Flooring it! Stand out Merchandising Tips for Your Brand

Within the retail setting, companies are challenged on how to stand out among the competition. Marketers need to differentiate their brand from dozens of other products that line retailers’ shelves.

Companies only have a few seconds to grab the customer’s attention. In addition to aesthetically appealing, functional and informative packaging (please click here for our “It’s All in the Packaging” blog), what entices a customer to pick up and purchase a product? In-store merchandising is an effective vehicle to engage the customer to help make the purchase decision. As an accompaniment to packaging, merchandising works hand-in-hand at the point-of-sale (POS) to elevate a company’s brand presence and sales.

Zircon Merchandiser

Vibrant graphics and consistent messaging on this Zircon merchandiser entice customers while reinforcing the brand.

Retail merchandising activities encompass in-store displays, shelf talkers, and product demonstrations just to name a few. A focused and engaging point-of-sale display that delivers on the key benefits of the product can increase the number of packages sold. Ever notice how the home center floors are covered with displays during the back-to-school or holiday seasons? Manufacturers and retailers alike understand that a stand-out display practically beckons you to take a closer look, pick up the product, and ultimately, make the purchase.

At Zircon, a point-of-sale display is often part of promoting their brand new stud finders and scanners into the marketplace and to distinguish their unique product advantages. Informational display graphics are integrated with colorful packaging visuals to compel the customer during the pivotal buying process. Merchandising is an effective marketing tool for Zircon and other companies. As products technologically advance, increased education from the manufacturer to the customer will be pertinent, further emphasizing merchandising’s focal role as part of the marketer’s plans.

And even after the sale is made, customers continue their quests for information, advice, and instructions on how best to use their new products. Companies have an opportunity to deepen their customer relationships by providing thorough how-to’s and stellar customer service. Excellent tips on how to meet after market service needs can be found in the blog, “Buy Today, Gone Tomorrow“.

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics.

Sharon imageFor more info, follow us on Facebook or tweet us @zircontools.

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Product Innovation: The Customer is Always Right!

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Each year, companies beef up their product lines with new innovations. What drives ingenuity? How do businesses engineer the next big hit, time and again?  Is it simply the passionate pursuit of one creative pioneer or do several experts brainstorm the next wave of technological wonder?  Does the company pour through mountains of research to determine what products will invigorate, revive, or launch the next new brand?  Or do they just use their core competencies to reengineer a prior product line into a sleek, updated version?  The next product launch could be the brainchild of a singular individual or many think tank professionals.

Oftentimes, the most successful companies evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, current product line, and wants and needs of their customers to provide the greatest genesis for new product inventions. Feedback from jobsite professionals, distributors, the retail network, and experts in the field provide vital insight. Each online end user visit, email, phone call, social media interaction or click through the company’s website provide even more key data of how customers relate to the products.  Each real-life application gives a company, such as Zircon, new information of how the products are applied in the construction or home environment, the problems still to be solved, and the new products that would be the most helpful for everyday work or personal use.

The StudSensor™ HD35 stud finder features the latest design innovation by Zircon.

The StudSensor™ HD35 stud finder features the latest design innovation by Zircon.

With idea generation, creativity is key.  What hasn’t already been tried? What has been tried, but may not have worked? Some product ideas do not reach fruition; however, even these ideas can lay the groundwork for a new product that actually will materialize and prove to be successful.  Zircon uses customer preferences, analytics, and design and process evaluations to determine which new tools will solve DIY and professional sensing and scanning problems.

To meet the company’s mission of delivering innovative, easy-to-use technology to the world’s toolboxes, a new product goes through a rigorous evaluation process. How does the product fit within the current product line and how does it expand upon the existing key benefits and features already promoted by Zircon? Of course, the product must be cost effective and provide real value to the end user as well.  To progress from concept to manufacturing, the potential customers must rate the product with high marks.  How will it help the end user?  Will it make his job quicker and simple to perform?  Will the product be more accurate than comparable products in the marketplace?  Is it intuitive and easy to understand?

The company reviews the product to assess its viability in terms of engineering, manufacturing, and budgeting.  At the jobsite, environmental testing is performed to ensure that the product meets stringent everyday use.  Product science and art converge to produce the next big innovation. The crossroads from idea to manufacturing to marketing is not always a clear cut path. What is clear, however, is that the customer is the leader in this product innovation process.

Sharon imageSharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. For more info, follow us on Facebook or tweet us @zircontools..

Creating Lasting Marketing Value

Marketing imageMarketers strive for ways to attract and retain loyal customers and one way is to create lasting marketing value.  Companies want passionate brand advocates — you know the type?  They are the dream customers who write engaging reviews, generate exciting word-of-mouth endorsements, and purchase the very latest company brands.  Because a brand impression can last for days, if not months or years, marketing must trod out of the starting gate, bold and efficient, armed with marketing muscle and data.

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I strive to make a strong tie with the customer from the inception.  How best can we expeditiously and effectively communicate with our product users?  Short term, why does the customer pick up the package?  What graphics, tone, and text conveys the brand message?  Long term, how do we cultivate this relationship through email, social media, advertising, promotions, and other tactical elements?  At Zircon, we want to create “stickiness”.  What is the glue that will hold us together with our customers?  We want to captivate their attention for not just mere seconds, but for hours while the tool is in the customer’s hands and have our admirers tells their friends about their positive Zircon experience.

Marketers are constantly testing the results of a campaign.  Leads are quantified from the latest industry tradeshow, media hits are counted, email open rates are examined, sales are tallied, return on investment is calculated and more.  These marketing statistics point to success or areas for improvement.  What sticks out to the customer, retailer, and consumer’s mind about the campaign and will the brand effect have legs to continue onward well past the campaign’s expiration date?  Through the years, the Zircon brand has taken different twists and turns, but all in response to customer needs.  For example, when asked for smaller, more nimble tools, Zircon responded with ergonomically designed stud finders that work well at any angle.

Creating lasting value begins with the customer.  From a strategic and from a tactical viewpoint, when the customer is front and center in the decision making processes, then, we’re heading in the right direction.  Beginning with the key marketing concepts, the customer is the star of the show.  Other companies may go astray and put only the product front and center; unfortunately, disconnected companies blindly float out of focus from the customer’s eye.  My goal is to lead the value discussion, put it on each marketing deliverable, and make it last for years to follow.

As a real life example of how Zircon is passionate about our customers, please take a look at our blog, “The Dog Ate My StudSensor“.

It’s invigorating to think of the customer – we anticipate his needs, we act upon them, we measure our results and we start over again.  With anticipation, each new campaign brings an opportunity to further solidify the customer bond.

Sharpen your tools with Sharon as she shares her key insights of the tool world and her impactful marketing strategies and tactics. Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Sharon image