Competition among consumer brands – fast, slow and services – is fierce. Socio-economic conditions are strained, and consumer confidence and discretionary income are under enormous pressure.
But it’s also the first post-COVID peak season, and maskless consumers are relishing (indeed, demanding) interactive, entertaining shared experiences. Below-the-Line (BTL) marketing tactics present a great opportunity to create these experiences while generating brand awareness and driving sales.
What should you be doing to attract and retain consumers?
- How to make marketing a Value Differentiator.
- The Value of shopper-tainment – tips for creating an effective in-store shopper experience.
- The Future of Retail is Hybrid: A Case Study.
- How to maximise reach through Experiential Marketing
1. How to Make Trade and BTL Marketing a Value Differentiator.
Instead of spending marketing budget on generic deals or flyers, brands looking to stand out and win consumer attention need to be bold, interesting and engaging.
In a previous post, we learned how value is a key driver for consumer purchasing decisions so reminding shoppers about the value you add to their lives in important. This can be achieved through BTL marketing activities like promotions, or bulk deals, but the right positioning can also overcome price.
For Example: –
A premium detergent brand perceived as expensive could, for example, provide a visual representation of just how many laundry baskets consumers get from a 2kg bag of washing powder – as compared to ‘cheaper’ or private brands. They could print this visual for in-store display and share images on social media.
But if they really wanted my attention, they could take it a step further and actually have laundry baskets in-store that disrupt my shopping experience and provide tangible evidence of value.
If they wanted to win my affiliation and loyalty, however, they need to demonstrate how their values align with mine, and that they care about my community. The same brand could challenge the local community to fill those laundry baskets with food and clothing for donation to a local charity, with an offer to match the community’s contribution.
Tracking the progress of the charity drive could be the basis of a social media campaign that is far more likely to elicit engagement and has the potential of virality.
Read more about The Power of Promotions.
Learn how to adapt your trade marketing strategy to evolving consumer buyer behaviour to maximise sales and win brand loyalty.
2. The Value of BTL Shopper-tainment.
We all want to be entertained, and shopping is no exception. We’ve noted that South African consumers are shopping less frequently and closer to home.
For retailers, understanding your community and making sure that you are delivering excellent in-store experiences is key to winning footfalls and inspiring loyalty.
For 65% of U.S. customers, an excellent shopping experience is more influential than advertising.
Effective FMCG marketing strategies demand that we go beyond traditional advertising and marketing tactics and focus on the customer experience – in-store and online.
Tips for creating an effective in-store customer experience:
- Emphasise excellence in customer service.
- Create an easy-to-navigate in-store layout.
- Strive for a balance of consumer freedom and assistance – allow the consumer to shop without constant interruption but make sure assistance is available when needed. Make strategic use of BTL tactics like brand ambassadors and promotional marketing to create opportunities for engagement.
- Incorporate touchpoints to build customer relationships (greeting at the store entrance, assistance while shopping, or a follow-up email after the purchase).
- Great supply chain management to ensure variety and in-store availability.
- Ensure visual appeal – colour, lighting, sound, attention to detail – all go a long way to making your store a destination of choice.
For the brands on the shelves, it’s about understanding the community surrounding your retailers and promoting the right brands in the right way for maximum reach.
Win-win for Brands and Retailers
It’s never been more important that retailers and brands collaborate to create excellent in-store experiences for mutual benefit. Retailers win because BTL brand activations and in-store promotions provide entertainment and brands win because they gain access to a captive target market intent on buying.
At Tradeway we combine TRADEFORCE (skilled brand ambassadors and field marketers), PROMOFORCE (proprietary reporting and management platform technology) and our EXECUTION ENGINE (operational infrastructure that includes creative and strategic advisory, procurement, warehousing, logistics and project management) to ensure that in-store promotions, out-of-home brand activations and experiential marketing is delivered to the highest standards – on time and in budget.
3. The Future of Retail is Hybrid: A Case Study.
Don’t assume that the majority of South Africa’s retail consumers are not online. The 2022 Township CX Report found that 70% of respondents (particularly the youth) reporting making online purchases, with 23% having used a service in the past six months – higher than the national average of 22%.
Statistica reported in March 2022 that almost 70% of South Africans are active internet users, and 46% are on social media.
So, while the digital divide persists and continues to disadvantage many sectors of the population, strides are being made to address this, and resourceful South Africans continue to demonstrate grit, finding ways to bridge the divide themselves.
There’s no doubt. The future of retail is hybrid. Even where consumers purchase in-store, their buyer journey is complex and often informed by online research and influence. Conversely, they may go to a shop to see and touch a product, before ordering from the cheapest outlet online. Retailers and brands must be at all the touchpoints where consumers browse, transact, and consume for maximum reach.
Effective omnichannel strategies will see digital and physical working together to amplify results and reach. This is evident in how digital marketing can be leveraged to drive foot traffic in-store, and in online-only retailers opening physical stores or pop-ups to drive sales and awareness.
Consider our own digital-native, Yuppiechef. The ecommerce veteran, founded in 2006, took the surprising decision to open its first brick-and-mortar outlets in 2018.
Why? Well according to Yuppiechef, themselves, this move was to accommodate the need to “touch and feel a product before buying it, get advice on the perfect tool for the job and have someone show you how it works”.
The in-store experience they provided was like no other in South Africa at the time. Leveraging data from the online stores, they incorporated star ratings and QR codes into their price tickets and displays: