Has your retail business been around for a long time? Whether you’ve been in business 10 or 20 years, or whether you’re helming a family-owned business that’s been around for generations, these days there’s lots of value in marketing your history.
Consumers are showing new interest in longtime businesses and brands for several reasons:
- With the economy still uncertain and everyone watching their wallets, a store with a long history is a more reliable place to spend your money than a brand-new website.
- The new demand for authenticity and “artisanal” products carries over to retail. The same young consumers flocking to craft brewpubs are also interested in independent stores with a history.
- In a rapidly changing world, every demographic from Baby Boomers to Millennials tends to look back to their younger years for comfort. Whether your store has been around since Woodstock or just since the first year of Coachella, it’s part of someone’s formative years.
Here are six ways you can play up your company’s longevity as a selling point.
Tell Your Story
Make sure your business’s story and history are a prominent part of your business’s marketing. Your website should feature the company’s startup and growth trajectory as part of the “About” section. Use photos, short videos or even a timeline to add interest. Check out the Jim Beam website for a great example of an interactive history.
Five, ten or fifty years in business? Start celebrating early with special anniversary sales, in-store events and promotions. Let the media know about your upcoming anniversary, and alert loyal customers well in advance. Consider celebrating the anniversary of them becoming customers, too. For instance, you could offer discounts that get bigger based on how long someone’s been shopping with you.
Throwback Thursday on social media is a fun way to share your store’s history and keep your business’s long reputation top-of-mind. Share fun photos of your store’s early days, images of products you used to sell or vintage ads. Tag your posts and images with #TBT.
Let People Know Your Store is Old – Not Old-Fashioned
People like history, but they also want stores to keep up with the times. For example, if you only take cash or checks or don’t have air conditioning, your charming general store may not attract many customers. Make the necessary updates to your operations, management and marketing to garner both old and new customers.
Pinpoint Your Store’s Competitive Edge
What makes your longtime store special? Is it incredibly personalized customer service? Amazing lifetime guarantees on products? Your encyclopedic knowledge of what you sell? Find that thing – then focus on it in your marketing.
Harness People Power
Consumers feel passionate even about huge, corporate retailers as long as they have a history (consider Macy’s, for example). So imagine how much more loyalty your store can inspire when you’ve got memorable individuals working for you?
Highlight your people, whether it’s the store manager who’s been with you since the Kennedy era or the three generations of your family who work in your store. Spotlight them with “Employee of the Month” signage, bios on your business website and callouts in your email newsletter.
General Store Photo via Shutterstock
Great post Rieva. And as businesses tell their story, the competitive edge should naturally surface because the business has been doing something right to stay in business that many years.
I agree. And in this Internet age, stories sell more than before. In fact, people will be more inclined to buy from a shop that has a story than something that just sprouted out of nowhere.
On October 19, 2014, COMMWORLD of Kansas City celebrates 34 years in business with the same ownership and partnering with the same manufacturer – Toshiba. This is especially unique in the ever-changing telecommunications industry. Owners Bob and Linda Bennett attribute this success to the long-term, dedicated staff at COMMWORLD of KC!
Awesome..This post will inspire me to make more up to date for my minimarket, thanks a lot Rieva