A great in-store experience is essential to boosting sales and brand recognition in today's modern marketplace. When people visit a store, they expect to have an interactive and engaging experience with retail experts who have extensive knowledge regarding the products that they're selling.
Today, in-store demonstrations and explanations that provide an insight into the key selling points of new and innovative products mark one of the most essential marketing methods available.
While we know that knowledge is power, product knowledge for retailers, particularly when shared with customers, can mean a serious boost in sales. After all, it's difficult to sell effectively to a consumer if we cannot explain how a product will work to address their needs.
The Qualities of In-Store Experts
In-store experts are the professionals within your company who can connect customers with your products and help them to discover how integrating your products into their lives can be beneficial to them. Similarly, to any in-store employee, an expert must be helpful, dedicated, and trained to use and apply the products that they are selling to the needs of the customer. Some in-store experts can provide product demonstrations designed to show exactly how different products work, which unique features they possess, and the quality or value of that item.
Regardless of the industry, the powerful combination of skills and selling offered by in-store experts can provide a useful way to gain consumer trust, and alleviate concerns. Not only do in-store experts distinguish you from your competitors, but they also provide the much-needed information that customers want when making investments in new products.
The Benefit of In-Store Experts
Having a thorough understanding of the products being demonstrated during in-store presentations can allow a retailer to use different methods and techniques when presenting the product to customers. When combined with stronger communication skills, this talent can help brands to connect with various types of prospects. What's more, seeing someone who is enthusiastic and informed about a product can be an excellent selling tool for consumers. The more excitement that is generated about a product, the more uncertainty about new items can be removed.
With in-store experts, you are equipped to respond well to criticisms, and offer customers the answers and guidance they need to determine whether a product can legitimately address their needs. The more informed and skilled your in-store representatives are, the more your customers are likely to trust them, and buy your products.
Here at LIVE we provide expert product demonstrators for brands across a wide portfolio of retailers. From our perspective, a successful in-store campaign lends itself to a well thought-out planning process. Below are just a few of our top tips for planning an in-store campaign.
1. Staff recruitment and profiling
Whilst it may seem obvious, having the right people to represent your brand at point of purchase is essential to the success of your campaign. Our unique recruitment process enables us to meet all of our prospective staff in a face to face environment - assessing their ability to create a rapport in a one to one situation. We select staff based on their relevant experience and compatibility to the brand/retailers we are recruiting for. As an example, a demonstrator in Selfridges would have a very different profile to a demonstrator in Curry’s.
2. Face to face training
No one will ever become an expert in something by simply reading a brief online. It’s vital that brand and product training is arranged face to face. Furthermore, allowing staff to test the products out for themselves in the training process, will make them true brand advocates. Throughout the live campaign, we monitor staff performance and implement refresher training programmes where necessary. We build incentives into each campaign budget, offering our staff the chance to earn commission and on the spot prizes for the highest sellers.
3. Client/agency relationships
Again, seems like another obvious point, but you’d be surprised at the disconnect that often occurs between clients, agencies and retailers. It’s important to take a collaborative approach to your communication plan, ensuring that the objectives and expectations of all of key stakeholders are clearly stipulated. For us, it’s important that as an agency we maintain an excellent relationship with retailers - ensuring that our ambassadors are seen as an extension of both the store and the brand they are representing.
4. Logistics and scheduling
Your in-store campaign should simply be viewed as an extension of your ATL campaign, therefore clear lead times should always be in place. It can often take up to 4 weeks to recruit and train exactly the right staff for a new campaign; therefore for us timing is everything.
When planning new campaigns, we create clear schedules, ensuring staff are in-store at exactly the right time and day of the week to manage footfall and maximise sales. In most cases our clients are working on a 3-6 month notice period – especially when planning campaigns for seasonal uplift periods like Christmas.
5. Reporting and evaluation
We use innovative reporting tools across all of our in-store campaigns, enabling demonstrators to effectively check in for shifts via GPS tracking and report sales in real-time – our clients expect nothing less.
Accurate reporting enables us to track sales performance and adapt key elements like in-store location and working hours to get the most out of the campaign. Mystery shopping is vital and should be completed on a regular basis to ensure staffing excellence across each campaign.