How to Get Started in Retail Marketing

Written by Danielle Collard

Online Marketing Desk

How to Get Started With Retail Email Marketing

It’s easy to overlook email when marketing your business. In our personal inbox, we are very used to filtering out as much spam as possible. Many retailers' emails get filed in this way and thus never get a look in.

However, email marketing has the greatest return on investment of all kinds, and can be used to bring new customers in as well as maintain existing ones with better engagement and new sales.

But if email marketing isn’t something you’ve done before, it might feel a little daunting to contact so many customers and potential customers at once. So here’s some advice to help get you started.

Establishing a sign-up process

The first important point to note in this process is that emailing your customers without consent is more likely to cost you customers and reputation than to help drum up business. But these days, businesses take customer emails all the time. So ensuring that you take customer emails during points of contact and then taking marketing consent can provide you with a useful selection of email addresses.

Retailers sending receipts via email is fast becoming industry standard. When this information is taken, it takes very little time to confirm consent for marketing emails as part of that process.

If a purchase or customer account is made online, as many are, a tickbox confirming whether the customer would like to receive marketing emails or not can establish consent. If purchasing in person or contacting the business over the phone, this simply means asking the question after taking the email.

Following a positive answer, the customer can then be placed in your marketing lists, and you can rest easy knowing you’ve followed retail email marketing best practice.

Different types of email marketing

As you build your email list, it’s important to have an email marketing strategy to manage your relationship with that customer. Inundating new customers with messages, or only contacting them once in a blue moon, will lead to that person disengaging with the business. That’s why considered contact for specific reasons is the key to success.

Welcome emails

Contacting new customers with information they may find useful and introducing them to the business is a common and unimposing form of marketing that most customers are happy to experience. Whether this is a customer intending to make a one-off purchase, or a new, local customer you can expect to see more of, customers can find these emails very useful and they can often lead to future sales and greater customer loyalty.

While a welcome email may be a light, easy read for the guest, it’s crucial to consider which information to include in a welcome email. Write too little information in a welcome email and it will be quickly discarded as aimless contact (which could reduce the efficacy of future emails as well). But excessive upselling content in an email can have a similar effect. 

However, a tailored email that provides a balance of sales offers and upselling with content of interest, such as company details and ethos, and contact information can give the emails utility customers appreciate. Balancing need-to-know information with intriguing commercial offers makes these kinds of marketing communications subtle sellers.

Promotional and seasonal campaigns

Retailers are often running promotions and discounts in some form, with Christmas and Black Friday, Easter and summer sales all bringing in special opportunities for consumers to find great deals. Making the most of these vital opportunities inevitably involves implementing a retail email marketing strategy to get the word out on great offers that will set your business apart from the competition. 

Choosing the right moment and material to achieve this is crucial, then building interest through the right subject line and composition is no easy feat, but getting it right can have a big impact on your conversion rates.

If this kind of marketing is something you feel you may struggle with, there are many retail email examples available online, and guides to help you understand what principles you need to follow. Epos Now has written articles explaining the four Ps and seven Ps of marketing respectively, but in short, these are:

  • Product - Promotional emails do not tend to simply advertise the business, but a specific product (or range of products) that the customer can purchase which fulfils an anticipated need that they have.
  • Place - Raising awareness of where customers can make purchases is key. This is made easier in an eCommerce email marketing strategy. The best ecommerce emails will have direct links to products allowing customers to easily make purchases should they wish. For other retailers, advertising where and when they can make purchases should be obvious as soon as customers see your communication.
  • Price - The reader of your email will be aware they are reading marketing material, so informing them of the price is essential in your material. Pricing a product is difficult as going too high or too low can both be off-putting for some customers.
  • Promotion - The product mentioned in your email will need to be remarkable in some way. This may be because it is discounted and you can advertise the knock-down price or special offer. Or the product may be sold in a unique way and for a limited time which provides urgency to the customer and motive for the email.

Any good email marketing for retail example will have product, place, price and promotion that complement each other to make an appealing offer to the customer enticing them into purchases.

Abandoned cart emails

Email marketing for retail stores with online channels can be personalised and work with high conversion rates when focusing on remarketing products customers have showed interest in. The statistics on the success of this kind of email campaign shows a 55% increase spend in customers who previously abandoned their shopping baskets[1].

These emails are quite simple in structure and can be automated. An email template would have a simple message such as “Still thinking about it?”, then details and images of abandoned products with links for completion.

These personalized emails are a fantastic way to generate revenue and customer engagement while cultivating loyal customers through cheap marketing strategies.

The Newsletter

Marketing can also be carried out through a regular newsletter that can be a similar, subtle seller to the welcome email. Newsletters inform customers of changes to the industry, the business, and can contain interesting articles about a number of other topics.

Newsletters, rather than being purposed around selling specific products or services (though they can do this), sell and cultivate stronger ties between your business and your customers. A customer that regularly reads your newsletter experiences a narrative about the life of your business and its people, building an emotional relationship. They will also have greater product knowledge as a result of this.

Managing your relationship with customers through a newsletter is, therefore, every bit as valuable as more direct marketing. It makes it more difficult for people to lose touch with your business and ensures that when they think about the products you sell, your business will be one that comes to mind.

Accepting the value of newsletters in business doesn’t make understanding what should be included any easier. However, none of the below options would be out of place in a newsletter:

  • A summary of recent events in the business including new staff members, staff achievements, expansion or construction carried out and new product lines.
  • Details of future plans regarding events, expansion or construction planning and upcoming seasonal offers.
  • Positive product reviews and comparison pieces with competing products, alongside attendance figures and non-financial business statistics.
  • Articles on the community, industry or local area including recent news and points of debate. Attracting customers to the area also attracts them to the business.
  • Personal stories from staff, customers or other affiliated figures about the business, and experiences had with the business.

Any and all of these features go well in a newsletter, though paying for the production of this content can be a little more expensive. For this reason, a newsletter doesn’t need to be extensively long, nor does it need to be all that frequent. Smaller businesses might publish two to four newsletters each year to good effect, although a monthly newsletter is perhaps an ideal frequency if it can be achieved.

Making the most of your system

Regardless of the method you use to market your business, a positive tone and exciting information to impart to your reader is an excellent start. Epos Now have plenty more resources to help you gain confidence in this key part of business.

Integrating Mailchimp to your system can help you with marketing automation, giving you more time to work on email quality. Mailchimp provides the opportunity to tailor your communications based on purchasing behaviour and customer tastes, benefiting from dedicated marketing analytics and reports.

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