Here’s Why Regional Retailers Should Add Digital to Their Retail Marketing Mix

Digital for retail marketingIf you're a regional retailer, chances are you spend a lot of your retail marketing budget in broadcast media aimed at boosting your weekly sales. You probably spend some of it on print, too – either ROP ads in the paper or circulars. Those media, especially TV and radio, are good for motivating your general market audience to come into your store this week. But, if you're not using digital media in your retail marketing mix, you could be missing some good opportunities to both generate sales and build your audience. 

We talked in a previous post about why you should add mobile and geo-targeting into your digital retail marketing mix. Some of the reasoning there applies to using digital in general, too. The biggest reasons to add digital into your retail marketing mix are:

  1. 1 to 1 marketingIt allows you to market to your customers in a more one-to-one marketing format. Using your own data and the digital marketing tools available, you can  customize the products you show and the offers you give to each customer's preference, creating messaging that is more likely to connect with the customer and motivate them to take action. This doesn't mean you need to figure out each individual's preferences one at a time. You can put them into different buckets – if a customer exhibits these traits or has taken these actions, serve up a digital ad with a specific set of product/offer combinations. You can easily do this with programmatic creative that uses available data to determine which products, offers and other elements will best appeal and pulls together those elements to create an ad targeting that particular prospect.
  2. Look alike customersIt allows you to prospect look-alike customers. Using your own data let's you find customers online. Using the look-alike feature of many digital ad networks like Facebook and Google, allows you to find prospective customers who exhibit the same characteristics as your current customers. So, they are much more likely to buy from you. This is a fairly inexpensive way to prospect for new customers – ones who have a much higher propensity to buy from you.
  3. It's where the customer can be found. It's getting harder and harder to reach people through broadcast – with DVRs and streaming services that allow customers to avoid ads. It's even harder in print – as fewer and fewer people buy and actually read physical papers. Online is where Millennial shoppers live. But, Gen X and Baby Boomers are spending much of their time there too. You want your ads to run where they will be seen – increasingly this is where that will happen.
  4. RetargetingThe opportunity for retargeting. One of the things that digital allows you to do that traditional media doesn't, is to retarget customers who've shown and interest but haven't yet bought. If a potential customer has clicked your ad, watched your video, gone to your site or other indicators of some interest, you can then give them additional nudges to go ahead and make the purchase they were interested in. By serving them up additional ads you can show them the item they were interested in multiple times, which might be that extra push they need to buy. You can even, after a day or two, give them a slightly better offer that might turn an interested person into an actual customer. Generally, you can afford to sweeten the pot because it's an offer to a very limited amount of high potential customers.
  5. Your competition is there. All of the large and national retailers are heavily into creating digital and social campaigns. Probably a lot of smaller retailers in your niche are there as well. You need to be there to make sure they're not getting an advantage over you. But you also need to be there just to show the consumer that you are not behind the times. This is especially true if you sell fashion related goods, technology merchandise or are marketing to a younger consumer. Competing in those markets, if you're seen as being behind the times it could definitely hurt your business. 
  6. Affordable mediaIt's relatively affordable. When you compare the cost of running a TV campaign or circular, the media costs in digital are very small. On the flip side, creating and running a digital campaign generally take more time to prepare and execute. This means your labor cost – either internal or external will be higher. However the low media buy cost and precise targeting you get with digital still make it a far more affordable medium. 

Those are six very good reasons for any regional retailer should add digital into their retail marketing strategy. There are many more. What ones would you add to the list? 

Mike McClureMike McClure, SVP of Digital Communications

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