Retail marketing: 7 strategies to grow your retail store

Opening a retail store is no small feat. From finding a location to sourcing products to hiring employees, you’re putting in a lot of legwork even before the doors open. But what happens if no customers are waiting when you open those doors?

That’s where retail marketing comes in. Retail marketing gets people excited about your business and in the front door. 

But what is retail marketing? How do you create a retail marketing strategy? And why is retail marketing so important for your business? We cover these topics and oh-so-much more in this ultimate guide to retail marketing.

What is retail marketing?

Retail marketing is a business’s strategies and techniques to promote its products and services to potential customers. Marketing drives sales and increases revenue by promoting products and services to customers in a way that turns potential customers into repeat customers. 

Marketing strategies for retail stores involve a range of activities to increase foot traffic, drum up interest in the store’s products, and make more sales. Some marketing tactics that make up retail marketing include:

  • Store layout
  • Signage
  • Checkout processes
  • Customer service
  • Pricing strategies
  • Advertising
  • Sales and promotions
  • Loyalty programs

The overall goal of these strategies and retail marketing is to design an in-store and online shopping experience that stands out from the competition and leaves a lasting impression on customers. 

The benefits of a retail marketing strategy.

If you have a retail business or are starting one, creating a marketing strategy should be high on your to-do list. But whether you’re diving in head-first or have yet to dip your toe in, you might get caught up in some potential marketing pitfalls.

Maybe you’re worried about the cost of a retail marketing strategy, or that you’re at risk of over-promoting your business. Maybe you think some of the strategies you’ve read about might not work for your business.

These risks are always there, but if you don’t take action, your business will miss out on all the benefits of a well-executed retail marketing strategy. Don’t pass up any chance to:

  1. Increase brand reach and visibility. With a retail marketing strategy, your business can reach a larger audience and build a recognizable brand through online advertising, in-store displays, branded promotions, and word of mouth. 
  2. Build customer loyalty. Investing in strategies that build customer relationships, like personalized marketing or loyalty programs, creates loyal customers who become your brand champions. 
  3. Gain a competitive advantage. Look for marketing strategies that help you stand out from your competitors. Assess what your peers are doing to market their businesses and think outside the box on how your retail marketing strategy can add value to—or revolutionize—their methods.
  4. Increase sales. Retail marketing is key to attracting new customers and encouraging existing customers to make recurring purchases from your business. In Business 101 terms: when you have more customers and more sales, you’ll increase revenue.   

The different types of retail marketing.

Retail marketing is a whole wide world, but these tactics and strategies can be sorted into three main categories. Widen your focus: to build a robust marketing strategy, you’ll need to combine marketing techniques from each different category.

Let’s explore the types of retail marketing and how you can use them in your business.

In-store retail marketing

In-store retail marketing is key if you have a physical store. A store-based marketing plan can help you attract more customers and increase the average amount spent per visit just by how you promote your products in-store.

Here are some in-store strategies that can help you market your business:

  • Events
  • In-store promotions
  • Sample products
  • Loyalty programs
  • Local partnerships
  • In-store displays
  • Store layout

As an example, take advantage of seasonal events to build in-store displays. Back-to-school, Mother’s Day, or harvest displays can be beautiful ways to showcase your products—and generate a lot of buzz.

Many stores will display products that are relevant to each other in the same section so customers can quickly find the products they’re looking for. This also encourages customers to browse your selection and learn all about the products your store offers.

Traditional marketing (We’re talking advertising!)

Store owners can promote their businesses using a wide variety of traditional marketing methods. Traditional marketing refers to marketing that takes place outside the physical shop but is not digital. (We’ll get into digital marketing in a second.)

We may be living in the digital age, but don’t pass traditional marketing over just because it’s not as flashy. It can be a powerful tool that reaches people in tangible ways.

Here are some traditional marketing strategies to consider: 

  • Community bulletin boards
  • Posters
  • Billboards
  • Direct mail campaigns
  • Print ads
  • TV ads
  • Radio ads
  • Press releases
  • Word of mouth

We consume way more traditional marketing daily than we realize. When you’re driving and see a billboard, see an ad on TV or in a magazine, or get a mailer from a local business, you’re being advertised to!

These are all excellent examples of encountering traditional marketing in the wild that leave a long-term impression on your target market. Particularly savvy traditional marketers might even make hands-on marketing part of their business appeal. Remind customers of the joy of offline shopping with your brick-and-mortar sensibilities! 

Digital retail marketing

In the digital age, digital marketing needs to form part of your strategy. The world is online, and for your business to succeed and grow, your business also needs to be online.

Here are some digital retail marketing strategies to consider: 

  • Website
  • Social media marketing
  • SMS marketing
  • Email newsletters
  • SEO
  • SEM ads
  • Social media ads
  • Online directory listings 

Much like the other types of retail marketing, there are tons of different digital marketing strategies. Don’t get overwhelmed with all the choices—you don’t have to do everything! Instead, focus on what works best for your business now.

If your online store receives significant organic traffic—that is, traffic from search engines—focus on building and improving your SEO. If you have an engaged social media community, focus on nurturing and growing your following.

When it’s time to expand your retail digital marketing strategy, consider whether you want to double down on what works now or go for a trial-and-error approach. Sometimes you don’t know what works until you try it!

Mix your retail marketing cocktail: the 6 Ps.

The 6 Ps is a common model for building marketing strategies that help you connect with your target audience. If you’ve heard of the 4 Ps, the 6 Ps expands on the concept to account for changes in the marketing industry over time. 

Think of the 6 Ps as a tool to help you set and reach your marketing objectives. The 6 Ps are:

  1. Product: What you’re selling.
  2. Price: How much you’re charging for products.
  3. Place: Where you’ll sell your products.
  4. Promotion: How people find out about your product.
  5. People: The ideal customer for your product.
  6. Presentation: What your product looks like.

The right retail marketing mix will address each of the 6 Ps. Let’s explore each element and how they all work together.

1. Product  

A product is any product or service that you offer in-store or online. Each product should be something that your ideal customer needs or desires. There are three categories of products:

  1. Core: Products that you keep in stock and ready to sell.
  2. Line extensions: Products that are different variations of your core products.
  3. Related products: Products that support or enhance your core product.

For example, if you sell dolls, the line extensions might be different doll variations (hair length, skin color, etc). The doll clothes and accessories you sell would be related products. 

2. Price

The price is the amount of money you’re selling your products for. This is an important aspect of your marketing strategy because it determines your business’s profitability. 

Pricing is influenced by factors like overhead expenses, production costs, competitor pricing, target audience, desired profit margin, and labor costs. 

Among other things, your pricing strategy dictates the sales and promotions you can offer. This is important because discounts can be essential parts of many retail marketing strategies. 

3. Place 

Place refers to the location of your store. Your place can be anything from a store in a mall, a stand-alone building, or an online shop.

When thinking about “place,” you need to understand your location in relation to your target customer and your distribution channels. Your customers should be able to locate and access your store easily. You’ll also want as seamless a distribution process as possible. 

When it comes to place, think about logistical concerns as well as marketing strategies:

  • Parking
  • Access to public transportation
  • Clear signage
  • Competitor locations
  • Website/store readability
  • Ease of payment method

4. Promotion 

Promotion is how you will reach your customers. Here, you can mix and match the three types of retail marketing to create a marketing strategy that works for your business. Combining efforts can multiply your conversion potential and give you a competitive advantage over your peers.

5. People 

You (hopefully!) identified your ideal customer when you constructed your business plan. Your customers are the people most central to your business: Who are you selling to? How will you reach them?

But customers are only some of the people that form the core of your business. Your retail business team makes all the difference to your business’ success. 

Hire team members who are personable, easy to talk to, and have great customer service skills. If you train your team members in line with company values when you onboard them, they’re sure to become a key factor in what brings customers back to your business.

6. Presentation

Presentation is the first impression your business makes on people who come across your store. Is your store clean with clear signage? Do you have beautiful packaging and design throughout your store? Are displays eye-catching and inviting? What’s the wrapping experience like once someone purchases a product?

These factors can impact your customers’ purchase decisions and affect how your products, store, and overall brand are perceived. Presentation also matters to online stores: Is your website clean and readable? Can people easily navigate product selection? Is the payment method clear and easy to navigate?

Put retail store marketing strategies into force.

Now that you know the basics of retail marketing, it’s time to implement some new strategies. 

We’ve pulled together seven examples of marketing strategies for retail stores so you can grow your retail business and make the most of your marketing efforts.

1. Amp up your curb appeal.

One of the best ways to get new customers into your store is to grab their attention as soon as they walk past. The appearance of your physical store is what makes up your curb appeal. Customers who see your signage and window displays get an idea of what they can expect inside. Here are some ways you can amplify your curb appeal:

  • Design an eye-catching window display.
  • Feature your most popular products front and center.
  • Put up storefront signage.
  • Use a well-designed a-frame sign to direct customers to your store.
  • Keep walkways clean and clear during all seasons.

2. Invest in local SEO 

When you have a brick-and-mortar storefront, think of yourself as a local business that benefits from local in-store and online traffic. Creating a local SEO strategy can help bring more organic traffic to your website and more people to your store.

When you optimize for location-based keywords, you can get more customers into your store quickly. A whopping 88% of consumers who used their smartphones to search for a local business ended up calling or visiting the store within 24 hours. That’s huge!

3. Connect with local partners and influencers 

There are so many opportunities for cross-promoting with local influencers and businesses in your area. Whether you plan a pop-up shop for another business in your store or hold a meet-and-greet event for a local influencer, cross-promoting with other businesses that match your target audience gives you a chance to bring a whole new customer base to your store.

Look for brands and influencers you can build long-term relationships with who have the same values as your brand. 

4. Create a loyalty program

Loyalty programs are a great way to foster relationships with your customers and turn them into loyal, repeat customers. Every loyalty program will differ based on your unique business, but consider finding ways to personalize it. Pull customer data and offer individuals a discount on their favorite brand or product or run a birthday promotion where customers get a special discount during their birthday month.

Whatever loyalty program you decide to use, make sure your team members promote it at checkout to sign up as many customers as possible.

5. Make a splash on social media 

Growing a social media community is a great way to improve your brand identity, advertise your products, and gain a following of customers who love your store. Social media is also a great place to work out partnerships and influencer relationships. When you align your brand with like-minded brands, your followers better understand your brand. 

Use comments and direct messages to connect with your customers and continue building strong relationships. When built on trust and honesty, these customer relationships can translate into more sales, followers, and engagement.

6. Develop an in-store merchandising strategy 

One of the best ways to turn window shoppers into customers is to blow them away with your amazing products. So, once you’ve stocked your shelves with all the must-have products, it’s time to think through how you’re displaying those products. 

In-store visual merchandising includes everything from shelf displays and changing rooms to signage and cash displays. When setting up your displays and your store in general, think about displaying your products in a way that draws attention and gets customers excited about making a purchase.

7. Explore local ad options

If you’re ready to enter the world of paid advertising, consider investing in local advertising. As a brick-and-mortar store, location-targeted ads will enhance your discoverability, bringing more traffic into your store. They also give you a much better chance of targeting the right audience and driving in-person sales. 

While there’s a lot to consider when it comes to retail marketing, there are tools that can help you run your business more smoothly. Getting an all-in-one partner like Homebase can help you manage things like staffing and scheduling for those first few haphazard weeks while also allowing for easy team communication to call out great moments and milestones to boost morale. Explore Homebase for free today!

Retail marketing FAQs

What are the 6 Ps of marketing?

The 6 Ps of marketing set the foundation for a strong marketing strategy. The 6 Ps are product, price, place, promotion, people, and presentation. When you effectively incorporate the 6 Ps into your retail marketing strategy, you set your business up for success.

What’s the difference between retail sales and marketing?

The difference between retail sales and marketing is that marketing targets individuals who may be interested in the products you sell in your retail store. Retail sales happen in-store when a team member actively tries to sell a product or service to a customer.

How is marketing for retail different from ecommerce marketing?

Marketing for retail is different from marketing for an ecommerce business because you have a physical store that you can use in your marketing activities. With an ecommerce store, your marketing is limited to digital and traditional marketing efforts.

Here are some of the marketing strategies you can use in-store that you wouldn’t be able to use for an ecommerce business:

  • Events
  • In-store promotions
  • Sample products
  • Loyalty programs
  • Local partnerships
  • In-store displays
  • Store layout

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