How Are You Marketing Your Retail Business?

How Are You Marketing Your Retail Business?

Everywhere you go, look, and turn, there are different types of advertisements for retail establishments. Just this morning I heard a Chick-fil-A ad on the radio for a new location opening just 6 miles from my house (I am in trouble), I also received a text message ad for a 20% off Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupon, and yesterday when I was getting the mail, I had a postcard from the local hardware store for 15% off a propane tank. The world is fueled (no pun intended) by retail businesses whether it is a local mom and pop shop, a department store, or supermarkets, and these types of businesses exist because of the business to consumer relationship.

With so many ways to reach consumers through traditional and new media, let’s talk about three of the top digital products for the retail industry, which is a top business vertical here at Vici. Certain digital products are going to provide different outcomes for an ad campaign such as branding and awareness, driving website traffic, or getting people into a location.

One of the most popular products for retail locations is Mobile Conquesting™ because we use location based, demographic, and behavioral targeting to reach consumers on their mobile devices. If you are like me, you are either reading this on your phone, or your phone is within arm’s reach because we do not let those devices get too far out of sight. People are addicted to their phones so much so that 45% of people said they would put off going on vacation instead of giving up their cell phone (not it!)

By using this strategy, we are going to start with choosing a broad geographic area, but since we don’t want to reach everyone in that area, we will layer in online behaviors (targeting people who have shown specific behaviors online or are in a certain demographic) and offline behaviors (targeting people by where they have been tracked with their phone recently such as a location, business, or specific brand name store). As a retail business, there are thousands of categories to choose from. Here are a just a few:

  • Affluent Shoppers
  • Bar/Pub Goers
  • Casino Goers
  • Department Shoppers
  • Evening Diners
  • Fast Fashion Shoppers
  • Grocery Shoppers
  • Luxury Shoppers
  • Movie Goers
  • Pharmacy Regulars

Taking Mobile Conquesting™ one step further, a business might choose to add in a few more layers that are available through Mobile Conquesting™. For example, if I own a women’s clothing store, I might want to serve my ads to people while they are shopping at Macy’s, or T.J. Maxx, or a local women’s boutique. By using Geo-Fencing, we can put a virtual fence around an area and serve ads to people while they are at that specific location.

In the above example, let’s say we have a Geo-Fence around Macy’s. Now we are serving ads to anyone in that store, regardless of what behavioral categories we are targeting. This is a great option for retail locations because you are targeting the foot traffic that is happening at your competitor’s location with your businesses’ ad.

Another layer to add onto the Mobile Conquesting strategy is Geo-Retargeting. This is where we are adding retargeting onto the people that we are Geo-Fencing at Macy’s. In the below example, we are targeting people while they are at Macy’s, and now when those people leave that Macy’s, they are continuing to see the ad through Geo-Retargeting.

If you chose to utilize Geo-Fencing, you will want to make sure you are also doing Geo-Retargeting as that retargeting element is going to allow for the frequency needed in order for the consumer to take action. The average person gets bombarded with over 1,700 display ads per month, so you need that person to see the ad multiple times to break through all that advertising noise.

Let’s look at another targeting strategy I could use for my women’s clothing store. If I have a list of address that I have gathered through people wanting to sign up for coupons or promotional opportunities, I can use Address Targeting to reach people on their mobile device while in their home, and then I can continue to follow them and serve them ads after they leave that address with Address Retargeting. This is a great strategy to use because those people that I am targeting are already familiar with my brand, so now I can serve them even more customized ads.

Another tool within Mobile Conquesting™ that gives it a leg up so businesses can gauge their return on investment (ROI) is the fact that we can track on-site visits. Through this metric, we can show how many people saw an ad and then went to a specific location within a two-week period.

Facebook and Instagram is another digital product that is great for retail businesses because it allows for more than one way to target consumers, and it can diversify what kind of ads are served to consumers. For example, for my women’s clothing store, I could show 10 different products with display ads and/or video ads through Carousel Ads and each image/video can link to a different part of my website. If I want to showcase dresses, shoes, shirts, loungewear, and athletic gear, each of those images could then link to that part of my website.

If we were to take Carousel Ads and put them on steroids, we would have Collection Ads. These types of ads are great for retail businesses because it allows for an instant storefront on a mobile device. If you have a retail business and you have a lot of product to showcase, this will allow for more than four products to be displayed in a grid format so people can browse them all in one place.

Another type of ad in your Facebook arsenal is Offer Ads. These ads are like online coupons or discounts that a business can share with customers or potential customers right on Facebook to encourage them to shop on the website, at the physical store location, or both. With an online offer ad, users that claim the offer will receive a discount code (if you are using one) and will then be sent to that website to shop. Updated 1-6-22: Facebook Offer Ads were deprecated in October of 2021

For In-store Offer Ads, the offer will be saved to the user’s offers bookmark in Facebook and they will also receive a follow-up email that can be used later on with their mobile device at checkout while at the physical location. They will also be reminded on Facebook about the offer before it expires. If their phone has location sharing turned on, they can also receive a reminder to use the available offer when they are nearby that location.

Another option for these types of ads is that a business can decide the total number of offers to make available before it is considered sold out. There is a minimum is 50 offers that must be made available, but there is no maximum limit. The offer codes that are redeemable can be same for all persons, they can be individualized codes, or the business does not even have to use one.

Digital is a great tool for businesses because it allows to target an exact audience in a specific geography that a business wants to reach, but one area that it has had a tough time with is couponing. Digital couponing has been less than lackluster because the idea of downloading a coupon, screen shotting a coupon, or using a QR code on a phone is just not traditional consumer behavior. With Facebook Offer ads, we have seen an average redemption rate is around 8%, compared to direct mail at 1-3%. These ads are great at creating that sense of urgency for consumers and making them move further down the sales funnel from the consideration and evaluation phase to the conversion phase.

After looking at the different types of ads that would benefit a retail business on Facebook and Instagram, there are two different ways you can target consumers; Behavioral Targeting and Custom Audience Matching. Some of the categories a retail location might be interested in targeting are:

  • Shopping Malls
  • Fast Casual Restaurants
  • Gyms
  • Automobile Repair Shop
  • Boutiques
  • Craft Beer
  • Department Store
  • RVs

With Facebook Custom Audience Matching, we can take a list of email address, phone numbers, and/or physical addresses, match those to Facebook and Instagram users, and then deliver ads just to those people. Any business or company who collects customer data can benefit from this targeting strategy because just like Mobile Conquesting™ Address Targeting, you can get very targeted with your message and it allows for higher ROI because these people are already familiar with the brand.

One last product that is a great option for retail locations is Amazon. Just like Mobile Conquesting™ and Facebook and Instagram, Amazon has various ways to target consumers, and allows the opportunity for different types of ads to be used. By using this strategy, we are taking advantage of the vast amount of data that Amazon has gathered on its users and targeting them through Behavioral Targeting, Product Targeting, and Customer Audience Matching. With Behavioral Targeting, we can show a Display, Video, or OTT ads to people based on what they have purchased, browsed, or searched for on This is a goldmine for retail businesses because people go to Amazon to search for certain products to buy. Almost 50% of US Internet users start product searches on Amazon, compared to 35% who went to Google first. Some of the categories that would be a good fit for retail locations could be:

  • Affluent Shoppers
  • Audio and Video Accessories
  • Baby and Child Products
  • Car Owners
  • Electronics
  • Fashionistas
  • Organic Products

Going back to our women’s clothing store, if I were to use Behavioral Targeting, I could target Affluent Shoppers, Fashionistas, and Premium Women’s Clothing Shoppers. Anyone that has put themselves in those categories now has the potential to see my ad on (display ads only), Amazon Owned Properties (, IMDb TV, and Amazon Fire Stick) and across Amazon Premium (a network of 5,000 different websites and apps that Amazon has partnered with).

Product Targeting on Amazon is going to be a little more precise than Behavioral Targeting because we are targeting specific products that can be purchased on Amazon. I would select three products that can be purchased on Amazon, and then an audience is created based off those. For example, if I were to choose the following three products, anyone that has searched for, browsed, or purchased those pieces now has the potential to see my ad.

This is a great strategy because it is targeting people that have shown an interest in specific products that you are wanting to reach so you are able to get even more targeted.

Just like with Facebook and Instagram, we can also do a Custom Audience Matching targeting strategy with Amazon. With this, we take a list of email address, phone numbers, and/or physical addresses and then see how many on that list we can match to Amazon. Those matched users are then served display, video, or OTT ads on (display ads only), Amazon owned properties, and across Amazon publishers.

A lot of times people might that think that it is neat that we can target people while they are on, and it is, but the real power of this platform is that we can target those people while they are off Amazon, with the same Amazon targeting data. If you think about your own consumer behavior on Amazon, you probably go on there because you are looking for something, you put it in your cart, and then you are done. So, while people are spending time on, they aren’t really hanging out there engaging in different content. When we are targeting consumers while they are on, IMDb TV, using an Amazon Fire TV Stick, or on a series of 5,000 other websites and apps, we are reaching them on platforms where they are spending more time and are more engaged.

One feature that Amazon Custom Audience, Facebook Custom Audience, and Mobile Conquesting™ Address Targeting have in common is that they are great tool for ROI for retail businesses because we can do a Match Back report. With this, we take the original list of email address/phone numbers/physical addresses and match that against the list we are serving ads to, and the business is then able to see how many people became customers through their digital campaign.

The marketing and advertising world can be considered the wild wild west because there are so many different places to advertise and so many ways to do it. There is an old saying from John Wannamaker, a man who opened one of the first and most successful department stores in the United States, which eventually became part of Macy’s, that said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” That is a big struggle that many verticals face, not just retail locations, but with digital, you are able to put your ad in front of a targeted audience and with certain strategies, you can track that initial ROI by seeing foot traffic and utilizing those match back reports.


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