Trade Marketing Insights

7 Trade Marketing Promotional Techniques To Boost Retail Sales

Posted by Callum Hornigold on 04-Jul-2018 10:48:00
Callum Hornigold
Find me on:

Why Read?

This article will cover:

  • The latest promotional techniques brands are using to increase product sales in retail.
  • How to increase sales staff engagement so they promote your product over the competition.
  • The latest technology in point of sale (POS) design to entice consumers.

If you're a traditional trade or product marketing professional, you are... do I put this?

You're screwed. Seriously.


Because millennials are killing retail. Well, retail as we know it.

Millennials are becoming increasingly conscious consumers, meaning they want to make more informed purchase decisions.

They scrutinise products more carefully, not just in terms of features and benefits, but also taking into account the brand's ethical values and ethos.

More than half of millennials prefer looking for product information online rather than seeking in-store assistance, requiring traditional trade marketers to take an increasingly digital approach.

This forces brands to invest in new technology and more experiential forms of storytelling and promotional marketing to get their message across.

Now it's harder than ever to stand out from the crowd.

Retailers, trade marketing and product marketing professionals have a choice — to adapt or fail.

I'm going to show you the latest methods brands are using to increase product visibility and target today's consumer.

Some are suited to a bigger marketing spend, and some can be done with a more modest budget, so there's something here for everybody.

Here are seven surprising promotional techniques to boost retail sales.

1. Digital POS (Point of Sale)

Point of sale displays have come a long way.

From old cola signs like this...

cola sign old promotional techniques

To high-tech digital POS displays like this.

These days, POS promotional techniques are not only visually sophisticated, but also highly interactive.

They encourage the consumer to engage and learn more about your product and brand.

Advances in POS technology serve to not only empower the retailer, but also the consumer.

Interactive displays like the one above provide the consumer with instant access to reviews and company information.

With the rise of the conscious consumer, manufacturers and retailers will likely increase their focus  and budgets — on displaying positive PR and ethical principles with their digital POS.

Download 'The Master Merchandising Guide' to boost your products' sales in retail stores.

2. Floor Vinyl Graphics

Don't have the budget for lavish digital POS displays?

There are still cheaper methods of enticing customers.

For example, floor vinyl graphics are a cost-effective choice.

When we were tasked to promote the LG 3D mobile, which features 3D recording technology, we utilised floor vinyl to engage customers.

We took the initial concept of someone recording their wedding in 3D.

Then, we made the flower petals burst out from the phone to communicate the phone's 3D technology.

promotional techniques in retail

Finally, we further developed the flower petal 3D concept by installing vinyl petals that create a pathway into O2 stores and entice people to enter and learn more.

vinyl promotional techniques retail

3. In-Store Theatre

No, we're not talking about re-enacting Romeo & Juliet in order to sell bleach.

In-store theatre means creating impressive POS displays that capture the consumer's attention.

They're a popular form of product promotion in supermarkets.

Like this one...


Source: Pip Watkins

...or this beautiful 3D diorama we created for ethical nutrition company, Viridian.

Viridian Nutrition in-store theatre

In-store theatre is primarily designed to make your product stand out from your competitors' products.

Often made from cardboard or foamboard, it's a cheaper choice than digital POS displays while still being effective at grabbing consumer attention.

Although, there are cost-effective routes you can go for digital POS. If you have some digital content that already exists, how about using a simple digital photo frame. You could create a cardboard surround to brand the unit  voila, digital POS.

4. In-Store Demonstrations / Sampling

Nothing increases consumer engagement quite like a good product demonstration, or actually sampling the product.

Sampling is a classic promotion strategy which educates the consumer about your product, increases in-store sales and creates brand advocates.

And it doesn't have to stop at sampling or demoing your product. In-store activation can offer personalisation too.

(Check out Toblerone's In-Store Activation as a great example of personalisation.)

promotional techniques sampling

Such experiential campaigns also provide brands opportunities to link their trade marketing to their consumer marketing efforts.

For example, brands can use the stand as a picture booth, encouraging consumers to share images on social media.

Brands can incentivise the use of the hashtag by offering a giveaway to those who share content using the hashtag.

Brands can also build AR into their sampling stands to further increase social media sharing and increase brand awareness.

This calls for trade and digital teams to unite to ensure a consistent brand experience.

Digital marketing teams must be on the pulse, responding promptly and positively to any images shared on social.

Desporado v1-1

With consumers increasingly flocking to purchase products online, trade marketing professionals must be ever more creative in their brand activation activities and ensure a strong link to their online efforts.

Retailers are increasingly using 'click to share' or 'like' buttons at the point of sale to demonstrate a product's popularity to both in-store customers and online social media users.

like buttonSource: Robert Dyer

5. RETAILER Engagement Platforms

Chances are, the more you know about something, the more you're going to talk about it, right?

After all, knowledge is power.

And this goes for a sales team — the more they know about a product, the more they're likely to push it to the customer.

But with so many products on the market, how do manufacturers motivate retail sales teams to learn more about their product?

Two words:

'Incentivise' and 'Gamify'.

Manufacturers are now using bespoke online retailer engagement programmes and mobile apps to increase product knowledge in retail staff, ensuring their brand is always front of mind.

Trade engagement programme

These platforms include product training academies to ensure retail sales teams are up to speed with the latest product developments.

They also involve quizzes and competitions to reinforce product knowledge, and encourage repeat visits and brand engagement with fun, interactive games.

A further benefit is they serve to deliver communications directly to retail sales teams across the country via site updates, email and SMS — even offering sales incentives, badges, certificates, prizes and rewards.

Want to know a secret?

We're currently working with one of the world's leading phone manufacturers.

It has recently adopted our retailer engagement platform and it is rapidly delivering return on investment.

It's quite simple really.

If you can turn retail sales teams into brand evangelists, they will work twice as hard to sell your product...

...which means twice the sales.

Download our Retailer Engagement Programme datasheet to discover how it could increase your product's sales in retail stores.

6. Unusual Promotions

When coming up with promotional techniques for your product, it's important to be original but maintain your branding throughout.

Let's look at Adidas.

Its creative team took 'thinking outside the box' to a new level (more thinking inside the box) by creating this shoe box pop-up store.

promotional techniques shoe box pop up

Source: Global Toy News

You can also engage consumers with augmented reality.

Interactive POS displays that gamify product promotion are increasingly prolific.

They entice consumers with fun games where they can win product coupons or vouchers...

...but then provide the added benefit of monitoring how long consumers stand in front of the displays and what they interact with.

This provides retailers the opportunity to collect data and create more targeted content for the consumer.

It also benefits the consumer with a better experience, providing products that suit their interests and marketing that feels more personal.

7. Experiential Promotion

In the future, retail stores' success will be less defined by the products they offer and more by the experience they create.

According to a report by Eventbrite, a whopping 78 percent of millennials prefer experiences over material things.

So it stands to reason that the most successful promotional techniques will be those that are the most interactive and engaging.

Jacobs experiential campaign

Picture this...

Rather than browsing items on shelves, customers will increasingly engage with products in augmented or virtual reality.

When buying clothes, scanners will scan your body and recommend clothes based on your body shape.

They'll then be overlaid onto your body on a screen in front of you, reducing the fuss of having to try them on if you're in a rush.

The role of VR is already rapidly expanding into retail.

Take ethical shoe retailer, TOMS, for example.

In some stores, the company placed a virtual reality chair next to its shoe section.

When consumers put on the VR glasses, they're transported to a remote Peruvian village, witnessing laughter as young children happily play in the shoes TOMS has provided.

Click play and drag your cursor over the video below to scan around the 3D experience.

VR also enables consumers to interact with products.

Home improvement retailer, Lowes, is a prime example of promoting products through customer engagement.

It created a 'Holoroom' specifically designed to train customers in different DIY techniques.

Consumers can actually go through step-by-step processes, such as plastering a wall or painting a fence, interacting with the products the store sells.

It's this empowerment that enagages consumers and creates loyalty.

This technology is still in its infancy, however development is moving on apace. If you're wondering what the future of retail will look like — these are the humble beginnings.

Don't Miss Out!

Trade marketing is changing.

Techniques to get your product ranged are becoming more sophisticated and in-store promotion strategy is dramatically evolving.

To stay ahead of the curve, you need to be aware of the latest technological and industry advancements.

Why not download The Ultimate Guide To Trade Marketing?

It features comprehensive advice from our trade marketing experts on every aspect of the trade marketing role, including:

  • Creating the perfect product proposition to secure sell-in.
  • Clever tactics for getting your product ranged.
  • Elite marketing strategies to increase product sales.

New call-to-action

Topics: pos, point of sale, trade catalogue, retail marketing, merchandising

Leave a comment