It takes a lot of research and data to craft a winning home improvement Product Line Review (PLR), but you need more than raw data and a compelling brand or product to win with the merchant. The information you’ve gathered and the positioning you’ve developed are the key components you need to build a sales program that will come to life across the customer journey. What’s more, your sales program must also fit into the broader context of the retailer’s environment. When a retailer asks, “How are you supporting my customer?” you need to be able to answer with confidence.
Your sales program must support both the end user and the retailer. Anticipate each touchpoint across the customers’ journey, and consider how your program fits into the retailer’s strategy. To accomplish this, your program should drive the customer to your products at every step, from their upfront research to their actual shopping (both in-store and online) to backend services/support. In your PLR, the merchant needs to see that you’ve put together a thoughtful sales program that drives purchases and loyalty at every turn.
What is your retailer’s role regarding the category and product needs?
Understanding the role of the category at the retail level is key. Does the retailer need your products to drive top-line sales? Prop up the margin? Drive traffic? In home improvement, the retailer’s role can change depending on the category. For example, while appliances are great top-line drivers, hardware props up margin.
Beyond the retailer’s role in the category, you also need to be fully aware of how each product fits into the category’s lineup. Sometimes, one product in your lineup isn’t about sales, so much as it’s about drawing people in. Sometimes, the high-end product in your lineup exists to help end users see where price points go up, trading them up the line. When you demonstrate both an understanding of your products’ role and the category’s role, the merchant can better envision success with your products and brand.
Know the end users’ needs and pain points.
Once you have a solid understanding of the role of a category — and your products’ roles within that category — you need utilize data to continually uncover and solve every pain point the customer experiences. Track each touchpoint by conducting a path-to-purchase study. You’ll be able to map every influential aspect of the customer journey, enabling you to build a tailored sales program that drives the most success.
Examine every bit of data from your path-to-purchase study, then bring your sales program to life.
As you build your sales program, consider the information you learned about the customer journey. At Sales Factory, we use a powerful framework to craft client sales programs: Learn, Shop, Buy. This allows us to understand what end users need during the Learning phase, deliver the tools they want during the Shopping phase, and create the ideal line design and promotion strategy during the Buying phase. It’s about putting the right products in front of the consumer at the right price point mix — this is the sweet spot a retailer wants to see, and it will help you win your PLR.
- Learn: Demonstrate how you can help the end user learn about the category and choose that specific retailer.
To drive traffic to retail, the merchant needs to understand how you plan on being relevant and engaging in the Learn phase. Consider the ways to win before the end user sets foot in the store or visits the retailer’s website. This is where your online content is vital, so build helpful content for the end user and craft a plan that uses organic search, paid search and advertising to drive consumers to that content.
- Shop: Show how you can improve your performance in-store and online.
The merchant needs to see how your Learning content will move consumers through your price and product information during the Shopping phase. Demonstrate how the end user will step up through your well-designed line and drive up ASPs. To do this, create promotion strategies that maximize your line’s productivity and develop a plan to make sure your merchant’s associates are well-trained to boost merchant confidence in your program.
- Buy: Create affinity and lifetime value for the end user. The merchant needs to understand that you aren’t shortsighted. As the consumer reaches the Buying phase, make it clear that they — and the retailer — will be supported all the way through. This means delivering after-sale service on your products to ensure customer loyalty for your brand, as well giving the retailer the right execution. When consumers come back over and over again for your products, they get the support they want, and the retailer gets the support they need.
A smart, well-planned sales program makes all the difference in the eyes of the merchant.
Your sales program, when well thought out and perfectly executed, instills a strong sense of confidence in the merchant, and it is the key to a winning PLR. It’s a moment where you can demonstrate that all your gathered data can be put to actionable use, helping the end users learn about your products, shop for them, and buy them — all in a manner that drives them to the retailer. And in the end, that’s what merchants want.
Did you miss our previous articles? To put together a winning PLR, go back through this helpful series to discover important information and insights that could help deliver success for your brand and products.