The scope and nature of retail marketing

Published on February 25, 2009 Reviewed on April 28, 2016   40 min

A selection of talks on Marketing & Sales

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Hi, I'm Steve Burt from the Institute for Retail Studies at the University of Stirling. I've been working at Stirling since the institute was founded in 1983. My research areas are primarily to do with Retail Internationalization and Retail Marketing in various guises. What I'm going to do in today's talk is to give you an introduction to the Scope and Nature of Retail Marketing.
The presentation is based around three main themes. First, I'll spend a little bit of time talking about how we understand retailing, how retailing might be a bit different from other sectors, and what specific characteristics there are to retailing that make us think about how we apply marketing to it. Second element and the bulk of the presentation will be about how retailing and marketing interact. I'll introduce a model that looks at the exchange of customer values that tries to explain that retailers need to understand, create, communicate, and deliver these values. By taking this approach, we can move away from just looking at simple, specific marketing activities such as product, pricing and all the things we're taught in the 4Ps approach. Last but not least, I shall try and pull things together to try and say that retailers need to have a holistic view to marketing in retailing, but what we need is an approach to retailing that encompasses marketing as an underlying philosophy, not just to apply a series of activities that we call marketing activities.
Before we look at the scope and nature of retail marketing, we need to pause for a moment and actually think about what is retailing itself. Retailing is a fascinating sector, we all interact with retailers when we all shop virtually every day. But there are series of characteristics that make us think about how we apply marketing. First, what is retailing? Is retailing a product or is it a service? It sells products, but it also has a lot of service elements within the way it operates. What does retailing actually sell? Does it just sell goods, does it sell services, does it sell an experience, does it sell a good time? And if that's the case, how does marketing apply to that? Secondly, what do we actually market in retail? Again, there are quite a few elements that confuse the picture or at least make it very complicated. Is the product a service, the thing that we actually buy or purchase. Is it the store itself? 'Cause that's where we interact with a retailer, and then there is the company that lies behind this. And again, we all have views on companies, whether it's Tesco, IKEA or small shops. We have a different view of the business, the product, and the store itself. And last but not least, if we look at how retailing is being treated in marketing textbooks, then we tend to find that it's got part of the traditional 4Ps perspective and usually, it's the last one of the 4Ps and that in itself says something. Retailing distribution is usually parked, it's the last the thing that we bother about. We create an interesting product, we advertise or promote and then, boom, somebody has to sell it. I would argue that this is rather naive and really doesn't encompass the range of activities that we have to consider in retail marketing.