How in-store training aids retail sales

Sure, many white goods manufacturers are struggling to update their image, as your feature “White heat” rightly points out (MW September 24). And in so doing, are producing advertising that often doesn’t feature the product or brand.

But far from leaving consumers in the dark when it comes to educating them about their product ranges, many are simply diverting their budgets to marketing services which are better placed to do this.

That is, rather than trying to differentiate products in advertising, more manufacturers are recognising that consumers rarely request a certain model of dishwasher or fridge from retailers. Nor will they necessarily ask for a certain brand – even if they have one in mind.

Rather, when they buy an electrical product consumers usually want the retailer to assist them with their purchase, to give advice on what the differences are between two Bosch dishwashers or the range of Electrolux vacuum cleaners, and whether an own label will match up to a branded one.

Recognising this, far from giving up trying to educate consumers on differences between their product ranges, they are simply shifting this message to where it works best – in store.

To do this, manufacturers are increasingly investing in field marketing teams to train retail staff about how a product works, run in-store demonstrations, help with new product launches or during busy periods to answer consumer enquiries, manage sales promotions, provide and position appropriate point-of-sale materials, handle consumer and retail hotline services and more.

So the next time a consumer wanders in saying they would like an oven like the one Gary Rhodes uses, the retailer is able to inform them about your product and what it can do for them.

Sure if they’ve heard of your brand – through advertising – they’re more likely to make the purchase. But as manufacturers now know, that’s only a small part of the story in converting interest to sales.

Richard Thompson

Chairman

EMS

Wilts

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