Although not everybody enjoys it, we all need to shop from time to time. Depending on what you’re selling, there’s an audience for your products. Even if they dislike shopping, they can find value in your service and products.
These days, most shopping is done online, which is why we’ve compiled some effective retail marketing strategies for this very article. Whether you operate exclusively online or you run a physical store, marketing online is an essential part of the process. If you forget the online world, the online world forgets you (and this means potentially thousands of people missing your website and choosing a competitor instead!).
We understand the difficulty that comes with online retail marketing - you need to write product descriptions and upload images for products, respond to reviews, set up ad campaigns, and even maintain a high-quality website. This is without mentioning social media and various other marketing opportunities.
Therefore, we’ve compiled some of the biggest and best online retail marketing strategies to prioritize in 2021!
The first tip we have is to focus on user-generated content, because it’s what consumers need and want. You can shout about your business as loud as you want but it’ll never be as effective as a customer doing the shouting for you.
Thanks to the theory of social proof, we know that consumers listen to real people online. With customers talking positively about your brand, this piques the interest of prospective customers and it could be the reason they choose you over a competitor.
User-generated content makes your life easier; it encourages prospective customers to give your brand a go and generates exposure for the company.
If you’re just entering the market (or the world of online marketing), you don’t currently have a reputation. The bad news is that you’re starting from scratch, but the good news is that you can position yourself in the market with no preconceptions or challenges. One of the best routes is to become an authoritative figure in the industry. Share your knowledge, resolve the problems of prospective customers, and join debates and discussions.
There are a few different ways to become a thought leader and this includes posting high-quality content through articles, blog posts, eBooks, newsletters, etc. Alternatively, you might want to hold webinars, workshops, and classes where you help customers to overcome common issues.
Targeting people just discovering a problem is good but targeting people who recognize the problem and are actively searching for a solution is even better. It’s wise to advertise and have systems set up for people all through the sales funnel, but it all starts with those closest to the purchase. You don’t want to encourage people through the funnel and then allow a competitor to sweep them up and get the sale (this would be rather frustrating!).
Run ads on Google Shopping, ensure that your content is high in the search results for pertinent keywords, and make sure that your landing page and product pages are the best around. You don’t want people adding products to their basket and then clicking away because the checkout procedure is too lengthy. Similarly, you don’t want them turning to another company because they can’t find your physical address anywhere.
Too often, people think that online retail marketing strategies are all about telling the world how amazing the product is. However, customers would rather hear how the product helps them rather than about all the different features. As an expert in the industry, you assume that everybody understands what you’re saying…but this isn’t always the case.
If you want people to visit your physical or online store, you need to explain clearly and exactly WHY they should do this. What problem does your product/service solve? Does it make a certain part of their life easier? Does it remove a problem that they’ve had for many years? Every product/service solves a problem, no matter how small. If you don’t get this message across to the customer, they won’t buy from you (it’s as simple as that!).
Speak to anybody in the world of digital marketing and they’ll tell you how impressive targeting capabilities are now on social media. On Facebook, it’s possible to advertise to a specific market. Target by location, behavior, age, gender, income, career path, etc. What’s more, you can even get in front of people at the right time.
‘I’m a small, local business so online marketing will do nothing for me’ - unfortunately, this is now an incorrect mindset. Just because you’re only interested in local customers, this doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from online retail marketing strategies. With local SEO, you ensure that all local customers see your business when looking for a service of your type. For example, somebody searching for car repair services will see your business rather than all the others in the area.
You can also improve relevance for the local market through geo-targeting, the phrasing used in all content, and the images and copy used for advertising.
If you’re sticking with the same old marketing strategies, it’s time to experiment with something new. For example, you could create a podcast - this is a double benefit because you can also show your expertise and become a market leader. Elsewhere, some businesses create Spotify playlists for customers using their products.
Of course, video is a new(ish!) technique that nobody can afford to ignore. Some people hear about the video trend and start having heart palpitations - don’t panic, you don’t need an acting degree and thousands of dollars of equipment. Start with simple videos whether this is interviews with colleagues, short clips from around the office, or behind-the-scenes at an industry event.
Video marketing is yet again the best online retail marketing strategy for 2021. If you don’t want to deal with all the recording and editing, why not try a live video? They’re less scary than you might think.
Not every marketing video needs to have your face front and center (sorry!), and one idea is to use video to add detail for customers. For example, this could be a close-up of your product for customers to see from new angles which may persuade them to buy.
Other videos that can help to provide detail include product tutorials. You’ve shopped online yourself, and therefore you know that it’s easier to hand money across when you have lots of detail. If a product has just one picture, we’re not likely to enter our bank account details. When there are several pictures and plenty of videos available online, we learn enough about the product to have confidence.
We don’t want you to think that online retail marketing strategies need to be expensive, and this is why we’ve included this tip. You probably have social media accounts (if you don’t, learn which ones your audience uses the most and sign up!), so celebrate all holidays. If you sell lawnmowers, for example, celebrate a day in your niche. According to some people, April 8th is considered First Cut Day.
Regardless of your industry, there’s always something to celebrate and a way to engage followers. For example, you might be interested in National Spaghetti Day, Winnie the Pooh Day, or National Margarita Day. When getting caught up in these weird and wonderful holidays, don’t forget the major ones too.
Engage the audience, use social media for big and small holidays, and perhaps even offer special promotions for the occasion.
Finally, pay attention to what people are saying about your brand. Thank people for positive comments, address negative comments to turn the experience around, and keep an eye on this area. Products reviews are one thing but mentions on social media and online are just as important.
In case these strategies aren’t enough, you could also explore the following:
For those with a physical location, geo-fencing has particular value because it sends a message or notification to those who enter a certain radius of your location. Use these marketing strategies and get ahead of the game this year!