Guide

Retail marketing

Definition, importance, strategies and examples

Retail marketing refers the distribution of products to customers with different forms of digital advertising, in-store campaigns or immersive experiences. An effective retail marketing strategy helps you increase sales and reach your target audience

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What is retail marketing?

Retail marketing is any form of marketing that drives customers to your products, with the help of physical or digital advertising. It can be found in brick-and-mortar retail stores, online advertising or a combination of both in immersive experiences – whatever you use to bring your goods or services to your customers. Retail marketing is a valuable component of your omnichannel marketing strategy, which spans a variety of vehicles for your advertising.

Why is retail marketing important?

Retail marketing is important because it helps your customers find your products. By sharing your goods through mediums including social media, interactive campaigns or print advertisements, you can continue to boost your brand. An effective retail marketing strategy can lead to downstream impacts on your sales, as well as increased brand awareness.

Types of retail marketing

Retail media is the digital form of retail marketing. However, other types of retail advertising include marketing campaigns found in-store, on billboards and beyond. Here are four of the most common types of retail marketing.

1. In-store advertising

One of the most common forms of retail marketing is in-store advertising. This starts with creating a hospitable environment for customers, by considering things like designing window displays in your store or offering accessible business hours. The benefit of having customers in brick-and-mortar retail stores is that you have the opportunity to pique their interest with your offerings and engage them with live events or Instagrammable store displays, for example.

2. Print advertising

Print advertising includes forms of advertising including, but not limited to, billboards, newspaper ads and catalogues. Even if you’re integrating digital components into your retail marketing strategy, these types of advertisements can still remain an important component of your campaigns. It’s also important to consider your ideal audience and the places where they’re consuming content.

3. Digital advertising

There are numerous opportunities to integrate digital advertising into your retail marketing strategy. In 2023, advertisers spent an estimated $45.15 billion in the U.S. on digital retail media.1 Digital advertising can include email follow-ups and newsletters, SEO optimisation, programmatic advertising and free marketing from online reviews or comments from customers. You could also create a Store on Amazon to provide a virtual venue for your retail marketing.

Social media can also play a huge role in your digital advertising, particularly for international marketing campaigns. In 2022, approximately 84% of consumers in China have shopped on social media.2 By integrating your products into social media ads, hashtags or influencer posts, you can reach potential customers where they are.

4. Experiential advertising

Experiential marketing and advertising offers your customers an immersive, imaginative way to engage with your products. It can be a way of combining in-store and digital advertising, letting your customers get hands-on access to your products. You can also be creative, mailing them samples or hosting pop-up events, for example.

Also, consider the locations where customers are shopping. Tablets, smartphones, and streaming TV are all places where you could integrate your products in a creative way. For example, 91% of customers ages 18 to 49 in the U.S. said they’ve made purchases on a smartphone.3 To go a step further, you can also try mobile advertising, such as an app or QR code for customers to interact with while they are in your physical store, combining the two venues for retail marketing.

How to create a retail marketing strategy in five steps

Are you ready to get started on your retail marketing strategy? Here are five steps to follow to start bringing your products to the forefront.

Step 1. Consider your audience

The most important place to start is with your audience. Would print or digital make more sense, depending on where your audience tends to consume content? An awareness of where your shoppers are browsing and shopping is integral in knowing where you should advertise your products, and it can also help ensure your brand positioning is accurate.

Step 2. Make a plan

Next, outline your retail media strategy. Consider your advertising budget and the prices of your products, especially compared to those of competitors. You want to ensure your brand is the best option and stands out as much as possible. You can also create a calendar of your upcoming marketing campaigns and a schedule on virtual or in-store events, to ensure you remain top of mind.

Step 3. Launch campaigns

Once you’re ready to launch your ads and promotions, make sure you address the accessibility of your marketing strategy. Where should you advertise: in-store or online? There are numerous options of touchpoints where you can advertise, and there also may be numerous answers, so test out a few and don’t limit yourself to a single option. As you display your new products, you can also consider personalisation options to make sure you’re in front of the right audiences.

Step 4. Improve communication

Throughout your campaigns, consider how and where you’re communicating with your customers. Make sure you’re leveraging feedback from your customers, whether through reviews posted online, email feedback surveys or customer service questions, to name a few. You could also create referral or loyalty programmes to reward existing customers and encourage return visits.

Step 5. Measure your progress

Make sure you’re regularly assessing your performance and making optimisations both during and after your campaigns. Looking at the KPIs and analytics for your retail campaigns can show you what’s working and you should be doing more of, and what’s not working and you can scale back on, to help potentially increase sales.

Retail marketing strategies and examples

Blog

New Balance collaborated with influencers on the Drop collection with Amazon Fashion to bring limited-edition products to customers. The items were shared on Instagram or Twitch, for example, to encourage word-of-mouth advertising from organic viewers.

The Drop product

Case study

To generate interest in the 2022 movie The Batman, Warner Bros. used advertainment, a combination of advertising and entertainment. By turning the IMDb page into an immersive customer experience, they were able to encourage engagement for the film.

Warner Bros. The Batman

Blog

At the 2022 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, Cheetos and Amazon Ads created an immersive house to let customers interact with their products in real life. Additionally, they created a virtual tour to bring the experience to viewers who couldn’t be there in person.

future of home snacking

Blog

Tyson Foods and Amazon Ads created a campaign where customers could scan an egg with a mobile filter to unlock a “voucher” for Jimmy Dean sausage. The campaign merged digital marketing and real-life engagement from customers.

Tyson Foods products