Improve Your Retail Marketing – 8 Activities To Avoid

do's and don'ts of retail marketing

1. Do Not Forget Your Base – While expanding your base of customers is a good activity, 80% of your marketing should be focused on your EXISTING retail customers.  Everyone has a limited marketing budget and since it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than retain a current one, make sure you communicate regularly with your core customers.


2. Do Not Treat All Customers the Same – The truth is that some customers are more profitable than others.  In fact, it is likely, that 20% percent of your customer base is contributing a disproportionate share of your store’s top and bottom line.  Spend some time identifying who your best customers are and build a marketing program or loyalty program that is designed for them!


3. Do Not Create a Loyalty Program in Name Only – Your best customers are smart enough to smell a marketing program disguised as a loyalty program a mile away.  Instead make sure there are real and tangible benefits to your loyalty program.  This could include periodic discounts, special sale events, open houses, access to new products in advance, extended refund privileges, or similar items.


4. Do Not Waste Marketing Dollars on Unprofitable Customers – In many cased your least profitable customers are focused on buying products that are sale (think about “extreme couponers”).  The problem comes when retailers who are trying to drive revenue will use broad-based promotions that focus on meeting or beating competitor’s prices.  In many cases, these offers drive in a disproportionate number of your least profitable customers.  Instead, focus on providing value-oriented and full-service oriented promotions to your best customers.


5. Do Not Promote Price to Your Most Profitable Customer Segment – Regardless of the geo-demographic make-up of these consumers, the one thing they don’t want is to be given the “hard sell”.  Instead promote your brand and your service to them by connecting with their lifestyle needs and your ability to provide solutions for their problems.  Additionally, price-point marketing is a quick way to make your profitable customers into unprofitable customers!


6. Do Not Guess About How Your Customers Want to be Marketed to – Ask your best customers how they prefer to be contacted and then build a marketing program around their particular needs.  Some customers will prefer email, others text messages, some direct mail, and even some will like to be given a call.  The best retailers are able to develop and use multiple marketing levers.


7. Do Not Worry About the Impression You Give Unprofitable Customers When They Find Out About Your Loyalty Programs – There should be a reasonable bar for becoming a member of your loyalty program.  After all, it is for your best customers. This could include an annual fee (that is waived for making a minimum number of purchases) or similar criteria. As long as you apply the rules equally across all customers you will be in great shape.


8. Do Not Disrespect Your Customers – Remember that your customers have a choice about where they make their purchases and will try another retailer if given any reasonable excuse.  Therefore, you need to respect their time, their lifestyle needs, their money, and their choices.  The best way to do this is to give them honest and accurate advice while providing real solutions to their problems.


By following these tips you will not only build stronger relationships with your core customers, but you will maximize your marketing budget and encourage unprofitable customers to become profitable!  If you want to learn more about how you can improve to marketing programs for your retail business 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 operated hundreds of retail locations, launched his own retail businesses, and managed retail channels on behalf of Fortune 50 companies.  Retail Advocacy group offers consulting services for retailers and also offers retail training solutions through its Retail Training Service subsidiary.   You can learn more about instructor-led, e-learning, and other training solutions for retailers at