3 Memorial Day Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

Time is flying and Memorial Day is almost here! Memorial Day is a great time for your business to honor the Armed Forces, as well as celebrate the unofficial start of summer. Last year, it was estimated that consumers spent $500 (each!) over the holiday weekend, which means stores like yours should be prepared.

Print Memorial Day Promotions with Your Receipt Printer

There’s no need to shell out your hard-earned cash to market your Memorial Day specials. With Star Micronics PromoPRNT, you can print custom Memorial Day marketing promotions for veterans-only sales, summer kickoff specials, barbeques, and much more – all using the receipt printer you already have. And even better yet, the promotions are printed directly on the bottom of the receipt – a place nearly every customer looks! Click here to learn more or sign up for PromoPRNT today.

Let’s explore 3 easy in-store promotions you can print using PromoPRNT (these templates are currently available for use in the PromoPRNT dashboard):

1. Highlight a Sale for Veterans

2. Promote a BBQ

3. Have a Summer Kickoff Sale

Remember, all of these promotion templates are currently available on the PromoPRNT dashboard, in the Promotion Builder.

Looking for other ways to spruce up your small business? Explore more Small Business Tips now.

How to Create the Perfect POS Solution for Your Fitness Center

A fitness center is a challenging environment for point of sale (POS) systems. There are staff schedules, members to track, classes to register for, and different areas of the facility that may need retail POS functionalities but don’t have the counter space to spare.

Owners and managers who want to create the perfect POS solution for their fitness center can build it with the right components and applications. There are a wide range of technologies and POS hardware solutions that can help you elevate your fitness center to the next level.

Scheduling and Membership Management

Downloadable applications for scheduling and member management are popular because they require little upfront investment, update frequently, and typically utilize the hardware you already own. This affordable alternative to traditional, on-premises POS systems keep information secure and make it easy to create schedules and maintain client records, even when you’re not on site.

However, many web-based applications have printer connectivity issues.  A platform-agnostic print data relaying application is a popular technology solution used to remedy this problem. You’ll want to find a low-cost, versatile solution to cloud/web-based printing that allows you to generate high-quality printing for your fitness center with professional, crisp graphics.

Solutions for Off-Site or Outdoor Fitness Classes

Fitness center owners who host off-site events or outdoor fitness classes need to have receipt-printing capability for customers paying for retail products, classes or services. For this reason, you’ll want to find a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-enabled printer. These portable receipt printers can range from compact models to more robust options, and at price points that suit any budget.  Choose a portable receipt printer that is small, light, and can easily be carried outdoors and used to print invoices, labels, receipts, and other documentation.

Space-Saving, Cost-Effective Solutions

Fitness centers aren’t cash-heavy operations, so many gym owners don’t feel the need to shell out big bucks for a full POS setup. But for a select few areas that handle cash — for example, a juice bar, babysitting, or when paying for guests or special services — an ergonomic solution for tablet POS that combines a cash drawer and printer peripheral is the ideal solution. Select a unit with a fully integrated design that works with the tablet or mobile device of your choice, so you can have a mobile solution without compromising space, quality, or functionality.

The Star Micronics mPOP is the perfect modern, compact point of sale solution.

Quick and Easy Connections

Fitness center owners who choose popular iPad and iPhone POS solutions have demanded increasingly mobile and connected receipt printer solutions. Since gyms tend to be heavily soundproofed with electronic equipment or other signal blocking materials, you may struggle with connectivity.

The first AirPrint-certified receipt printer, the TSP654II.

Choose a printing solution from a line of printers that was created to take care of connectivity problems. For example, consider the TSP654II. This printer was the first-ever AirPrint® certified receipt printer on the market, meaning it prints via iOS devices easily and without driver installation. On top of its compatibility, the TSP654II also is capable of printing 60 receipts per minute and features swappable interfaces.

The Star Micronics mC-Printers are another great option for a connected gym. The sleek, cube-shaped printers are available in 2″ and 3″ models, and boast Bluetooth, USB, Lightning, LAN, and CloudPRNT connectivity options.

Gym owners looking for printing solutions for fitness centers should explore Star Micronics’ lineup of hardware and technology applications. Whether you are looking to add printer connectivity, mobile POS, or off-site functionality, Star has a variety of options that will help you add the capabilities you need at an affordable price.

Built-In Marketing Tools

Printing receipts is great, but why not kill two birds with one stone and market to your fitness center members at the same time? Star Micronics PromoPRNT, a value-added, cloud-based marketing tool, lets you do just that. PromoPRNT uses existing Star receipt printers to print custom promotions directly on the bottom of receipts., You can easily log on to the cloud dashboard and design promotions from templates, boosting customer engagement and retention. Promotions can advertise sales, special events, loyalty programs, and much more. Learn more or sign up today!

Need more guidance building out your ideal fitness center point of sale system? Contact us today!

3 In-Store Mother’s Day Marketing Ideas Using PromoPRNT

Ah, moms. They are there for us since day one, and they remind us to take care of ourselves when we are adults. Clearly many people appreciate their mothers, and feel that there’s no better way to thank mom than to treat her on Mother’s Day. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, in 2018, 86% of American consumers celebrated the holiday, and they spent $179.77 each (with the biggest spenders shelling out nearly $225)!

It’s simply a no brainer that businesses large and small should cash in on the loving holiday. Implementing an in-store Mother’s Day marketing campaign in particular is great idea. Why? Because collectively, 64% of consumers will shop at department stores and specialty stores (like florists and jewelers), versus just 31% of shoppers who plan to shop online. Additionally, nearly 30% of moms claim they would love to receive the gift of an experience, like a spa day or entertainment tickets.

PromoPRNT: The Perfect Solution for Mother’s Day Marketing

Lucky for retailers and restaurants, with Star Micronics PromoPRNT, there’s never been an easier way to take advantage of in-store marketing. PromoPRNT works with your existing Star receipt printer (at no additional cost) and enables you to print customized promotions – directly on the receipts that go into your customer’s hand! Benefits of PromoPRNT include:

  • Increase customer retention
  • Make each customer visit unique
  • Manage promotions from anywhere
  • Make custom promotions from templates
  • And more!

Click here to learn more about PromoPRNT, or check out our short intro video below:

To help you out, Star has created three customizable Mother’s Day promotion templates, which are available now in the Promotion Builder. Check them out now:

Promo 1: Invite Customers to Take Mom Out

Promo 2: Promote Your Mother’s Day Sales

Promo 3: Host a Giveaway

 

Remember, all of these templates are now available to use in Promo Builder!

Ready to learn more or register for PromoPRNT? Click here to learn more and register your Star printer.

4 Easter Marketing Ideas for Your Store Using PromoPRNT

Spring has sprung and Easter is almost here! If you haven’t developed an Easter marketing plan for your store, you are missing out. In 2016, a whopping 8 in 10 Americans planned to celebrate the holiday, and they spent $17.3 billion that year (and $146 per person). That’s a lot of festive customers at your fingertips, ready to make you some “egg-cellent” profits.

Ready to get started? Did you know that with PromoPRNT, you can use your existing Star Micronics printer to create custom Easter promotions that are printed directly on the bottom of receipts? Here’s a quick rundown of PromoPRNT’s features:

  • Make custom promotions from templates
  • Manage promotions from anywhere
  • Increase customer retention
  • Make each customer visit unique

You can now easily get your Easter marketing hopping with our pre-made PromoPRNT templates. Check them out:

Promo 1: Promote Easter Sales

Want to grow some business this spring? Host an Easter weekend sale! The template is editable, so customize it to match your store’s specific sale.

Promo 2: Highlight Special Easter Products

If you offer Easter- and spring-themed products, this is your time to shine. Promote them now on your receipts so your current customers become repeat customers.

Promo 3: Host a Social Media Contest

Who doesn’t want to win something? Host a social media giveaway contest and not only gain sticky customers, but also some followers.

Promo 4: Advertise an Easter Event

If you happen to be hosting an Easter-themed event, using PromoPRNT is a great way to advertise it. Make sure to remind your staff to alert customers of the event information located on their receipts.

Remember, all of these templates are now available to use in Promo Builder!

Haven’t signed up yet for PromoPRNT? No problem. Click here to learn more and register your Star printer, or watch our video:

3 Ways to Grow Your Restaurant Business

In the world of restaurants, there’s immense pressure to not just maintain business, but to grow it. There are over 1 million restaurants in the U.S. alone, and their projected sales in 2018 topped $825 billion. In a world that becomes a little more digital and connected each and every year, it’s important to stay ahead of the competition and stay in the foremind of your customers. Here are three ways to grow your restaurant business – in the modern world.

1. Use an Online Ordering Service

Nowadays, online ordering services are thriving. There are both local and nationwide services, and the industry is estimated to be worth nearly $19.5 billion and is expected to grow 5.9% annually through 2023. In other words, there’s never been a better time to jump into the online ordering game if you haven’t already.

Benefits of Online Ordering Services:

  • New Business: Online ordering services are a great way to appeal to a new market and draw in new customers outside of your restaurant.
  • Reduce Human Error: Another huge benefit of using an online ordering service is clearer communications. Online ordering services can eliminate the confusion that sometimes occurs when orders are placed over the phone. Simply put, online services increase order accuracy and make the process easier for both the customer and the employee.
  • Transparent Cash Flow: Last but certainly not least, online ordering services give transparent cash flow information, making it easy to keep a close eye on your profits. Online services can make it possible to keep track of costs of preparing an order and compare it to the price you’re giving the customer.

Examples of Services:

Grubhub Inc. is a web commerce platform for ordering and delivering take-out food. Based in Chicago, as of Q1 2018 the company has 14.5 million active users and 80,000 associated restaurants across 1,700 cities in the United States.

Uber Eats is an American online food ordering and delivery platform launched by Uber in 2014 and based in San Francisco, California. Users can order food from participating restaurants on their website or with a smartphone/tablet application.

DoorDash Inc. is an on-demand food delivery service founded in 2013 by Stanford students Andy Fang, Stanley Tang, Tony Xu and Evan Moore. A Y Combinator-backed company, DoorDash is one of several technology companies that uses logistics services to offer food delivery from restaurants on-demand.

And many more!

2. Adopt a Loyalty Program and/or Branded App

Looking to establish your brand and gain more fans? Of course, you are! Did you know a loyalty program can help you do just that? And trust us, today’s consumers want the perks that loyalty programs can offer: 86% of shoppers say they’ve joined a loyalty program to collect points for rewards.

Tying into our first tip, select online ordering services also offer loyalty programs and branded apps to restaurants. Uber Eats offers Uber Rewards, which allows customers to accrue points for every dollar spent on Uber car rides and Uber Eats purchases. Users can also achieve different membership levels, unlocking things like priority pickups, complimentary upgrades, and more.

In a similar vein, ChowNow offers branded mobile apps to restaurants. The apps, available for both iOS and Android, not only allow customers to purchase food, but also allows restaurants to display logos, food photos, and more. And according to ChowNow, app-wielding restaurants see a 10% increase in order frequency per diner. Can’t beat that!

3. Integrate Star Micronics Restaurant Solutions

Whether it’s a fine dining restaurant or a fast-casual restaurant – or anything in between – Star has what it takes to optimize restaurants of all kinds. Here are two ways how:

  • mC-Print3: Specially designed for restaurants, the 3-inch thermal mC-Print3 is not only splash-proof and insect-proof, but sleek, compact, and connected. Built for the modern world, the mC-Print3 offers Bluetooth, USB, Lightning, LAN and CloudPRNT connectivity, and is easy to integrate through common SDK. Click here to learn more about the mC-Print3.
  • PromoPRNT: While digital is king these days, there’s one valuable marketing medium that isn’t going away anytime soon, and that provides an even more direct communication with the customer: a receipt! With Star’s PromoPRNT software (compatible with mC-Print3), you can create custom promotions from templates that are delivered directly into customers’ hands, boosting customer retention and engagement rates. Operate multiple locations? No problem – with PromoPRNT, you can manage promotions for multiple stores, all from one central location. Click here to learn more about PromoPRNT.

With just a little bit of effort and a few new tools (or maybe just your existing printer), you can take your restaurant to the next level. Click here to learn more about how Star can help take you there.

How to Create an Amazing Return Policy

No matter what kind of business you operate, having a rock-solid return policy is of utmost importance. Whether you operate an online business or a brick-and-mortar – or both – having a strong return policy can save you a lot of headache (and money). Did you know that:

  • At least 30% of products ordered online are returned,
  • Nearly 9% of products purchased in a brick-and-mortar are returned,
  • And in one year alone, Americans returned $260 billion worth of merchandise to retailers!

The product is damaged. The wrong item was purchased. The merchandise is no longer wanted. The reasons customers request a return can be endless – but you can develop a return policy to handle it all. Here are some tips and guidelines to help you create an amazing return policy for your business:

What to Define in Your Policy

  • Receipt: You must define whether or not customers need a receipt in order to make a return. While this is optional, it is beneficial to require a receipt for myriad reasons: they enable you to verify the purchase came from your business, they help you accurately record the return in your books, and much more. Some different variations to include receipts in your policy include no returns without receipts, no exchanges without receipts, no-receipt returns will result in store credit, and more.
  • Identification: Next, decide whether you want to require customers to present ID upon returning products. Variations of identification policy could include ID is required with receipts, ID is required without a receipt, or ID is not required.
  • Payment type: When customers return an item, how will you refund them? Some choices include an exchange (return an item for a new item), cash refund, credit/debit card refund, or store credit.
  • Timing: Next up, it’s time to decide the required timing of the return. Can customers return items 14, 30, 60, or 90 days out? The choice is yours. Some businesses choose to vary the time range depending on product type (for example, clothing may be returned within 90 days, but makeup must be returned within 30 days).
  • Restrictions: Last but not least, what is the fine print of your policy? What items are not allowed to be returned, or “all sales final”? For example, sometimes businesses restrict returns on heavily discounted items and customized products.

Why Paper Receipts are Key

  • Easy for customers to retain: A digital receipt has its advantages, but when it comes to returns, nothing beats a good, old-fashioned paper receipt. Paper receipts can easily be kept in customers’ wallets, and avoids the frustrating, time-consuming process of sifting through emails looking for a receipt.
  • Can include more than just return information: Did you know you can include more on your receipt than just transaction and return information? With Star’s value-add PromoPRNT tool, you can easily include custom promotions directly on the bottom of receipts – and all from one central location!
  • Cut down on fraud: Here’s a shocking statistic for you: according to the National Retail Federation, a whopping 5% of returns are cases of return fraud (which costs U.S. retailers $9-17 billion per year)! Printing paper receipts – and requiring them for a return – is a sure-fire way to cut down on instances of return fraud in your store.

How to Manage Your Return Policy

  • Be consistent: To establish your policy, be sure to apply it to each and every customer. Also, to avoid surprises, it can be helpful to inform customers about your policy at the time of purchase.
  • Train your staff: Properly training your staff to handle different return scenarios can make the entire process smoother for both your business and your customers.
  • Display the policy: Be sure to prominently display your return policy near your register and on your receipts so that it’s constantly visible to both customers and employees.
  • E-commerce tips: If you operate an e-commerce store, check out these tips for an online return policy.

Star can help with more than just return policies – learn more now about how we provide simple mobile point of sale (mPOS) management.

What to Look for in a Retail Space

When you operate a retail brand, your storefront is everything. And when you consider that the average real estate lease term length is 3-5 years, it’s important to choose your space wisely. That’s why we’re here to discuss the three key things to look for in a retail space – before you sign your next lease. Read on!

A Prime Location

Location, location, location! One of the most important features to look for in a retail space is its location. The area’s foot traffic and demographic makeup should be two of your top considerations. What sort of shoppers stroll the area, and do they align with your target customer?

Another important thing to consider is the climate of the local business community. Are the businessowners supportive of each other? Do they collaborate? A supportive group of entrepreneurs will help you succeed – and an ultra-competitive environment most likely will not.

In addition to your customers and fellow businesses, you also need to keep your employees and contractors in the forefront of your mind. What local amenities will be available to your staff? From nearby restaurants to convenience stores, the more you accommodate for a healthy work-life balance, the better talent you’ll attract. You must also keep in mind the parking and public transportation availability – for your staff, contractors, delivery trucks and more.

The Right Price

The price should absolutely be right in your new space. Ideally, your lease payment should amount to 3-8% of your gross revenue, depending on your industry. For example, a store with lots of big-ticket sales (like an electronics store) usually has rent that is about 2% of its gross revenue. On the contrary, clothing stores typically average rent that’s approximately 8% of their gross revenue. Curious what your target rent is? Below are sample amounts by industry:

Industry Percentage of Sales Allocated for Rent
Clothing and Apparel 7.66%
General Merchandise Stores 3.86%
Furniture and Furnishing Stores 5.98%
Food and Drink Establishments 5.81%
Electronics and Appliance Stores 2.09%
Books, Hobby, Music, Sporting Goods Stores 3.30%
Health & Personal Care Stores 3.37%

Source: fitsmallbusiness.com

And don’t forget about your down payment, and other expenses like utilities, property taxes, insurance, and common area maintenance (CAM)!

Properly Sized and Equipped

Once you’ve found a space that’s in a location that fits your target demographic – and your budget – it’s time to take a deeper look at the store’s features.

First, you need to make sure the space is the right size for your business. To calculate your target square footage, add together the sizes of the different areas in your store: for example, your sales floor, inventory storage, office, kitchen, bathrooms, and dressing rooms. Not sure how big your sales floor should be? Here’s a handy formula: Planned sales volume / average sales per square foot in your industry = sales floor space

If you’re just starting out, consider a pop-up shop, or a “store within a store.” These are more affordable than standalone shops, can help familiarize your target market with your brand, and helps the storeowner offset the high cost of rent. When your goal is to grow your baseline brand awareness, it’s worth doing some research and finding a complementary store in your target area to partner with!

Next, make sure the space has the features you need to make your store shine. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Lighting: Can the lights be dimmed? Can alternative lights be brought in?
  • Loss Prevention: Are there cameras (or other tactics) to prevent theft?
  • Emergencies: Is there adequate fire and police presence in the area?
  • Sales Restrictions: For example, are there restrictions on Sunday sales (blue laws)?
  • Wi-Fi: What’s the Wi-Fi availability like? This is extremely important so that you can process credit card transactions on your mPOS system.

Last but not least, don’t forget to keep in mind your target shopper – what do they look like? What is their occupation? Where do they live and what do they do for fun? When you boil it down, you need your retail space to match your target audience. For example, if your customers typically have small children, make sure you build in extra aisle space to accommodate strollers. And if you are selling trendy items, you’ll need a clean, modern, easy-to-manage space to match.

We hope these tips are helpful while navigating retail space leases. Looking for more retail know-how? Browse our Small Business Tips!

Why Guest Wi-Fi is an Important Asset for Small Businesses

If one thing is true about today’s consumers, it’s that they are constantly (or nearly constantly) connected. With the rising trend of omnichannel retail experiences, it’s more important than ever to provide an easy, free way for your customers to connect to the internet. Implementing a guest Wi-Fi network does more than connect your shoppers to their favorite apps and websites, though – it can also improve your business in many ways! Here’s how:

Enhance Marketing

Speaking of omnichannel marketing, having a guest Wi-Fi network is an excellent way to expand your omnichannel strategy. One way to do so is to engage in Wi-Fi marketing, a method where you use your network as a channel to communicate with your shoppers. Using Wi-Fi marketing, you can promote campaigns of your choice, which can serve as a part of your in-store marketing strategy.

When guests log on to your Wi-Fi network, their phones will redirect to a splash page where they’ll view a branded message, as well as details about the network and its terms of use. On the page, users will enter credentials such as their email address, which can help you build customer profiles and gather leads. With this additional insight into shoppers’ demographics, you can further tailor your marketing tactics to better suit them, and that can help create more sales. For example, a Deviscape survey found that half of businesses report that customers spend more money now that they have a Wi-Fi network!

Safeguard Internet of Things (IoT) Devices

Better marketing and more sales are nice, but did you know that implementing a guest Wi-Fi network has security benefits, as well? If you incorporate IoT-connected devices into your store, such as automated checkouts and smart shelves, you probably already know that they’re more vulnerable than traditional devices. If you connect those smart devices to your main network, the chance that hackers can access your other devices – like your main server or physical security system – is increased.  By connecting your smart devices to a guest network instead, you create an additional layer of protection against attacks; Even if a cybercriminal hacks into one of your devices, they won’t be able to penetrate your main network, where your most valuable information lies.

Improve Customer Experience

Last but not least – and this probably goes without saying – guest Wi-Fi networks greatly improve the customer experience. Depending on your store location and your customers’ cellular provider, providing shoppers a guest network saves them data and gives them a potentially faster network. And there are stats to back it up – nearly 62% of businesses with free Wi-Fi report their customers stay in the store longer, which likely means they’re having a better shopping experience, spending more money, and are more likely to return.

From boosting sales to securing your sensitive data, there are many reasons to utilize a guest Wi-Fi network. Looking for even more ways to improve your retail store? Click here to read more of Star’s Small Business Tips!

5 Irresistible Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas

It may feel like we just celebrated the holidays, but already another holiday is upon us: Valentine’s Day!  Historically, the romantic holiday has been a big money maker – in fact, the National Retail Federation has predicted that U.S. consumers will spend a near-record $19.6 billion this year on Valentine’s Day alone. So how can retailers take advantage of this? Today, we have five irresistible Valentine’s Day marketing ideas for your small business:

A PromoPRNT Two-for-One Example

Promote Two-for-One Deals

What better time to promote a two-for-one deal than Valentine’s Day? If your business is in the hospitality industry, consider offering two meals, or two desserts, for the price of one. If you are a boutique shop, consider offering two accessories for the price of one. You could also simply offer a specific discount, like 14% off a customer’s entire purchase (to honor February 14). To ensure your customers have plenty of time to become aware of and plan for your sale, promote it at least one week ahead of time. A great way to practice Valentine’s Day marketing on your current shoppers is to promote the sale on your printed receipts.

Leverage Seasonal Branding

No one can ignore well-planned seasonal branding. Whether you choose to do your branding in-store or online, creating a festive vibe can get your shoppers in the mood to spend on their loved ones (or treat themselves). Examples of online branding could include Valentine’s Day-themed social media posts and email campaigns. In-store branding can include everything from decorating with flowers and balloons, to offering gift wrapping services and having your staff wear pink or red outfits. Don’t forget to showcase any holiday-themed items at the front of your store.

An Example of Promoting Your Gift Guide via PromoPRNT

Take Advantage of Pop Culture

Thanks to the television show Parks and Recreation, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on more days than just February 14! The hit show coined “Galentine’s Day” during its second season in February 2010. Since then, many women have started to celebrate the holiday, which focuses on the love they have for their female friends, on February 13 each year. Don’t believe us? A quick Google search of the term, “Galentine’s Day” yields a whopping 1.5 million results, including news articles, gift guides, party tips, and more. Another example of a Valentine’s Day-related holiday (that isn’t Valentine’s Day) is Singles Awareness Day, which takes place annually on February 15. So many holidays to take advantage of in your Valentine’s Day marketing strategy!

Create a Gift Guide

You know your product (or service) best. There’s no one better to provide a Valentine’s Day gift guide! You can create a guide that is tailored to your specific products and allows you to clearly pitch your selling points. You can even create “his and hers” versions, and versions specific to someone’s interest (e.g. cooking or fashion). Gift guides are a great way to flex your omnichannel marketing muscle – offer your guides in person, online, or both by pointing your customers to your online store via a printed receipt.

Source: Buzzfeed

Send Valentine’s Day Cards

Last, but not least, is a tried-and-true favorite: Valentine’s Day cards. Whether you deliver them in person beforehand with a coupon attached, or deliver them digitally day-of (via social media or email), an eye-catching greeting card is sure to capture your shoppers’ attention. Valentine’s Day cards are also a great way to show your brand’s personality or sense of humor – click here to check out some inspirational “punny” cards.

PromoPRNT, Star Micronics’ value-add tool, can help you with Valentine’s Day marketing – using your existing receipt printer! Click here to learn more and get promoting today.

Why You Should Create Instagram Stories for Your Store

The influence that social media has in today’s society is undeniable. Life is now about documenting every experience, whether it’s a trip to a new country or what you ate for dinner. Instagram Stories allows Instagram users to share multiple experiences through images and videos for a 24-hour period until they disappear (very much like a Snapchat story).

As Instagram Stories has grown to be more popular, it is becoming an important tool to help businesses increase brand awareness and engage with their customers. But first thing’s first – how do you create Stories, and why should you use them?

How To Create An Instagram Story

Although Instagram Stories has existed since 2016, here is a brief tutorial to get you started:

  1. Open your store’s Instagram account and tap either the camera icon or your store’s logo in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Next, either:
    1. Take a picture or video, or
    2. Choose an existing picture or video from your phone’s gallery.
  3. Upload your picture/video to your Story by tapping “Your Story” in the bottom left corner.

Once uploaded, your image will remain on your Story for 24 hours.

Why Use Instagram Stories?

Over 400 million people use Instagram Stories. That’s a lot of people, and it’s more than double the number of Snapchat users! One huge benefit of using Stories is that because you can add public hashtags to your Stories, even users who do not follow your business can discover your content.

Besides making your business more discoverable, Instagram Stories now allows the use of outbound links, meaning you can include links to your website or blog. Stories is also an excellent way to build your business’ community by tagging partners and brand influencers.

Making seasonal content a focus can be very successful on Instagram. Source: pexels.com

Ways to Use Instagram Stories for Your Business

As you’ve now learned, Instagram Stories is a great way to reach your target audience, no matter what industry you are in. In fact, agencies report 2-3 times more engagement with Stories than with regular content. With a plethora of features just one tap away, Instagram Stories can be a valuable part of any small business marketing strategy. Here are some ideas to help get you started:

  • Use location tags to inform users where your store is located
  • Start a poll to get valuable customer feedback
  • Use Stories to highlight product teasers
  • Use the tagging feature to give partner and/or customer shout outs
  • Leverage the “Swipe Up to Read” feature (if you qualify) to give quick access to your website or blog
  • Post motivational quotes
  • Share client success stories

If you’re looking for even more inspiration, click here to learn about eight content tricks used by top brands, from sharing an experience to focusing on seasonal content.

How One Fashion Store Made the Most of Instagram Stories

Utilizing online marketing to drive in-store sales is a huge part of the omnichannel retail experience, and Instagram Stories is a great place to do just that. For example, one footwear and fashion company which recently opened retail stores hoped to raise brand awareness among young women, its target audience. The company created eye-catching Stories video ads, and the Insta-effort really paid off: the ads boosted brand awareness by 11 points among young women! Click here to learn more about how the store leveraged Instagram Stories, or click here for even more Stories ideas.

Good luck and happy “storytelling!”