previous icon Back to blog
Apr 26, 2022
4 minutes read

Transactional vs. Relationship Marketing in Retail and Ecommerce

All marketing strategies strive to increase sales of products or services, but each method has its own unique approach. The relationship between your brand and your customers has become more critical than ever. Today we’ll review the differences between transactional vs. relationship marketing and how each can support your business’s goals.

Josh Intagliata
Josh Intagliata,
Product Marketing Manager

Transactional Marketing Defined

Transactional marketing attempts to increase overall sales in a specified time. This marketing approach prioritizes your brand’s short-term relationship with a potential customer to close the deal no matter what. The relationship ends once the customer completes their purchase, minus any future customer service inquiries.

Your brand can use transactional marketing to attract new customers and optimize your sales potential by focusing on quick sales. In addition, because transactional marketing campaigns do not always target specific customers, your brand can send out multiple promotional messages to a broad audience at a very low cost.

As a result, you can drive increased sales and conversions, maximizing repeat sales and subsequent customer loyalty.

Because transactional marketing strives to convert as many leads into paying customers as possible, loyalty is a lower priority. Instead, a common transactional marketing tactic is upselling, in which you recommend the latest version of a product. Other examples of transactional marketing include:

  • Offering rewards to encourage each purchase

  • Advertising a buy-one-get-one promotion

  • Providing seasonal sales discounts

Pro Tip: Use transactional marketing to clear out overstocked or seasonal inventory to make room for more in-demand products.

Relationship Marketing Defined

As the name suggests, relationship marketing is a business strategy that emphasizes building a relationship with your customers. Unlike transactional marketing, which focuses on making the sale, relationship marketing looks beyond the point of purchase.

By building long-term, meaningful connections with customers, your business can drive engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty.

Nurturing long-term customer relationships can also help your brand retain customers, generating more revenue than acquiring new ones. In fact, it costs up to seven times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. Therefore, using relationship marketing tactics to boost customer retention can help reduce marketing costs and increase ROI.

Today, consumers expect a personalized touch: Over 90% said they were more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations. Establishing a long-term relationship with your customers helps your brand understand their needs and provide an exceptional customer experience.

For example, you can share personalized product recommendations with your customers based on their purchase history. Other examples of relationship marketing include:

  • Offering specials and discounts to thank your loyal customers

  • Interacting with customers on social media by regularly responding to comments and other posts

  • Collecting feedback from customers to demonstrate that you value their opinions

  • Launching a customer loyalty program

Pro Tip: Use relationship marketing if your company benefits from customer loyalty to sell items like electronics, appliances, software, and cars.

Transactional vs. Relationship Marketing: A Comparison

Both techniques offer value to a growing business when it comes to transactional vs. relationship marketing. However, the key is to implement each approach to meet your brand’s specific goals. Here are four main differences between transactional and relationship marketing:

Transactional Marketing

  • Customer acquisition

  • Short-term benefits

  • Less customer interaction

  • Mass marketing

Relationship Marketing

  • Customer retention

  • Long-term benefits

  • More frequent customer interaction

  • Personalized marketing

Customer Acquisition vs. Retention

Because transactional marketing focuses on increasing one-off sales, acquiring new customers is a reliable way to achieve that goal. On the other hand, relationship marketing prioritizes customer retention to build long-term relationships and develop customer loyalty.

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Benefits

Transactional marketing emphasizes the short-term benefits of its strategy, like increased sales and greater profitability. In comparison, relationship marketing builds on the long-term benefits of nurturing customer relationships to directly or indirectly grow your business.

Less vs. More Frequent Customer Interaction

With transactional marketing, customer interaction is less frequent after a purchase has been completed. However, customer interaction is more frequent in relationship marketing as brands seek long-lasting ties by providing valuable information and sharing recommendations.

Mass Marketing vs. Personalized Marketing

A transactional marketing approach leverages mass marketing to make as many sales as possible. In contrast, relationship marketing focuses on a more personalized approach to building customer relationships that lead to more sales long term.

Build Effortless Customer Experiences with Conversational Commerce

When it comes to comparing the benefits of transactional vs. relationship marketing, both strategies offer much value to your business. Ultimately, both approaches will help your brand gain more customers and develop a loyal customer base to support sustainable long-term growth.

At, we believe that relationship marketing can help retailers stay competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace. Our Mobile Marketing Cloud lets you connect with your customers on their favorite mobile channels, sharing personalized marketing messages that drive sales, engagement, and loyalty.

Our user-friendly platform helps retailers and e-commerce brands get started with conversational commerce, where every conversation can become a conversion.

Contact us today to learn more about how can transform your customer journey.

Was this article interesting?
Share it!
Josh Intagliata
Josh Intagliata,
Product Marketing Manager
logo linkedin icon

A marketing technology expert, passionate about driving business growth through strategic product marketing. With expertise in digital product marketing, and go-to-market strategy, he boasts a track record of success in driving product adoption and revenue growth.

Latest Articles

Ads That Click to WhatsApp
Jan 18, 2024 • Marketing

Ads That Click to WhatsApp: What Are They and What Are the Benefits?

Successful marketing means creating personal and conversational experiences for your customers. And what better place to meaningfully connect to your customers than on their favorite social media platforms and channels such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp? With ads that click to WhatsApp, aka click-to-chat WhatsApp ads, you can offer your customers the direct and personal engagement that they crave. Read all about it!

Jun 10, 2023 • WhatsApp

Showcase your products with WhatsApp Business Product Messages

You might already be using WhatsApp Business as a communications channel for things like customer service, customer feedback, and marketing. However, what many people have yet to discover is the power of WhatsApp Product Messages as a highly innovative and effective way to boost your sales potential on one of the world's most popular online messaging channels.

Increase Your Conversions Rate With WhatsApp Business
Jun 01, 2023 • WhatsApp

Increase Your Conversions Rate With WhatsApp Business Assisted Sales

You don't need a degree in psychology to know that some customers are more risk-averse than others when making a purchase. When shopping online, everyone has, at some point, been hovering over the 'confirm payment' button with that little voice at the back of their minds telling them they're about to make a mistake. Sometimes we throw caution to the wind regardless of any doubts we may have and buy the product anyway; in many cases, we abandon our carts and go elsewhere to find what we're looking for.

Sep 28, 2022 • Messaging

Why engagement on the right communication platform is key

Today’s consumers expect easy and convenient communication with businesses. That means your business needs to be easy to engage with and reach when your customers need you. Being present on the right communication channels can make or break the customer experience.

what is cpaas
Jun 13, 2022 • Conversational Commerce

What is CPaaS? Key Functions and Use Cases

If you’ve ever wondered “What is CPaaS?” you’re not alone. From Software as a Service (SaaS) to Platform as a Service (PaaS), the sheer number of as-a-service products can be overwhelming. Today, we’ll explain what CPaaS is and overview its benefits, key functions and use cases.

Feb 24, 2021 • Mobile Marketing Cloud

Mobile Marketing Mistakes to Avoid This Year

It’s no secret: Consumers expect to be able to engage with your company on their mobile devices. Mobile is the best channel to reach your customers and drive engagement and sales. We’ll take you through the mobile marketing mistakes you should avoid in 2021.

Oct 08, 2020 • Mobile Marketing Cloud

What Is Mobile Commerce? 6 Advantages of Mobile Commerce Brands Should Embrace Today

By 2021, mobile commerce will account for 54% of all retail ecommerce sales. If your brand and online store are not optimized for mobile devices, now is the time to catch up – or risk falling behind the curve. In this article, we’ll break down mobile commerce, its advantages to your business, and how you can optimize your brand for mobile shopping today.