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Actively selling Microsoft products in-store

Vital Statistics

Client:

Microsoft

Project Period:

10 months

Services Used:

Active Selling

Outsourced Field Sales

Brand Ambassadors

Retailer Training

The Brief

Microsoft works closely with the UK’s electronic retailers to physically sell their products and services. This campaign focussed on Microsoft Surface devices and OEM “Premium” Windows devices in both Dixons Carphone and John Lewis stores. Their goal was to drive sales of these products while also cross selling relevant Microsoft branded software & accessories (office packages, keyboards, mice and pens).

With the rise in customers purchasing their computing items online, the role of the physical retailer is evolving and customers increasingly look for brand experts in-store to share their knowledge and help them make a balanced decision. The retailers own colleagues deliver a broad expertise and are supported through training from many manufacturers, however the most engaging experience is always delivered through dedicated product experts for the brand.

One of the main challenges Microsoft wanted to overcome in store is that the customer journey often leads customers to purchase promotional products situated on end-caps rather than higher basket

spend devices which would deliver much higher profit margin for all parties involved. Another key metric we had to achieve, which has proved a challenge for agencies representing Microsoft in the past, was a coverage and attendance target.

Microsoft also asked us to support with in-store activity over key trading times that would increase sales performance in Dixons Carphone and John Lewis to achieve their stretching targets. As well as increasing sales of Microsoft Surface and OEM Premium Windows devices, we were also tasked with increasing the number of accessories sold with each device.

We had just 3 weeks to recruit and train a team of 60 highly skilled active sellers, ensuring they had impeccable knowledge of the Microsoft products and retailer processes whilst having the flexibility to visits stores as and when required to ensure they had the biggest impact on sales.

The Activity

We know that store environment and customer profile can have a big impact on sales from one store to the next so we used retailer data to identify the 60 key stores to place our Active Sellers where they would both add value and complement services from other OEMs.

With just 3 weeks to deliver, our recruitment team got to work looking first at our own registered and experienced Active Sellers before sourcing external talent for the remaining positions. While our recruitment team were busy casting the best Active Sellers, our operations team worked with Microsoft to shape the training for our 60 new team members.

We utilised the expertise of our existing Microsoft Evangelists and Territory Managers, combined with Microsoft’s own training teams to deliver a unified approach from experts in the field. As well as product training, we delivered additional sessions on Selling Skills and Retailer

Training using our bespoke Masterclass modules for Dixons Carphone and John Lewis. Each Active Seller then received in-store training with one of our Microsoft Territory Managers, as well as regular coaching and support from our field management team. This robust training process proved a huge success, impacting sales from day 1, and received great feedback from Mike Anfield, UK training Manager at Microsoft who said: “The launch training was excellent and prepared them well for hitting the stores.”

We also implemented a social strategy which allowed our Active Sellers to share best practice and celebrate success in real time. This proved extremely successful and saw a hive of activity 7 days a week throughout the entire project. As well as providing a platform to showcases sales success, this also acted as an invaluable portal for information allowing both us and Microsoft to gain real time feedback into the progress of the campaign.

The Results

Surface Pro 4 sales increased by 25% in Dixons Carphone stores and by 67% in John Lewis stores.

Surface Pro 4 sales increased by 25% in Dixons Carphone stores and by 67% in John Lewis stores. 

Premium PC sales increased by 25% in Dixons Carphone stores and by 21% in John Lewis stores.

Premium PC sales increased by 25% in Dixons Carphone stores and by 21% in John Lewis stores. 

Surface accessory sales increased by 27% in Dixons Carphone and by 52% in John Lewis stores.

Surface accessory sales increased by 27% in Dixons Carphone and by 52% in John Lewis stores.