Want to trigger impostor syndrome? Try this: Imagine being invited to a blind wine tasting. With a bunch of French wine buffs. You’ll have to guess each wine’s region and year and defend your position in an in-depth discussion. Sweaty palms yet?
Welcome to my weekend.
But that’s not all: you will also have to bring a bottle for tasting with you. So what do you do? Most likely you’ll head to the nearest bottle shop – and almost entirely make your decision there. Perhaps supported by a Google search, a savvy friend or knowledgeable sales staff.
Despite the rise of online shopping, physical stores remain key touchpoints for consumers – and not just when it comes to wine. The store is where we can experience a product, access expertise, and take our purchase home right away.
Kantar’s ranking of 18 key touchpoints driving brand strength confirms this: in-store touchpoints occupy three of the top ten spots. So which are they?
- Recommendations by sales staff come 3rd in our ranking - just behind recommendations by friends and family. However, the influence of staff varies widely by category, partly driven by the importance and complexity of the purchase decision.
- Especially for prestigious purchases – such as cars, gemstones, or, well, wine – staff not only drive sales conversion, but can also be key in strengthening the brand image. Businesses hence need to train their own staff well and/or provide clear information to retailers on how to ensure their sales teams are spot on brand.
- The presence of a brand’s products in store is the 5th strongest driver of brand strength. This includes the product being actually available, but also its presentation on shelf and in terms of pack design.
- To leverage this touchpoint, brands need to deliver familiar visual cues, so that brand loyalists can easily spot their products when scanning the shelf in System 1 autopilot mode. At the same time, their products need to stand out – for example via product displays, pack design or shelf signage – to grab the attention of non-loyalists. This ideally switches these shoppers into System 2 processing mode, where they can be convinced by superior product benefits, features, or price.
- In-store advertising – including promotion stands, in-store screens, announcements, or ad displays – ranks 7th in our list. In-store ads are a brand’s last chance to tell or re-enforce their story, or tell shoppers about promotions.
- To maximise the effectiveness of in-store advertising, it needs to be well integrated with other touchpoints. Brands can build on the story told in the latest TV or online ad, coupled with a call to action that drives consumers to the shelf or to sales staff. For example, a cosmetics brand might cooperate with a social media influencer, who posts videos of using their make-up – and recommends picking up a free sample in store.
In my case, savvy store staff were the key touchpoint – saving my neck by helping me choose a decent bottle of wine. Where have you seen great examples of in-store touchpoints?