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Retail Marketing Strategy for In-store Customer Engagement

Retail Marketing Strategy

Retail customer experience is the premium unleaded, high-octane fuel that powers successful firms when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing.

A lot has been written about consumers favoring conventional supermarkets over online shopping. In the case of food, for instance, customers are still four times more likely to prefer to purchase in-person (38%) than online (9%), despite the advent of online groceries.

Statista reports a decrease in online grocery transactions.

A Change In Consumer Preference Creates Prospects For Retail Marketing Strategies

There are a number of arguments put forward to support why people favor physical stores over Internet retailers.

Online shopping convenience is not as convenient as people anticipate, which is one of the causes. Minimizing time and speed increases customer satisfaction. Due to this, e-tailers frequently provide same-day delivery. Nevertheless, not all items exhibit this feature. Even though you need the things right away, there are situations when you have to wait a few days for delivery. Or perhaps you missed the delivery and must make numerous trips to a pickup location, which takes a lot of time. To the list of factors giving traditional establishments an advantage over online retailers, add the inconvenience of missed deliveries or packages that have been stolen. Their consumers receive quick satisfaction thanks to their local inventory because they may go home with their purchases right away. That strengthens their connection to the brand.

Many customers discover that the return process for online shopping has grown more involved and time-consuming than they anticipated or had previously experienced as big online retailers attempt to lower the price of delivery and returns. Shopping in a traditional store avoids the inconveniences and disappointments related to returns. You may choose what you need, find new things, and occasionally even try them out on one trip to the store without worrying about a possible return. They instead bring the desired item home!

The personal interaction and expert guidance that can be had while shopping at a physical location are significant fasctors in why customers prefer to do so. More than 1 in 5 customers say that customer experience is the main reason they prefer in-store purchasing. Knowledgeable staff that offers you assistance and guidance, the personal interaction, and expert guidance that can be had while shopping at a physical location are other significant factors in why customers prefer to do so. Also, individualized services and recommendations speed up the purchasing process. And the likelihood that the client will return increases with the quality of the guidance. 

The inconvenient truth about traditional retail is that there is a dearth of individuals who can provide such guidance. As consumers worry about inflation in the prices of necessities like food, companies are playing defense. The retail sector is preparing for a recession and another shift in consumer behavior, as evidenced by the layoffs at several retail businesses. With layoffs and a potential slowdown in the industry, how retailers will adapt to meet their customers' changing needs and preferences remains to be seen. Some retailers put less emphasis on acquiring new clients, which is an expensive endeavor, and more on keeping the clients they acquired during the pandemic. As a result, fewer time- and money-consuming initiatives and more investments will yield speedy returns. There is no better potential for a quick return on a small investment in this business climate than in-store experiential marketing.

Experiential marketing is all about creating an impact in your customer's minds that will stay with them far longer than any advertisement. Sadly, too many in-store promotions frequently have no effect at all and occasionally have a negative effect on your customers' perceptions. The main cause is the deployment of untrained and unqualified "brand ambassadors" who are hired based on the legal minimum salary rather than their capacity to engage customers. In order to make in-store promotion a successful endeavor worthwhile of the effort, brand ambassadors are, first and foremost, sales professionals who must possess the skill, attitude, and product knowledge to engage, educate, and entertain shoppers.

In an effort to boost customer engagement in their stores, many corporate retailers work with the field marketing departments of major CPG brands. Yet, they wish to delegate management of the issues associated with experiential marketing to third parties without conducting adequate due diligence. Of course, as a "fee of entrance" or "cost of doing business," huge retailers with hundreds of outlets have the power to get promotional cash from their vendors without being responsible for how it is used. In such scenarios, the only thing being thought about is "how much does it cost per occurrence" and "how can it be done at a lesser cost?" This approach frequently results in the loss of money and opportunities.

Because of this, independent merchants and community markets frequently have to rely on smaller local vendors and demo marketing firms to increase customer involvement in their stores. Unfortunately, they frequently make it too challenging and time-consuming for smaller firms with tighter marketing budgets to use the tools at their disposal. For example, a small local vendor with a new line of organic snacks may struggle to get their products in front of customers due to the cost and time required for in-store promotions. They may need to rely on a demo marketing company to help set up a sampling event, but if the retailer is not willing to coordinate with the vendor and the marketing company, it could result in a missed opportunity for both parties. This lack of collaboration can ultimately hinder the growth and success of small businesses.

Retailers and their suppliers sometimes feel apprehensive about the price of store demos and other in-store marketing events, but this does not stop them from wasting promotional funds on management and administration rather than improving the caliber of their sales staff. Vendor field marketing personnel face a lot of difficulties coordinating in-store marketing events. For instance, a vendor may have to deal with uncooperative store managers who are not receptive to their ideas or may be too busy to organize the event effectively. This can lead to a poorly executed promotion that fails to attract customers and results in wasted resources for both the vendor and the retailer.

Starting to view field marketing and in-store demo staff from vendors as partners will not cost retailers much money. Retailers and field marketers have interests that are completely aligned with each other. Both parties want to engage consumers and give them wonderful experiences in order to turn them into paying customers. Utilization of a web-based, automated in-store event management marketplace, like Demo Wizard from Grapevine Marketing Solutions, helps retailers attract significantly more funding from CPG brands and deploy these funds much more effectively. For example, using Demo Wizard, a vendor can easily create and coordinate an in-store event engaging the distributor, the brand ambassador, and the product buyer with complete visibility to the retailer. The platform also provides valuable analytics and reporting, allowing retailers to measure the success of their events and make data-driven decisions for future promotions.

The first key is that the value of a result is more significant than the cost of an event.

Ask about the cost of customer acquisition rather than the price of an event. Rather than charging for admission, look for experiential marketing partners who can increase customer traffic and sales per square foot in your stores. For example, a retailer using Demo Wizard can partner with a CPG brand to host a cooking demonstration event. The brand ambassador can showcase their products while the retailer provides the space and attracts customers. With valuable analytics and reporting from the platform, the retailer can measure the success of the event in terms of increased traffic, sales per square foot, and customer acquisition costs. By focusing on the result's value rather than the event's cost, both parties benefit from a successful partnership.

Key Number Two: Your suppliers are your partners

You will see measurable benefits in sales per square foot and sales per customer transaction if you stop treating your potential partners like distractions and make it simple for them to invest in engaging customers in your business.

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