In 2007, I got a job at a startup technology company. My main responsibilities were to market our newly launched website at events we were attending across the country. I was fresh out of college and didn’t have a lot of experience, so I started researching the best way to market (especially since we had a nationwide audience). I needed to become an excellent internet marketer to be able to reach my perfect customer groups (PCGs).
Through my research, I started creating accounts on all sorts of platforms that, I believed, were the key to driving website traffic and building a brand; websites like Stumble Upon, Digg, Linked In, Twitter and Facebook. Now, this was back in 2007 when social media was in its infancy. There wasn’t any training on how to best use these platforms. The best way to learn was to just start using them. It sort of felt like the wild wild west of online marketing!
As I started marketing on these platforms (spending hours a day learning, testing, tweaking and sometimes even getting shut down), I found some shortcuts! Unfortunately, they were against Facebook’s terms, but I started seeing results. I started seeing our website traffic increase. I started seeing people follow our accounts, ask questions and get engaged. I saw people emailing us to be quoted in magazines and used as a credible source in the industry. I realized that social media was incredibly powerful, and going to explode into our everyday lives.
I became almost obsessed with social media marketing and, after a little over a year at the startup technology company, I quit and started my first social media company at age 23. I went all in on the industry, and on myself. I had moments of being worried about making enough money, but those moments were quickly dissolved by results I was seeing from social media and by the businesses that were reaching out to get my help. I knew I was into something big—and early—and that was exciting.
But in social media’s infancy, many businesses thought it was a fad; that it would be here today and gone tomorrow. Heck, my own family thought that and was worried I wouldn’t have a business for much longer! But I knew in my heart of hearts that this was going to be the best way for a business to market and grow. I knew that these platforms would connect us to one another in a way that would become a part of our everyday lives. I didn’t have a crystal ball… It was just a crystal gut feeling. And that’s exactly what happened.
Over the years of being in the social media industry, I’ve come to realize a few traits that make a business owner successful—or not. At Crystal Media we’ve worked with thousands of retailers since 2012, and through that experience, I can tell you this:
- The retailers that are willing to listen and learn are often several steps ahead of those who are stuck in their ways of doing things, or don’t have time to learn anything new.
- The retailers who are willing to get comfortable with the uncomfortable, and venture into new ways of marketing their stores, win market share. They might feel like they’re trying to learn another language, but they push through, trust and see results—sometimes within just a few days!
- The retailers that are willing to evolve, thrive.
It’s that word, Evolve, that I can’t stop thinking about lately.
Our world is changing rapidly.
Technology is changing rapidly.
The way we connect with one another is changing rapidly.
In 2021, the buzz words have been NFTs, cryptocurrencies and the Metaverse. Facebook even changed its name to Meta! But these aren’t buzz words…this is our future. Just like how “social media” wasn’t a buzz word. How I felt about social media in 2007 is exactly how I feel about NFTs, crypto and the Metaverse today. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is our future. And it’s not that far away.
I’ve started to become obsessed with thinking about how retailers will evolve and remain relevant in the years to come. As a retailer, you have to evolve—constantly. You’re evolving your merchandise, your displays, your technology, and hopefully, yourself and your team, too. You must evolve to stay in business.
Here are some things I’ve been thinking about that excite me about the future of retail:
- Creative NFT ideas for retailers. NFT projects that’ll be released to a retailer’s community (and most loyal customers) can deepen those relationships even further; even helping them become innovators in their town and industry. Plus, it’s an entirely new revenue stream.
- Buying ads in the Metaverse. Retailers can promote their products and events as people ride the virtual subways and trains, ride elevators and walk around virtual towns.
- Stores in the Metaverse. How retailers can have stores in the Metaverse—allowing customers to shop from their own homes while still talking to, and working with, employees of the store. It’s just all done virtually.
- Meeting in the Metaverse. How retailers can be a part of (or host) virtual events for their VIPs, or meet with their reps in the Metaverse to learn about new trends, popular products and tips on how to sell these items.
These thoughts are just scratching the surface. Did any of the above blow your mind? Or maybe make your head hurt? Or maybe make you feel a little uncomfortable? If so, I want you to know that we’re all learning together. I believe we’re going to see a lot of transformation over the next few years and, at Crystal Media, my team and I will do our best to keep you up-to-date, like we have for the past 9+ years.
I can help keep you up-to-date, but you have to want to know. You have to be willing to listen and learn. If you’re not willing, you’ll be left behind. And it’s my goal to leave no retailer behind.
You have to be willing to evolve.
What I Want You To Take Away From This Blog:
- I’ll say it again… The retailers that are willing to evolve, thrive.
- I feel strongly that we’re at the infancy of something that will completely change our lives—like social media changed our lives over a decade ago. I’m hoping you want to be a part of the change and join me as we learn and explore together.
- Our future is NFTs, crypto and the Metaverse. We’re not there today (especially for small business owners), but it’s coming. Will you be ready?
- There are very creative and fun ways retailers can evolve their businesses and innovate their model using NFTs, crypto and being a part of the Metaverse. I’ll be talking more about this, so make sure you follow along.
- Finally, I’d like to invite you to EVOLVE 2022: Insider Retail Marketing Conference. This is happening February 7-9, 2022, all online. You’ll hear more from me about what the future looks like for retailers, and more from my team and amazing guest speakers about the easy tactics and strategies you can implement today (and throughout 2022) to successfully market your store. Register for EVOLVE 2022 here.
Okay, over to you…
I’m dying to know! What are your thoughts about what’s to come in the future? And be honest! I know some people think I’m nuts and they totally disagree. And others completely agree and are so excited for what’s to come. How do you feel about it? Please share in a comment below. And, I hope to see you at EVOLVE 2022!