The Role of Retail Marketing

Sale Sign image by TekinT from

Retail marketing is an essential component of an overall marketing strategy. It supports the use of external marketing campaign efforts including advertising, events and promotions. Retail marketing tactics include in-store signage, copies of newspaper sales circulars, coupons, demonstrations and in-aisle promotions and displays. Effectively executed, retail marketing serves to “close” the sale once shoppers come inside the store. Incentives and navigational devices are strategically used to sell specially advertised products and cross-sell additional products and services.

Support Advertising

Retail advertising is used inside of stores to support national, regional and local advertising. For example, if a national manufacturer for detergent is conducting a television commercial campaign offering consumers 20 percent off for a limited time, the role of retail marketing is to provide support via signage and displays inside of stores when shoppers arrive to support the effort.

Drive Category Sales

Manufacturers and distributors for products sold in stores are “categorized” by the type of product they offer to retail customers. Products sold in grocery stores are defined in terms of categories for food, beverage, laundry, snacks and other categories. Department stores are categorized in terms of clothing, furnishings, décor, perfume and more. The top sellers within each respective category compete to become the “category leader.” By becoming the category leader the manufacturer gains authority and credibility to recommend an increase of how much space they can obtain for the products and brands carried inside of the store.

Cross-Selling and Up-Selling

Retail marketing also includes strategies and tactics to cross-sell and “up-sell" products and merchandise to increase overall expenditures by each shopper. During the summer barbecue season a grocery store might combine and “cross-sell” a promotion that gives shoppers 50 percent off on the purchase of fire lighting fluid with the purchase of a 10-lb. bag of charcoal. The up-sell strategy could be to give the fire lighting fluid free with the purchase of a 20-lb. bag of charcoal.

Shopper Navigation

Aisle and category signage and other devices to direct shoppers to locate products is a role of retail marketing whose importance should never be underestimated. A busy mom needs clear directional signage to get to the right store aisle to purchase what she wants. A husband depends on store navigation to guide him to the right shelf to purchase a drug medication needed for his children, while the wife is at home giving care. Shopper marketing experts estimate that a shopper can spend less than four seconds in making a decision on what to purchase on a retail shelf. Providing proper navigation to the appropriate aisles and store shelves helps guide customers to products and generate merchandise sales.

Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management (CRM) is the term used to describe information captured about shoppers. The information is used to develop databases that can be mined to target consumers based on their geography, product preferences, expenditures and more. CRM is a tool that savvy retail marketers use to develop advertising, promotions and events by offering products and services that align with the tastes and preferences of their customers and shoppers.



About the Author

Cheryl Munson has been writing since 1990, with experience as a writer and creative director in the advertising industry. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a focus on advertising from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

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