One Overlooked Retail Tactic that Can Double Your In-Store Sales

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by Kristin Harripaul

We all throw money at advertising, yet its effectiveness in directing consumers to purchase our products is dramatically waning. In fact, according to Deloitte, 70% of consumers are now leading their own buying journeys outside of brand advertising.

And, thanks to a growing number of channels and competitors, figuring out how to adjust our remaining mix of marketing tactics to maximize sales hasn’t gotten any easier. It’s been a constant struggle to figure out consumer shopping behavior to better predict ROI and drive sales—especially in store where over 94% of all purchases are still made?

So, what can we as marketers do?
Use a tool that is already ingrained in customers’ daily lives: mobile. Mobile research is definitely one of the most valuable tactics for any brand trying to grow or get results in store. And, without a doubt, it is also one of the most overlooked tactics. Why? Because of the 5 big misconceptions, that research is:

  • Hard to Undertake
  • Expensive
  • Not Actionable
  • Time-Consuming
  • Resource-Consuming

But, the reality is, research is no longer any of those things thanks to today’s tools and technologies. Instead, it is by far one of the easiest and cheapest ways to better predict ROI on your marketing mix, get actionable insights into where the gaps are between your brand and consumers in store and decrypt your consumers’ entire path to purchase in and out-of-store. In fact, for every one of our clients that have started with our Reality Check research we were able to create an in-store solution that at least doubled sales and supported steady growth. But sales haven’t been the only benefits. For example, for one of our clients we were able to use the research to turn a failing product, on the verge of getting kicked out of Lowe’s, into a category leader inside Lowe’s. And, for another client we were able to use the insights gained to create an in-store experience that completely disrupted how consumers shopped their category, giving them the ability to break into big-box retail. Click here, to learn more about on how mobile research works.
So now that you have an idea of what mobile research can do for your brand, how do you go about evaluating a retail research solution for maximum sales impact, especially in store? Outside of the obvious hot topics around sample size, incidence, etc., here are 5 questions you must ask to ensure you get the insights you need:

  1. Does the research solution use mobile to gather insights as participants are actually moving through their path to purchase?

    Here you’re looking for the solution to be more than a mobile-friendly online survey, the idea is that you want to be collecting feedback from participants at the moment of truth—so as they’re interacting with the brand, considering the product, looking at alternatives or making a decision. Relying on participants to recall what happened post-experience, is not as accurate as in-the-moment journaling, and it will ultimately mean a loss of critical insights.

  2. Does the provider use a blended mobile solution that supplements mobile research with online focus groups or some other method of gathering further insights?

    Here’s the thing, using mobile is the best way to get quick insights as it relates to the path to purchase—before, during and after a purchase—while they are in the moment. But, it mainly allows for quick, short answers, photos, videos and critical in-the-moment insights. For a more in-depth understanding of the consumer’s experience and behavior, you’ll need to allow for further explanation—so that you can dig deeper and uncover consumer motivations, perceptions and behaviors. No one research method will give you all the insights you need, so make sure that you find a hybrid solution that mixes mobile research methods with another form of in-depth research method. In this way, you can drill down further after the initial mobile portion and ask open-ended questions and gather more context to participant answers for a full view of the customers’ behavior.

  3. Does the research provider actually have experience designing and implementing in-store customer experiences?

    If the research provider isn’t grounded in customer experience design and implementation, they likely won’t have the know-how or experience to formulate the right questions needed to drive the actionable insights you need to improve in-store sales numbers. Often the final deliverable will be pumped up generic insights around your category or industry rather than insights specific to your particular brand and in-store performance.

  4. Does the mobile research platform cater to diverse recording preferences so participants can easily submit their responses without issue, i.e. video, text, pictures and audio?

    Each participant is different; you want to make sure you are eliminating any hindrances that might inhibit them from easily submitting responses, by giving them a range of options. Limiting participants to one method of responding will only limit their ability to give you a full view of what they were really experiencing, thinking and seeing. And, pictures and video responses are often chock full of invaluable insight.

  5. Will the solution gather any insights about what competitors are doing in store and how consumers perceive your brand versus these competitors?

    A critical component of understanding the gaps in your in-store experience is understanding how you compare to your top competitors. How are they marketing to consumers in store? How are consumers interacting with their brand versus yours? And, what are consumer perceptions of your brand versus the competition, and why? These are the kinds of insights you must push for when evaluating an in-store research solution so you can really understand where the opportunity is in capturing and engaging your consumer base, so you can ultimately drive more sales.

Obviously, brick-and-mortar still holds a unique value for consumers. The secret is unlocking the right marketing levers and tactics to better predict ROI and drive sales. Is your research solution helping you to make that happen?
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