Challenges (and solutions) in multi-site marketing

Why streamlining your visual merchandising strategy is key

Studies estimate within the first 7 seconds of meeting another person we will have already gathered enough information to form a solid impression of them – we determine how trustworthy someone is within a tenth of a second, and it takes a mere 8.2 seconds for the average man to fall in love. With human beings so quick to make a judgement, it’s no wonder visual merchandising and marketing plays such a pivotal role in brick and mortar environments.

From retail stores to chain restaurants, international hotels and banks, having multiple brick and mortar sites with varying setups and spaces has significantly hindered visual marketing for decades. With new technology bringing visual merchandising into the 21st century, it has never been a better time to challenge the status quo and streamline your marketing processes and strategy when it comes to your physical estate.

In our fast-paced, rapidly changing world, seeing is everything. In the UK we are exposed to more then 5000 advertisements and pieces of sponsored marketing content per day alone. Our visual environments play a tremendous role in our lives and as a result, visual merchandising and promotional materials in your brick and mortar sites need to do everything possible to attract customers and impact their buying behaviours.

So what challenges are you facing?

Different display spaces

When you are dealing with say, more than 25 brick and mortar sites across multiple locales, it can be tricky to keep track of each location. You may work for a rapidly expanding chain of stores, and staying up to date with all of their unique set-ups, display areas and marketing requirements is getting more and more complicated, and there isn’t a central source of truth to ensure you deliver what’s needed, and most effective, in each. You need to know where you can plan and install free standing displays, sampling opportunities and other in-store experiences, and the availability of those spaces across the whole estate.

Or, perhaps you’re trying to maintain brand consistency across all of your restaurants, and find while your seaside location in Brittany has a car park and large outdoor dining area, your eatery in central Paris is barely big enough for eight tables let alone several promotional posters and banners advertising that children can now eat for free. Your space in Brittany may allow for large visuals, posters, banners, and celebrational bunting, while a regularly updated a-frame on the street and promotional booklets on tables may be a better option for your restaurant in Paris. And, all your locations need uniform instructions about everything from table layouts and service guidelines to social distancing measures, to ensure the customer has the same great experience wherever they visit.

While complex spreadsheets for material allocations, company intranets for sharing detailed instructions and printed planograms had a place in our past, excess paper and unnecessary documents can be eliminated with modern digital solutions. Colateral’s digital platform enables marketing employees in head office to see what infrastructure is available, cater marketing to the space in each specific location – and deliver personalised visual merchandising and display instructions.

Different sites have many different internal and external influences and requirements (from size and grading, to customer demographics and competitor proximity), all of which can and should impact your marketing strategy. A one-size-fits-all approach rarely cuts it and having the data you need about your estate, and using it to streamline and target your marketing across your locales, is a simple way to improve your campaigns, maintain brand consistency and better connect with customers.

Balancing marketing and visual merchandising with being more environmentally sustainable

With consumers becoming increasingly aware of the looming threat non-environmentally friendly practices pose to our beloved planet, the concept of sustainability and shopping ethically is at the forefront of many minds. It can be difficult to manage tangible marketing such as posters and other promotional materials when strategising marketing across multiple sites, which can lead to waste.

Management tools such as Colateral’s innovative one-stop-shop software allows you to simplify your marketing across multiple brick and mortar sites, and can assist you in reducing the amount of excess merchandising materials produced.

In this day and age, with rising trends in sustainability and ethical consumerism, producing materials that are never used is not only costly, but is a bad look that could have a negative impact on your wider business. Managing your physical footprint across your brick and mortar sites is key to reducing unnecessary waste.

It’s time to kiss goodbye to spreadsheets and say hello to a greener, more environmentally efficient digital world.

Lack of communication and flexibility

Visual merchandising tells a tale, but without the digital resources to assist you it can be difficult to get your story across. Leaving it up to customers and clients to interpret outdated and out-of-touch marketing can lead to an array of difficulties in your brick and mortar locations. And, without the technology to effectively communicate your plans with your staff across your multiple sites, or have visibility of what is actually happening on-the-ground, the end result can often fall flat.

Whether you manage the marketing for a chain of retail stores or an international bank, you’ll know that visual merchandising and in-store marketing is a collaborative effort. There are multiple voices involved in the messaging and final designs of promotional materials, and the creative process can be a complicated and frustrating meander to the finish line with emails back and forth, and multiple checks before sign-off. On completion, busy teams on the shop floor are often faced with complicated display instructions that can result in poorly executed campaigns. And, all of the time and effort put into planning and producing brilliant campaigns can quickly go to waste.

In most cases, the process of brick and mortar marketing is selected and finalised by head office, who may not know the site as well as in-store staff. By allowing simple two-way communication between headquarters and in-store employees using Colateral’s platform, brick and mortar agencies can take advantage of advanced digital technologies to streamline their marketing strategies and open communications.

By establishing a central a central hub for correspondence between departments in the office for both campaign planning, and sharing and receiving information from employees in store, site-specific marketing becomes much easier to action and improve. With a more joined-up approach, important feedback and insights, that might have been missed altogether, are easily gathered and can be used to optimise future marketing efforts and improve your visual merchandising strategy.

Visual merchandising with Colateral

At Colateral we believe in one mantra – death to unnecessary spreadsheets. While the complexities of managing marketing and visual merchandising across multi-location brick and mortar sites can be challenging, the process doesn’t have to be a chore. Give your head office and in-store teams the digital tools they need to shine. Drive new value from each of your locations and better understand and utilise the unique set-ups and opportunities that each of them offer.

Our innovative software brings your marketing and visual merchandising processes into the modern age, digitising your marketing strategy and centralising planning and production for your brick and mortar sites.

Manage campaigns end-to-end with cross-team collaboration, streamline artwork processes from briefing to approval, simplify order requests from your remote workers, and assign marketing – and communications – with your store environments in mind, as per the infrastructure available.

Whether you have hundreds of stores nationwide or work for a global banking conglomerate, streamlining your visual merchandising has never been so simple.

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