Retailers Can Depend on Manufacturers for In-Store Marketing Support
How many times has this happened to you? You come up with a slam-dunk, home-run, touch-down of an idea for an in-store sales event. You’ve worked out all the logistical details to ensure the company mainframe can handle the event’s radical discount algorithms; you even built out the product displays. There’s just one problem, you don’t have an in-house media department to build the necessary signage, visual cues, and art to tie the whole event together and maximize potential sales. On top of that, perhaps your boss is a world-renowned cheapskate who won’t spend a dime on any creative collateral for a promotion. Looks like you can kiss your revolutionary in-store sales event goodbye. Wait a minute — there’s got to be a better way!
As a retailer, you and your store are the touch point between the manufacturer and the consumer. You are very much a partner to the manufacturer. The manufacturer in turn, obviously wants you to be armed with everything you need to sell its products. So, reach out to your manufacturer contact and see what’s available to you. Many manufacturers can provide basic elements for building your own collateral but depending on the scope of your event, and how much emphasis will be placed on its brand — some can provide much, much more.
If you’re selling good quality products at reasonable prices — in most cases, a properly promoted in-store event will be successful. However, far too often the “properly promoted” part is what’s missing and/or the most challenging for many retailers. Social media is wonderful, but as many in the adult industry are finding out, consumers can be hesitant to engage with brands some in their family may find, ahem...too blue. So it’s important to hit your customers with messaging at the store level itself in advance — and to do that you’re going to need an array of professionally designed printed deliverables.
This is the time to get on the horn with your manufacturer to find out what resources they can provide to help outfit the store for your event. Remember, each time you speak to your sales executive or rep, it’s not just about hitting them up for free product samples — it’s about taking advantages of their resources to help increase everyone’s sales and creating more exposure for the brand. It might be easier to first break this down into two categories:
- Pre-event promotion
- Signage for the event
You’ll certainly need to promote the date(s) of the event and what’s it all about at least a few weeks before your event. Some manufacturers will be able to provide custom designed and printed art with all event details in the form of large format graphics, banners and posters, handbills, flyers, bag-stuffers etc. Some will even design and provide outdoor vinyl signs and stickers. All of these materials can be essential to hyping up the event and making sure your customers return for it.
When it comes to the event itself use the manufacturers’ talented teams to do what they do best — creating resources to sell its products. Make sure you have the art and the materials to support and promote the manufacturer’s products. Brand signage, slat wall skins, training manuals and catalogs are all key in winning the sale.
With all the talk of collateral, signage and resources it’s easy to overlook something else: humans. In many cases, if the event is large or unique enough, you might be able to get manufacturer sales executives to attend in person. This is always a great opportunity for the retailer, if planned well you can get dual mileage out of their visit. Manufacturers can help support your event by selling with your team and they can also educate your team on the finer selling points of the brand. Of course if your event is more of a learning event, some manufacturers have specific product trainers and sex educators who can be brought in to help support that as well for more comprehensive product training for both your staff and your customers.
Don’t let the perception of limited store resources prevent you from pursuing sales or other store events. You have more resources available to you at your fingertips than you may realize. Get in touch with your manufacturer partners and take advantage of what they can offer to make all your store events profitable and memorable.
Brian Sofer is the digital marketing director for Pipedream Products. A marketer for over 20 years, Sofer has implemented effective integrated marketing strategies for a diverse range of clients in the adult, music, action sports and smoke industries.