Retaining customers one of the most critical part of retail growth. This article will help you in exploring various retail marketing strategies to keep your existing customers and bring new ones as well.
You’ll learn what retail marketing is and why it’s critical to your success.
Wise up on retail marketing best practices — including leveraging the best channels, launching marketing partnerships, and running “win back” campaigns.
This post also sheds light on key customer management and marketing tools you can use to ensure the success of your efforts.
Whether you’re just setting up shop or been running your store for decades, acquiring new customers and keeping the ones you already have are paramount. The good news is that there are more than enough ways to market your business.
In this post, we’ll shed light on the ins and outs of retail marketing and offer insights into the various strategies you can use in your business.
Table of Contents
Retail marketing pertains to the strategies and tactics that retailers use to attract customers and drive sales. Retail marketing has 4 key components, also knows as the “4 Ps”: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.
First is the Product, which is the physical item that’s being sold.
The second is Price, which refers to the pricing strategy that the merchant uses to sell the item. (Examples include “everyday low prices,” implementing pricing psychology like using “$9.99” etc.)
Third is “Place” which refers to the location or platform used to sell products.
Finally, there’s Promotion, which is what the retailer does to get the word out and entice sales.
Successfully executing your retail marketing strategies requires a solid handle on the 4 Ps. Tracking these components and ensuring that they’re all working together is essential to any marketing initiative.
For best results, use a POS and retail management system that allows you to manage the 4 Ps with ease. With the right platform, you can keep your all your ducks in a row (i.e., your products, prices, places, and promotions) and focus on brining your retail marketing ideas to life.
With that said, here are some tips on how to improve your retail marketing for your business and get in front of the right people.
Effective retail marketing isn’t just about the specific campaigns that you run; the channels and platforms on which you run your initiatives matter a great deal. Even the most brilliant marketing tactics won’t be effective if you don’t meet your customers where they’re are.
So before ideating on your next slogan or initiative, take some time to analyze where your customers are and where they’re coming from.
Here are some areas that you can look into:
Identify the channels, tactics, and activities that are bringing visitors to your retail stores. Some common ones may include:
If you have an online store, be aware of the devices that people are using when browsing your site. Are most of your visitors using a computer or are they increasingly on their mobile devices? What’s the device split that you’re seeing on your site?
The insights you gather will help inform your design and marketing efforts.
Compare your brand presence and performance across different platforms. If you have multiple social media accounts, for example, it’s worth measuring and comparing your fanbase and engagement on different sites or apps, so you can identify your strengths and weaknesses.
For instance, are you getting more engagement on one social network over another? Are people clicking on certain ads and not paying attention to others? Determine the reasons behind these things, then use those insights to steer your retail marketing strategy.
Before looking at fancy retail marketing tactics, start by leveraging the assets you already have. If your store is up and running, you likely have a lot of resources that you can use in your marketing efforts.
These assets include:
The best way to attract and convert customers is to wow them with your amazing merch. See to it that you’re always stocking the right products. Then once you have the right merchandise, come up with creative displays and arrangements to make them pop.
Not sure how to do that? Start by identifying your “Lake Front Property.” This is the area of your store that generates the most revenue.
According to Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender, “Displays in this area should house new, hot and high margin product, not every day, basic items that are best housed toward the rear of the store. And since 90 percent of customers enter a store and look or turn to the right, the Lake Front Property needs to be merchandised with particular care.”
Your window and curbside offer tons of opportunities to attract new customers, so get the most out of them. Let’s start with your windows…
Keep changing things up and try to update your displays at least once a month. For busy shopping seasons like the holidays, you want to do it every couple of weeks or even every week if possible.
Every retail store is different, so certain design tips may work better for others. The “best” design or look depends on your customers, so zero in on who you’re targeting and craft your displays specifically for them.
Also, consider telling stories with your displays. You can do this by selecting a theme, and finding stories in line with it.
Don’t neglect your curbside. In addition to keeping this space clean and tidy, consider adding “curbside extras”. For example, why not set up a sandwich board outside your shop with some eye-grabbing text or art? Doing so can make passers-by stop and pay attention.
Did you know that Starbucks spends more money on employee health benefits than coffee beans? And according to AOL, the company also “offers extensive benefits packages that are customized for each employee, called “Your Special Blend.” Options include things like bonuses, 401 (k) matching plans, health/medical/dental plans, and even adoption assistance.”
Starbucks recognizes that happy and healthy employees perform better and are generally more pleasant. Walk into any Starbucks store and you’ll likely find enthusiastic baristas who chat up customers and recognize their regulars. Starbucks’ employees provide a great in-store experience that keeps people coming back.
Here’s our point: employees could be your best marketers. It’s important to keep them engaged and motivated. Accomplishing that starts with hiring the right people and treating them well. Offer competitive compensation, provide ample training, and strive to be a great place to work.
These steps will lead to happier employees and higher levels of performance, which in turn lead to better retail experiences and more satisfied customers.
When it comes to retail and social media, there are three platforms you should seriously consider: Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. These are the most consumer-centric networks, making them ideal for merchants. Pinterest has the added edge of being a platform people specifically go to conduct research before they purchase something.
So let’s break it down:
Here’s the reality: if you’re a brand who wants to get more visibility on Facebook, you need to pay for it. The social network has been decreasing brands’ organic reach for some time now, but in 2018, we can expect business’ organic presence to decline even more.
Mark Zuckerberg himself said that they will be rolling out changes to the News Feed to prioritize content from friends, family, and groups, so business pages will have to fight even harder to get exposure.
Here’s what you can do to compete:
Facebook lets you create Groups for your business or brand. Think of Facebook Groups as clubs or communities where your most engaged customers and fans can congregate.
While you can talk about your products and business, the primary purpose of having a Facebook Group is to allow your customers to connect with each other. It’s not a place to shamelessly promote your business.
If Groups aren’t your cup of tea, or if you want even more brand visibility on Facebook, then you’ll need to run Facebook ads to reach your target audience.
The good news is, Facebook has a variety of ad products with robust targeting capabilities that let you zero in on your specific audience.
The best thing to do is test different advertising solutions, then keep track of your metrics (e.g. clicks, engagement, sales, etc.) Take note of the numbers, then use those insights to determine your ROI. This will help you figure which ad types are right for you and how much to budget for Facebook advertising.
With over 800 million monthly active users (over half of which are active daily), it’s obvious that Instagram is a go-to social network for today’s shoppers. Here are some best practices to consider:
Your Instagram posts should be anything but random. You need to create a clear brand aesthetic so when people visit your profile, they get a quick idea of who your brand is.
Check out Clad and Cloth’s profile. You can see instantly from their collection of photos that their brand produces casual clothing items and likes a clean neutral palette with pops of color.
So, if you haven’t done so yet, spend time thinking about your brand aesthetic. Ask yourself, what kind of first impression do you want people to have about your brand? Find the answer then figure out how to make it come to life on your Instagram page.
Instagram Stories allow you to be more informal with your aesthetic, as people expect Stories to be more spontaneous and less curated. You can use them to give people behind-the-scenes glimpses at your store or showcase new products.
A secondary feature of Instagram Stories is that you can create a few permanent ones to display on your profile, highlighting things you really want your potential customers to see.
The retailer uses these permanent Story spots to make it easy for people to view interior designs, shop for items, and more. They even created custom Story cover images to make them look more attractive!
Research which hashtags are relevant to your brand and use them to help your photos surface in front of people you’d like to become customers. Pro tip: rather than putting the hashtags right into the caption, post your picture without hashtags and immediately comment them. It looks cleaner than putting hashtags in the caption.
Now let’s move on to Pinterest best practices:
Remember that curation is key – Like your Instagram profile, make sure that your Pinterest boards are carefully curated. You should create boards that make it simple for potential customers to navigate to things they’re interested in.
Don’t just pin your own things – Get social and pin things on your boards from others. (But make sure it fits your aesthetic.)
Be aware that the Pinterest algorithm doesn’t necessarily surface your content quickly – It can often take up to 6 months for your content to really start appearing in people’s feeds.
This means that, while you should be pinning your products, pages that will do best for you organically are likely to be links to your blog posts. You can write blog posts specifically for Pinterest, such as gifting guides that help get your brand lift and will then direct your customers on to your correct pages all year round. As for products, they’ll do great on Pinterest in ad form.
SMS marketing has been making waves, and for good reason: people love their phones. Research shows that US consumers check their phones 52 times a day and that text messages have a higher open rate (98%) compared to email (25%).
That’s why if you haven’t dipped your toes into SMS retail marketing, it may be time to do so. Start collecting your customers’ mobile numbers and send — with their permissions — relevant marketing communications.
For instance – one retailer that’s seen amazing results with SMS marketing is Pizza Express.
Partnering with a local business or charity is a wonderful way to get your brand’s name out to people who can come and shop in person, not just online. There are a few ways to do this:
If you’re in a strip mall or downtown area, you can ask the stores around you to offer your coupons to their customers (in return for you doing the same). The upside here is that you’ll be directly reaching people who are perfectly positioned to just pop by. The downside is that your neighbors’ clientele may not be your clientele.
If you have stores in the nearby area that service the same clientele as you, you can also ask them to offer your coupons. Alternately, if you worry that no one will be motivated to drive to you based on coupons, you can always take your business to your partner and set up a pop-up shop for a day.
Customers these days are much more socially conscious and like to shop with brands who care. Partnering with a local charity offers you the chance to hit two birds with one stone: get your name out to a new set of people and show your customers you care about making a difference at the same time. Choose a charity whose values align with your own and set up an event!
Email marketing is still the most effective marketing channel, with a 4400% ROI. Taking advantage of email to acquire new customers just requires a little savvy-ness.
The best way to use email marketing for getting new customers is to segment your subscribers who haven’t purchased yet into their own list. (For even more effective and personalized emails, you should further segment this list by other relevant pieces of information.)
You can then send people who haven’t purchased yet targeted campaigns with first-time buy offers or giveaways.
Another great campaign idea is to send an email detailing your brand story. It’ll get people engaged with your brand and excited about your values.
Provide value (period) – Email promotions aren’t the only way to acquire new customers.
You also have to think about the long game of email + content marketing, in which you send valuable content without any hard sells or strings attached. This builds trust and positions your brand as an authority, so when people are ready to buy, they’ll think of you.
The content pieces are non-salesy and they’re refreshing to read, especially when every other company out there keeps sending “SALE” or “BUY NOW!!” emails.
The bottom line? Your email marketing strategy should have a mix of promotional and valuable content. Find the balance that works for your subscribers and go from there.
Marketing to new shoppers is great, but what about your existing customers? I’m specifically referring to those who haven’t shopped with you in a while. Identify inactive shoppers and win them back with a marketing campaign showing them what they’re missing.
A good example of this in action comes from Our Bralette Club (OBC), a lingerie retailer based out of Singapore. OBC uses Marsello to automatically run “win-back” campaigns.
Using Marsello, OBC automatically identifies customers who haven’t shopped with the brand in a while, and sends them a series of messages encouraging them to come back — complete with a 15% coupon. These messages have generated amazing results. OBC earned $4,000+ in revenue in just 4 months thanks to this automated email flow.
These days, a nod or endorsement from an influencer carries more weight than traditional advertising. Why? Because people are more inclined to act on the recommendations of sources they know, like, and trust.
This is why it pays to have an influencer strategy. Getting key individuals to recommend or talk about your brand can drive awareness, traffic, and ultimately, sales.
The basis of influencer marketing is that your brand partners with a third party content creator who then pushes your products on their platform(s).
One brand, Morphe, used influencer marketing to become in less than a decade one of the most powerful names in the beauty industry. Morphe was founded in 2008 with the very intention of using beauty influencers, particularly those on Youtube, as their primary way to generate sales. They have given many, many beauty influencers affiliate codes, but Morphe really refined the art of marketing by working very strategically with a certain few top influencers, whom they pay extra.
They also collaborated with these influencers to create customized beauty items, like eyeshadow palettes, which the influencers then encouraged their huge followings to purchase.
This strategy paid off in a big way when Morphe’s top influencer, Jaclyn Hill, delivered Morphe 1 million sales of her palette in 6 months last year. At $38/palette, that’s pretty life-changing for a brand.
The best part about this story for your store? You can totally replicate their success! Morphe was an almost unknown brand when they first partnered with Hill, who was also relatively unknown at the time. Morphe prudently chose to invest in her early on and their partnership ultimately allowed both parties to flourish. If you’re looking to use affiliate marketing, follow Morphe’s footsteps and get strategic about who you’re investing in.
Capitalize on word-of-mouth marketing with a referral campaign. While there are many variations on referral campaigns, the core idea is that you provide some sort of incentive for your happy customers to share the word about you to their friends.
Stitch Fix, a fashion box company, has referral marketing down to an art. Their referral campaign is such a permanent part of their strategy that it actually has its own page on their website.
Each customer is provided with a unique link to Stitch Fix’s home page. The customers can then share this link with their friends and social network. When someone purchases a box using that link, the original customer is given a $25 credit towards their next box. (And the new customer is enticed to make a purchase with their own $25 credit.)
For stores looking to replicate Stitch Fix’s success, consider testing out referral marketing with an initial campaign. Choose your incentive, set up goals and get cracking. (For a great step-by-step guide on how to run your first referral marketing campaign, check this article out.)
Acquiring new customers can be daunting for a SMBs, but these strategies have worked wonders for many retailers. By testing different things out and analyzing your results, you’ll be able to figure out what works well for your brand.
And take note that these retail marketing tactics are just the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty more ways to acquire new customers. You could try promotions, mobile marketing, or events, among other things. They key is to try different things, figure out what works, then go from there.