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Cleveland Research Conference Call Next Week


Finding retail industry research is not a difficult thing. Understanding and applying research that is relevant to your at-retail merchandising service business is another matter. To get a start down this road, NARMS members are invited to attend a Grocery Conference Call on January 30th at 2 PM EST hosted by Cleveland Research Company. To date, 268 companies are already registered for this high value event. Registration information has been emailed to members.

These 60 minute calls include real-time insights and updates from Cleveland Research Company on the grocery channel and interactions with senior management in addition to a brief question and answer period. The slide deck used during the presentation will also be included for all call participants.

NARMS has started a conversation with Cleveland Research about the importance of research and how our members and association can apply this knowledge into their day to day operations. In addition to this invitation to the members, Cleveland Research led a NARMS Webinar a few weeks back and will host a session at The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC). Dennis Reed, Director of National Accounts, will lead the session on Tuesday, April 30 at 9:45.

Here is a sample of the types of topics that will be covered in the conference call:

Top 3 Takeaways from Cleveland Research this week:

-Walmart sales look weaker over the last 60 days despite strong plans and relatively decent execution.

-Homecenter sales look stronger than expected this quarter, and we continue to see some upside versus expectations and company guidance for Home Depot and Lowe’s to this point in 4Q.

-Strong B2C shipping demand driven primarily by better-than-expected eCommerce volumes.

Key Themes by Company/Channel sorted by Business Fundamentals:

-Homecenters – business stronger than expected, orders improving.

-Pet – good near-term sales momentum, outlook expected to moderate slightly.

-Coffee – one of the strongest performers in retail/foodservice as well as down the grocery aisles.

-Luxury Retail – continued Chinese consumer weakness hurting sales, particularly jewelry and watches.

-Appliances – volumes still soft, early signs that promotional activity is returning.

Your association is in the process of defining what our members need in the area of industry research. Your involvement in webinars, conference calls and educational sessions at RMMC can help shape the future of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry.

SymphonyIRI Report Examines Merchandising Trends

January 22, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf


The consumer definition of value is a moving target. The widespread acceptance of online, mobile and social media marketing has gone a long way to shape the impressions of shoppers before they enter the store. Has this made traditional methods of at-retail merchandising obsolete? The January issue of Times & Trends by SymphonyIRI takes a look at current and emerging trends being embraced by CPG marketers in the ongoing battle to meet consumer needs.

This report defines merchandising activity as those employing feature ads, feature plus display, display only and price only tactics. According to the report, more than one-third of volume is sold with merchandising support across 39 percent of categories. Here are some other key findings:

-The pace of merchandising activity has been mixed during the past year, with 53 percent of categories seeing increased support. Within the drug channel, merchandising activity declined across 60 percent of categories, but support across key health and beauty care categories has risen more quickly versus the grocery channel.

-Growth in display only and price-only tactics has escalated, while combined feature/display activity has slowed.

-Merchandising activity is intensifying across many meal ingredient and meal component categories, particularly in frozen foods and fresh/perishable categories.

-In general, private brands receive less merchandising support versus their name-brand competitors.

-Merchandising programs that begin to impact the shopper in the home are having a powerful impact on sales lift.

-CPG marketers are adopting new strategies aimed at capitalizing on new technologies and building more targeted, impactful relationships with consumers.

Certainly, the merchandising tactics employed by CPG manufacturers and retailers have a direct effect on the members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry who often act as their outsourced execution arm in stores. Times & Trends dives much more deeply into these trends than we can share here, so you should download your copy here.

Staying on top of trends that shape the industry is an important mission of NARMS. This commitment will be on full display at The 2013 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) to be held on April 27-30 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Visit the official conference website for more information and to register.


Your Association on the Trade Show Trail

January 15, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf


In addition to all the excitement building over The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC), NARMS announced last week that it will exhibit at three prominent industry trade shows in 2013. As a service to the members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry, the Association is offering members an exclusive opportunity to join us and kick the tires of these big retail events without a huge risk or financial commitment.

Marketing your company at a trade show always comes with the uncertainty that you will get return on your investment. NARMS will have a booth at each of the following events and we encourage you to use it as a home base for your business meetings and to promote your affiliation with our Association. Participation will allow you to determine for yourself if you want to market your company at these events in 2014.

Here is some information on the shows:

NGA (National Grocer’s Association): February 10th – 13th at The Mirage in Las Vegas, NV. The NGA Show offers something for everyone. Trading partners from retailers, manufacturers and suppliers will all find a wealth of good ideas and new information in the educational workshops and the NGA EXPO floor. The EXPO Floor is completely sold out, the earliest date in the history of the Show.

Expo West : March 8th – 10th at the Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA. The Natural Products marketplace is growing. As a result, Natural Products Expo West is growing as well. More retail buyers are walking the show floor at Expo West than ever before, looking for the newest quality products to bring back to their stores. Over 60,000 industry members attended Expo West this past March.

GlobalShop : April 16th – 18th at McCormick Place, Chicago, IL. GlobalShop is the largest annual event for retail design and shopper marketing. It is the only show in the world where you can find the largest, most comprehensive array of store fixture companies and more in-store solutions than any live event in the nation.

Click here to download an informational flyer and learn more about these special opportunities. These are high traffic events so you will want to act quickly as these shows do sell out. We hope you will join us as together we display that NARMS members provide valuable, innovative and necessary services to the retail industry.


RMMC Keynote Will Address the New Rules of Retail


The retail industry is tough and getting tougher. Driven by constantly evolving technology, globalization and a saturated marketplace, consumers now have total and instantaneous access to whatever they desire, creating an unprecedented level of consumer power and expectations. The impact of these changes is so profound that all traditional strategic success factors, and the business models necessary to execute them, will become extinct. To help the members of NARMS to Learn, Change and Grow, keynote speaker Robin Lewis of The Robin Report will present The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World’s Toughest Marketplace at the Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) presented by NARMS.

The annual at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry get together will take place on April 27-30 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort in Scottsdale. Lewis will take the main stage at 3:30 on Sunday, April 28.

Using profiles and case examples of industry giants, Lewis will reveal why some retailers are tremendously successful at reaching increasingly elusive and demanding consumers, and explains the new mandate, essentially the new rules for retailers.

Lewis is the founder and CEO of The Robin Report. He is an author, speaker, and consultant for the retail and consumer products industries. He is frequently requested by C-level management for advice, consultation and strategic presentations: among them are Kohl’s, Bloomingdale’s, JC Penney, Macy’s, Liz Claiborne, VF Corp., Charming Shoppes, Estee Lauder, Ralph Lauren, and Sara Lee. Previously, he was Vice President at Goldman Sachs, where he developed and launched a global retail consulting practice.

He is the co-author of The New Rules of Retail, published by Palgrave- McMillan Publishing in 2010, and is often quoted in various trade and consumer publications such as Women’s Wear Daily, Time Magazine, Chicago Sun Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Brand Week, and Advertising Age, as well as on CNBC and MSNBC.

The Lewis keynote address is just one example of the value-packed agenda being put together for RMMC. This is a chance to not only take in some valuable information, but also have your voice heard as the Association prepares to meet the challenges of the future. You can find out more about RMMC and register by visiting the official website. Group rates are available so you can bring your whole team.

NARMS Health Exchange Enables Learn, Change, Grow

January 8, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf


The New Year is a time to make resolutions. NARMS and the members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing industry are resolved to live by the theme Learn, Change, Grow in 2013 and beyond. These three words are also the theme of The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) set for Scottsdale on April 27-30. Addressing the Affordable Health Care Act and its business tax provisions starting in 2014 is an opportunity to start fulfilling those resolutions now.

Rob Dooley with the NARMS Health Exchange, along with Bob Plante, will be expanding on the issue as they present a breakout session on the Affordable Care Act at RMMC. The duo will also be available at the conference in the exhibit area to meet and consult on how you can create a Safe Harbor Plan for you and your employees. If you recall, Dooley hosted an installment of the NARMS Webinar Series on this important topic back in October. For those members who were unable to attend the webinar, an audio playback and the companion slideshow are available by visiting the Members Area on

Dooley has set up the NARMS Health Exchange as part of the solution and an outstanding benefit to our members. The Exchange is a value-added service provided at no cost to NARMS members. It can be found online at

The NARMS Health Exchange is an information source and a quote engine for health insurance offered through a defined contribution income tax exempt approach. There is a short video on the website under the employer tab that will further clarify the program and how it works. You can save thousands of dollars in taxes with less than 10 minutes a month in administration, help attract and retain good employees and save those employees thousands of dollars in tax and premiums.

The NARMS Health Exchange is another example of how the members of our Association can work together for the mutual benefit of all and is a vivid example of the benefits of membership. Register for RMMC by visiting the official conference website and start down a path of preparation for the Affordable Health Care Act.

Putting Center Store Front and Center

January 3, 2013 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, What's in store


CPG manufacturers in all categories and channels are always looking for ways to differentiate their products to gain additional sales and market share. There was a time when this drive to draw attention lead many to concentrate their promotional activity to the perimeter of the store. The center store was seen as a place to stack it high and let it fly, but not a place to truly innovate. But according to the latest issue of Times & Trends by SymphonyIRI, there is a new emphasis on promoting center store categories.

According to Times & Trends, center store has outperformed industry averages for two years garnering two-thirds of CPG spending and 70 percent of unit sales. In spite of this fact, promotional activity is declining in 58 percent of center store categories and 6 of the top 10.

The report says that center store has rebounded due to changing consumer rituals like preparing meals at home and using home based health and beauty products. The center store is the focal point for trip missions and the basis for popular shopper loyalty programs. Advanced analytics and shopper marketing data have made it possible to promote and differentiate in the center store. It all revolves around understanding the needs of key shopper groups and merchandising to meet those needs.

SymphonyIRI suggests three courses of action for trading partners: Continue to assess new growth opportunities and threats. Explore the feasibility of collaborative marketing and merchandising plans. Closely measure and monitor strategy execution.

The members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry provide services that directly support these strategies. NARMS members can quickly execute shelf-level initiatives that support shopper needs such as new product cut-ins, category resets, store remodels, product sampling and demo programs and mystery shopping/audit services.

For a deeper understanding of the SymphonyIRI Times & Trends report, download your free copy by clicking here. Another opportunity for deeper understanding and insight is coming up on April 27-30 at The 2013 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) presented by NARMS. Click here to find out more and register today.


Applying the Lessons of E-commerce to At-Retail

December 27, 2012 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, What's in store


It is clear from holiday sales results that e-commerce has taken another big leap forward and a sizable chunk out of the market share pie. Last week in a Top Shelf article , we discussed using technology to make improvements to the physical store space. This week, we take a look at how traditional retailing can examine the rise of e-tailing and apply some of the lessons to improve the in-store experience.

In a guest column for Forbes, Steve Jeffrey, CEO of Brickstream, gives some advice to brick and mortar retailers on how to leverage the unique aspects of actually visiting a retail location and augment that experience by catering to the individual needs of the shopper.

The first step according to Jeffrey is to analyze the behavior of in-store visitors in the same manner as practiced by on-line retailers. This is easier said than done. E-tailers have the advantage of the digital trail at their disposal. Collecting shopper data at-retail requires an ability to observe human behavior in a buying environment at many different touch points. More and more retailers are turning to real-time behavioral intelligence technology to close this insight gap.

The next step is turning insight into action. On-line retailers can make changes from a single point, and yet still customize the experience to the individual shopper. After physical retailers know more about their shoppers, they can also make adjustments to cater toward shopper behavior. Things like check-out wait times, store set-up, POP placement, stock levels and sales floor assistance are all things that can be adjusted by using real-time, granular shopper data.

The third step is to adapt quickly. Again, on-line retailers have a clear advantage due to their ability to make changes at a single point. Brick and mortar retailers have to make adjustments at many points of purchase, in multiple stores and multiple geographies. Consistency and accuracy in execution across a chain are vital, but regional variances have to be accounted for.

Not surprisingly, the three steps of analyze, act and adapt are similar to the theme of The 2013 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) presented by NARMS, which is Learn, Change, Grow. The members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry provide services in the store that can quickly roll-out chain wide initiatives derived from advanced shopper marketing information platforms. These firms can help gather shopper intelligence, take action at shelf-level and use advanced reporting systems to monitor the activity while allowing store personnel to concentrate on job one, which is taking care of the customer. NARMS members can be the conduit by which on-line lessons are applied to physical stores.


Digital Natives Seek Omnichannel Brand Experience

December 13, 2012 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, RMMC2012, What's in store


As the last installment of the NARMS Webinar Series pointed out, there is a wealth of research available that can help guide and enhance the efforts of the at-retail merchandising and marketing community. In fact, NARMS will shortly be seeking your opinion on the content of an industry study. In the meantime, helpful nuggets of data appear every day in the trade media. Today we will look at a consumer survey by IBM as reported on in the pages of Chain Store Age.

The study looked at the shopping behavior of 1,200 consumers between the ages of 13 and 60. The key themes again center on future shoppers being social, mobile and self sufficient. There is less differentiation between the various touchpoints of the customer experience and more focus on seeking an overall flawless experience regardless of the channel.

The next generation of shoppers, or digital natives, is much more likely to shop on mobile devices. This group wants retailers and brand marketers to know them and their shopping patterns intimately. In return, they are much more willing to provide information about themselves and will actively advocate for the stores and brands that they see as delivering a complete omnichannel experience.

Cost and quality are listed as among the most important factors for the participants of the study. Being in-stock (91 percent), delivering on an overall experience (90 percent) and providing a convenient return process (85 percent) were the next three factors for recommending retailers. The post-purchase process was listed as important in building brand loyalty and advocacy.

Members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing services industry have a huge impact on the touchpoints experienced by the future shopper. Out-of-stocks can cause a shopper to quickly find a replacement brand or store via their smart-phone and turn a powerful brand ambassador into a negative influence. The story shares many more findings and you should click on the link to get more details.

Research and how to use it is an important topic for NARMS. It is vital that our members get involved and tell us what they are looking for. One way to get involved and have your voice heard is to attend The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) presented by NARMS scheduled for April 27-30 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. Click here to find out more and to register.

The Value of Industry Research to NARMS Members

December 6, 2012 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, What's in store


What is research? It is the result of advancing knowledge created in the past. Have you ever wondered how to apply the enormous amount of research that we receive daily into your business? The next installment of the NARMS Webinar Series - The Value of Industry Research to NARMS Members, an interactive webinar presented by Cleveland Research Company -will answer these questions and discuss what types of research the members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry need going forward.

The event will take place next Tuesday, December 11 at 1:00 PM CST. This webinar is generously sponsored by Natural Insight and is brought to you through the technology of ReadyTalk. You can register by visiting the members area of

The one-hour session, presented by two leading analysts from Cleveland Research Company, will provide a clear understanding of consumer coverage and how this can help NARMS members in their business. This is also your opportunity to let us know what knowledge and information you need to help you grow and succeed in your business. As always, attendees will have a chance to participate via the ReadyTalk chat function.


The presenters will be Dennis Reed and Jason Whitmer of Cleveland Research Company. Reed serves as the Director of National Accounts and Whitmer is a Senior Research Analyst with the firm. Cleveland Research Company is an independent equity research firm that takes pride in a disciplined research process that features a high level of service and regular engagement with the companies they cover.

The NARMS Webinar Series is a valuable service provided as part of your membership at no additional charge. Please join the many fellow members who regularly take advantage of these educational sessions. This is a real opportunity to gain insight and voice your needs in the area of industry research.

Webinar to Explore Importance of Holiday and Event-Based Store Audits

November 29, 2012 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, RMMC2013, What's in store


The next installment of the highly popular NARMS Webinar Series is on tap for next Thursday, December 6 at 11:00 AM CST and could not come at a better time. With the frenzy of the holiday season already upon us, Bob Bahramipour will present: The Importance of Holiday and Event-based Store Audits - Why Speed, Courage and Flexibility are so vital and how Mobile Technology achieves it. This webinar is sponsored and presented by Gigwalk, and brought to you through the technology of ReadyTalk. You can register for this event by visiting the Members Area on

During this hour-long session, Bahramipour will instruct attendees about store presence, the sales patterns and the effect of poor retail execution, and how mobile technology is making audits more effective during the busy holiday season. As always, there will be an opportunity to interact during a question and answer session via the ReadyTalk chat function.

Bahramipour brings 15 years of digital media experience to his role of CEO at Gigwalk. Prior to Gigwalk, he served as vice president of advertising products at TRUSTe. Before that he was vice president of business development at venture-backed YuMe. He was a senior member of the Yahoo! Search team and managed the Yahoo! search toolbar business and oversaw all search distribution and partnerships.

The webinar series is a complimentary service to the members of NARMS. Register today and join the many at-retail merchandising and marketing industry professionals who take advantage of this value added educational opportunity. While we are on the topic of learning, do not forget to register for The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) presented by NARMS to be held April 27 – 30, 2013 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. You can find out more by clicking here.

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Calendar items for NARMS:

Feb 10, 2013 - Feb 13, 2013
2013 NGA Show
Feb 10, 2013 - Feb 13, 2013
2013 Toy Fair
Feb 19, 2013 - Feb 22, 2013
87th Education & Trade Expo
Feb 20, 2013 - Feb 22, 2013
Global Pet Expo
Feb 26, 2013 - Feb 28, 2013
2013 Commercial Construction & Renovation Summit
Mar 02, 2013 - Mar 05, 2013
International Home & Housewares Show 2013
Mar 03, 2013 - Mar 06, 2013
Distribution Management Conference & Technology Expo 2013
Mar 07, 2013 - Mar 10, 2013
Natural Products Expo West 2013
Mar 07, 2013 - Mar 10, 2013
2013 CHPA Annual Executive Conference
Mar 17, 2013 - Mar 20, 2013
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NARMS-hosted Webinars: