11 Best Retail Marketing Ideas

With last year behind us, most retailers are gearing up to make the most of the new year. As retailers, we need to make every moment count because the future is always changing and a little uncertain.

In order to boost sales, drive traffic, and connect with your customers this year, you have to think outside the box. We’ve rounded up the top retail marketing and promotion ideas for retailers to utilize this year.

What is retail marketing?

Put simply, retail marketing is just efforts (either digital or otherwise) to promote your retail store. It isn’t always paid ads, like billboards or social media ads. Those paid channels specifically refer to a strategy within marketing called “advertising.” But marketing efforts can also include free or low-cost methods.

Your marketing efforts can and should exist both in-person and online. These can include anything from social media posts and engagement efforts to window displays and signage at your brick-and-mortar stores.

The most effective retail marketing strategy will use a mix of efforts and channels, both paid and free, in order to reach the most people at a time.

The 4 Ps of Marketing

Let’s talk about the importance of the 4 Ps of marketing. It’s possible, even likely, that you’ve heard the phrase before. And understanding it will help you get a solid grasp on the purpose of your retail marketing efforts.

The 4 Ps of marketing stand for the 4 central tenets of marketing:

  • Product: Your marketing strategy will depend largely on the product you are selling and the brand itself. This “P” is where branding, Unique Selling Proposition, and packaging come into play.
  • Price: The price point of your product will certainly play a distinct role in your marketing efforts. And you can often use your price as leverage, or it can also determine certain exclusions you may need to implement based on income for any digital ads.
  • Place: This encompasses the channels you’re using to sell your product as well as what physical locations you are even able to sell to. Consider your distribution channels.
  • Promotion: Promotion is the advertising and marketing campaign that you implement. What are the goals and KPIs (key performance indicators) that tell you whether you’re meeting those goals?

You’ll want to ensure that all of your retail marketing efforts consider the 4 Ps of marketing.

11 retail marketing strategies to use in-store and online


Partnering with other local retailers with similar target audiences can be an effective way to widen your brand awareness and reach new customers. By teaming up with another brand that shares your goals for boosting brand awareness, you can both access new audiences and generate even more excitement around your brand and products.

Commit to helping your community

Consumers are increasingly valuing brands that make an effort to give back. This social responsibility play is an effective way to connect with an empathetic audience while making a difference at the same time. Consumers continue to look for brands that align with their values and if you are able to find a lifelong customer, you might just be able to turn them into brand advocates.

Bag sale

If you have a brick-and-mortar location, a bag sale could be a great way to generate foot traffic. This is ideal for thrift stores and second-hand shops. The way it works is you’ll provide the customers during a set time frame with a cart or shopping bag and tell them they can purchase everything that’ll fit inside the bag for a predetermined price.


Pop up store entrance glass door.Pop-up stores are a fun way to generate excitement and buzz around your brand or products. It’s a great opportunity to unveil a brand-new product line or to promote a sale. You can collaborate with another brand, or find a great, affordable space to open your temporary pop-up store on your own. With a quality point-of-sale system like NCR Counterpoint, you are able to go mobile and create a pop-up shop virtually anywhere.

Celebrate small milestones

Any excuse to have a sale is a good one. And celebrating small, but important, milestones can help you to connect with your audience and drive traffic to your store, either in-store or online. For example, if you’re celebrating your 5th year in business, create a new line of packaging just to celebrate. It’ll help you stand out and make a meaningful impact on your customers.

Events and holidays

Similar to the milestones, holidays and events are awesome occasions to celebrate your brand and promote your products. Holidays are especially powerful but don’t overlook the smaller holidays. Christmas isn’t the only time of the year when consumers are excited by branding, packaging, and special sales.

Scavenger hunts

Golden Tickets held up at a kitchen store.It’s always a good idea to try and gamify the consumer experience from time to time. Creating in-store scavenger hunts for your brick-and-mortar retail shop leverages gamification in the best way, driving in-store traffic and getting your customers excited about shopping in your stores. You can integrate social media to boost brand awareness online and get your customers involved in learning about your brand.

Exclusive sales

This is a great trick to use if you’ve cultivated a well-segmented customer email list, NCR Counterpoint can help you create customer email lists with their built-in loyalty program. By using a loyalty program or just targeting your most frequent customers, you can send out promotions for a sale that is exclusive to a certain segment of your base. After all, everyone loves to feel excluded.

In-store events

In-store events can really help drive foot traffic and boost sales. Book signings, craft events, or even cooking classes can be a great way to generate brand awareness and get people into your store. Make sure your event is tailored to your brand and your product line, but think outside the box and get creative.

Referral programs

Word-of-mouth advertising isn’t a marketing tactic you’d normally count on, but referral programs can be a great way to see the ROI of your marketing efforts. Giving discounts or freebies to customers who refer you to their friends and family is a great way to uplevel your word-of-mouth marketing strategy. With Counterpoint’s built-in loyalty program, you can easily track referral information with no additional software.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing where a brand partners with an influencer, or social media personality with widespread reach, to promote their products. Usually, this is done in exchange for a commission or a flat rate, and the price depends on the clout of that particular influencer. But it can be highly effective at creating social proof and reaching new audiences.

Use the right retail marketing strategies for your business

Retail marketing can be time-consuming and expensive, but when done effectively, it can boost sales, drive traffic, and generate brand loyalty. Before you start implementing these strategies, make a plan and determine your budget. Some efforts will be low-cost or free, but the paid channels aren’t guaranteed to bring you an ROI. So it’s best to know how to use those platforms to your advantage before you start throwing money at ad campaigns.

Keep in mind that a mix of these strategies will be the most beneficial, as many retail marketing efforts have varying goals and objectives. It’ll take time and data to optimize your strategies and get the most out of your budget, so be patient. And in order to start tracking and understanding your customer data effectively, utilize technology that’s built to do just that.

At Retail Control Systems, we offer an array of point-of-sale solutions to help retailers boost their business. Contact us today to learn more about NCR Counterpoint, a point-of-sale solution designed to support retailers with their specific needs.