Why FMCG brands need retail execution more than ever.

Posted on Wed, August 26, 2020

Posted by: TeletrackLIVE

Why FMCG brands need execution more than ever.

What is retail execution?

Much like the 1936 book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, retail execution is the broad term for all of the activities FMCG and CPG brands carry out in-store to attract and persuade buyers and to make sure those buyers actually have something to buy!

We take a little look at the basics of retail execution and why it has never been more important, and unfortunately, why it has never been so difficult!

Retail Execution Strategy 1) Trade Promotions

Take a look at the above image, what's the first thing your eyes are drawn to? Studies show it's likely to be one of two things, either your favourite brand (shopper loyalty) or perhaps more likely, the promotions offered. Beer is an interesting category, with most shoppers having firm favourites and strong emotional brand loyalty; which is why it is often littered with promotions to try and influence purchasing decisions.

Over 1/3 of food sold in the UK is on promotion (Source: Waste & Resources Action Programme) which equates to over £1,000 a year per household! This is why fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands engage in trade promotions with retailers - but just because a trade promotion is agreed at head office level, doesn't mean it will be accurately advertised in-store with the correct shelf-edge labels (SELs) and on-shelf advertising. Having someone in-store to enforce the display of these details can boost sales and drive profits at the individual store level.

Retail Execution Strategy 2) On Shelf Availability

The images of empty shelves during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was something unlike anything we've seen in this country for decades, it does provide an extreme glimpse into the importance of on-shelf availability (OSA). Retailers do, of course, try their best to keep stock on shelves but with deliveries coming in thick and fast, alongside all of the important duties of running a busy retail environment still needing to be done, stock can sit in warehouses and loading bays for days - and stock in warehouses doesn't end up in baskets!

Having a trained execution specialist retrieving warehouse stock and using it to merchandise shelves can seriously boost sales, especially in conjunction with promotional activity which can, even with the best modelling, outperform demand generation estimates.

Retail Execution Strategy 3) Product Merchandising

Just as important as having stock on shelves is how the product looks, this is especially important in industries like cosmetics which rely on beautifully merchandised display stands to attract buyers. Having a trained specialist in a store making sure that wherever your product is located, be it chilled, ambient or frozen, looks as best as it can. Shoppers are performing countless psychological decisions in-store at the point of product selection and a well merchandised range ends up with more products in baskets.

Retail Execution Strategy 4) Fixture based marketing

Fixtures in store can have a huge presence when placed away from the rest of the category on the shelves, examples include free standing display units (FSDUs) like those pictured above, ladder racks, gondola ends and point of sale (POS) displays.

These displays are a chance to get creative with designs to catch the eye in a way that is prohibitive on a shelf. Especially when these displays are combined with promotional activity can lead to new shopper acquisition in a way that simply being on a shelf next to their favourite brand wouldn't achieve.

Generally speaking, these displays are either delivered to stores in flat-pack or to the homes or businesses of merchandisers who then go into store to build and merchandise them and where possible negotiate prime positioning for the display to maximise sales!

The effect of online shopping on retail execution

It is no secret that online shopping has seen a massive (129% week on week in April) growth spurt. The issue with this comes when trying to execute in-store campaigns without having access to the bigger picture of all sales data online and offline. In an ideal world, a brand's execution strategy would factor in brick and mortar, online grocery, direct to consumer and wholesale/convenience insight and data as part of a big picture plan.

Online retail can be a minefield for SME brands who are still penetrating their market, there is a distinct lack of impulse purchase opportunity and it is all too easy to search for "Brand XYZ" rather than "category ABC" and navigate straight to your usual brand. These brands must use more creative methods to sway online shoppers and having access to the data can help them plot a whole of market strategy.

Why is Retail Execution so important now?

The COVID pandemic has hugely changed the way people shop, consumers are spending less time in stores but actually spending more - with a study by ThisIsMoney reporting that grocery consumers in April recorded 41 per cent fewer transactions, but the value of purchases was 6 per cent higher.

This provides a unique opportunity for brands to grow sales and awareness but means it is more important than ever to capture attention in an environment where consumers aren't comfortable being, with one study reporting 66% of consumers were worried about shopping in-stores. An effective retail executions strategy using the tactics described above gives brands the best possible chance of prospering in these difficult times.

Retail Execution tools

In order to make the most of your Retail Execution activity it is critically important to capture and analyse data. Industry in 2020 and beyond is obsessed with metrics and data and FMCG is no different. Do you know which 50 supermarkets in the country allowed FSDU placement away from the category? Do you know which store manager allowed an ambient listed product into the food to go fridges? Can you see in 60 seconds which locations had poorly merchandised displays?

TeletrackLIVE has been helping FMCG brands and agencies manage their retail execution strategies for nearly 20 years and have the technology and expertise to optimise your execution and help you sell more, working smarter rather than harder. We can help whether you use your own staff or use agencies for your retail execution activity. We put the field data at your fingertips and help you make the business-critical decisions that can shape a brand's future.

TeletrackLIVE is a retail execution platform used by brands and agencies to manage field based workforce - it is currently in use with tactical merchandising, strategic merchandising, field sales, brand ambassador programs and more! To find out how we increase ROI on retail execution activity request a demo today!

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