By Tim Ellis, Momentum Instore
With more people buying online or taking advantage of all the convenience offered by m-commerce, some brands and retailers have not paid as much attention to their presence in stores as perhaps they would usually.
However the truth is now dawning that these sales channels compliment rather than replace physical shops, and that the in-store experience is actually becoming more, not less, important to shoppers.
Over the last 12 months we have heard much about the importance of customer service, and we believe that those who are forward thinking will start to talk about brand ambassadors in-store as an emerging trend.
Brand ambassadors are not a new concept, in fact far from it. For many years they have played an important role in providing customers with product information to enable them to make an informed decision about what best meets their needs. While in some sectors, such as electrical goods and premium beauty, brand ambassadors play a vital role in the sales process, others have been less enthusiastic about using such techniques.
Maybe they believe that their sector does not lend itself well to the use of brand ambassadors, or they have concerns over how to implement such activity, however most brands can benefit from being better represented in-store. Here are some points to take into account if you want to get the most out of brand ambassador activity:
Keeping Up To Date
A structured approach to training brand ambassadors is needed so that as new products and ranges are introduced they can be kept fully up to date with the information that customers will need to know. Just as point of purchase has to be in place ready for a new launch, brand ambassadors need to be informed of a product’s USPs and benefits, so that they are ready to answer any questions shoppers have and facilitate sales.
What Role Do You Want Them To Play?
Yes sales are important, especially in these pressured times, but so is a brand’s relationship with its customers. Do you want your brand ambassadors to concentrate on selling products or enhancing your customer service provision? Very often their role will be a combination if both of these things, but which will be more of a priority for you? It’s important that as a brand you are clear about what you want your brand ambassadors to achieve and also how you will measure their performance.
Maximum Return On Investment
Another advantage of having trained field sales representatives supporting your brand is that they can action immediate feedback based on their experience in-store, enabling you to make changes to your campaign quickly and maximising its effectiveness. They can also identify further opportunities within stores to increase activity. Essentially they can act as your eyes and ears on the frontline so to speak, giving you a valuable insight into how customers react to your brand in the retail environment.
Tried and Trusted
The best brand ambassadors are those that understand your products and also your business. These are more often than not the people that have worked for you long term, who have an in depth knowledge of your ranges and have a genuine passion and enthusiasm for what you do. These people are invaluable as they can not only perform the role of helping customers and achieving sales at point of purchase, they also create excitement in-store and leave the customer with a positive impression of your brand. Once you have found brand ambassadors with this combination of ability and passion, whether they are in house or part of an outsourced resource, it surely goes without saying that you should hang onto them.
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