Retail Marketing: 5 Key Strategies to Gain More Customers

woman working in retail

We have a shocking fact for you today, are you ready?  

Businesses need customers. 

But get this – customers also need businesses. That’s how loyal, frequent consumer relationships are made in retail. 

When you're able to successfully market your business, you develop a relationship with new customers while also giving them a reason to keep coming back. 

That's where effective retail marketing comes in! 

Maybe you have a top-notch social media account with incredible shots, but it’s not generating the online sales you hoped for. Or, maybe your store display is awesome, but it’s not bringing in much foot traffic. 

A retail marketing strategy, especially one that is backed by data-driven decision-making, will help solve these challenges and increase your bottom line.

Strategy #1: Customer Surveys

While there are many market research options for retail brands, customer surveys are perhaps the most popular forms of retail marketing

That’s because customer satisfaction surveys and related tools give organizations detailed insight into consumer thoughts behind purchasing decisions and other aspects of the buyer journey. 

When one customer has an opinion about your store, it's likely they're not alone – which is why getting their feedback is so important to a store's growth. 

If a retail brand implements advice directly from their own customers, they’re more likely to see an increase in shoppers overall, because they've made changes based on data and not assumptions.

Conducting an online survey for retail stores means you can learn how likely customers are to recommend their store, their preferred ways to shop, how their prices rate, and how brand-aware they are. 

And just think of all the retail store marketing fuel you have with these insights! We have many examples of data-driven marketing strategies a business can utilize.

One of the best is pretty basic: having a clear awareness of what your store needs to succeed. 

These insights offer tremendous help for a store, not just for a short-term boom, but for long-term success. 

We'll give you a (very) simple breakdown of the customer survey process:

  • Businesses send out online surveys to customers (typically through an email list)
  • Customers respond
  • Feedback (especially negative feedback) is taken and used to correct issues/enhance service 

Again, this was a quick breakdown of the technical survey process, but you get the gist. Get in touch with our retail market research company, and we can fill you in on the rest.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Marketing strategies for retail vary widely, but can be discovered via customer-centric surveys. The data collected can be used to improve and implement various retail marketing ventures.

Recommended Reading: How Can I Survey Recent Visitors Of My Store?

Strategy #2: SMS Marketing

We've probably all gotten these at some point: you hear that ping from your phone and see a message from a brand telling you about a sale or influx of new products. 

That simple little text message is known as SMS marketing.

Light Speed HQ defines SMS marketing as, "short message service (SMS) marketing is a form of marketing that businesses use to send promotions to customers via text messages."

Saying this is popular would be an understatement. In fact, a recent study found that businesses set aside more than half their budget for SMS marketing purposes. 

Another excellent way SMS marketing can be used is for confirming orders as well as tracking packages if your shop is online. Receiving messages about their order allows customers to have a personalized experience with a business, along with heightened awareness of their purchase. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: Effective retail marketing strategies involve the use of SMS messages. These texts will allow customers to stay in close contact with their favorite businesses. 

Strategy #3: Paid Social Media

What would a marketing article be without mention of social media use? 

Retail marketing strategies will often involve paid social media ads -- meaning ads for a business will show up on social media platforms while users scroll through their feeds. 

Much like social media marketing, we've all probably seen these ads in action while on Instagram or other social apps. For example, if you see a pic pop up on your feed with "sponsored" in the corner--bam, that's a paid social ad.

So, say you're in this position: your company has a great ad idea to run on social media. But will it actually be effective?

Paid ads may be a great strategy but it's not always cheap. And you don't want to waste money on something that won't work. 

This is why ad concept testing is so important to use. A handy market research tool, ad concept testing allows businesses to get a sense of how their target audience would take a social ad. 

A customized survey will give companies unique insight into what customers would like to see in an ad. 

These are just some of the insights that can be gathered with concept testing surveys: 

  • Are the right graphics being used? 
  • What are the likes and dislikes?
  • How is the layout? 
  • Does the ad leave a good impression? 

Remember, not only will this spare you an ad campaign that's ineffective, it'll likely save you a big chunk of money, too! 

Watch our video for more benefits of ad concept testing with surveys.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Paid social ads are a useful retail marketing strategy that allows for large exposure among audiences. Ad concept testing allows businesses to see how effective the ads would be prior to launch. 

Strategy #4: Remarketing Efforts 

One of the top online retail marketing strategies, remarketing is pretty simple when broken down. 

Basically, you're marketing your ads to those who have already visited your online store -- but haven't purchased anything. 

Did you ever look at a product on an online shop that you didn't buy, only to see it popping up in an ad on a different site? That's remarketing in a nutshell.  

Think of them as friendly reminders to gently urge an *almost* customer back to the original shop. And be assured, remarketing campaigns are highly customizable and very effective.

A recent study found that up to 40% of sales are generated from remarketing ads -- so don't overlook their potential! 

💡 The Key Takeaway: Remarketing campaigns are a fantastic tool that draws potential customers back to shopping with your brand who originally left without making a purchase. 

Strategy #5: Merchandise Displays

We're going old school and putting aside technology for this last marketing strategy in retail

Isn't it so pleasing to walk into a store and see a visually appealing merch set up? We think so. 

Whether you sell clothes, tech goodies, jewelry, or anything else, having your merchandise set up in an attractive manner is huge. Not only is this a good way to gain customers, but it's also a great way to establish repeat customers. 

Here are some tips for making your store as aesthetically pleasing as possible: 

  • Whatever the product is, make sure it's displayed well
  • Position top-sellers to be highly visible
  • Avoid disorganization and clutter

Pretty basic, right? But don't get it twisted, this is just as important as the other tips we mentioned! 

💡 The Key Takeaway: Ensuring store displays look visually appealing is essential in drawing in customers. Play around with fun ways to make your store–whether in-person or online–looks its best at all times.

Contact Our Retail Market Research Company

Effective retail marketing requires dedication, creativity, and objective thinking. Combining these elements leads to increased customers, and most importantly a thriving business.

Drive Research is a market research company based in New York. Our team of pros is well-versed in all things customer research and can help you craft a unique project to help boost your marketing strategy. 

Want to know more about our market research services? We want you to! Talk to us via any of the ways listed below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040


Lark Allen

As a Content Marketing Specialist, Lark has a strong background and passion for creative, professional, and journalistic writing. She is also a self-proclaimed music freak and 90s enthusiast.

Learn more about Lark, here.

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