For several years I have been a speaker/trainer at the North American Celtic Trade Association‘s annual Celtic Marketplace near Chicago for buyers and vendors. I reviewed dozens of member websites and made recommendations on everything from design to messaging and marketing.
I’ve written articles for their newsletter, Seanchai, on website success, and most recently an article on gift shop marketing to help their members attract new business throughout the year. I was limited on the number of words and images, so I have upgraded the content here. The ideas expressed should benefit all retailers, not just Irish gift shops.
How Buyers Find You Even If They Don’t Know Who You Are or That You Have What They Want
For many gift shops and other retailers, the biggest shopping days of the year are right around the corner. What is your strategy for getting more customers during the holiday shopping season?
Whether you own a website or not, here are some FREE and inexpensive ways for more buyers to find you 24/7/365.
To Be Found You Need to Be Findable
When people search for you, do they always find your phone number?
Is the right address listed?
Do all fields in your listing have information that will help people choose your business?
According to Google, more than 80% of users search for stores and local service providers online before visiting them, which means that it is important for your business to show up in “Local Search.” Your prospects will use search engines, review sites and local directories looking for recommendations.
Local Marketing for Gift Shops can include many things from optimizing a website for both the types of products you sell; such as Irish wool sweaters, kilts, communion dresses, Lalique, books or jewelry, and the communities that you serve, to getting listed in local business directories and review sites. Shoppers will look for you in multiple search engines, directories, review sites and social media.
Being listed as a ‘gift shop‘ might attract people who aren’t necessarily thinking of your goods, but will be amazed when they become aware of your unique quality offerings. Many directories will allow you to classify your business 3-5 ways, like ‘clothing store,’ ‘religious goods,’ ‘home furnishings‘ or even ‘book store.’ Some Celtic shops are also ‘travel agents’ and ‘tour operators.’ Make sure you categorize your business for your primary offerings.
For example, Papa John’s offers pizza for takeout or delivery but does not offer on-premises dining. It should use the category “Pizza Delivery” and additional category “Pizza Takeout” (instead of the less specific “Delivery Restaurant” or “Takeout Restaurant”).
If you have another business that you do not own located inside your gift shop, you should list that separately. An example would be a pharmacy in a grocery store. If you are a tour marketer as well as a gift shop owner, then you could include both, but in many cases, it’s better to create multiple listings, especially if both entities are different brands.