Today we turn our focus to new survey from Deloitte as reported on by DSN Retailing Today. The survey and the subsequent report listens to what retail executives expect to happen in the next five years both in their physical stores and on-line. As members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing industry, it is imperative that we are in-touch with these views because they represent huge opportunities to be of service to our manufacturer and retailer customers.
These executives say that e-commerce will increase three-fold over the next few years, but most still believe the store will remain the primary point-of-purchase. The increase in on-line sales will change the way retailers use their talent, physical space and store operations to keep pace with increasingly personal customer demands. The study surveyed 39 retail executives in September 2011.
As a result of the study findings, Deloitte offers four recommendations to retailers. The first is to refresh strategy to enable operating models to respond quickly to marketplace changes. The next is to realize that there in nothing more important than the in-store experience. The third is to revisit talent management to allow store associates to deliver the more tailored experience. The fourth is to connect and integrate customers from the store to a multi-channel experience.
All four of these recommendations advocate loudly for the use of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service companies of NARMS. These merchandisers, professional installers, event marketers, national and independent brokers are all about mobilizing quickly and tailoring the customer experience to changes in the marketplace and resulting strategic shifts. Outsourcing key shelf level initiatives can maximize store assets and allow sales associates to focus on their core competency, taking care of the customer.
As the report suggests, the physical store will still be at the epicenter of this multi-channel world. You can download your copy of the Deloitte report by clicking here.
A guest column at DSN Retailing Today by executive coach and consultant Jackie Sloane introduces the term, “Engagement Advantage”, to describe the energy and attitude of successful retail employees when it comes to influencing purchase decisions, increasing sales and exhibiting loyalty. Since the members of NARMS also provide at-retail merchandising and marketing service personnel to their manufacturer and retail clients, and since these individuals often interact with the end consumer, some of the points in the column are good practical advice when recruiting retail merchandisers.
Successful retail merchandisers often become brand ambassadors for the products they are working with. Sampling and demonstration personnel are probably the best example of this, but the engagement advantage also extends to shelf merchandisers and professional installation workers. Consumers do not often differentiate between in-store reps and store personnel. Sloane provides a brief roadmap toward finding, managing and retaining people who exhibit the engagement advantage. Here is a summary:
-Be clear and up front about the customer experience you want to convey. Make sure all communication reinforce the message so that it can be repeated.
-Establish the top three drivers of success for each position.
-Challenge and continually improve your own communication processes to ensure expectations are clear.
-Take steps to make the experience that you want the end consumer to have consistent with that of your in-store personnel.
- Include the importance of the customer experience in your orientation and training process.
- Build ownership by always listening to feedback and ideas from your reps. Have regular lines of communication set-up for this purpose and make sure to use the feedback.
-Celebrate successes and reward it.
To find reps well on their way to the engagement advantage, look for those who have gone through the on-line training at NARMScertifyU. Encourage and enable your existing reps to enhance their skills by accessing this convenient resource.
Every retailer is dealing with at least some stores that are losing sales, shoppers, profits and market share. In the August edition of Competitive Edge by Willard Bishop, Author Craig Rosenbloom takes a look at an approach to reinvent these struggling outposts so they can draw shoppers back into the store.
Rosenbloom quotes a 2004 Coca-Cola study to explain how we have reached this state. Among the factors quantified in the study was a 15% reduction in the amount of visits made to supermarkets from 1998 to 2003 and diminishing supermarket market share from 89% in 1988 to 46% in 2011. There are multiple reasons for why this occurred, but Competitive Edge suggests an approach called Store Reinvention as an alternative to just simply shuttering underperforming stores. Not surprisingly, there is a huge at-retail merchandising and marketing element to the process.
The tactical solutions to a new go-to-market strategy revolve around space and assortment optimization, tactical enhancements, merchandising concept development and new store concept development. Each of these solutions depends on at-retail execution either at the product, category, department or store level. Sales building activities like right sizing departments, arranging flow and adjacencies, resetting to an optimal assortment and setting newly found space all require enhanced in-store labor to achieve. Reinventing a store will almost always result in the need to remodel the store on some level.
Whether it is a complete store remodel or simply setting a new display, NARMS members are there to help CPG manufacturers and retailers fill what Rosenbloom calls newly discovered white spaces. Trained and experienced merchandisers, installers and event marketers optimize the investment in at-retail initiatives because they perform the work in multiple channels and changing environments every day. They are truly reinvention experts.
Take a few minutes to download and read the August edition of Competitive Edge. Once again, we thank our friends at Willard Bishop for sharing it with us.
Since NARMS inception, the companies who compose the at-retail merchandising and marketing industry have converged annually for the NARMS Spring Conference. But there has never been an event specifically for the field service reps. The Mystery Shopping Industry has for years held an event designed directly for their shoppers. There is a new stream of thought that a similar event designed and directed toward merchandisers, demonstrators, event marketers and installers would be mutually beneficial to our field personnel and service companies alike.
Right now, there is a survey being circulated to better understand NARMS member interest in a potential event. We ask that you and your company give us your thoughts and input on the idea. Please complete this survey as promptly as possible so that we can proceed with planning and promoting an event.
The event would likely be held in the Tampa area in conjunction with the NARMS 2010 Conference. The major goals of the conference would include the development of more professional and responsive reps, as well as expanding the labor base while exposing participants to NARMSCertifyU and NARMS Individual Membership.
The questions on the survey ask if your company would participate, would help to develop content, would be a sponsor and would attend the event. Other questions focus on the format of the event.
The leadership of NARMS believes the time has come to reach out as an industry to the arms, legs, eyes and ears in the marketplace. An event of this nature and scope is only possible with your input and participation. Please take a few minutes of your valuable time to give us your thoughts.
On August 16, NARMS International announced it was beginning to use a microblogging tool called Twitter as an enhancement to its already powerful JobBank. Whenever there is a new job listing on NARMS JobBank, interested parties will receive a signal, called a tweet, on their mobile phone, personal computer, instant messaging or email. This allows new job listings to be pushed out to the pool of potential merchandisers, rather than solely relying on them to search for openings. In just a month and a half, the results have been astonishing.
Twitter is not the easiest thing to define, but it is very easy to use. One author characterized it as, “a microblogging system or a tricked out Facebook status update…. a combination of text messaging, Facebook status, blogging, and instant messaging.” In short, it’s another example of a business application for social networking. Using it leverages existing technology that fits the at-retail merchandiser, installer and event marketer lifestyle perfectly. The proof lies in the fact that 700 engaged in-store professionals have already signed up for the service with another 7-10 people joining per day. You can view the current activity by visiting www.twitter.com/narmsjobs. All a merchandiser has to do is sign-up for Twitter and join this group to get notices for any NARMS listings. All a listing company has to do is click Twitter as an option for distribution for their listing.
The service is a great fit for our field people, who spend the majority of their time on assignment in retail outlets around the world. When NARMS members have an assignment, they have the option to post it on NARMS JobBank, which is available to field merchandisers. Because these field professionals are often otherwise engaged, the Twitter service alerts them to a job available in real-time with a sound tone and a text message that the merchandiser can then follow-up at their convenience. By pushing the jobs out to the merchandiser, openings get filled more quickly by professional field people who, just by using the service, show that they are heavily engaged and committed to the profession. NARMS research shows that many merchandisers carry cell phones, smart-phones and PDAs with them as tools of their trade.
By pushing the jobs out on Twitter and other RSS feed clients like Indeed.com and Simplyhired.com, the service’s reach and value is multiplied exponentially. In just a month and a half, Twitter has become the fourth most active source of referrals for NARMS job listings and traffic is up almost 30%.
The business application for Twitter and other Social Networking tools is just now starting to be realized by the business sector. Leveraging these tools will help keep NARMS on the forefront of providing labor solutions to our members. For more information, you can view an informational video on Twitter at www.narms.com/twitter.html.
iTunes is the third largest music retailer and growing. How is this affecting media companies/publishers who hire merchandisers? iTunes now holds a 9.8% share of music purchases, ahead of fourth place Amazon.com at 6.7% and fifth place Target at 6.6%. Walmart remains the nation’s largest music retailer with a 15.8% share of the market, with Best Buy holding 13.8% for second place.
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