What IS Retail Execution, Anyway?
It's not as dark as it sounds
You may have heard of it, but do you know what it is? Retail execution is fairly broad term. Depending on who you ask, it tends to mean different things to all the different stakeholders along a product’s journey from the manufacturer to the shelf. As a customer, until something isn't in stock that you were shopping for, you may not think about all the activity and work required to get the product from the factory to you. Many items are shipped to stores and stocked by the retailer's in-house team, but there are other business models, too. In some cases, the product is delivered and merchandised directly to the store by a manufacturers' rep (like soda, chip or bread companies). In other cases, the merchandise is shipped from the vendor to the store, and then stocked and placed at shelf by a third-party company, representing the brands.
Think of retail execution as the way items are physically placed, promoted, and presented in stores – ideally, it happens exactly as a company has outlined in their go-to-market strategy. It’s about ensuring that product is presented consistently, signed clearly and that manufacturers are getting what they’ve been promised, in terms of promotional space and in-store advertising/placement with retailer partners. For retailers, it’s the last phase of the journey to the shelf and for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies, it’s the critical steps that can make-or-break the opportunity to make sales.
The process comes with its own unique set of challenges for each stakeholder, especially when it comes to visibility to see what's happening at the shelf in each location - managing distributed teams, communicating with workers and verifying that the promotions are set, or verifying a product is where it should be and when.
Even the best laid plans...
Knowing that even the very best plans are worthless without being able to find a way to execute at shelf, suppliers have started to adopt monitoring technology to enable in-store tasks by field reps or third-party labor providers (on behalf of manufacturers). It’s about investing in actions that ensure items are making their way to the right stores and right shelves, at the right time, to meet customer demand. So, you could say the proof is in the putting … rather, that is, in the placement of items where customers can find and buy them.
Some invest in initiatives or technology that aim to revolutionize business processes in manageable ways. Some leverage software platforms to help gain clear visibility into the state of their business on the front lines of retail, as well as maximizing efficiency of day-to-day operations in the field. All are working to effectively gain an advantage over competitors.
Success through Symbiotic Relationships
As the retail landscape continues to constantly evolve, many retailers are working to innovate and outfox their e-commerce competition by providing elevated customer experience or staffing their stores with subject matter experts to provide top-notch customer service. As part of this focus, many are reaching out to their most trusted CPG counterparts, leveraging collaborative partnerships with manufacturers to help gain deeper insights about item activity at shelf level and using that information to take action and impact retail sales.
Why should that matter to me?
Bottom line: poor execution at the point of sale can cost you. No one can afford lost sales at a time in the industry when customers simply aren’t as brand loyal as they used to be or, in some cases, will opt to order from a multitude of selections online, versus driving to the store. It’s not a realistic business strategy to cross your fingers & hope they’ll just come back next time, once they haven’t found a product when and where they’re looking for it. The good news is that nearly 60% of shoppers surveyed actually prefer to go to brick and mortar locations. The number climbs to almost 70% when you talk about larger life purchases, like home furniture or engagement rings.
Poorly planned and/or implemented retail execution can cost you millions, or even billions of dollars. With everything at stake, it’s worthwhile to consider investing in tools, like ONE by Movista, that will help ensure you excel at your retail execution game.
Leverage visibility to maximize productivity
Talking about investing in technology can sound expensive or intimidating, but with the right partners and tools, you'll find that results driven by the software shows a tangible ROI. Essentially, once you factor in the increased sales, improved team productivity and reduced costs – the product could more than pay for itself through the increased revenue stream.
Investing in a retail execution software solution is really a drop in the bucket when you consider the amount of potential sales and number of customers retained. Over a lifetime, this could add up to millions of dollars! When you think about it, can you really put a price on long-term success?