Julia Rehbach is convinced that as long as the overall experience is right, end customers will continue to want to buy products that require a lot of advice, such as hiking or ski boots, in brick-and-mortar stores. In her role as Shopper Marketing Manager at Salomon, she relies on the support of socialPALS to ensure that potential customers are also made aware of what is on offer locally – and particularly appreciates the flexibility that the retail marketing platform offers with its functions.
Julia, tell us briefly something about yourself and your responsibilities at Salomon!
I love being active outdoors – cycling, hiking, running, or skiing. At Salomon, I work as a Shopper Marketing Manager. I am responsible for ensuring that our brand’s product and marketing activities are visible in the retail sector – in other words, that customers are made aware of our products on the social media channels of specialist retailers, thereby supporting sales.
Salomon was our first brand partner and has been using socialPALS since 2018 to continuously provide its retailers with high-quality campaign content. Why did you decide to test this form of automated retail marketing as a first mover and ultimately integrate it into your communication concept?
It’s nice to have such a long partnership with you guys. Before my time at the brand, Salomon decided to work with you. Since then, socialPALS has helped us target our marketing campaigns at our retail partners – with the great advantage that we can measure the success and thus continue to improve with you and our retail partners to become more successful.
What was the goal of your campaigns and how much internal effort did you put into marketing to get them off the ground? Did the platform save you time and reduce your workload compared to "traditional" retail marketing?
Our campaigns aim to communicate the latest product, the story, and the end user’s clear benefits. The socialPALS platform is highly intuitive and easy for retailers to understand. Sure, we had some initial effort, but the tool saves time and resources in the medium term. And above all, it makes it much easier to measure the campaign’s success.
How difficult is it to motivate your retail partners to participate? Is the "online marketing" module accepted as an integration into the sales concept?
Retailers, already familiar with socialPALS, are always happy to join the campaigns. Larger accounts with their marketing departments rely more on their content, which means significantly more effort and (wo) manpower. The challenge is posed by newbies who have not yet participated in a socialPALS campaign.
Participation in a socialPALS campaign and thus the playout of the turnkey content calendar is confirmed by each retail partner after one-time registration via 1-Click. Are there also retailers who engage more often/actively with the platform and plan (additional) postings or (own) advertising budget?
Unfortunately, this is not often the case and currently represents a challenge we are working on intensively to ensure that retailers become even more active in this area.
Were the campaigns in Germany, Austria and Switzerland successful? What KPIs did you use to measure success? Were you able to draw any helpful lessons - e.g. which channels/formats are best suited for the product being advertised?
Campaigns promoting in-store action activity, such as our ski ticket campaign, because here the retailer’s interest is naturally even greater in making it visible. We often still have to do some explaining work with pure content campaigns, which is why these can also mean a gain for retailers. The most important KPIs for us here are the number of participating retailers and, of course, the reach and the clicks on landing or retailer pages.
What challenges do you currently see for SALOMON as a brand as well as for your retail partners? Do crises like the pandemic or the current supply chain problems have a lasting impact on the industry and its actions? Have the requirements for local marketing also changed as a result?
Currently, of course, the topic of “supply chain” is everywhere. The consequences of the pandemic are still clearly felt. That’s why we currently have to be quite flexible in our marketing – which is a challenge when planning campaigns.
How can socialPALS as a retail marketing solution support you in overcoming these challenges?
The new function to provide a campaign with various start times, is tremendous support! The advantage of socialPALS to activate the campaign with a few clicks remains – without having to move the content calendars manually all the time. The merchant simply chooses between, e.g., calendar 1 starting mid-June or calendar 2 starting early July. Of course, we all hope that this feature will not be necessary forever!
How do you see the future of retail in the context of the market dominance of the big online players? Does the "neighborhood sports retailer" still have a chance if it invests in digital measures in good time? Do end customers want to shop stationary?
Many sports items, such as trail or hiking footwear, skis, and ski boots, require a great deal of specialist advice. That’s why I’m confident that the end customer will continue to want to shop for these types of items in stationery stores. However, the overall experience for the customer has to be right – so that they keep coming back.
What campaigns are coming up next to support your retail partners?
Next up are our campaigns for new trail running footwear, followed in the fall by the new season for winter sports!
What was your personal experience with socialPALS? Do you have any suggestions?
Everyone at socialPALS I have been in contact with so far has been very likable, helpful, and open to optimization. For example, we are presently working together on how we can gather the retailers at the order fair to explain the socialPALS concept and the added value it offers them face-to-face. That remains to be the most effective way.
Here's what our retailers have to say:
socialPALS is a super marketing tool for placing content on our social media platforms quickly and efficiently as part of daily business. Our manufacturers’ campaigns can be scheduled in just a few steps via drag & drop. The Promo Ads option, in combination with Dark Posts, is the perfect way for us to generate reach without losing our profile character. We use socialPALS to support our own organic online marketing activities – this way, we reach a larger audience in a target group-oriented way.
Sport Schindele, Ronsberg
Joscha Wahl, E-Commerce Manager
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socialPALS brings brands and retail partners together and creates a win-win situation that unleashes previously untapped potential. The innovative software solution simplifies complex processes through automated retail marketing and strengthens stationary retail through regional brand campaigns. Get your obligation-free platform demo today and become part of the socialPALS success story.