Greek retail woes part 2 – chains and balls

Let’s say you want to plan an in store activity for a tech product.  “We have thirty stores all over Greece!” beams the person you are talking with.  Here are a few questions to ask before setting out your promotional strategy.

  1. What is the percentage of traffic of your top 2 stores relative to the rest?  Case in point, a well known chain with more than 40 stores.  The first one had 160 thousand visitors last month.    The next four had just over 50 thousand.  And all the rest had …well…very few.    Unless you want to waste money having people trek all around this beautiful country for nothing, decide where to focus.
  2. Which stores are almost dead?  In the above (real) example, almost half the stores had less than 25 thousand visitors in a month.  They are neighborhood affairs, sometimes not even fully owned by the chain, often family run or with some other story.  They might make their money on computer repairs, selling business software or anything else but what you want them to promote.   A long history of failed promotions can be told by old merchandizing kit in their stores…
  3. How accurate are your footfall figures?  Many stores have multiple entrances.  Even a keen statistician would have trouble calculating what the actual traffic was from their numbers.  Other stores have cafes, restaurants, bookshops or tickets within.  Is that the kind of traffic you want for your product?
  4. What time of day is the action?  This is very complex.  Not just about looking at the data.  Greeks have their own rhythm.  They might window shop some times of day and have the time and inclination to speak to a merchandizer but simply go in to buy supplies quickly at other times.  We have our own holidays and dates which are best to focus on.
  5. Which salespeople are the ones to influence?  Even in these times of multinationals and international (style) marketing, Greek stores often operate in a pretty old fashioned way.  There is often a person who is the gatekeeper for the store to really promote a product.  Often not even on the store floor, this might be the manager (in a smaller store) or the experienced salesperson or the person considered the purchasing expert.

Everyone in Greece has become much better at pretending they are all business when it comes to in store promotions.  They talk the talk and look good on PowerPoint.  But way too often they operate in an old fashioned, conservative and protectionist way.  Your promoters might be shoved to a corner which looks good on paper but doesn’t work, with little help in rush hour and no real support in order to make sales or change people’s opinions of your products.

Start asking these sort of questions though and you might gain enough respect to get your job done.

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