(A closer look at Oxfordshire independent retailers...)
Making your retail space Instagrammable can bring more customers to you, make it part of the community, and even turn your retail space into a travel-worthy destination (people travel far and wide to get a selfie in front of Diddly Squat Farm Shop's sign). Fundamentally, using Instagram to entice customers to your retail space and then spend more time in it, is such a powerful tool. It’s a well proven technique that ‘dwell time’ increases sales.
If your retail space is Instagram-worthy it not only makes it easier for you to create content for your feed, but it’s also a fantastic way of getting people to promote your space and your brand for you; user-generated content. This kind of marketing is more authentic and engaging, and it drives sales.
In this blog post, we will look at 3 ways you can boost your Instagram appeal. I will share some good examples of how other independent retailers in Oxfordshire are doing it.
Tip #1: Create a Photo Opportunity
The simplest way to do this is to create an Instagram wall or selfie backdrop. A cost effective way to do this is to have a mural or a statement wallpaper with a humorous or inspirational phrase. We’ve all seen the living walls with a pink neon sign, or the positive affirmation on the mirror in the fitting room, right? However, the more unpredictable or attention grabbing it is the more effective it will be. Consider creating interesting shapes on the wall out of your products or making an interactive space like a reading nook in a bookshop or a makeup refresh station in a beauty shop. If you have the space, creating ‘secret spaces' or corners for the sole purpose of instagramming will give a real sense of theatre to your interior. The main thing to remember is to include your shop’s name or logo somewhere so that it’s seen in those photos. When you see your customer’s taking photos, ask them to tag your brand in their pics.
1. Mor Bakery, Chipping Norton.
2. Diddly Squat Farm Shop, Chipping Norton
Tip #2: Create an Experience
Attracting customers to your store and then encouraging them to spend time in it is half the battle for retailers. This can be achieved by simply having a comfy chair and free coffee. Ducky Zebra (a children's pop-up shop in Oxford) has a little table and chairs where parents and their children can sit and create artwork together. Simple but effective.
Holding events like workshops and tasting sessions, product demonstrations or hosting a weekly group (that is relevant to your business) are all fantastic ways of getting customers through your door. Not only do these events make the brand part of the community, it also creates plenty of content for you and your customers to post about on Instagram. Advertise these events through Instagram and encourage the participants to share their photos too.
During the time I worked with Flying Tiger Copenhagen we ran many free events in the stores, including a ‘free popcorn’ event, kids crafts tables, toy demonstrations, competitions and staff were always encouraged to give out food samples and temporary tattoos! These small events really got the customers to engage with the store and visiting became a fun experience, not just a place to shop.
The Old Shed in Charlbury puts on free woodland trails for children during the school holidays, which of course brings families to their café. TY Cycles in Chipping Norton host group bike rides from their store. What experiences or events could you hold in your store? The key is making sure it is relevant and aligns with your brand.
Tip #3: Create displays that are photo ready
Cluttered shops aren’t great for many reasons, but they also don’t make Instagram worthy photos either. Plenty of breathing space around your products especially in windows and main displays, will help with creating clean and clear photos.
Try displaying key products alone on a small plinth or in a small curated group, this will make your products ready for a photo. Subtly Include a logo in displays so that every photo that’s shared on Instagram features your shop’s branding (perhaps you could work your branded packaging in to your displays). At the very least, these displays will be set up for photos so you can quickly create content for your feed; content that is not only very visual but will give potential customers a sneak peak at what’s in your shop.
Make sure you have good lighting. A bright retail space works best for photos, but a focussed lamp can also create some moody effects.
Beautifully curated products lining the shelves can also create a beautiful selfie backdrop.
What experiences could you offer in your shop to bring customers to your door? Please leave a comment or post a photo of what you're doing in your space - I'd love to see it.
Get in touch if you would like to talk more about any of the tips mentioned in the blog, or how I can work with you to take your retail space to the next level.
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