Thriving specialty outdoor stores work to cultivate and maintain a rich customer experience for shoppers that not only gets them into the store to buy, but also fosters a sense of community and loyalty. It turns out, brands can help with this.
“The bottom line is, specialty retail stores can’t compete with online retail juggernauts on the basis of price, selection and eCommerce experience. Instead, stores should focus on fostering community with in-store events, social media outreach and locally targeted marketing efforts. Give me a reason to get up from my chair and visit your store and those tangible connections will make me a loyal customer both on your website and in person.”
Adam Lewis, Foghorn Labs
One way that brands can help their specialty retailers is through personal engagement in the form of in-store or brand/industry-focused touring events with perks for the store and customers. SNEWS outdoor industry website says, “It’s becoming a popular marketing strategy because it creates a symbiotic relationship; brands use the trip to drum up social media hype, introduce new products to retailers and customers, and cultivate their adventurous image while shops get sponsored retail events.” SNEWS recommends that brands partner with retailers who demonstrate their willingness to spend time and energy on planning large outdoor events, and maybe even a little money on live music, local food and local brews. The article also describes the smaller but deeply impactful approach taken by Bob Jacquart, president of the Stormy Kromer cap company, who loaded up a trailer with spring orders and spent two weeks on the road personally delivering them to his retailers.
While in-store and tour events create a unique experience for shoppers, they are also an opportunity for brands to generate enthusiasm and impart product knowledge among retail employees. A recent article from The Balance online finance magazine lists many ways in which brand engagement with retail salespeople increases sales:
“Seeing someone completely enthusiastic about a product is one of the best selling tools. As you generate excitement for the product, you remove any uncertainty that the product may not be the best solution for that customer. The easiest way to become enthusiastic is to truly believe in the product. Objections made by customers are really nothing more than questions. If they object to a product, it is likely either you chose the wrong product or the customer needs more of your product knowledge to know why it is the best solution for them.”
In-person events benefit brands beyond generating sales, giving brand representatives the opportunity to ask questions and build relationships with sales associates. Retailers have the local advantage. Brands can take advantage of their knowledge of who’s coming into the store and what they are asking for in ways that add a different dimension from social media and sales statistics. This can be an opportunity to find out about new trends in the community then see if they are happening elsewhere.
Promoboxx retail marketing sums it up this way:
“Your retailers are the ones interacting with and marketing to your customers on a regular basis, so talk to them and listen to their stories. What kinds of brand content and campaigns do they find to be most valuable? What strategies do they use to drive local consumer engagement? Which products do their customers respond well to? Collect this kind of valuable information from your retailers through your sales reps, in-person, over the phone, or via online surveys and email. You can then begin to learn from past successes and failures and apply this knowledge across your larger retailer base nationwide.”
Planning to take your brand on the road this year? Let us know! iVendix prioritizes features that add value for the brands that depend on us. Contact us for ideas on how to use iVendix to support your specialty retailer outreach.
Related article: How to Use iVendix B2B to Gear Up for a Trade Show
Heather Hart is a writer based in Denver. When she’s not writing about technology, food and travel you may find her camping with her husband and two kids or hiking one of Colorado’s many trails.