Distributors are going the extra mile to support manufacturers and retailers in maximizing sales with self-produced training videos. Offering a unique perspective that speaks directly to retail staff, distributors go beyond product information, offering sales tips to apply on the retail floor. Honey’s Place launched its web talk show “Honey’s Place Live” in 2010 and continues to offer monthly episodes. Hosted by Honey’s Place buyer Lou Anginone and senior account manager Laura Sweet, the talk show features manufacturers as they sit down to discuss upcoming products and other topics of interest to retailers.
“The format is casual, relaxed and unscripted so you never know what’s going to happen—which is the best part,” Honey’s Place CEO and President Bonnie Feingold said. “Because of the tremendous popularity of ‘Honey’s Place Live,’ we’ve been able to incorporate our team philosophy by creating other video outlets that let us feature all of our sales staff and manufacturer representatives as well.”
I think the main difference is the “voice.” Again, we’re communicating directly with the person selling the product. —Brian Sofer, Eldorado
Honey’s Place and other distributors have discovered the benefits of offering product knowledge and sales advice through a variety of mediums, including video formats.
“We’ve been able to take the Honey’s Place Live platform and expand on it with our ‘5 Products in 5 Minutes’ series, which we usually shoot on location at trade shows and other events,” Feingold said. “They’ve become a great way to quickly showcase a handful of products without the time investment that a full ‘Honey’s Place Live’ episode entails. We’ve also just recent launched ‘Honey’s Place Quickies’ which allows our sales staff one-on-one time with customers. Each Honey’s Place sales representative reviews one of their favorite products on film each month — so there is a new one released every week. We’ve even started doing them in Spanish for our bilingual customers.”
With a pronounced renewed focus on partner relationships and joint promotions, Eldorado tapped Brian Howlett, product marketing specialist and Brian Sofer, manager, emerging media & strategic partnerships, aka “The 2 Brians,” to spearhead a variety of marketing efforts, including educational video packages.
“In our conversations with retailers we’ve learned that adequately training their staff can be quite challenging – so when Eldorado shoots a video, we speak directly to the store clerk, salesperson, or party hostess,” Sofer said. “It’s a very effective way to get the retailer familiar with the selling points of the product. In addition, our videos speak to the owners/buyers. We let them know what products are best sellers, how to best cross-promote products, whether certain products work better as impulse buys, or how to best display and demo products. A substantial amount of worthwhile information can be communicated within only a couple of minutes.”
According to Sofer, Eldorado’s videos aren’t necessarily a replacement for manufacturer-produced videos or a manufacturer’s rep, and can often be used for supplemental information. “Our vendors have gone through the trouble of hiring competent and well-educated product representatives and we’re more than happy to capitalize on their talent,” he said.
“I think the main difference is the ‘voice.’ Again, we’re communicating directly with the person selling the product, whereas in many cases, manufacturer videos communicate directly to the end consumer,” Sofer adds. “We’re doing our best to convey the most effective methods for selling a product, in a store, or through a website — we’re not necessarily ticking off all the features of a particular item. Our emphasis is on how and when products should be pushed and cross-promoted, and upsold, etc., and not just ‘this has seven functions.’ Even better, when used together, both forms of product videos serve as a kind of ‘1–2’ training punch.”
The 2 Brians act as “virtual” tradeshow correspondents, documenting events such as the recent ANME for their customers.
“What a fun and creative concept Eldorado has come up with for showcasing new products,” Pipedream’s Brand Ambassador Cheryl Flangel said. “I’m confident these in-booth product videos are going to be a tremendously helpful tool for customers to preview Pipedream’s amazing new releases. Pipedream would like to thank the 2 Brians for letting us be a part of their ANME coverage.”
Additionally, manufacturers have expressed their appreciation for the efforts of distributors such as Eldorado, proclaiming boosts in sales following on-camera interviews with the 2 Brians.
“Eldorado is so supportive of Doc Johnson — we especially appreciate all the work they do with the product videos,” says Kristen Denton, Account Manager at Doc Johnson. “We’ve seen a marked increase in sales and it’s attributed to greater exposure and knowledge of the Doc Johnson product range. We’re looking forward to seeing the next great segment!”
Sex Toy Distributing launched its series of brand-focused educational videos in July. Hosted by Sex Toy Distributing Wholesale Manager Beth Brown, the video series is designed to give retail customers valuable information that can help facilitate sales on the store floor, the company said.
“Our customer service is second to none and we wanted to bring our supporters even more value with an interactive way to learn about the myriad product brands that we carry,” Brown said. “Our video production department has been hard at work developing this series of brandfocused videos.”
Sex Toy Distributing’s debut video featured Doc Johnson international sales director Greg Holdridge.
“It’s important to share with our customers what makes each brand special,” Brown said. “Our debut video with Doc Johnson revealed not just the company’s history, but also several product lines that have been tried and true best-sellers, as well as the new lines making waves on the market.”