Retail best practices: Nailing your Summer Marketing


Without a doubt, this summer will be different from the previous one and hopefully better. The COVID-19 vaccine brought a sense of optimism in the consumers that are eager to return to their pre-pandemic summer habits. After a tiresome winter, we all crave some summer “revenge shopping” and a much-needed holiday. Seasonal summer sales tend to be a “smoother” period for balance sheets, but there is always space for hot summer marketing campaigns to monetize. So we decided to create a list of summer marketing best practices for retail. 

Even in the summer, digitality is still king with the majority of travelers unable to disconnect from social media or their emails. As it seems, through all this turmoil we got a blessing in disguise and the keys to the virtual kingdom. Online shopping has experienced immense growth in the pandemic era and researchers claim that by the year 2040, 95% of purchases will be through eCommerce. As such, combining the signs of the times with successful and on-point summer marketing events is a very important move for the revenue of every retailer. 

Summer’s Marketing and COVID-19: What are the latest trends

  • These crazy times have brought us a lot of new and inspired trends. This summer’s trend is the so-called “vaxication”. Consumers are getting inoculated and celebrating with a much-deserved vacation to see their friends and family. In other words, this is a very good opportunity for a marketer or retailer to promote their brand as a “back-to-normal” commodity. 
  • A second interesting trend is the so-called “buy online and pick up in-store” (BOPIS). Customers are mixing the digital with the physical by shopping online but picking up their orders at the store. Since restrictions are more lenient in summer, people are merging the easiness of online shopping with the occasional stroll around town. This tendency provides room for a lot of great summer marketing ideas and back-to-school ideas to perform at the end of the summer season.
  • Thirdly, the changes in our everyday life bring changes in our needs as consumers. Staying in, consequently, brought a demand for products that would improve our home life. On the other hand, now that consumers are starting to go out again, retailers should expect strong demand in apparel, swimwear, beauty products, and accessories. No matter your brand, staying relevant under any circumstances is possible, followed by the proper summer marketing campaign.

15 effective retail best practices for creative summer Marketing

No matter the season, an omnichannel customer engagement campaign is always the most important retail best practice. Segmentation and personalization are the backbones of a successful summer marketing strategy and an important tool for every retailer.

Retail Best Practice #1: Think of a creative Summer Marketing slogan and concept

Source: Pinterest

  • Key Benefits: Concept is key so choose wisely. Exceptional themes make for memorable and competitive businesses. Standing out is more important than ever in these confusing times for consumers and retailers alike. Once you perceive your concept, highlight your slogan in your omnichannel campaign by creating a theme with fun visuals and summer colors.

Retail Best Practice #2: Promote your branded Summer Campaign hashtag

  • Key Benefits: Statistics show that people spend approximately 2.5 per day on their social media accounts. Therefore, promoting your summer hashtag is one of the most practical ways to raise your brand awareness and get people excited to talk about you! 

Retail Best Practice #3: Create a dense Summer Email Marketing plan

Source: Freepik

  • Key Benefits: It is impressive what can be achieved via a strong email summer marketing plan. 60% of consumers state that they have bought something due to an email that they received.

Retail Best Practice #4: Pick your Summer Email Marketing subject lines carefully

  • Key Benefits: Do not forget that 45% of the abandoned cart emails are actually opened, so you have to be able to catch the eye of your customer. Personalized emails are also a major factor in conversion and retention rates, so make sure to send targeted campaigns.

Retail Best Practice #5: Create a dedicated Summer category section on your online

Example from Matalan’s Summer category

  • Key Benefits: It’s always nice to have customers browsing in your e-shop, but you have to avoid frustration if they cannot find what they are looking for. Creating an easy-to-use interface and an accessible summer category section is of the utmost importance if you wish to see positive results.

Retail Best Practice #6: Launch a COVID-19 compliant service: Convert your store’s window into a virtual shop

Tesco’s Virtual Subway store – Read the full case study here

  • Key Benefits: As mentioned above, consumers like to buy online but pick up their orders physically. Creating a bridge between your virtual and your actual shop will boost your customers’ experience. At ContactPigeon we save you the trouble of finding out how to achieve that by offering you a unique and innovative feature, the 2-Way QR Codes. An example to emulate is Tesco’s dedication to its customer service with a seamless online and offline strategy.

Retail Best Practice #7: Schedule some Summer giveaways to boost engagement

Summer Giveaway example from JD Sports

  • Key Benefits: Summer giveaways combine a two-in-one solution. They both increase your social media followers and provide you with new leads for your email campaigns. It’s a win-win situation for every retailer that wishes to use the power of social media to its advantage. A campaign with bright pop-art colors and big lettering is a sure way to get the attention of your target audience.

Retail Best Practice #8: Host virtual/physical Summer Marketing events

  • Key Benefits: We cannot stretch this enough, customer engagement is the bread and butter of marketing. A really useful summer marketing idea would be to host a physical event in your store, of course per your country’s regulations about social gatherings. To enrich your customers’ experience you can offer them beverages, like summer cocktails, snacks, or, better yet, special prizes. For those that cannot attend your event, you can always use online streaming services to promote your virtual presence, giving prizes to your online visitors as well.

Retail Best Practice #9: Brainstorm on Summer blog post ideas

Example of a summer guide for luxury beach towels

  • Key Benefits: What better way to show your expertise in your field than creating a blog post? Surprisingly enough, people still value reading a nice article about an interesting topic. So by researching the latest trends in your category, you can identify what will attract your readers and proceed accordingly. 

Retail Best Practice #10: Promote a Summer sale 

  • Key Benefits: It’s pretty clear that sales are to customers what honey is to bees. This year’s summer sales are much anticipated since we spent an entire winter away from our loved ones. Summers were always dedicated to a more carefree time, but this summer represents our anticipated return to normality and hopefully a less stressful winter.

Retail Best Practice #11: Keep engaging your customers

  • Key Benefits: There are a lot of sectors that do not get to have summer vacation, so segmentation and targeting are once again at the forefront. Moreover, no brand can afford to stop its marketing campaigns for so long. Therefore, make sure to engage your audience with creative ads and interesting themes.

Retail Best Practice #12: Organise a Summer Photo Challenge

  • Key Benefits: This idea can work hand-in-hand with Retail Best Practice #2: Promote your branded Summer Campaign hashtag. With this fun summer marketing idea, you get your customers to do something exciting, while promoting your brand’s hashtag. To make this campaign more attractive, you can give a prize to the photo that gets more likes and shares.

Retail Best Practice #13: Reward your loyal customers with a Summer discount 

Source: Freepik

  • Key Benefits: If you do not have a loyalty program, make that a priority for your business. Customers need to feel valued by their favorite brands all year long, summer included. Try sending personalized emails with discount codes to your most loyal followers and share with them how important they are for your business.

Retail Best Practice #14: Associate your brand with a good cause even in the Summer

  • Key Benefits: In these trying times customers with limited budgets tend to prefer quality over quantity and exercise great caution in their purchases. Showing them that part of their savings is dedicated to a good cause will reward both your brand and your customers. Pick your favorite environmental or social cause and give back to your community.

Retail Best Practice #15: Partner up with a business that shares the same target group with you

  • Key Benefits: Don’t get us wrong, we are not proposing a collaboration with the competition. The important thing is to think smart and identify local stores that attract the same customer personas but offer different services or products. This will be beneficial for both businesses to combine their forces and create something unique and creative. Once you figure it out the possibilities are endless.

More retail best practices resources to get inspired

Summer 2021 is going to be hot, is your Marketing strategy too?

In conclusion, the best strategy is to be imaginative and think outside the box. We have gathered for you the most effective ways for your summer marketing campaigns and we invite you to try them all. Most importantly, do not lose sight of your goal, learn from potential unsuccessful attempts, and then combine different strategies for better results. Variety is imperative and being as omnichannel as possible is the best way to keep your audience engaged and interested.

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