Article first published November 2016, updated April 2019
Some inspiring retailers have started taking their marketing efforts to the next level by integrating cross-channel campaigns.
They’re going above and beyond the standard, traditional campaigns that every other marketing team is running. And, as a result, sales are climbing.
How to Master Retail Marketing Strategy
So what are they doing differently, and how are they tying together different channels to build these impactful marketing campaigns?
Read on to discover some creative ways retailers are using marketing to drive sales, as well as real-life examples you can learn from and use as inspiration for your next campaign.
Integrating in-store customer data with online & offline channels
Some retailers have found that their in-store consumers turn to mobile devices during the brick-and-mortar shopping experience to check reviews, to look for additional sizes and stock, and to browse products.
To capitalize on this, they’re accommodating their mobile-savvy shoppers by making it easier to share in-store information across channels and devices, and then leveraging that customer data by following up with personalized marketing efforts.
For example: Fashion retailer Rebecca Minkoff has created a “Save your fitting room session” experience, in which fitting rooms are equipped with screens that allow a customer to save the items they liked during an in-store try-on session and then order them later from their mobile device (via the e-commerce site or call-in number.)
As a result of integrating this in-store customer data with their online and offline channels, they saw a 6-7x increase in sales in as little as 5-6 months.
Putting user-generated content to work
Other retailers are enabling customers to create branded content via in-store experiences, and then they’re putting that user-generated content to work. In doing this, they’re producing marketing materials that feel more organic and capitalizing on the sharing aspect of social media to expand their reach far beyond what solely internal efforts could produce.
A great example of this: Topshop’s Wish You Were Here campaign. For 11 days in cities around the globe, Topshop offered free styling and makeup to participants who shared their “postcard” photos to their personal Instagram accounts, as well as to Topshop’s Facebook page. Participants were also given a printed copy of the photo to take home.
As a result of this marketing campaign, Topshop generated an extra 5.3 million views on Facebook plus over 2,000 comments, as well as PR coverage in places like Mashable and Brand Republica and 600+ other blogs. The total reach for the campaign is estimated at 7.5 million people.
Harnessing data for personalization across platforms
When it comes to harnessing data collected across multiple customer touch points, some marketers have figured out how to implement processes that help them use this information to deliver more personalized future interactions. In doing this, they’re able to more effectively cross-sell and upsell based on robust customer profiles.
For example: Home security retailer Vivint incorporates notes from phone calls into follow-up email retargeting efforts so that messages are extremely personalized and relevant for the recipient. If a prospect didn’t convert during an initial phone call, they follow up with an email that includes a targeted offer based on the indicated reason for non-conversion.
Vivint is the largest home security retailer in the US, and it’s creative marketing tactics like this one that helps them stay a leader within the niche.
Using location data to create multiple purchase opportunities
Rather than creating competing in-store or online marketing offers, some retailers are making it easier for consumers to buy in whatever way is best for them. How are they doing that? They’re using the shopper’s location data to showcase the nearest retail location alongside the mobile shopping experience.
A real life example: Nordstrom integrates locations of their nearest stores into the online experience so consumers can buy online or in-store (they can also buy online and pick up in-store) and see in real time how far away the nearest brick-and-mortar location is in case they prefer to shop in-store rather than online.
By making it easy for a consumer to see where the nearest retail location is, they help overcome obstacles in the way of purchase (like wanting to try an item on or to see it in person). When it’s obvious that a physical store is nearby, these efforts help direct interested buyers to another place they can make a purchase after taking a firsthand look.
Email offers to spur in-store purchases
Some retailers are spurring sales by including a printable offer that can be redeemed for an in-store purchase. It’s not necessarily a new idea, but it is helping drive ROI of email marketing for retailers who don’t offer online checkout (think restaurants, automotive repair shops, etc).
One example of this in action: Jersey Mike’s, a chain of sub shops, uses email to share offers with customers that encourage in-store purchases. And it’s effective. Data shows that 85% of Americans use coupons on a semi-regular basis.
While these types of retailers don’t have an e-commerce destination to drive traffic to, marketing campaigns like this one still help deliver substantial ROI through email and keep the brand name top of mind with audience members.
Combining your various digital marketing channels to boost performance
In the new digital world, it would be foolish not to combine your digital marketing channels to stand on each other’s shoulders. If you have a massive and active mailing list, why wouldn’t you plug your Twitter account in an email?
One of the easiest ways to do this is to add social media icons to your emails that will link to your various profiles. This is an easy and subtle way of driving traffic from one channel to the other.
If you want to take it further, you can even incentivize customers to follow you on Facebook or Instagram by offering coupons or contests for doing so.
Source: Really Good Emails
In the above email, you can see Patreon using their email marketing campaign to invite readers to Tweet out their support for a particular person. By doing so, the reader becomes a social media advertiser for Patreon.
Not only does Patreon get engagement from the reader of the email, but they also reach a new audience through the reader’s Twitter following.
What is a retail marketing strategy?
A retail marketing strategy is a plan to using marketing tools—digital or otherwise—to get customers into a store and buying a product. This kind of strategy is particularly useful for marketing ideas for small retail business, who don’t have the far-reaching resources of corporate juggernauts.
As opposed to other forms of marketing strategy, this one is specifically concerned with in-store purchases. Because of this, a unique kind of marketing is called for.
To clear the air around retail marketing strategies, here are some answers to the most asked questions.
Components of retail marketing strategy
Aside from the topics that have already been covered, such as the integration of data, user-generated content, and personalization, there are some other components to retail marketing that are worth mentioning.
- In-store events, such as book signings or book clubs, which can be promoted through social media and email.
- Leveraging employees to share information about the store through their own social media channels
- Taking advantage of technologies like Instagram Stories, which can allow you to show off certain aspects of your store in an informal manner
- Remind your customers through social media and email of the benefits of buying in-store (no shipping, no waiting, etc).
The difference between retail and marketing
When you hear about retail and marketing, your brain immediately puts them in the same category. While this isn’t totally off-base, they are distinct concepts.
Retail is the process of selling to people in-store. In other words, the person showing the customers around is involved in retail, not marketing.
Marketing is the process of spreading the word of your brand and selling it indirectly, whether it’s through leaflets, emails, or tweets.
Both retail and marketing are part of the same process but exist at different ends. In many cases, marketing is what ropes in the customer, then marketing hands the baton to retail, who then closes the deal.
Theoretically, retail could survive without marketing—a person could always wander into a store with no prior knowledge of the brand—but it wouldn’t thrive.
Think about the marketing campaigns you’ve seen here, and then consider how you, too, can step up your retail marketing efforts to fill the gaps and better serve your past, present, and future customers.
We challenge you to test out some new cross-channel efforts that integrate customer touchpoints and help foster a more holistic customer experience.
Now that you have a grasp on retail marketing strategy, you may be looking to expand your reach. Here’s a retailer’s guide to email marketing.