Merchandising products that are technologically exciting poses a number of challenges. How should you highlight an item’s innovative features? And how do you tell a consumer that a new toy will delight them, if you aren’t quite sure how to use it yourself?
Anyone who’s worked in retail likely has found themselves in a sticky situation when fielding questions about a complicated, electronic product they have not yet personally used nor been trained in. I remember being called to help a woman choose a heart rate monitor when I worked at REI, purely because I owned one. Because I was still figuring out how to use my monitor, I managed on the wonderful merits of, “I’m not certain. Let’s look at this together,” as we explored the product manual.
Retailers face a sea change in their sales population throughout the year, and keeping up with training is challenging. But savvy brands are generating ideas and sparking conversation, not to mention providing methodology for increased sell-through.
GoPro is one such mentor brand. The company took the opportunity to highlight training tools and technologies for its retail partners at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, and I got a first-hand look.
The GoPro Training Village sessions ran Wednesday-Friday during the trade show, offering a chance to learn about GoPro’s new Training App, Dealer Portal, eLearning and Webinar training platforms. Sessions were open to walk-ins, and the rooms were bustling when I checked them out. GoPro’s Training App (go to gopro.com/gptrainingapple or gopro.com/gptrainingandroid and enter GLOBE) provides a section with information (including video, natch) on accessories and tools, and is an effective cross-merchandising tool. When exploring the HERO3, you get a good glimpse of what cool things you can add to get even better video footage.
The underlying premise behind the training is that the better a salesperson understands a product, the more likely a salesperson is able to effectively sell it.
While staying on top of key attributes behind waterproof-breathable and sophisticated outerwear has its own set of challenges, selling techie gear is even more complicated for frequently understaffed retailers. According to GoPro’s senior global training manager, Nick Stagge, consumers are looking to make the most of technology they already own.
“The HERO3 Black Edition has 137 different capture settings, and without a clear idea of how to use each setting in a specific way, the camera can become overwhelming to the average user. Once they understand the basics, the HERO3 truly becomes the world’s most versatile camera.”
GoPro’s Summer Market Training Village attracted about 2,500 attendees, and according to Stagge, resulted in a supportive community of retailers who shared knowledge with GoPro. Since then, GoPro has done something similar at EuroBike in Germany and InterBike in Las Vegas.
Education on products like GoPro is just as, if not more so, important to retailers at trade show events. While showcasing innovation is exciting and cool in the show environment, the reality remains that retailers need to understand the “how” in order to effectively market, merchandise and sell to the consumer.
The same theory applies in the retail environment. Grabbing attention with display or product placement is a good first step. Technology in outdoor retail will continue to be innovative and involve a growing need for the consumer to be educated and the tools utilized will need to be just as innovative as the product being sold.
According to Stagge, GoPro has a 24-month plan that is constantly evolving and adjusting and revolves around “fostering a community of credible influencers.” He recommends we stay tuned to learn more.
SNEWS Merchandising Editor Robin Enright
is the founder of Merchandising Matters,
which provides merchandising support to brands, retailers and their agencies.
Reach her via email at email@example.com
with questions, ideas and suggestions.