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Interview: Sky retail marketing controller Fran Scorer on experiential stores

TV and broadband brand Sky is overcoming the challenge of selling complicated products to time-short customers by creating experiential attractions that draw people into interacting with the brand, says retail marketing controller Fran Scorer.

“We’re trying to sell quite a unique product – TV packages that in their nature are very complex,” says Scorer.

In its retail outlets, in mid mall sites in busy shopping malls with high footfall, the brand must entertain people if it is to enter into a one-to-one conversation, Scorer adds. “Dwell time is really low,” she says. Most people do not have a Sky package in mind when they head to the local shopping centre, so communicating its benefits needs a creative approach.

The brand has been working with design agency The One Off on developing a tranche of 35 stores – the last just opened – under a new Engage format. “We’ve done quite a lot in our retail environment, to develop stores and make them more inviting, to make people stay,” says Scorer.

Sky is also working with experiential specialist Wasserman to run experiential activity that grabs consumer attention and interest. With the brand’s above the line marketing focused almost exclusively on TV content, experiential activity is an engaging way to make potential customers feel more involved in the process, says Scorer.

“Over the past three years we have been developing experiences right next to our retail spaces. So we have a permanent site in Westfield that allows us to draw people in to come and have a chat with us, a nice experience, then they can be handed over to our retail team,” says Scorer. “And the great thing about all of our experiences is that there is a shareable output; there is always a photo or video.”

This output gives customers something they can share via social media and allows data capture opportunitiesfor Sky, further increasing engagement levels. Customers who choose not to sign up for a Sky contract in-store can save their options, quoting a basket number if they later decide to complete the transaction online or by phone. This ensures they get the deal they agreed and that the sale be attributed to the correct channels.

The strategy acknowledges that, in terms of direct sales, the experiential activity does not provide a return on the investment required to run it. Instead it is seen as part of a long-term brand building effort. Sky research has shown that experiential activity increases the number of customers with an intent to purchase by 12 per cent, says Scorer: “It really has a positive impact.”

 

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