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7 Must-Answer Retail Marketing Challenges

“Think retail therapy…my new addiction” – Ariana Grande. What Ms. – not Mrs. – Grande understands is that shopping makes people happy on a truly sublime level. As a retail marketer, you know this well, and it’s likely music to your ears.

After all, marketing for retail is one of the most challenging sectors out there. Firstly, analysts estimate that retail marketing and advertising spend reached between $40 billion to $50 billion in 2022. Beyond deep-pocketed competition, there are a series of conceptual and practical problems that make bringing effective messaging to your audience more difficult than ever. We’re diving into the 7 retail marketing challenges that need to be addressed. 

The Opal marketing platform is trusted by a variety of leading retail brands like Target, Rothy’s, Starbucks, and countless others. Our platform is the space where retail brands plan their marketing campaigns, engage in careful creative review, preview content through the eyes of the customer, and see everything on a central calendar! Because of our relationships with national and international retail brands, we have a front row seat to their challenges and how they overcome them! 

We’re highlighting the 7 biggest retail marketing challenges, giving context on why they NEED to be solved, and highlighting how our platform is the choice for retail brands. 

Potential Problems in Retail Marketing 

The problems of retail marketing

You’ll probably recognize some, if not all, of these potential pitfalls and problems in retail marketing – on the national or international stage. Let’s dig in…

1. Competition – Between $40 billion and $50 billion spent…enough said, right? But there is more to it than just the budget. The retail space is chock-full of some of the most prominent and beloved brands. You’re competing against brands that your audience grew up with and stores where they made lasting memories. Of course, that’s all in a day’s work for marketers. Making an impact against entrenched and well-funded brands requires an airtight strategy, a rapid cadence of publishing, and exceptional marketing content.  

2. Expectations for Content – Speaking of marketing content, the pressure is absolutely on. Content is expected to be both authentic enough to emotionally resonate – as well as have the potential to move merchandise. This leads to a world where you may be asked to prove the ROI of your content initiatives, YET also need to tell an authentic story that connects with your audience. Of course, that’s just the beginning of it. Brands are expected to have a POV on the world that they share through their content, but at the same time are warned against alienating anyone. What this means is that your content must be exceptional to succeed!

3. Visual Nature of the Marketing – You know the old adages: “A picture’s worth a thousand words” and “The devil’s in the details.” Both of these hold true for retail marketing. Since the vast majority of your marketing is visual, your imagery needs to be perfect, and one wrong detail can undermine everything. This becomes doubly difficult considering the sheer volume of content brands produce on a daily basis. When your product lines are similar, it can be all-too-easy to use the item in a piece of content. The highly-visual nature mandates an extreme focus on careful content creation and thorough reviews. 

4. Complexity – Any national or international brand will necessitate complex marketing strategies. Retail adds several other layers of difficulty onto this. Firstly, the VAST majority of retail marketers plan for months, if not half-a-year, ahead. Plus, your marketing is likely heavily segmented. Different customers get different messaging based on demographics and buying history. Of course, it’s also likely regional, where different areas have different interests and items in stock. Of course, there’s also a canopy of coupons and promos that are pushed with set time limits for specific products. All this to say, keeping track of everything going on is a herculean task!  

Speaking of complexity, Target creates 300 pieces of content per day – read the full story!

5. Need to Be Able to Pivot Quickly No marketing in 2023 is set-it-and-forget-it – least of all for retail. From observing how our customers work, retail marketers have a consistent need to make changes on the fly. Whether that is to double down on something that works well – or shuffle plans based on in-store inventory – you need to make changes at a moment’s notice. By closely monitoring market shifts and consumer behavior, retailers can proactively adjust their marketing strategies, launch new campaigns, and optimize existing ones. Given how complex we know retail marketing can be, this poses a real challenge.   

6. User-Generated Content – User-generated content (UGC) is both a unique retail marketing challenge and a golden opportunity. When customers choose to make content around your products, that is a huge win! It can have a level of influence and authenticity like nothing you can produce yourself. To make the most of it, you need to respond quickly and directly. You need to have playbooks that cover how to handle a full potential range of UGC.  

7. Alignment We know retail marketing is complex, so it stands to reason that it could create problems with brand alignment. The retail marketing landscape encompasses a multitude of channels and touchpoints – often digital and in-person. Ensuring alignment across these channels while telling a consistent brand story can be a daunting task. You’re trying to promote the right product or experience to vastly different audiences, all while telling your own story. By aligning messaging, visuals, and customer interactions across platforms, retailers can provide a cohesive brand experience that strengthens their overall brand. 

Learn how Target became the definition of brand alignment!  

Why Retail Brands Trust Opal 

Daunting, right? There’s no tool that can take away all the challenges of retail marketing. However, our customers choose Opal as it provides them solutions tailor-made to some of their biggest problems and pain points. Opal is the beginning-to-end marketing space for planning, creating, and calendaring your brand content!  

Here’s what it can do you for: 

Catch Mistakes Before the Market

Opal Feature: True-to-Life Content Previews

We know that retail content is under a microscope as soon as it goes into the market. That’s why it’s so important to see your work as your customers will – before it ever goes live. Opal’s true-to-life previews enable you (and the entire team) to visualize your work through the eyes of the customer – while there’s still time to make edits. 

Superior Content in Less Time

Opal Feature: In-Context Feedback

Your content is under pressure. The best way to ensure it’s market-ready is by putting it through robust rounds of actually helpful approvals. The Opal platform enables you to leave comments directly on the piece of content – rather than relying on time-consuming back and forth emails. A streamlined approval process means your team gets better, actionable feedback in less time.    

The Visibility to Break Out of Silos

Opal Feature: Central Calendar

Complexity and needing to pivot plans at a moment’s notice are some of the big problems in retail marketing. So how do you handle this? Visibility. One of the most important features that Opal provides to marketers is a shared central publication calendar. This calendar enables you to understand EVERYTHING (from large campaigns to individual social posts) that is going to market at any given time. Having a central source of truth gives needed visibility into the complex arena of retail brands. In addition, when plans change, you can use the calendar to change publication dates in an instant.  

Explore the Opal Platform 

The right tools can make a huge difference. Opal is a purpose-built solution to help marketers plan and visualize their marketing like nothing else. When compared to generic work management tools, Opal stands out as a solution that addresses the unique challenges faced by retail marketing teams.

If you are interested in experiencing how Opal can make your work easier every day, we’re here to help. The initial step entails scheduling a personalized demo with one of our knowledgeable product experts. This interactive session provides an opportunity to witness Opal’s capabilities firsthand, inquire about how specific brands use Opal, and uncover the full potential of what it can do for you!

To request a demo and explore the benefits of Opal, reach out right here

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