How Do I Develop a Retail Marketing Strategy?

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  • Written By: Helen Akers
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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Developing a retail marketing strategy involves market research, product and promotional mix planning, budgeting, and evaluation. A retail marketing strategy may include a combination of physical store locations and online traffic generation or fulfillment. It also includes store layout and schematic strategies to drive impulse purchases.

A solid retail marketing strategy begins with research that identifies the potential target market. Research will also evaluate and discover how a firm is perceived by customers. Firms will use a special type of analysis to determine how their products compare to the competition. In the process, a firm's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) are identified, not just in relation to direct competition, but according to overall market conditions. This SWOT analysis also includes considerations for certain legal requirements and talent acquisition strategies.

When a firm identifies a potential target market, it also gathers data on what that customer is looking for. The company then comes up with a way to position or differentiate itself from the competition, particularly if the array of products or services is very similar. For example, when grocery companies develop a retail marketing strategy they look for a few qualities and characteristics that their company can specialize in to provide a competitive advantage. Some retail companies may emphasize having more locations for convenience, while others may play up higher service levels.


An important aspect of any retail marketing strategy is location. In order to effectively reach the target market, store locations should be placed in neighborhoods where the demographics of the average resident meet the profile of the target customer. These demographics commonly include age, family size, education, and income levels. For example, grocery stores that emphasize a pleasant shopping experience, service and product quality over an everyday low price might find it more beneficial to locate in more affluent neighborhoods or shopping centers.

Some retailers employ Internet and direct marketing to drive store traffic and fulfill customer needs. This may include the ability to shop for products online and have them delivered to or picked up at a store location. Part of developing a retail marketing strategy is implementing sales tactics and fulfillment methods that will appeal to customer needs while being cost effective.

Store design and layout is another important aspect of developing a retail marketing plan. Product mix and shelf arrangement is usually based on consumer buying habits, preferences, and store level sales. Sometimes referred to as schematics, product lines are arranged in certain groups to draw customer attention towards particular products and make the store layout visually appealing.

Strategies also involve establishing objectives and ways to measure whether they were accomplished. Objectives are usually established for a specific time period and revised as necessary. Performance is continuously monitored in order to compare actual results against the company's goals.


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