By Anne Brillet, director, Unearth Marketing
This piece first appeared in the March edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here
In the cycling world, the necessity for bricks-and mortar-stores is clear – many consumers are looking for a tangible purchasing experience where they can see, touch and even ride the bikes on their shortlist before making the all-important decision. Maximising that experience is vital, and leveraging support from your favourite brands makes the task ahead a whole lot easier.
Create a partnership
Communication is key and creating a partnership with your brand representative will go a long way. Sales reps are there to sell you products but they are also increasingly present to ensure that marketing activities, product launches and brand representation are fulfilled and held to high standards.
Creating and maintaining a relationship of trust with your brand representatives ensures that they will support you and prioritise your store on their list of activations.
Look at the brands’ current focus
Check out your selected brands’ marketing plans and see where the focus is. If a given brand’s current focus is exclusively on e-MTB, asking for support on a triathlon event won’t go a long way. By calibrating your marketing push on your selected brand’s activities, you will be able to gain more support.
Speak with your brand rep and discuss their content calendar, stock the right product and discuss activities, POS support and web assets.
Brands are always keen to get on board for events, though of course it can be difficult for them to be personally present at every one. However, in the planning stages, ask your brand rep for some swag to give out or use as prizes.
Sometimes, brands will be able to lend out easy-up tents, flags and promotional material as well as have ambassadors attend. Also, ensure your brand rep is aware you are up for hosting events as they can put you on the calendar of test rides or other activations they might plan in their own calendar.
Fill your social media
As a busy retail outlet – usually without an in-house content team – you are always in need of assets and images to populate your social media and website. Your suppliers will have a bank of images that you will be cleared to use across your channels.
Reach out to your brand reps and find out where these are kept and how to access them – this will allow you to build a solid portfolio of assets. However, ensure that you also create and use your own images, as it’s important for retailers to have their own identity transpire through social media and websites.
Having up-to-date displays is key to keeping your store fresh and relevant, and to bring focus to the latest products and innovations. Communicate with your brand rep your desire to create an in-store display for either an existing or a new product.
This can include POS, booklets, banners, totems, as well as fixtures. Brands put these items into production more frequently than retailers, and are better set up to do so – it’s in their interest to ensure their product is front and centre at your store!