Who's your retail supporting cast?

How to Build an All-Star Retail Services Support Network

Many successful brands rely on outside resources to provide key marketing and retail services. They build an all-star retail partner network, creating multiple levers to drive sales. Whether it is building promotional displays, printing point of sales graphics, creating stand-out packaging, or in-store execution, you need a solid team that you can trust to execute your vision and differentiate you from the competition.

The first step to building an all-star team is identifying where you need a helping hand.  A brand needs to be honest in taking a personal inventory of critical talents needed in-house and what services would be better served by outside experts.  Is your brand in need of a package redesign? Maybe you need an extra set of eyes in the store. Identifying your gaps helps prioritize what activities are best supported internally and what activities are more effective in the hands of a third party.  Brand priorities also help decide which partners to reach out to first.

Then, you need to find the right partner to fill that need. This partner should be an expert, offer high-levels of customer service, and be able to deliver on your expectations every time.

Here are four of the most common partners retail brands collaborate with:

1 – Branding Experts

Why do some products sell better than others? Is it that this seltzer tasted better than that other seltzer? Does this lotion really work better than its competitors? Maybe. But probably not. The real secret (and hard truth) to retail success is all in the branding.

Branding goes beyond logos. It tells the story of your company, products, and everything in between. The goal of branding is to be memorable and stick in the minds of your customers. 

One of the places you most want to grab your customers’ attention is on the shelf at your retailer. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure your packaging succinctly tells your brand story and clearly pops your brand differentiation. Is it attention-grabbing? Or does it blend in with the rest of the competition? If you’re not sure, visit a store where your products are sold. Go to the aisle and walk down it like a regular customer. Does your product catch your eye? Or do you have to search for it?

2 – Dazzling Displays

Promotional locations are the prime real estate of any retail store. If you can nab one of these coveted high traffic locations, you’ve got a head start already. However, it’s not enough to let your products rest on endcaps, sidecaps, and other displays and hope for the best. You need to make your display pop and attract customers.

From creating the perfect design and layout to decking out your display with eye-catching details, great display companies are your partner for show-stopping in-store presentations.

Display companies can help with:

  • Display design
  • Display production
  • Distribution to stores
  • and more!

3 – Shopper Engagement

Do you have a thorough understanding of who your customers are and how to reach them? Most brands think they do but consumer habits change fast and trends change faster. Keep on top of your marketing efforts including customer research, shopper research, and online and in-store marketing campaigns to make sure that you’re reaching every possible consumer.

Retail marketing is a wide category that covers many different disciplines including social media, digital advertising, and in-store marketing.

Shopper engagement agencies can help with:

  • Promotional planning
  • Customer targeting
  • Digital Promotions
  • Store activation
  • In-store marketing materials

4 – Brokers and Sales Firms

These critical partners help brands find the right partnerships for them to take their business to the next level. Establishing these retailer relationships is one of the most important pieces of the retail puzzle. Besides introducing your brand to your next retail partner, brokers and sales firms can help by:

  • Providing expert knowledge of specific retailers
  • Maximizing your product placement within the retailers’ product mix
  • Promoting your offerings
  • General brand growth strategies

5 – Last but Not Least, Retail Merchandisers

Not to be confused with visual merchandisers, retail merchandisers are your go-to, in-store operational partner, ensuring all your branding initiatives are executed correctly at the store level. Branding, great marketing, and beautiful displays are all for nothing if they are not implemented.  Your displays don’t get set, inventory isn’t on the shelf, in-store marketing materials don’t go up, and your product is unorganized on the shelf. That’s where retail merchandisers like RMS come in.

Retail merchandisers offer a wide range of services that help brands stand out and sell out at big-box retailers like Target.

For example, here are some of the services that RMS provides:

Vetting New Retail Partners

How do you know when a partner will be right for you? Follow four simple steps to make sure you’re choosing the best partner for you.

  1. Identify your needs. Can this partner meet them? Not everyone does everything so make sure you’re choosing an agency or merchandiser that can help you where you need it most.
  2. Don’t underestimate customer service. What are their customers saying about them? Check reviews and get on the phone to learn what working with them is really like.
  3. Expertise is important. Don’t write off start-ups but understand that practice does make perfect. The people behind the company should be the best at what they do to provide you with the best service possible.
  4. Budget isn’t everything. We get it. Price is important. But check out their offerings, level of service, and customer reviews first. Going cheap could cost you more in the long run by missing out on future sales. Find who works for you and build your budget around it.

Business is about people. Who’s on your team, whether they’re employees or partners, can make all the difference in meeting your sales numbers and enjoying what you do. Find people and businesses who can make your retail performance stronger.

Do you need a retail merchandising partner? We’d love to talk with you to see if we’re your perfect fit.

Click here to contact us.