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Inspiration, Strategy

Tips, campaigns, and strategies for a “do more with less” economy: A conversation with top retail marketers

By Sarah Cascone

About every month, the Bluecore team gets together with our Coffee and Commerce community to discuss the most pressing priorities facing retail marketers today (after having some freshly-brewed coffee).

For our most recent conversation, we sent out a survey to see what we should focus on among these options:

Here are the responses.

retention strategy

As you can see, we had a relatively even spread across topics that are front of mind for retail marketers. The good news? They’re all connected. In an unreliable environment where  you’re trying to do more with less, one of the best ways to do it is by focusing on your existing shoppers to drive revenue.

Predictable profit is the end game right now no matter what vertical you’re in, as retail marketers continue to navigate inflationary pressures, excess inventory, marketing budget cuts, and all-time-high acquisition costs. 

All of that means that we need to make the most of our existing customer base, getting them to buy more items and buy more frequently. 

We got together with leading retail marketers from PacSun, Arc’teryx, American Signature, Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s,, CITY Furniture, and more to discuss strategies and campaigns that pack a major punch in meeting all three of these needs.

5 Campaigns and strategies that back a big punch

1. Find affinities

Your shoppers are constantly leaving clues for you to help them along to their next purchase — everything from their browse, search, and cart behavior to the items and styles they’re connecting with. With predictive modeling that automatically tracks and interprets that flow and channels it into marketing campaigns, you can get ahead of each shopper’s next best buy to drive conversion (and save time doing it). One example is Steve Madden. With a category affinity model, which determines which category a shopper has a preference for, they serve up recommendations on a silver platter. These campaigns increased conversion rate while reducing campaign production time by 87.5%.

steve madden
Pro tip: Data is money

In a “do more with less” economy, you don’t want to leave anything on the table — and your most valuable asset is your retail data. For community members, it’s become more important than ever before to utilize the data that they have on customers and almost-customers, and use it everywhere and anywhere — and the more data, the better. When you’re using the data to reach high value audiences on paid, getting it into the hands of store associates, using it to send 1:1 emails, using it to onboard the best audiences for CCTV… the options are limitless and the return is gold. The best part is, the more data you have, the better quality of campaigns.

2. Unlock hidden gems

Another “do more with less” campaign unlocks the secrets from your product catalog to surface the best of your products to shoppers, while supporting merchandising priorities. By understanding those products that have low visibility but high conversion rates, you can bring those out of obscurity, and connect those high converters to shoppers in your marketing campaigns. By marrying these product recommendations with audiences that have a high likelihood to engage, you can take this campaign to the next level. One member of the community saw big revenue gains with these campaigns.

3. Supercharge your triggers

Triggers have proven time and time again to be high converters — abandon cart, which takes advantage of those high intent shoppers, tops the charts with conversion rate, and click through rate, etc. But if you aren’t taking these triggers even further — you’re missing out on a big opportunity. One community member takes their back-in-stock triggers,  which have a similarly high level of intent, and includes dynamic 1:1 product recommendations to keep the shopping going while those shoppers are ready to buy.

Pro tip: Go with the flow with cross-channel journeys
To make the most of your channels, you need to make them work together. For example, retail marketers that have used text as an extension of email, rather than a separate stream, have been able to understand which customers prefer that channel, and they use that to drive conversion. For example, setting up a flow where if an email goes unopened, a shopper gets a text will ensure that your messages aren’t going unnoticed.

4. Send targeted texts

We’re living in Gen-Z’s world. Retail marketers want to get on board with mobile, but as shoppers themselves, sometimes find they hit the unsubscribe pretty quickly. However, done properly, community members see great engagement and revenue lifts, to the tune of 10% conversion rates during peak season. By sending text messages based on items shoppers are interested in on a 1:1 level, you can give the much-needed personal touch to text and only surface products shoppers are most likely to buy. Higher urgency triggers like price drop have worked on text as well.

5. Dig into your customers

What’s better (and less costly) than a net-new customer? An existing shopper. By targeting your shoppers who are less engaged, you can dig into an often-neglected customer segment and bring them back into the fold to drive revenue and repeat purchases. Your loyal customers are great, but you have a slew of loyal-customers-to-be who are just waiting for the right message, and the right product. Baked into your understanding of your shopper segments should be their unique buying cadence, their engagement across channels, and more.

Profit you can predict

In the “do more with less” and the “worse than we thought” economy for retail marketers, it’s important to focus on profit that you can predict. By tapping into your existing customers and your owned data, you can create targeted campaigns that are proven to convert, for much less.

Sarah Cascone, VP Marketing

Sarah Cascone

A metrics-driven brand marketer with 10+ years experience, Sarah has a passion for tying the human element of marketing to revenue growth. As VP of Marketing at Bluecore, Sarah’s focus is cultivating and nurturing the strong community of innovative retail leaders behind Bluecore's mission to empower brands to discover their best customers and keep them for life.