We all need a support system. I have a legion of support; Pointwoman, my sidekick mobile media, and other retail superheroes. As a retail marketer, you spend significant time developing and perfecting your promotions. When we develop these awesome retail programs, sometimes there is a lack of effective communication to our brand ambassadors: our employees. Here are some ways to focus on supporting in-store teams with promotional and at-store marketing efforts.
The first question to ask yourself: are your store employees aware of the purpose behind the promotions? Rather than just sending out a promotion with signs and visual merchandising guidelines, make sure you communicate the function of this promotion. Explain how it reinforces your brand message and how it can be utilized to increase sales. It’s also helpful to explain how this promotion is being carried out through all marketing mediums, so in-store employees understand what is driving consumers to the store.
Corporate needs to fully support the field. It should be easy for store employees to install point-of-purchase advertising. Dynamic planograms that address the many different store attributes (i.e. number of windows, number of sign frames, shelving, etc.) offer an easy solution. Consider sending store-specific promotional kits that contain exactly the appropriate point-of-purchase materials for each type of store, so every store receives exactly what they need; no more, no less. Once custom promotional kits are delivered to the store, corporate needs to monitor implementation and brand consistency though field marketing managers. Enforcing proper use of in-store promotional marketing helps ensure that you can effectively measure the success of your campaigns.
Finally, you need to gather feedback from store level employees and use it when evaluating your promotion’s success. Some options for providing an easy platform for store level feedback include using social media, SharePoint, hiring a company to manage field level support, or a using site like Survey Monkey to develop a custom survey. Additionally, spending time in your stores is extremely valuable because you can see how promotions are working in practice.
Chilli Beans, the largest Brazilian chain of sunglasses and accessories, is a company that I wasn’t familiar with until reading the book BOLD: how to be brave in business and win. We can learn a lot from our retail marketers in the southern hemisphere (besides the fact that my name in Portuguese would be Pontohomen). Chilli Beans provides a perfect example of communicating at the store level by supporting and engaging their employees. To Chilli Beans, it’s all about the customer and creating an environment that gives a fresh, hip vibe. Their promotions reinforce this by being provocative, captivating, and brand relevant. Even more, their employees define this culture, and the store is the epicenter of the Chilli Beans brand. In the book BOLD, they explain that “Chilli Beans has elements of being a little cult-like for the customers and employees” creating a “branded customer experience.” Furthermore, their CEO and founder Caito Maia, told the marketing director “everything in this company is changeable, including me.” In order to promote this flexible culture, they promote feedback from all levels in order to remain connected to their consumers. Their marketing director refers to the store as her laboratory for promotions.
In addition to creating a dynamic store and brand experience, employees are encouraged to submit new product ideas to management. Chilli Beans launches 10 new designs every week, so their employees are invested in the weekly promotion. Employees are encouraged to interact with the brand via social media and events that are sponsored by corporate. Chilli Beans is a powerful example of a retailer who successfully reinforces their brand with each store and each promotion. Plus they make sure employees are connected to the brand. Kudos to Chilli Beans, an all-star example of at-store execution!
Guess what, this brand is making its way to the US; I can’t wait to try a new pair of shades!
How do you communicate promotional details with the field? Do you have a system in place to receive feedback from your store employees? Have you created a legion of support for your stores?