Retail Communication Effects

04/09/2022 0 By indiafreenotes

Retail communications are the internal communications between a retailer’s corporate management team, field and store employees on what tasks to perform.

Communication is an integral part of the retailer’s marketing strategy. Primarily, communication is used to inform the customers about the retailer, the merchandise and the services. It also serves as a tool for building the store image. Retail communication has moved on from the time when the retailer alone communicated with the consumers. Today, consumers can communicate or reach the organizations. Examples of this include toll free numbers, which retailers provide for customer complaints and queries. Another example is the section called Contact Us on the websites of many companies.

It is believed that every brand contact delivers an impression that can strengthen or weaken the customer view of the company. The retailer can use various platforms / channels for communication. The most common tools are:

1) Advertising

2) Sales Promotion

3) Public Relations

4) Personal Selling

5) Direct Marketing

Advertising can be defined as any paid form of non-personal presentation and communication through mass media. It is popularly believed that one of the main aims of advertising is to sell to a wide mix of consumers and also to induce repeat purchases. However, a retailer may use advertising to achieve any of the following objectives:

1) Creating awareness about a product or store

2) Communicate information in order to create a specific image in the customer’s mind in terms of the store merchandise price quality benefits etc.

3) Create a desire to want a product.

4) To communicate the store’s policy on various issues.

5) Help to identify the store with nationally advertised brands.

6) Help in repositioning the store in the mind of the consumer.

7) To increase sales of specific categories or to generate short term cash flow by way of a sale, bargain days, midnight madness etc.

8) Help reinforce the retailer’s corporate identity.

Initiatives come from HQ and into stores where the execution of revenue-driving ideas happens, but stores also send back essential feedback and insights necessary for decision-making.

  1. Planning the Retail Communication Programme:

This is the first step in developing a retail communication programme. Each retailer knows that it is not only the matter of gaining profits but also to survive for a long time. Therefore, he decides about communication objective initially aimed for a large traffic flow so that store should get maximum branding and there on, a retailer tries to satisfy the consumers’ demand category-wise. Communication objectives are planned for both long and short term.

Long-Term Communication Objectives:

These objectives belong to long period, say, over one to three years or even more than that. These objectives, a retailer would not like to change in the short run as it takes years to achieve these goals but once the underlined objectives are achieved, these cannot be overcome by the competitors in the short run. Examples of long-term objectives are: (i) to create a strong brand image for the store, and (ii) to create a strong brand loyalty towards retailer. Hence, it has been said that these are not achieved overnight.

Short Term Communication Objectives:

As the name implies, these objectives keep on changing as per the market trend. For instance, during festival season, a retailer wants to attract footfall so he designs his communication strategy that lures the customer to visit the store during particular period of time, say, before Diwali or Christmas, Companies offer lucrative offers for customers.

  1. To Device the Communication Strategy:

Once the communication objectives are set, a retailer studies the market situation and designs the communication strategy comprising of various constituents like advertising, sales, event management, sales promotion, e-mail promotion, personal selling, etc.

On the basis of situation analysis, a blue print of what-to-do, how-to-do is prepared, so as to achieve the communication objective? A retailer knows that one communication vehicle will not be suitable to interact with various target segments.

For example, in case one of the retailers’ stores is located in small but densely populated area where people would like to have a value for their money, so a retailer would like to communicate his store’s products as fair price, everyday low pricing (EDLP), cheap & affordable range, etc.

Similarly, in case of a store located in a posh area, a retailer would like to plan a strategy of maintaining an up market image and delivering merchandise at pricing that justifies that sort of image.

  1. Preparing the Communication Budget:

All objectives and strategies of a retailer are achieved through funds only. Without funds, no strategy can take shape and will simply go flat. Therefore, it becomes imperative for a retailer to allocate budget considering the firm’s turnover and the affordability.

While planning a budget, a retailer should consider not only the short term and long term objectives but implications of investment also. For example, if a retailer spends more money on displays, ambience, interiors and exteriors, he would have shortage of funds to meet its day-to-day requirement (working capital).

  1. Implementation of Communication Programme:

Implementing the communication programme is one of the critical stages of retail communication process. A retailer must understand that retail market is the fast changing market and the most dynamic place in today’s era. Therefore, even after having view of the current market trends and designing the strategy, if need arises, minor changes should be made at the implementation stage itself.

An ideal communication programme always should be flexible to amend as and when need arises. Making sincere assumptions in this regard can play vital role towards the success of communication programme.

  1. Evaluating the Communication Programme:

After implementing the plan of action, a retailer must look into the result of the communication programme. Once implemented, programme starts giving results within a realistic period of time. Now a retailer should plan for the success of such communication program. If the customers are persuaded and excited, it will result in increased customer traffic as well as enhanced sales.

However, in case customers are not persuaded, they can completely reject the move taken by the retailer by not visiting the store. The reason may be competitor’s communication program which came because of your move. Sometimes, the competitors’ campaigns are so successful which don’t only minimize the impact of your move but may completely neglect your outcome. Therefore, considering a retailer must have a contingency program in place so that if one becomes unsuccessful, second program should replace the earlier one.