Increase retail sales with an innovative marketing strategy
Retailers invest resources, money, and effort into running holiday marketing campaigns to grab their audiences’ attention.
What does that look like for customers?
You could pick an average shopper off the street, ask them to open up their promotional folder in their inbox, and sift through hundreds of retail marketing messages, most of which are probably unopened.
How can retailers stand out among all the retail noise? Your marketing communication strategy will help you get there if carefully crafted and executed.
Let’s look at how retailers can build an innovative strategy to increase sales and drive better customer engagement.
Retail sales statistics
So, where do we start?
Understanding customers’ past behaviors and analyzing data is at the core of creating a good strategy. Let’s break down some need-to-know statistics for retailers to remember when crafting their marketing strategies.
Online retail sales
Statista reported that in 2020, there was a 20% spike in online sales compared to 2019, resulting in $644 billion in revenue in the USA alone.
That’s a considerable jump from the 10% increase in 2018. Online sales continue to grow, and customers are not returning to pre-pandemic days of buying in stores. By 2025, the projected growth of eCommerce retail revenue is around $1.3 trillion.
Customers are increasingly shopping online but still want to have in-store experiences. If you are a brick-and-mortar store, consider deploying a web shop or app if you haven’t already.
of customers shop online once a month
of online customers report shopping internationally
You can increase the reach of your customer base by offering your products online and boost loyalty and traffic with customers who love to browse online stores regularly.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales
The shopping season is hectic for shoppers and retailers alike. You want to grab the attention of customers when they are more likely to complete purchases than during other seasons:
- 87.12 million online shoppers spent $9.12 billion on Black Friday 2022
- 77 million online shoppers spent $11.3 billion on Cyber Monday 2022
- 59% of Cyber Monday shoppers completed purchases on their mobile phones
Social media retail sales
More millennials are buying products through social media platforms, but not all retailers are jumping on this new opportunity.
Learn more from our Enterprise Team Lead, James Stokes, as he talks about how social media and technology play a significant role in the advancement of retail:
How retailers used the Infobip platform in 2022
Customers increasingly use their devices and social media to explore retail shops and browse products. That means retailers should be meeting customers where they are – on their devices.
We analyzed over 448 billion B2C interactions on our communication platform in 2022. Retail and eCommerce businesses have been using various channels to communicate with customers year after year.
Here are the ways our customers are interacting with their end users to help them improve engagement and drive more sales:
- 55% of companies have adopted more than one channel
- Mobile app messaging increased by 242%
- WhatsApp interactions grew by 101%
- WhatsApp + SMS channel combination grew by 28%
Marketing strategies and examples to increase retail sales
1. Start with data
Your retail marketing strategy must be data driven. Over the years, you’ve collected lots of customer data and most likely have data on holiday shopping habits. It’s time to unify that data in one place and examine customer behaviors and interests to create a rock-solid messaging strategy.
- Segment your customers based on their demographics, average order value, purchase frequency, and behavior to provide offers targeted to their needs
- Dig into last year’s data to find out which products drove maximum sales
- Identify your most loyal customers and give them an exclusive offer or preview before opening it up to everyone else
2. Make it personal
It is time to look at targeted communication campaigns to cut through the noise. With price slashing being the norm for the shopping season, personalization will help you stand out.
Know your customers, create tailor-made offers, build segmented campaigns, and be creative.
For example, if you’re an electronics brand, promote relevant high-range products to high-value customers. Use contextual information and address them by their first name to make it personal.
4. Run engagement campaigns
To engage your customers, run targeted messaging campaigns across your digital channels, including email, WhatsApp, Viber, SMS, RCS, and any other preferred channel. From welcoming new customers to reminding existing customers of an abandoned cart, ensure you have all your engagement campaigns set up.
- Notify customers about certain offers such as free shipping, next day delivery or click and collect options
- Remind customers about the return process and offer an extended return period
- Create referral bonuses for loyal customers
3. Setup your website and app
Any retailer aims to have high and steady traffic to their web shop. This traffic can drastically increase during the holiday season, which means your website and app must be ready to take on the traffic and enhance the customer experience in a scalable manner. Remember, creating a seamless experience can boost your conversion rate.
- Provide a seamless checkout for all mobile and website users with a secure payment gateway to boost conversion rates and add consistency along all devices
- Setup automated campaigns that lead customers straight to your web shop or app to complete purchases based on their actions and behaviors
- Add price alerts for specific products or categories before they go on sale for customers with your app
4. Prepare for delivery and returns
Nothing is more frustrating than a failed delivery or a complicated return process. A good customer experience for returns could encourage customers to shop with you again. Marketing yourself as a smooth operator for deliveries and returns and fulfilling your promises is essential.
- Offer 24/7 support with a chatbot that can inform customers on the ETA of their deliveries or return
- Use digital tracking to keep customers in the loop and not wondering where their package is
- Set automated reminders to remind customers closer to the return date in case they wish to return the order and avoid disappointment
5. Campaign to retain customers
Once the shopping season is over, your customer engagement doesn’t end there. It’s time to boost loyalty and retain new customers. Many customers look for the best deal during the shopping season and are likely to be enticed by discounts.
Build on this and incentivize new customers by:
- Incentivizing them to take specific actions- like a 10% discount if they leave feedback
- A personalized message on an item they were interested in but is out of stock
- The chance to have access to loyal customer privileges by making another purchase
Retail marketing campaign example
Shopping season can mean many popular items are out-of-stock, but that doesn’t mean sales need to slow down. Try building an automated back-in-stock campaign to ensure customers remember items on their wish list or in their carts. It’s a great and simple way to increase sales and ensure the busy season extends well past the new year.
1. Send back-in-stock alerts as items hit your warehouse
When your new shipment arrives and the item is back in stock, send an alert to customers waiting for that item. The product availability reminder must be specific and concise, with a call to action to encourage your customer to pick up where they left off.
Sending these alerts on the right channel changes how customers will act. Here are a few popular channels that can help you make sure customers see your back-in-stock updates and act on them:
- SMS: With 70% of people opening SMS messages within 5 minutes, it’s a great way to send alerts and ensure they are seen. Customers can follow a hyperlink to your website and add the back-in-stock item to their cart.
- WhatsApp: 86% of customers will pay more for better experiences, and you can offer them a seamless experience with WhatsApp. Send back-in-stock messages over this popular channel to ensure customers see the alert and provide easy ability to order the item instantly within the chat app conversation.
These messages remind the customer of items on their wish list. They also show that you understand how they want to communicate with you and add value to your interactions.
2. Allow customers to hold items by replying
Your customers are constantly on the go. Make sure you offer services that work around their busy lives during the holidays. When items they love are back-in-stock, give them the option to reserve the item until they are ready to purchase by replying to your message.
Try using varying channels to get your customers’ attention for these back-in-stock or low-in-stock items. Send an initial email or SMS to notify them, and then if they do not act, send a follow-up message on WhatsApp or Viber. This will convey a sense of urgency and increase the likelihood of them completing the purchase. You will reach them through their preferred channel and secure a contact point for future communications.
3. Send links to purchase other items you carry
Let your customer know if you cannot get the out-of-stock items in time for holiday delivery. Use the opportunity to flag alternative items in stock that might address their needs. Be very specific with your suggestions for other options:
- Suggest items under the same brand, competitor, or previous versions
- Suggest the same or similar items in a different style, color, or brand
- List items that other customers purchased instead of the first choice
Use chat apps or Rich Communication Services (RCS) to send images and videos to customers to showcase the items. You will add greater value to messages by adding visuals, and your interactions will lead to higher conversions.
4. Follow up with a discount
If you won’t be able to get the item back-in-stock, send a discount code for another item in your store. You can tie the discount code into the alternatives you suggested in previous messages or offer a personalized discount code.
Personalization is more than showing you know their first name. Analyze behaviors and past purchases to send relevant discounts and promotions they are more likely to act on. You could use geo-targeting features to entice customers to visit your local store. Send them push notifications near your location to let them know about a sale or special offers.
Sending these messages on WhatsApp, Viber, Messenger, SMS will make their customer experience as seamless as possible and help ensure your engagement converts to sales.
Retail marketing after the holidays
Having a data-driven and relevant marketing strategy prepared will help your retail business get the most out of the holiday shopping season. But don’t stop there. Retaining your holiday shoppers is a goal every retailer should have in order to improve their bottom line all year round. Utilizing these tips and creating a solid marketing plan for this shopping season is just the beginning. Connect with your customers using personalized messaging over their favorite channels to continue the success all year round.
Retain holiday shoppers and grow your business
Download our Black Friday eBook to learn how to convert holiday shoppers into loyal customers.