One of the most essential aspects of starting a retail business is to compose a strategy for how to make sales and generate revenue . This type of proposed strategy is more commonly known as a marketing plan and the importance of having such a plan in place cannot be overstated.


In fact, whether or not a business has a marketing plan or not, how well the marketing plan is written, and whether or not the plan is executed properly, can actually determine the difference between the failure or the success of the business. 


Major retail chains and department stores such as Macy's, Sears, K-Mart, Target, and Bloomingdale's all employ marketing plans.


Note, even if your business is strictly wholesale, you should still employ a marketing plan.


A good, solid, and well drafted marketing plan should be composed of at least five different components that each address a specific and important area of your marketing plan.


There may be other topics that you could include but generally speaking, the following five items are the basic essentials you should definitely include in your plan. The first component should be mission statement. This statement is basically a summary of what you hope to achieve it with your business and should be defined by the business leaders or owners. Often times, this statement doesn't really change too much over time since it is usually the basis for why the business was created in the first place.


The second portion of your marketing plan should outline specific marketing objectives. Again the objectives should be defined by the business leaders and executed by the person or department who is in charge of the marketing.


Marketing objectives can include goals related to financial figures (such as an aim to increase quarter sales by 25%) or can involve a specific marketing task like to establish a sales presence on a social media marketing channel such as Facebook Marketplace. It is only necessary to outline these marketing objectives here because more specific details regarding the strategies for executing these goals will form the content for the third and fourth components of the marketing plan. The overall marketing strategy, or game plan should be covered in the third section. This plan should touch upon where resources should be directed and should also define a time period for these strategies to take place. The precise steps or targeted actions that will be required to be taken in order to reach the goals need to be discussed in the fourth section and need to be predetermined so that there will be a clear and directed path to follow.


The tactical programs employed by the business (or marketing department) are the keys to bringing about the success of the objectives. , This then, is the most important and relevant component of the marketing plan. Finally, the marketing plan needs to discuss the funds that would be required to put the marketing tactics, strategies, and overall goals into effect. This is generally did you buy the owners or upper management but it is important for the marketing team to have a good concept of what they need so that based on the budget, they can make any changes as needed. 


Marketing plans can often be a detailed and very analytical proposal and sometimes will require a good working knowledge of the retail business as a whole, sales and consumer trends, the ability to forecast changes in sales numbers, and in many cases, especially in today's tech driven world, at least a basic understanding of e-commerce and how sales can be driven online and through social media marketing.


Composing a thorough, executable, will defined, and successful marketing plan is a project that takes some time, knowledge and a directed approach that is not necessarily second nature to most. Luckily however, there are numerous tools, guides, and even classes that are available online to the business owner to help him/ her face this daunting task with confidence and competence. Some of the resources include step by step instructions and all provide essential information to help you design a marketing plan that will be customized to your business and specific to your retail goals.


Sites like KnowThis.com is an incredibly valuable source of information, articles, as well as tutorials that are all designed to inform and educate the entrepreneur. Another excellent website is called mplans.com where not only can you view thousands of sample marketing plans categorized for every type of business, but you can also download software that has been designed to assist the business owner with the creation of various types of business plans.


By creating your own marketing plan, you will gain a greater understanding of marketing strategies and concepts and this, in turn, will influence your approach to the essential role that marketing has on your retail business.