Insights / Marketing / Multichannel

Consumer-Supplier Relationships are Changing Online

vacuum-longer

LG

Some of the leading floor-care suppliers are beginning to rethink their strategy when it comes to selling products. Gone are the days of the door-to-door vacuum salesman – the entire customer qualification and rapport-building process can be done online now.

The ability for suppliers and manufacturers to reach their customers is getting easier as the role of the internet begins to remove the need for expensive marketing and awareness campaigns. As Australians tighten their belts and keep a close watch on the purse strings, consumers are spending more time researching online to ensure they get the right product at the best price. Floor cleaning and floor-care products have seen a big spike in online sales in keeping with this trend.

Nilfisk Adavance Australia and New Zealand General Manager, Stephen Makin said that his brand was focusing on customer education as a means to drive sales. He said this would also provide opportunity to introduce new product lines this year.

“The impact of online activity is uncertain with several different models being applied by retailers and pure online channels,” Makins told ConnectedAustralia. This is echoed by the example being set by Nilfisk’s competitors, with each planning to capitalise on the changing market in 2012 in very different ways.

Kambrook plans on increasing its social media presence by promoting its active Facebook page and also supporting a blog. While social media can drive traffic to physical stores, it is much easier to quantify its effects when you are able to channel conversions through a website instead.

“We currently do not have any promotions planned, but continue to use PR to publicise our floor care range and will endeavour to improve our in-store presence with new collateral and point-of-sale activity,” said Kambrook Marketing Manager, Adam Tacey.

The same goes for Bosch, which also plans no more than a social media campaign to increase awareness in the coming year, according to Category Development Manager Jonathan Peart.

“We will continue to actively promote our appliances across as many relevant platforms that best meet our customers needs,” he said, with no mention at all of greater focus on the online market itself.

However, that’s better than Dyson. Recent product lines have been wildly popular for the floor cleaning products manufacturer, with Dyson holding top position for market value in almost every category of this kind, except for handsticks. With the kind of market dominance Dyson has, it’s understandable that the company might feel like resting on its laurels.

Dyson Online Store

Dyson is one of the few floor-care product manufacturers to include a complete online store into its website.

On the other hand, Dyson is the only manufacturer of the group that incorporates its own online store into its website, making it a complete, one-stop shop for information and product purchases.

“Dyson owners are the biggest advocates for Dyson from using and experiencing the Dyson difference in their homes they are often surprised and delighted with the results,” said Marketing Manager Karen Gentles. “Luckily for us Dyson owners are also quite vocal in social media channels about their love [for the product].”

Meanwhile, it looks like LG are the pick of the bunch, with a keen understanding of social media and effective marketing strategies. LG has recognised social media networks as a great source of valuable customer feedback and communications, according to Category Marketing Manager Paul Fitzgerald.

“It’s a territory that’s multifaceted, and one that LG is looking to take a leading role in this year,” he said.

The company also successfully launched a viral video campaign, featuring its Kompressor Plus vacuum and proving that the company understands online audiences.

“Taking a light-hearted approach to demonstrating the suction power of the LG Kompressor vacuum,” said Fitzgerald. “The video advertisement’s creative treatment was seen as a breakthrough for the category, with more than 2 million extra views in four weeks, 60,000 Facebook shares and over 800 Tweets.”

It’s successful initiatives like LG’s use of video and social media that really make the difference for companies looking to improve their exposure.

For more information and hints on successful online marketing techniques, please see Power Retail’s marketing section.

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