Retail digital marketing is an important strategy for brands to drive traffic both online and in-store.
Digital marketing can bring more consumers to your eCommerce site or your brick-and-mortar location. Statistics from Salesforce show that 87% of shoppers begin their hunt in digital channels — and that number is rising.
Retail digital marketing strategies can help boost sales at eCommerce and in-store, however, it can still be difficult for merchandisers to know what strategies to choose. With so many options available, a clear strategy is needed to give strong brand direction within budget.
That said, here are the seven digital marketing strategies that can give retailers the most impact for their dollar:
- Have different strategies for consumer marketing and wholesale marketing.
When we talk about retail digital marketing, most times the assumption is that brands are trying to attract consumers. However, while B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing may be part of your strategy, wholesale accounts can often be more lucrative in a shorter timeframe.
If you are marketing to both consumers and wholesalers, then you need two different strategies — the same tactics will not always work for both.
Sometimes retail brands want to build their consumer base first, however, this isn’t always the most cost-effective. If budget is a concern, it can make more sense to put resources towards the most lucrative opportunities first and then increase spend in other areas after you see success.
- Enhanced LinkedIn (for Business-to-Business Sales)
While many retail marketers maintain presences on consumer-based social media sites, like Facebook and Instagram, there are benefits to being on LinkedIn, too.
LinkedIn is the platform for business-to-business (B2B) marketers. If your retailer works with wholesale accounts, this is a social platform you should consider.
Enhanced LinkedIn solutions, such as sending InMails, connection requests, and participating in group discussions, can help form relationships with key decision-makers and spread word of your product even more.
Even if your primary audience is consumers, don’t ignore the benefits of LinkedIn for forming corporate connections.
- Online Reputation Management
Whether you’re digital-only or have a physical store, reputation matters. And in today’s online world, that reputation is most seen online through customer reviews.
Sites such as Google and Facebook have spaces for consumers to comment on their experience with your products, customer service, and more. Some industries have niche review sites too, such as HomeStars. Some sites allow you to suppress or report negative reviews, but in most cases, they are there to stay unless the poster decides to remove them.
One of the worst things a retailer can do is ignore these online reviews. And yet, it happens a lot. Studies have shown that brands that respond to customer reviews (especially the negative ones) have a better reputation. Responding to reviews can also help boost your local SEO (search engine optimization) ranking on Google.
Many customers also look at reviews before making a purchase decision, so if they are reading a negative review and they see your response, that can influence their decision.
- Mobile Responsive Website
Even if you don’t have an eCommerce channel, it is still important to have a retail website — and one that is mobile responsive. Your website needs to look the same and operate the same no matter what type of device a consumer is using.
If you do have an eCommerce component, mobile responsivity is even more important as more consumers are shopping across channels. According to Think With Google, 53% of shoppers will leave a mobile site if it takes more than three seconds to load. And 61% of consumers start shopping on one device but finish the transaction on another device.
Google also recently announced mobile-first indexing, which will be the default for new websites — so a lack of a responsive website decrease your SEO.
- Shoppable Social Media
In the past several years, consumer-based social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, have introduced “shoppable” posts. This means that if consumers see a product that they like in a photo, they can click on the item and purchase through the platform if the brand has enabled it.
Retailers can optimize their social media to allow this feature and boost even more sales.
Shoppability research by YPulse found that 51% of 18-to-36-year-olds and 44% of 13-to-17-year-olds had actively tried to find and purchase something that they had seen on social media.
This “social commerce” is still growing but getting in on the ground floor can help tap into a rising market.
Many consumers today say that personalization is important to them. According to Infosys, 59% of consumers who have experienced personalization say it’s had an impact on their purchasing.
But personalization needs to go beyond the basics to be effective. A study from Pure360 found that only 8% of consumers say they would want to engage with a retail brand if they addressed them by their first name.
One way to increase personalization and stay front-of-mind with consumers is through an e-newsletter. With a regular newsletter you can:
- Advertise sales
- Give personalized offers
- Run exclusive promotions for email subscribers
- Announce free gifts in-store
- Collect customer feedback
- Promote events
- And more!
- Local Search Engine Optimization
If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you want your website to appear in searches conducted by people in your area. For example, if a prospect types into Google “clothing stores near me” you would want your clothing store to come up in the search.
According to Business to Community, 72% of people conducting a local search will visit a store within five miles of their location.
Getting your page to rank with local searchers is achieved through search engine optimization (SEO) and optimizing your Google My Business page.
Even if you have an online-only retail business, local search can still be effective. If a person is searching in their area for a type of item or store and not finding anything, they may order online — especially if your site indicates that you will ship to them.
What tools do you use in your retail digital marketing? Are there any you would love to try? Share with us on social media. DigiForce is on Twitter and LinkedIn.
We can help create a retail digital marketing strategy that works online and in-store. Contact us today for a free consultation.