When it comes to the fuel that generates word-of-mouth marketing, customer experience in retail is the premium unleaded, high-octane juice that drives successful businesses. In fact, retail customer experience probably makes up a majority of the reason behind any type of word-of-mouth marketing since it’s the customer experience itself that creates the desire to tell others about a product, service, or company.
At the end of the day, you can have great products and services, but it’s how the customer relates to these things that really create an engaging moment. Without these moments, often created through in-store demo events, there isn’t much to separate your marketing efforts from a cold online presentation.
It’s no secret that lots of marketing opportunities exist online these days, and it’s also true that the digital space provides opportunities to spread word-of-mouth marketing. What the Internet can’t offer, however, is the human touch and experience that retail marketing can provide. When you market your products and services in person, you have the opportunity to form a real connection and create a lasting impression. No amount of flashy online videos will ever take the place of providing a prospect or a lead with the chance to see, touch, taste, smell, feel and use a product for themselves in person through traditional retail marketing.
On top of that, driving word-of-mouth marketing through customer experience in retail is often easier since you have someone’s full attention and are not competing against a million pop-out digital ads. Online interactions with ads and marketing materials tend to be forgotten in a matter of moments, but a quality in-person experience with a customer can go on to create a real desire to tell others about the experience.
Studies have found that consumers often feel that it’s difficult to ascertain whether or not online claims are true. This can lead to uncertainty in a purchase decision. On top of that, when a customer feels uncertain about a purchase decision and the product doesn’t live up to their hopes, they may go on to develop a negative view of the company selling the product. This ultimately results in negative marketing outcomes because of a poor experience.
To overcome this challenge and increase sales, brick-and-mortar retail marketing can give consumers the confidence they need to make a purchase decision through in-person demo events. This confidence not only skips over the uncertainty that can come from digital marketing efforts but also solidifies your brand as trustworthy and reliable. In the end, this serves as fuel to generate word-of-mouth marketing and positive branding and has great potential to increase sales.
Although you need to have quality products that your company stands behind to set the foundation for creating a positive customer experience, you’re also encouraged to craft marketing ideas centered around creating touchstone moments. What are some key ways you can differentiate the marketing process in person versus marketing online? How can you go out of your way to use available tools like brand ambassadors, custom signage, and promotional materials to make a connection with consumers and provide them with a memorable, meaningful experience?
You’re encouraged to think of every interaction as personal. Whether you’re holding an in-store sampling event, a promotional community event, or a sponsored live event where you have the chance to interact with consumers, treat every interaction as if it’s the most important one of the day. Each person you interact with should receive individual attention. You can also look for ways to personalize the experience for each person you speak with. Is there something that you can offer as a promotional gift that helps a consumer internalize the experience? Can you provide a unique interaction that offers each consumer a special experience that speaks to their own needs?
Your brand ambassadors and influencers should approach each interaction with the intent to understand the consumer’s desires, fears, and pain points on a personal level. There should be an actual passion present for solving problems and providing solutions in the marketing process, and this should be apparent in each and every interaction.
Measuring success when it comes to customer experience can be tricky since many metrics are intangible; however, you can measure success in terms of marketing using word of mouth in several ways. First, look online to see what people are saying about your company and its products and services. Look for running themes, whether they be positive or negative. This feedback is often easy to obtain as people love to share their experiences with others on social media, in comment sections, and on review sites. You can then use this feedback to shape your in-person marketing efforts to highlight the parts that work and rework the parts that may be lacking.
You can also ask customers where or how they heard about your products. This can be done at the point of purchase, through email feedback requests, or through solicited reviews after a sale. You obviously never want to pressure a customer into providing feedback, but if they are willing to provide feedback about their experience, you may consider incentivizing feedback through giveaways and contests. If you do this, your company will need to ensure that all contests and giveaways associated with feedback are held in accordance with state laws.
Marketing for retailers in the digital age means you have to take advantage of the technology tools available. While the focus should always be on creating memorable experiences to form bonds with consumers through retail marketing, this doesn’t mean that you should cut technology tools out entirely.
In fact, marketing for retailers becomes much easier and more efficient when you incorporate technology like Demo Wizard into the management of your in-store sampling events. Technology tools that make marketing for retailers easier can take a lot of the pressure off of planning in-store demo events, managing multiple events in different locations, and allocating resources to ensure your company is able to provide a memorable customer experience.
Lastly, you can also track sales alongside your in-store demos event calendar. Evaluating data gathered through analytics can provide insight into where your company sees growth in the days, weeks, and months following an in-store sampling event. You can also track sales by region to make note of where your marketing events are having the largest impact and then cross-reference this against feedback you’ve gathered online. This can show you where your efforts are paying off and where you may want to target certain regions with a greater in-store presence.