We have all visited a store, restaurant, or convenience store that has done a poor job posting point-of-purchase advertising. For me, there is nothing worse than seeing a promotional poster sloppily taped to a window. This lack of care when installing at-store marketing destroys the efforts of hard working marketers and ultimately leaves a negative brand impression on consumers. Ensuring store level brand compliance is extremely challenging in complex retail and restaurant networks because control and communication is never cut and dry. Below are a few ways to ensure your complex network of stores is properly representing your brand through at-store marketing.
Store Profiles – Every single store in your network has unique features. For example, the size of each store, number of windows, sign holders, check-out registers, advertising regulations, etc. will vary. A comprehensive and well maintained database outlining each location’s unique foot-print will save you money and reduce the likelihood of field level staff hanging a sign where one isn’t originally intended.
Plan-O-Gram Design – When field level staff receive the at-store marketing kit, it is imperative that you provide them with an easy-to-read guide outlining exactly what they should do with the kit contents. Clearly outline which advertisements and signs should stay up, and which should come down and be replaced. It is also important to use store profiles to ensure clarity around which promotional elements they should be installing and exactly where they should be placed.
Consistency – One of the worst outcomes of launching a new at-store marketing campaign is when field level staff don’t realize that they need to install the at-store marketing kit. If the box is mistaken as inventory and never opened, your brand is being misrepresented and money is being thrown away. In order to avoid this, retail marketers must be consistent in their at-store promotional schedules. Consistency helps field level staff, because they know when to expect the at-store marketing kit and won’t accidentally ignore it.
Field Level Support – Regardless of how clearly you communicate at-store marketing installation directions, store level staff will have questions. It is extremely important to provide them the necessary support. Store level staff are busy making sure customers are being taken care of, so when they have a question about installing at-store marketing, it is vital that they have quick access to answers.
Unique Packaging – Don’t let your at-store marketing kit be mistaken for inventory and placed in the storage room only to be opened after the promotion has ended. Utilize colors and large labels on your at-store marketing kits so that field level staff can easily recognize the box and associate it with promotional materials that must be installed immediately.
Secret Shopping – It can be very helpful to hire a secret shopping agency to check in on your network of stores to ensure they are executing at-store marketing (and other functions like customer service and inventory) according to standards. It is important to make sure that secret shoppers have a clear understanding of your store profiles and at-store marketing / brand expectations so they can deliver an accurate report on field level execution.
I hope these simple tips will help you ensure excellent field level execution of at-store marketing. Have you implemented any other creative measures to ensure your stores are accurately representing your brand?