A lot goes into creating your retail store.
Selecting or creating products, finding a space to lease, hiring employees—it takes a lot of time and energy to start up. Now that your store is live (or about to go live), what’s next?
That’s where retail marketing comes into play. Retail marketing is the process of getting people interested in your products and improving in-store sales. Retailers that can’t market themselves will struggle to succeed.
Nearly 20% of small businesses fail within their first year. If you don’t want your new store to be one of them, see below for advice on how to market and drive sales.
What is retail marketing?
A retail marketing strategy is any method that helps spread awareness and increase sales and profitability for your products or company. It goes well beyond advertising in the local newspaper. The layout of your store, your social media presence, and employees are all part of your retail marketing plan.
Importance of retail marketing
A good retail marketing strategy helps you sell your products to your target audience. It helps them overcome any doubts about your products and reduces buyer’s remorse, which some 77% of shoppers feel after buying something.
Let’s look at some of the other benefits of building a retail marketing strategy.
Build customer loyalty
A business's first sales are great, but what's really important is getting repeat customers. Bain & Company found that by increasing your customer retention by 5%, you can increase your profits by up to 95%.Customer feedback requests, loyalty programs, and email or SMS marketing are a few retail marketing strategies that improve customer loyalty.
Since implementing customer loyalty programs, sales have gone up by 80%. Most of it comes from customers recommending or buying our products over and over again.
The goal of retail marketing is to get new customers into your business, and retain them for the long run. Whether it’s social media, SEO, partnerships, or paid advertising, they are all tactics to drive revenue for your business.
Research shows that consistent brand presentation can increase revenue by 33%. A good retail marketing strategy will strengthen your brand and make your products and company recognizable.
Types of retail marketing
In-store marketing refers to any promotional activities that take place inside your store. It promotes products to customers and provides them a comfortable experience. In-store marketing, in other words, focuses on engaging customers as they go through the shopping journey.
Examples of in-store marketing include:
- In-store displays that feature certain products or price cuts
- Offer samples of new products
- Hosting events like live music or product demos
- Having a suggestion box or interactive board
- In-store promotions that encourage your customers to walk into your store
Traditional marketing refers to finding a target audience through offline channels like print marketing or billboard ads. While digital marketing has eclipsed traditional marketing for many industries, it’s still a good way to connect with local audiences.
Common channels include:
- Flyers and brochures
- Direct mail
- Newspaper ads
- Event marketing, like pop-ups
- Referral marketing
- Radio ads
We were offered the chance to pop-up in other businesses before we launched our brick-and-mortar; that was a great way to bring awareness to our business, and gain customers before opening.
Digital marketing is the act of promoting your store or products through organic and paid efforts using online platforms. A well-rounded digital marketing strategy encompasses multiple channels, such as:
The channels you choose depend on where your audience hangs out, your budget, and your overall business goals.
Retail marketing mix: The Six Ps
The Six Ps are an expansion of the four Ps of marketing, which is a foundation model for building marketing strategies that connect with your target audience. It provides a set of tools you can use to reach your goals and objectives.
The Six P’s are: Product, Price, Place, Promotion, Personnel, and Presentation.
The product is any item or service that your customers need or desire. Retailers break Product down into three categories:
- Core: products that you always have in stock and ready to sell.
- Line extensions: different variations of the core product.
- Related products: items that support the core product or make it work better.
For example, if you’re selling blue jeans, the line extensions are different styles (baggy, slim fit, skinny); the belts, shoes, and shirts are related products.
Price is what you sell your product for. It’s based on your cost of goods sold, promotional plans, and product lifestyle. Your pricing strategy must work for your target market and competition.
Place is where customers can buy your products. In terms of retail, this could mean a stand-alone store downtown, a shopping center, or a mall. Place considerations include:
- Public transportation options
- Competitor locations
- Visual merchandising
Promotion refers to how you reach customers. Every retailer needs a promotional plan to build awareness, increase foot traffic, and improve conversion rates.
Retailers often use promotional tactics like:
- Social ads
- Direct mail
- Referral programs
- Loyalty cards
- Email marketing
Your employees must also encourage sales through customer interactions. Discussing the latest promotions and upselling particular products are a great way to promote your products in-store.
💡 PRO TIP: Want to create beautifully branded emails to promote your next product launch? Use Shopify Email to create, send, and track campaigns, all from within Shopify—no coding experience required.
Floor staff are the face of your retail store. They are the ones customers interact with from when they walk in the door until the final sale. To succeed, retailers must train their employees and have trustworthy people on board.
Presentation is how your product is seen by the outside world. Everything from packaging to how you communicate with your customers determines whether your target audience will buy repeatedly.
Retail marketing strategies
A retail marketing strategy is any activity you use to attract customers to your store. Retailers rely on many types of marketing strategies across different channels to meet their goals.
Popular strategies include:
- Curb appeal
- Organize retail displays
- Build your online presence
- Invest in local SEO
- Run local ads
- Stay connected with customers
- Work with influencers
- Invest in word-of-mouth marketing
They say you first eat with your eyes, and the same is true in retail. Before a customer gets anywhere close to checkout, your curb appeal must get them into the store. Curb appeal refers to the look and feel of your store from the street, including parking and landscaping.
Some ways to boost curb appeal include:
- Install nice signage. 60% of businesses reported that updating signage increased sales by an average of 10%. Your signs communicate your message to shoppers from the street, so they connect with your brand and enter your store.
- Create an engaging window display. Data shows that window displays influence purchases an average of 24% of the time. Attractive displays that highlight the right products and promotions can increase foot traffic into your store.
I’ve always known that your window could be impactful, but I didn’t realize just how many people it really did bring us.
Organize retail displays
Visual merchandising refers to how you plan, design, and display products to highlight their features. The goal is to attract customers and motivate them to buy. The best visual merchandising tactics will keep your store organized and help products sell themselves.
Visual merchandising includes:
- The color palette of your store
- The music you play in your store
- The scents surrounding your display
- Interactive displays
Organizing your retail display is critical to successful retail marketing. It allows you to connect with people through the five senses and can trigger more sales in your store.
Build your online presence
There are over 3.78 billion social media users in the world today, and over $181 billion dollars spent on social ads alone. Even though you have a brick-and-mortar store, building an online presence on social media helps grow your audience and attract the right customers.
Almost all (91%) of retailers use two or more social media channels. Popular channels for retailers to market on include:
Lost on what types of content to create? You can publish content like:
- Behind-the-scenes visuals
- Event promos
- Community-driven content
- Influencer promos
- Product photos
- Short videos
The list goes on. Social media is a great place to share your brand's story and connect with new potential customers.
Invest in local SEO
Local SEO refers to increasing your store’s online visibility in a specific area. For example, if your store is located on Main Street in Patchogue, New York, a local SEO strategy can help people in the entire town of Patchogue (and beyond) find your store on Google.
It also helps people find you when they perform a “near me” search, which has increased 3X over the past two years. In this case, Google uses the searchers’ location to deliver the best results nearest to them.
According to our research, 81% of US consumers say being able to easily find a local retailer through searching online is important to them. Retailers that invest in local SEO can get found online and increase store visits and sales.
💡 PRO TIP: You can set up, track, and manage local inventory listings and Smart Shopping Campaigns from the Google & YouTube app for Shopify. Get all the perks of marketing your business on Google without jumping between accounts.
Run local ads
To help get discovered by shoppers, you can run local ads on Google. One popular ad type you can run is called “Local Inventory Ads”. These ads let you pay to boost your inventory and have it seen across Google’s network, including Search and Shopping.
Local inventory ads show up in Google with the labels “In store” and “Pick up today”. These labels tell the shoppers that the product is available in a store near them.
Local ads are a smart way for retailers to bring high-intent shoppers into their store. By running these ads, you can get found across various digital places like Google Search, Google Maps, Google Images, and more.
Related Reading: How to Reach Nearby Shoppers with Google Local Inventory Ads
💡 PRO TIP: With Shopify, you can get your products found by more nearby shoppers looking for what you sell on Google. List your products on Google for free, show pickup availability to increase store visits, and measure how your listings impact store sales from Shopify.
Stay connected with customers
We make purchasing decisions based on our feelings. Research shows that emotions drive customer choices before, during, and after purchase.
So if customers felt emotionally charged to purchase from your brand, they'd likely spend more. The question is how to trigger these post-purchase feelings?
Top ways to keep in touch with customers after they leave your shop include:
- Sending post purchase emails to see if they like the product.
- Asking customers to follow you on social media.
- Sending text message updates with sales and promotions.
- Sending regular, tailored email content to past customers.
- Starting a loyalty program.
📌 GET STARTED: Choose from hundreds of loyalty apps in the Shopify App Store and start rewarding shoppers for purchases they make both online and in-store.
Work with influencers
Influencer marketing is the practice of partnering with popular individuals to promote your products to their followers. It’s a fast-growing industry, valued at over $13.8 billion, and popular among younger consumers, 49% of whom depend on influencers for recommendations.
By working with the right influencer, you can create long-lasting brand partners and run campaigns that appeal to your target audience. When choosing influencers, you want to look at more than just follower count. You want to check out:
- Their values
- Their total reach
- Who their followers are
- How they engage with their audience
- Their engagement-to-follower rate
While these are surface-level metrics to vet an influencer, you’ll need to do more research before signing them on. Find the right person by reading Influencer Marketing for Retail: How to Find the Right Ambassador For Your Business.
Invest in word-of-mouth marketing
Marketing by word of mouth means getting existing customers to tell their friends and family about products they like. For retailers, it's all about making their products worth talking about.
Retailers make $6 trillion a year from this type of marketing. It accounts for 13% of all consumer sales. Word-of-mouth recommendations are most popular in industries like electronics, groceries, and apparel.
Examples of successful retail marketing
Fashion retailer Rothy’s offers quality products that are sustainable and actively help to clear the environment of marine plastics. It also employs several retail marketing strategies that have allowed it to expand:
- Referral incentives with its give $20, get $20 offer
- Customized offerings based on information given during newsletter sign up
- Pairing with influencers like Mindy Kaling and @dress_up_saturday to increase awareness of the brand.
The Tur-Shirt Company
UK-based The Tur-Shirt Company sells children's clothing. Founder Terri-Anne Turton capitalized on the opportunity to appear in John Lewis, one of the UK's largest high-end department stores. The partnership netted the brand more social media followers, website visits, and most importantly, more sales and repeat customers.
Bird Rock Coffee Roasters
Bird Rock Coffee Roasters offers customers a coupon code for $2 off their next purchase. Such small marketing techniques encourage customers to become accustomed to a local coffee shop.
Retail marketing trends
- Omnichannel buyer journeys
- Cause marketing
- Experiential retail
- Token-gated experiences
- Metaverse marketing
Let's take a closer look at each of these trends individually.
Omnichannel buyer journeys
An omnichannel buyer’s journey takes place when customers go through multiple touchpoints, both digital and physical, before making a purchase. It involves a multi-channel sales strategy that creates a positive experience for customers, no matter where they interact with your brand.
With the rise in digital ad costs, retailers are turning toward omnichannel experiences to draw customers closer to the brand, and eventually end in a sale.
💡 PRO TIP: Offering in-store pickup as a delivery method at checkout is a great way to get more online shoppers to visit your store. To get started, enable local pickup availability in Shopify admin to show online shoppers whether a product is available for pickup at one of your stores.
Cause marketing happens when a for-profit business teams up with a non-profit for a common benefit. It’s an authentic way to connect with customers and make an impact on society. Data shows that some 58% of people claim social activism impacts their impression of a brand, which suggests that more brands will incorporate cause marketing into their strategy.
Gone are the days of packing retail stores with a superabundance of products. Some 60% of shoppers expect retailers to dedicate more floor space to experiences than products.
That’s where experiential retail comes in: a tactic that gives shoppers an immersive experience and upgrades their shopping experience. Examples include pop-up shops, masterclasses, and hosting community events.
Non-fungible tokens have changed the art world, building new ways for creators to control how their work is distributed. Retailers have also begun using NFTs through token gating. A token gating strategy refers to giving holders of an NFT access to exclusive products, experiences, content, deals, and more.
The metaverse market is projected to reach over $800 billion by 2024. A metaverse is a hybrid world that marries the physical and digital realms to build immersive experiences for an audience.
Take the Metaverse Fashion Week, for example, which showcased 3D catwalks, exclusive events, and shoppable fashion in Decentraland, a virtual, browser-based world anyone with internet access can join. The metaverse is becoming a new channel to help retailers build unique experiences for consumers and sell their products more easily online.
Build a retail marketing plan for your store
You've worked hard to make your store and products perfect. By following this guide, you can attract the right people to your store and earn more sales. Customers are looking for you–but they can't find you if they don't know you exist. Let them know about you through a retail marketing strategy.
Retail marketing FAQ
What do you mean by retail marketing?
What is the role of retail in marketing?
What are the types of retail marketing?
- Point-of-Sale (POS) Marketing: This type of retail marketing focuses on sales promotions, discounts, and other incentives at the time of purchase.
- Online Marketing: This type of retail marketing involves using the internet and other digital channels to attract customers and promote sales.
- In-Store Marketing: This type of retail marketing uses physical store displays, signage, and other in-store tactics to encourage shoppers to purchase.
- Direct Marketing: This type of retail marketing involves sending promotional materials directly to customers, such as emails, catalogs, and direct mail.
- Social Media Marketing: This type of retail marketing uses social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to engage with customers and promote sales.
- Mobile Marketing: This type of retail marketing uses mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to reach customers.