How Amazon is Disrupting the Product Restocking Market

How Amazon is Disrupting the In Home Product Restocking Market

Image via http://www3.pcmag.com/media/images/462223-amazon-dash-button-tide-810.jpg?thumb=y&width=740&height=426

In 2015, Amazon launched a Dash Replacement Service. The service offered with home appliances with built in connected API’s with the option of reordering dish soap and detergent. Since early 2015 brands such as Brother International, General Electric, Gmate have partnered with the online retailer. Even Samsung has partnered up with Amazon to allow it’s printer customers to reorder directly from the connected printer API on certain models.

In its latest move, Amazon has partnered with Brita to come up with connected water filter. Brita decided to partner with Amazon in an effort to combat an increase in Bottle water sales which threatens to take away market share from the company.

What this means for brick and mortar retail

As Amazon continues to offer more and more services where customers don’t need to leave their homes, many retailers will have to deal with declining sales and market share from their physical stores. Retailers will be forced to canalize  their own business through E commerce or go out of business.

The only way brick and mortar retail can keep their existing stores is by repurposing and branding them. In other words, retailers will need to make in store shopping an experience.

Examples of  Brands that have made in store shopping an experience are:

Barnes & Noble including Starbucks in its stores allowing customers to sit and read books while enjoying Coffee. The Starbucks allow for an additional stream of revenue for the company.

Macy’s has included Starbucks in its flagship store in New York City.

Integrating Technology into Retail & Supermarket Spaces

Many stores have integrated digital technologies with mobile devices making it easier for customers to pay with phones.

Tesla has opened a retail store in Toronto where users can use the touch screens to design their own car.

Amazon also has a grocery delivery service but  technology can also be integrated into grocery stores as well. From mobile technology taking payments to digital signage, Tesco a multinational grocery chain is doing just that.

The bottom line is that Amazon is here to stay & retail stores need to be combined with e commerce to make in store shopping better for customers.

How has Amazon changed the way you buy & shop for products?

Comment and share below.

Article Sources:

Amazon is ready to Start Restocking your Home for you by Lauren Goode & The Verge

Amazon Dash will now reorder ink by Lauren Goode & The Verge

Amazon Team up with Brita team up for Wi-Fi water pitchers by Lauren Goode & The Verge

Building  a Better Shopping Experience by Nurum

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. He has worked on various marketing assignments that include a Start Up, Political Campaign & a Digital Marketing Conference.

Prior to Teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales & Marketing Representative in the Dental industry. In this role, he taught and trained Dentists on the company’s products and services using a consultative selling approach. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows & in the field through lead generation of Digital Technology along with large Dental Equipment.

He writes and publishes a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing & Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today.

Dan is seeking a full time marketing role in New York City. He is interested in roles in Direct, Digital, Content & Social Media Marketing. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.

 

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How Laws and Mandates Create and Disrupt Markets

Laws and mandates have major changes on the products and services that we use. Markets for goods and services are created and disrupted. An example of this is the Prohibition era in the United States. Prohibition was a time when the sale of drinking alcohol was made illegal by States and the Federal government. The logic behind the ban was that quality of life would improve because the consumption of alcohol would decrease. But did this happen? Nope. Instead the sales of alcohol skyrocketed. Bootleggers became rich by selling alcohol. All Prohibition did was disrupt the traditional alcoholic beverage market into a black market. People were able to make a business out of selling illegal alcohol.The same could be said for the sale of illegal drugs.

The auto industry also created a new market for the energy conscious with the release of the electric car and the hybrid. These changes created jobs in the green economy.

During my time the dental industry, I noticed a surge in product sales of Amalgam Separators. This occurred after an environmental law was passed across the United States; barring Dentist’s from pouring amalgam(mercury) used in fillings down the sewer. Amalgam had to be separated into a separator and disposed of through special means. Think of commercial waste.

If you want to see what markets will be created and disrupted; look to the laws and mandates of the government.prohibition-ends-daily-mirror-nyc1

Why Brands Should Use Visual StoryTelling

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth 10,000 words. Telling a story with words alone puts the burden of visualization on the prospect. As words mean different things to different people based on life experience and culture, it is possible for your message to be misinterpreted. For brands to truly engage potential buyers, they need to tell stories visually with the use images, videos and words together. (Visual Story Telling) Using all three together can help brands to craft and convey their message to their audience. Many brands like Coca Cola have photo/video sharing contents where customers would engage with their products. This is based on the old adage that people are more likely to believe the claims of your customer (testimonials) than traditional advertising.

Effective presentations need to have visuals and videos to emotionally engage prospects to buy. In a previous article, I discussed the power of the hashtag and the screenshot where I discuss how hashtags and screenshots allow messages to go beyond the traditional reach of social networks. I have used photo/video sharing services such as InstagramPinteresttumblr and YouTube to upload screenshots of tweets, Facebook posts, head-shots, videos etc…

Visual story telling allows brands to connect with many more people on an emotional level. This will ultimately lead to higher product sales numbers.

Selling and Marketing Brand X

When you are selling and marketing a brand x product, there are many challenges that you face. These challenges range from questions on product reliability to a lack of brand recognition.

One of the first things that I would handle is product reliability. This comes from the product development and engineering side of your business. The product has to be developed and tested to insure that it works properly. Nothing will destroy your credibility like under delivering on promises that you make about your product.

In terms of addressing questions on product reliability, I would offer a free trial of your product to both the end users and industry experts. If your product delivers on its promises you should be able to earn testimonials and endorsements. This will not only address product reliability but will also go a long way toward creating brand recognition for your product. Remember one of the most important things that a brand can cultivate in its customers is trust and advocacy. It is your job as a brand to turn your customer base into advocates.

In terms of building brand recognition, I would create a story for your product. This story should demonstrate how the product helped to solve a problem. As I said earlier, using testimonials from industry experts and end users alike will help build trust and get people to take that first step to try your product. One of the most valuable marketing tools is word of mouth. Social Media channels such as blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, YouTube, Pinterest and others help to spread your products story to the masses. I would also have a company website that integrates all of these channels. Exhibiting at industry trade shows and conferences is also a great way to get the word out about your product.

I was an outside sales rep in the dental industry with an equipment distribution company. Many of the product lines that I carried were not name brand. In the beginning many people I called on were reluctant to try products that they did not know. They would waver and say things like “I don’t know, I have never heard of this product”. After assuring the customer that it was reliable and comparable to their name brand product; I took on the role of brand ambassador by convincing customers to try just one or two items. After these customers tried the product, they switched from a name brand product to my off brand product! I turned skeptics into believers. I was able to use these customers to tell the story about the off brand product through testimonials and referrals.

I had an impact at the distributor level. For a really big impact, all of this needs to be done by the manufacturer. Product development, engineering, Sales and Marketing teams needs to work together to make sure that the product launch and market adoption take place. If you work with distributors you need to provide them with support to help them succeed.

This is how to sell and market a brand x product.

What the New York Auto Show Can Teach Us About Trade Show Marketing

Trade show marketing is important for companies to build brand awareness. The purpose for trade shows is to drive sales.  As a Dental Sales Rep, I worked the Greater New York Dental meeting. This is a show where Dental Manufacturers and distributors show off current and new products they have to offer. Today, I am going to discuss how companies can drive sales at trade shows. I am also going to use the New York Auto show to offer examples of best practices for trade show marketing.

When planning for a trade show it is important to decide on the size of your booth. Also you need to decide on your message and theme. Are you going to offer free product demonstrations? How are you going to get customers? How are you going to mobilize your staff? What is the reason you are attending the show. Are you looking to build brand awareness? Are you looking to increase sales? What is your budget for the show? Also how much time do you need to set up your display?

All of these questions should be handled before you can go ahead.  Also it is imperative that you get the word out that you are attending the event. Let your customers’ know what your booth number is and where to find you. You can do this by delivering literature to customers during sales calls. I have done this many times in the past.  Make sure to share postings on social media sites such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn. Advertise in your industry trade magazine and on industry related web sites. The organizers of the trade show will do this as well but you as companies need to do your part. Make sure your displays’ dazzle your audience. All presentations need to be top-notch!

The Automotive industry really does a great job with trade show marketing. I recently covered the New York Auto show as a member of the press. The show is going on through Sunday, 4/15/12 so I suggest you head down there to check it out. At this show, I saw some amazing unveils of the Chevy Impala, Mercedes, BMW M6’s, Lexus ES350, Nissan Altima and the Dodge Viper which was my personal favorite. I saw a stunt driver burn rubber with the Viper! Ford also had an amazing display as well. The Ford Mustang’s have their own place downstairs away from the main display. The auto show is shared on Facebook, and Twitter. The automotive manufactures also promote the show on their own social media channels. Many of the unveils were broadcast live on social media channels.

What made these unveils so exciting was the showmanship of the executives along with the videos and in the case of the Mercedes display; a live band. You saw the cars on the TV screen then the executives would drive up with the cars. They engaged the audience! Every car had a story and you felt like you wanted to buy it. Every trade show could be enhanced by watching the techniques employed at this show.

On the public days, professional spokespeople present the cars and trucks to the crowds. But don’t take my word for it, go out and see the show. Still not convinced? Here are the pictures!

How to Generate Leads for Your Business

Lead Generation is an essential building block for businesses to find potential buyers who are interested in their products and services. In previous posts, I discussed how to prospect and identify your target market. In this post, I will discuss how businesses can find leads and what mediums can be used to obtain leads.

Many mediums can be used to obtain leads. These mediums include: Direct mail, Email, Marketing, Surveys, Advertising, Social Media, referrals from current customers, business networking, trade show marketing.

You have to see what strategies will work for you. Your product and budget will help to determine how you go about obtaining leads.

Direct Mail

Direct mail can be a great way to find prospects. You can create a message with pictures and compelling copy. The idea is to piqué the interest of your prospect and to include a card with paid postage that they can send back requesting more information. You can use CRM software to track your results and fine tune who to target.

Email Marketing

Email lists can be purchased from a list broker or self-generated from your address book. You can also use services like Constant Contact that allows people to enter their email addresses if they want email from your business. This is known as allowing them to opt in.  Before proceeding with an Email campaign make sure to get permission from people through an opt-in email. If you do not get peoples’ permission to send them email it can be considered spam. Email is a cheaper item than mail. You can have a wider reach to your customers. I would suggest creating a message that is compelling. Make sure to use pictures and colors that look appealing.

Surveys

Surveys can be a great way to get information about prospects and customers. You can ask specific questions that can provide information on what the prospect is looking for. Also you can ask questions about when the prospect is looking to make a purchase. This information can be stored in CRM software. Surveys can be done through direct mail, email or online through internet polls.

Advertising

Businesses can advertise their products and services. The advertising can be a spot on the radio, television, Social Media, print and billboards. Television ads can be short commercials that appear on TV shows or they can take the form Infomercials which are at least a half hour in length. Television has been a preferred method of advertising for years because television has a massive audience. The internet is also a great way to advertise. You can use pay-per-click advertising on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google. (LinkedIn Ads, Facebook Ads, Google AdWords) This is an effective method because you can specify who you want to see your ad by different demographics such as Geography, Age, and Profession. You can also use keywords to trigger your ads.

 

Social Media

Social Media is a great tool to get leads; specifically LinkedIn. You can explore the questions and answer section to look for potential customers. The questions and answers section is a great way to ask people for information or to answer questions. Answering questions can allow you to position yourself as an expert on a topic. Members who ask questions are allowed to choose which answers they think are good and which one they think is the best. I was named a Sales and Marketing Expert in the areas of Lead Generation, Sales Techniques, and Direct Marketing by members whose questions I answered.

Print

Placing ads in newspapers can also help your business because newspapers have many readers. Newspapers are usually in print and online. Your advertising on this platform could take the form of a classified ad or article marketing. Industry trade magazines also fall into this category. Billboards can also help your businesses visibility.

Referrals/Testimonials from Customers

Referrals and testimonials from your customers is one of the best ways to get leads because they remove doubt from the prospects mind about your capabilities to perform. Referrals could take the form of a video, a recommendation on LinkedIn or a Slideshare presentation. I have the last two that I listed. Referrals and Testimonials should speak to the quality of your work.

Business Networking

Attending networking events at your local chamber of commerce or at a professional association can be a great way to meet potential prospects and to generate leads. At these events you can talk informally and exchange business cards. You can briefly discuss who you are and what you do then move on; remember you want to network with as many people as possible.

Trade show Marketing

It is important to attend industry trade shows either as an exhibitor or an attendee. Trade shows are a great way to keep up to date with trends in your industry. This will allow you to hone your expertise which your customers pay for. Trade shows are a great place for you to get leads because customers go to them looking to make purchases either at the show or soon after. If you are an exhibitor, require attendees to give you their contact information to see a demonstration of your product. This can be the start of an informal conversation which you can follow-up on later.

I have listed a variety of ways that businesses can get leads. The methods you choose depend on your product and budget. You have to see which methods will work for you.

Next time, I will discuss how to qualify leads and convert them into sales.

Until next time, thank you for reading.

How to Build Your Business & Brand Using Facebook Pages

In my last post, I discussed about how to build your personal brand on Facebook. Today I am going to discuss how to brand your business using Facebook pages. Remember Facebook is the largest Social networking site which means that your customers and prospects are on the site. Your job as a business and a brand is to engage with fans, prospects and customers. The goal is to convert this engagement (marketing) to product sales. Facebook pages are a great way to do this.

Facebook has greatly increased the kinds of pages that people and brands can create. Currently there are six types of pages. These pages include: a Local Business or place page, a Company page, a Brand or Product page, an Artist, Fan or Public Figures page, an Entertainment page and a Causes or Community page. Each of these pages has their own benefits. However in this post, I am going to focus on the public figure and the Company pages; using my public figure and company pages as an example.

The first thing that you need to do before setting up a Facebook business page is to set up a Facebook account. The steps to set up a Facebook account addressed in my last post. Once you create an account you need to do the following:

1 Log in to your account

2 Scroll to the bottom of the page and find the create a page link

3 Once you click on the link, a page will come up that will list all six types of Facebook pages. (For this post we will focus on the Public Figure and Company pages.)

4 Choose the type of page you would like which in our case is the Public Figure and Company pages.

5 Once you choose the type of page you would like, you will be asked to select the category your page falls into.

6 The next step will be to name your page. For the public figure page use your name or your band’s name if you have one. Use your company name for your company page. I started with a public figure page and added a company page later.

7 Agree to Facebook’s terms and click the get started button.

Getting Started

I will start by discussing how to set up a public figure page. The first thing you will need to do is to fill in the basic information section of the public figure page. The basic information section asks for the following:

1 The category of the page, the type of person you are public figure, journalist etc…

2 Your name

3 Your Address (This is optional for public figure and company pages)

4 Your affiliation

5 Your date of birth

6 An about headline which is similar to the headline feature on LinkedIn except you need to provide the content, where LinkedIn will let you use your job title and company as a default. I would use this space to briefly sell who you are and what you do. You should be brief. My headline is: Sales & Marketing Maven who is available to meet your sales & marketing needs Contact me for a free consultation Read my Sales & Marketing Blog http://www.dangalante.me . As you can see my headline is short and to the point. You can elaborate on the headline in the Biography section.

7 Use the biography section to expand on the headline. This is the place to describe yourself, your credentials and what you have to offer potential customers. Here is an example of my biography section: I am Dan Galante, President, CEO, CMO, Sales and Marketing Consultant at Trend Setting Sales and Marketing. Trend Setting Sales and Marketing provides Sales, Marketing and Advertising services to clients across multiple mediums. Prior to my current role, I ran the New York City sales territory for Diversified Dental Sales Inc. During my time in this position, I called on Dental Professionals, selling them my company’s products and services. I helped build my company’s brand by educating Dental professionals who were previously unfamiliar with our offerings. I also hold a Master’s Degree in Education. My knowledge of Sales, Marketing and Education, gives me the expertise to teach business ways they can produce more. My objective is to use my sales, marketing and education experience to provide clients with sales and marketing consulting services. I am also interested in obtaining traditional sales and marketing positions in New York City. I author a sales and marketing blog. Also, I publish several online newspapers which focus on the topics of: Sales, Marketing, Advertising, Technology, the automotive industry and Dentistry serving as Editor in Chief of each.

Specialties:

Sales, Marketing, Advertising, Direct Marketing, Online Marketing, B2B Marketing, B2B Sales, Territory Sales, Sales Techniques, Lead Generation, Route Sales, Dental Equipment Sales, Dental Sales, Dental Marketing, Outside Sales, Prospecting, Cold Calling, Cold Canvassing, Cross Selling, Brand Building, Business Development, Account Management, Customer Service, Customer Loyalty, Customer Retention, Mediation, Social Media Marketing, Spokesperson, Trade show marketing, Event Marketing, Education

As you can see I offer a professional summary along with my specialties. Listing your specialties is a great place to list what you have done along with what you would like to do.

8 There is a section for awards, gender, personal information, personal interests, phone number and websites. I definitely would make use of the personal interests, and websites section to make your page come alive.

Setting Up Your Pages Visibility

The next thing that you need to is to decide who will see your page. Facebook allows you to decide what countries are allowed to view your pages.  You can get access to this setting by clicking the permissions tab. Depending on your content, you can set an age restriction. Facebook also allows you to decide the following: if you want people to tag you in photos and videos, if you want people to write and post content on your wall and if you want to block certain people from posting on your wall. Facebook also lets you block profanity from being posted on your wall. I recommend that you allow people to tag your photos and post comments on content you post. Also, I recommend that you allow others to share content on your wall. I recommend this because this will give you the opportunity to engage with your fans. Once you reach 25 likes, Facebook allows you to set a custom URL to your pages. I recommend doing this because it will be easier for people to find your page and it will be easier for search engines to index your page. Here are my custom URL’s. http://www.facebook.com/djgalante http://www.facebook.com/trendsettingsm  I picked one name that was my name and one that is a shortened version of my company name Trend Setting Sales and Marketing. You should pick names related to yourself and/or your business so people will find your page quickly and easily.

Facebook also allows you to use insights to see who is talking about your page and who likes your page. Also make sure to upload a professional photo of yourself.

Another thing you can do is to choose an administrator for your page. I would recommend doing this yourself unless you have a professional moderator for your page because the administrator will have full access to your page.  You can also post your tweets to Facebook using the Twitter plug-in the under the resources tab.

Getting Likes

Once your pages are complete, you want to get people to like your page. For a long time Facebook likes have been Facebook’s social currency. Likes symbolize social approval from friends and fans. In order to get likes, you should do the following:

1 Provide compelling content that engages Fans. (I share my blog posts with my fans.) Encourage them to share their stories using your product and services. This could be done through wall posts or videos

2 Promote your page by inviting your Facebook friends and sending email invitations to people who are not directly connected with you.

3 Use Facebook ads to get people to like and interact with your page. (I will discuss this at a later time)

4 Post content from your Facebook page. (Facebook allows users to switch between their personal accounts and their Facebook page.)

Remember that this takes work and it is an ongoing process.

The company page on Facebook is similar to the Public figure page. The Company page is good to promote your business if you have employees. It is also good if you want to promote your company as a brand. If you are a in a band or working by yourself, I would use the public figure page. I use both pages because I am looking to get customers and I would like to grow my idea into a large business. The difference with the Company page is that you will not have to provide a date of birth. However, you will have to provide a company description instead of a personal description. (About me) Also you can provide a mission statement and describe your offerings in the products box. These are the key differences between the pages.

Promoting your Facebook page on other Social Networks and other Platforms

1 Share your Facebook page on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google plus by sharing your pages URL on these sites; inviting your connections/followers to join you.

2 Include a link to your Facebook page in your email signature

3 Include Facebook plugins on your website and blog

4 Include your Facebook page on any printed materials that you give customers and prospects

5 Include your page in any TV, Radio or print advertisements that you engage in.

This is how to successfully build and promote a public figure and company page on Facebook.

Until next time, thank you for reading!