Monthly Archives: October 2018

How new businesses and small businesses can fire up their retail sales and list listing

Fourth Source BlogThe innovation of technology products is developing at a ferocious pace and there’s a gadget for everything and everyone these days.  This has resulted in a very competitive retail environment both on and offline with a continuous flow of new products being launched to market.

However, it is important to note that much of the new tech coming on to the market is originating from innovative start-up brands who may or may not have the marketing muscle or budgets to compete at the same level as established brands.  For example, brands like Tile who have a limited portfolio of products but are bringing innovative tracking technology to the smart home category. Innovation from these types of company is fueling this exciting technological transformation, but we must make sure that these products get to see the rabbit so to speak.  Without brand recall in retail, many brands get lost in the noise those with ‘bigger’ budgets are able to shout about. Your route to market should not merely rely on the big online retailers to show consumers.

Businesses spend time, money and energy pitching to buyers but many fail to prepare properly for when the listing finally gets the green light which in most instances can take months rather than weeks as many brands hope. It may also only be a sample of a retailers estate in which the brand gets the opportunity to prove the viability of their product.  Once a retailer presses the button a brand must fit with the retailers’ timelines and expectations and retailers are savvy operators, not to be underestimated when understanding what their shoppers like. So when the listing begins is when businesses really need to move product, especially in traditional brick and mortar stores.

Some brands are astute enough to have created a strong online presence and awareness already via their own platforms or investment in an advertising campaign but for many building brand awareness and driving conversation really starts with retail.  So, what’s the best retail strategy for a start-up technology brand?

Firstly, don’t just focus online, according to the ONS online sales still only account for 18% of overall retail spend.  And especially for electrical / technology products, which are often a considered purchase our own research shows that people like to go in-store, touch and feel the products, see them working in situ and get advice from store staff on what they should be purchasing.

And despite what many brands may think, you cannot rely on purely the store to sell your products as you will be just one of many established brands in a crowded category or a category of one which no one has heard of or understands fully. Your carefully crafted marketing messages and USPs can easily get lost in translation.  It’s not like an own brand store where everything is within your control but you can take collaborative steps to help how your brand is marketed in third party retail.

Depending on the store and deal being negotiated pick your store strategy carefully.  For example, you may or may not have the option to be in an entire estate and you may have more success and sell through picking off specific stores that attract more of your audience profile. However, which stores you end up is not necessarily your choice but possibly being in fewer stores can make things easier to manage in the short term to establish store presence as sales increase.

This is one of the most crucial times for a start-up brand and getting momentum can make or break a business. Invest in working with a partner, an agency or individual consultant that strategically works as an extension of your sales and marketing strategy and enables your limited resources to focus on the ‘bigger picture’, making the right connections in store – connecting your brand with both the sales staff and consumers alike. Don’t leave it to chance or risk being ignored.

Work with the store to create an experience and we’re not talking here a large scale costly production.  Merchandise well and manage the retail space so consumers can learn, look, touch and interact with the product effortlessly. But most importantly, develop a relationship with management and shop floor staff.  Show them that you’re a brand that means business and is going to invest in them as a partner. Seeding product with selected store staff is common practice and enables them to talk sincerely about your product based on actual usage and therefore encouraging them to become an evangelist of your brand.   You ideally want to create a store full of influencers who are willing you to succeed so charm them, train them and reward them.

Innovation is fueling this exciting technological transformation, must make sure that these products get into the hands of retail store advisors who are capable of selling it and ultimately into the consumers’ basket. Considered purchases take time and an approach that resonates with a consumer’s lifestyle and need. Brands should not just be reliant on the big online retailers who are not the panacea many brands perceive them to be. Marketing online is another Pandora’s box we can discuss next time.

For the full article please visit Fourth Source

Tagged , , , , , ,

How do small tech businesses fire up their retail sales?

The Drum Article Blog Picture

Innovation of technology is happening at a ferocious pace and it seems that there’s a gadget for everything and everyone these days. This has resulted in a very competitive retail environment both on and offline with a continuous flow of new products being launched to market.

However, it’s important to note that much of the new tech coming on to the market is originating from innovative start-up brands who may, or may not, have the marketing muscle or budgets to compete at the same level as established brands. For example, brands like Tile, who have a limited portfolio of products are bringing innovative tracking technology to the smart home category. Innovation from these types of company is exciting, but we must make sure that these products get to see the rabbit so to speak. Without brand recall in retail, many brands get lost in the noise when competing against those with bigger marketing budgets to woo the attention and support of major retailers.

Businesses spend time, money and energy pitching to buyers but many fail to prepare properly for when their online listing finally gets the green light, which can often take far longer than expected – i.e. months rather than weeks. It may also only be a sample of a retailer’s estate in which the brand gets the opportunity to prove the viability of their product. Once a retailer presses the button, a brand must fit with the retailers’ timelines and expectations and retailers are savvy operators, not to be underestimated when understanding what their shoppers like. The moment the listing begins is when businesses really need to move product, especially in traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

Some brands are astute enough to have created a strong online presence and awareness already via their own platforms or investment in an advertising campaign but for many, building brand awareness and driving conversation really starts with retail. So, what’s the best retail strategy for a start-up technology brand?

Get real

Firstly, don’t just focus online. According to the ONS online sales still only account for 18% of overall retail spend. This is especially true for electrical/technology products, which are often a considered purchase. Our own research shows that people like to go in-store, touch and feel the products, see them working in situ and get advice from store staff on what they should be purchasing.

Despite what many brands may think, you cannot rely on purely the store to sell your products as you will be just one of many established brands in a crowded category, or a category of one which no one has heard of or understands fully. Your carefully crafted marketing messages and USPs can easily get lost in translation. It’s not like an own brand store where everything is within your control. You can, however, take collaborative steps to help how your brand is marketed in third party retail.

Depending on the store and deal being negotiated pick your store strategy carefully. For example, you may or may not have the option to be in an entire estate and you may have more success and sell through picking off specific stores that attract more of your audience profile. However, which stores you end up in is not necessarily your choice; possibly being in fewer stores can make things easier to manage in the short term to establish store presence as sales increase.

Hearts and minds

This is one of the most crucial times for a start-up brand and getting momentum can make or break a business. Invest in working with a partner, an agency or individual consultant that strategically works as an extension of your sales and marketing strategy and enables your limited resources to focus on the ‘bigger picture’, making the right connections in store – connecting your brand with both the sales staff and consumers alike. Don’t leave it to chance or risk being ignored.

Work with the store to create an experience. This doesn’t have to be a large scale costly production. Merchandise well and manage the retail space so consumers can learn, look, touch and interact with the product effortlessly. But most importantly, develop a relationship with management and shop floor staff.

Show them you’re a brand that means business and is going to invest in them as a partner. Seeding product with selected store staff is common practice and enables them to talk sincerely about your product based on actual usage and therefore encouraging them to become an evangelist of your brand. You ideally want to create a store full of influences who are willing you to succeed so charm them, train them and reward them.

Innovation is fueling this exciting technological transformation, must make sure that these products get into the hands of retail store advisors who are capable of selling it and ultimately into the consumers’ basket. Considered purchases take time and an approach that resonates with a consumer’s lifestyle and need. Brands should not just be reliant on the big online retailers who are not the panacea many brands perceive them to be. Marketing online is another Pandora’s box we can discuss next time.

For the full article visit The Drum.

Tagged , , , , , ,

IFA 2018: Would you like some assistants?

IFA Blog image copy

Google’s Assistant was all over the Berlin trade show as more and more brands were building voice activation into their products.

Once again IFA did not fail to impress with almost every CE brand attending – in fact there were 1,814 exhibitors over 161,200 square metres.

One brand, however, appeared to dominate and that was Google with its Google Assistant, which was almost everywhere. This included every booth that had a Google Assistant-enabled product on show, further demonstrating how Google is gaining against Amazon’s Alexa.

With assistant-enabled products in laundry from Hoover Candy, cooking with Electrolux, to smartwatches from TicWatch, thermostats from Netatmo and doorbells from Ring, extending to TVs from Toshiba, Hisense, LG and Panasonic, who both also have connected speakers, the dominance of voice assistants was most definitely the story at IFA.

One brand that stood out for me was LG, not just because of its impressive ‘Canyon’ TV display, but also its ability to appeal to a broad church of consumers across all demographics. Its innovation is visionary from its Cloi SuitBot and PorterBot that serve a niche and showcase LG’s vision of the future, to its core consumer offerings. Two standouts were the Instaview fridge with the knock twice to see inside feature, and the stunning 8K OLED television with greater contrast – although that’s not due for release anytime soon.

8K OLED

In a parallel launch, we saw Samsung reveal the equivalent 8K QLED with greater emphasis on light. This is a viable 8K TV slated to be available in the UK market this month.

BBC technology correspondent Rory CellanJones asked: “Is it just another gimmick to sell us more TVs, especially when only four years ago we were being told 4K was cutting edge?” Some may agree but, as marketers and retailers, our job is to sell the boundaries of possibilities to consumers and new products like these benefit the industry and rejuvenate categories.

Last month, ERT featured an interview with David Flintoft from Toshiba, who stated: “We want to be the best value option in the UHD space – we’re offering key technologies and good-quality, well-priced, mainstream products.”

Based on what Toshiba exhibited at IFA, Wall Art Concept 4KUHD included, it is in a very good place to dominate and steal market share, offering retailers more choice and flexibility. An opportunity to refresh your TV ranging with an established brand that is coming back stronger through each new product range.

In audio, the standout was the Yamaha MusicCast VINYL 500 – a superb innovation that enables you to stream your vinyl wirelessly to your speakers. Is this the future of turntables?

From audio to SDAs, where the most significant innovation came from Panasonic, which announced its Croustina ZP2000 bread-maker, promising the ability to bake an authentic, hardcrust loaf in your own home. For those who like bread makers, it’s a great reason to upgrade and a great gifting item for Christmas.

MDAs were also getting smarter, with almost all brands introducing smart appliances that either have compatibility or an ‘assistant’ built in.

Key brands and products to watch, that many independents will no doubt be ranging soon, include Beko, Hoover, Electrolux and Candy. These products enable you to ask ‘how to’, as demonstrated by Hoover Candy, which incidentally holds a 56 per cent market share in ‘connected’ washing. Users can set appliances to start at any given moment as commanded by the assistant.

Retro

Nice additions to IFA were retro brands Polaroid and Kodak. Polaroid showed off its Mint – a twoin-one instant digital camera and printer in a range of colours. It can quickly print high-quality photos with an option of modes to personalise your picture.

Kodak identified an area other printer manufacturers haven’t quite managed to acknowledge – we like to print photos that look like photos and are easy to print – with its Printomatic, Mini Shot Instant Print cameras and impressive Photo Printer Dock.

With growth in our local market and the innovations at IFA, many of which are available now, opportunities await those who get their ranging and consumer marketing mix correct.