Marketing for Independent Retailers

A customer happy and ready to shop!

Cris Willis

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Independent retail store owners can easily get too overwhelmed with their stores’ day-to-day operations and not spend any time developing a marketing plan or ideas for promotional events. Does that sound like you? Are you spending more time working IN your business and not enough time working on the things that will move your business forward?

Marketing isn’t about coming up with the next cool idea.  The basics have not changed.  You get customers and then keep them coming back.  They will keep coming back if you give them a great experience.  Continue to build a relationship with them and give them a reason to spend their time and money in your store and not your competition.  You will increase the lifetime value of your customers as they shop with you more often and spend more money, plus they will send more referrals your way through their friends and family.

Creating Your Marketing Plan

Schedule some time into your week to brainstorm and create your marketing plan and promotional events for the year or at least the next quarter.

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

1. Start a Loyalty Program for your store

This is a great way to collect your customers’ contact information and reward them for shopping with you.  If you would like more details on a Loyalty Program that you can start in your store tomorrow, Click Here to learn more about the 6 Box Program.

2. Send weekly emails to your customers

Email marketing is one of the most effective and least costly ways to reach your customers.  If you are not taking advantage of this, you need to start.  Click Here to download an Email Marketing Checklist from WhizBang! Training to help you.

3. Promote yourself as an expert by writing articles or tips on topics related to your industry

Your local newspaper, magazines, chamber of commerce, and other organizations are always looking for good content.  You may not think of yourself as the “expert” in your town, but you are, so promote yourself that way.  Write articles about what is happening and new in your industry and submit them to anyone you can think of.  You will be surprised how many will get published over time.  Then when you are having an event in your store, write up a Press Release about it.  If you have a relationship with the media company, they may just publish it or interview you for more information.

4. Conduct weekly/monthly/quarterly seminars about the products and services you offer

These “how-to” clinics can be done online or in-person in your store or at an off-site facility.   Customers love educational events where they learn more about how to use your products.  Always offer chances to win door prizes or get free gifts.  Make it fun and interactive, and they will come!

5. Send hand-written Thank You notes to your customers as often as you can

Verbally thank every customer that shops with you.  This needs to be a non-negotiable standard that every employee adheres to.  Plus, all associates should send out at least one hand-written Thank You note a day to a customer.  But, by all means, do more if you can.  It is rare for anyone to receive a hand-written piece of mail these days, so it truly stands out and is memorable to your customer.

6. Join the WhizBang! Marketing Club

Would you like to learn new marketing ideas each month?  Would you like to be a part of a group where you can share ideas and ask questions?  Would you like to have access to interviews with other retailers about successful marketing tactics they have used?  Would you like to get marketing tech tips and social media tips each month?  Click Here to learn more about the revamped Retail Marketing Club from WhizBang! Training.


You should seriously consider joining the Retail Marketing Club.  The lifetime value of the tips and ideas you learn each month will bring you way more money than the low monthly subscription fee.  You can always try it for a month and if it is not for you, you can cancel at any time.  Give it a try! You will Definitely Learn Something!

Cris Willis

Cris is a business coach for independent retailers. With 25 years of experience owning and operating a family business, she now guides retail owners to make smarter decisions regarding inventory management, marketing, sales training, product assortment, and more. When not at work, she loves to travel the country with her husband in their motorhome.

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Every marketing channel has its advantages, but email has consistently produced excellent results for many independent retailers for more than a decade. It has been a critical part of their marketing plan.

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