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9 Of The Biggest Mistakes Retail Marketers Make

In such a hyperactive and instantaneous world, the margin for error in the field of retail and marketing really is at its smallest ever point. Whilst the need for generating sales through marketing strategies remains highly crucial to the success or failure of a business, ensuring that you optimise your marketing can be something of a headache, particularly when companies continue to make the same errors in the process.

Below are some of the most glaring and damaging mistakes made by retail marketers across the globe, as found by leading experts in this field.

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#1 SEO Values

In a world where everyone has their own ecommerce store, it's easy to take what you are given in terms of content and photos from a product or brand. For instance, if you started an athletic wear ecommerce store, you could simply copy the product descriptions and load them into your store. You and thousands of other online retailers.

This is one of the biggest mistake an online retailer can make and it provides zero Search Engine Optimization (SEO) value. When you have the same descriptions as 1.000s of others, Google treats your product pages as duplicate content and will not reward you with strong organic rankings in Google. Write your own product descriptions, or you will be wondering why you have zero sales.

Contributor: Scott Fish from 32digital

#2 Too Much Honesty


There was a big chain of jewellers in the UK called Ratners, which was known for its brash advertising and cut-price sales. At the head of the business was chief executive Gerald Ratner. On 23rd April 1991, Gerald stood on stage at the Royal Albert Hall, addressing a conference at the Institute of Directors. During that speech, he would utter 44 words that would destroy his business.

He said: “We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, ‘How can you sell this for such a low price?’, I say, ‘because it's total crap.' Tabloid newspapers jumped on Ratners’ remarks and the event blew up into a national scandal.The chain's value plummeted by approximately £500 million and its collapse was only averted by closing 330 shops in the UK and US.

Contributor: Will Craig, CEO from leasefetcher

#3 Outspending

The most glaring marketing mistake businesses make is spending more than they get in profit from ads and customer acquisition. This can be due to lack of tracking, lack of awareness, or lack of caring. It ends up hurting them in the end when they realize their cash flow is negative.

Contributor: Stacy Caprio from conversiono

#4 (Reliable) Signage Suppliers

One of the biggest mistakes we see retailers make when executing a new promotion is not finding a reliable signage supplier.

When you run a promotion as a retailer, you will be promoting it in multiple marketing channels. It will be promoted on their website, Facebook, Instagram, retail stores, TV, radio, etc. The risk of not having a reliable signage supplier is you risk not having the signage in your stores on time for the promotion and naturally missing out.

Contributor: Stan Tan from selbys

#5 Outsourcing Social Media Management

One of the biggest mistakes that retailers make in their marketing efforts is to outsource their social media management to an outside firm. This appeals to retailers because of an outside firm’s ability to engage with customers and build the retailer’s following online. Furthermore, this allows an outside firm to develop an end-to-end strategy to funnel engagement to the retailer.

However, such an approach can come with tremendous risk because in engaging customers the outside firm may inadvertently say or do something that puts the retailer’s reputation at risk. In today’s sound bite world, a brand can easily come under fire if a post or tweet is construed differently than how it was intended.

Contributor: Carlos Castelán from the navio group

#6 Unclear Purposes

Another big mistake that marketing teams at retailers continue to make is trotting out legacy marketing playbooks such as big media buys or following the latest trend such as working through “influencers” for a season or for the year. This approach is one that has an unclear purpose and can lead to a good deal of waste given that these may be solutions without a clear purpose.

Inherently, this approach often exposes a need to think differently such as building unique content or having more specialized team members proficient in online advertising – skill sets that may mean bringing on younger, higher paid team members in these fields.

Contributor: Carlos Castelán from the navio group

#7 Size Perspective

For small business retail stores, the biggest mistake is modelling their marketing strategy after large, already-huge competitors. As a small business, there's a unique opportunity to do the sorts of things that large stores aren't capable of. Best Buy can't get their sales associates to take selfie videos that answer frequently asked questions that they can post on Facebook and Instagram. But the mom and pop store down the street can.

The big box stores are going to treat their customers—for the most part - as numbers. The small businesses can provide a white glove service that eases numerous pain points associated with the big guys.

Contributor: Michael Mignogna, CEO from minyona

#8 Lack Of Diversity

The biggest (and most easily avoidable) marketing mistakes I've seen are based in a lack of diversity.

With racial unrest at an all-time high, there is no room for a lack of diversity and training in today's marketing and communications industry. We live in the fast-paced, transparent world of digital. It is disheartening that big box brands that we have grown to love cannot keep up.

Contributor: Secret Bridgewater at the social secret 

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Written by James Metcalfe

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