What are In-Store Promotions and How Do They Work?
Billboards. Commercials. Online ads. All of this works to build awareness of your brand. But nothing works as effectively as communicating with the public directly. No middle-man. No mixed messaging. That’s why even the biggest brands are turning to an in-store promotions agency to sell their product.
But what even is an in-store promotion? With more and more shades of experiential marketing sweeping across the industry, there’s understandably a lot of confusion.
Below we’ll answer all your questions. What are in-store promotions? What are in-store promotion jobs? What does an in-store promotions agency do? We’ll even explain the different types of in-store promotions and give you some in-store promotion ideas to put into practice.
Let’s get started.
What are in-store promotions?
In a nutshell – it’s a market strategy designed to attract people to a store to try a product. It can take numerous forms.
Slash prices. Trial free tasters. Or stock a whole shelf with your product – top to bottom. To be an in-store promotion, you need only follow two simple rules:
- It must occur in a retail space
- It must promote a brand
Often in-store promotions begin with the manufacturer themselves. Although, on occasion, stores may launch a new product with an in-store promotion.
The goal is to generate interest in the product. Whether that be a free taster to encourage someone to buy or a discount offer to fuel sales and create loyal customers.
It’s also a fantastic opportunity to get people to brand switch. And, it’ll shift large amounts of stock and create extra revenues when sales may be declining. For instance, product displays can be placed prominently at the end of an aisle or near the cash registers to boost sales. They’re likely to leave a lasting impression in your customers’ minds.
All-round, in-store promotions are a versatile and effective sales tactic.
Not only can they increase sales, but they enable brands to control customer perceptions. But that relies on a capable in-store promotions company and talented, charismatic in-store promoters.
What is an in-store promoter?
An in-store promoter may work for the store itself. However, most often, they’re sent to a store by an in-store promotions agency.
Their job is to showcase the brand to the customers.
Think product displays, demonstrations, or free tasters. The in-store promoter will attract customers to the product and answer any questions.
All in-store promoters should be well-versed in the product, the brand, and the company. They’ll chat about what a customer liked about the product. And they’ll encourage them to buy one, by introducing the promotion offered.
With capable in-store promoters, companies can control their brand narrative. They’ll also be able to tempt customers away from other brands. That’s particularly critical when dealing with a new product launch.
In short: they’re taking advantage of customers’ impulsive buying. Most people don’t plan their purchases. And they’re generally open to a better deal or product.
It’s the in-store promoter who spells out the benefit, boosting overall sales.
What does a promotional company do?
In-store promotions companies are your one-stop shop for all things promotional. No matter if the event is big or small, they’ll run a promotion from start to finish.
But what does that entail?
Well, first they’ll discuss the type of promotion you want. Do you solely want a product display? Or do you want to try a bolder strategy?
Then, they’ll move on to planning. Which stores do you want to run the promotion in? Why those stores? Do you wish to tie in an in-store promotion with other promotions elsewhere? For example, at expos and conferences.
These are critical questions to developing a successful in-store promotional strategy.
The in-store promotions company will then begin hiring staff. All the in-store promoters should be interviewed and screened before being hired. They should then undergo rigorous training to ensure they understand and complement the brand. This is key to memorable brand activation.
Finally, throughout the promotion, the promotional company will review progress. Adapting the promotional strategy can further enhance the results – and, in the end, sell more products and attract more customers.
Types of in-store promotions
In-store promotions come in all shapes and sizes. There are many types of in-store promotions, from classic discounts to product displays. Which one is right for your brand?
Here are a few examples:
Are the most obvious way to sell a product. They come in many forms, including percentage discounts, a lump discount (e.g., ZAR 100 off), buy one get one free, and multi-buys. Even free shipping can be considered a form of discount. There’s one clear advantage: it’s an easy sell. Everyone loves a bargain, and a discount can be an effective way to lure a customer into trying your product.
Are similar to a discount. But they can be even more successful. In one study, a $50 coupon beat a 15% promotion. However, percentage discounts tend to do better overall. The trick is finding the price sweet spot. It’s all about making it sound like a bargain relative to the product’s perceived value. For example, a 40% deal might be equivalent to $10 off – but the former sounds a lot better.
Tend to work only for food and drink products. It’s probably the best way to launch a new product, particularly around the holidays and major occasions. For example, letting customers taste a new recipe for a Christmas chocolate cake will have them salivating. If it’s good, you just know it’s going to fly off the shelves.
Demonstrations or Try Before You Buy
Are an awesome way to showcase a product. They’re the free tasters of non-consumable products. Imagine a new cooking device demonstrated in-store by a chef. Or headphones, where you get to hear the quality first. It’s also a confident statement by a brand – “our product is so good that you’ll have to buy it once you try it”.
Are more subtle but no less effective. This form of passive marketing relies on our psychological understanding of supermarkets. Product displays placed on the end of aisles or near cash registers increase a customer’s chance to pick up an item. An attractive design is a simple way to boost sales with little upfront costs.
What are some in-store promotions examples?
Hopefully, you’ve now got some ideas for promoting your product. But to really get your imagination going, here are some of the best examples of in-store promotions:
Try a pop-up shop
Combine social media with a real-world experience. Pop-up shops work fantastically. That’s exactly what Los Angeles-based jewellery store Angie and Chloe Jewelry did. They sold and marketed their jewellery in shops, cafes, events and more.
The result: more exposure, more turnover, and more customers. It worked wonders!
T’is the season to be selling – whether it be Christmas, Summer, or another holiday, tailoring your in-store promotions to a seasonal theme is a sure-fire way to attract customers.
One example is the Christmas blend. Food and drink companies like Starbucks often create a Holiday Blend. Then, you can market in-store and sell at a high margin.
It’s a win-win situation!
Clever product placement
Subtly doesn’t pay. Don’t leave your top products languishing at the back of the store. Put them front and centre.
Here are a couple of tips for product displays:
- Group similar items together
- Place high-value products near the areas with the most foot traffic
- Keep best-sellers at eye level – otherwise, customers will walk-by without noticing
- Low cost, high demand products should be placed near the cash registers
These simple tips will make the most of product displays.
Social media rules marketing. Alongside your talented in-store promoters, invite a local celebrity or online influencer along. Not only will it attract people to the event, but it’ll also significantly boost brand awareness.
Ask them to post about it in advance and keep posting throughout the promotion. That way, you combine the digital and real-world for the complete promotional experience.