Developing a Well-Integrated Retail Strategy

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A well-integrated retail strategy is of great importance for any business hoping to be successful. A well-integrated retail strategy is one that allows for seamless shopping, uses promotions effectively, and instills customer loyalty. It does these things by ensuring shopping options through multiple platforms, by introducing promotions that work with the business’s brand and philosophy, and making sure that customers are as satisfied with their experience as possible. These are all necessary steps to ensuring a successfully integrated retail strategy.

Multi-channel shopping is important because it gives the customer the chance to shop for items online, through a catalog, or in-store. It then allows the customer to purchase said items through any one of the three options and pick them up through another. The 2004 article, “A Guide to Developing and Managing a Well-integrated Multi-channel Retail Strategy” explains that this is important for the business because “multi-channel retailing offers synergies, as it can result in an increased customer base (marketing to a variety of customer types), added revenue, and higher market share” (Berman, 2010, p. 147). Customers who feel that shopping and ordering are easy and convenient are much more likely to shop at a specific retailer again.

Not only is multi-channel retailing important, but promotions must be used effectively as well. Many different types of promotions increase customers’ shopping, spending, and loyalty. Some examples are coupons, in-store sales, giveaways, point systems, and loyalty programs. Loyalty programs are especially effective because they increase customer spending and return. In Berman’s “Building and Sustaining Relationships in Retailing,” the author explains what makes a good customer loyalty program. That is, “the programs honor shopping behavior (the greater the purchases, the greater the benefits)... [with] features that are unique to particular retailers and not redeemable elsewhere.” (Berman, 2010, p. 30). He explained the importance of setting rewards that can be earned in a reasonable time. As he insisted, loyalty programs are one of the best promotional strategies a business can employ.

Businesses that do not develop a well-integrated retail strategy are much less likely to succeed than their counterparts. Retailers that fail to develop a multi-channel shopping plan will be less convenient for customers. These retailers also lose out on customers who are likely to make impulse purchases while sitting in front of their computers. Not only that, but customers shopping in-store are not likely to check back for an item when it is in stock when they can just as easily order something similar online from another business.

Poor promotional strategies also hinder a business from developing a well-integrated retail strategy. Coupons that do not seem valuable to the customer or point systems and loyalty programs that are difficult to earn may be frustrating for customers—causing them to become even less likely to shop somewhere than if no promotions had been offered in the first place. In this way, some ineffective promotional strategies may be even more harmful to a business than having none at all. This is why a well-integrated, well-planned retail strategy is so important for retailers today.

To be truly effective, sales promotions must be tailored to the type of business and customer. Regional shopping centers, like the Promenade Shops at Centerra, should make use of the fact that there are many stores and restaurants in order to maximize shopping across the promenade. A cross-promotion would take advantage of this. Some examples would be offering a discount on services at Portrait Innovations for anyone with a receipt from Regis or Aveda Salon. There could be a loyalty program providing restaurant patrons with a punch card to present at each of the restaurants, and once a pre-determined number of punches is received they are entitled to a free appetizer or dessert at the restaurant of their choosing. This would be effective because it meets the criteria of being appealing and specific to the customer.

Cross-promotional offerings are not effective for all types of retail. An off-price retail seller, like T. J. Maxx, would not benefit from this type of promotion. Because off-price retailers often have many items on clearance, a frequent buyer punch card would be more effective. For every 10 or 12 clearance items bought, the customer would earn one free clearance item. Item-specific rewards are often even more effective than price discounts. One study found that when retailers switched from monetary-based to item-based rewards, customers were, “more responsive to its promotions in the form of reward points than to price discounts of the same monetary value” (Breugelmans & Zhang, 2012, p. 63). These items often sit in the store for a long time, so this would also be beneficial to the retailer, as it would help move the product out of the store.

A local restaurant that would benefit from a good promotional strategy would be the new restaurant, The Mainline. They have a very specific atmosphere; targeted promotions would be very effective, such as happy hour specials marketed toward the younger, hip crowd they are trying to draw in. They are very proud of their draught beer selections, so a beer tasting sampler offered at a reduced price during happy hour would be a great way to bring people in and show what they have to offer that is different from local competition. They also offer daily specials on the menu, which, if they offered them at a lower price, would also help bring in new people.

When it comes to a successful business, it is imperative that a well-integrated retail strategy such as Samsung's is implemented. This includes developing multi-channel retailing as well as implementing useful, appealing promotions. Together, these can ensure greater customer satisfaction, which benefits both consumers and providers. Understanding these ideas is essential for any business that hopes to succeed in the current retail atmosphere.

References

Berman, B., & Thelen, S. (2004). A guide to developing and managing a well-integrated multi-channel retail strategy. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 32(3), 147-156.

Berman, B., & Evans, J. R. (2010). Retail management: A strategic approach (11th ed., Paperback ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall.

Breugelmans, E., & Zhang, J. (2012). The impact of an item-based loyalty program on consumer purchase behavior. Journal of Marketing Research, 49(February 2012), 50-65. Retrieved from the EBSCOhost database.