Retail store owners wear a lot of hats, especially in the early days.
You know digital marketing can help increase sales, but you’re struggling to find time for it or even know where to start.
Thankfully, there are plenty of low-cost, easy-to-learn digital marketing tactics you can try today.
- Live videos
- Promotional emails
- Employee spotlights
- Branded hashtags
- Social media stories
- Google Shopping Ads
- Contests and giveaways
- Messenger apps
- Behind the scenes looks
- Holiday posts
- Current event participation
- Videos and GIFs
- Surveys, polls, and quizzes
- Facebook groups
- In-store apps
1. Live videos
Videos are a great way to engage with customers, but did you know that 80% of people prefer live videos over pre-recorded ones?
To get started, all you need is a platform with live video options, like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or Vimeo—which you probably already have!
What should you do a live video about? The options are endless! Live videos are great for doing in-store tours, Q&As, and even product features (giving your digital audience a behind-the-scenes look at your retail store is also a great omnichannel selling tactic!).
To increase engagement, try announcing your plans for the live video in advance so your followers can plan to tune in.
2. Promotional emails
They may be one of the oldest tricks in the digital playbook, but nothing beats an engaging promotional email.
In fact, one study asked people “How often, if ever, would you like to receive promotional emails (e.g., coupons, sales notifications) from companies that you do business with?”
61% of people said they’d like to receive those emails at least weekly, and 86% said monthly. That’s a ton of opportunity!
But how can you get started?
You’ll need an email platform and an email list (Shopify can help you here!)
From there, try creating a simple email template you can use to announce your latest product or sale, or get personal by showing your store’s community involvement or behind-the-scenes photos and stories.
3. Employee spotlights
A study showed that 52% of website visitors go straight to a brand’s About page after visiting its homepage.
What can we learn from this?
Shoppers want to see the people behind the brand. That’s why employee spotlights can be such a powerful tactic.
Think of employee spotlights as miniature introductions of your store staff to your customers. Whether you host them on your website or your social media accounts, they’re a great way to add a personal touch to your marketing efforts and introduce your customers to the people they may encounter when they visit your store.
Source: Architect’s Wife
4. Branded hashtags
A branded hashtag connects customers not just to your products but also your brand—but what is it exactly?
Take Old Navy’s #oldnavystyle, for example.
Customers post pictures of themselves wearing outfits from Old Navy on platforms like Instagram with the hashtag #oldnavystyle, which has created an online community around a shared love of the clothes Old Navy offers.
Pick a unique hashtag that speaks to your brand values and use methods like social media, emails, and even in-store signage to encourage shoppers to use the hashtag. Make sure to follow the hashtags on social media so you can repost and feature customers in your newsletter to incentivize even more sharing!
Source: #oldnavystyle on Instagram
5. Social media stories
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp all have a Stories functions for instant, dynamic, and quick video content.
There are nearly one billion users across these four platforms using Stories regularly. And nearly 64% of brands were using or planned to use Stories in their digital marketing strategies just last year.
To get started, all you need is an account on one of the social media platforms we listed.
Start by doing daily check-in stories, “look around the boutique” stories, product unboxing stories, product tutorials, and customer-service-themed stories.
This is a powerful way to generate quick video content that can be categorized and saved using the Highlights feature in these apps.
Source: Beardbrand on Instagram
6. Google Shopping Ads
While this guide provides lots of free (or nearly free) ways to promote your retail store, in many cases, the saying "you have to spend money to make money" rings true.
But as a retail store owner that may not have a huge advertising budget, you don't want to spend your money on just anything. You'll want to make sure you're spending it where you'll get a good return on your investment.
One advertising channel that can have a great ROI is Google Shopping Ads, which is why we encourage you to check out and bookmark The Retail Store Owner's 11-Step Guide to Launching Google Shopping Ads, which will walk you through how to set them up, step by step.
15 digital marketing ideas for retail store owners
Continue reading to view all 15 ideas, or use the list below to jump to one that stands out to you!
Digital marketing retail FAQ
What is digital marketing in retail?
Why digital marketing is important for retail?
What are the 4 principles of retail marketing?
- Understand Your Target Market: Identifying and understanding the needs, motivations, and behaviors of your target customers is the foundation for successful retail marketing.
- Create an Effective Branding Strategy: Strong branding can help differentiate your business from the competition, as well as help customers recognize and remember your business.
- Utilize Multiple Marketing Channels: Utilizing multiple marketing channels will help you reach the widest possible audience and maximize your marketing budget.
- Measure and Analyze Results: Tracking the effectiveness of your retail marketing efforts will help you determine what’s working and what’s not, and enable you to make adjustments to improve your performance.