Innovative Retail Marketing Ideas

The National Retail Federation (NRF) will be hosting its “101st Annual Convention & EXPOat the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City from January 15-18. Often referred to by its nickname, “Retail’s Big Show,”  this event is where the world’s retailers and strategic partners gather once a year to share ideas, make connections, embrace technology and drive the industry forward.

While researching for the event (As we have a Heiler Sales Executive that will be walking the show – Fill out the contact me form if you are interested in setting up a meeting with our sales executive), I came across an interesting article from NRF’s Stores Magazine website. This piece, adequately titled “20 Ideas Worth Stealing,” provides a list of 20 innovative marketing and sales ideas that some companies used to drive business during 2011’s slow but relatively steady economic rebound. The article does not advocate directly “stealing” these ideas, but rather makes the suggestion that you share them with other colleagues or team member to get your creative juices flowing in 2012. These ideas cover everything from inventive apps for smartphones and tablets; vending machines dispensing fresh-baked goods; blizzard forecasts in the heat of summer; and even more convenient delivery options.

Here is just one of the many ideas I found very interesting in this article: Chinese fashion merchandiser and retailer 7GeGe Top Fashion took into account that mobile was pushing the need for speed to another level of consumer expectation and partnered with vendor Digby to mobile optimize their website. Here is the basis of the idea as read in the article:

“Key for 7GeGe will be delivering a unique and engaging mobile shopping experience to its hip, savvy and youngish Chinese consumer base while strengthening customer loyalty and delving into critical buying behavior data. To make it work, 7GeGe has determined it needs to give its customers the freedom to easily research and purchase items in as little as 60 seconds — all with features that include product images and descriptions, shop-by-category functionality, store locator, e-mail signup, order tracking, site search, ratings and reviews and promotional offers.

The site promises to be so timely that it will be able to monitor the fashions its customers are buying immediately. If certain items are selling more briskly, 7GeGe shifts merchandising within one day to accommodate the trends.”

I think this is a great idea that many retail companies can learn and benefit from. 7GeGe is a perfect example of a company that recognized a weakness in its multichannel strategy and developed a plan to keep up with today’s customer expectations. However, if companies plan to implement a similar strategy it is important to ensure that the product data being researched is accurate, enriched and up-to-date.

The entire list and article can be viewed here. Take a look at some of the other ideas that companies used in 2011 to drive business. Which ideas do you consider to be worth exploring to drive sales for your business in 2012? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section.