How are you supposed to inspire resource-strapped retailers to deliver on your brand’s promise? That was the question posed to us recently by Dani Brock, Director of Retailer Marketing for Shaw Floors.
With the majority of U.S. retail sales still taking place offline, the consumer’s experience at the local retailer level is as crucial as ever. To put it simply: if the retail experience fails, everything fails.
In her session “Awesome by Choice: Leading Your Retailers to Showstopper Status,” Dani spoke to us about the unique challenge of inspiring local retailers to rise to the promise laid forth by a brand. Through her storytelling exercises and her corresponding lessons in “awesome,” she emphasized the unquestionable importance of retailer support and engagement. Here are three key takeaways:
Lesson #1: Start by Defining “Awesome”
We’ve all heard the word awesome, but what does it really mean in terms of the retail experience? Before charging ahead in their co-branded campaigns, brands must seek to define awesome and have a firm grasp on all that it entails for themselves, their retailers, and the consumers.
To begin guiding us to a clearer answer, Dani had everyone discuss both positive and negative personal retail experiences. After all, you can’t know bad until you’ve experienced good (and vice versa). By the end of the activity, we were all left with a greater understanding of what exactly led us to identify retail experiences with certain positive or negative emotions.
“Awesome” is more than just a word. It’s an experience, a feeling, a verb, and whether or not a retail experience is “awesome” can greatly affect the way you feel about a particular brand.
For Dani and Shaw, the focus on the retail experience is crucial to their overall brand success, and rightly so. With the final purchase decision coming down to the consumer’s experience at the local retailer level, you have to ensure that your retailers are equipped with the tools and attitude to fulfill your brand’s promise.
“If our retailers aren’t delivering on our promise, we’re in trouble.” – Dani Brock
Lesson #2: Think of Your Retailers as an Extension of Your Brand
The vital importance of the retailer and the experience that they provide in-store cannot be understated. As Dani says, “If your brand’s not awesome at retail, then you’re not awesome.”
To start honing in on the success of the retailer experience, you must think of your independents less as disjointed, separate businesses and more as extensions of your brand. The idea is to create a holistic network, one with a shared common goal: to physically get people into the store and purchase the product.
“When these consumers go into a store, if they’re not experiencing awesome, all of this fails. It’s all for nothing. We lose.” – Dani Brock
Brand loyalty is becoming more and more difficult to garner nowadays. If you want to make a connection and stand out, you have to tap into emotional end results. Who better to do so than your retailers? They can put a face to your brand and message, offering you the opportunity for a direct connection to the consumer. But as Dani posed to us, how are you supposed to inspire these busy, resource-strapped retailers to capitalize on these interactions? The key is support and engagement. If you can help your retailers be successful, you’re going to be successful.
Lesson #3: Provide Your Independents with “Awesome” Experiences & Their Customers Will Have the Same
Go above and beyond for your retailers–it’s the right thing to do. Dedicate time to understanding their needs. Make a difference, and give them everything that they would ever need to succeed.
With so many other responsibilities, many retailers barely have the time or capacity to take on digital marketing for their business. It’s on the brand to make digital marketing as easy as possible for them. Be patient and take the time to educate them. Set them up with quality turn-key marketing tools and content that they can easily use and share.
Inspire your retailers to latch onto the idea of “awesome,” both for themselves and the consumer. As an example, Shaw holds an annual convention to bring their retailers together. At the event, they provide insights into the products themselves, give retailers guides to carrying out tactics for being awesome, and get them all talking and engaging with one another. In doing so, Shaw inspires their retailers to grow, implement new ideas, and aspire to new levels of awesome.
If you provide your independents with awesome marketing, product education, and purchasing experiences, their customers will, in turn, have the same. Ignore them, and you may find yourself in hot water.
Sound like a lot to tackle? That’s why it’s so important for you to find a simple, scalable solution like Promoboxx to support digital marketing efforts with your local retailers. With Promoboxx, brands like Shaw Floors are helping to make their retailers better marketers, all while increasing overall campaign reach and local awareness.