To get your retail business where you want it to be, you’re going to need an effective retail marketing strategy.
To make sure that strategy is going to be as successful as possible, you’ll need to invest time and effort into creating it.
However, time is valuable, and not everyone has it in abundance.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 25 Tips for Retail Marketing that will help give you a valuable head start.
Marketing your retail business can be an expensive undertaking, but there are always free marketing opportunities out there that you can take advantage of.
Social media can still be a great avenue for free marketing, despite organic reach being limited in recent years. Share relevant content on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest to engage with potential customers.
Look out for social media groups that centre around retail and get involved in them by posting and commenting on other people’s posts.
When you’re trying to get your retail business off the ground, you should look out for places where you can put up posters for free. If you’re familiar with the area, you might know where potential customers might frequent.
Loyalty programs are a fantastic way of retaining customers and rewarding them for their custom.
Create your own loyalty cards and introduce a promotion where a customer will get a reward after fulfilling a certain requirement. The rewards could be a discount, free shipping, free items or shopping points. You may also want to consider a digital loyalty app.
You can set the terms of the loyalty program to suit what you have to offer. For example, you could say ‘get one coffee free after your 7th purchase’ or ‘free shipping if you spend over $50’.
If you have a new product that you want to promote, you could use your loyalty program to highlight it. The same can be done for a product that isn’t selling too well.
Consider varying the rewards and testing which are the most popular ones, as you will need to keep your offer valuable to ensure that your customers retain their interest.
Influencers have become a huge part of modern marketing and they can benefit many businesses that partner with them.
You might be thinking that you don’t have the budget to attract an influencer, but that doesn’t have to stop you. If you have a product that an influencer might be interested in, you can give it to them for free and ask them to promote it.
In your search for a suitable influencer, make sure that you are looking for someone who regularly posts about the retail niche that you’re operating in.
For example, if you sell bags, seek out an influencer who has some history and authority in that area. If people see their favourite influencers using your bag, they’ll be more likely to buy it.
Go for micro-influencers rather than the big fish. They may have smaller audiences, but there’s a good chance that these audiences will be more engaged and they’ll also be a lot easier to hire.
Retail marketing can be complex and varied, so you might have to try a few different approaches to get successful. That’s why it’s imperative to track all of your marketing endeavours.
If you don’t track what you’re doing, you won’t be able to learn from your mistakes or double down on what’s working well. When you put money into a marketing campaign, it’s essential to track the return you get on that investment.
Set goals and then, if your marketing is done online, track those goals using tools like Google Analytics. Even if you have an offline marketing campaign, you could create a custom landing page for your offline promotions and make it necessary that a customer visits the page to purchase. This way, you can track how many people have taken up the promotion.
You can set up your goals to help you find out how many people purchased, how many left reviews, the revenue you earned, how many repeat visitors to your site there were and much more.
Your marketing efforts will be vain if you are unable to identify who your target markets are. Retail marketing is typically tailored for specific demographics, depending on the product you’re trying to sell.
While you could just simply choose who you want to sell your product to and hope for the best, this approach is flawed. You could think one group of people are buying your product, when the reality is likely to be far more varied.
Find out who your best customers are, then create a profile which describes what their traits are. If you can establish the profile of the customer who’s most likely to buy from you, then you can use that to target new customers more precisely.
Continuously research how your products are being used and who is making the decision to buy them. The more information you have, the easier it will be to refine what products you choose to sell.
Getting this process right might take some time, but you will learn from your mistakes and if you get it right, your revenue will increase.
After a customer purchases something from you, it can be a good idea to follow up with them. A solid follow up boosts customer satisfaction and increases the likelihood of them returning to you.
You should have a pre-planned format for your follow up and there should be a reason why you’re doing it, rather than a follow up just for the sake of one.
If your brand image allows for it, be personal in your correspondence and speak to customers less formally. They will likely appreciate a more conversational exchange.
Many businesses make the mistake of following up with a customer until they make a purchase and then not bothering with them until they are going to buy again. Regularly touch base with your most valuable customers to keep them engaged and interested in your products.
You could also use a follow up to survey customers, ask them how their experience was and to get tips about how you can make things easier for them. A follow up survey could be sent out immediately after a customer buys or at a later date.
Businesses tend to have a greater chance of being successful if they can contribute to their local community.
People often want to feel involved in what’s happening around them, and if your store or site can help them do that, it will boost your chances of acquiring new customers. In a way, it’s an alternative form of a loyalty program.
Look at the community around you and see where you could help serve their needs. This could involve organising events, sponsoring them, donating to a good cause and buying local produce.
Emphasise in your marketing how much you value being local, as this well help set you apart from big brands that will be vying for your market share.
If existing customers are talking about your products on social media or with their friends and family, then those conversations can lead to new customers and more sales.
The best way to encourage these existing customers to recommend you is by launching a referral campaign. A referral campaign involves incentivising customers you already have to refer new customers.
It’s a commonly used strategy, and it’s usually very effective, because people are more likely to listen to their peers rather than a brand who’s trying to sell them something. Targeting is also more accurate, as people know what their friends like more than a business ever will.
Rewards for a referral could be anything from discounts to in-store points, depending on the nature of your retail business.
Referral marketing software can boost your business in a number of ways. It's easy to set up, and you'll be able to get started quickly with all the tools that are available for free
Remember, a good product doesn’t guarantee you a referral. You’ll have to combine that with exceptional customer service and a superb customer experience.
Giving customers an opportunity to leave reviews on your site adds credibility to the products or services you offer. Before making the decision to buy, potential customers will often check reviews to see if they should follow through with the purchase.
Your social media or customer service should aim to respond to as many reviews as possible and to deal with negative reviews swiftly and effectively. Never get into an argument with a customer, but rather find out exactly what went wrong for them and do your best to rectify it.
You should aim to be polite, helpful and understanding of the problems that they are experiencing. If you have social media management software, you can stay on top of reviews with alerts as they come in.
When you get a really good review, you can use it on other areas of your site to really emphasise the quality and value of what you offer.
You could make a testimonial page where visitors to your site can see what some of your happiest customers have said about you.
The value of testing can’t be emphasised enough when it comes to retail marketing. Randomly deciding on what avenues you’re going to pursue reduces your chances of getting a positive result.
Regular testing cuts out unnecessary mistakes and helps you to make sure that you’re spending your money where it matters. It can take quite a bit of effort to set up mechanisms to continuously test in a wide range of areas, but it’s definitely worth it.
The testing you do will vary a lot depending on whether your retail business is based online or offline. If you’re testing in-store, you could test 2 different promotions alongside each other and see which attracts more customers. For example, it could be the same discount on two similar products to find out which sells more.
With online marketing, your testing has the potential to be extremely comprehensive. Test call-to-actions to see which ones get more clicks and rotate your landing pages to see how the changes you’ve made impact conversions.
Social media is an extremely competitive space, and if you want to successfully market there, you’ll have to optimise your paid advertising strategy.
Before you start throwing money at paid advertising, it’s important to know exactly what the goal of your campaign is. Some of these goals could include increasing engagement, growing traffic, boosting visibility and attracting new leads.
You’ll also need to choose which social media platform suits your business best. Some businesses might be best suited to Facebook or Twitter, while Instagram might be the best avenue for others. Look at where your target audience is most likely to be found and put your effort into that platform.
Each of these platforms have helpful features that allow marketers to hone in on the exact type of customer that they want to attract. Your focus shouldn’t just be on the promoted post itself, but rather the entire funnel and how the customer journey through it looks.
Finally, be sensible with your ad budget and figure out the optimal spend for your business. Start off small and then gradually increase your bids if a particular campaign proves successful.
Partnering with non-competitive businesses that have the same target audience can be hugely beneficial to both parties.
The business which you decide to partner with should also be in the retail industry and ideally they will have products or services that complement your own.
You need to figure out what the details of a partnership will look like. It could be providing additional products that you could sell on your site or taking on the manufacturing of certain items.
After you’ve come to a mutually beneficial agreement with another business, you can begin cross promotion. This often involves recommending each other’s business on your site, social media, blog posts and more.
A good partnership will help to better serve your customer’s needs. So before you jump into anything, ask yourself how a partnership would make a customer more likely to purchase from you.
Continuously attracting new customers is important for your business, but equally so is the need to retain the customers that you already have.
If you can consistently provide a satisfactory customer experience, then you’ll see repeat buyers pop up more often.
Make customer journeys a personalised experience and use familiar, informal language in your interactions.
Constantly provide discount offers for customers to make them aware of the value you can give them and exceed expectations with superb deals.
If you can identify customers that are loving your business, you could reach out to them and ask them to do a testimonial for you.
A customer will be far more likely to purchase from you if they know an offer is about to expire or if there is a limited number of a particular product available.
Demand can be created by a retailer using certain marketing tactics and it often inspires people to take action.
You’ll often see offers online that use scarcity to drive up purchases. They will be accompanied by text such as '5 left at this price ' or 'only available while stocks last '.
A timer will often be present to remind customers of exactly how long is left before a great deal disappears.
Where before your customers might just bounce off your site, a timer will make them aware that they only have a certain amount of time to buy and might convince them to seal the deal.
Consistency is key to any successful retail marketing strategy. If you constantly change your approach, you will be doomed to failure.
You need to have patience with the choices you’ve made and see how they worked over a period of time.
Set a time period for a new strategy and then if it isn’t working by the end of that period, you can pull it.
This is the only way that you can truly compare different tactics and refine your future marketing plans.
Consistency is also crucial when it comes to customer service. Customers will come to expect a certain standard of behaviour and it’s up to both you and your staff to meet that standard.
An employee who has been adequately trained to carry out the duties you expect of them will not only be more competent, but more satisfied too.
When employees are happy, they’ll show it in their work and their enthusiasm will rub off on customers when they come into your store.
If a customer is dealing with a friendly member of staff, it’ll give them more reasons to be positive about your brand.
Make sure that they are informed about all of your products and that they know of any discounts. This will help them sell to customers more effectively.
After any additional training has been completed, monitor how your staff are implementing what they’ve learned in their day to day tasks.
Event marketing can be a very effective method of boosting your business profile and advertising your products.
You can use events to give attendees a sneak peek at upcoming products and to share samples and demos with them.
Events give retailers the opportunity to get creative about the way they communicate with their customers. It’s a unique opportunity for face-to-face contact with customers where you can talk to them directly about your business.
If you don’t have the budget to host your own event, you could set up a stall at another event or a conference.
The media can be a very effective platform for marketing your business and often provides a large platform to speak to potential customers.
Articles about your brand can create a buzz online if they get lots of interaction on social media. This can bring customers to your site and increase sales.
When you’re launching a new product, a press release can be one of the best ways to attract attention to it. You could send multiple press releases over a period of time to gradually build up the hype for it.
There are lots of different types of press releases that you could send out, as long as the story you share is newsworthy.
Some other examples could include a new partnership, opening a new store or launching a competition.
Many retailers exist either solely in brick and mortar stores or solely online, but there are lots who do both.
Linking the two can sometimes be tough, but a well-thought-out marketing strategy will make things a lot easier.
Some of the basic stuff you can do is offer an in-store pick up for online purchases. This encourages customers to come to your store and possibly buy more.
You could also have a store location page on your site that tells people where they can find all of your stores.
One of the most important factors to increase online sales is to re-engage customers. To build a brand on a customer's mind, you need to constantly communicate with them and bring them back to your site. Using web push notification you can easily keep your customers engaged.
If you want to take things further, it might be worth investing in a mobile app that enhances the in-store experience and offers a customer a guide that describes what they can purchase.
Through the mobile app, this customer can also receive push notifications about promotions in your store.
Make sure your branding is consistent online and offline, as any discrepancies will harm your brand image.
Additionally you can use smart digital signage in your store not only to highlight your products and events, but also to promote your online presence by displaying your latest social media activity and showing highlights from your website, thereby closing the loop between your online marketing and on-premise marketing.
Video has become a hugely important part of marketing to customers and your campaigns will be a lot stronger with video in them.
With a video, you can tell a unique story about your brand in a short and digestible format that will have a better chance of engaging potential customers.
A good marketing video will inform viewers about your business, while entertaining them at the same time.
Creating videos is now very easy to do, with software like Design Wizard providing marketers with easily customisable templates for their social media campaigns.
You can quickly add animated text, images and your logo to these designs to personalise them for your brand.
Your best products sell well for a reason, so you should put them centre stage whenever possible. Use attractive images on your site to make them visually appealing for customers.
Even if you’re passionate about growing a certain aspect of your business, it’s no point supporting it if your customers have zero interest in it.
That’s why you should make sure to keep these products front and centre when marketing to new customers.
Place items that you know will sell well in your ads, drawing customers to your site and giving them the opportunity to buy other things.
An optimised website is crucial to ensuring that your site gets the traffic you need to generate the leads that will grow your revenue.
When you create a landing page or a blog post, base the content around a specific keyword that search engines can pick up on. That way you can rank in Google’s search engine result pages or SERPs.
Optimising for search, otherwise known as SEO, is crucial for any retail business that wants to grow their presence online.
Retail is an industry that typically sees a significant pick up in sales during certain holiday periods. Christmas being the prime example.
Make the most of these windows with tailored ads and discounts on products that are commonly purchased at that time of year.
Use social media platforms to suggest gifts for customers and then direct them towards the landing page where they can purchase those gifts.
Changing the design of your pages and the style of your social media posts to suit each holiday can be a good way of engaging with customers and making your products more attractive.
There will be lots of last-minute shoppers trying to get some good deals, so it’s a great time to use some scarcity tactics (see tip 14) in your holiday marketing strategy.
Customers will often make their decision to purchase a product over an extended period of time, so it’s crucial that you retarget visitors to your page in case they decide to come back.
With Google Ads, you can create ads that target users who have visited a certain product page or who have left items in their cart without purchasing.
This provides you with a great opportunity to communicate with customers who you know have a certain degree of interest in what you have to offer.
If you have an ad that brought a lot of traffic to a page, you know that it did its job, even if they didn’t buy anything. Retargeting can help give them that extra little bit of encouragement they need.
Retargeting can be expensive, so it’s best to focus on leads from your most successful ad campaigns.
Email marketing can give you a direct line to a potentially huge group of leads, providing you with a unique opportunity to acquire lots of new customers.
One of the key aspects of good email outreach is personalising your emails. A contact will be a lot more likely to engage with an email if it’s tailored specifically to them
If you need to, you can go into detail with your email, but typically a shorter email will have a better chance of getting a response.
To make email marketing more straightforward for you, use email automation to send multiple emails at once and to schedule them for specific times. Some helpful email automation software
So there you have it, 25 tips for retail marketing that will help you optimise your marketing tactics and grow your retail business.
Depending on what type of retail business you run, some of these tips will be more useful than others, but the ones which are relevant to you will be very beneficial.
Look out for how other marketers used the strategies mentioned in this post in their own campaigns and use what they learned to inform your own decisions.
One thing’s for sure, your retail business will have a much better chance of acquiring new customers on a consistent basis.