Powering Consumer Electronic Growth
The boom of the consumer electronic market has seen some interesting times with some of the larger brands being too large to quickly respond to the changing market demands and with the emergence of younger challenger brands who offer agility and innovation by bringing new products to market, or who, in some instances, create new consumer electronic markets.
This fast moving and challenging environment has taken many casualties and the traditional barriers to entry seem to be null and void. The rules have been rewritten making it an open playing field where innovation is product design, or route to market is the primary driver for success. Yet much of what we have seen over the last decade is forecast to come to an end according to Accenture Digital Consumer Survey.
As with all forecasts there is the potential for not having accurately predicted the new categories that would emerge or the longer term strategies that large brands may be taking to reinvigorate themselves for the market of tomorrow. We do know that that when growth happens it will happen very quickly.
In this article we highlight some brands that are already working on driving the next phase of growth. The winners will be those who can work with their ecosystem partners to push disruptive innovation by connecting humans with technology in ways that meet their most fundamental needs.
Here we showcase examples across the European Field Management Partnership where leading consumer electronic brands have been leveraging the skills and expertise of our partner agencies to overcome their challenges in order to achieve growth in the market .
For the last 15 years, consumer electronics in France has been one of the primary engines of market growth, representing at least 40 % of the field management market comprising of activities such as events, merchandising, outsourced sales forces and in store demo's.
Recently there has been a marked slowdown in this sector. Not only is this a highly competitive market but it is driven by a brand being able to deliver product innovation, which has been a major obstacle to growth. Some brands have seen their market share destroyed by companies who are able to effectively innovate, however, innovation is primarily coming from smaller or new companies which don’t have a significant budget. These companies also face the challenge of being able to follow up with new products to continue driving success.
As many of the brands have had to downsize their headquarters, they typically rely on outsourcing their field marketing activities as an outsourced sales force. This flexibility allows them to adapt to shifts in market share and uncertainty in the market. Impact Field Marketing Group understands the challenges of the market and they have devised successful sales strategies that drive growth across leading brands within this sector. As a result, Impact Field Marketing through its subsidiaries is the leading field marketing company for consumer electronics in France.
A good product launch is the core foundation of ensuring a products success, however it does not work in isolation, shop in shop experience in retail stores is also vital. In allowing consumers to experience the brand's products first hand is a powerful influencer regardless of where consumers decide to purchase the product.
Shop displays and in store demo's or training are also essential for these brands. Consumers are visually lead and they want information to make the most informed decision. They want to engage and experience the brilliance of the latest flat screen TV displays and they also want to understand what the product benefits are that warrant the additional 20% price tag. To achieve this, consumer electronic companies require strong field marketing programs to effectively train sales people who are not only able to brief the consumers on the products strength and competitive advantages, but who can ensure that the products are displayed in the most favorable way to show case the brand's innovation of the technology at its best.
Impact Field Marketing Group provide sales forces who provide merchandising and training activity for a variety of leading consumer electronic brands. Each team is employed on a permanent basis over a 12 month period of activity that covers between 600 & 1 200 shops, including consumer electronics shops, buying groups and mass market shops.
To add to this Impact Field Marketing Group also have shop in shop activity for a leading consumer electronic brand in three major shops where they are representing the brand, and where their staff are the brand ambassadors in the Shop.
The vastness of the consumer electronics industry includes everything from telephones, stereo components, televisions, white goods, to digital cameras, video cameras, and VCRs, to name just a few. Field Management Ireland (FMI) sales team showcases their expertise in two diverse product ranges from within this broad sector in the Irish market.
Working with a leading energy supplier, Electric Ireland, FMI were briefed to promote Electric Ireland's energy efficient product range at the Ideal Home Show exhibition. The objective was for the team of sales agents to promote and highlight the benefits of the new Smarter Pay As You Go meter and Climate ‘Nest’ technology, and to gain consumer buy- in to the products.
The Smarter Pay As You Go meter includes a handheld mobile device which keeps the customer informed of their electricity usage and educates them on how to be more efficient and cost conscious. The Climate ‘Nest’ is an electronic thermostatic control giving customers control of how they heat their homes and what they pay. ‘Nest’ is also a ‘learning’ device which stores information based on customer input and activity, and automatically applies changes to the heating schedule.
The exhibition proved to be the perfect platform to engage and educate consumers on the new technology as well as on the full product range from Electric Ireland. The exhibition was attended by 28,000 visitors, FMI supplied 14 sales reps at the event over the 3 days it was hosted, and over 500 customers switched their electric accounts, and 37% of all sales signed up to one of the new products.
Canon continued their 8-year relationship with FMI during 2016 to drive its brand ambassadors programme. FMI recruited and trained photographers and camera enthusiasts for the brand ambassador roles. There are a team of 10 ambassadors that service larger electronics retailers such as DSG (PC World), and Harvey Norman outlets. They are also represented in pharmacies such as Sam McCauley, and professional independent camera equipment outlets such as Camera Centres and Conns Cameras.
The brand ambassadors represent the Canon brand in store and are tasked with being the leading experts to guide consumers in their purchasing decisions, regardless of what level of camera they are wishing to buy.
The campaign has seen tremendous results with the daily average sales of €1,650+ from an average sale of 3.5 units per day. The campaign has delivered a staggering 650% ROI for the brand.
Whether it's personal care products, home products or lifestyle products PPM Factum showcase their expertise in delivering results within the consumer electronics market by effortlessly covering this broad range of products from leading brands
They work with Philips Lumea to promote the sales of a premium innovative ladies’ hair removal product in retail stores. The challenge for the team was overcoming the barrier of the high price point on this premium product. PPMFactum had a two pronged approach, firstly they conducted a 2-day workshop to train female promoters on the unique features of this product, and to equip them with the necessary soft skills to make the sale, secondly they coordinated a cross promotion with Neutrogena products, offering a gift with the purchase and the possibility of a full refund if the product did not deliver results. They set up premium instore stands and the promoters were dressed to reflect the brand and product. Despite the challenges, they managed to launch the brand with an average sale of 2 products a day and to build significant brand awareness throughout the promotions so that the sales would continue to increase once the initial promotion had come to an end.
The challenge working with personal health care electronic products is that it lacks the experiential side of consumers being able to test the products. So when PPM Factum was briefed with raising awareness of the special functions of the new Phillips sonicare toothbrush in the retail setting, in order to support sales, the teams decided on a unique approach.
To overcome the barrier of the customer not being able to test the product, they decided to offer customers the opportunity to brush their teeth using their newly purchased toothbrush at a special promo stand, with a wash basin, mirror, and running water, with an on the spot money back guarantee if they were not satisfied with the product. They would also be given a gift of toothpaste as part of the sale. This innovative approach was a critical influencing factor in the purchasing decision at point of sale. Their unique sales strategy resulted in a massive increase of direct sales. Following on from this, people who bought the products instantly became new customer advocates, and there was also a marked increase in secondary sales activities.
Unfortunately, not all consumer electronics are entertaining. Presentations of home appliances are mainly educative, so when PPMFactum were approached by Bosch to present new vacuum cleaners and Bosch kitchen appliances in shopping centers, they knew their approach had to be sufficiently entertaining to attract attention, especially if the focus was on male shoppers who often make the purchasing decision about such products.
The solution was simple yet highly effective. They created the concept of “Your Home Star” which gave the men an opportunity to interact with a live Marilyn Munro look-a-like, to promote the sale of the Bosch vacuum cleaners, and there was a food corner for women and children where they could experiment with interesting recipes, that showed the use of numerous Bosch home appliances in the kitchen.
They had well trained Bosch professionals ready to answer all the customers ´ questions. Not only did this campaign deliver results for Bosch but it received a POPAI Award, which is the ultimate symbol of creativity, innovation and best practice in retail.
As is the case with many large brands, it can be the sheer scale (and time frame) of the project that represents the greatest challenge. PSfm Agency based in Holland had just such a challenge when they won the tender for the Samsung Shop In Shop partnerships.
Samsung as a brand has become more and more focussed on brand experience, and as consequence of this, it decided to change the entire Shop In Shop (SIS) experience of 20 Shop-In-Shop locations and 25 Sales Agents (18,5 FTE) from Media Markt in The Netherlands to Psfm
In Q4 Samsung came to the conclusion that their previous partner would not be able to help them achieve their new goals, which were based on quality KPI’s. As a result, PSfm were selected from a tender process for management of Samsung's Shop in Shop operations because of their clear and structured approach, and they commenced operations on January 1st 2015.
Until that time Samsung had expanded rapidly within 2 years in opening new SIS locations and increasing the number of sales people. The focus had been on quantities KPI, mainly by increasing the footprint at Media Markt in The Netherlands. Media Markt is a franchise organisation in which national campaigns as well as national partnerships are negotiated on a holding level while each store operates on a local level. Media Markt stores are often retail locations where the focus is on sales and not on brand or shopper experiences.
PSfm won the Samsung IMD SIS business around the third week of December in 2014, there were only a few days left in 2014 to transfer the existing SIS manager’s contracts to PSfm which needed to be completed before January 1st. A transfer period is a period of extreme uncertainty for most employees. To ensure the successful transition PSfm not only had to keep the staff motivated and enthusiastic while they transitioned them as employee’s to Psfm, but they had to complete within a 2-week period, which just happened to be over the Christmas period.
The challenge for PSfm was to change the mind-set of franchisers and use brand experience as the ideal sales tool. The ultimate goal being to increase in-house shares for Samsung and create a dedicated pool of SIS managers who wouldalways put the brand first.
The objective was to position the Samsung shop-in-shop manager (SIS) as the brand’s true brand ambassador. The SIS managers play an important role in generating sales and delivering information and experience to shoppers within the Samsung retail channels.
To achieve this the SIS had to be fully responsible for managing the shop-in-shops at specific Media Markt locations. They were responsible for optimal collaboration with store staff and to realise sales results in close cooperation with various Samsung divisions and departments. They had to reach IT and telecom product and accessories sales targets through optimal presentation and communication about the products. Their objective was to stimulate sales and exploit sales opportunities while delivering tailored customer advice. Lastly they were responsible for delivering transparent reporting on sales results, store collaboration and Samsung field staff collaboration.
To start, PSfm didn’t underestimate the importance of a smooth transition. They had their senior management, HR department and project management teams fully available to implement the transition plan. They communicated the transition plan and contract details in a clear and transparent manner. With the clear vision and an unwavering commitment to team spirit and motivation they started to investigate all options concerning current contracts, car fleet and current supplier’s transition plans.
They defined that what sets a Samsung SIS manager apart is :
- Proactive and Service minded,
- Great social skills
- Empathetic – an ‘experiencer’,
- No is not an answer
- Going the extra mile to help
- Helping doesn’t feel like work
- Digital Native Gadget and Media geek who wants to know everything
- Follows the newest trends and developments, Demonstrates extensive Samsung knowledge
- Inexhaustible source of energy and inspiration
- A relationship builder Winner Mentality
- Loves targets and competition,
- Only Quality Sales Attitude and Personality
To keep everyone motivated, several tools such as training, field coaching, incentive and bonus structure, needed to be implemented. Believing in the plan, a proper kickoff event was planned that would inspire and motivate the team for the journey ahead.
An online training portal was used to continuously develop SIS product knowledge and teach staff all they needed to know about new products and accessories on a regular basis. The training portal was connected with an incentive program. The more a SIS made use of the training portal the more points they earned in the incentive program.
Samsung needed ways to have a full access and insight into the operations, to check even smallest of details. The online reporting tool of PSfm (MARK) allowed them to do just that.
In addition, they needed to improve the quality of the employees by investing in training and coaching and changing the structure of KPI and bonus. They employed a dedicated Field Coach for the SIS project who visits all the locations and sales agents, and focuses on personal development, retail excellence and sell-out.
To measure and manage the the KPI and Bonus incentives they have a fully comprehensive system of dashboards (weekly reports) that greatly contribute to helping them achieve their sell-out and In-house share goals per store and for the retailers as a whole.
To create more value for shoppers, Samsung SIS managers organise workshops. They teach shoppers how to work with smartphones and tablets and how to optimally use accessories. People attending the workshops are from diverse age groups, from students to elderly people.
“PSfm has been able to set a solid structure and being very clear and consistent towards the sales agents and in addition helping Samsung to achieve our goals in terms of sell-out, In-house Share and retail excellence. Besides all that that has been mentioned we especially appreciate PSfm for their attitude in always trying to help us out by being 1 or even 2 steps ahead. Meaning that they are able to mention and put topics on the table before we have to ask about them and in almost all the meeting they share advice and ideas to increase the performance on the SIS operation (short and long term.)” Ferry Konter Senior Retail Operations Manager Samsung
The journey does not stop there. They have also organised brand activations outside of the store. The Samsung whiplash tour is a tour promoting Samsung Gear VR. Together with Quince, a specialised agency, they will perform the ultimate VR experience. Shoppers are securely strapped into a chair and given the opportunity to wear the Samsung VR goggles. Once the animation in the goggles starts the chair will start to move (rotate, flip etc) simulating the movements of the animation, thus providing the shopper with the sensation of being present in what is a virtual reality.
This a remarkable example of both excellent SIS implementation coupled with innovative creative thinking to drive growth for the Samsung brand.
Although the new LG product range was both competitively priced and appealing to the shoppers, the brand faced another type of problem, it was battling to achieve any significant performance in the large retailers such as Carrefour or Media Galaxy in Romania.
Agency Grupsapte was called upon to help address this performance issue. Taking a strategic approach of observing the shoppers instore path they settled on a strategy of deploying instore consultants who were trained to guide the shopper through every step of the acquisition process whilst at the same time sharing their personal experience and product knowledge. Two consultants were used for the Carrefour stores and 1 consultant for the media galaxy showrooms. The activation reached 103% of its target far exceeding expectations. This personal approach as opposed to the classical promotion of using flyers to advertise the product was the key in delivering growth for the LG brand.
D-Link Corporation is a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of networking solutions in the world. They design and develop switches, wireless, broadband, security and Digital Home devices.
D-Links engaged agency Settimo Piano to help raise brand awareness in the Italian market with the objective of helping consumers find the best D-Link product to suit their needs. The agency was tasked with ensuring all product displays were optimally stocked to help drive sales.
The team at Settimo Piano used some innovative thinking and created tailored pop up shops by using mobile containers resulting in a truly unique customer experience. They also implemented eye catching point of sale equipment and provided Demo Days in the leading consumer electronics retailers in Italy such as Mediamarket, Fnac, Expert and Trony.
All agents representing D-Link had to go through a thorough a certified product training course to allow them to operate and represent the brand in stores. They also closely monitored what competitors were offering in the market
Over the course of a year they had delivered 1,500 instore promotions and 7,500 hours of auditing merchandise, and they delivered 250 POP equipment every month.
Our capabilities within the UK is soon th be enhanced with our partner agency Orchid just announcing that that after a competitive pitch process they have been selected as an accredited partner for the leading electronic goods retailer Dixons Carphone.
As with all good stories there are usually two sides to the tale. Yes, design and innovation are certainly influencing factors in the consumer electronics market, however what we have derived from the case studies in this article is that they are not the only influencing factors. How the brands engage with customers, the level of sales knowledge at hand when customers are looking to make a decision are just as significant and potentially more so at the point of purchase. This point of differentiation can be the difference between brand growth or market decline.
The challenge for consumer’s electronic brands is how to manage to maintain this level of service across national campaigns, and potentially throughout Europe. To discuss how the EFMP would be able to help you achieve growth in the consumer electronic market, please contact our partner based in your country and we would be happy to put a proposal together for you.