4 ways brands can sell more when non-essential retail reopens

5 April 2021
Author: Mark Fraser

For those in non-essential retail, the past 12 months have been up and down. When lockdown restrictions were eased last summer, non-essential retail opened with a bang, and consumers flooded back to stores. Previously furloughed staff were able to work again, and shoppers responded to the changes by queuing outside most non-essential stores.


When lockdown was reimposed, no one had any idea when it would be lifted again but the time has finally come for a return to some semblance of normality, following the rollout of vaccines and a flattening of infections and hospital admissions. Within the next couple of months, we could very well be looking at things going back to the way they use to be.

With non-essential stores reopening, brands need to think about what they’re going to do to bring consumers back to stores safely, and they’ll also need to think about to entice shoppers to part with their cash they may have been saving during multiple lockdowns.

So, what can brands in non-essential retail do to sell more now and as the summer seasonal peak approaches?

1. Nail your execution

It is well known that face to face interaction at the point of purchase is one of the best ways to influence customers to sell more of your products in store. Making sure that your products are available and visible is key when it comes to any kind of retail.

Field teams that focus on execution can be deployed in a variety of ways, from permanent sales teams that always look to drive value with your biggest opportunity retailers, to seasonal teams that pulse in to deliver sales during peak periods, or even through the usage of tactical activation teams to support compliance or promotional events, the choices are vast.

2. Train retail staff to sell more for you when you can’t be there to do it yourself

Even though stores are reopening, there will still be some restrictions on how many people can be in-store, and that can also include the number of staff that can be in there at any one time. However, the truth of that matter is that even if training teams or field sales colleagues were able to go into stores like before, they can’t be everywhere at the one time. That means that you need to ensure that retail staff can sell more for you.

Turn retail store staff into advocates for your brand by giving them excellent training on your products and running advocacy and incentive programmes for them. By doing this, you’re not only giving them the skills they need to confidently talk about your product when asked, but you’re also ensuring that they promote your brand over competitor brands, keeping your products front-of-mind for consumers.

3. See what the consumer sees

Getting an insight into how your brand is perceived in the eyes of the customer and consumer is a great way to gain an edge of your competitors.
From a customer or retailer perspective, if you learn what they think of your brand you can give them better advice and provide them with better ways to sell your products in store. Your brand can use this to inform and shape your sales strategy going forward.

From a consumer perspective, if you can get inside their head and see your brand the way they do, then you can shape the consumer experience and shopping journey so that they are able to interact with your brand. You can do this through mystery shoppers who are able to experience your brand in each store, on consumer panels or surveys to gain feedback so that you can improve how it looks and, in turn, make changes to help you sell more.

4. Engage the consumer at point of purchase

By using Brand Ambassador and Active Selling Teams you can turn conversations with consumers into sales. You can do this by creating engaging experiences, where Brand Ambassadors immerse consumers in your brand to show them the benefits, and the ethos of your brand.
Or you can use product sampling to allow the consumer to get hands on (literally!) with your products and give them an insight into how they can fit into their life.

However, even though stores are set to reopen with a bang, there will still be those who prefer shopping online. You can’t afford to leave this vital group out of your consumer engagement plans either, and that’s where digital engagement plays a role.

By using a service such as that offered by our partner Go InStore, virtual Brand Ambassadors can connect with consumers digitally via video chat. Any time a user lands on a brand or retailers' website, by offering the consumer the option to chat directly to a colleague in their local store, they can get quick one to one advice from experts that will help them in their purchase decision.

Either way, face to face interaction is one of the best ways to influence sales, and this should be a key part of your field sales strategy. By having a Brand Ambassador or store colleague on hand with the knowledge and passion for your brand, they are able to help with two things:

  1. By ensuring that the execution is always on point, so that products are visible and available.
  2. And they can also give advice to consumers, engaging them in conversation and advocating for your brand, using their knowledge to recommend your products over that of your competitors.

Having teams in the right place at the right time so that when shoppers look at your brand’s products you can browsers into buyers.

How can we help?

We have decades of experience working with some of the biggest brands in non-essential retail, helping them sell more no matter what the situation. As 2021 looks set to be some kind of return to normality, we want to help your brand get its plan in shape so that you can sell more right from the moment doors reopen, then into the summer and beyond.

This week we’re going to be chatting about non-essential retail, and throughout the rest of the month we’ll also be talking about Away From Home, On Trade, and why outsourcing your field sales team at this time is a great way to make 2021 a prosperous year for your brand. Follow us on LinkedIn to see what else we’re chatting about throughout April.

Our next webinar is coming soon, and we will be covering this very topic, giving some tips on what brands should do now that retail is returning to normal.