Multiple crises such as the pandemic or supply chain challenges are also causing a development push toward digitization in brick-and-mortar retailing. The crises have shown that suppliers and retailers must face the challenges together and develop joint solutions. This applies especially to the subject of retail marketing. GOLDKRONE supports its affiliated retail partners with socialPALS campaigns and sees the platform’s advantages primarily in the results’ flexibility and measurability. Kathrin Doleczik shares her insights!
Kathrin, please tell us something about yourself and your role at GOLDKRONE! How is the group structured, what is your core concept, and what exactly do you do?
GOLDKRONE is the largest trade cooperative for the leather goods trade in Europe. The most important task of GOLDKRONE is the central regulation of retailers and suppliers. In addition, we support our more than 350 specialized retail partners (DACH, BE, NL) with intelligent solutions that cannot be achieved by one individual. These are the projects and offers that make our group so diverse and lively.
With Bag&Order for example, we organize two order fairs a year, which have become a popular meeting place for the industry. We also present an attractive industry solution for specialist retailers with our online platform bagmondo.de – as well as managing the technology, we also take care of the entire online marketing, for example, so that the workload for specialist retailers is kept to a minimum. Many lack the time capacities and expertise in e-commerce matters and are grateful for an uncomplicated solution.
You have been using our platform since March 2021 to supply your members continuously and effectively with high-quality campaign content and have already played out 23 campaigns on it since then. This makes you among the first in the industry to successfully leverage the potential of socialPALS. Why did you decide to integrate this innovative communication concept permanently after the "test phase"?
As GOLDKORNE, we act as a hub between retailers and suppliers. We bundle interests, questions and suggestions and thus create added value for both sides. We convinced our participating suppliers to use socialPALS because the platform allows them to play out measurable social media campaigns easily and quickly. On top of that, our suppliers benefit from the conceptual support of GOLDKRONE. A decisive factor here is the uncomplicated approach to handling the campaign for the retailer. Some of our retailers do not have the time and motivation to deal with Instagram & Co. as well as their brick-and-mortar business – so socialPALS is a fantastic solution!
What was the goal of the previous campaigns, and how much internal effort did you put into marketing to get them off the ground? Did the platform save you time and reduce your workload compared to "traditional" retail marketing?
When I joined GOLDKRONE in 2020, there was no marketing. After looking at the requirements of the market players, I concluded quite quickly that we had to position ourselves within the realms of digital marketing. This is where we can score as an infrastructure provider. The offer from socialPALS came in very handy. Of course, it was a lot of work to convince the suppliers to carry out campaigns with us. We initially had little expertise and could not argue very promisingly. During the pandemic, many people’s marketing budgets were not that loose.
We scored a great hit with our first Campaign for Ergobag. The USP of the campaign was that you could book an appointment for a school bag consultation via the landing page – which was great at the time because the first lockdown was just coming to an end. The school campaigns are going really well in general, because many of our retailers have these product groups in their range and you can simply make a lot out of them.
We’ve already done various competitions for the chance to win school bag sets – later to be collected on-site at the retailer. The other day I saw a photo of a beaming child with the satchel he had won, and I’m happy about that. You can see how the bridge between “digital” and “real life” is being built!
What we also try to do from time to time is to link socialPALS campaigns with brick-and-mortar retail. A campaign by Coocazoo just ended, which also included a competition. As an instant win, you could pick up a small gift at the retailer. Last year, we campaigned with several suppliers during the Christmas season. The idea was to make the end customer aware of buying gifts at local speciality stores rather than online. That went down quite well – this year, I’d like to optimize it more. We’ll see what else we can come up with…!
We are also always looking for ways to combine socialPALS campaigns with bagmondo. There have already been isolated attempts here; we are still experimenting. There have also been campaigns that have been somewhat difficult due to a lack of participants. In this case, we must find a solution with the suppliers that satisfy everyone.
How difficult was it to motivate your retail partners to participate? Is the "online marketing" module accepted as an integration into the sales concept?
Initially, we needed various means of communication to draw attention to the new marketing offer. During the pandemic, of course, we lacked personal contact, so we resorted to mailings and online training, for example. In the meantime, many of our retailers see it necessary to present and market their local business online. I think the campaigns produce a good background noise here, which in no way replaces our social media activities.
In general, many of our retailers see a significant benefit in the ads, which they probably wouldn’t run themselves. For many, their social media profiles reach is also relatively low. Combined with the simple implementation via the platform, we were already able to convince over 100 GOLDKRONE dealers to participate in a socialPALS campaign!
Participation in a socialPALS campaign and, therefore, the playout of the turnkey content calendar is confirmed by each retail partner after one-time registration via 1-Click. Are there also markets that are more closely involved with the platform and, for example, schedule (extra) postings or advertising budget themselves?
On a more regular basis, our retailers use the functionality to move postings or add additional organic postings to the calendar. Especially the active social media users adjust the content calendar to fit the individual postings of their account. Retailers also like to add new hashtags sporadically. Increasing the advertising budget is only used sporadically in our company. Recently, however, we have been increasingly pointing out the benefits of this functionality to our retailers.
Were the campaigns successful? What factors did you use to measure their success? Were you able to draw any helpful benefits - for example, which channels/formats are best suited to the product or brand being advertised?
We measure the success of a campaign primarily by the reach or, in the case of campaigns in which we integrate a link, by the link clicks. But the “standard marketing KPIs” such as CPM or CTR are also relevant to us. Our experience is that we can achieve a higher reach, especially with Google Ads, than with Facebook Ads. Also, emotional videos and carousel posts always go down very well. Another learning is that the interaction with the postings increases the more personal and “closer to the customer” the captions are designed. We had already integrated a competition three times on the landing page in a memory form. Such an interactive incentive naturally also increases link clicks.
What challenges do you currently see for both brand suppliers and leather goods retailers? Have multiple crises such as pandemics, war, or even the ongoing supply chain issues had a lasting impact on the industry? Have the requirements for local marketing also changed fundamentally as a result?
Beyond the familiar challenges that we all had and still have to contend with, there was a development push towards digitization on the part of our retailers. The pandemic has shown that suppliers and specialist retailers must tackle the challenges together. There’s no point in passing the buck back and forth; we must work on joint solutions.
One part of this is undoubtedly marketing. I think it’s great that the willingness to support retailers with socialPALS campaigns is sometimes very significant on the part of the brands. Indeed, one advantage here is that the advertising materials can be used in a targeted manner and shifted flexibly – and of course, the excellent measurability of the results! Indeed, the classic advertising brochure is still a popular medium among our retailers, but we no longer offer that at all. Increased paper prices and delivery delays make such a project almost impossible.
How can the retail marketing platform socialPALS support you as a retail group in mastering these challenges together?
There have been two or three occasions where products already set up to be promoted in a campaign had not yet arrived at our retailers by the start date. In this case, we could easily use the functionality of socialPALS and simply postpone the entire campaign.
The function to mirror a campaign over several durations is also ideal – especially against the background of the different delivery dates for each retailer. Also, the federal states have varying vacation dates and thus need advertising support at various times on the topic of “school”.
How do you see the future of over-the-counter retail in the context of the market power of the big online players? Does the retail trade still have a chance if it invests in digital measures in good time, for example? Do customers still want to shop at brick-and-mortar stores?
I think brick-and-mortar retail is essential, and several initiatives are now aimed at revitalizing inner cities. Speciality retailers play an important role in this, perhaps not necessarily the traditional role they have always played – but that’s another story…
Especially in our industry, with luggage or school bags, professional advice plays a vital role. The experience for a child of going to a school bag store with their parents, trying on different styles and then finally deciding on the ideal companion for the first day of school cannot be replaced by an online purchase. The photo for the family album with the new satchel is obligatory with every purchase – many retailers have created great backgrounds for this. Both the satchel purchase and the luggage purchase are often very emotional.
The excellent advice and an inviting setting, coupled with good after-sales service, turn a visit to a retail store into an experience. If retailers then convey this emotionality via social media, for example, and combine it with smart features such as an appointment booking tool, the result is an optimal link between brick-and-mortar and online.
We have already integrated the appointment booking function for school bag consultation in two of our campaigns with Ergobag and have received consistently positive feedback from our retailers!
Are you already planning further campaigns to support your retail partners?
We are planning at least four more campaigns this year. Among them are campaigns from Deuter, SURI FREY & Vaude. In addition, this year, for the first time, we are launching a campaign in which shoe retailers from ANWR will also participate alongside retailers from GOLDKRONE. The brand Emily & Noah is positioned with its bags, shoes and as a leather goods retailer. I am already planning for the next year and have some firm commitments from exciting brands!
What was your personal experience with socialPALS? Do you have any feedback?
I appreciate not only the very good technical platform but also the easy accessibility and the competent advice of our contact persons. Since the beginning of our cooperation, many further developments have already been made that are of great benefit to us. At some point, we will surely find a suitable solution for dovetailing socialPALS with bagmondo. In any case, I look forward to many more exciting projects and campaigns!
Voices from our retailers:
Measuring the success of these campaigns is not easy, but we were extremely pleased with the sales of Coocazoo backpacks during the campaign. Not every customer who visits our store communicates that they are stopping by because of our digital presence. But the main thing is that they come! The socialPALS platform is very clear and self-explanatory for the most part. If something doesn’t work, socialPALS’ support is top-notch, and assistance is even provided without being asked. That’s great – thank you very much!
Trip & Travel Sporbeck-Holten KG
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