Retail Digital Marketing: The Secret to Retailers’ Success in 2021

Halfway through the year, life is beginning to return to normal in many areas. “Hot vax summer” is a real phenomenon. Or, as an article in The Washington Post put it, it’s as though the country is suddenly single and ready to mingle after ending a horrible relationship. As vaccination rates continue to climb, people are ready to date, dine, work, play, vacation, travel, shop, and see family and friends again in person. Consequently, these activities will spark purchases across retail markets. So, retail digital marketing isn’t just necessary, it’s critical to finishing the year in the black.

Just want the tips? Feel free to jump ahead:


Social Commerce: How To Connect With Customers in the New Digital Marketplace 

In May of 2020, McKinsey predicted that the COVID-19 recovery would be digital. The rapid migration to digital technologies and social platforms caused by the coronavirus would remain after the pandemic abated. Overnight, selling on social media became essential for retailers. Consumers who resisted buying products on Instagram and other social channels were suddenly shopping there. Digital adoption was strongest in the entertainment and grocery sectors, where new adopters made up 24% and 31% of total users, respectively. 

Customer behaviors changed dramatically and continue to evolve now. A study by CouponFollow found that online shopping increased 208% from April 2019 to April 2020, and 48% of social media users surveyed made at least one purchase on a social media channel in 2020, cementing the reality of social commerce in the American economy.  


4 Tips to Selling on Instagram and Other Social Channels

Retailers who ignored their online presence during the pandemic will find it difficult to drive sales in the new digital marketplace. Still, it’s never too late to learn how to sell products on Instagram and other social channels. Retailers who are ready to embrace retail digital marketing should follow these four tips to build a profitable online storefront and capitalize on resurging consumer demand:  

  1. Post about your products on social media. 
  2. Set a cadence and stick to it. 
  3. Use Stories to tell stories about your brand. 
  4. Add product tags to your photos and videos. 


Tip #1: Post about your products on social media. 

Facebook and Instagram lead the way with social commerce, and shoppers are most comfortable clicking on an ad (63%) or post (48%) to an external site to make a purchase, according to the CouponFollow survey. For this reason, a mix of organic and paid content on social media is necessary to successfully sell products on social media. Instagram Shopping says photos and tutorials of people using your product, testimonials, feedback from real users, and visually featuring multiple items laid out on a flat surface are all effective ways to post about your products on its platform. 


Tip #2: Set a cadence and stick to it. 

Create a content calendar that includes regular posts about your products. Consistency helps your followers know what to expect from your brand. Pick a day of the week to feature a product and find creative ways to connect with your audiences about it. Giving prospects a view into how you create products can also be effective. Instagram Shopping recommends showing variations of your products, such as colors, sizes and material types. 


Tip #3: Use Stories to tell stories about your brand. 

Stories sell products. They endear customers to your brand and are central to attracting people to your products. The Stories feature on Instagram is a smart way to highlight specific products on your profile. They disappear after 24 hours and therefore can help keep your social media content fresh. 


Tip #4: Add product tags to your photos and videos. 

Several habits can help your posts be more productive. In addition to backgrounds with colors and textures that help your products pop, product tags help people easily explore and purchase your products. Product tags appear when people tap on posts that have them added into them. Use them to display the name and price of your products. Don’t be afraid to tag multiple products in each post or video. Lastly, remember to make sure that each tag is positioned above the appropriate product. 


Advice Into Action: One Global Retailer’s Success Story 

As a full-service digital marketing agency, OBI Creative is privileged to help brands in all industries improve their bottom lines and build a profitable online presence through deeper understanding of their customers.  

OBI helped a global PC vendor build a better brand with its o.VOC™ methodology. Boosting revenue through social commerce starts with knowing what your customers are thinking and doing across the buyer journey. Our client needed a third party to provide an unbiased and detailed examination of its customers’ journeys with its brand.   

Our multidimensional, omnichannel customer experience assessment methodology was a perfect fit. A mix of quantitative and qualitative data was harvested through: 

  • Customer, general population and target demographic surveys. 
  • Secret shopping. 
  • Customer journey mapping. 
  • Digital audit and target audience intelligence study. 
  • 400+ customer and employee interviews. 
  • Brand and competitor marketing reviews. 

That information yielded insights into all four phases of the buyer journey (exploration, research, purchase, post-purchase). Secret shoppers simulated real-life situations by performing multiple tasks across the buyer journey. Their tasks were tracked in real time using a digital portal and analyzed at a micro level to identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement.  

Ultimately, the insights and recommendations helped the PC vendor see what its customers saw across their journey and avoid the echo chamber so many brands trap themselves in.


A Final Word 

Retailers that invest in customer journey research that leads to a superior customer experience earn six times more revenue, on average, than those that don’t.   

What they learned, and what we know through decades of retail digital marketing experience, is that knowing your customer, competitors, and competitors’ competitors provides a profitable foundation retailers can use to boost their bottom line and increase sales on social channels.  


Are you ready to grow your presence on social media? Let OBI Creative help you with a retail digital marketing campaign and personal recommendations into how to earn more revenue through social commerce this year.