The Fifth Pillar of Traditional Retail Marketing

October 3, 2022

The retail marketing strategy is one of the essential parts of any business that sells to consumers. It's crucial to have a clear idea of who your target market is, what you're going to offer them, and how you will do it before you start making any decisions about how to approach your advertising and branding.

The retail industry is changing. However, one thing that hasn't changed is the need for a strong marketing strategy. And yet, too many retailers still fall back on the same old strategies, even though they're not effective anymore. Here are some reasons why brick-and-mortar retailers still ignore the best marketing tools:

● They are more focused on internal operations

challenges than their customers experience

● They are slow to adapt to new know-how and are afraid of change

● Retailers, particularly independent ones, don't have enough time or resources to implement new technologies. Their internal IT departments are very skilled in support of retail operations, but not in optimization of customer facing business processes.

● Corporate retailers often lack a clear understanding of what their customers want, so they can't implement technologies that will satisfy these needs. Instead, they prefer to outsource customer experience focused processes. Often companies who are not better focus on it either.

● Retailers are too busy trying to save money by cutting costs while still losing money, so there's no time or energy left over for long-term planning or innovation.

To be fair, operations of traditional retail business are very complex in terms of inventory and category management, logistics, labor relations, real estate, and the list goes on. However, all of it would go to waste

without a good flow of customers who keep coming to your store to buy the merchandise you sell. And that is the focus of a sound retail marketing strategy. It is a common misconception that retail marketing strategy tools

are only valuable for high-volume and mass-market sales. While it's true that these tools can help you make better decisions in your business, they can also be used by smaller, independent companies to achieve a

variety of goals.

In fact, using retail marketing technology can lead to the following:

● Improve customer experience and satisfaction

● Bring more shopper traffic to your stores

● Increase sales and revenue

● Gain insight into your customers' behavior

● Reduce risk through accurate data analysis

● Make better decisions about products and services offered

● Save labor cost by optimizing and automating coordination processes

● Reduce costs associated with poor decisions made based on incomplete information or assumptions rather than empiric evidence.

What is “Traditional” Retail Marketing?

Traditional retail marketing is the art of selling goods to consumers through brick-and-mortar stores. It involves selecting a product, pricing, location of a store and promotion means, and then distributing it to the

store where it will be sold. Retail marketing can be broken down into two categories:

Primary Research

This is gathering information about your customers' needs as they relate to your product or service. It could

include surveys, focus groups with potential customers, product and competitor customer reviews available

online. However, the most useful personal feedback is collected as they taste or try your goods or service

during in store sampling events.

Secondary Research

This is the process of gathering information that has already been collected by other companies or

organizations about your market and potential customers. You might look at related industries for data on how

they price their merchandise or what their advertising campaigns look like so you can use their ideas to inform

your retail marketing strategy.

The 4th Pillar of Marketing

Any discussion about marketing strategy inevitably starts the four pillars of marketing:

1. The first P is the product. It refers to the actual item that is being sold. The product must be appealing

to customers to attract them to buy it and retain their loyalty over time.

2. The second P is price. It refers to how much money a person will pay for an item. Pricing should always

be competitive with other similar products to ensure you are getting enough customers to keep your

business running smoothly.

3. The third P is a place or distribution channel: how do you get your product into the hands of potential

customers? It would help if you had a plan to distribute your products and services to new customers

and then maintain their loyalty through repeat purchases.

4. The fourth P is promotion: how do you advertise or promote your brand so that more people know

about it? Promotion includes communication between consumers and businesses, including social

media posts on Facebook or Twitter and billboards along highways where people drive daily.

The Promotion strategies are often associated with discounts and other pricing driven actions, but they also

cover far wider range methods such as

1. Window Displays that are a great way to engage customers and add excitement to the store. They can

be used to highlight seasonal merchandise or to draw attention to your best-selling items. Make sure

you have a theme for your display, whether it's a theme for the seasonal goods or product categories,

and ensure that theme is consistent across all displays throughout the store.

2. Brand Collateral in a brochure rack is a great way to advertise your products without spending too

much money on paid media advertising campaigns. It's also another place where customers can find

more out about sales and promotions at your store.

3. Local TV, radio and digital advertising for Market Days and special events.

The retail industry is changing fast, and staying up-to-date on the latest, more effective, marketing strategies is

more critical than ever. Whether an Independent Retailer or an executive at a major Corporation, you need to

know the latest trends that your retail business can apply to stay competitive in the marketplace.

Experiential Marketing (The Fifth Pillar) is quickly becoming very effective means not only of bringing more

people into a store and selling more goods, but also conducting market research by collecting customer

feedback at the very moment of them experiencing a product or service.

Corporations and Association, or the partnerships of retailers with brands can be a very effective way to reach

new customers without having to spend money on paid media advertising or price discounts. There are many

different ways retailers can partner with brands or local producers.

For instance, one of the most effective is hosting in-store sampling events, themed Market Days or trade

shows. Vendors set up booths or demo stations, where store customers can learn and experience new (to

them) products. In store demos are a great way to show customers how to use the products or taste the foods,

along with valuable information from a friendly and knowledgeable person attending the booth.

Not only do in store product demos help you build trust with customers, but they also provide invaluable

knowledge about their experience with a product. This information is essential in marketing for the vendors and

retailers to increase their sales in the future.

Given well documented effectiveness of in-store experiential marketing, it is very difficult to understand reasons

traditional retailers are not using it more aggressively. Most rationalizations for not embracing in-store demos or

samplings strategically are focused on two areas of concern:

● Additional cost of labor retailers need to shoulder for production and coordination of the experiential

marketing events hosted by their stores. Most retailers do host occasional events in their stores now

and then without dedicated personnel to manage the process. They find it disruptive to their main

responsibilities and consuming time disproportionate to the return on that investment.

● The quality of execution by the merchandise vendors and brands is often disappointing. Most

complaints are centered around brand ambassadors' lack of excellence. Training employees or

contractors to be well-versed in your brand, goods and services are essential for marketing for retailers.

They should be able to answer all customers' questions about your product, which helps build trust

between your brand, your retailer host and their customers.

These concerns are very valid, but are not impassable obstacles for a very fruitful partnership. In fact

successful implementation of experiential marketing strategy by a retailer results in a significant competitive

advantage not only over local traditional retailers but also over e-commerce retailers who cannot match your

personal touch.

The solution to these obstacles can be found in carefully optimized and automated business processes

underlying retailer’s requirements for in-store experiential marketing strategy. Such a solution can,

● Dramatically reduce, if not completely eliminate, a need for dedicated store personnel to coordinate

ongoing flow of the promotional events,

● Weed out brands and vendors who do not adhere to the store policies and their brand ambassador’

conduct of behavior required by their host,

● Collect and analyze data associated with these events to help category managers predict future

performance of the promoted goods.

This last pillar of marketing is the place where you learn if you have the right product in the right place for a

right price. It takes weeks, if not months and a lot of effort, to learn if you are trying to sell to the “wrong”

demographics based on POS data. You can learn this within a few days by reviewing in-store sampling reports

collected by a qualified brand ambassador who observes how consumers experience the product.