Almost every major retail chain in the country does its work effectively by collaborating with one or more specialist field marketing companies which play a crucial role in ensuring that products are being sold using the most effective methods possible. They might offer advice, for example, on how a display might best be put together in order to maximise conversions.
Certain suppliers might prefer to deal with things directly via their own internal departments, employing representatives to visit retailers, making adjustments and offering advice. Smaller businesses might not have the luxury of such a department – as they’re almost inevitably costly to run, as staff will need to be hired and trained.
Let’s examine some of the other functions a specialist field sales agency might carry out, and consider which of them might offer the greatest utility to your business.
A mystery shopper report offers a means of gauging the experience for customers – which for retailers is perhaps the most important metric of success. Poor customer service is unlikely to remain a secret – as dissatisfied customers are far more likely to relate the details of their poor experience to their friends and co-workers.
Unfortunately, poor customer service is a lot like bad breath – you won’t be able to smell your own until someone tells you. In the meantime, you’ll be carrying on oblivious – and your business will suffer as a result.
A mystery shopping agency will allow you to collaborate in devising a questionnaire for the mystery shopper – a person who poses as a customer and takes note of the strengths and weaknesses of your store. So, if you’re looking to boost loyalty card uptake, or keep your stores in the best possible condition, you might place special emphasis on these things in your questions. That way you’ll be able to focus on the areas of improvement most valuable to your business, and create a customer experience that’ll foster loyalty – and get people talking in the best possible sense of the phrase.
The best way to convince a customer of the merits of a certain sort of product is to allow them to experience it for themselves. After all, it’s impossible to communicate just how wonderful a flapjack might taste verbally with the same efficacy as actually allowing a would-be customer a taste.
Of course, since product sampling relies on giving away your product for free, it follows this is an expensive course of action. It’s one which reliably produces a great return on the investment, however – particularly when the right products are chosen (typically those whose merits can be quickly intuited).
The best product sampling campaigns are targeted ones which seek out the customers who are statistically inclined to buy the product – and perhaps those which have already displayed an interest in buying the product.
A product demonstration is a great deal like product sampling – except rather than simply giving away a little bit of your product, you’re demonstrating how it might be used. This information should be presented in a way that’s engaging and exciting – and ideally, which gets the necessary information across with the minimum possible amount of speaking. Naturally, you don’t want to be delivering a dry lecture – that’s why the best product demonstrations are just that: demonstrations.
Of course, demonstrating the merits of a particularly product is a skill that requires practice, training and analysis. A specialist outside company will be able to provide these skills far more easily than an insider might acquire them – and so if you’re looking to get your message across, it makes sense to take advantage of their talents.
Retail auditing is a great deal like financial auditing – except instead of poring over reams of financial data and coming out with an analysis, the auditor will instead take a detailed look at the retail front-end of the store, and make recommendations on how it might be improved.
An outside auditor will have several advantages over an internal one. To begin with, they’ll be disinterested, and unbiased, making the information and analysis they provide far more valuable. This in turn means that the audit will carry a great deal more weight in negotiations with prospective outside parties, like would-be-suppliers and buyers.
An external auditor will also have the expertise and technology necessary to perform the audit quickly, with the minimum possible upheaval within the business. They’ll also be able to provide a better quality of information, via email, SMS, or whatever other medium you prefer.