What Is Retail Marketing?

Carrieanne Larmore

Retail marketing refers to the activities in place for reaching out to the retail business’s target consumers. It a specialized area of marketing that focuses on the specific needs of the retail industry. Retail marketing uses the marketing mix to specify its products or services, pricing strategy, location and distribution points and packaging strategy. Information on a company’s retail marketing plan can be viewed within its business plan or by researching its marketing mix.

Woman selling sunglasses.
Woman selling sunglasses.

While marketing is a general study that can be applied to most industries, retail marketing focuses on the specific needs of retailers. Most business schools offer courses or entire degree programs in retail marketing, as retailers are finding value in having employees trained in this specialized area. For instance, retail marketers must be knowledgeable of shelving space strategies, store atmospherics and differences between retailer classifications.

Retailers strive to reach the customer.
Retailers strive to reach the customer.

Branding and product promotion are two significant areas of retail marketing. The business will need to create a strong brand image by developing relationships with customers, producing convincing advertisement campaigns and responding to customer feedback. Product promotion is the strategy retailers use in order to entice more customers to come through their doors, for example by being located in a strategic area, opening later in the evening or offering unique merchandise that is not available locally. Retail marketing is the combination of all a business's efforts to attract shoppers, as opposed to focusing solely on product pricing and offering discounts.

Creating a retail marketing plan or strategy is done by taking a business's strategic plan and goals and applying the marketing mix to reach those goals. A marketing mix consists of decisions about the product, price, place, promotion and packaging. After deciding what it plans on doing for each category of the marketing mix, the business should then consider its retail marketing strategies based on those decisions.

Business plans are a common place to find a business’s retail marketing plan or strategy. In general, a business plan is created when a start-up company searches for partnerships or applies for financing opportunities. The company must be able to display a strong marketing strategy to prove it will likely be successful. The business plan must show that the marketing plan is in line with the business’s goals and seems realistic, and does not conflict with the business’s mission and goals.

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