In both instances,
in-store promotions have the potential to bring the brand to life and cement
that all-important loyalty. Because while online and social platforms play an
instrumental role in heightening brand awareness, in-store promotions present
one of the few opportunities where brands can directly engage consumers. As an
interactive platform, it allows shoppers to see, touch and taste products and
in that moment, form (or confirm) their opinion of it. That’s a powerful motivator.
However, executing a successful in-store promotion isn’t always as
straightforward as it appears. If the promoters or brand ambassadors
representing the brand don’t fulfil their obligations as planned, the promotion
could have the opposite effect to what was intended.
At BMi Research, our mystery shopping research methodology evaluates a
company’s products, services and in-store promotions from the customer’s
perspective, on the floor, providing strategic input around service and
A core focus area is verifying, evaluating and providing critical insights on
the execution of promotional campaigns. Through these promotional verification
audits, our research has shown that around 10% of brand ambassadors do not
arrive at the scheduled promotion. Further to this, around 30% of brand
ambassadors are in the store, but are either not at their stations engaging
shoppers when they should be, or did sign in and were present for a while, but
arrived late or left early.
While there are sometimes valid reasons for this poor promoter presence and
efficacy, these statistics tell us that brand owners should be judicious in
choosing the promotional agencies they work with.
It’s not uncommon for brand owners to terminate relationships, even
longstanding ones, with promotional agencies based on the substandard
performance of brand ambassadors. In-store promotions can be costly marketing
investments, and as such brand owners are advised to thoroughly interrogate
potential promotional agencies. Working with reputable companies that have a
track-record of delivering good ROI will ensure that that money is well spent.
So how does feedback from promotional verification audits assist in ensuring
promo agencies deliver on their promises, and that you as the brand owner are
able to maximise those returns?
Although the research measures all of the key elements necessary for a
successful promotion, here are four main pointers to consider when putting your
brand directly in front of shoppers:
1. Consumer engagement: Brand ambassadors need to engage consumers
in a way that not only reflects the brand’s personality, but that primes
shoppers for sales or at least, a positive brand engagement. Aside from being
neat and professional, promoters should be enthusiastic, friendly, proactively
engage consumers and drive sales. And consumers should respond by wanting to
hear what the promotion is about and ultimately, by making a purchase.
2. Product knowledge: The second promotional success factor related
to brand ambassadors is perhaps the most important – their product knowledge.
There is little point in having promoters who are neat, professional and
enthusiastic, but who are unable to communicate core brand messages, and
successfully demonstrate a product’s key features in action. Brand owners must
invest sufficient time and resources in product training to ensure promoters
not only know the product inside and out, but can think laterally and answer
consumer questions regarding its features and uses.
3. Stock availability: It’s imperative that there is sufficient
stock in the store during a promotion. Brand owners should always assume a
best-case scenario – that the promotion will draw high numbers of interested
consumers, and that this will convert to units sold. Yes, stores can issue rain
checks for out-of-stock products, but this can reflect poorly on brands during
promotions and ultimately cost you sales.
4. Timing, placement and target markets: Seasons, holidays, current
trends and even the weather all present different opportunities for effective
promotions. Knowing when and where to do a promotion is as important as knowing
the market you’re targeting. Discerning this can be tricky, especially if your
product can target multiple groups at multiple times. One solution is to employ
mystery shopping methodology to identify which promotions worked and which
didn’t, and base future promotional activity on these results.
Getting an in-store promotion wrong can cost brands more than just financially.
But getting it right and using research to verify accurately targeted and
executed promotions, can give brands the competitive edge they need in the
current economic climate.