The coronavirus pandemic has changed the retail industry. Customers switched to online, increasing the volume of orders made via the Internet tenfold. In the first and second quarters of 2020, analysts talked about an unprecedented growth in retail turnover up to 5.6% amid acceleration of both food (4.7%) and non-food (6.4%) segments (according to Raiffeisenbank). The last time such high growth rates were observed in December 2014 - 5.1%. The online trading market in the Russian Federation continues to grow, and this is against the background of Rosstat data that the consumer confidence index has reached a historic low, and three quarters of our compatriots have switched to economy mode.

Today, all sellers are actively ramping up online sales. This channel was opened even by those players who previously treated it with skepticism. But the AKIT figures speak for themselves: the share of online commerce in the Russian retail market in 2020 for the first time exceeded 10% at the end of the first half of the year, and the market volume amounted to 1.654 trillion rubles.

Against this background, competition among e-commerce enterprises has increased: in order to keep the business afloat, it has become more important than ever to work correctly with the promotion and attraction of a new audience. This trend continues today, and the question of which audience engagement tools work best is becoming especially relevant? Let's try to answer it!

Internal marketing

The experience of such large companies as Perekrestok, Sbermarket and Samokat in the last few months has shown how well it works to attract customers using promotional codes for the first order. Last year, the tremendous growth in e-commerce indicators was due not only to coronavirus anxiety, but also to the active work of retail marketers - the organization of discount programs, a dialogue with the target audience. For hundreds of thousands and even millions of Russians who have never used online retail services before, saving 10-15% of the check turned out to be an excellent motivator to start using new services for themselves.

Internal marketing gives the seller the opportunity to whet interest in something by introducing the brand or trying something. Think of tastings in regular stores: customers are always interested in them. Traditional retail has everything it needs: space and a flow of customers to whom you can tell something, give it a try, give it as a present. What does an online retailer have? Potentially interesting service, you can nudge your audience to either a good discount or free shipping.

By the way, free shipping is a great incentive. According to analysts, 61% of consumers are ready to cancel a purchase at the final stage if the delivery is not free, and 93% of online shoppers are ready to order more goods if they are brought in for free.

CASE: Since we started talking about the retail giants at this point, then in the case study we will consider the solutions used by them. "Sbermarket" offers users a discount of 500 rubles for the first order - this is a good way to attract a customer and keep him, bring him to a purchase.


Sbermarket also implements a referral program that allows the store to expand its customer audience. So, the buyer can get another discount coupon, but not for the order, but if he brings a friend (so that the friend is also profitable, the retailer also offers a discount to him as a new customer). Thus, by working with internal users, you can not only retain your audience, but also increase it.


Promotional codes can contain not only a discount, but also an offer for free shipping, for example. There can be many options - the main thing is to give the client the opportunity to try the service and keep it.

Target for retail

When it comes to targeted ads, Instagram is an effective retail platform. Due to the mechanisms for fine tuning this social network, you can very accurately determine your target audience.

When evaluating the effectiveness of this promotion channel, people often mistakenly translate it into the category of very expensive ones, focusing only on the cost of attracting first leads. In absolute figures, the first clients attracted through targeted advertising are really very expensive, but here you need to understand that “target” is a long game, and final conclusions about its attractiveness can be made only after a careful study of such an indicator as LTV - the size of the aggregate profit from each client for the entire period of his life.

CASE: We had a showcase experience of promoting a store specializing in importing products from Portugal. With the help of certain settings, we selected in the radius of our delivery people who are interested in travel in general and Portugal in particular, and made them an appropriate offer. The performance of this advertising campaign has been very good. The store was initially focused on a high average check, offering grocery sets costing from 3000 r. 

Nice, but interested in an unusual offer, people bought on average two sets, repeating orders 5-6 times a year.


To illustrate the case, we show the three most effective project ads on Instagram

Bloggers and influencers

Working with bloggers and opinion leaders is a kind of trend for 2020-2021. It is good for bloggers to give products for testing and here you can kill two birds with one stone. If the blogger doesn't like the product, the seller will have time to revise his assortment or change suppliers. If the product "comes in", then the seller receives objective reviews of both the product itself and the store's services.

One cannot expect instant effect and quick sales from this channel. A blogger is not a shop on the couch, it is an informant whose vocation is to convey this or that information to the audience. However, there are exceptions to this rule - these are certain niches in which working with bloggers is especially effective. And first of all, these are goods for mothers and children. In these niches, micro-influencers (bloggers with an audience of up to 10 thousand people) give very good efficiency, and practice shows that most of them are ready to cooperate for free, using the CPA system (payment for the result).

CASE: A good example of effective work with microbloggers is Mamsy. This retailer works with bloggers - mothers with an audience of 10-50 thousand subscribers. Mamsy employs a large number of managers, each of whom oversees 10 bloggers. This promotion channel gives the retailer a remarkable result: on average, Mamsy doubles its turnover once every two years. At the same time, CPA no longer works with big bloggers and tech reviewers, because their target audience, as a rule, does not make impulse purchases, unless, of course, we are talking about a new iPhone.


Warm base

CRM is a great way to increase sales, if, of course, you use it correctly, that is, constantly work with customers who have bought something in the store at least once. Attracting a new audience is always more expensive than activating an old one - this is the ABC of marketing. Working with current clients can even be free and at the same time automated. Large online retailers have long established a rule: if a client has not made orders on the site for more than a month, he will be sent a promo code for a good discount or free shipping.

But this is far from the only tool when working with a “warm” audience. You can and should send messages to your own customer base informing about discounts, promotions and new products in the store's assortment; it makes sense for large customers to periodically remind themselves with calls. And in order to keep warm customers from becoming cold, you need to be very careful about when people made their last purchase in the store, because beyond a certain point, returning an old customer is no easier than attracting a new one.

CASE: Here I want to show not a case, but a formula that will help each retailer determine the most successful frequency for contacting a customer base. It looks like this:


It's important that your messages reach the customer in between purchases, not after they've visited your store. The accumulated customer base allows you to calculate this frequency. You can calculate the frequency of calls for any period - month, quarter, year ... But I especially note that this formula works only for fast-moving goods, such as hygiene products, food, household chemicals, etc.

For several years in a row, e-commerce statistics have not shown anything fundamentally new: the segment is growing steadily, and the pandemic, of course, has made its own adjustments to the industry, but has not fundamentally changed anything. 55% of Russian consumers make online purchases at least once a month, and the average number of orders per year is 6.2. Against the background of these figures, it becomes clear that the segment will continue to develop further, and in order to attract its customers, just opening an online store is not enough. Working with your audience is important, and the methods listed above can help you take your first steps in that direction.