Do less to achieve more — that’s a principle most retailers would embrace, especially when budgets are tight and competition is stiff. For some, this means prioritizing short-term gains over long-term wins, in the hope that this shift in balance will deliver better results. Research, however, shows otherwise.
The latest retail report by WARC, in partnership with Google, indicates that a balanced retail marketing strategy is key to sustainable performance.
Here, we highlight from the report three ways retailers can strike the right balance in their retail marketing strategy, retail channels, and organizational structure to drive continuous growth.
Balancing the long and the short of it
It’s not uncommon for retailers to weigh a long-term marketing strategy against a short-term one, trying to decide if they should forgo brand marketing to focus on performance instead. This, however, is a false dilemma, borne out of the mistaken belief that the two strategies drive mutually exclusive outcomes.
Recent research shows brand building doesn’t just drive long-term impact, it also helps retailers achieve short-term sales goals. That’s because people today regard value as being more than just about the sticker price; they also consider factors like trust and authenticity before making a purchase.
By communicating brand value, retailers can drive sustained sales even when overall consumer spending is down in times of macroeconomic uncertainty. The retail report has frameworks detailing how this can be done.
As for balancing between driving immediate revenue gains and sustainable growth, consider a full-funnel marketing solution like Performance Max. It uses the full power of Google’s AI to help retailers find their most valuable customers across all of Google, and multiply conversions on business goals such as sales and brand awareness.
Another way to drive sustainable performance is through YouTube campaigns. Take Uber Eats as an example. Nearly 1 in 6 Australians today use the online food delivery service after it broke into the market with its “Tonight, I’ll be eating…” campaign.
Balancing between brand.com and marketplaces
Retailers also need a balanced sales channel strategy because the rise in digital commerce has meant that shoppers interact with more online channels in their path to purchase. With the right mix of sales channels and balance between them, a retailer can find its most valuable customers and maximize investment across the channels to sustain growth.
Of the many sales channels available, brand.com and marketplaces stand out. They’re among the top five touchpoints that people use when researching purchase decisions.1 Fifty-five percent of shoppers use brand.com in their path to purchase, while marketplaces account for 75% of all post-pandemic online spending.
When it comes to balancing between brand.com and marketplaces, it’s not a matter of “either-or” but “and.”
Brand.com and marketplaces each have their strengths, and when combined, they help to grow sales immediately and sustainably. Marketplaces, for instance, boost short-term sales by driving discoverability during key shopping moments. Brand.com, on the other hand, lets retailers use their first-party data to create personalized shopping experiences that build brand affinity and pave the way to sustainable growth.
So when it comes to balancing between brand.com and marketplaces, it’s not a matter of “either-or” but “and.” Our retail report includes a framework for how to strike the right balance between the channels and allocate marketing budget. Moreover, Retail Partnerships with Google Ads can help retailers easily measure their marketplace performance and optimize their ad campaigns.
Balancing the intricacies of omnichannel retail
With shoppers moving across online and offline channels, retailers also need an omnichannel retail strategy to attract them. After all, omnichannel shoppers are 1.5X to 2.1X more valuable than non-omnichannel shoppers.2 The challenge with this is to keep the intricacies of an omnichannel retail business in balance.
The organizational structure, especially, must be rebalanced. The outdated view of e-commerce as a “bolt-on” to the retailer’s main business needs to go; e-commerce should be incorporated throughout the organization. By breaking down silos, retailers can seamlessly connect the dots between valuable customer signals in the “messy middle” of their shopping journeys and better meet their needs. Our retail report details three models for integration.
To strengthen integration, retailers should measure performance and marketing effectiveness across channels. Marketing mix models can help with this, and also uncover new synergies across sales touchpoints. Google’s Digital Acceleration Program, formerly known as the Retail Acceleration Program, further provides retailers with customized offline and online solutions to capture omnichannel growth.
When Milo Indonesia successfully bridged its online-to-offline attribution gap, for example, its directly attributable sales increased by 1.5X the amount invested in trade promotion.
The retail landscape may be complex but retailers can still get ahead. As our report shows, when they strike the right balance in their omnichannel retail and marketing strategy, sustainable performance is well within reach.
Contributors: Rahul Gupta, Industry Head, Retail; Raja Narula, Ads Marketing Lead, SG & MY; Geia Lopez, Head of Data and Insights, Southeast Asia; Yan Gen Lee, Analytical Consultant, Consumer Tech & Retail; Srinidhi Srinath, Industry Manager, Retail; Vera Neo, Marketing Specialist; Sriram Mahendran, Marketing Manager, Large Customer Marketing, Singapore