How to write a retail marketing strategy for 2017

Marketing and brand

25 January 2017

After the chaos of Christmas and the January sales, many retailers now find themselves with a welcome bit of downtime. It’s a good chance to take a holiday – and also to take stock and design a marketing strategy for the coming year.

Spending January planning for the next eleven months is a profitable use of a quieter period. Here are our tips for marketing your business in 2017.

Look back

The first step is to review last year's business. What were your bestsellers in 2016? Are there any products that your customers really wanted? What have your seasonal trends been? Use your existing knowledge to kick-start your strategic planning for the year ahead.

Expand your social media profile

Social media enables you to connect with customers, promote your business and listen to the market. If you’re not already embracing business social media, make it part of your 2017 plan. Use apps that let you manage multiple platforms so you can increase your social media profile while keeping your message cohesive.

If you’re already sharing, posting and tweeting, work out how you can build on it this year. Paid advertising is worth considering, or you could team up with bloggers in your industry to create some great content to share.

Think mobile

Research in 2016 showed that more people are visiting retail websites on their mobile phones than on their desktops, and mobile now accounts for 51% of online retail sales. It’s no longer enough that your website looks good on a mobile phone: you should you start putting smartphones first when you’re thinking about your website's interface and online sales.

Plan some events

How do you intend to promote your business locally? Do you have any events scheduled for 2017? Now’s the time to plan your marketing calendar for the year: promotional evenings, loyalty shopping sessions or a stall at a local market will all help to raise your profile in the area. Keep publicity in mind, and invite local press and bloggers along to your events.

Reward loyalty

If you don’t already have a loyalty scheme, is it time to introduce one? Reward cards and similar incentives aren't just for the big retailers. A simple loyalty card that offers a discount or a freebie can keep your customers coming back. Also, launching a new reward scheme or revitalising an existing one is a good opportunity for publicity.

Deliver the goods

2016 saw major retailers raising their game when it came to delivery services. Many offer same-day delivery, drop-off points and click and collect. You may not have the delivery options of Amazon – but you can still ensure you have an efficient and reliable online purchase and delivery process. It’s also worth having a user-friendly returns policy, which reassures customers and encourages them to make that spontaneous purchase.

Explore Pinterest

Pinterest has over 150 million users a month. The site has a “buyable product” function: if a user likes a product, they can buy it through the Pinterest interface, which means there's a high conversion rate. This is known as “contextual shopping”, and it’s predicted that consumers will increasingly buy into this way of making purchases. And of course, Pinterest also provides lots of eye-catching, on-trend ideas for displays and window-dressing.

Make the most of any downtime now – and with a robust marketing plan in place, you'll be well prepared for the rest of the year.