Local retail shop marketing for a store opening
In 2019 the team at Fish Cove needed help to launch their new retail store in Rose Bay. I provided marketing consultancy, website design, brand positioning guidance, social media management and public relations assistance. The work resulted in the store getting mass exposure in their local area including more than six thousand interactions on Google from local searches, beating existing competitors in the area.
This even included being featured by leading media outlets Broadsheet Sydney and Not Quite Nigella within a few weeks of opening.
What marketing assistance did the shop owners want?
The store owners Michael and Patty had contracted me for one of their other stores to help create lifestyle & menu photography for their business ‘Brunch and Co’ located in Alexandria (see some of the samples here). They sold that business and wanted to return to the industry they knew best by opening a fish and chip shop in Rose Bay called ‘Fish Cove’.
With an absolute clean sheet of paper to work with, their marketing brief was simple; they wanted affordable marketing assistance to help launch their new brand so that it could quickly get found locally. They were about to compete with four other established shops in the affluent Rose Bay & Double Bay area.
How important is marketing for a local store?
I was contracted as a marketing consultant during the initial launch period in April 2019 & to create all the tools needed to enable their team to continue developing the business. The short term goal was to help potential customers to quickly find the business & its unique offering.
It was immediately obvious they needed help to build their brand & establish how it was unique or different, develop mouth watering visuals to attract people, win their share of local online search as people looked up local food locations.
Each of these marketing elements had to be completed together so there was demand created, a compelling story to entice people & a clear market position to then create word of mouth. All of this would then compliment their main road position that had high visibility.
So many business owners opening a new retail store think it might be enough to throw a few photos on social media & hope that will automatically attract people. It is a common mistake that leads to many local stores failing.
What marketing outcomes were delivered for the store?
The results speak for themselves with more than 31,000 people discovering Fish Cove online through local search, more than 3,000 page views on their website & reviews in high profile media publications. Best of all, everything was tracked, measured & could be reported to prove the results being delivered. Not only were the owners happy at all the exposure they were receiving, but they had complete transparency with reporting tools using Google Analytics, Google Search Console & Google My Business.
All of the digital marketing completed meant they were able to quickly rank on the first page of local Google searches for generic terms like “fish and chips” which meant brand new potential customers & they were beating local 15+ year established competitors in the area. By putting effort into organic search it meant they didn’t have to run ads and would get found naturally by people looking for places to eat.
The new brand positioning statement & unique selling proposition that I developed was on trend for the time period. Not only did this help attract shoppers, but it helped catch the eye of top 20 Australian food blogger Not Quite Nigella and local food directory Broadsheet Sydney who both visited the store to write reviews.
It meant that in a short space of time a social media following was built, thousands of people were visiting the website, they were being discovered through local searches on mobile phones & they had brand credibility by being featured on popular food websites – it was the dream opening for this new retail store.
Here are some highlights after a few weeks;
What other marketing advice did I provide to the owners?
While it is always easy to highlight the great marketing achievements delivered, it is also important to look at how things can be developed & evolved. For these store owners I had suggested the following actions;
Why is marketing execution so important for a new store?
Some business owners just can’t be helped, even after providing all the advice, guidance and expert advice, they still think they know best. Or even worse, they aren’t prepared to pay for marketing assistance even though their store is struggling to make sales or even be profitable.
Sadly, as of 2022 Fish Cove is no longer trading, a victim of all of the health orders put in place during the pandemic. Although, stop and think about it for a second, there are thousands of others who survived. My local French bakery has a line up every morning, the hipster cafe across the road is always full of people.
What does that tell you – consumers are always there, but just not that interested in your offering & this is the challenge so many store owners have to face. Local competition is either doing it better or your offering is not getting seen or discovered.
Just like the stories in Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares it is always fascinating to listen to a store owner ‘we aren’t getting many customers’ and quite often I look at what they are doing & there is no surprise why. Little to no activity on social media profiles, poor quality photos, an offer that isn’t unique or exciting etc.
You have to get the basics right & hiring marketing consultant can help with that. Here are a couple of examples below
The owner of this dessert shop had recently opened but wasn’t getting much foot traffic. Considering their primary item for sale was things like waffles, pancakes & ice cream this obviously was a worry.
Although it only took 30 seconds to look at their dishes to form the opinion of ‘not worth visiting’. Apart from the visual presentation being poor, their photography was terrible & nothing screamed ‘come visit my store’
I quickly found some great examples of places doing a great job to give them an idea.
Sticking with the same store I thought, ok maybe some of their other items are better. Although have a look at how they were marketing their $12 toasted sandwich. It looks like something your grandma would make when you were ten years old.
On the right is another example from a local competitor – it was little wonder they weren’t getting any foot traffic.
Surprisingly they didn’t want to pay for my advice.
Apart from executing that has great visuals or messaging every store or shop should think about where they are putting their energy.
Social media is great to engage your ‘fans’ but in many cases stores are just pushing one way ‘ads’ for what they do, this isn’t engaging & most people just ignore it.
What’s more, it doesn’t drive people to your website generally either. So at some point you have to question its value. You might be lucky and someone searches online after being on social media, but as you can see in the example here, social was less than 4% of their website visitors.
Meanwhile just in their local area they had 40 people visit their website, 15 get directions, 1 message & 1 phone call – but they weren’t posting their content on their Google My Business profile – crazy.