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How to run effective in-store marketing campaigns

With the hype surrounding e-commerce and direct-to-consumer, it’s easy to lean towards these channels when investing in marketing campaigns. And there’s good reason for it; they’re much more targeted and measurable. In addition, consumer habits are changing, and online channels are gaining a share of the omnichannel mix. However, 80% of shopping still happens in-store. So, while it’s critical to have an online platform and drive traffic to it, in-store marketing campaigns still offer an incredible opportunity for retailers. Let’s explore in-store marketing campaigns and how to run effective campaigns.

What is an in-store marketing campaign?

In-store marketing campaigns are executed in-store to drive foot traffic to stores and increase product sales in stores. While other forms of advertising aim to drive footfall and product sales, in-store campaigns focus on guiding the customer at the pivotal moment of making a purchase.

This includes:

  • Owned brand messing such as window signage, direction displays, aisle fins, and promoting brands or products.
  • Owned product promotions or discount displays to drive sales of product categories.
  • Brand activations – displays for 3rd party brands to promote the products they sell in the retail store.

It’s not always the sexiest part of marketing, but it’s where the battle is won and lost. A retailer could run the best TV ad in the world, but if the visitor cannot find the product in-store, it’s all for nothing. It’s the equivalent of running great video ads on YouTube but not taking the user directly to the right page on your e-commerce store to purchase the product. Or not including a search on your site.

Unfortunately, when we speak to retailers, many spend more time managing the execution of the campaign that working to ensure it drives revenues. Fortunately, Colateral is on a mission to change that. So here are our tips for running more effective in-store marketing campaigns.

Common problems with in-store marketing.

Just like any form of advertising, there are some tremendous in-store campaigns. And some that are, well… not so great.

The most common problems include:

  • Not executing on time: This results in stores hanging hand-written signs or generic posters in windows rather than on-brand displays.
  • Not aligning with merchandising: This occurs when promoting a product that isn’t in-store or vice versa.
  • Too much flash without substance: There is a shift toward retailers adopting digital signage or flashy tactics to execute in-store marketing at the expense of effective placement and messaging.
  • Signage that doesn’t fit: You might see too many posters in a window display. This usually happens when the same posters are sent to every store without considering the fixtures and fittings available.
  • Damaged or incorrect signage: Store teams will install display signage before regional managers check them a few days later. However, in this period between installation and checking, there is a chance consumers will see incorrect signage.
  • Ineffective messaging: With hundreds of stores, it’s impractical for marketers to customise their campaigns for every store. So, instead, they execute the same message in every store. The result is ineffective messaging that doesn’t drive revenues.

You can read more about the challenges with in-store marketing campaigns here. For now, though, let’s focus on what goes into an effective marketing campaign.

How to run effective in-store campaigns.

So, how can retail marketers avoid these common problems and run effective in-store campaigns?

Before we start, this article focuses on executing in-store marketing campaigns. A critical step before this is to define your target audience. You can read more about defining your target audience for in-store marketing.

1. Automate administrative tasks.

One of the big draws of digital marketing is the amount of readily available automation. This allows you to spend time doing value-added work rather than trawling through information. Automation makes work more fulfilling, saves time, and enables you to produce higher-quality creative work.

Meanwhile, in-store campaigns typically involve more stakeholders, including marketing, creative, suppliers, brands, printers and stores, while you’re working on spreadsheets and email to coordinate complex projects.

You should aim to automate as much administrative work as possible and use as few systems to simplify work for your team. For example, you should ensure your campaign management tool easily links with your design software so you can automate the artwork approval process.

Additionally, you should be able to send instructions to installation teams automatically and easily assign tasks to different people. Tools like Monday or Asana are great for project management but aren’t well suited to in-store campaigns. These tools are a good start, but you’ll quickly hit a point where you need to switch to email or other tools to manage projects. Everything must be connected if you use more than one piece of software. As soon as your team need to export data from one system to re-upload it to another, a significant value of the automation is lost, and you will reintroduce bottlenecks into the process.

At Colateral, we make it so simple for you to automate in-store campaign management. We even helped one of our customers gain back 80% of their time by streamlining their processes. This time saving gave them time to renovate their window displays, tailor their campaigns to different store locations, and design impactful creative.

2. Create an in-store marketing campaign plan.

It’s said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And this couldn’t be more true than with marketing campaigns. Every marketing plan should be as detailed as possible, including:

  • Target segments
  • Aims and objectives
  • Campaign message
  • Channels
  • Budgets
  • Key campaign dates.

Because you are working across multiple stakeholders, a detailed plan is critical to ensuring everyone is aligned and helps you hit your targets.

3. Segment your stores.

We all know that customer analysis and segmentation allow you to deliver the right message to the right audience. However, while many retailers have the data for customer segmentation, their stores aren’t set up to allow them to deliver targeted messaging.

To achieve this, you will need to conduct detailed store audits and create dynamic store profiles. Leave no stone unturned here. It’s important to have as much up-to-date information here as possible. A good store profile will include the following information:

  • Fixtures
  • Fittings
  • Features
  • Display spaces
  • Till point assets
  • Interactive screens
  • Sizes of all of the above
  • In-store location of all above.

Frankly, that’s just for starters, you could also include:

  • Shopper demographics
  • Popular products and product categories
  • In-store buying trends
  • Impact of each placement on revenues.

When you have this information, you can accurately group your stores based on size, location and even the by consumer profiles. This gives you a lot more flexibility to be targeted in your messaging. For example, you could emphasise a 50% off promotion in areas where your customers are more price-sensitive and even assign the signage to different products based on historical sales in each store. The more data you collect about your stores, the more opportunities you have to create and execute powerful in-store campaigns.

4. Localise in-store marketing messages.

The best thing about digital channels is how targeted they allow us to be. We can pinpoint when someone has viewed a specific page and tailor an ad to give them additional information they need to make a purchase. However, in-store marketing is often a one-size-fits-all approach. We deliver targeted messages online to drive people to stores, but there’s just a standard message in stores. It can be a jarring customer experience and significantly impact sales.

Instead, retailers can use store segmentation to significantly increase campaign effectiveness by localising in-store marketing to different store groups, regions or locations. This should go beyond simply adding the location’s name to the welcome sign but tap into the local community and create messages that resonate.

Learn more about how large retailers can localise their messaging.

5. Open communication between head office and in-store teams.

With multiple moving parts and stakeholders, it can be difficult to coordinate campaign execution. Head office marketing teams collaborate with design agencies, printers, suppliers and stores to plan and execute in-store campaigns. In truth, many of the mistakes listed above result from poor communication. Not executing campaigns on time, mistakes in the signage, damaged displays and incorrect set-up can all be resolved through effective communication throughout campaign management.

You should add instructions and questionnaires when sending signage to stores while requesting evidence.

You need to provide instructions with the signage, not in a separate document or email for them to find later. A common problem is that store teams receive the signage but can’t find the instructions to go with it and make mistakes in setup.

Additionally, you can dramatically improve display compliance by asking store teams to complete questionnaires once the displays are set up and at regular intervals throughout the campaign lifecycle. This is an excellent way to capture issues in the installation or any damage to signage when it occurs. If you go a step further and ask teams to upload images, you can be certain to eliminate those pesky errors once and for all. And you don’t have to wait 2 days for regional managers to find them.

Learn how we helped Paddy Power to increase display compliance from 42% to 100% with this method.

6. Track and monitor campaign performance.

Finally, you need to measure campaign performance to establish if your campaign was successful.

At the planning stage, you should have identified your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and target for the campaign and mapped out how you will measure success. You must have these metrics available in real-time as it happens. While it’s unlikely you will change something mid-campaign, you are planning new campaigns all the time, and you don’t want to wait until 3 months after the campaign has finished before implementing learnings.

If you have links with your Electronic Point Of Sale (EPOS) system, you should be able to track revenues and sales against the products you promoted during the campaign lifecycle. By comparing this to previous sales, you can establish the ROI on your campaign and if you saw significant uplift. Additionally, you should be able to measure which campaigns performed best in each location, whether campaigns were on, under or over budget, and how many reprints you had to do.

7. Leverage insights to negotiate brand promotions.

For most retailers, you are not only running your own campaigns, but you also incorporate campaigns for other brands. With the insight above, you should be able to demonstrate when their displays went live, offer ongoing assurances that they look good, and how their placement in your stores impacted their product sales.

In a landscape where brands distrust retailers to the extent that they invest thousands of pounds in auditing their own displays in various stores, this can be a significant differentiator compared to other retailers. At first, they may still audit their displays in your stores, but if you can save them that investment, build trust with them, and identify which placements yield the biggest ROI for their campaigns, you can begin to charge premium prices.

Set up for in-store campaign success.

So, with these tips in your arsenal, you should be well equipped to battle digital campaigns and prove that in-store marketing still deserves its throne in retail. To level up your campaigns quicker and more easily, we recommend you invest in retail marketing software like Colateral. Working with retailers and brands, including The Works, Robert Dyas, and Loblaws, we’re helping deliver more effective marketing campaigns in more than 10,000 stores.

To learn more about getting more from your in-store marketing campaigns or just chat about retail, request a demo or fill out the form below.

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