In view of the significant role which merchandising will play in the ONLINE MARKETING of his product, the ONLINE MARKETING Manager should consider the types of promotion he proposes to use and to formulate a plan of campaign on the, following lines:

1. Objectives. The aims and objects of the company's merchandising activities for the next twelve-month period should be set out in detail. These may include:

A. The launching of a new product.

B. The launching of an existing product into a new market or market segment.

C. Increasing the existing product's market share.

2. Methods. The merchandising methods to be employed to achieve these aims will depend upon the nature, both of the product and the market. One or more of the following may be suitable:

A. Free demonstrations

B. Special displays

C. Price reductions

D. Deal-ins or trade promotions.

E. Deal-outs or consumer promotions.

Under this heading also one should define the product or products, the geographical areas and the class of customers it is intended to feature in the promotions.

3. Cost. Merchandising activities can be expensive and can erode profits quickly unless kept under tight financial control. The cost of every promotion should be budgeted in advance and related to the increase in revenue which it is designed to achieve.

4. Training. The salesmen will have to be briefed on all promotional arrangements and may require some special training in order that they may play their part to the full. Some large firms, particularly those producing grocery and pharmaceutical products, employ specialist merchandising staff who operate alongside and in addition to the salesmen. The merits of this system are the saving of the time of the sales force, saving in the cost and inconvenience of having to train salesmen to undertake merchandising work and the assurance that the merchandising effort is being undertaken by men experienced and qualified in this specialized aspect of marketing. On the other hand, there is the hazard of confusion which can result from divided responsibilities and the inconvenience which may be caused to distributors who have to deal with more than one representative from the same supplier.

5. Co-ordination. Successful merchandising depends upon proper co-ordination of the activities of all departments in the company which are likely to be involved in special promotions. The ONLINE MARKETING Manager should ensure that Production, Despatch, Advertising, Public Relations and the Sales Department are kept fully informed and co-operate with the merchandising personnel to obtain the maximum results from promotional activity.

6. Programming. Good organization is vital to merchandising. Arrangements have to be made, well in advance, not only with other departments within the company, but with such outside agencies as printers, manufacturers of merchandise for premium offers, distributors of coupons, samples or sales literature as well as with retailers. A programme of dates for each stage of the merchandising campaign should be prepared and circulated to all concerned.

It is fairly standard practice, in the field of packaged groceries, soaps, detergents and toothpaste, for promotions-or 'deals'-to be in two parts. The first part, called the deal-in, usually consists of an offer made by the manufacturer to the retailer of a price reduction for a specified period. This offer is conditional upon the retailer accepting an agreed minimum supply of the product. In the second part, known as the deal-out, a special attraction is offered to the consumer. This can take several forms. It may be the offer of some desirable item such as a kitchen utensil or a toy or gadget which the housewife can purchase at a reduced price upon presentation of two wrappers or labels of the product. Alternatively, it may be entry into a competition, with the chance of winning a holiday for two, a car, or a considerable cash prize. The offer may, perhaps, be merely the opportunity to buy the product at a reduced price such as 'rip off'.

Further reading - Bargain Packs

Please Note

The Trade is, of course, a major source of product ideas. All manufacturers examine, with avid interest, the new products of their competitors.