June 21, 2024

Even as online sales continue to command a significant percentage of consumer purchases, online retailers like Amazon and Alibaba have started to invest in brick-and-mortar stores. That means, if you’re a small brick-and-mortar retailer, it’s more important than ever to market your physical store properly. Here are some of the most popular and effective channels and strategies recommended by leading marketers.

What is retail marketing?

Retail marketing is the planning and process of bringing consumers to retail locations. According to Eric Grindley, founder and CEO of Esquire Media, whether your establishment is brick-and-mortar or an e-commerce site, the goal is to convert your audience to satisfied retail customers.

“Retail marketing involves a wide variety of strategies and techniques that can be used depending upon the retailer’s location, industry, inventory and their customer base,” Grindley told business.com.

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What are the 4 Ps of retail marketing?

When constructing a retail marketing strategy, it can be helpful to use a popular marketing mix known as the four Ps of marketing. These four Ps are product, price, place and promotion.

  1. Product: This is the product or service your company has to offer. In retail marketing, the product aspect involves decisions about the features, design, quality and branding of your products.
  2. Price: This involves establishing product pricing. As a retailer, you must consider factors such as costs, competitor pricing, perceived value and market demand when setting prices.
  3. Place: This refers to your product distribution channels. In retail marketing, the place element involves decisions about the location of stores, online presence, logistics and your overall distribution strategy.
  4. Promotion: This encompasses all the activities and strategies used to market your products. In retail marketing, this can include advertising, sales promotions, public relations and other efforts to create a positive image and drive sales.

You should consider the four Ps in conjunction with one another to create a comprehensive marketing strategy that addresses the needs of your target market and influences consumer behavior.

What are the various types of retail marketing?

The spectrum of techniques for retail marketing is vast, Grindley said. Weigh the options at your disposal to expand the reach of your marketing campaigns.

Digital marketing

Take advantage of online spaces like websites, social media and email to promote your product or service. You can also employ digital marketing campaigns, which build brand awareness among consumers you’ve analyzed as potential customers. This could include creating a Facebook ad or Instagram page for your brand.

It can be helpful to measure and track digital marketing ROI to ensure your campaign is successful.

Print advertising

This is the use of ads, newspapers, magazines or brochures to boost brand awareness of your company. As a business owner, you can use direct mail to choose who receives your company’s promotions in their mailbox. This retail strategy allows you to mail messages to consumers you believe are likely to become buyers.

Public relations services

Public relations representatives are a beneficial resource to involve in your retail marketing efforts. They can help you clean up your brand reputation and strengthen consumer reach through reputation management, press releases, customer retention and event planning.

Influencer marketing

You can also partner with social media influencers to market your products. These days, online influencers are just as popular as traditional celebrities. Teaming up with one to incorporate your brand or a product in their social posts – many of which reach millions of followers – can increase your market reach.

Word-of-mouth

Telling someone about your business or having an event that gets people talking about your brand will never go out of style. Word-of-mouth can be just as powerful as sending a promotional email. It creates a more intimate, personal customer experience and connection among consumers.

“Different types of retail marketing can be used depending on the size and type of the retailer, be it a department store, supermarket, franchise, shopping mall or web store,” Grindley said.

If you’re unsure where to start with your marketing strategy, check out these successful small business marketing campaigns for inspiration.

Retail marketing strategies for success

These tips offer insights for planning and executing a multifaceted retail marketing strategy for long-term success.

1. Keep accurate information online.

Even people who prefer shopping in physical stores turn to the internet for assistance. They look for contact information like phone numbers and directions to the retail location, so you’ll want to make sure that information is current across online directories like Google and Yelp. With so many online listings available, you may want to consider using a marketing automation program that monitors digital directories, alerts you to mistakes in your entries and sends corrections.

2. Have an online catalog.

More than half of shoppers use online media to pre-shop. Once in the store, people also go online to compare prices and check reviews. Even if you don’t sell online, having a product catalog on your website with good keywords is a marketing effort that may draw others to your store, especially if you undersell the competition.

3. Use loss leaders and bundles.

Try deeply discounting a product to draw people into your store or bundling a popular product with a less popular one and discounting the package. This provides the lure of a deal, the urgency of limitation and the expectation of exclusivity – all things that drive sales.

4. Make a fabulous window display.

Most retail marketing experts agree that an enticing window display is the best way to draw in street customers. Highlight your best products, along with one big incentive (like 50 percent off items or bundles). Reflect your store’s unique style; a drab display loses the casual window shopper who might buy on impulse.

5. Host events.

Seminars, fashion shows and book signings are in-person events where online venues can’t compete. Some experts suggest hosting monthly events at your retail store, but not all need to be heavily planned. At these gatherings, you want to work to convert attendance to sales. For example, your “Spring Into Fitness” seminar might generate more sales if the attendees got a discount that day on athletic wear purchases. You can also include one-day-only sales, limited availability items and online coupons to use in-store only.

6. Create a shopping experience.

With so many products available in abundance from multiple sources, no one really needs to frequent a specific store. Therefore, to attract and keep customers, make them want to visit, linger in and return to your unique establishment. A clean store with friendly clerks and extras that make shoppers comfortable or excited to be there is one people will want to frequent.

7. Hire product experts.

Hire staff who already know the products or train them to follow best practices. For example, computer salespeople need to listen to the customers’ device needs and be able to suggest the best laptop for them rather than the latest model; clerks should be able to advise on what outfits look best on specific body types, and the best shoe store employees know how to analyze a customer’s gait and find the perfect shoe.

8. Make a relaxed atmosphere.

Bookstores started competing against Amazon by providing reading areas and sometimes coffee (free or paid for) to encourage browsers to linger long enough to fall in love with a book. Give customers a reason to stick around your store instead of running in and out.

9. Cultivate familiarity.

Beyond basic friendliness, workers who recognize and acknowledge repeat customers can spark more frequent shopping. Encourage employees to greet familiar faces and, if they remember the details, reference customers’ past visits.

10. Incorporate the online with the physical.

Walmart and other retailers have started to let people order online and then pick up their items in the store. As another example, Rebecca Minkoff fashion stores are fully integrated online, so shoppers can choose outfits online, try them on in the store and, if they aren’t ready to purchase, save them in their online favorites to buy later.

11. Leverage social media.

Use social media to promote the uniqueness of your brand. While offering coupons and deals for followers is great, most fans of a retailer’s social media page don’t want to be sold to. Instead, show off the unique experience you offer. Instead of announcing a new product, make an unboxing video or have employees model the latest shipment. Let patrons post photos on your feeds. Do customer shout-outs or hold contests. Share articles with expert tips related to your types of products or services. The key is to engage rather than push sales.

To be successful at social media marketing, focus on the platforms your ideal customers are most likely to use, whether that’s X (Twitter), Instagram, Facebook or another social network.

12. Use a loyalty program.

Most point-of-sale (POS) and credit card processing systems help retailers facilitate loyalty programs. Use these not only to encourage customer loyalty with discounts or freebies, but also to collect their demographic information and contact them on special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries. 

13. Send targeted emails.

Email newsletters are the new junk mail. Make yours more likely to be read by providing useful, targeted information. The best retail POS systems and customer relationship management (CRM) software can provide valuable customer data, allowing you to send targeted email campaigns based on shopping habits. For example, if you sell computers, you can have separate email campaigns for shoppers who buy Macs and those who prefer PCs. You can also personalize your email marketing efforts by programming the software to send someone who bought a printer a six-month reminder to buy ink with a limited-time in-store coupon.

Retail marketing tools

Consider using the below tools to help market your retail store online.

Marsello

Marsello is a data-driven retail marketing platform that integrates online and in-store purchases and consumer data to create a better customer experience. It takes the guesswork out of marketing by analyzing consumer interactions to personalize email campaigns, loyalty programs and SMS marketing to help drive sales. Marsello is an omnichannel platform, meaning its software can better serve your customers whether they’re in your store, online or on their phones. Use Marsello’s accurate ROI tracking to scale your business in-store and online.

iQmetrix

iQmetrix is an IT company with telecom POS solutions for retailers. Its software provides consumers with an intelligent telecom interface, including contactless payments and a mobile POS. It collects consumer data in real time so you can analyze the effects of your retail store’s marketing strategies. iQmetrix also has an intranet feature for employees to see their schedules, the latest promotions and other internal memos. Security is a top priority of iQmetrix, which has built-in encryption and tokenization capabilities.

Emarsys

Emarsys is another omnichannel retail management platform that relies on customer engagement for success. It uses artificial intelligence and predictive analysis to obtain feedback from customers. The software then analyzes and automates workflows based on the collected data. You can integrate Emarsys with e-commerce platforms such as Magento, Shopify and Salesforce Commerce Cloud. It also combines a CRM with automation to send consumer emails, make social media posts and develop other online marketing campaigns.

Klaviyo

Klaviyo is a cloud-based retail marketing platform that helps businesses drive better sales with online marketing strategies. You can integrate all your consumer data through its integration directory or open API to personalize marketing solutions and further understand your audience’s feedback. Klaviyo’s email segmentation tools send your subscribers emails they’ll actually open thanks to customized marketing based on their interaction with your website. It also provides sales-based reporting with a comprehensive dashboard, campaign analytics and tools to track conversion rates.

Omnisend

Omnisend is a retail marketing platform specializing in email marketing, SMS and automation. Retailers can use an entire suite of minimum advertised pricing (MAP) features with personalized and automated marketing campaigns to better reach their audience. It even separates and customizes emails based on a customer’s shopping behavior. Omnisend also integrates with most e-commerce platforms and offers easy-to-use customizable templates for email and social media marketing. It provides SMS capabilities alongside email marketing strategies to create a consistent customer experience.

Find a retail marketing platform that best suits your business’s needs, from online marketing campaigns to integration and e-commerce capabilities.

Brick-and-mortar stores still have value; otherwise, successful online companies wouldn’t be expanding into that market. Whether you own a single retail business or a chain, you can still compete if you remember the basics of marketing, use technology to your advantage and provide a shopping experience that brings your customers back time and again.

Skye Schooley and Karina Fabian contributed to this article. Source interview was conducted for a previous version of this article.

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