Know When To Outsource In Retail

For people who like to sell things, whether it’s via the online world or the physical one, there are a myriad of skills to master. You’ll need to be able to install new equipment and maintain it, you’ll need to be able to source new products and learn about faults with the existing ones, you’ll need to research and set appropriate price, and you’ll need to promote your goods effectively.

Clearly, no one single person (or even several dozen people) is going to be able to do everything necessary to run a successful store (or chain of stores). Moreover, there are some skills which are so specialised and rarely-employed that there’s little point in training in-house staff in them. Instead, a more efficient solution comes in the form of outsourcing – paying an outside organisation to perform these specialist tasks on your behalf.

Let’s take a look at a few of the roles which you might draft in an outside contractor to play.

Mystery Shopping

As a retailer, you’ll need to provide your customers with an experience that’ll draw them back again and again. Poor customer service is certain to dissuade your customers from returning – and, what’s worse, they’ll probably relate their experience to their friends. It’s difficult to know that you’re providing poor customer service, however, unless someone tells you – and by then things might have gone disastrously wrong. With the help of mystery shopping, you’ll be able to identify issues before they have a chance to develop to this extent.

One of the crucial attributes of an outside agency in this instance is the impartiality they’re able to bring to the table. They have no motivation to distort their findings, and so you’ll be able to trust them to provide an accurate picture of the state of things.

Product demonstrations

In order to get across the merits of certain new and experimental products, a demonstration can be hugely effective. Just look at the viral success of campaigns like ‘Will it Blend?’. A skilled and engaging demonstrator will help to sell the product in question – but these skills aren’t acquired overnight, and thus bringing in a specialist is sure to pay for itself, provided that the product is of the sort that’ll benefit from a demonstration.

Product Sampling

There are some products whose merits can be demonstrated only through experience. If you’re offering a tasty morsel or two, then no description or demonstration is quite going to match the persuasive power of a bite. All forms of product sampling have been shown to provide a return on the investment, but there are some products which benefit especially from the practice. A specialist field marketing agency will be able to identify the areas where product sampling will be the most effective, and they’ll be able to implement them effectively.

Product Recall

It’s a prospect that most businesspeople dread – but it’s one that should also be prepared for well in advance. A botched product recall can make the reputational damage suffered by the company worse by several orders of magnitude; get it wrong and you risk looking not only careless, but outright incompetent. Having dedicated fields sales agencies ready and willing to spring into action before the recall becomes necessary will give you a welcome head start – they’ll have the skills and experience necessary to get the product off the shelves as quickly and painlessly as possible. You’ll be grateful that you prepared before the recall became necessary!

Product Launches

When you’re launching a new product, you want to generate the biggest possible buzz. There’s only a limited time-frame in which to do this, and product launch events can really help to ignite the publicity. Unfortunately, product launches are comparatively rare – particularly if your company only releases a new product once every few years. By bringing in a specialist company, you’ll be able to ensure that your product gets the boost upon launch that it deserves.

Retail Audits

A retail audit involves taking stock of your store’s effectiveness and recommending remedial action. Obviously, this is an activity where impartiality is paramount – not only because you’re likely to be overly flattering when reviewing your own work, but because an outside perspective will pick up on things you might have missed, and allow you to think outside the box, as it were. The results of an outside audit can provide valuable evidence of your store’s effectiveness, which might prove crucial in any future dealings with potential clients and partners.

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