appears significantly less than $20, and therefore appears to be a better value.   This could work well for a business that is focusing on being a value leader.  Walmart takes this one step further by using prices ending in numbers like 8, 4, and 3, perhaps as another way to cement their low price image.

Another pricing strategy, when offering a discount or a sale price, always make sure you show the original price as well, this shows context so that the customer can determine if they are indeed getting a great deal  Another way this is used it so show value.  Perhaps your item is not on sale but the manufacturers recommended price is $49.99 while you’re selling it for $39.99, showing this difference can clearly communicate value to the customer thus encouraging them to buy.

5.         The Secret of New: There is something exciting about discovering new things which is why you see stores like Target rotating inventory, moving things around, and selling Halloween candy in August.  Newness is noticeable, newness is fun and newness sells.  If you want buyers to keep coming back time after time, bring in new stuff on a regular basis and give them another reason to visit.

As a business owner, you can have the best product, best pricing and best service in the world, but unless you market your business (that is tell your potential buyers all about it) you won’t make a lot of money.  By employing the marketing strategies of big box retailers like Target and Walmart you’ll soon be on your way to sales success.

Do you have other marketing secrets from big box retailers that you use?  I’d love to hear!  Leave your marketing strategies here!

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