Last updated: 3 retail marketing strategies to grow engagement, loyalty, and sales

3 retail marketing strategies to grow engagement, loyalty, and sales


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When brick-and-mortar shops closed during COVID, the online floodgates burst open. A tidal wave of new customers arrived, credit cards in hand, ready to use any online channels to buy what they no longer could in the physical world.

With comparatively little effort on the part of retail marketers, acquisition surged. However, as that traffic slowed, they faced a fresh set of challenges: How could they use the wealth of newly acquired first-party data to keep those customers coming back?

To tackle this problem, they needed to switch their focus from acquisition to customer relationship management.

Savvy retail marketers quickly realized that to keep sales rolling in, they had to create engaging experiences, and to create engaging experiences, they needed to develop a deeper understanding of their customers.

Emarsys’ unPredictions report confirmed this fact. Of the 500 retail marketers, retailers, and related marketing groups polled, almost half of them said that understanding their customers better was a top priority.

Let’s take a look at three proven retail marketing strategies that can help you get closer to your customers for the kind of engagement that produces tangible, positive business outcomes:

  1. Deliver personalized content at scale
  2. Create a compelling, engaging customer experience
  3. Take retail marketing omnichannel

Retail marketing strategy: Use data to make real connections

If they want to grab the attention of their customers and keep it fixed firmly on their brand, retail marketers need to focus on creating personalized content at scale.

To be effective and set their brands apart from competitors, this needs to go deeper than first names in subject lines. This is where data comes in.

As customers flocked online, retailers gained a digital treasure trove of valuable first-party data, and with this came powerful personalization potential.

By using the right retail marketing platform to connect their first-party data, retail marketers can break down data silos, gain a holistic view of their customers, transform data into insights and deliver meaningful, personalized content.

By engaging with meaningful content from retail brands, customers will feel appreciated, understood and more likely to connect with brands, increasing customer lifetime value (CLTV).

Ditch the batch-and-blast messaging

As many as 93% of consumers have admitted to receiving marketing messages that do not relate to them in any way.

Solving this problem is essential for effective retail marketing, and the best way to do it is by harnessing the power of segmentation.

We’ve come a long way from the days of marketers manually uploading spreadsheets to create customer segments. With the right retail marketing automation platform, you can now create AI-powered segments that auto-populate based on key customer behaviors and lifecycle stages including:

  1. Browsing behavior
  2. Purchase likelihood
  3. Churn risk
  4. Loyalty status
  5. Average Order Value (AOV)
  6. CLTV

With these dynamic segments in place, you can create and automate customer lifecycle campaigns populated with relevant, personalized content that keeps retail customers engaged and drives repeat sales.

Retail marketing, personalized & optimized

Contrary to popular belief, this kind of highly targeted personalization doesn’t take more time away from marketers. Instead, it decreases the frequency and amount of interaction needed for each customer.

By cutting through the noise of generic, mass communications, personalized marketing can deliver significantly improved results from fewer engagements.

Paired with marketing analytics, retail marketers can better plan their next move instead of sending out another irrelevant campaign email. Done right, personalized emails sent to the right person at the right time lead to positive outcomes for all involved.

Create a compelling, engaging customer experience

Once a brand understands its customers, the next step is to nurture those relationships.

Quality customer experiences are vital in any retail marketing strategy, and the research is there to back this up — in fact, 92% of customers give up on a brand after two or three negative experiences.

As a result, retail marketers need to identify what makes a positive experience for each customer and create tailored journeys that demonstrate they are valued and recognized.

Analytics can uncover what drives sales for individual consumers, such as their favorite sections on the website, amount of time spent on each page, which products they prefer and more.

By generating meaningful experiences rather than sending out generic messaging, retailers have a higher chance of retaining customers and fending off competitors while reducing wasted time and effort.

Omnichannel marketing: Retail must-have 

Omnichannel is an essential retail marketing strategy, and a necessary step for modern customers who expect to experience a consistent journey regardless of the channel they choose.

Meeting customers in their preferred channel has rewards that retail marketers can’t afford to ignore, and the research is there to back this up.

A Forrester survey revealed that customer-obsessed brands using an omnichannel strategy are more likely than brands that aren’t customer focused to have:

  • Higher profits: 62% of customer-obsessed firms said their omnichannel strategy drove a bigger bottom line
  • More loyalty: 54% of respondents say their omnichannel efforts improved loyalty and retention.
  • Better customer interactions: 52% of respondents say omnichannel increased individual customer engagement.

Omnichannel marketing relies on a data-driven, AI-based approach to analyzing intricate information such as customer behavior, favored channels, and lifecycle stage in order to send tailored messages through the right channels.

This process leads to a highly personalized customer experience, which has a greater likelihood of driving business outcomes.

Take back your marketing power

With a wealth of powerful technology available, there’s no better time for retail marketers to set their sights back on customer experience.

By getting to know their customers and focusing on creating compelling, meaningful engagements, retail marketers can regain their power and see amazing results.

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