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Digital Marketing For Retail: How To Get Customers Online?

Tillie Demetriou
6 Jul 2023

Technology has drastically changed the way people shop. No longer are customers bound to visit a physical retail store to make purchases. Instead, they can purchase items online with the click of a button.

For retailers, this shift presents both challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, it's now more important than ever to have an effective digital marketing strategy to reach customers where they are spending most of their time. On the other hand, there is a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to marketing your retail brand online.

So, how can you make sure your digital marketing strategy is effective and reaches your target customers? In this complete guide to digital marketing for retail, we'll cover everything you need to know, including:

  • Why digital marketing is important for retail businesses
  • The different types of digital marketing for your retail business
  • How to create an effective digital marketing strategy
  • Tips and examples for implementing each type of digital marketing strategy

Let's get started!

What is digital marketing for retail?

Before we dive into how to create an effective digital marketing strategy, it's important to understand what retail marketing is.

Digital marketing for retail (also known as online marketing) is the process of using online channels to promote and sell products or services to customers. Retail businesses can use digital marketing to reach a larger audience than they would be able to through traditional offline channels like print ads or TV commercials.

Digital marketing can take many different forms. Some online marketing forms include:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Social media marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Email marketing
  • Affiliate marketing

Each of these digital marketing channels has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, which we'll discuss in more detail later.

Why is digital marketing important for retail businesses?

Now that you know what digital marketing (or online marketing) for retail is, you might be wondering why it's so important. After all, traditional offline marketing channels like print ads and TV commercials are still around and seem to be working just fine for some businesses.

The answer is that digital marketing provides a number of advantages that offline marketing doesn't. For example:

  • It's more cost-effective: Digital marketing channels are often more affordable than traditional offline channels like TV or print ads.
  • It's more targeted: With digital marketing, you can target your ads to specific demographics, interests, and even locations. This ensures that your ads are seen by the people who are most likely to be interested in them.
  • It's more engaging: Digital marketing channels like social media and email allow you to build relationships with your customers and create a more engaged customer base.
  • It's more measurable: With digital marketing, you can track how many people see your ads, click on them, and make a purchase. This allows you to constantly refine your marketing strategy to get better results.

Overall, digital marketing provides a more cost-effective, targeted, and engaging way to reach customers than traditional offline channels.

How to create an effective digital marketing strategy

Now that you know why digital marketing is so important for retail businesses let's take a look at how retail marketers can create an effective digital marketing strategy. There are four key steps:

1. Set your goals

The first thing you'll want to do when creating a digital marketing strategy for retail is to set your goals. What do you want to achieve with your digital marketing campaigns?

Some common goals for digital marketing campaigns include:

  • Increasing brand awareness: suppose you have an online clothing boutique, and you want to increase awareness of your brand among potential customers. In this case, you might want to focus on digital marketing channels like social media and content marketing.
  • Generating leads: suppose you have a home improvement retail store, and you want to generate leads for your sales team. In this case, you might want to focus on digital marketing channels like PPC advertising and SEO.
  • Increasing online retail sales: suppose you have an eCommerce store and you want to increase your online sales. In this case, you'll want to focus on digital marketing channels like email marketing and affiliate marketing.

Once you've decided on your goals, you can move on to step two.

2. Identify your target audience

The next step in creating an effective digital marketing strategy is to identify your target audience. Who are you trying to reach with your digital marketing campaigns?

Conducting market research is the best way to identify your target audience. You can use a variety of market research methods, including surveys, interviews, and focus groups.

You can also carry out some research yourself by observing your current customer base. Consider who your best customers are and try to identify any common characteristics they share.

Finally, a buyer persona is a fictionalised representation of your ideal customer based on your research. Once you've created your buyer persona, you'll have a much better idea of who you should be targeting with your digital marketing campaigns.

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3. Choose the right digital marketing channels

Once you've set your goals and identified your target audience, it's time to choose the right digital marketing channels. There are a number of different channels to choose from, and the best ones for your business will depend on your goals, target audience, and budget.

Taking an omnichannel approach is often the best strategy, as this allows you to reach your target audience through a variety of channels. For example, suppose you were carrying out a Black Friday marketing campaign. You might use a mix of channels like PPC advertising, social media, email marketing, and in-store marketing.

Understanding digital marketing trends and retail trends will help you find the best channel.

4. Create high-quality content

Once you've chosen your digital marketing channels, it's time to start creating high-quality content. This is the key to success with any digital marketing campaign.

Your content should be well-written, informative, and engaging. It should also be relevant to your target audience and aligned with your goals. For example, if you're trying to increase brand awareness, your content should be shareable and informative. If you're trying to generate leads, your content should be designed to capture lead information.

Creating high-quality content can be a time-consuming and difficult process, but it's essential if you want to succeed with digital marketing.

10 digital marketing strategies for retail

1. Create a strong social media presence

According to Statistica, 93% of social media marketers use Facebook and 78% use Instagram [1]. Social media is a powerful tool for retail marketers, and it can be used to achieve a variety of goals, from increasing brand awareness to generating leads and sales.

Creating a strong social media presence starts with setting up accounts on the right platforms. Choose the platforms that are most popular with your target audience and where you think you'll be able to achieve the best results.

Once you've set up your accounts, start creating high-quality content that is relevant to your target audience. Post regularly and interact with your followers to create a strong relationship with them.

2. Use email marketing

64% of small businesses use email marketing efforts to reach new customers [2]

Retail email marketing can be a great way to increase sales and build customer loyalty.

Retail marketers should start by building a database of email addresses from their current customers. You can do this by collecting email addresses when customers make a purchase or sign up for your newsletter.

Once you have your customer data, start sending out regular emails with exclusive offers, new product announcements, and other relevant information.

3. Implement a loyalty program

Loyalty programs are a great way to encourage customers to keep coming back to your retail store.

There are a number of different ways you can structure your loyalty program, but the most common approach is to give points for every purchase that customers make. These points can then be redeemed for discounts, free products, or other benefits.

With our retail POS system or hospitality POS, you can integrate your loyalty program and automatically award points to customers for every purchase they make.

Check out our marketing and loyalty integrations on our app store. 

4. Run targeted marketing campaigns

Targeted marketing campaigns are a great way to increase sales and encourage customers to try new products.

There are a number of different ways to target your marketing campaigns, but the most common approach is to use demographics like age, location, and gender.

For example, you might run a marketing campaign targeting young mothers who live in your city. This could involve discounts on baby products, free shipping on orders over a certain amount, or other benefits. 

5. Offer free shipping

Free shipping is one of the most effective ways to increase online sales. According to Invesp, 93% of online buyers are encouraged to buy more products if free shipping options are available [3].

If you're not already offering free shipping, start doing so on orders over a certain amount. You can also offer free shipping for a limited time to encourage customers to buy now.

6. Use retargeting ads

Retargeting ads are a great way to increase sales by reminding customers of products they've viewed on your website but didn't purchase.

When a customer views a product on your website, a cookie is placed on their computer. This cookie is then used to show them ads for that product as they browse other websites.

Suppose you ran a Christmas marketing campaign and a customer viewed a product on your website but didn't purchase it. With retargeting ads, you could show them ads for that product as they browse other websites in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This would remind them of the product and increase the chances that they'll buy it.

7. Create a blog

Creating a blog is a great way to improve your website's SEO and attract more visitors from search engines.

When you create blog posts, make sure to include the following:

  • Relevant keywords
  • Links to your website
  • Internal links to other blog posts

Suppose you sell payment processing services. In that case, you could write a blog post about "7 Ways To Reduce Payment Processing Fees For Your Business." This post would include relevant keywords like "payment processing" and "credit card processing," as well as links to your website and other blog posts.

8. Use social proof

Social proof is a powerful psychological phenomenon that occurs when people see others doing something. They are more likely to do it themselves.

For example, if you see a friend wearing a new product, you're more likely to buy that product yourself. 

You can use social proof in your marketing by featuring:

  • Customer testimonials
  • Social media reviews
  • User-generated content

9. Offer discounts and coupons

Discounts and coupons are a great way to encourage customers to make a purchase.

There are a number of different ways to offer discounts and coupons, but the most common approach is to use promo codes. These codes can be entered at checkout to receive a discount on the order.

You can also offer discounts and coupons through email marketing or social media. For example, you could run a Twitter campaign where customers can get a discount by tweeting about your product.

10. Improve your website's speed and usability

The speed and usability of your website are important factors in determining whether people will make a purchase.

If your website is slow or difficult to navigate, people are less likely to stick around and make a purchase. On the other hand, if your website is fast and easy to use, people are more likely to have a positive experience and be more likely to make a purchase.

Final thoughts

The retail sector is increasingly competitive, and businesses need to find ways to stand out from the crowd.

Digital marketing is a great way to reach more customers and increase sales. However, it's important to create a strategy that is tailored to the unique needs of the retail industry.

By following the tips in this article, you can create a digital marketing strategy that will help you attract more customers and boost sales for your retail business. 


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