Posts Tagged ‘Trends’

Ready, Set, Go: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday & Giving Tuesday

Thursday, October 25th, 2018
Cassie Brehmer, Midwest Account Manager & Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherson’s

Mark your calendars! While you’re focusing on sales and promotions for the winter holidays, keep these three retail-related holidays on your radar. We’ve put together key links, hashtags and merchandising ideas so that you can easily integrate Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday into your promotions next month.

Black Friday, November 23rd

Black Friday is the informal name for the day following Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday of November. Traditionally recognized as the beginning of the holiday shopping season in the United States, Black Friday is an opportunity to reach a wide audience with deep discounts.

While this “holiday” is often utilized by larger nation-wide retailers to have “blow out” sales, in recent years some companies, like REI, have taken a different approach; not participating due to the perception that the focus on shopping takes away from the otherwise family-oriented holiday weekend. To keep your Black Friday sale family friendly, consider holding a small event with a family theme in addition to a sale. Choose a project like rock painting, alcohol ink on yupo, or ornament marbling.

  • Merchandising Tips
    • Consider having one or two items on closeout pricing. For great deals, check the October SuperMarkdowns list on the Macpherson’s homepage in the Tools drop down menu.
    • Alternatively, be a little cheeky and offer your own version of a Black Friday sale: a sale on all of your black paints, papers, sketchbooks, pens, markers, spray paint, etc.
  • Social Media
    • Black Friday is a great day to post on social media—in 2017 more than 130 million people discussed Black Friday on Instagram and Facebook…that’s more than the Superbowl!
    • Announce your holiday hours and any promotions your followers can expect over the coming weeks.
    • Hashtags: #BlackFriday #deals #giveaway #sale #Christmas #Thanksgiving #Retail #ShopSmall

Small Business Saturday, November 24th

Small Business Saturday is a day promoted by American Express and the United States Small Business Administration as part of the Shop Small movement—a nationwide effort to celebrate small businesses and strengthen communities.

The “Shop Small Studio” is full of free, easy-to-download promotional materials, ideas for events and tips for effective merchandising. To participate in Small Business Saturday and access these resources, you do not need to be affiliated with American Express. For access to even more planning resources, register your business here and receive promotional goodies such as stickers, balloons and tote bags.

  • Merchandising Tips
    • Feature locally made products on the day of, as well as store merchandise like t-shirts, mugs or tote bags.
    • Invite local artisans to set up a booth in your store.
    • Host a creative event for children or adults like “Make a Wishlist” where children can walk around the store and write down which items make it on their dream list for the holidays.
    • Utilize the Shop Small Studio to create custom signage.
  • Social Media
    • Share your story. Reconnect. Show your community why you love being a part of your neighborhood, and how valuable this season is to your business. Honest communication and a humble thank you will make a meaningful impression, differentiating yourself as a small local business that truly cares.
    • Hashtags: #ShopSmall #smallbizsat #smallbusinesssaturday

Giving Tuesday, November 27th

#GivingTuesday is “a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.”

Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to build relationships with an organization or cause that your customers care about. Register here and download the media toolkit. Click here to see what other retailers have done in the past.

  • Merchandising Tip
    • Get wishlists from local community centers or arts organizations and set up donation boxes so your customers can do a little good while shopping for gifts
    • Poll customers or staff to help choose an organization to contribute to that is meaningful to your community
  • Social Media
    • Hashtags: The creators of #GivingTuesday say, “Create your own hashtag. We’ve seen #GivingZooDay, #GivingTreesDay, #GivingShoesDay, #iGiveCatholic, and more. Have fun creating your own twist on #GivingTuesday.”

#GivingTuesday even has an extremely well thought out social media toolkit with pre-written posts to help you post online. Tag @givingtues in your posts.

Retailer’s Choice: Next “Demo Days” Feature

Thursday, September 27th, 2018
Cassie Brehmer, Midwest Account Manager, MacPherson’s

Last month we introduced a new feature called Demo Days, which outlines instructions and materials needed to create an in store demonstration or workshop.

Regular in-store activities help to foster a sense of community and make your store a destination spot for artists and hobbyists alike. Allowing your customers to participate in a hands-on activity that educates them on products and lets them leave your store with an item they are confident they can recreate. We’ve put together a list of demo ideas for 4th Quarter. Let us know which activity inspires you and we’ll outline how to do the most requested one in our next Demo Days feature. Want to see something that’s not on the list? E-mail us at artdogblog (@) macphersonart.com to let us know!

  • DIY wrapping paper – block printing on craft paper
  • Giant snowflakes with decorative papers.
  • Wintertime felt trees
  • Furniture antiquing techniques
  • Face painting for parents
  • Making your own calligraphy inks
  • Marbling glass ornaments
  • Oven Baked Clay – beads, ornaments, and more

The Wet Paint Way: 4 Strategies For Successful Social Media

Thursday, September 27th, 2018
Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherson’s

Wet Paint is an independently owned store in St. Paul, MN that is well known for their social media and marketing verve. They organize regular in-store events, classes, weekly newsletters, an interactive website, regular social media postings via Instagram, Facebook, a bit of Twitter and Google+ content as well as a blog on WordPress and videos via YouTube. They also maintain a steady flow of print materials. In short, they do a lot. This dynamic, multi-platform strategy is made possible by the dedicated Social Media and Marketing team: Kristina Fjellmen and Chris Nolt.

Clockwise from the left: Kristina Fjellmen, Chris Nolt, Darin Rinne, and Scott Fares

Kristina and Chris are both working artists with years of experience on the sales floor. Kristina works full time as the Marketing Manager. She recruited Chris to help with the social media about a year ago. With Chris focusing on social media, Kristina works full time on the website, email digest, print materials and marketing strategies. Chris spends 1 to 2 hours a day on social media as well as one full shift (8 hours) on content creation and curation each week. Both are artists in their own right: Chris is a mixed media artist, working with ink and watercolor for about 5 years; he also designs laser cut jewelry and has dabbled in music production, printmaking and writing methods. Kristina works with textile or fiber-based sculpture and installation and is also a theater artist. Both of them mention the Wet Paint community as a huge draw to working there. “I think we are pretty lucky to like our jobs,” Kristina notes. “I know that enthusiasm influences how we approach the marketing and social media work we do.”

While Wet Paint maintains a strong online presence, they haven’t neglected print materials. Many of their customers like to take home a pamphlet or schedules of events and classes or a catalog of sale items. The consistent production of schedules and catalogs in combination with a “steady drip” of digital content allows for a broad customer reach that respects a preference for paper while also engaging with click-happy millennials.

Breaking It Down

The following list is designed to be helpful for everyone, wherever your store falls on on the marketing and social media spectrum: from tentatively googling “Why do I need an Instagram?” to having a dedicated social media team.

1. Holy Trifecta: Products, Services & Real Life Interactions

Much of Wet Paint’s content touches one, two or all three points of this trifecta. Their posts showcase a product, clue the audience into an experiential opportunity and/or reference real life interactions with customers.

A weekly special called “Customer Questions” features real life in-store questions from customers with answers provided by a rotating list of staff members. These posts generate conversation and interest, as well as reminding their customers that they have an educated and trusted team of artists on staff. Other store-to-social connections are video demos of new products, favorite products, or products that people have lots of questions about. Conversations on the floor inspired Chris to create this video, which features the Wet Paint community while demystifying the pronunciation of a paint color:

When content stems from real life connections, relationships and interactions in the store, the bridge between the abstract, digital realm of the internet and your very real store strengthens. New followers and subscribers become customers.

2. Identify Your Voice (And Use It)

The bottom line: be authentic. The passion and commitment Chris and Kristina have for the community of artists and art enthusiasts who step into Wet Paint shows. Chris puts it well:

“Everything I post, I want to make it feel like it’s a conversation in the store. Straightforward, honest and casual. All of the staff here are working artists with a lot of character, and customers get attached to certain people. They’ll ask for them on the phone, they’ll come in on specific days when that person is there. I’m okay with adding child-like excitement to my copy, or talking about when something is adorable or cute. We had a whole post all about how cute Japanese pens are. Because they are! And people loved it.”

Wet Paint’s instagram is chock full of personality, character, silliness, artsiness and content that gets people pumped up about art supplies. To learn more about how to develop your store’s voice, here are some useful tips.

3. Save Time With A Little Tech

If you don’t have a dedicated team for social media, that’s okay. These strategies can be scaled down as needed based on what resources and time you do have. Try synching the social media platforms you use (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc) with a social media management tool that “funnels” all your posts to the proper channels. These tools allow you to create multiple versions of a single post for all the platforms you use and post to all of them with just one click. Pre-schedule your posts for the week so that you are not thinking on the fly everyday—it will post automatically.

4. Consistent & Imperfect

Consistency is key. It doesn’t matter if you post four times a day on three different platforms or twice a week on one… just pick a method and stick with it. Let followers or subscribers know what to expect, and they’ll keep coming back for more. Being consistent means giving up perfection. You can waste time hesitating over language in an Instagram post, but it lasts about a minute on the internet. It may drive someone to click, come into the store or buy something but if you mess up, no one is harping on it. Think of your online presence as a growing portfolio. Practice makes progress!

…OK, Go!

Once you get a handle on your content, clarify the way you’d like to talk about it, set up a realistic system for posting and commit to a “just do it” attitude, you are ready. Whether you are dipping your toe into social media or looking to revamp your marketing strategies, these tactics can help you strengthen relationships, build new ones and get your products and services to the people. And, in line with the “Wet Paint Way,” try to have fun while doing it!

Sakura of America’s New Koi Creative Art Colors (CAC) Make a Splash!

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

@SakuraofAmerica’s new Koi® CAC (Creative Art Colors) Watercolors are compact kits packed with unique colors and effects for one of a kind projects. Koi CAC is available in 12 and 24 color kits. Each cake set includes 4 metallics and 8 fluorescents. Learn more by searching the hashtags #SakuraKoi or #SakuraKoiCAC, and click here to find them on OEX.

Luxe Watercolors for Shimmer, Shine & Luminescence

Koi CAC are pocket sized with essential accessories for painting on the go. Create unique washes and blends with the metallic, fluorescent, and pearlescent paints; explore a whole new spectrum of stunning effects by mixing these Creative Art Colors with your traditional watercolor set.

The set of 24 features an additional 12 pearlescent colors exclusive to the set. The vibrant fluorescent hues are perfect for adding a pop of color that glows beautifully under a black light. The metallic and pearlescent shades are ideal for adding shimmer to your lettering, illustrations, comic characters and mixed media paintings. These special effects also work great on black paper.

Trends Worth Watching

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

In recent tracking of Art & Craft retailers email campaigns, some notable trends are emerging. We’re following these developments closely and we think it’s so important to note that we’ve included a new section in the MacPherson’s Back-to-School Buyers Guide. It’s chock full of Trend opportunities to inspire and activate consumer engagement in your store. Look for it in your mailbox soon!

trends

Retailer Marketing Trends

Print advertising, in store flyers & newspaper ads, continue to be a challenge as costs rise and circulations fall. The trend seems to be moving in the direction of retailers actively building their email mailing list and mailings going out more frequently (at least 3 days per week). A superficial look at recent retailer activity shows that some of the best practices currently employed are uncluttered and simple visual presentations with many product offers or in-store events that can be scrolled through. Product drivers such as stretched canvas, Buy one, Get one (BOGO), Pencil Sets, Drawing media at the top of the list and repeated often. Here’s an example of an impactful and uncluttered email campaign from a DIY retailer serving another channel.eBlast Example

Impactful Store Windows

Notable quote found in ColArt’s booth at this year’s Paperworld show in Frankfurt; “… 52% of consumers are more likely to enter a store if there is an impactful window display” and “… 75% of consumers informed their friends about a specific store because they were impressed by the signage” – Kissmetrics

ColArt Window design

These colorful and impactful gift sets and window pedestals will be available in time for this holiday gift giving season.

Protests & Political Activism

For many citizens recent national events have sparked a desire to publicly state opinions and get involved in the national debate.  Marches, rallies  and meetings are peppered with DIY signs expressing all sorts of points of view. The common connection for retailers who sell art supplies is the need of the sign makers to have the brightest, most sparkly sign materials from the simple Sharpie to paints brushes, poster & foam board, stencils, glitter glue and anything you can think of to make a distinctive graphic impact.

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Short Term Trends

DIY Slime Making

Tons of videos showcase simple and safe recipes for making your own highly personalized and creative slime. Be aware that there is some controversy about the use of Borax in slime recipes. Erroneously it has been reported that Borax contains Boric acid. According to scientists from the University of Kansas this is not the case and most slime recipes are safe.

Bob Ross

Bob Ross complete with his “fro” and mellow style is back with the announcement of his full video lesson catalog available on Netflix Streaming. We are seeing classes and demonstrations popping up in the most trending and urban areas.

Hand Painted Rocks

In an era of high profile incivility and public unkindness a kind of “flash trend” has emerged.  As far as we can tell it began in Washington State and it’s simple; find a rock, paint a rock creatively, and then hide it so it can be discovered to bring a smile to others.

Longer Lasting Trends

Personalization and Making

Young professionals are voluntarily choosing to live in trendy urban areas across the country. They like the cultural benefits that cities bring, but they are also keen on things they make to improve and enrich their personal spaces.

Personalization and Making Part 2

Tools that make bringing creativity to life easy and fun are a hot trend in and of themselves. At the top of this list are paint markers. There are paint markers and then again there are paint markers that people love. Posca seems right at the top of that list. Watch this video and see if you don’t fall in love!

DIY Planning & Journaling

The most widely known in this category is called Bullet Journaling®, a popular form of list-keeping, especially among the online community.

Sketching & Drawing

The easiest way back into creativity for young, busy and successful millennials is most often what they loved doing during their school years; coloring, doodling, sketching and drawing. For this crowd it helps if in-store Sketching and Drawing departments are simple to navigate, break down intimidation and feature specific areas for getting started.

Derwent Sketching & Drawing Center guides and inspires using organization, lighting & color

Derwent Sketching & Drawing Center guides, inspires and activates new store visitors by using organization, lighting & color

Hand Lettering

Another Sketching & Drawing rooted trend that’s on fire is Hand Lettering which may be a rebellion against the cold, sleek, digital environments we find ourselves in. It’s appearing everywhere, giving rise to tons of videos, store demos and classes. The beauty of Hand Lettering is its flexibility and accessibility. Almost anyone can do it!

Shibori Tie Dyeing

Shibori is an ancient, easy and distinctive cloth dyeing technique from Japan dating back to the 8th century. Most commonly done with indigo dyes, naturally vibrant and rich. Here is a simple and captivating demo.