Retail PR: 4 Strategies to Survive and Flourish

Retail businesses in the United States alone, might have amassed roughly $7.24 trillion by the end of 2023, but that does not mean that everything is smooth sailing.

Quite the contrary, while many retail businesses begin well, the ugly truth is that nearly a third of them fail within 10 years. 

There are many reasons behind the lack of success, including poor business operations control, weak financial management, failure to adapt to changes, and inability to stand out from the crowd.

While good public relations cannot fix every single issue, it sure can help. 

A lot.

This is why today we are going to venture into the specifics of retail PR, outline the challenges, and propose some effective strategies you can use.

Retail PR: Main Goals

Every single retail product strategy has one major key to success – customer engagement. What does this mean? Well, it is all about developing and nurturing a relationship with customers that goes beyond simply the transaction.

Here’s a breakdown of the main aspects that retail PR should focus on:

  • Building brand awareness. The core objective of PR, in general, is to establish and maintain brand awareness, making it so that a retail brand is recognizable and respected in the marketplace, and by its consumers. This includes spreading the brand’s message and values across multiple channels, as well as molding itself to match the preferences of its target audience.
    In our day and age, a mixture of traditional and digital approaches is often required with PR experts, developing a very distinguishable brand identity that can hold its own, grab the attention of users, and stand out in the vast sea of the retail market.
  • Driving traffic. The ability to drive consumer traffic should never be underestimated, be it online (eCommerce) or offline (physical stores). Many tactics are used to get as much traffic as possible for your retail brand, including traditional media features, social media campaigns, special promotional events, and discounts. In all cases, the objective is to encourage consumers to interact with and buy from the brand, both online and in-person.
  • Developing trust and loyalty. Earning the trust of someone is never easy, but it will result in higher loyalty, and that is important in the business world. And while repeat purchases are one of the main benefits that will come as a result, yet there are other advantages like word-of-mouth, public recommendations, and an improved reputation. Some of the most common tactics to gain the trust of users are to develop consistent messaging, foster top-notch customer service, encourage people to get involved, and reward customer loyalty with prizes and special insights.

What Are the Most Common Challenges in the Retail Industry?

Of course, there are many challenges that businesses in the retail industry face, but for the purposes of this article, we will look at the most PR-related ones.

  1. Meeting client expectations. Expectations can quickly and easily change, and because of this, they are undoubtedly a tough obstacle to overcome.  Not only must strategies quickly adapt, if you want to keep them. Furthermore, you need to monitor and analyze customer behavior, to find patterns that’ll indicate any changes before they actually happen.
  2. Retaining customers. Somewhat connected to the previous challenge, customers, even the most loyal ones, can suddenly decide that they do not want to purchase from your brand anymore. Such behavior is easy to understand, as there are simply too many options to choose from, and there could be several reasons as to why a person leaves a brand – from financial to lifestyle changes.
  3. Staying up-to-date. “The times they are a-changin’”, as Bob Dylan sang, and sometimes it seems to happen overnight. Seasonal trends or sudden changes in the buying habits of clients can be disastrous for your business. Keeping up with the trends is essential, even if you can’t successfully react to them every time.
  4. Communicating effectively. Effective communication is a fine art. You need to find the right balance between being respectful, not letting your clients forget about you, and becoming too spammy, making people tired of you. There is also the risk of sending the wrong message and alienating your users. Ultimately, it is often best to seek professional help to ensure your communication with clients is always well-executed.

1. Media Relations

One of the key elements of retail public relations is handling the media relations. Nurturing your relationships with journalists and bloggers can get you and your clients a long way. Favorable press coverage is a great advantage no matter the business, and retail is no exception.

What is more, successful media coverage can not only drive more sales, but also position you as a leader in the industry.

2. Community Engagement

As we’d touched upon earlier, it is extremely important to develop a good relationship with your customers, keep them excited about your products, and make them feel like they are a part of the big community that revolves around your brand.

All this will make it easier for you to increase their loyalty and trust towards you.

3. Influencer Collaborations

Partnering with influencers and celebrities can have an instant impact on your retail sales, and boost your public image. It’s only natural that people will associate your brand with their favorite celebrities/influencers, and therefore start liking you more.

You should use this opportunity to not only attract new customers, but also to retain them long enough to engage them and earn their loyalty. Otherwise, once your campaign is over, the famous person who endorsed your brand will most likely promote something else,  prompting their fans to simply follow their hero.

Keep in mind that if you manage to find the perfect influencer/celebrity to collaborate with, you could think about turning the partnership into a brand ambassador program.

4. Promotions and Launches

A retail product strategy cannot go without thinking about how you are going to handle new product launches as well as various types of promotions, since a successful product launch can catapult your brand to new heights. 

Creating excitement through teaser campaigns, securing media spots for maximum exposure, and putting on engaging launch events are good PR plans for product launches.


We, at RLM PR, are no strangers to retail PR. Don’t believe us? Just check out the Kid Made Modern case study, and see for yourself how we managed to increase their exposure and develop their brand.
Since you don’t need to be in the retail business to work with us. We have successfully worked with clients from various industries, and niches.

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