grow your business, Marketing Tip, Retail

8 Actionable Retail Marketing Strategies That You Can Start Implementing Today! — With Examples

Retail marketing strategy

Selling products and merchandise from your retail store can be tricky when you have many competitors selling online, offline, or both

In the past, getting new customers to try out a store used to be simpler than it is today. Most retailers used a combination of providing a convenient shopping experience and competitive pricing to set themselves apart from their competitors. 

However, things are different today. 

  • With the boom in e-commerce over the past decade, online retailers usually have the upper hand because they allow customers to order and receive products from the comfort of their homes and often at a lower price than physical retailers.
  • Additionally, the consumers of today have a clear understanding of their requirements and expect more value for their money.   

Marketing, for the retail industry, has evolved rapidly over the past few decades. Ads in newspapers and billboards are no longer enough to draw customers to stores. 

As modern store owners, you have to design meaningful interactions with buyers at each and every stage of their buying journey. To stay relevant, you must keep innovating your retail marketing campaigns and provide an exceptional customer experience

But it’s not always easy to think of and implement new and unique retail marketing strategies. And that’s why we are here to help!

We have put together some creative and highly effective retail marketing ideas for your store that can help you boost your business and increase immediate as well as long-term sales:-

  1. Leverage your current marketing space better
  2. Maximize your social media reach
  3. Promote your business on google
  4. Strike on brand partnerships and collaborations
  5. SMS and email marketing
  6. Be locally relevant
  7. Referral programs
  8. Take up critical social issues

You can click on any of the above links to directly jump to a particular idea.


What is retail marketing?

Before we get into the techniques, let’s understand what retail marketing actually means.

The range of activities and initiatives undertaken by retailers to generate awareness and interest in their goods and services with the end goal of increased sales in mind is retail marketing. A plan to use these activities to get customers in your store to drive sales can be a good retail marketing strategy.


Retail Marketing Mix

Marketing in retail is a mixture of 4 key elements. The marketing mix is often called the 4 Ps of Retail Marketing. It represents four discrete areas of business where you have to plan and take marketing decisions that work for you and your business category. These include the product you are selling, the price at which you are selling them, the place where you sell them, and the promotion activities you undertake to promote them.

Having a good hold on the product, price, and place aspects of the mixture will make sure you have the right product at the right price at the right place every time.

Assuming you have the right product at the right price at the right place at the right time, we will look at ways to help you promote and improve your retail business strategy.


Here are some actionable and highly effective marketing strategies for your retail store that will drive traffic and boost sales:-


1. Leverage your current marketing space better

It would be best to make the most of the marketing space you already have available before venturing into other channels.

Retailers have already been using these spaces for a long time, but how they use these marketing areas has changed dramatically over the years. We will talk about your curbside, window display, and product shelves and how you can use them better.

Curbside and window displays will help you drive foot traffic into your stores and enhance your brand image.

Optimizing your merchandising strategy will help you improve customers’ basket size once they are inside your store.

We will look at some ways you can use them more effectively as part of your retail marketing strategy. 

Curbside

Eye-catching and relevant displays on your curbside will help incite passersby to visit your store. You can also use this space to conduct engaging marketing campaigns using murals or fresco. It is also essential to keep it well maintained if you are providing services like curbside pickups. You can put up large signage to inform people that the service is available at your store.

A curbside signage used by a retailer to promote his business.

Window display

A good practice to follow is to change your window display once a month or once every two weeks, depending on the amount of foot traffic you receive.

Customers perceive your window display as representative of your brand and the kind of customer experience you provide. Therefore, taking time out and carefully planning its design would help your retail business.

You can use it to create a sense of urgency by showing limited-time offers in big, bold letters. 

It will also help if you decorate your display according to seasons and holidays. It will also help you establish a connection with a passerby and convert her into a visitor.

There is no one right way to make a good window display, but you can take inspiration from other retailers who may be doing it better than you.

Flos window display to promote products.
Flos, a lighting company based in the USA, uses attractive product displays at the front window to attract customers to their retail store.
Summer sale discount on a window display.
A store in Indonesia Using bold, innovative design to pitch summer discounts.              

Merchandising

It is a crucial part of the in-store marketing strategy for any retail business. It would work to your advantage to use beautiful and easy to browse through stands so that visitors can find the product they want without much hassle and enjoy the process of shopping at your store.

But, these are not the only things to keep in mind when organizing your merchandise.

Product placement in a store is much more than just what looks nice or may fit the best in different store sections. Some important factors to consider are shopper’s eye level, elevating products stand, and display shelves.

For example, if you own a store with two types of products: essentials that are low margin and luxury products that typically have a higher margin; the placement strategy you can follow is to place the essentials at the back of the store and luxury items at the front to ‘nudge’ more customers to buy high margin products.

The only way to master your merchandising strategy is to keep making slight changes till you find the right one.

A retail store with product stands

Look at how the stands are elevated and products are categorized for the convenience of customers in the above picture.


2. Maximize your social media reach

Retail being a consumer-based business, is perfect to be promoted on social media platforms with ready-made audiences primarily made of consumers. 

Studies prove that 81% of people actively use social media to help them find products, and 80% say it aids in making purchase decisions.

Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are social media platforms with large consumer audiences and offer opportunities for retailers to promote their products.

But, owing to the amount of content each user is flooded with on these platforms nowadays, it can be tough to catch attention and engage with your audience.

We will talk about some of the ways you can innovate yourself on social media and gain traction on each of the three platforms.

Using Facebook

Facebook has been gradually decreasing the organic reach of business pages over the years, and the trend will continue. Using ads is almost essential if you want to reach people on Facebook. 

Facebook ads are a potent tool with immense targeting features that can help you reach your target audience. Facebook offers you to select your ad audience by location, interest, or hobbies, and therefore it is easy to reach your target audience.

There are ways to drive organic engagement through your Facebook business page and use ads more efficiently. Some of them are:

  • Ads with clear CTA (Call to Action) usually produce better results. Your CTA can direct your customer to visit your website, your product catalog, or get directions to your store.
  • Another good practice is encouraging your customers to use the ‘Check-in and review’ feature in Facebook to give your business page an authentic and natural feel.
    Customer reviews are one of the best marketing content, and make sure you ask your customers to drop a review on Facebook when they visit your store or purchase from you.
  • If you are hosting an in-store or online event, make sure to use the ‘Create Event’ feature to inform your followers about it and boost customer interaction.
  • When a user marks your event as interested, his Facebook friends are also notified about your interest thus, helping you gain organic reach.
  • You can also use ‘Facebook Live’ to interact with your followers directly and stream virtual product launches and other such events.

Using Instagram

People are using Instagram to find new products all the time. 83% are using Instagram to look for new products and services.

Today’s retailers, especially boutique and specialty stores, cannot avoid using this platform.

Instagram’s user base has a relatively younger demographic, with 75% of people aged 18-25 using Instagram. Keep that in mind when you make content for your account.

Here are some retail marketing tips that will help you stand out and make a good impression on Instagram:-

  • Your Instagram feed should be beautiful and consistent. Have a design language and aesthetic that you follow for all your posts because your customers like consistency. 
  • Like Facebook, Instagram also offers targeted advertisement features, and you can reach your target audience by using it.
    Instagram ads tend to look cleaner than Facebook ads, and you can direct users to your website directly from it, unlike a regular Instagram post where you cannot insert a link.
  • Other features of Instagram other than posts you can use are stories, Instagram live, highlights, a view shop button, a contact button, a directions button, and a book now button. Check out the image below for insights on how other retailers are using them.
  • To get a book now button on Instagram and Facebook so that your target audience can book an online or in-store appointment with you, you can use Appointy.
    Book now button helps you take direct appointments from your clients for product showcases or personalized sales calls.
  • Instagram is one of the best mediums to share and collect user-generated content. Encourage your customers to post or put up a story about their purchase from your store and tag you. You can also incentivize them to do so. 

Let’s take a closer look at the Instagram account of Kari’s Diamonds and Bridal.

Kari's Instagram business profile screenshot
Source: Kari’s Diamonds and Bridal

Look at how they used the brand logo as the profile picture. They have given a clear description in the bio and organized the highlights beautifully. The design language of posts is defined, and the CTA buttons help define the business positioning.

The ‘View Shop’ button helps retailers to showcase their product lines directly with high-definition images and pricing. Look at the user-generated content in highlights.


Using Pinterest

Pinterest has been actively trying to woo retailers to join its platform by rolling out new features and integrations. Pinterest can be highly effective for fantasy stores (like wedding shops and luxury clothing).

People who browse through Pinterest are usually looking for inspiration and are open to content from brands. Here are some ways to get more views on your pins:-

  • Just like Facebook and Instagram, you can also run ads on Pinterest to reach your audience using its targeting features.  
  • Its visual nature makes the content very eye-catching, and you can also link your products directly to your website or Google profile.
  • Pinterest has a unique AR-based feature for specialty stores that have beauty products in their offerings. This feature called ‘Try on’ enables buyers to window-shop through different beauty products like lipsticks by trying it on them through Pinterest and buying the shade that suits them.
  • To get more customers to click through your pins to your website, use descriptive product descriptions in the spirit of the platform’s visual nature.

You do not need to be on all social media channels for your business. Figure out your target audience and marketing goals and be on social media channels that work best for you and your business.

If you are just starting out, you don’t need any third-party software to analyze your performance, but if you already have a decent following on social media, then you may want an external tool to help you.


3. Promote your business on Google

Google provides a range of solutions for retailers to increase their visibility over the web and attract customers to their store/website.

It also controls over 90% of the search engine market, and it is the go-to search engine for most people for all their queries.

Today, consumers want information on the tip of their hands, and they want it now. Even if someone wants to buy products from a physical store, she doesn’t necessarily want to go out and search for one.

She may want to find a store that sells the products she wants from the comfort of her home and visit whenever it is convenient for her. 

To improve customer convenience and decrease barriers to people coming to stores, modern retailers have looked at online retail marketing as part of their business strategy.

Google provides excellent opportunities for retailers to spread their presence online and make it easier for customers to find them.

Here are some ways of using some of the services provided by Google for your business:

Google business profile

It is effortless for people to find you online if you create your business profile on Google. Even if you don’t sell online, adding your profile will help customers find your retail location. Here are some tips that will help you:-

  • Add your store location, category description, website, and product images to get people to visit your store. 
  • Encourage visitors to rate your store and leave reviews on Google that will help your profile look authentic.
    If you provide personalized service to your customers using an appointment scheduling software, make sure it is integrated with Google Reserve so that they can directly book an appointment with you from Google.
    A retail appointment scheduling software can help you make personal sales calls, schedule curbside pickups, and conduct virtual events. To know more, click here.

Let’s look at how a simple search of bridal shops in Texas, USA, gives these detailed results, including locations of stores on a map for easy understanding.

Looking at the details of the first search result, we should notice that they have put up detailed business information. Their customers have left them a good amount of reviews, and they upload high-quality photos to showcase their merchandise and store.

Google search for Bridal shops in Texas.

Google shopping ads

About 40% of all shopping searches start on Google, a significant percentage considering Amazon accounts for about 50%. Google shopping ads are a very effective means to promote sales online, and you should try to incorporate them into your retail sales strategy. Let’s look at how and why. 

Google shopping ads are placed above search ads and are the first thing that catches the searcher’s eye. They generate 85% of all clicks on Google ads or Google shopping campaigns. If you’re looking for more engagement, this can be a good advertising strategy for your retail business.

A good practice is to use high-quality images of your products and descriptive titles to drive sales through this channel.

This is what a Google search for luxury bags looks like:

Google shopping ads for luxury bags.

4. Strike on-brand partnerships and collaborations

Striking the right partnerships relevant to your brands as a part of your retail store marketing campaign, and at the right time can do wonders for your business. Let us look at some of the collaborations you can do and how to incorporate them in your retail shop marketing strategy:-

Influencer marketing

Let us take an example to understand how to leverage influencers to promote your retail business.

A retailer has a range of pet products on offer for consumers. He collaborates with an Instagram influencer popular for posting photos and antics with her dog(s).

The influencer shares an Instagram story or post about the product. The post can be a video in which she uses a cream on her pet or just an appreciation post about how great the product line in general is and how it helped her dogs.

Expectedly, the retailer will receive lots of quality organic traffic because a significant chunk of her followers are likely pet owners and have a certain amount of faith in her.

Another low-cost strategy is collaborating with a local influencer and asking her to visit your store for an in-store event like a product launch or merchandise signing. This will help drive traffic to your store and generate interest in the local community.

Considering the opportunities, it is no surprise that retailers have caught on to this influencer frenzy and are using micro, macro, and mega influencers to market their products by collaborating with the right influencers and sharing authentic content through them


Collaborate with other small businesses

Many small businesses are still struggling from the aftermath of the COVID19 pandemic. Business owners are increasingly collaborating to survive and see through the tough time. 

Collaborating with businesses around you and serving a similar customer base will be fantastic to drive traffic to your store and can be a great idea to boost retail sales.

Here are some retail promotional ideas you can use by effectively collaborate with other business owners:-

  • You can ask small businesses around you to distribute your coupons or similar promotional material in exchange to understand that you would do the same.
    Suppose you sell gym wear. You can collaborate with a local gym to have a promotional event in your retail shop or hand out gym membership discount offers on the sale of ‘X’ amount of your product, and they could do the same for you. 
  • You can also set up pop-up shops at your partner business’s location if they are too far away or if you are unable to provide enough value for customers to drive to your shop.

5. SMS and email marketing

SMS and email marketing are among the most effective and cost-efficient marketing strategies. The average open rate of emails sits between 28%-33%, while for text messages it is 99%, with 97% read within 15 minutes of delivery.

SMS and email can also be part of your retail digital marketing strategy and are becoming increasingly popular among retailers due to the emergence of mobile phones and the Internet. 

SMS marketing campaigns help you leverage the power of direct mobile communication to build loyalty with existing customers and attract and retain new ones.

Email marketing was hugely associated with the technology industry until a few decades back.

But, with more and more tools available on the market for mass emailing that many industries are using despite not being well equipped with technology, email marketing has become the standard and expected from a modern marketing manager of a business.

Marketers across various industries have seen a very high ROI from email marketing campaigns, and the retail sector is one of them.

A few things that you can do using SMS and email marketing are:-

  • Send text messages to your customers with discount coupons or vouchers
  • Send alerts about new product launches
  • Enable SMS loyalty programs for your customers
  • Wish them on holidays and send special discounts
  • Ask your customers for feedback on their shop visit

Here are some tips that may help you run effective SMS and email marketing campaigns for your retail business:-

  • Automating your email and SMS marketing will help you reach the right customer at the right time every time. 
  • Segment your customer base using gender, location, purchase history, and other such parameters. Send personalized emails and product recommendations accordingly. 
  • Keep increasing your data size by getting more customers to give them their data without being too pushy. A good data repository of customers can help you upsell your products in many ways.

It can be hard to automate your email marketing campaign without an email marketing tool. There are lots of options available, and you can choose the ones that work for you.

Suppose you use a retail scheduling software to book appointments with your client. In that case, you want it to help you send personalized emails and text messages to each client and create customizable e-coupons and gift certificates that are attractive to your clients and can be mailed to them with ease.


6. Be locally relevant

With the Internet and cheap transportation changing people’s travel behavior, the world is becoming smaller. It is easier for you to reach someone digitally and physically, even if she lives thousands of miles away.

It can be tempting to target a more extensive audience base and reach as many consumers as possible with all your marketing activities.

However,  a significant chunk of your buyers are likely locals, and therefore you want to be relevant to them and make them feel unique with local retail business marketing campaigns and loyalty programs. Some of the activities you can do are:-

  • Roll out merchandise with a local connection. Check out the image at the end of this section for an example.
  • Use pop-up shops at famous local spots or events to connect with your local audience.
    For example, there is a yearly festival in your region that is popular among the city residents. You can set up a pop-up shop there, which will give you a momentary boost in sales from the temporary location and help increase the connection with your customers.
    You will also acquire new ones from this exercise who will visit your main store in the future.
  • Use geo-targeting features of Facebook, Instagram, and Google to run ad campaigns specifically for them. 

7. Run referral programs

Happy customers are the best marketers for your retail business. They will give you free word-of-mouth marketing. The majority of consumers also trust the recommendations of friends and family more than an advertisement or any other retail campaign.

Referral marketing helps you attract customers to your retail store and is more likely to drive sales because a customer referred by a friend is 4x likely to make a purchase.

Referred customers are also more likely to engage with your brands through other loyalty programs. These programs also help you keep your existing customers happy by offering them an incentive to advocate for you.

Let us look at a step-by-step approach to launch a successful referral campaign:-

  1. Ensure your existing customers are happy with your service, as they are the roots of any referral program you want to start. Try to give them an exceptional customer experience so that they refer their friends and family to you even without any incentive.
  2. Segment your most happy customers and get to know them. You should tailor your referral program to benefit them.
  3. Decide what you will incentivize your customers to do. You can give them rewards based on the number of sales by customers they referred or reward per referral. 
  4. Decide what rewards to give. You can hand out a percentage of sales they helped generate, or a per referral fixed amount as store credit. Other incentives are loyalty points, discount vouchers, and early access to discounts.
  5. Make it easy for your customers to reap the rewards. If the referral verification system you implement is too complex, no compensation you offer will be enough to entice your customers. It should be simple to verify the origin of referrals and claim the rewards.
  6. Reach out to customers and inform them about the referral campaign. Use SMS and email marketing to tell them about your campaign and how they can take part. 
  7. Measure the results and optimize the reward structure accordingly. 

8. Take up critical social issues

Consumers are more aware now than ever before and want to use a brand that advocates for socially relevant issues. In fact, according to studies, 79% of consumers change their purchase preferences based on social responsibility, inclusiveness, or environmental impact.

Taking up critical issues is a great way to market your business and can also be part of your retail brand strategy. There are many ways you can make a social impact using your resources as a retailer, but you have to be careful to do it responsibly and not hurt people’s sentiments. 

You can collaborate with local charities and run awareness campaigns in partnership with them to increase visibility and reputation among your target audience.

A retail strategy example for a retailer selling camping equipment would be to collaborate with a local charity for plantation drive and run campaigns on forest conservation. You can either take up current/‘trending’ events or a long-standing issue.

You can also pledge a certain percentage of sales from a specific product line to fight a socially relevant battle. If you are selling a line of products targeted at pregnant women, you can pledge to donate X amount of dollars for every one unit sold to a charity fighting against child hunger.

Be sure to keep your messaging clear so that your customers know what you are doing and pitch in if they want to. 

Yogurt-brand Yoplait ran a brilliantly executed marketing campaign taking up the overlooked issue of mom-shaming.

They took up relatable issues a mother faces: shaming for being a lousy parent and unwanted advice. The campaign helped the brand achieve its aim of connecting with its core audience of mothers of all kinds. Google Analytics report from econsultancy.com, the ads resulted in a 1,461% increase in brand interest.


Conclusion

The 8 retail marketing strategies listed above, go through different marketing channels to reach your customer.

With so many marketing channels available today, it can be challenging to select the ones that work for you and your business. The most common mistake retail marketers make: drown in opportunity.

The first thing to do before planning your next marketing or retail promotion strategy is to set the goals you want to achieve. Your goals can be to increase the footfall in stores by 10% by the end of next month or boost the sales of XYZ category of products by 20% this quarter.

Always remember to set your targets, then select your retail marketing strategy for your store instead of the other way around.

The key to success is not to do everything but to try out different strategies, analyzing each track’s performance, and choosing the retail store marketing plan that gives you the maximum ROI


About Appointy

We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day. 

If you have any thoughts on this blog, or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below. 

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