Retailers often hear about “strategy,” but there's a lot of misinformation out there regarding what exactly a retail marketing strategy entails. Simply put, a retail marketing strategy is your plan to leverage the resources at your disposal to get shoppers in the door and keep them shopping longer. Any type of strategy involves techniques that are unique to the desired goal.
In retail, we hear the term “marketing strategy” thrown around a lot, but have you stopped thinking about how you define your marketing strategy? What is retail marketing strategy? In simple terms, a strategy is a plan. The tactics and techniques used to carry out your retail marketing strategy may vary, but every marketing strategy in retail shares the same goal – to increase profits by driving more floor traffic.
While creating a strategic retail marketing plan may sound easy in principle, retailers face all kinds of challenges. Unfortunately, we’ve found through our research that many throw their hands up and walk away, not because they don’t care, but because it can seem impossible to get all of the moving pieces in order at the right time. Below are just a few of the many reasons why it can be challenging to create a retail marketing plan and put it into action:
Retailers don’t have the time to sit down and plan out the details of a strategy. Many don’t even have the time to contemplate the bigger picture. Before you can even set your strategy in motion, you need to have a goal. If you don’t have the time to map out your goal, you will be banging your head against the wall, trying to devise a strategy.
The way to overcome this challenge is to rely on automation resources. Retail automation solutions can take care of a lot of the planning involved in creating and implementing a strategy. For instance, the software can help with an in-store promotion or store demo, allowing you to focus more on crafting a personalized retail marketing strategy that speaks to your store’s unique needs.
Another common challenge for retailers is the need for more resources. Even if you come up with a fantastic retail marketing solution, you can’t implement your strategy if you don’t have the resources available. The last few years have stretched retailers thin due to labor concerns.
With everyone tightening their belts across the industry, retailers need to look for resources to generate more word of mouth marketing opportunities. WOM marketing leads to more sales per square foot without breaking the bank.
Although you can’t wave a magic wand and summon more resources, you can rely on CPG brands for help. Your vendors are an excellent resource for implementing field marketing strategies, so talk with them to see what opportunities are available. Store sampling events are just one example of something you can include in your plan that CPG brands can assist you in implementing.
Although this point could tie in with the two above, some retailers need more knowledge when combining their brick-and-mortar and digital marketing. The truth is that the two complement each other well when used properly, but if you don’t grasp current technology, it may be difficult to see how each element works together to benefit your brick-and-mortar store.
One way to move beyond this challenge is to keep things simple, at least at first. You don’t have to be a tech genius or use the latest digital technologies to take advantage of a hybrid strategy. Instead, focus on more superficial efforts like promoting your store on social media and interacting with customers and brand social media accounts. Of course, you can do this on your own, and if you have a social media management team or software, you can use these resources to extend your store’s reach online as you scale your interaction capabilities over time. This approach allows your store to take advantage of today’s technology and incorporate it into your retail marketing strategy without knowing how to program anything or having to deal with tech headaches.
Whether you’re new to retail or a seasoned pro, it never hurts to explore new marketing ideas. Even if you have tried specific ideas in the past, it may be worth giving them a second look in the coming year. For example, you already know all about planograms, but now might be a good time to revisit your layout to see if there’s anything you can change, given the varying circumstances related to our economic climate. When was the last time you reviewed your store’s lighting or music systems? Changing up elements that affect your store’s ambiance can go a long way in setting the right tone for shoppers.
Aside from revisiting your layout, here are five more retail marketing ideas to consider incorporating into your strategy:
When a customer saves money using a loyalty card, the only people who know about it are the cashier and the customer. But, even then, the customer may not notice the savings if these numbers get buried in a paper receipt. Why not capitalize on these moments by creating a notification system?
While you could go big and install a monitor that displays the amount of savings when a customer checks out, you can also use something simple like a bell that gets rung each time a customer saves over a certain amount. The benefit here is that it alerts the customer and creates an experience, but it also alerts other customers. This will naturally pique their curiosity, leading to higher engagement, increased loyalty program enrollment, and higher overall spending.
You can also create a board where savings get added as they apply. Then, each day, take a moment to tally these savings to let other shoppers see how your store is saving customers money. This information can also be sent out in a weekly or monthly newsletter or mailer.
Experiential marketing is a big deal in retail right now. Shoppers are looking for a customer experience, especially when budgets are tight and every retailer is looking for ways to offer sales and lower prices. Store sampling experiences, cooking and nutrition classes, and fun games that can be played in your store are all ideas to incorporate into your retail marketing strategy. As an added benefit, experiential marketing provides a hands-on preview of items, making them more likely to sell in an uncertain economy.
Your retail marketing strategy should also include the simple act of talking with shoppers. Have your management team make it a point to engage with customers each day. This simple yet often overlooked aspect of retail marketing can give your store a chance to receive and incorporate honest customer feedback.
This is also beneficial because you get an on-the-spot reaction when you talk with shoppers in your store. At-home surveys and online comments can be colored when customers have a chance to think things over, but to get the real, honest truth, speak with your customers in person and let them know your store listens. Store demo software like Demo Wizard provides opportunities to capture feedback as well. With direct feedback from multiple sources, you can make more effective changes to your store that reflect shoppers desires
Interactive retail marketing displays are another way to leverage the customer experience to generate word of mouth marketing opportunities. Once again, you don’t have to go overboard and create something large and expensive. Instead, focus on getting shoppers engaged.
For example, you could set up a table with markers and paper. Encourage shoppers to stop and write an encouraging message in a “Pay It Forward” initiative. Shoppers can then pick up a positive message left by someone else and leave their own behind for future customers.
You can also make a fun game out of recipes. Leave markers and paper out for shoppers on a table. Start writing out a recipe using nearby foods. Have each shopper add one ingredient or instruction to the recipe. Before long, the whole thing will be a mess, but you can post the winning “Zaniest Recipe” to your store’s social media channels.
Retailers can also leverage the power of under-utilized employees by involving them in experiential marketing. Your store’s workers can staff store sampling events funded by vendors to help them earn a little extra pay, and this also provides the added benefit of allowing your employees to get closer to your customers.
This strategy allows for higher levels of engagement, and you can also use these opportunities to get feedback from shoppers regarding their experience. You don’t need to take feedback directly, but you can ask your employees to pay attention to things customers say and do during interactions. As an added benefit, your workers make more money and gain valuable experience, meaning they are more likely to be satisfied at work, leading to increased productivity.
We always tell our clients that remaining flexible is the key to implementing a retail marketing solution. Every store has different needs, and circumstances are constantly changing in the retail industry. When you keep your options open and approach your retail marketing planning with an open mind guided by hard data, you’re more likely to experience increased floor traffic, higher profits, and greater sales per square foot.
Demo Wizard helps retailers attract and retain more customers, increase sales, and improve customer engagement. As a retail marketing solution, Demo Wizard makes it easy to host a demo of products that showcases CPG brands customers love in a fun and inviting atmosphere. Schedule your personalized consultation today. Call (510) 859-8919, or use our contact form to schedule your free demo right now.