Marketing Tips for Startups for 2018

Anyone can start a small business; however, the challenges that owners have to face are unimaginable. A majority of startups fail in their first year, and many reasons affect this. One of these is the lack of foresight, with many owners thinking that once they have a business plan and have everything in place, the business will run with no problems. However, after a month or so, one will quickly realize that running a business is not as easy as one-two-three.

Soaring over a limited budgetStartups have a small budget to work on; therefore, they do not have much flexibility compared to big companies. But that limit in the budget may work to their advantage since startups would have to think long and hard about where to spend their money. If they spend needlessly on many things, their business goes at the risk of going bankrupt. So, it is crucial that startups know how to spend their time and money wisely.

Apart from budget, another limitation with startups is staff. They don’t have many employees to work with, so they often have to multitask. So, instead of having separate teams for, say, marketing and human resource, these are often combined into one team. Having an additional person in the company costs money, so startups have to be wise with their hires. They only decide to hire more people once they grow and they can afford the additional costing.

With these limitations in budget and staff, it is understandable that marketing for startups can be a challenge. However, it is also possible to find success even with a small budget to work around with Rochester’s expert SEO services. You just have to make a marketing plan for the short and long-term, and you have to be realistic about your budget and goals.

If you need some push with your advertising strategies, here are marketing tips to help your startup thrive in this highly competitive online world:

Getting customers to appreciate your web content1. Spend time and resources in planning your content

You may think that promotional marketing is the way to go to advertise your business. However, sales-y marketing does not work anymore for many consumers. Customers value content that proves useful to their lives. So, if you offer tips and guides to help them with their problems, then you are giving your brand the opportunity to be favorite among consumers. Do not put content on the wayside, because in the online world, it is even more critical compared to selling your product or service per se. You need to find some footing in building customer trust and then allowing these people to spread the word about your brand.

2. Social media is your best friend

As a startup, you can leverage on social media’s reach to further increase your brand’s popularity online. Social media remains a powerful marketing tool that sees small to big businesses using it for advertising. Many users these days have social media accounts; therefore, it is but wise to go to platforms where people can see your brand. Have social media accounts with high-quality content published regularly, and focus on platforms that are an excellent fit for your business. For example, if you run a photography company, you can make the most of Instagram, which focuses on publishing pictures.

It can be a challenge to market your brand if you are a startup. But you can still advertise your company, as long as you remain realistic with your budget and goals. And remember to be consistent, because consistency is key when you want people to trust your brand.

Dealing with Merchandise Returns

Any company that sells products will, at some point, get returns from customers. It’s important that these are accounted for correctly, and that they are not lost.

Customers should be aware of the company return policyAccording to Policy

Firstly, you need to have a solid returns policy in place that complies with the law. When accepting a return, you should start by making sure that the merchandise return is still within your acceptable returns period. Once this is confirmed, you must correctly enter the return into your system.

The Sales Return Entry

It is important that you have the original customer receipt. If you do not, there is no assurance that what you are refunding to your customer is what that client paid! Because of customer relations, some retailers will accept returns without receipts, but will only issue a store credit on those items. That way, the item can be re-shelved and sold for the amount refunded (less risk of loss this way). With the original receipt, it is simpler to enter the return for the same amounts that were originally charged – make sure that sales taxes and base cost are entered correctly!

Asking the Customer Why the Item Is Being Returned

Many retailers ask their customers why each item is being returned and will have a form for the client to fill out. This is so that the retailer has backup evidence on the return. This can be used for audit (accounting) purposes. And it can be used for proof to the supplier if something is defective. Many goods cannot be detected as defective until the end-user tries them out. Or sometimes something breaks as soon as it is used, such as a shoe that loses its outer sole in the first wearing. The defective goods will need to be returned to the vendor.

Vendor Return Issues

Hopefully, there will be no issues with the majority of your returns – it’ll all be straightforward, and you’ll get a credit (or check) for the same amount as what you paid. To be sure of this, your inventory costing and tracking system must be set up properly, to begin with. When you do send an item back to a vendor, you must have a system for tracking the expected credit. Once the credit is received from your supplier, you must match the actual credit received with the expected amount. If these differ, you will need to contact your vendor to let them know of the discrepancy. Always have a back-up! This should be your original purchase receipt and any information that you’ve received from your customer.

You should always be clear on your suppliers’ refund policies, as well. Some wholesalers will not take returns under certain conditions or after a specific amount of time. Familiarize yourself with these. As well, many wholesalers are willing to bend the rules a little for their better clients. This often means people who are easier to deal with, pay on time, and have few returns. Try to be one of those clients!

Reselling Returned Merchandise

In many (hopefully most) returns you will be able to resell the merchandise. To do this, the item needs to be in new condition, and if it was packaged, the packaging should be undamaged. If the packaging is damaged, it needs to be still usable and re-sealable (at worst, with a little tape). Some retailers will offer a small discount on items with damaged packaging. This is your choice.

You should now have a good idea of the major issues involved in customer returns. This will help you to set your policies and procedures, thus minimizing your losses on returned merchandise.

Avoid Being Hoodwinked Knowing These Retail Psychology Tactics

While shopping, customers might think they are in control. The truth is most large retail firms use clever tactics to control the customers spending habits.

Color coordinated displays are used to attract buyersColors Can Control

One thing shoppers probably never pay attention to is the color surrounding them, color is significant and can induce strong feelings in people.

Hospitals stereotypically have green walls, and patients usually wear green gowns. Green is the color of relaxation. This is because green is synonymous with nature and nature is calming.

Purple can persuade customers to spend more money which is why a lot of shops incorporate purple into advertising displays and color schemes.

Red is all about passion and speed. It can be used to make an impact. Most budget retail stores use it in their color schemes to catch the eye of potential customers. Red signifies bargain prices and is usually the color used in most advertisements and sale banners.

Blue is a calming color and is often the color scheme adopted by supermarkets so that customers will feel relaxed and therefore stay for longer and spend more money. People are also supposedly more productive in blue rooms.

Yellow is not a good color to put in retail stores, although it is a positive. It is also said that people lose their tempers more in yellow rooms and babies will cry more often. It is difficult for the eye to take in color yellow and it speeds metabolism, making people stressed and therefore deterring them from staying around.

Research says that when humans search for food, they learn to avoid toxic or spoiled objects, which is why most food isn’t packaged in blue, black or purple colors. When food is offered to a group of study subjects which has been dyed blue, they will often lose their appetite. Green, brown, and red are the most popular food colors. Red is commonly used in restaurant decorating schemes because it is an appetite stimulant.

Fresh produce are featured at the entrance since groceries want to sell them fasterStore Layout

In the artificial environment of a large retail store, with its straight lines and bright lights, the customer is made to feel vulnerable; therefore many shops will make rather noticeable yet smart changes to the storage space to get maximum sales. The most profitable impulse buys and special offers are placed on aisle ends where shops are designed to ensure the customer passes as many ends as possible.

Most of the prices in stores end with 99, 98 or 95 cents. This is usually a sign that the product is old stock and needs to be sold quickly. Sales assistants in big electrical chains will usually steer the customer towards these products.

Supermarkets usually put the groceries at the rear of the store, forcing customers to walk through the more profitable non-food areas. But fresh fruit and vegetables are almost always at the front door because fruit and vegetables look healthier and fresher in the natural light. In contrast, meat and fish need a clean white light; otherwise, they look old and tired.

Aesthetics

Lighting is a crucial part of shopping aesthetics. Some stores found out that when they used energy efficient lighting, their sales went down because the lighting wasn’t strong enough. This was partly because the clothes looked like they were a different color. Therefore most stores keep the lighting bright, except for the lingerie department where some women feel more comfortable in dimly lit rooms whilst looking for underwear.

In pharmacies and perfume counters, most of the products are set in what they call “Triangular balance” which works on the idea that the human eye will always go to the center of a picture. They put the most prominent, tallest and most expensive products at the center of each shelf and arrange the other sizes next to them. The customer will naturally pick the center product which will coincidentally be the most expensive product.

Tabletops and boxes positioned next to racks allow women to handle the trousers and tops. Some shops will deliberately mess up the clothes, so people feel more comfortable rummaging through. Most people are nervous about going through neat piles and younger people like the look because it suggests the shop is trendy.

Music is also essential, research has proved that French music played in a supermarket’s wine aisle boosted sales of French wine. The following day, German folk music led to German wines flying off the shelves.

A good rule of thumb for the discerning shopper is not to go food shopping on an empty stomach and to look at the bottom shelves where the cheaper products are kept.