The 6 P’s Of Retail Marketing

As a retailer, having the right marketing strategy can help you to create a successful and sustainable business.  Conversely, having the wrong plan can lead you to failure.  As retail consultants our team is often brought in to assist companies with improving – or even saving – their business.

We find that many retailers tend to equate marketing and selling in their minds.  While the goal of retail marketing is to sell more products, marketing actually has more to do with understanding your customers’ needs, developing a plan to ensure your customers are aware of the solutions you provide and driving foot traffic to your store or website.  This is where the 6 P’s come in!

The 6 P’s of Your Retail Marketing Plan:

1.      Products – A product is an item or service that your customers need or want.  Retailers typically divide their products into three categories:  Core items that customers always expect you to have in stock and ready for them to buy; Line extensions which are different options to the core product; and related products or services that make the initial purchase work better or keep working.

For example, in the case of a core item like a laptop computer, the line extensions might be different computers that are at a higher or lower price making up a trio of “good, better, best products” while printers, cases, and extended warranties are the related products.

2.      Placement – Placement refers to where your customers get your products.  At the most basic level, in the case of brick and mortar locations, it refers to the physical location of the store and its surroundings.  Depending on the type of business you may be best served by having a location in an enclosed mall, a shopping center, downtown or in a stand-alone location.  Key components also include parking, access to public transportation, sign location, proximity to competitors and anchor tenants.

But placement also refers to your displays and visual merchandising plan within the store.  Ensuring your displays act as “silent sales people” is critical to the success of your business because it creates impulse purchases.  Retailers need to understand the basics of store layout and display including adjustment zones, hot spots, effective signage and more.

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3.      Pricing Strategy – The price that you will sell your product for is based on a number of factors including: your cost of doing business, you promotional plan, competitive issues, and the product’s lifecycle.  Retailers can deploy promotional (e.g. regular price/sale price) strategies or target for “everyday” pricing programs.  And while many retail leaders focus on a standard mark-up strategies, the best practice is to implement a plan the creates individual pricing plans for each item in the line.  Either way, you must ensure that your pricing works for your target customer and your competitive environment.

4.      Promotion – Promotion refers to the basics of reaching out to and getting your message across to your customers.  With a goal toward driving foot traffic, increasing conversions and attaining brand awareness, you will need to execute a plan that focuses on activities that occur both inside and outside the store.

Retailers can promote externally through utilizing advertising and marketing levers such as direct mail, radio, newspapers, referral programs, loyalty cards, door hangers, and more.  Within the store, your sales team also needs to be actively promoting your products and services through their conversations with your customers.  This could include taking about retail promotions or suggestive selling specific products.

5.      People – Traditional marketers will tell you that “people” refers to customers or customer segments, but for the retailer this refers specifically to the retail sales associates who are working for your organization and on the sales floor.  Your team members are the face of your company and your brand.  Therefore, recruiting and hiring the right team members and providing them with a high quality retail training program is critical to your success.

6.      Pixel & Phone – In the age of “new media” where your customers may spend as much time on-line and on their phones as they do shopping it is critical that retail marketers focus on engaging  customers where they are across social networks, email and the web.  Creating a strategy that includes Facebook, Pinterest, blogging, email marketing, text messaging and more will ensure that your customers are always keeping you top of mind.  Having multiple touch points makes it easy for customers to find you, but it is also important ensure they want your message.  So using “opt-in” programs that provide your customers with added value in the way of information, special pricing or advance notice is a key to success.

Each of the 6 P’s is critical to your retail marketing success.  Would you like to learn more about how the Retail Advocates and Retail Training Services team can help you to build your business?  If so, Contact us for a free one-hour consultation!

-        David Goodwin is the Principal of the Retail Advocacy Group.  As a 30 year veteran of the retail industry he has operated hundreds of retail locations and launched new retail concepts and products.  You can learn more about instructor-led, e-learning, and other training solutions for retailers at www.retailertrainingservices.com.