The term ‘retail therapy’ is easily overlooked as being materialistic and self-serving, but it holds incredible value for a great number of people.
Shopping for one’s self is enjoyable, and no one should feel ashamed of it. It’s why we’re a nation - no, world - of shoppers; there’s nothing quite like heading out to a bricks-and-mortar store to treat yourself.
The retail trade sees more peaks and troughs than most, but it’s incredibly resilient to change and fluctuating market conditions.
What keeps the best retailers going? Great marketing. You can’t live without it in the digital age if you’re running a traditional store, which is why we thought we’d spend some time digging into the latest ideas and trends for you to jump on this year.
Retail marketing stats you need to know
We’ve scoured the web to find the most important retail marketing statistics. If you need something to whet your appetite to revisit your marketing plan, or help point you in the right direction, you’ll find it below.
- Printed advertising such as banners and signs are still the advertising method of choice for 62% of small retail businesses
- 81% of retail consumers will head online to research a purchase before buying (GE Capital Retail Bank)
- The value of retail sales in the UK hit £394 billion in 2019
- US retail sales in 2019 hit around $5.5 trillion
- Christmas remains the biggest retail sales period, with 72% of retailers claiming it’s the best part of their year
- 2019 saw a 19% increase in US retailer spend on digital ads, taking the total to $28 billion
- Facebook is seen as the best social media channel for advertising in retail
- Each retail lead costs around $34 to acquire (Integrated Marketing Association)
- 64% of consumers are ok with retailers saving their personal preferences and purchase history
If you’re new to the retail sector or have been in it for some time, you’d be forgiven for assuming there’s a mountain to climb thanks to the digital competition.
However, as you can see above, the marketing outlook for traditional retail is incredibly positive, and has the added benefit of being able to combine digital and traditional advertising techniques to reach a wide audience.
Retail marketing trends to look out for in 2020
Trends aren’t always passing bandwagons; some demand your attention if you want to make the most of your retail operation.
Here are what we believe to be the most important marketing trends to look out for and capitalise on during 2020.
Fed up with reading that word when you look into retail marketing? There’s a reason it keeps popping up, chief of which is the fact the vast majority of young consumers will buy from brands that are transparent about their environmental impact.
It’s why so many of the big boys are being ultra-clear about their green efforts. This has led to the birth of the ‘circular economy’, where brands and retailers work together to ensure that waste is eliminated and recycling increased.
Your customers rank among your most important marketers. Their feedback, reviews and social media interaction with your brand will make or break your public reputation.
This is why community-building and audience participation is so important in modern retail marketing. If you can build strong relationships with your customers, they’ll be more inclined to do a lot of the marketing legwork for you.
That’s right - the methods of payment you accept are fast becoming a differentiator and a marketing tactic.
Cash isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but no one can ignore the significant shift towards contactless and mobile payments. Advertising a super-fast checkout process is a marketing campaign in its own right, and one that will garner a significant audience.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
CSR is much more than yet another acronym you need to learn; it’s a method by which retailers are demonstrating they’re in business for far more than just the profits.
Giving back to both the community and your staff will provide you with not just a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, but a wealth of marketing opportunities, too. And, while they won’t be product focused, they will draw significant, positive attention towards your brand.
Imagine having a Google Analytics-style view of your store’s performance.
Thanks to beacon and NFC technology, this is becoming increasingly possible. Picking up in-store movements, QR code usage and interactions with specific areas of the store enable retailers to gauge where they need to divert their marketing budget for the biggest impact.
The most important product marketing trends in 2020
Even if you don’t manufacture the products you sell, understanding how to market them will help you with store layouts, offers and the in-store experience.
Here are some quick-fire product marketing trends we expect to be big in 2020:
- Augmented reality (AR): There’s a reason the likes of Apple are building AR technology into their mobile products; it provides us with a way to combine the digital and real worlds like never before. In product marketing, that enables consumers to ‘try out’ products in their home to see what they look like before committing to a purchase.
- Personalisation: How do you tempt someone to buy a product? You set the scene that it’s for them and them only. Personalisation is a general marketing trend, but particularly suits product retail.
- Content, content, content: As previously noted, most consumers will head online to research a product before they buy. It’s why product manufacturers and retailers are investing significant time in creating content (words, video and audio) that puts their wares in the best possible light.
- On-demand marketing: Consumers want marketing that cuts through the noise and which is always there, no matter where they are. Think about the last time you wanted information on a product; you became frustrated if you couldn’t find it immediately, didn’t you?
How do I capture consumer personal data ethically?
Knowing the who, why and when of your business is key to building profitable, long-term relationships with customers.
But in the world of GDPR and increased scrutiny on data security, how do you do that without inadvertently breaking rules or landing your brand in hot water?
There are two tried-and-tested methods for capturing consumer personal data with their explicit consent:
- In-store WiFi. Are you supplying free WiFi in your store? This offers a unique opportunity to grab the email addresses of your shoppers and tempt them to spend in your store at the moment they’re most engaged with your brand.
- Website newsletter. Retail is one of the few remaining industries where it’s relatively easy to encourage a large audience to sign-up to a newsletter - and keep them engaged. All it needs is an obvious, tempting sign-up form on your website and regular, personalised content sent each month.
Our top 5 retail marketing ideas
Getting people into your store is often the hardest part of being a retailer. But, if you try out one or several of our retail marketing ideas below, people will enter your store ready to buy.
1. Use ‘old-fashioned’ markdown tactics
Sometimes, the best retail marketing ideas are the simplest, and the traditional markdown still has a place in today’s market.
Whether it’s a change of season or release of a new product version, add that markdown to what came before - it works.
2. Start a YouTube channel
Have you started a YouTube channel yet for your store? If not, why not?
You don’t need boat loads of expensive kit (your smartphone will do for now) - just a desire to regularly create in-store content that shows off your latest offers, new products and the team behind the scenes.
Video works in retail. Big time.
3. Dust off your social media profiles
If you started social media presences for your store with good intentions only for them to be left gathering digital dust, you’re not alone.
Leverage social media by sharing the video content you’re now producing (see tip 2) and invest some time and money in Facebook Ads - there are few better ways to target just the right audience.
4. Hold an event
Learn from the hospitality sector: use your retail space to hold events such as product launches, expert Q&As or sales launches.
5. Create a loyalty program
There are many reasons loyalty programs are so effective. When it comes to retail, they give you the chance to create a ‘club’ for regular shoppers to indulge in and recommend to their friends.
The key lies in creating a program that is simple to sign up to and which has obvious benefits. Why do you think the likes of Starbucks still hand out little cards to people at the counter?
The marketing trends and ideas we’ve offered today are accessible for any sized retail outlet. And they’re becoming more accessible and affordable by the day.
Keep an eye on this blog - we’ll be updating it each year with the latest retail marketing trends, stats and advice.