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What is retail marketing? Strategies, types, and examples

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Most retail marketers believe that location is the one thing they need to get right to succeed in their retail business. As such, they end up paying exorbitant fees for prime locations. Their hope is to draw in as many walk-in clients as possible.

But is location the only aspect of retail marketing you need to pay attention to?

Definitely not!

The retail industry has existed for a long time, but it continues to change and evolve in response to emerging trends and markets. In this article, we’ll go over the meaning of retail marketing and take a look at some use cases that illustrate key elements of effective retail campaigns.

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What is retail marketing?

Retail marketing involves all of the ways a retail business acquires customers and gets those customers to buy their goods and services.

The main goal of retail marketing is to drive sales by promoting products to customers in an effective manner. It also aims to earn their loyalty by providing a superior customer experience and keeping customers engaged with your brand.  

Retail marketing mix: 4Ps

The basics of retail marketing campaigns revolve around four main factors, which are often called the four Ps: product, price, place, and promotion. 

a scheme containing retail marketing mix: 4Ps

Here’s how the 4Ps apply in retail marketing:

  • Product:
    Customers want to know that you have what they’re looking for.
  • Price:
    A competitive retail market puts significant downward pressure on prices. You might want to raise your prices to earn a greater profit on each item, but that will also push some of your customers to competing retailers that offer the same product at a lower price.
  • Place:
    Place can refer to the actual location of a physical store, but it can also refer to online visibility. Getting the top results on Google for a given keyword can be just as valuable for online retail stores as having a prime location on Fifth Avenue in New York.  
  • Promotion:
    Retail promotion is all about connecting with customers and making them more aware of your brand. If consumers don’t know you exist, they won’t think of you when they want a product. Even after reaching the initial stage of awareness, they may need to engage with your brand several more times before becoming comfortable enough to move forward with their first purchase.

Types of retail marketing

While there are a few common characteristics of a good retail marketing strategy, you need to craft a customized strategy to suit your unique business needs across retail operations.

You can also mix these strategies to create a comprehensive ecommerce marketing plan that encourages sales and drives loyalty. 

Now, to ensure that these campaigns deliver the best results, you should integrate multiple channels and leverage marketing analytics in order to generate even more outreach and sales.

Store-based retail marketing

If you have a physical storefront, it’s important to fully leverage the promotional opportunities of that space. Putting a little energy into store-based marketing will help you bring in more repeat customers while increasing the amount of money the average person spends during each visit.

Some of the strategies you can use to promote your products within a retail space include:

  • Events: Retail stores are the perfect places for events, and you can hold a variety of different events depending on your audience and brand image.
  • In-store displays: In-store displays could be anything from a centerpiece for a particular product to a digital display board that shows a selection of social media posts from your customers. They give you the chance to spice up the shopping experience and experiment with different types of visual content.
  • Sample products: Samples are a great way to get shoppers interested in a product they might not have looked at on their own. They’re particularly effective for items like make-up, colognes, and lotions that consumers will feel more comfortable purchasing after they’ve had a chance to try them out.
  • Interactive boards: These are interactive, in-store displays that show relevant information and allow shoppers to get pricing and product info, watch relevant videos, etc.
  • In-store promotions: When you go to the grocery store, you probably expect to find some products on sale. While major promotions typically receive a significant marketing push, everyday discounts don’t always need to be advertised outside your store.
in-store promotions

Back-to-school displays are a classic example of effective in-store marketing. They place a variety of relevant products in the same section at the time of the year when people are interested.

Unified displays are effective in multiple ways. First, they ensure that customers can quickly find what they’re looking for instead of wasting time looking around the store.

Furthermore, unified displays give retailers opportunities for cross-product promotions. If a customer walks in for a notebook, chances are they’ll walk around the back-to-school section and end up leaving with more than what they came in for.

Non-store-based retail marketing

In addition to a physical store, retailers have a variety of marketing tools at their disposal. These include traditional choices like catalogs, posters, referrals, and even direct mail. Plus more modern methods such as websites, social media profiles, and email and SMS campaigns.

  • Direct mail: Making sure customers know what you offer is a major hurdle for retail marketers. Sending out physical catalogs and promotional information might sound old-fashioned, but it can be a cost-effective option for stores that want to get the word out to local buyers. Direct mail is ideal for physical stores that cater to a specific location.
  • Posters: Posters are often associated with movies, fundraisers, and other events, but they can be used to advertise almost any discount or promotion. Remember to use text that’s large enough for viewers to read from at least five or ten feet away.
  • TV ads: TV marketing is another good way to get in touch with local consumers. Local TV ads can be highly targeted, and video content offers a lot more room for creativity compared to things like posters.
  • Press releases: If you have a unique or interesting offer, such as an event or very special promotion, you can write press releases for local journalists. They may cover the event or promotion in their newspapers (or TV news if it’s particularly special) that can drive traffic to your store.
  • Word of mouth: Word-of-mouth marketing is an incredibly valuable resource for both physical and digital businesses. Consumers trust input from their friends, family members, and neighbors far more than they trust conventional promotions. Referral programs are an easy way to incentivize recommendations and generate more referrals from your existing customer base.
an example of referral button

Referral rewards are an easy way to motivate your existing customers to introduce their friends and family members to your brand. Stitch Fix gives users a $25 bonus for each new customer they refer.

On top of the bonus for the user who makes the referral, some companies also give a bonus to the referral themselves. Consumers are more likely to try out a new brand if they know they’ll get a discount or other perk for their first purchase. From there, if they like the product, they’ll be more likely to come back for repeat orders at full price.

Digital retail marketing

  • Website: Even if you don’t sell any products online, it’s important to have a professional website that illustrates your brand image while giving visitors information about what you offer. Keep in mind that adding tracking pixels to your site will enable you to leverage website activity data for use in retargeting campaigns.
  • Social media marketing: With nearly 4 billion active social media users, you can’t afford to miss out on the large and diverse audience in front of you. 
  • SMS marketing: SMS marketing is expected to grow by an average of over 20 percent per year between 2019 and 2025. When possible, you should give customers the option to receive your communications through email, SMS, or even other channels. Read our guide on SMS marketing if you’re considering using this channel.
  • Email newsletters:  $1 spent on email marketing leads to roughly $42 in return, making it one of the most lucrative channels out there. A weekly or monthly newsletter will help you stay connected to your core audience and maximize the lifetime value of each lead.
weekly deals email newsletter

This message from Cosmetic Love is an excellent email marketing example. The “Weekly Deals” header tells readers exactly what to expect. The best promotion is conspicuously displayed with a large image and clear information about pricing.

After that, they show two extra deals plus discounts on the most commonly viewed products. Cosmetic Love manages to communicate a lot of details about their promotion in a message that readers will be able to scan in no more than ten or twenty seconds.

Retail marketing case studies and examples

Now that you understand the basics of retail marketing, let’s take a look at these concepts in action through the following retail marketing examples. We will examine how three brands used retail marketing to craft compelling retail campaigns and advance their business objectives. 

  • Amundsen Sports
  • Divatress 
  • B-Wear

Amundsen Sports 

Amundsen Sports knew the brand image they wanted, but they were having difficulties making that come through in their promotional emails. Even when they were able to put together a good message, they were spending too much time editing for it to be worth the trouble.

After switching to Omnisend, team ecommerce leader Frithjof Solheim says that they’re now able to build “super clean” emails with our drag-and-drop interface. Amundsen’s new welcome, cart abandonment, and order confirmation sequences continue to drive sales for their brand.

order confirmation emails statistics via Omnisend

Overall, more than 29% of all Omnisend-driven sales come from those three automations alone, and they can be set up in just a few minutes. Using automated messages to keep customers engaged is one of the most reliable ways to increase sales. 

The email below is a great example of the clear, simple design that’s perfect for transactional messages.

an example of a simple design for transactional messages


Divatress founder Rob Lin moved his company to a full-digital business model well before it became a common approach for retail vendors. Along with Omnisend’s email automation, he quickly started leveraging our SMS tools in order to stay in touch with customers.

“At this point, I can’t imagine a world without SMS marketing. It’s really taken off. Our SMS subscribers are growing much faster than email subscribers. SMS is just becoming more and more important for us and it’s definitely not going anywhere.”

– Rob Lin

Abandoned carts used to be a key source of lost revenue for Divatress, but their cart abandonment workflow now recovers a significant percentage of those leads.

In contrast to traditional single-channel campaigns, the Divatress abandoned cart workflow combines email with either an SMS message or a push notification. The first two messages are sent as emails ten hours apart, while the third message comes with another email plus a text message or push notification based on the user’s preferences.

abandoned cart workflow via Omnisend


B-Wear is a retail fashion brand that sells embroidered, screen-printed and blank apparel. It wanted greater visibility into its marketing performance. Specifically, B-Wear wanted more insights into revenue generated through its email campaigns. The brand’s marketing provider didn’t give detailed customer engagement data, which left the brand having to make assumptions based on open and click rates.

B-Wear store

Craving better campaign analytics, B-Wear switched platforms and moved to Omnisend. Director of Marketing Shane Biles says that the switch improved their email marketing and provided high-quality subscriber engagement analytics which B-Wear uses to drive its campaigns. The data helps the team decide who to target and what offers to give to customers.

As a result, Omnisend now drives 40% of all company sales. Social media ads and organic traffic are responsible for the rest, as you can see in the image below.

a scheme showing B-Wear Sportswear's sales sources

“The integration provides sales figures plus other customer data points, such as who we’re keeping, who we’re losing. Everything from our customers that are engaged, to those that need an incentive to shop with us. It’s helping us build a strategy.”

– Jason Slattery
Marketing manager, B-Wear

With Omnisend, the brand can segment its audience into precise groups. This segmentation allows B-Wear to deliver relevant emails that drive action. For example, identify new subscribers and develop a compelling discount pricing strategy to encourage them to buy from the store. The image below shows a targeted email sent to new subscribers:

B-Wear's targeted email sent to new subscribers to motivate them to make a buy


Retail marketing is essential if you operate a retail business. It allows you to reach out to potential customers and inform them about your products. These strategies can take place inside your retail store or online through your website, social media, email, and SMS campaigns. 

Done right, these strategies will help you drive traffic to your store and generate repeat business from your loyal customers. 

Omnisend combines email, SMS marketing, and web push to help you design captivating campaigns to drive sales for your retail store. 

Get started with Omnisend today & drive sales on autopilot with pre-built automation workflows
Bernard Meyer
Article by
Bernard Meyer

Bernard is the Sr. Director of Communications & Creative at Omnisend, with a passion for good research, helping ecommerce businesses with their marketing automation needs, and beating absolutely everyone in Mario Kart 64.

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