Guest Blog: Crossing the line! Now more than ever getting the in-store experience right is crucial – Victoria Satterly

Mentally strong. Physically strong. Incredibly motivated. Empowered with knowledge.

You could be forgiven for thinking that I’m talking about an elite level athlete. I’m not. The above actually describes the traits needed by brand promoters located in-store at retail locations across the UK.

It seems like every day we’re being told about the latest retailer to go out of business or require a significant investment injection to keep the doors open – just look at Maplins and House of Fraser. Physical retail faces an ever-growing challenge from the world of ecommerce, and as shopper demands change – speed, price and convenience – the retail industry must change. I truly believe that staff is at the heart of this change.

An exceptional experience

For a brand to stand out from the competition, they need to focus on creating an exceptional experience, and this begins as shoppers cross the line into a physical retail location. The experience has to be slick, measured and optimised. Brand promoters need to be equipped to tell not only the product story but also the brand and retailer story as a connected message in the shopper journey.

As a brand promoter responsible for a specific product or sector, it’s no longer enough to offer a basic level of information to shoppers in-store. Promoters are now part of the overall shopper experience and it’s vital that you help potential shoppers engage with a concept. They need to possess a superior level of product knowledge, not just about the product they’re selling but the surrounding competitor products. In the case of retail shoppers rarely offer a second chance so, ensuring they are engaged in relevant and informative conversations that can influence buying decisions, is a key part of a promoter’s role.

Knowledge is power

The knowledge element is so key here. Promoters need to go through an in-depth on-boarding process to optimise their effectiveness in retail store environments. To truly understand the product they are selling, promoters need to be completely immersed in both the product and brand.

Data and insight then comes into play. At all times, promoters have access to a constant stream of data relating to a particular product, competitors and how a product is performing in-store. This data arms brand promoters with a superior level of knowledge to support their engagements with shoppers. Today’s shopper expects this as a minimum.

Partner this with a passion for their brand and shoppers are greeted by a promoter that can offer them the kind of experience the e-commerce world can only dream of.

Healthy body, healthy mind

It sounds like a cliché, but a healthy body really does correlate to a healthy mind – or in a promoter’s case someone who is switched on and motivated once a shopper enters the doors. People underestimate how demanding physically an in-store promoter’s role really is.

Many will be on their feet for up to 8 hours, so being mindful of regular exercise or activities to relieve stress is something the promoter of today needs to consider. That then goes hand in hand with nutrition and fuelling your body with what’s needed to maintain the level of performance throughout a working day. It’s about preparing yourself physically and mentally to ensure that you’re as razor sharp during the peak periods later in the day as you are first thing in the morning.

Like a high level athlete, you always have that edge.

Summary

The threat from the world of online has caused retailers to analyse the ways in which they maximise their key asset – the store. With the physical store continuing to play a primary role in building brand and shopper relationships, the role of in-store promoters has become even more pivotal for brands to maximise footfall. The result is that the role of a brand promoter in-store has become an incredibly specialised role – and one that brands are beginning to realise how important it really is.

There are a lot of lessons to be learnt from the elite level world of sport, where mind, body and data are all fully optimised to ensure peak performance. The role of a brand promoter within retail locations today is no different.

By Victoria Satterly, Managing Director, Channel Assist 

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