WDS ready for Costco Iceland opening!

By Andy Youings. 19th May 2017
WDS ready for Costco Iceland opening!

After years of planning and preparation, next week will see Costco Wholesale open the doors to its newest warehouse in Reykjavik, Iceland. Having worked in partnership with Costco for over 20 years in the UK, WDS is extremely excited to be chosen to provide the sampling and demonstration service for this exciting new location; our first outside the UK!

We can’t wait to get started when the doors open to the public next week (23rd May) with our newest team on hand to provide Icelandic members with the cornerstone of the Costco Wholesale experience – the opportunity to sample new and exciting products throughout the warehouse. The new WDS demonstration and sampling will be supported by experienced members from the UK team who will be joining their new Icelandic colleagues to ensure the opening day (and exclusive VIP evening on 22 May) runs smoothly, despite the large numbers expected to visit the warehouse.

Image of Costco Reykjavik warehouse.

Final preparations being made to the Costco warehouse in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Large crowds are expected when the doors open as Icelanders rush to see this new shopping experience for themselves. The 14,000 m2 store at Kauptún in Garðabær, near Reykjavík, will join Costco’s other warehouses in Europe and North America. It will be the only Costco store in Europe to prepare sushi on site and sell medication in an on-site pharmacy. Among its other offerings, Costco will sell fuel at lower than average prices.

Keep it seasonal

By Andy Youings. 14th March 2017
Keep it seasonal

One of the biggest challenges we hear from our clients is how to maintain momentum in-store and achieve strong sales across every month of the calendar year. For most brands, there is a natural fit with certain seasons, but to avoid annual peaks and troughs, you need to get creative. That means thinking about the ever-changing seasons, events and consumer interests at certain times of the year and adapting your in-store approach to suit.

When we think about aligning activity with the season, the tendency is to go for the obvious; Christmas, Easter, Mothers/Fathers Day, Halloween. All great, but consumers are used to this and competition is likely to be fierce. However, with a little time and effort, it’s easy to see that there’s many seasons worth promoting, and by being a little creative you can capture the imagination of your target market at a time when there’s a little less ‘noise’ in-store. So where to begin? Think carefully about your consumer and their likely interests. For example, if you want to reach young men then a sport theme might work for you, whereas a more family oriented brand might want to consider an approach that speaks to parents. At this time of year, the summer presents all sorts of opportunities for all sorts of brands. Flagship sporting events such as Wimbledon, the start of the Premiership football season and the Rugby World Cup are the perfect match for beer and wine brands whilst the arrival of summer and families heading out in the garden presents great potential for brands ranging from barbecue sauces, crisps and party foods to DIY and gardening products! Just think carefully about your audience and the rest will follow.

At Fizz, we work closely with our clients to work through this journey to arrive at an in-store experience to amplify this connection. Trained brand ambassadors, product sampling, bespoke point of sale and special offers can all be combined to provide high visibility, strong sales and a better experience for your customer. Better still, consistently applying this approach over time will help you to ‘own’ the season in the eyes of your customers, ensuring they begin to think of your brand in-line with the season.

Talk to us about your brand and how we can help you grow your sales.

The Lost Art Of The Live In-Store Demo (From Promo Marketing)

90% of UK purchases are still made in physical shops, so ‘old fashioned’ in-store demos still have a role to play in marketing, says Jill Pinner of Fizz

Research shows that even the glorious weather we’ve been having hasn’t been able to halt the growth of online retail sales. As a consequence of the internet retailing market continuing to grow, many brands are investing more heavily in their e-commerce and m-commerce services.

According to eMarketer, global B2C e-commerce and m-commerce sales are set to reach £879bn this year thanks to the rapid growth of mobile use and retailers increasingly developing responsively designed sites for browsers on handheld devices.

While there’s no doubt that consumers are increasingly blending their route to purchase – between stores, online and mobile devices – the fact remains that according to ONS, only 10% of retail sales made in the UK last year took place online. It’s a fact that people still overwhelmingly buy from people.

Brands and retailers are increasingly showcasing their wares through extravagant responsively-designed websites, microsites and apps; yet marketers can’t afford to invest all that money in digital and overlook the importance of their in-store offering.

If the consumer journey ends with them walking out of a store without making a purchase – if they couldn’t get the information they needed from under-trained staff, for example – then the digital investment has been worthless.

The perfect marketing mix for the digital age uses all the tools available to brands to engage with consumers at multiple points along the road to purchase. Some brands and retailers are so focussed on the earlier stages of that journey that they can often neglect customers in store. Clever marketers integrate new technologies into the mix without abandoning more traditional approaches.

Even some of the traditional seeming retailers are starting to experiment with a more comprehensive, 21st century marketing approach. For example, Waitrose announced recently that they’re trialling iBeacons in-store. Consumers who decide to opt-in will be identified from their mobile app and welcomed as they arrive at the store. They will then be given tailored vouchers towards everyday products like olive oil.

This is a unique opportunity to engage consumers with a loyalty offering while also directing them to try a sample of the product. The product could be delivered to them by a trained brand advocate who can provide additional information to close the sale, such as the provenance of the olives and suggest recipes for meals which incorporate the product.

Any brand or retailer can gain from deploying a well-trained in-store team who are familiar with the product range and can answer consumers’ questions, demonstrate the products in action and outline their various benefits. After all, the power of field marketing is that it’s capable of adding an expert human touch to the tail-end of conversion, making it easier for marketers to reach consumers in a way that adds genuine value to the customer experience.

With so much choice on offer, consumers also value brands that can offer them expert advice. When a consumer walks into the store, they often know which product they need, but not always which brand to opt for. Even those who’ve done extensive research can be overwhelmed by the sheer range of products on offer. It’s one of the reasons why consumers like to see products up close and in the flesh before making a purchase.

Consumers want to touch the product, assess its quality, and have the opportunity to have staff answer any queries they may have. They want to experience the product before they’ve had to part with any hard-earned cash. Live demos can demonstrate the value and usefulness of a product to prospective customers. At a time where consumers have never had so much choice, this first-hand experience can make all the difference between whether a prospective customer becomes an actual customer

This article appeared in Promotional Marketing. To view the original article, please click here.

Feel, Sense, Think, Act, Relate: The Benefits Of Experiential Marketing

Jill recently spoke to MyCustomer about the importance of experiential marketing. To read the whole article, please click here.

Ten years ago, for most marketers, their core remit was focused on simply getting the brand out there and raising awareness by handing out samples and promotional vouchers, or pulling off stunts that got people talking.

Today, strategy has got far more sophisticated and targeted, with the aim of creating memorable experiences for consumers and giving them the chance to really interact with a brand.

Experiential, as part of an integrated communications strategy, can be a tangible way to build and deepen customer relationships. As marketers we first need to understand human behaviour and motivations, and what fuels people’s basic desires and emotions.

Richard Edwards recently alluded to the concept of experiential being a more holistic approach to modern marketing, suggesting marketers should now be asking the following questions in the process of imagining new campaigns:

Feeling – What will it feel like to use your product or service?

Sensing – How do customers physically sense your product?

Thinking – How obvious can you make the benefits of your product through demonstration? Can you hint at an untapped ocean of potential behind the short demo?

Acting – Changes in behaviour can be highly motivational and empowering. What behaviours will your product help to facilitate?

Relating – How does your product or service link the customer to others, to things or even to a projection of their future self?

So, if experiences are the foundation of people’s lives and conversations, and a core objective of marketing is to get people talking positively about brands and products, it should come to no surprise that “experiences” are becoming an integral part of the best marketing campaigns.

Recent research conducted by Google and Ogilvy supports this, with findings showing that consumers are more influenced by word of mouth when making purchasing decisions than by print media, TV, movies and brand websites. Coupled with studies by consulting firm McKinsey which highlight that experiential brand experience is the most powerful form of word of mouth driving activity accounting for 50 to 80% in any given product category, it is clear where brands need to invest. Living in an over-crowded competitive market place, it is even more crucial than ever for brands to invest time and money in building strong relationships with their customers.

Coca-Cola for example, uses experiential marketing to create a closer bond between itself and the consumer by immersing them in fun and memorable experiences. The Coca-Cola ‘Beat Generator’ was a customised music app which enabled consumers to mix their own music. It formed the core of a 70-day brand experience celebrating Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay. As a result 9,000 pieces of music were created onsite with 2,500 retrieved online. There were 16,500 sessions on the Coca-Cola Beat Generator website and 1.78m Facebook impressions were delivered.

Brand advocates are crucial for any brand, and by rewarding die-hard loyal fans, brands can create ‘brand influencers’ who will become their best brand ambassadors. Taco Bell, for instance, invested in creating an exclusive experience for its loyal enthusiasts when launching the new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos. Providing these brand advocates exclusive access to the new taco gave them a reason to seek out and enjoy a first taste which would ultimately result in spreading the news to their followers.

Interestingly, the venue was a flower shop in New York’s Chelsea neighbourhood where representatives delivered the highly anticipated taco by using the secret password “blue bouquet”. Within the location there were hidden cameras capturing consumer reactions and within a few days of the event, the NY Taco Bell YouTube video had received over one million views.

To remain relevant, brands also now need to find new ways to extend and enrich campaigns – be it before, during or after the event. With social media audiences constantly evolving, there has never been a better moment to ensure that digital and experiential marketing go hand in hand. Digital provides brands with the perfect platform to add to the overall engagement, providing consumers with an instantaneous way to continue their relationship with the brand.

One example is Ben and Jerry’s, which took over Covent Garden as part of its Core Tour to give customers free ice-cream. To extend the activity, consumers were invited to follow the action and interact with the ‘Core Tour’ through social media. Through the tour, the public could additionally request through social media for the tour vans to stop off at their own offices and homes while they completed their journey across the UK.

In a crowded marketplace it is crucial for brands to build loyalty with their customers to ensure a lasting and engaging relationship. An effective way to cement this bond is by engaging and exciting consumers in a fun, memorable and relevant experience. As a result, experiential marketing can be more effective than any other form of marketing. However to be truly successful, experiential campaigns should not only have a clear link to the brand but also need to target the right audience at the right time in the right manner.

Supermarkets Must Invest In The In-Store Experience

In a recent article that appeared in Talking Retail, Jill Pinner, our chairman and founder says retailers need to offer something different in the battle to win customers. She writes:

The current marketing landscape, whilst positive, is posing new challenges for marketers. Businesses which until recently have worked with a mid-recession mindset of generating ROI on a budget are now in the position of managing increased budgets allowing them to be a little more creative.

The challenge however, is the battle to win back previously loyal customers who have gone to cheaper competitors – and are now comfortable and loyal with this new familiarity. Therefore more expensive brands who are trying to entice consumers back into the fold need to focus their efforts in offering a reason to re-engage, by offering a better overall package of value.

This might involve offering something new or unexpected, or alternatively increasing spend on customer service, the in-store environment, or staff on the shop floor.

This is something that supermarket retailers in particular need to consider, as since the recession many consumers have turned their backs on their loyalty to a chain and are picking up more of their weekly shop in cheaper stores such as Aldi and Lidl.

The latest figures show that both Tesco and Sainsbury’s have seen their market share fall. Therefore retailers who can’t compete on price must find other ways to offer real value.

In a post-recession landscape, customers will only be lured back from the cheaper chains by the promise of a more personal, pleasant shopping experience. This might require investment or reallocation of spending, whether through in-store revamps, more in-store staff, or better training, but a focus on service will reap huge dividends.

After all, it’s no coincidence that besides the budget supermarkets, the only chain to increase its market share in the weeks leading up to September compared with last year, is Waitrose – which places a strong emphasis on staff training and a pleasant in-store experience.

For the likes of Tesco to regain customer loyalty, it needs to invest in its staff – incentivising them to deliver a customer experience people want to return to.

When you walk into a Waitrose the customer service is noticeably strong. Staff are trained and knowledgeable, being able to provide helpful, important advice.

This is often attributed to employees being partners in the business though, of course, not every business can follow John Lewis’ model. Nonetheless it certainly helps create a comfortable shopping environment.

There are lessons for the mid-level supermarket chains to learn from Waitrose, and investment in the in-store experience is key. If consumers have questions about products in-store, staff should be sufficiently trained to answer them.

It can help consumers to become motivated brand advocates. If Tesco and Sainsbury’s switch their focus from competing on price to creating a positive consumer experience, they may begin to halt their recent decline.

Anything that serves to create a better, more personalised experience of the brand can make a significant difference on consumers’ willingness to spend a little more.

This article appeared in Talking Retail on 2nd October 2014. Click here to view the full article