As a business owner, you understand the importance of customer satisfaction and retention, especially when consumers have access to thousands of competitors at their fingertips. Retail industry statistics show that about 77% of retail shoppers use their mobile devices to search for products or services or research competitors’ products online before making their purchase decisions.
Retailers need to have an extra touch of creativity, innovation and top-notch marketing strategy to retain customers and sustain their businesses. Traditional marketing is no longer enough to achieve these goals.
Some latest trends retail marketers employ to ensure customer satisfaction include:
- Online marketing
- Digital loyalty programs
- Influencer marketing
- Contactless shopping
- Interactive retail experience
In this article, we will explain retail marketing in detail and help you learn how to use services such as PassKit to create digital passes for your loyalty programs. PassKit helps you increase customer loyalty and retention rates, promote contactless commerce, and seamlessly integrate with Apple Wallet and Google Pay. If you want to see if it is a good fit for your business, start a 45-day free trial and check it out today.
Now, let’s start with the basics of retail marketing.
What is retail marketing?
Retail marketing refers to promoting products and services directly to the consumers through different online and offline marketing channels. Retail marketing helps you create a lasting impression, build a solid relationship, and provide a memorable experience to your customers.
Retail marketing mix
Like the 4 Ps of traditional marketing — product, promotion, pricing and place — we also have the retail marketing mix, which includes people and presentation. You can also refer to this retail marketing mix as the 6 Ps of retail marketing or the retail marketing principles because they serve as a guide or formula to success in your business. Let’s explore each principle.
Product refers to your offer, be it an actual product or a service. Your offer should provide value to customers and solve their problems.
If you want to stand out amongst your competitors, you need to understand your target audience, identify their pain points, offer something that satisfies their needs and provide them a personalized customer experience.
Having the right pricing strategy is a game-changer. It can be tricky for most retailers because they fear overcharging or undercharging their products or services. While overcharging might make you seem greedy, undercharging might make your product or service seem worthless.
The key is to develop a competitive pricing strategy. You need to conduct market research and ensure that your product is valuable for whatever price you decide on while securing that your production cost is also covered.
As long as your products or services are helpful to your customers and solve a significant need, the right customers will pay.
Place refers to a location where you plan to sell your product or service. It could be a brick-and-mortar store, an online store, a digital marketplace, or a combination of all or any of them. With the rise in technological advancements, you do not need to have a physical store before reaching your target audience.
It’s important to say that the placement of your business largely depends on your target audience and the type of product or service you offer. While some consumers may prefer to shop online, others would rather walk into physical stores to make their purchases. The goal is to find out what your target customers prefer or expect and leverage it.
Promotions help you create awareness for your brand and communicate with your customers in a language they understand. Understanding your customers, their purchase habits and the right channels to find them will be highly beneficial at this stage. Even with the best product, price, and placement, it is hard for your customer to know about you without effective promotion.
There are different ways you can promote your services or products and they include:
- Online campaigns
- Online sales
- Pop up shop sales
- Special offers, deals and discounts
- Face-to-face marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Social media challenges
- Branded merchandise
- Public relations and more.
Regardless of your target audience, services and products, establishing both an online and offline marketing presence and finding a healthy balance would benefit you.
It mainly refers to the front-liners of your business, the ones that work directly with your customers. Knowing the best way to communicate with your customers can ensure customer satisfaction and give them a memorable experience.
You need to find the right people and inspire them to become passionate about your products and advocate for your customers. They need to know everything about your products or services because this influences how a customer views your product, service or even brand. On many occasions, when your product or service can fail to deliver, your people will save the day and keep your customers loyal.
It’s one thing to have a valuable product, and it’s another to present it as something that will provide value to your target customers and solve their pain points. You need to package your product or service desirably, as this can send the right message to your customers and influence their buying decisions.
It also has to do with presenting your company to your customers. You need to show your business as the best in the industry while providing value if you want to stand out positively.
Retail marketing strategies
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To stay at the top of your game and outdo your competitors, you need to show your customers the value they get from your business. You can achieve this by implementing the best retail marketing strategies besides your retail marketing mix. Some of these strategies include:
- Social media marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Omnichannel distribution
- Customer loyalty programs
- Referral programs
- Email marketing
- SMS marketing
- Digital advertising
- Giveaways, sales, discounts
- Fun contests or challenges
- Coupon management
- Constant market research
- Excellent customer service
- Personalized experience
- Post-purchase follow-up
- Gathering customer feedback
These are some of the creative strategies you can use to excel in today’s highly competitive retail industry.
Traditional retail marketing vs consumer-focused model
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Change is a constant occurrence in a fast-paced world. We have no option but to adapt if we want to stay at the top. This change affects many things, including the way we run our businesses.
Retailers leveraged traditional retail marketing strategies in the past, and they thrived. Today, consumer habits have changed, so doing business in the old ways will not help you if you want to succeed.
In traditional retail, the retailer established product choices without considering whether they would be suitable for customers.
The consumer-focused model places the customer at the center of their decisions. It focuses more on the consumers’ problems, and the retailers look for ways to provide solutions to their customers while considering the best pricing strategies for their products or services.
In other words, the customers should be the center of your marketing efforts if you want to improve your ROI.
Goals of retail marketing
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Different brands may have various goals, but all strive to attract customers and satisfy their needs by offering personalized services or products at a reasonable price.
Below are some common goals of retail marketing.
1. Understand your customers and their demands
You need to understand the needs of your target audience. Once you nail this aspect, it will be easier to tailor your products or services to meet their demands.
You can carry out surveys frequently to get feedback from customers and determine the best way to provide your service. To encourage them to leave feedback, you can offer incentives like discounts or coupons.
You can consider digital loyalty cards, membership cards, or coupons containing discounts, rewards, or special offers for your customers. Remember that these digital passes also give you insight into your customers’ purchase patterns, which helps you further understand their needs and evolve your product, pricing, promotion, people and placement.
2. Increase brand awareness
You might have the best product or offer the best service, but if your customers do not know about your business, then you are as good as non-existent. We have already established that the right marketing mix includes promoting your product or service. So, to attract new customers, you need to leverage different offline and online channels to tell people about your business.
A great way to make your brand memorable could be to create digital passes that align with your contemporary brand and leverage modern smartphone wallet applications. Use the PassKit design tool to claim your brand inside Apple Wallet and Google Pay and leverage the prime real estate on your customers’ smartphone lock screen with location-triggered messages and push notifications. Right now, this is a white-hot opportunity. Just by doing this, you will leapfrog your competition.
3. Build a loyal customer base
You can achieve this by establishing yourself as an authentic retailer with integrity. It is essential to consistently provide value and make your customers trust you to ensure a good reputation. It will help you increase customer retention rates in the long run.
Also, using services such as PassKit, you can modernize your loyalty program by giving existing customers real-time privileges and personalized offers. Not only will your customer retention rate grow, but loyal customers will rave about your business with their friends.
4. Meet sales targets
Meeting specific sales targets is undoubtedly on the checklist of every retailer as they want to sell their products and meet their financial goals to keep things running smoothly.
So take advantage of real-time information. If you know you are ahead of targets, let your loyal customers know they can enjoy a special deal. If you are under the target, you can quickly focus on your customers’ immediate needs and deliver. In times of need, leveraging your loyal customers – your fans – is not a weakness. It’s a strength.
Rewarding your loyal customers for their support when you are overachieving will keep them your fans for life.
5. Build an omnichannel marketing presence
Whether you have a physical or online retail store, it is ideal to leverage online and offline marketing strategies. Using digital channels and offline retail marketing campaigns is one sure way to stand out amongst other retailers and increase your profits.
Something as simple as a digital loyalty card in Apple Wallet or Google Pay can transform a retail shopping experience. Take advantage of PassKit’s digital asset linking.
You can place all the links to your digital assets on a pass. It helps your loyal customers transact with you and find relevant and valuable products and services.
Here is a small selection of the channels you can leverage:
- Social media platforms
- In-store visual merchandising
- Near-store visual merchandising
- Mobile apps
- Company websites
- Search engines
- NFC payment terminals
- Custom targeting on Facebook and Google
Today’s customers want to have options on how and where to make their purchase, so being able to make the process convenient for them regardless of their preference will leave a positive lasting impression.
6. Give your customers a memorable experience
Since retail marketing is consumer-focused, one of your goals as a retailer is to give your customers a memorable experience because, most times, people often remember how a brand made them feel more than the product or service itself.
You can have a great product, but if your customers experience horrible customer service or have a hard time purchasing or navigating your website, they will opt for a different brand that provides seamless processes and excellent customer service.
More proof is in the customer satisfaction statistics that showed that about 96% of customers globally consider customer service a significant factor in choosing a brand to be loyal to. The same statistics revealed that about 54% of consumers agree that they have higher customer service expectations from brands than they did about a year ago.
Therefore, it is essential to have the right customer experience strategy tailored for your customers to achieve this.
Types of retailer promotions
There are different ways many retailers promote their products or services on social media platforms or in their retail stores to drive sales. Let’s look at a few ways they can achieve this.
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BOGO, an acronym for Buy One Get One, is an intelligent way most retailers promote their products or services to their customers. Just as the name implies, the idea is to offer your customers an additional product or service for every purchase they make.
Whether you have a retail store or run your business strictly online, you can use this technique to promote your retail business and drive sales. You can either do this seasonally or incorporate it into your business weekly (e.g., every Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday).
2. Percentage or dollar-off discounts
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It is another popular form of promotion in which retailers offer their customers a certain percentage or discount on their purchases. Every customer loves a bargain, so discounts are a sure way to grab their attention.
You can be creative in how you decide to go about this offer. You could either give a discount for first-time purchases or return purchases. Another way could be to offer discounts for one item or multiple items.
Whatever means you choose, make sure that you have an attractive offer for your customers and ensure they feel special.
3. Customer loyalty program and rewards
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The goal of every retailer is to have a loyal customer base. There are several ways to reward your loyal customers and make them feel appreciated for their engagement with your business.
You could give them points for every purchase, which they can accumulate and unlock rewards based on their preferences. You can achieve this with Loopy Loyalty. It allows you to digitize the age-old ‘punch card’ (aka stamp card). For example, customers can buy ten coffees and get the next one free.
You can also incentivize loyalty through more sophisticated programs like membership (or fan) cards, loyalty (or points) cards, coupons, or vouchers. You can easily create these digital passes with loyalty platforms like PassKit. When customers feel appreciated or rewarded, they become even more loyal to the brand.
You must ensure that your loyalty program and rewards are digital or at the very least have a digital option. Don’t give outdated plastic cards that get forgotten or thrown in the bin or environmentally unfriendly paper coupons. You might think your customers will like the rewards – but the old technology will seriously hurt your efforts and potentially harm your brand.
The best loyalty and rewards programs let customers access them with apps they already trust and use. If you are as big as Starbucks or KFC, then developing, promoting, and maintaining your app might be a worthwhile investment, but you should reconsider this step if you have a limited budget.
When it comes to digital loyalty cards and rewards – it’s always better to ‘borrow’ connectivity and trust that consumers already have with Apple Wallet and Google Pay. Accessing this bleeding-edge technology can cost you as little as $500 per year, and you can even give it a try for 45 days for free.
4. Free shipping
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Offering free shipping to customers is a way to pique their interest, as they would instinctively use the shipping fee to purchase more items from your brand.
You can provide free shipping for purchases that surpass a certain amount, on certain days or for certain products, depending on what works best for you and your customers.
Collaborating with other brands is a sure way to boost brand awareness because it exposes you to the audience and resources of the brand you are partnering with, and vice versa. Beneficial collaborations like this not only drive sales but also fosters valuable connections.
6. Other ways to promote
- Gifts for every purchase
- Pay on delivery
- Try before buying
- Seasonal offers
- Flash sales
- Product giveaways
How mobile wallets affect retail marketing
It’s no news that digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay have gained popularity in the retail industry. It is mainly because modern customers love to carry out their transactions seamlessly. Also, retailers can use these mobile wallets to reward their customers with loyalty points and other benefits.
According to the 2020 Global Mobile Payment statistics, mobile wallets accounted for 44.5% of e-commerce transactions. Mobile wallets statistics also revealed that about 66% of consumers used mobile wallets payments regularly because it was more convenient than other methods.
Let’s see how mobile wallets can affect your retail business.
1. Mobile wallets encourage contactless payment
With mobile wallets, your customers can make payments directly from their phones without cash or credit cards. They can also store payment items in their mobile wallets and make payments whenever they want.
This payment method became acceptable, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. People could use it as a safe and germ-free way to make contactless payments and store coupons, loyalty cards, and gift cards on their phones. Depending on the technology, you can process payment through Near Field Communications (NFC), Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) or QR barcodes.
2. Mobile wallets boost your customer engagement
You can easily leverage mobile wallets marketing campaigns to engage your customers and notify them when you have offerings. They could get push notifications informing them about the latest products or services.
3. Mobile wallets improve the promotion of goods or services
When you promote your business through loyalty cards or digital coupons, you can send these to your customers via emails, text messages, social media platforms, or even through QR barcodes in your retail stores.
It means that you have a tool for reaching out to them to inform them about new services and products. If your customers store the coupons in their mobile wallets, they can never forget to use them because they will get notifications on their phones when they are about to expire, which will prompt them to purchase.
What are digital passes?
Digital passes are cryptographically signed files that grant access to specific events and exclusive offers. They are non-payment items you can store on your mobile phone and use in different opportunities.
These digital passes could be a membership card, loyalty card, digital coupon, event ticket, or boarding passes and customers can use them for online purchases or in offline retail stores. Retailers use these passes to grant exclusive access or deals to their customers.
For instance, as a retailer, you could leverage online software like PassKit to create digital membership cards or loyalty cards, as they promote customer loyalty and retention. These cards could also give your customers exclusive benefits like access to limited offers, promos and other advantages.
Some retailers gift these cards to loyal customers as a reward and appreciation for past purchases. Other retailers make these cards available at a specific price to any customer interested in their benefits.
What are the benefits of digital passes?
The advantages of digital passes in our developing world today are endless, but we’ll highlight a few ways you can benefit from incorporating them into your retail marketing strategy.
- Easily customizable: You can easily customize them to suit the needs of your brand and customers with just a few clicks.
- Eliminates the need for plastic cards: Plastic cards are a thing of the past, and who needs them when you can create digital passes quickly and easily for your business? Also, many environmental activists advocate for eliminating plastics because of their harmful effects on the environment, something you would not need to worry about with digital passes.
- Very cost-effective: The best part of using digital passes for your business is they are not expensive to create and distribute to your clients. With PassKit, for example, you can create a digital coupon for free and distribute them to your customers for less than one cent each.
- Cannot be misplaced: We can all relate to the issues of losing cards because we can not remember where we kept them or want to use them and then realize that we left them at home. You don’t have to worry about this with digital passes, as they are stored on mobile devices, which gives your customers easy access whenever they need to use them.
- Makes your business trendy: There is nothing customers love more than a business that is up to date with the latest trends in the industry. When consumers perceive your business as trendy, they are more likely to patronize it. In a 2019 Consumer View Summer report by the National Retail Federation (NRF), more than three out of five consumers reported that retail technologies and innovations improved their shopping experience. If this isn’t proof enough, we don’t know what is.
- Monitor customer purchase behavior: With customer data, provided by platforms such as PassKit, you can study customers’ purchase patterns and use this information as an advantage in tailoring offers that best suit customer needs.
- Easy to use: Digital passes are effortless, so you or your customers do not have to be tech-savvy to use them.
How to use digital passes in 2022
We have highlighted the benefits of using digital passes. Still, we are so passionate about your success that we hope we can inspire you further by sharing how you can easily use them in your retail marketing strategy.
1. Improve customer experience
As we have already established, digital passes enable your customers to carry out seamless contactless transactions, which improves their customer experience. A potential customer will likely choose your business over competitors with innovative technology implementation in your retail marketing strategy.
2. Increase customer retention
When your customers are happy with the extra marketing efforts, services and outstanding products you offer, they are more likely to go from new customers to repeat customers. It ultimately increases your customer retention.
3. Increase customer loyalty
Rewarding your loyal customers with digital passes and points based on their purchases will increase your loyal customer base. Satisfied customers are more likely to tell a potential customer about what you offer, which will serve as free advertising for your brand.
4. Improve distributor and retailer experience
When things are automated or digitalized, it is a win-win for consumers and retailers. Incorporating these latest technologies into your business operations will make your work as a retailer less stressful. You don’t need to work extremely hard before seeing tangible results, as you already have a working system.
5. Start your loyalty program
If you do not already have a loyalty system, you can leverage digital passes to give your customers the best rewarding experience. You have seen the benefits your business can enjoy as a result, so it is only wise to use this advantage.
Thankfully, you can start with loyalty platforms like Loopy Loyalty, which you can start using today even without incorporating with your existing CRM or POS software. You use a simple web tool to create, manage and design stamps or punch cards.
Loopy Loyalty gives your customers points after every purchase. When they collect enough punches, they can unlock certain rewards with them, and this aids in customer retention and other benefits we have highlighted so far.
If stamp cards aren’t quite sophisticated enough for your business, we recommend trying PassKit or even trying both – as they both have free trial periods.
How to create digital passes with PassKit
Before we tell you how to create a digital pass with PassKit, let’s first tell you about the software and its benefits to your business.
PassKit is a web-based software that empowers businesses of any size to extend their mobile reach to include Apple Wallet and Google Pay. Companies use PassKit to turn physical loyalty cards, coupons and vouchers into digital passes that their customers easily store in their Apple Wallet or Google Pay wallet, without any other app.
The idea is to help retailers reward their customers while creating a seamless connection between their online and offline experiences. Once incorporated into a business operation, retailers can easily and quickly track the distribution of these passes and their performance. The best part is that you can easily integrate PassKit with your existing POS and CRM software.
PassKit has made this as simple as possible – and in most cases, you don’t need any coding skills or advanced tech knowledge to use it.
PassKit wants you to deliver the same digital experience that a business like Starbucks does, without having to employ hundreds of developers worldwide and without spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
Creating a digital pass for your business with PassKit is pretty straightforward and only requires a few easy steps.
Let’s show you how to get this done.
Creating digital passes with PassKit: Step-by-step guide
Step 1: To get started, you need to visit the PassKit website to create your free account.
Step 2: After creating an account, you can proceed to naming your project and choosing what you would love to create, be it a membership card, coupon card or loyalty card. For this example, we are working on creating a loyalty card.
Step 3: Next, you can choose how you want the card to appear on Apple and Android devices, based on the latest Apple Wallet and Google Pay design standards. The picture below shows what the Apple design looks like.
Step 4: Besides the Android and Apple designs, PassKit also has the QR code design if you would prefer to scan your loyalty card using the PassKit PassReader or at your Point Of Sale (POS).
Step 5: After choosing your design template, next you need to add your logo and hero image.
Step 6: You can customize the colors to suit your brand’s colors or the look you’ll love the cards to have.
Step 7: Next, you add basic information to the template and select useful sections to add.
Step 8: You can fill in the backfield information too.
Step 9: When you have done that, you can also include links to your official website, social media platforms or other helpful links.
Step 10: The last step is to save your design by clicking on the “save design” button, and you’re done with creating your digital pass.
If you get stuck at any time or need some guidance, the PassKit team is always there to help. We know that creating passes for the first time can feel overwhelming, so we are here to help. Use the messaging tool in the PassKit portal or send us an email.
3 ways to use retail marketing for digital pass promotion
As a retailer, educate your customers about the usefulness of the tools and systems you incorporate into your business. Here are some ways you can promote digital passes.
- Present them as valuable: When customers do not know what digital passes are or how helpful they can be, they may not see the need to use them. Social media content, informative emails, and in-store advertising are ways you can use to explain and show your customers how these passes work.
- Incorporate them into your operations: It is not just enough to tell your customers how valuable digital passes can be. You also need to incorporate them into your processes so the customers can see for themselves. For example, department stores could enforce digital passes for specific sections. This way, you leave your customers with no choice but to use their digital passes if they want to purchase items from these sections.
- Add rewards: We all love to be rewarded for doing even the barest minimum. Adding certain rewards or points every time clients use their digital passes will encourage repeat purchases.
Retail marketing: Wrapping up
We have explained the basic concept of retail marketing in this article, including how you can upgrade your strategy using modern technology solutions like digital passes to ensure customer satisfaction. By now, you understand the importance of a customer-focused model of retail marketing and how you can stand out amongst other competitors while building a loyal customer base.
If you are looking for ways to improve your retail marketing strategy and increase customer loyalty, you should try PassKit.
PassKit has won the heart of many business owners, especially during the coronavirus lockdown when most businesses couldn’t work as they used to. It helped with contactless payments and offered an affordable and environmentally friendly way to integrate a customer loyalty program into their business operation easily.
Here’s what our clients say:
“By using PassKit, we have literally transformed our business. For something as simple as a digital membership card, the customer experience (and operating model) transformation has been radical. Our customers love the new us. We love PassKit”
Matt – BOXPARK CTO
If you would love to spice up your retail marketing, you can design and create your loyalty cards, digital coupons and membership cards to give your customers an excellent experience. Hurry now and give PassKit a go for free.
Retail marketing FAQs
Do any other methods work better than coupons to increase sales at your store or website?
What is better than physical coupons? Digital coupons!
Most retailers are now embracing innovative ways to satisfy the needs of their clients. So, if you would like to increase sales, you need to incorporate creative strategies into your business. An example can be using digital coupons instead of paper or plastic ones.
You need to tailor your strategy and the type of product or service you offer to fit the needs of your target audience. Note what they love based on their purchase patterns and then leverage this to serve them better and drive more sales. Keep trying creative ideas until you determine what works best for your brand.
Which type of customers do you recommend using coupons with, and why?
You can use coupons for all customers. Everyone loves a great bargain, and coupons have a way of triggering purchase that was originally not intended.
Coupon statistics revealed that about 67% of shoppers made unplanned purchases, mainly because of coupons. It means that you should not overlook using coupons for any customer.
How does a store’s marketing affect its sales?
Without marketing your products or services, most potential customers would not know about your store, and this can cause low sales. You need to invest in advertising your store through online and offline channels to increase sales. Promotions are easy ways to drive sales for your store. Some examples include
- Pop-up sales
- Social media advertising
- Gift vouchers and coupons
What are the benefits of using a coupon in your retail marketing plan?
The benefits of incorporating coupons in your retail marketing strategy are endless. Let’s look at a few:
- It increases your brand awareness amongst new customers
- It gives your business mass exposure
- Coupons help you make speedy sales
- Using a coupon in your plan increases your profits
- Coupons, especially digital coupons, are cost-effective