One of the recurring complaints you would likely hear from Field Marketing Managers and Demo Coordinators is how unreliable are the Brand Ambassadors they have to deal with. In fact, if you ever experienced scheduling a few demos, you have probably endured a Brand Ambassador's last moment cancellation or "now show".
I would like to posit that the Brand Ambassadors' perceived lack of reliability is not necessarily caused by their mercurial personalities, but by the nature of their business and unavailability of appropriate time management tools. Consider the fact that most Brand Ambassadors are independent contractors who try to earn their living selling their personal skills in small time increments. After all, most in store demos only last 3-4 hours. As such, the Brand Ambassadors need to market their services to Demo Coordinators, Brand Managers, etc. as well as delivering these services in stores and events.
It is impossible to estimate how many hours a Brand Ambassador has to market their services to get a single demo for which she can earn $60-$140. This reality forces them to continuously work with multiple Brands, conflicting times and constantly changing dates.
Demo scheduling is a very fluid process that requires a lot of flexibility from all participants, from Brand and Field Marketing Managers to store personnel, product distributor, to Brand Ambassadors. However, the last link of this chain, the Brand Ambassador, is the least equipped to deal with the demands of flexibility. The byproduct of a flexibility is uncertainty. In the case of Brand Ambassadors it is the uncertainty of being paid for their efforts, while everyone else is paid their hourly salaries. If the changes to dates and times create a conflict with their commitment to other brands they work with, they are the only link in the demo chain who is not getting paid.
Consider the fact that most Brand Ambassadors use a phone, email, Google Calendar and spreadsheets to manage their business commitments and activities, and you will see a picture of a juggler, desperately trying to keep all the "balls" in the air. It is only a matter of time and gravity before some of these "balls", i.e. demo commitments, come down crashing to the floor and cause the last moment cancellations or "no show".
Event Management Software
There are myriads of project/task/shift/etc management services available online today. However, all of them are designed for the owners of these business processes, who are in a position to control steps, tasks and communications. Not for the last link of the process chain, Brand Ambassador, who is on the receiving end of all that "flexibility". Besides, many Demo Coordinators do not use such services either because they do not offer enough specific help for the demo management process, and are not a good fit for other demo management tasks.
Use of the right tool for intelligent scheduling and coordination of ever changing demo requirements can go a very long way to reduce the frustration and "flakiness" of Brand Ambassadors. Additional benefits include:
- increased productivity of a Demo Coordinator who can manage 400-500 demos per month
- controlled automated communications with all involved parties
- greater availability of Brand Ambassador time to you because the use of such a tool reduces the uncertainty of Brand Ambassadors being paid for their time and efforts
- automated generation of BA invoices, payment statements and BA tax preparation documentation
- online demo reporting and data collection for subsequent analysis supporting Field Marketing ROI calculations.
Retail transactions done online afford customers, wholesalers, retailers and even the manufacturers, the luxury of conducting business anywhere at their own convenience. With speed and accuracy, operations can be carried out smoothly - one can therefore see the dilemma traditional independent grocers face. The concerns about falling traffic in your stores are very real as over 71% of consumers trust that they can find better prices online.
So how do you as a traditional retailer survive and most importantly thrive amidst the disruption and turbulence caused by ecommerce? Below are some ideas to increase sale in retail stores.
The first key to survival is to retain and increase foot traffic in your store - this is one of most important grocery store marketing strategies. The good news is that 94% of retail sales are still conducted in brick and mortar stores. Even with the ease of ecommerce, people still prefer a physical experience, a relationship, an interaction with the product or the retailer. This is what defines us as humans - our desire to interact.
The Major Keys to Survival in this Volatile Retail Environment
One of the best strategies to boost number of customer visits in your stores is to leverage this human desire to interact and to discover new experiences. Try to re-imagine your store as an event space which your customers see as being a fun place to visit - not just the place they need to go for weekly provisioning. Promoting limited time price discounts (TPR) on popular and well known products only leads to erosion of margin.
“If consumers come to expect price cuts as the rule rather than the exception, then price promotions lose their ability to boost sales and become unprofitable. “
Consequently, one of the major keys to survival in this volatile retail environment is the creation of exceptional customer experience in your stores. Retail leaders realize that customers now have a plethora of choices available to them. Surely, the store that provides the best experience is certainly where the customers will throng to. In essence, the traditional grocers have the advantage over ecommerce giants in providing quality customer experience through in store demo and other event based marketing strategies.
According to a survey of 1,786 US grocery shoppers conducted by Food Marketing Institute.
“Among all regular food shoppers, brick-and-mortar supermarkets continue to enjoy a clear edge over online grocery retail in perceived performance on key evaluation criteria, especially in providing fresher produce (a top store-selection driver) and better customer service,”
According To a Survey
With the ever dynamic nature of retail today, there is no way you can talk about improving customer experience without including in store demos. This refined tactic helps to draw customers, boost sales of demonstrated products and also improve the sales of other products in that category. To withstand the barrage of online competitors, you have to think of an in-store demo as a network of events rather than one elaborate show. Knowing the right product to demo, duration of each demo and location for the demo are very crucial to your stores survival. In order to measure the impact of in store demos on your stores’ Sales Per Customer Transaction, you have to consider
Understanding return on investment for these promotional strategies can go a long way in attracting the sponsors for them. Analysis of data, collected effortlessly by your POS, holds the key to leveraging vendor’s promotional budgets for increasing foot traffic in your stores. Any quality in store demo agency or vendor’s field marketing organization collects valuable data specific to the demo events they conduct. Cross referencing POS with demo data can produce empirical evidence, that would entice vendors to demos in your stores all day long, and that will lift:
In retrospect, arming yourself with the right information and tactics will give you sufficient leverage in the unstable 'waters' of retail. Reaching out to your customers, giving them the very best and improving on your operations are essential tips for relieving the pressure of online competitors.
Retail is one business that entails a lot of effort to succeed; you can't just wake up one morning, cook up a marketing strategy and expect to flourish. Some retailers currently find themselves in a bit of a fix when it comes to marketing. There are strategies involved in making your product stand out from the rest of the pack, especially if you sell products that can be experienced by the shoppers, you will need something more than just some ads to impress. In store sampling is one of the most effective tools for that purpose.
Brand activation is the art of of driving consumer action through campaigns, brand interaction and experiences. As an upcoming or certified grocery store, in store demo offers are the most effective marketing strategies that help to promote a product. In retrospect, a successful in store sampling or product demo makes, for a strong brand activation.
Product demonstration literally allows the shopper experience every bit of the product and what better way of knowing the quality than tasting it. A bit of a statistics to water your taste buds - in store sampling is known to increase sales by as much as 2,000 percent. Invariably, majority of those shoppers that experience the product go on to make purchase - the very essence of business.
Therefore, it is not a function of how many ads you run - though still a viable marketing strategy, but the combination of in store demos would guarantee notable brand activation in the store, ultimately yielding to a spike in the store's revenue. Consequently, many retailers have adopted this form of field marketing and we will see why "one taste sells better than a 1000 ads".
In-store Demos Offers
These offers have a plethora of benefits to the retailer and the store. Not only does it help promote the product but an in store demo fosters connection. In store demo offers allow you to connect directly to the customer. Furthermore, interaction that spans within and outside the store can also emanate just from in store sampling. Consequently, with the relationship established with the shoppers, you can convert them into loyal customers, hence, the need for experienced brand ambassadors that will help push the right traffic for your product. In fact, the customer could even go about telling people about your product based on the rapport and experience at the product demonstration. The more your connection, the higher your sales. Also, in store demo offers afford customers the luxury of trying different varieties of your product. For example, if it is yoghurt you are trying to promote, you can bring different flavors some people have not heard, and let them try them.
In Store Sampling Survey
This survey is yet another reason to hop on the in store demo bandwagon. Let's check some facts. According to a study, more than a third of customers who tried samples said they bought the product during the same shopping trip. Put simply, more than three out of ten people bought the product after the product demonstration. Now imagine the numbers at the close of the store. You still want to get stuck on the numerous ad campaigns you ran before? In store demo offers also have the glittering reputation of not only increasing an item's sales but also boosting sales for all products in the line by as much as 177 percent on the day of the demonstration. This was according to a 2009 study, “Report on In-store Sampling Effectiveness”.
Brand Ambassadors Charges
Running numerous ads for your products can be time consuming and costly. In store demos are relatively low. Most brands pay $20-$35 per hour to Brand Ambassadors for promoting their products in the stores. Furthermore, there could be some additional charges to the fee if the influencer (brand ambassador) travels from a distance to the store. However, if this is becoming too hectic, you can have a fixed cost demo company as a partner. This will erase hassles that come with planning for a successful in store demo. Interestingly, you can get the attention of prospects through some field marketing techniques like coupons which go for less than a dollar. You might probably be thinking of how much you have spent on advertising online, but not to worry, it is not too late to add another weapon into your retail arsenal.
Retail is a volatile business. Without the right techniques to guide you through, it may be a disastrous journey. In order to swim comfortably and avoid the treacherous waves of retail, you will need to carefully plan your in store demo. No one says that advertising does not work, but with in store demo offers, you have an extra lift above your competitors. This is particularly needed for retailers in the food industry which is highly competitive. It is either you do things creatively or watch others dominate the market. The affordability, ease and luxury in store demos provide the retailers and the shoppers makes it clear to see why "one taste is better than 1000 ads"©. Brands understand this standpoint, hence, the reason they appeal to the emotions of customers all around. Notwithstanding, there are still many intricate details to make the product demonstration a success. Some of which are getting quality brand ambassadors, the right location and having the right product.
Finally, there is something that happens when you come in physical contact to the product or store. The experience cannot be compared to just watching on the TV or listening to the radio. So, we know why retailers and shoppers enjoy In store demo offers.
WHAT IS PRODUCT DEMONSTRATION?
A product demonstration is one of your best sales tools if you have a high-quality product. It is a marketing strategy that allows shoppers see what your product is really about. Here, there are no cameras, just the brand for people to see, feel, hear or taste depending on the type of product on display. Product demonstrations provide visual support to enhance the quality of your sales presentation. Prospects who are more visual or hands-on learners often need to see your product in action to fully grasp its value and potential. Product demonstration also supports what the brand ambassadors say or what the shoppers might have heard before they try the product.
WHAT IS THE DEMONSTRATION METHOD?
It is very easy to miss the mark when planning for an in store demo program. However, you should have some rules to guide you.
Understand that each customer is unique. So, customize your in store demo to suit the customers. One way you can easily understand unique characteristics is by conducting research and getting information from the employees.
Tell the customer's story. Let the customer feel attached to the product by providing information that links them to the product.
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
Test everything beforehand.
After the demo, close the deal.