From the first dated creation of retail malls way back in the 1950’s to the 1,200+ malls in existence today. One thing is undeniable. Malls have given a boost to businesses like never before by opening up the entire consumer buying and distribution process. Otherwise known as retail.
Then why have more than a hundred closed in the past decade with an additional 300 forecasted to shut shop in the next 5 years? This may be a question hindering in the minds of business owners.
But one thing is certain. Retail marketing may have changed but is far from dead. It’s just gone digital.
Online retail marketing is considered to have contributed majorly to this. With the changing shift in user behavior and the advancement of technologies, physical retail is simply not seen as the crowd puller it once was. Instead, retail marketing has shifted online and given birth to ecommerce or online retail marketing as we refer to it in this article.
No one knows what the future holds with retail malls being a shadow of what they were a few decades ago. Not just shops but developers of such properties are giving equal weight to crowd magnets like arcade games, food, residential areas and so on.
This was the exact thought behind Office Depot’s latest test. In some of its urban markets, they are piloting a program that converts a part of their retail space into co-working offices. In the hope that with more people around this time, they will eventually boost their in store sales.
We cannot predict what the future holds for retail but until things clear up, we are going to help business owners with what they need to worry about right now. i.e. Having an online retail marketing plan ready for their business.
Businesses today certainly need to adapt to the changing consumer buying behavior. Shifting from transactions taking place in physical retail stores to transactions happening solely on businesses’ websites.
Ecommerce has revolutionized a dying industry and allowed for a more robust and dynamic model to take its place instead. We dug out some consumer data and found this interesting testimonial of mall goers in 1999 compared to the ones in 2016.
Mall goers in 1999 – “We love going to the mall on weekends. Not only do we enjoy shopping exclusive brands but also make a day out of it with food and entertainment.”
Mall goer in 2016 – “I hardly ever go out to shop. Why would we when I can get the same stuff much cheaper and all while sitting on my couch, sipping a Coke.”
Retail marketing is not the same with digital in the mix now. Businesses need to brainstorm new ways to capture their customers in an online retail space. It can absolutely be a challenging task.
Business owners are competing today with other retailers not only in their own neighborhood but also retailers hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles away. This has made retail marketing extremely difficult.Source: CNBC
Purchasing behavior and consumer preferences have changed because technology has evolved. Mobile tools, fancy websites and newer technologies have given shoppers more choices with almost instant gratification. This in turn has spiked a demand for businesses not to just sell online but also promote their brands through multiple channels. In order to stay relevant retailers must utilize varying digital marketing tactics to reach the maximum number of people.
Did you know? On average, consumers are spending upwards of $450 billion on online retail purchases. An increase of about 15% year after year. A fact that has well seeped in businesses like IKEA, Walmart, and of course Amazon.
Today the marketplace has evolved and completely digitized. They are no longer looking at ads in their local newspaper and rushing to their nearest store to purchase the product they saw.
Rather, today users are connected on at least three devices at any given time. Mobile phones, laptops, home assistance devices, car wifi systems and so on. They are targeted with specific ads through all of them. Where do you think your business stands a chance if you don’t have an online retail presence yet? This unique challenge for marketers has turned into multiple opportunities and touch points that they need to explore.
Our team of digital experts is continuously researching ecommerce marketing and sharing their research with those that visit our blog. We have highlighted topics like our top ecommerce marketing ideas and the best ways to promote products online. We break it all down into a language that business owners can easily relate to.
Advances in email marketing, for instance, has on one hand allowed users to remain accessible at all times. This, in turn, has given marketers an advantage to use different techniques to reach users at opportune times – such as sending a discount email around lunch time.
Social media marketing on the other hand is a different beast to capture. Here users are not looking to buy from you directly but are rather looking for a “friend” who understands their needs and lets them voice their concerns. Our previous blog posts like what to post on Instagram tackles just that. We share with you exactly what your users are wanting to see from you on social media.
Then there are technical aspects of retail marketing like updating your website for SEO. Implementing a strong SEO strategy will instruct search engines to list your website on Google when certain keywords related to your business are searched by users. This is a long-term marketing tactic that can be achieved by some back-end efforts and our team is here to get those results for your business.
You can view our SEO services here specifically designed for online retailers.
We also recommend our clients to consider Google shopping ads if they want their products to show up for specific product searches by users.
These are just a few services that will help enrich your online retail marketing efforts and allow you to boost not only your business sales but also increase brand awareness. In the remainder of this article, we want to highlight the 9 best ways to boost your business through online retail marketing.
As mentioned above, retail marketing has changed with changing consumer behavior. The next few paragraphs touch on 9 best ways to conduct your retail marketing online now. Feel free to stop and chat with us to see how these ideas can be customized to fit your business.
- The rise of ecommerce specific websites
Retail marketing has moved from physical stores to online websites. One that users can access right from their palm.
Contrary to the hype, we feel that retail is not dead. We just believe that retail marketing has changed hands. From mass communication involving tangible mediums like local newspapers and physical stores. To a much more customized communication based on machine learning and computer algorithms.
With this changing of business tides, there has been a sudden rise in website creation based on one thing and one thing alone – online retail marketing. We understand the most important aspect for you is selling your product.
With the premise of physical customer interaction at the store front already out of the equation, it has become increasingly necessary to have a website that lets customers make transactions online.
Right from selection, discounts, and payments to delivery and shipping. In such a scenario, basing your website on providers like Shopify just makes it easier than ever to manage all of it.
Another important aspect along with choosing your selling platform is creative design. You want an ecommerce website design that not only compliments your product but also provides a simple yet effective user experience. And our team of graphic designers can help you achieve just that. We have a proven track record of helping business owners build fully customized website designs for their ecommerce business.
- Targeted Email Communications
When it comes to reaching customers in real time and targeting specific customer segments, email marketing is one of the most effective online retail marketing tactics available to business owners. A recent retail marketing based email campaign we worked on is the perfect example to cite here. After segmenting retail customers based on their order values, we targeted them with our client’s newly launched premier product offerings.
Because the targeted customers already were high value targets (based on their previous spend), the email based retail marketing campaign was able to generate additional upsell revenue for the client without any discounts or promo codes. We additionally tied an email campaign to people who abandoned their carts before completing the purchase. This additional touch generated an excess revenue of $30,000 just by serving just four reminders.
- Using Social Media for Retail Marketing
If you’re an avid reader of our blog posts, you know that we have spoken on the concept of social selling being one of the best ecommerce marketing ideas to boost your online sales.
We believe in helping business owners see the real value of social media beyond just sales conversions and through a concept called social selling. This is especially true in retail marketing.
The shift in consumer behavior and buying patterns have exponentially expanded social channels which users use to voice their concerns, share viral trends, and talk about things personal to them. Retail marketers need to see value in that and manage brand conversations to their advantage. Only by gaining their trust will you be able to make a mark and create a desire for them to purchase from you.
Our team specializes in advanced techniques like social listening and social intelligence to build custom audiences, retarget past website visitors, and even communicate to customers who are most likely to purchase from you. No, don’t believe our written word. Trust the proven campaign results that speak for themselves.
- Capture Those Retail Leads
Creating a lead generation marketing campaign targeted towards your potential retail customers can prove to be one of the best decisions you will make as a business owner. Our digital experts work tirelessly with business owners to create engaging content that captures the attention of potential customers and creates value for them in the process. Whether it is through website design or updating your business SEO, we know that your business will grow if you are providing true value to customers in every aspect of your retail marketing.
But most importantly, we have found subtle lead capturing tactics on website pages to be the most useful to capture and convert potential customers. Without which we will just be shooting in the dark hoping to convert website visitors.
Depending on what information you end up capturing through lead forms, that data can become useful for future sales campaigns to convert site visitors into buying customers. Or find its way into a direct mailing program to reach new customers. Or simply entered into an email drip campaign.
- Digital Technologies for Retail Marketing
Gone are the days when the only way of engaging in retail marketing was to employ a human billboard outside a busy mall hoping to capture the interest of potential shoppers. Or placing a 3” x 5” ad in the local newspaper promoting an upcoming retail sale. Consumption of media and consumer purchasing patterns have changed over the years and so has the landscape of retail marketing.
One space that has seen the most expansion is digital advertising. Changing algorithms and intuitive machine learning has not only made it essential for business owners to work with marketing agencies to keep up to date. But it has also made constant curation a must to remain relevant in today’s rapidly changing consumer marketplace. One example that comes to mind here is how Nokia, which despite world dominance for decades, stumbled to its own failure by not staying ahead of changing consumer trends.
When thinking about retail marketing, the two most effective digital advertising tactics that we preach and practice are – Geofencing and Conversion Optimizations.
With all the targeting options available to business owners today, it is important to target customers based within a geographic fence. This level of retail marketing helps in cutting out wasted money and targets only people that will be most benefited by a promotion from your retail business.
One such interesting tactic is Facebook’s Pin Drops. We often drop pins at famous places like colleges, stadiums and parks around our retail client’s business location and direct Facebook’s algorithms to only target people in these high traffic areas.
Additionally, the latest advertising platforms of Facebook and Google lets us optimize our ads for conversions. Meaning our ads will only be shown to potential retail shoppers who are most likely to buy a product.
This level of detail has saved thousands of dollars for our clients and helped us retain their business for years.
- Take Advantage of Google’s Organic Listings
As we explained it to one of our retail clients, there are 1,200 active searches for his pet store in his business location alone, every month. Insights like these tell you just how detailed Google search has become. The search engine giant sifts through more than 40,000 searches every second. Needless to say, its power to help your business grow is indescribable.
There are a number of free Google business tools that can help a retail business flourish online including Google My Business, Google Reviews and Google Search Console. All are designed to make sure your retail business listing shows up when and where users want to see it.
Updating and monitoring all of these tools require more work than we can document in this article, but our team of digital experts can guide you through setting up all these free business listings
- Create Value through Consistent Content & Blogging
When it comes to creating content for retail marketing, we have often found business owners clueless and searching for answers. Will my content appeal to the right customers? Will they be interested in my website? How much will it cost to create a blog for my retail business? We can answer all of these questions for you. We believe in searching and working together to find a solution to your retail marketing problem.
Our clients trust us with their monthly, weekly or sometimes even daily content calendars. Our graphic design team churns out some of the most engaging retail marketing website designs. And our clients go smiling to the bank with the success they see.
Blogging is another great way to generate high value traffic to your website. If you are creating engaging content that your readers can use to solve a problem, then you have found yourself a winning formula. Capitalize on it by targeting the interested readers with future ads. Creating engaging content on your website and social media posts is just the starting point of seeing a high return on your retail marketing investment.
- Remarketing to Website Visitors
Not long ago we were tasked to grow sales of a new entrant in the decorative lights’ industry. Without much engaged traffic to their website or a real customer base to target ads to – we knew we needed to set up an infrastructure for them. From scratch. An ongoing challenge we have seen with business owners is that they need us to create a conversion cycle that can act as a blueprint for them for years to come.
Keeping this in mind, we not only started pushing out engaging content for them but also started working on the back end to put a script on their page that captures website visitors. While the engaging content started getting more and more visitors to their website, we started building a bank of these potential customers.
And very soon we started a retargeting campaign that communicated with all those past visitors. Doing that helped spread awareness at a lower ad spend.
These users already recalled our brand from their previous visits and needed little motivation to click on our ads this time around. Results were not only impressive but far exceeded what the client had achieved in his previous campaigns with other partners.
Another advantage of tagging website visitors is to study their behavior on your website. Information such as geographical locations, landing pages and more can certainly help in creating effective and tailored ads and content in future campaigns.
- Boost Your Retail Marketing with Google Shopping Ads
Google has not only captured 85% of the search engine market online. They are also dominating the online retail marketing space by the introduction of their new product placement listings, popularly known as shopping ads. When a user searches for a product, Google displays the products they believe are most relevant to what the consumer is looking for. Google’s end goal is the same as yours – to provide enough value that the user wants to purchase your product.
And the process is much simpler than you may think. Retail business owners simply need to have ecommerce capabilities on their website and start listing their products through Google Shopping Ads. If you need help setting this up, one of our ad specialists could walk you through this process.
Google shopping Ads have become particularly popular among retailers who want to take advantage of an expanding online marketplace and get their products at the forefront of their competitors. The rise of such search query based ecommerce platforms has given new opportunities to business owners to ride on this wave of retail marketing advancement.
You have enough knowledge to jump start your retail marketing efforts.
Be the top performing retail business among your competitors when you create a retail marketing strategy comprised of all the areas we mentioned. It takes a little bit of everything to reach customers with a variety of preferences. As we famously tell our clients when it comes to retail marketing. There is no one size fits all here. But we sure are master tailors! Give us a shout out to learn more about what we can achieve together for your retail marketing.