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Building a Winning Promotion Strategy in Today’s Retail Market

Over the years, promotion strategies have evolved to become extremely sophisticated. Retailers are faced with the challenge of delivering promotions at a precise and personalized level to their customers.

Successful promotion campaigns are no longer one for all. From a customer viewpoint, strategies need to account for multiple channels, new trends, deliver on customer needs and expectations, and drive customer loyalty and retention. In addition, strategies need to consider overlapping promotions and their impact on the customer experience versus the margin for the retailer.

Here are 4 critical elements to planning a successful promotion strategy.

Personalization at scale is critical. Retailers spend vast amounts of time and money collecting data points on each customer and their buying habits and trends. However, their promotion campaigns tend to include offers for large customer segments rather than the individual customer. Retailers can make each of their customers feel unique with a promotional offer that is designed specifically for them. Build customer and brand loyalty by offering them a reward for continuing to buy products they typically purchase, or increase basket sizes with an offer based on past purchases.

Creativity wins! Broad discounting is no longer a wining strategy. It is a costly game of giving away margins to generate quick wins that are short-lived and may have a negative impact on the brand as customers are disappointed when the discount expires. Marketing teams need to be far more creative to win in today’s market. Don’t be limited by the “promotion types” of the past, or the limitations of your current systems. Customer expectations are constantly evolving, and you need to keep ahead of them. Gamification (rewards for product reviews, retailer charitable program donations for customer activities) and tiered loyalty programs (bonus points, free shipping, free products) are great examples of new strategies to win and drive growth and revenue.

Stores matter. New digital channels are exciting opportunities retailers. But considering retail stores are still generating the majority of their sales and revenues, they must consider how to execute promotions for all channels including their fleet of stores for all regions. Networks will have outages (and usually when it hurst the stores most!), and retailers need to account for when a store is in ‘offline’ mode and ensuring a positive customer experience.  

Central management. As retailers have grown through expansion and acquisition, they are left with several disparate systems to manage and execute promotions, forcing retailers to rely on IT and manual processes. Increased effort, cost, and the resulting delays lead to frustration for the retailer and their associates, and more importantly, it may result in a negative customer experience. Consolidating into one centralized system allows teams to focus on the discussion points mentioned above, and not the limitations of multiple systems.

The focus of any promotion strategy is the customer and that hasn’t changed. What is continuously changing is consumer behaviour, and retailers needing to promote in a very creative, personalized, and fluid manner at scale.

Dan Surtees is responsible for strategy and business development at XCCommerce.  XCCommerce delivers retailers an automated solution to manage sophisticated and creative promotional offerings, consistently across all sales channels. XCCommerce enables retailers to execute personalized offers at scale, driving greater customer loyalty and increasing sales.