7 Retail Marketing Ideas

To Boost Customer Acquisition (& Retention)

Before we get into the seven retail marketing ideas we’ll share with you in this blog, let’s first look at some key aspects of retail marketing. Unlike several other industries, buying from the retail industry is not always driven by a need, but quite often by a want – or by a perceived need brought on by persuasive marketing. This notion can make retail marketing a bit more complicated than that of other industries, but with the right tools and knowledge, not necessarily more difficult. Marketing to a retail audience is all about creating engaged, loyal customers using effective, detail-oriented marketing campaigns that not only focus on acquisition, but long-term allegiance. It’s about finding your audience and targeting them with information based on their wants, interests, and pain points – causing them to realize or believe that they not only have interest in your product, but that they “need” it.

Customer Engagement

There are several ways to engage with and create an actively engaged audience. Generally, customer engagement is your brand’s communication with your customer base, made via strong marketing outreach through various channels. Quality engagement with current and potential customers can create brand awareness and understanding, as well as cultivate brand loyalty. In retail marketing, it’s imperative to create customer relationships – especially those that last. Retail marketing is made more successful when it’s well thought through, and retail campaigns work best when they can be easily spread and successfully flourish through word-of-mouth marketing (WOM marketing). WOM marketing is a must…after all, up to 90% of people trust recommendations from friends and family. Also important is efforts to not only keep customers coming in, but to keep customers coming. Make sure your campaigns are not only built to excite and attract new customers, but to appreciate and nurture existing customers. Experiential marketing, quality customer service, and loyalty discounts and offers are all key to marketing to and keeping current customers. In fact, 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a good experience, and 80% of customers say that their reason for switching to another company is poor customer service. Additionally, research shows that 71% of online shoppers are influenced by discounts, and the stronger your relationship is with a customer, the more likely they are to buy into an offer (and keep coming back for more).

Planning a Retail Marketing Campaign

The following are some key things to keep in mind when planning an effective retail marketing campaign.

  • Duration: How long will you run your campaign?
  • Engagement: Will the customer interact with your brand without prompting?
  • Frequency and Volume: How often and how much interaction will occur over the customer’s lifecycle?
  • Context: Where exactly are these interactions taking place?

7 Retail Marketing Ideas

Now that we’ve scratched the surface and gone over some retail marketing basics, we’d like to share several retail marketing ideas we’ve compiled – and believe work well. Take a look:

1. Blending Digital and In-Person Marketing:
74% of shoppers expect the same level of service in-store and online. So, make sure whether something’s out of stock, a customer’s unable to find their size, or they aren’t sure where to find a product in-store, that they can quickly resolve the issue with a digital touchpoint. The resolution should be as simple as pulling out their phone, scanning a QR code, finding a digital store map, signing up for wait-list alerts, and/or ordering online. Additionally, when sending or providing marketing materials, make sure to lead the customer to a digital touchpoint via QR code or URL. It’s great to include a detachable, physical coupon – but also important to provide a digital option. This way, no matter who your audience or their level of tech knowledge, they’ll be able to easily access your offer.

2. Augmented Reality Marketing:
Augmented reality has been and continues to be on the rise, especially when it comes to retail marketing practices. It’s become much more important for customers to not just see a product but to imagine the product on them or in their space. If it aligns with your target audience(s) and budget, think through how you can incorporate some sort of augmented reality into your marketing – whether that’s with a virtual app, a geofilter, or an in-store screen. Need ideas? Take a look at some of these augmented reality marketing examples.

3. Loyalty Programs:
Not only are these types of programs beneficial to customers – they’re also very useful for retailers. Loyalty programs build long-term relationships with faithful customers that will come back time and time again – and not just for the benefits, but because they believe your company cares for their individual allegiance. And, getting new customers to sign up for a rewards program right away is extremely helpful, as you acquire a ton of customer information up front that can be used for future outreach. It’s important to always have several ways for customers to join your program. Include a link, QR code, and/or a form to sign up on your direct mail, on your website, in-store, on receipts…the list goes on. The best part? Customers very rarely get annoyed by loyalty program communications, even if it’s the third or fourth time you’ve offered. Why? Because it’s a benefit to them!

4. Omnichannel Engagement:
It’s important to target retail customers with not only the right message, but at the right time, and in the right place. Depending on the variety of your audience, it’s possible you have some audience members that are more likely to communicate with your company through more “traditional” mediums, and others through more “modern” mediums. Think through the demographics, geographics, and even psychographics of your audience to understand where and when you should be connecting with them. Either way, multiple connection points with your current and potential customers will keep them engaged and make your brand more memorable.

5. Exclusive Experiences:
This kind of marketing can be a bit riskier than most, as whatever buzz your business creates (whether good or bad) will likely have an impact. However, marketing tactics such as exclusive drops, invite-only events, special release items, or “first-come-first-serve” items can be very effective and create a lot of conversation (again, we’re referring to WOM marketing) around your products or services. Just make sure you think through all the positives and negatives as well as possible outcomes and create the best plan of action so that all goes as smoothly as possible. To get the best possible showing at your event, release, or drop, be sure to promote it on both digital and physical marketing pieces – such as mailers, flyers, digital ads, and so on. Again, think through where your target audience is, and start there.

6. Campaigns, Challenges, and Contests with Similar Brands:
Another unique marketing tactic we’d suggest you try, if you have the right connection(s), is a crossover marketing campaign with another company with similar audience geographics, demographics, and psychographics, yet different offerings. For example, if you’re a budget gym, try partnering with a low-cost clothing (even better, gym clothing) retailer. Creating a campaign with this brand is beneficial in several ways, as you share a similar customer base, but on different verticals, helping both parties increase customer engagement and possibly gain new customers.

7. Take a Stand for a Social Cause:
What better way to meet new customers than because of a cause your company’s passionate about? Today’s consumers expect (and even appreciate and respect) when companies have opinions and will feel a much stronger connection and allegiance to your company if its opinions and beliefs align with theirs – whether those beliefs are centered around environmental protection, sustainability, food safety and distribution, equality, education, healthcare, etc. If your company shows active support for specific causes, new customers with aligned beliefs will follow. Of course, this tactic also comes with a bit of risk, but that risk is often simply a tradeoff. A lot of customers that don’t necessarily feel a long-term connection to your company, or fewer customers with aligned beliefs, are there for the long run. As we mentioned above, nurturing your customers is just as important in the retail industry as acquiring new ones. And, while the cost of acquiring new customers and nurturing existing ones can feel hefty, a strategic marketing partner can help you keep to your budget while creating and cultivating these important retail relationships. If you’re ready to increase the effectiveness of your retail marketing campaigns, click here, or contact our experts today.

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