Having worked on the agency and client side, I can identify several pain points that are universal for many marketers of consumer technology products today. In this blog I will explore a few of these issues as they relate to selling product at a brick-and-mortar store.
Pain Point 1: Store sales reps don’t know my product’s features and benefits.
I often go to my clients main retailers and act as if I’m shopping for their product. I’ve had many experiences when the sales rep tries to steer me towards another product that is easier for them to sell. I have also had them literally make up facts on the fly. The good news is, most saavy retailers understand they must train their sales staff or they WILL lose business. Personally, I think every retailer needs to provide their sales staff with a tablet so that product information is easily accessible. In addition, educate members on the sales staff to be category experts. What can a manufacturer do to facilitate this process? If you have the bandwidth, have your sales staff visit retail outlets as often as possible. Offer 0nline training with an incentive if the sales representative completes the course. Also, arm the retail sales representatives with easy to access product information. Often times producing material for this audience is an afterthought.
Pain Point 2: It is hard for my product to stand out in a crowded environment.
Whether you sell a product in an independent retail channel or a big box store, it it hard to stand out. The smaller store may not be merchandised well and the big box store homogenizes the experience to cut down on clutter. Neither of these things helps your brand stand out or make it easier to communicate your product’s key features. If you have the money, purchasing an endcap display can help. The least expensive way for your product to stand out is your package. Spend time and attention on your product package design. It is your silent sales person and it is the one place where you can control you brand message. Here is a previous blog talking about this topic:
Pain Point 3: There is nothing I can do to stop showrooming.
Showrooming is a fact of life; but so is webrooming. Customers may start their shopping journey online and purchase in-store because they want instant gratification. They do however go in store and use their mobile phone to shop for a better price and look for reviews. The good news is, many retailers are trying to combat this for you by matching prices they find online while shopping in store. Here are a couple of articles on how brick-and-mortar stores combat showrooming:
What can brands do to help combat showrooming? Start by joining the “retailtainment” bandwagon. Send your sales reps to stores to demo your product and engage with customers. Make their trip to the store worth their while and use the opportunity to gain more insight into your customers.
Pain Point 4: Our displays aren’t put up or are set up incorrectly
In-store point-of-purchase materials are a great marketing tool but they are expensive to design and produce. Once they have been mailed to your retailers you cross your fingers and hope they arrive safely, are given to the right person and that they are set up properly. Of course the best way to insure the displays are put up correctly is to hire a detailing company that goes in to each store and sets up the displays—this comes at a steep cost. If your company’s sales reps visit individual stores, they can make sure the display is properly set up. I personally would advise including a well thought out and designed instruction sheet on how to set up the display. If you use one of the larger display companies to manufacture the display, they will have a toll free #800 for the person who sets up the display to call if parts are missing. Another good way to supply instructions is through a QR code. You can show a video of the display being set up or provide a PDF of the instructions. Finally, and I learned this from a bad experience, have the box(es) the display is sent in properly labeled per the retailers guidelines.