Post Categories: September 2014

Knowledge Portal: Promoting Private Brands—Interactions Creates New Solution to Educate and Entertain

sep2014-knowledge-imgThe great recession prompted increased sales of less expensive private brand products, and in turn, many retailers have expanded their offerings—from basic “store brand” canned vegetables and bread to premium own brand pasta sauces and ice creams. But with private brands accounting for only about 18 percent of grocery sales, there’s still plenty of room to grow. So how can a retailer promote its products without the massive marketing budget of a brand name food manufacturer? Interactions has developed a new solution—and it all starts with education.

Interactions recently partnered with a large Midwestern grocery chain to help teach associates at its recently acquired store locations about the new banner’s private brand portfolio. A team of Interactions Brand Ambassadors brought the retailer’s “Own Brand University” to each location over several weekends. Brief 5-10 minute lessons were offered throughout the day as associates took their scheduled breaks.

“We created a university logo and provided a branded backdrop, podium, banners and prize wheel to create a visually appealing display and bring an entertainment aspect to the program along with the education,” explains Ryan Dee, Business Development Account Executive for Interactions.

The program included four different lessons on quality, price, brand portfolio and reinforcement. During each lesson, associates were given real-world examples of how they could encourage shoppers to try private brand products. For example, associates were taught to promote the private brand if they overheard a shopper complaining about the price or availability of a brand name product. They were also taught merchandising techniques to encourage up-selling, such as pairing complementary private brand products with items being promoted on end-cap displays.

The lessons were reinforced through Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune-inspired games, where associates could show off their knowledge to win prizes—further lending to the “edutainment” feel of the program. To assess associates’ long-term retention of the information and their ability to put it into action, Interactions is also performing follow-up mystery shops at each store location.

“The program has been such a success, we’re working with our retailer partner to roll it out to over 100 additional locations next year,” says Dee.

Interactions is now offering the service to all retailers, and Dee notes that it can be customized to meet a variety of needs. For example, it could be used as part of training for grand openings or re-openings—so as soon as customers walk through the door, associates would be up to speed and ready to promote the retailer’s products. It could also be used to help educate consumers directly. For example, a farmer’s market could be set up outside the store, where shoppers would be introduced to the retailer’s “garden” of offerings. As with the associate version of the program, games and prizes could be used to help excite and engage shoppers and encourage retention of the information.

“We are just as committed to private brands as our retailer partners,” says Dee. “We’re always coming up with fresh and innovative ideas like this to help them be successful.”