Marketing strategy is what differentiates competitors and competitive products for the target market. It helps to create awareness and loyalty. Also, the strategy can help to achieve customer satisfaction thus resulting in customer retention. It is necessary, therefore, to carefully consider the message we want to send to the target market as we develop the strategy.
The Marketing Mix
Retailers want to ensure they are carrying product from the manufacturers that their target market desire. However, depending on the store, this may be trickier than it sounds. If a store is selling its own brand of a product (store brand) in addition to manufacturers’ brands, there could be a conflict of interest within the channel. Where should the retailer place their loyalty? to promoting its own brand or the manufacturer’s brands that bring in customers?
We also see that certain products sell better online while some still sell mostly in person. This is, in part, tied to generational preferences and will likely go through cyclical changes.
Online retailing has increased price comparison among consumers. It is very easy to view multiple sites in just a couple minutes. If the consumer has to go to brick and mortar store to do the comparison, they will be limited due to the time and energy involved in visiting multiple stores. So if a product is sold online, price competition becomes more important. If a product is sold in a brick and mortar store, there is more flexibility in the pricing strategy depending on the ease of substitution and the other services or experiences the retailer provides.
Technology is allowing for more promotional opportunities, especially for brick and mortar retailers. They have the option of e-promotions, in-store promotions, and iBeacons to name a few. Online retailers are primarily limited to e-promotions as that is the only way to currently connect with the customer.
There is an old saying that three most important thing in real estate are location, location, and location. For brick and mortar stores, this is very true. While a bad location can be overcome, it is very difficult. Consumers want convenience, ease of parking, accessibility to complementary stores, to name a few. A great location can help a mediocre retailer survive.
However, this adage is still true for online retailers as well in two different contexts. How easy is it to get to the site / app? If the site/app is not user-friendly, inconvenient to scroll, or not mobile friendly, the customer will go to another site. It can also impact the number of websites / apps that carry the product which does help with convenience but can detract from the desired image.
Most retailers today employ an omni-channel strategy. Omni-channel means multiple channels are being used to reach the target market. This combination of online and brick-and-mortar options has several benefits including convenience, addressing the needs of the customer, gaining more data on customer behavior, and growth opportunities. The covid-19 pandemic has pushed more people to buy more product categories online than ever before. Time will tell if that movement and preference will continue or, like a pendulum, swing back – partially – to a preference for the in-person shopping experience.