Make Purchasing Products Easy & Manageable
Once you’ve got customers in your store or on your website, you’ll want to make sure that it’s easy for them to make a purchase. The most obvious part of this is to accept multiple forms of payment including cash and credit cards. But what about larger purchases? For example, group buys can be the lifeblood of a small business, and giving various organizations an incentive to buy from you will encourage them to come back every year. You can and should offer group discounts, but your competitors are already doing this. Take it a step further and accept installment payments. You can easily enable your customers to make installment purchases using their existing Visa and Mastercard credit cards, paying zero percent interest and earning points on every purchase.
Contact Local Schools, Teams & Recreational Clubs
With installment payments in your toolkit, you’ll be more effective when you contact local organizations. Start by making a list of nearby schools and contact their Athletics Directors. They’ll either have a budget for new equipment, or they’ll make recommendations to students on where to make their own purchases. You’ll be able to make a great case for steering students to your store or website not only for the discounts that they can get everywhere else, but also for the interest- free installment payment option. Parents who budget their spending might not be ready to shell out several hundred dollars for cleats, uniforms, protective gear and supplies all at once. They would benefit most from purchasing from a store like yours that has unique payment solutions to spread out purchases over several months. Parents will be able to stay on budget, and their kids won’t miss a season of playing their favorite sport due to family finances. After you’ve contacted local schools, you can use this same approach with sports clubs, leagues and other private groups.
Connect With Local Bloggers, Facebook Groups & Publications
This is one of the most cost effective ways to get some publicity for your new sporting goods store. Make sure you have a basic website and Facebook page up and running, then spend a few minutes online to locate popular local blogs, e-zines and Facebook groups. Contact each blog owner or Facebook group administrator directly and ask them about their policies regarding new business promotion. Let them know about your product selection, and that you offer installment payment plans. Give their readers a discount and consider some paid advertising if it makes sense. A brand new shop that accepts installment payments makes good fodder for fresh stories and group discussions.
Advertise Your Store Online
While the bloggers and Facebook chatters are busy talking about your great new store, it’s time to start some paid advertising. Begin by registering for Google Business so that your company appears on Google Maps, Search and Google+. Next, create a Google Adwords campaign and create some geotargeted ads for your store/site. Be very careful about your keyword selections and regional targeting so that you’re not bidding outside of your geographic area, or wasting money on keywords that don’t produce results. Consider hiring a professional Adwords manager to create and manage your campaign. In addition to keyword ads, create a remarketing campaign within Google Adwords, so that people who have visited your website will be targeted to receive additional ads on Google and various websites to remind them of their visit and drive them to your store.
Launch a Mass Mailing Campaign
While often neglected, mass mail is still a very effective strategy, especially for local retailers, and it’s not terribly expensive. You can get a decent local designer to make a postcard for you, and then to deliver it to targeted neighborhoods. This is actually a lot cheaper and more effective than paying someone minimum wage to hand out flyers all day to people walking on the street. Just make sure your mail-piece conforms to the size and weight requirements for EDDM. Good local graphic designers who have done mass mailings in the past should already know these specifications.
These tips won’t solve all of the problems associated with starting a new business and making it profitable. But, they’ll get you pointed in the right direction for growth. Driving new customers to your store, community outreach and making larger purchases more practical are all part of the formula for success. Put these tips into action, and experience new growth for your sporting goods business!