The real strength of your brand is the shopper who buys it. Better yet, the loyal shopper who evangelizes it and celebrates it with all their friends. These testimonials are a powerful bargaining chip when working with retailers. Learn why this matters.  

How do you convert occasional customers into loyal shoppers? This is a question I get asked a lot. What’s interesting about this question is that most of the people who ask me this think about how it relates to an in-store demo or a marketing program, or some sort of shopper loyalty program. My answer is always the same. Real shopper loyalty is earned. It’s not something that’s embossed on a plastic card. 

I have a loyalty card for every airline I fly on. Back in the ’90s when I was traveling so much, I actually was in the top club or top level of every single air mileage program that I joined. I also have a loyalty card for every retailer that I shop at. My point is this, customers use loyalty cards as a coupon. It’s not truly a loyalty card. What it is, is a way to get the best price on the items that are promoted within that retailer. 

Real loyalty converts casual customers into brand ambassadors. This is what every brand wants. And remember, I keep talking emphasizing why this is so very important, and why you need to pay attention to this. The value of the shopper that you drive into a retail store is far more valuable to the retailer than the product inside your package. This is your single greatest point of leverage when negotiating with a retailer to avoid slotting and other menu fees. 

Retailers generically don’t make anything. They sell other people’s stuff. And what they sell is the real estate that your product takes up on their shelf. What they want is more traffic in their store and a reasonable profit. This is where you come in, and this is why this is so critically important. If you can help the retailer attract that unique shopper, they enter the store and buy your product.  This is how that retailer competes more effectively against their market. 

The sole focus of every merchandising strategy should be to make it easier for shoppers to find your products. Sounds simple, right? But it’s not that easy. This is the same goal for every brand and every item in the retail store. You’re competing for the attention of every shopper, along with every other brand. Most merchandising strategies focus narrowly on the individual item sales and overlook how your product interacts with other items in the store. In most cases, your sales have an impact on the sales of other items, making your product more valuable to the retailer when they consider the shopper’s total purchase at checkout. 

Effective merchandising helps to maximize each and every selling opportunity. It helps make it easier for the shoppers to purchase your product and find them across every store and every category. These strategies can act as a line of breadcrumbs, making it easy for the customer to buy your products. 

Consider how the shopper journey has changed. How does a new customer find your product? How can you ensure that they choose your product over your competition? Brands need to adopt a merchandising checklist to grow sales and loyalty. This is how you convert occasional customers into loyal shoppers.

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