How do you make your product stand out? It’s all about positioning. Blend traditional in-store promotions with the digital needs of the modern shopper. Adopt these three digital promotion strategies to differentiate your product: get social, promote the company mission, and reach out to mobile.

Both manufacturers and retailers spend significant resources on trade promotion activity, but challenges remain. Promotions aren’t limited to an aisle’s end cap or an over-the-top display in the store. Now, people choose products based on a wanted-association to the brand; social proof, company values and mobile stimulus. Let’s figure out how you can mix traditional in-store trade promotions with the digital needs of today’s shoppers.

Manufacturers and retailers have different approaches to digital promotion, creating misalignment.

Only 13% of manufacturers have separate brick-and-mortar and e-commerce budgets and 24% have no e-commerce budget at all. Manufacturers want to promote products through a retailer website, but retailers deemphasize their website in favor of social media posts and mobile couponing.

Kelly Cole, senior project manager for Blacksmith Applications explains, “The physical store may be the destination, but there’s been an explosion of paths that shoppers use to get there.”

Kantar Retail found that trade spending as a percent of gross sales has remained flat for years. The challenge is for manufacturers to find the best combination of pricing strategies, channels and customers to invest in. At the end of the day, the goal for you is to have shoppers repeatedly buy your product(s); the shopper is the boss of trade success.

To create a winning in-store promotional strategy, think about promotions from a shopper’s perspective. As a customer, what would grab your attention?

Here are 3 digital promotion strategies that we recommend food and beverage manufacturers add to their promotional plan to positively impact in-store sales:

  1. Get Social: A digital meeting place where brands can instantly connect with customer ideas, questions, product-use, reviews, customer-generated content, and more.
“Start with understanding your consumers and why they share. Then use content to turn your customers into advocates.” -Jonah Berger, professor at University of Pennsylvania.


  1. Promote the Company Mission: Defining corporate values instantly differentiates companies from one another and can help align themselves with a specific shopper.
“Younger generations expect to identify with not only the product they’re consuming, but what the brand actually stands for.” -Russell Zack, vice president of platforms and strategies, HelloWorld.


  1. Reach Out to Mobile: There’s always competition for display space, so finding customers through beacons and creating a memorable mobile experience promotes top of mind marketing.
“Digital is a key component to support sales, along with in-store marketing efforts such as in-store display and POS.” -Lori Castillo, brand manager, NatureSweet LTD.


Even as new trade spend tactics are tested and even grow in popularity, manufacturers can’t believe that you’ll “save money by avoiding the investment in retail promotions. You won’t save money, you will lose shelf placement,” says Pretzel Crisps VP of Marketing, Perry Abbenante.

Abbenante continues, “It’s all about the price-point. Most retailers have accepted the multiple price point mantra. A 2-for-$5 is more effective than $2.49 each. If you have a 2-for, you will almost guarantee that every customer will buy multiple.” Shoppers are less likely to purchase expensive items on display. Products less than $5 enjoy significantly more lift from promotions.

Don’t forget about the retail buyers

Support the merchandising programs that are important to your retailer buyers. Abbenante reveals, “Too many brands fail to ask the retailer what’s important to them. If a certain promotion is important to the retailer, support it! The retailer may then be more inclined to support you in the future. Don’t be all about you.”

Finally, leverage your insights to move forward with more profitability

Leverage meaningful insights to improve your planning and put that data to work! Support your trade funds and find visibility, profitability and control.