Cost-effective retail marketing is essential for independent businesses looking to maximize their promotional efforts without breaking the bank. With the right mix of marketing channels and tactics, you can make the most of a limited budget and attract a larger share of customers who are looking for products like yours.
What is retail marketing?
Essentially, any tactic that helps your business become more prominent and recognizable—and grows sales—can be seen as retail marketing. The signage in a shop window and throughout the sales floor, for example, could be considered components of a retailer’s marketing strategy. However, for brands looking to grow a wholesale business, a cost-effective and impactful marketing strategy will likely rely on digital tools such as search engines, social media, and emails targeting retailers.
Retail marketing strategy vs. retail marketing tactics
Whether you stock food, pet supplies, or home decor, it’s important for any independent retailer to have a solid marketing strategy. Any one retail marketing tactic on its own likely won’t be enough—the right mix of tactics together ladder up to your overall retail marketing strategy. Your strategy should lay out who you want to reach, the messaging and methods you’ll use to reach them, and, once you get their attention, how you plan to turn them into happy, satisfied customers. The last one is where the retail marketing mix comes into play. This mix traditionally covers product, price, place, promotion, people, and presentation (often referred to as the 6 P’s)—as well as the processes that make businesses successful in all these categories.
Cost-effective retail marketing tactics
We’ve gathered some of the best retail marketing tactics known to help businesses like yours develop a successful strategy to boost visibility and sales.
1. Search engine optimization
Search engine optimization, more commonly known as SEO, is an essential part of the retail marketing mix for modern businesses. Optimizing your website for Google and other search engines can help connect you with customers currently searching online for products like yours. You can always invest in paid search engine marketing—essentially paying search engines to list your website in the sponsored results whenever users search for specific keywords—but this can be costly, and not all retailers will click on the sponsored results. SEO is more cost-effective because it involves activities that organically increase your website’s search ranking, such as researching keywords, creating content, building links, and using tools like Google Analytics.
There are also ways to increase your search ranking on Faire so relevant retailers are more likely to find your shop page, such as providing concise and detailed product titles and descriptions, using accurate product types, taking high-quality photos, maintaining low order minimums, and adopting Faire Direct tools.
2. Word of mouth
Word of mouth is one of the best tactics that small businesses can use to attract new customers with minimal effort or investment. It’s always good to revisit your customer service strategy and try to go above and beyond, so customers are more likely to leave positive feedback and five-star reviews on Faire. It also can’t hurt to simply ask customers for a positive review if they’re happy with their purchase. Most people are glad to help out a small business.
Additionally, you might consider:
- Asking for feedback through surveys and questions on your social communities, then sharing the best quotes on your website and social media posts.
- Offering an incentive such as a small discount or free gift to any customer who refers a new buyer. You can share details about these incentives via social media, on your website, through an email campaign, and with flyers or postcards included with a purchase.
3. Promotions and discounts
Retail customers are always looking for ways to save some money with promotions and discounts. You can offer buy-one-get-one deals or percentage discounts on select products that you want to promote or clear from your inventory, such as big-ticket items or last season’s merchandise, or run limited-time sales for special events like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. You could also give out thank-you coupons with every purchase as an incentive to return and buy more before the coupon’s expiration date.
Make sure to share the details of your special offer via email and on your website, blog, Faire shop page, and social media channels so you can reach as many customers as possible.
4. An organic approach to social media
Paid ads on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok can play an important role in your retail marketing strategy, but they’re not always cost-effective. Fortunately, there are many organic social media marketing tactics that cost next to nothing.
Consider taking beautiful photos of your products in a seasonal setting or create a fun scene with merchandising inspiration for retailers centered on an upcoming holiday or month such as Pride or Women’s History Month, then share the images on Instagram. Make sure to include relevant and timely hashtags so you can get discovered by new followers, and read our product photography tips so you can put your best photos forward. You can also use TikTok or Instagram Reels to post videos showcasing your products or sharing how they’re made, while Facebook and Instagram Live videos are a great way to speak directly to your followers online.
No matter which platforms you invest in, remember each one has unique image and design requirements. Free tools like HubSpot’s brand kit generator can help you adhere to these standards while making sure your logo and social media icons look nice and crisp for your future followers.
5. Targeted emails using Faire’s email tools
Sending targeted emails to segmented groups of customers is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to promote your business and increase your conversion rate. Customers tend to respond more positively when an email feels like it was written just for them, and it doesn’t have to cost anything other than a bit of extra time. We’ve laid out some tips in our Help Center to ensure you can develop a successful email strategy from day one.
For brands, starting an email campaign on Faire is as simple as heading to the Customers tab in your brand portal and creating custom email lists for different audiences. This could include customers who’ve never placed an order, customers with unused credit, or retailers you think are a good fit for specific products. Once your lists are set, just click on Campaigns under the Marketing tab to create an email campaign with a unique name, recipients, and a subject line, along with optional preview text, message text, and design using the beautiful logos and images you’ve been developing.