Retail marketing: A call to arms for the evolution


We can’t ever know everything about retail marketing. There, it’s out in the open and it feels good.

We don’t know everything because retail marketing is a constantly evolving area and that’s exactly why we, as a creative agency, love being part of it. We have been lucky enough to work with the biggest high street and online retailers and brands in the UK and, whilst there are differences in exact requirements, the primary objective is always simple and always the same, to sell more products.

The creative approach to achieving sales is always going to be different depending on the product and the market and we can learn much from the ongoing analysis and endless tweaking that continues to shape the online consumer experience.

From multivariate testing to personalised and dynamic retargeting, digital marketers have acknowledged that they are always learning new things about their target market and evolving their approach accordingly.

The now legendary story of the $2.7 billion Amazon tweak, described by UI guru Jared Spool, is the holy grail of online tweaking. For those that don’t know, Amazon made changes to how their user reviews were sorted to make them more meaningful to customers. For the giant of online retail to add so much on the bottom line through such a small tweak is surely evidence enough for every retailer to constantly review and refine their consumer offering.


Value added cost cutting

Evolution brings with it opportunity and right now there is a huge window of opportunity for retail brands of all shapes and sizes. Relationships with consumers can be built online in a way that is impractical in store.

As an agency, we have seen this phenomena first hand and have worked with the likes of Next, Tesco and Viking Direct to help launch and develop their product ranges online. The ability to create a range of highly targeted creative assets without the overhead of expensive media has enabled brands to innovate and evolve their brand offering at relatively low cost.

As we are all too aware, cost and, more crucially, cost cutting is impossible to avoid at the moment. It is no coincidence that smaller and more targeted campaigns are becoming prevalent as marketing budgets are being reviewed and made more accountable. And rightly so, value is key once more and good business analysis in the retail sector is invaluable.

Speaking with one of our clients recently, I was as excited as he was discussing the endless statistics available online which has led to unparalleled business analytics. It has turned a crucial part of a marketers job into an accountable and precise science.

The art of science

However, science alone isn’t the answer. Consumers still crave the emotional and physical experience of the high street despite the huge advances in the online experience. Similarly, all the data in the world will not deliver a successful campaign without a decent creative strategy.

It is not uncommon for us to be handed a failed music compilation album, designed by someone else, less than 6 months since its original release date. With a refreshed brief to redesign the packaging and related marketing assets, the same product is rebranded and relaunched into the market.

We know how to sell music to the masses and have designed and marketed singles and albums, from Ministry of Sound to NDubz, that have sold in excess of 10 million units. That might make us experts in this field but it certainly doesn’t mean we have all of the answers.

As a market place, retail is like no other. It’s a constantly changing sector and a survival of the fittest where trends and techniques go in and out of fashion on an almost daily basis. The key for retailers is to find a creative agency that is flexible and one that has invested resource to ensure they can deliver the next big thing alongside the tried and tested.

Our advice to marketers in the retail sector is to focus on what they know works and test more innovative approaches as a complementary strategy. There are now far more opportunities for micro campaigns and reactive activity that brands can use to deliver very specific objectives at relatively low cost.

Go on, have a look under the bonnet, join the evolution, get tweaking and make your retail campaigns super charged successes.