The Difference Between Retail Marketing & Marketing

by Neil Kokemuller; Updated September 26, 2017
Sales promotions represent one market approach common to retailers.

The definition of marketing is the "management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer," according to the Business Dictionary. It includes the commonly referenced "Four P's of Marketing", or the marketing mix, which consists of integration of product, place (or distribution), price, and promotion factors. London South Bank University notes in its "Retail Marketing Unit Guide" that retail marketing is simply applying marketing principles in a retail business.

Distribution Channel

A main consideration in retail marketing is the influence of the distribution channel and supply chain management processes. As explained by Business Dictionary, the distribution channel is the movement of goods from the manufacturer to the distributor to the retailer, who then markets them to the end customer. Each step in the flow of goods leads to price markups, cost considerations, and affects the ultimate value received by the consumer. Retail marketers consider the value proposition provided by their distribution channel partners or providers, in communicating marketing messages to the end customer.

Sales Promotions

Sales promotions are a marketing approach common to resellers. Organizations that are not resellers of products are less likely to engage in sales promotions than retailers or those that sell to retailers. "Sales promotion refers to many kinds of incentives and techniques directed toward consumers and traders with the intention to produce immediate or short-term sales effects," according to the sales promotion definition provided by the website Dry Pen. Retailers use sales promotions as part of marketing plans for various reasons. These include building a customer base, contributing to value-oriented business philosophy, clearing out excess merchandise, building excitement for the business, and generating immediate cash to cover debt and expense obligations in the short-term.

Customer Relationship Management

TechTarget explains in its "What is CRM?" overview that CRM, or customer relationship management, is a business marketing system. It involves a company-wide approach using software and marketing principles to build customer relationships, analyze data for more targeted marketing, and to enhance the total customer experience. While any customer or client-driven organization can benefit from a CRM program, it most links to retailers because of the systems and goal of building long-term customer relationships. Retailers use point-of-sale tools in-store, on the web, or through other customer touch points (points of interaction with the retailer) to established customer relationships and to begin collecting data. They analyze data for more targeted marketing efforts to specific customers. Access to more information about customers also enables a more personalized customer experience.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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