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A Revisit to NARMS.COM

May 3, 2011 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf

Each year, companies who belong to a trade association have to make the choice to renew their membership for another year. No doubt, that decision causes a review of the cost versus benefit before the final decision is made. At NARMS, we are happy that so many at-retail merchandising and marketing service companies decided to join us again in 2011. We also want to remind you that if you are seeking added value features, there are many available every day by getting reacquainted with www.narms.com.

When visiting the site, you see a front page filled with information. The banner section gets you filled in on upcoming events, conferences and services such as the IFBA Top to Top Conference coming up on May 17-19 or the recently completed 16th Annual NARMS Spring Conference. There is already preliminary information on the 2012 Spring Conference that will be held in Tampa, Florida. There is also a link to each individual service division of NARMS. The MSO, Event Marketing, PIC, IFBA and Associate Divisions all have their own unique landing page.

NARMS is also committed to fresh content and thought leadership brought to you through two weekly blogs, Top Shelf and What’s In-Store. These are also sent out directly to your email box every Tuesday and Thursday. There is also a spot for NARMS corporate press releases. An advertising bar near the top of the home page includes a direct link to the NARMScertifyU program for your field reps and training staff. Upcoming segments of the hugely popular NARMS Webinar Series can be found by clicking the Webinar tab.

Under the Members Area pull down menu, make sure you check out Deals for Members, where you can find links to companies who have put together special programs for NARMS members at attractive rates. Services include transportation, health care options, business communication needs and vital human resource needs such as background screening services.

Each member of NARMS enjoys a searchable listing that can be used by CPG manufacturers and retailers to find the service company to fit their needs. Members have the option to upgrade to an Expanded Listing in order to provide even more information and links to their corporate site, blogs or videos.

One of the more popular uses for www.narms.com is for staffing purposes. Tens of thousands of field reps use the Recruiter to help find merchandising and other in-store work. Many of our members with Expanded Listings use the Recruiter as their main staffing database. Other members go a step further and choose to advertise their jobs using the NARMS JobBank. All of these listings also utilize social media to not only draw people to the site, but also push out the information to NARMS official Social Media Channels.

This column only scratches the surface to describe all the value added features of www.narms.com. To see for yourself, visit us today and keep coming back often.

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Spring Conference Meetings Bring Action

April 21, 2011 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, What's in store

2011confMeetings at the 16th Annual NARMS Meeting, Conference and Exhibition, held last week, resulted in significant action by the NARMS Board of Directors to ensure the future prosperity of our Association. Leaders from the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry engaged in a candid conversation in several forums. The first was the annual Board of Directors meeting, the second was a joint session of the Board and members of each Divisional Committee, and the third was a town hall question and answer session as part of the NARMS Annual Business Meeting. Here are the action items brought forward:

A committee will be formed to provide recommendations on the location and format for future Spring Conferences. The recommendations for locations will be in effect after 2012, as the Board had earlier decided to stick with the prior commitment to Saddlebrook in Tampa, Florida. The board is actively seeking volunteers to serve on this committee along with Jim Fulk, Judy Einbinder, and Marc Shapiro. Contact Ken McKenzie at NARMS headquarters if you would be interested in serving in this capacity.

The Board is proud to announce the following Division Chairpersons: Ken Kress and John Gillis will co-chair the MSO Committee, Lucas Pierce will chair the Event Marketing Committee, Gregg Morrison will chair the PIC Committee, Jim Hall will chair the IFBA Committee until a replacement can be determined, Kelly Baker will chair the Manufacturer Committee, and Charlie Fanning will chair the Associate Committee.

During the town hall Q & A, some concern was voiced over the current relevancy of the NARMS Mission Statement. Subsequent discussion revealed the need to review and revise the statement to better reflect the current state of the Association. Judy Einbinder has stepped forward to be the point person for the project. The revision will be passed through the board for input and then forwarded to the Membership to be reviewed.

Much attention was given to filling the vacant Executive Director position. The Board spent significant time listening to the members as they voiced their opinions about what they desired in a new leader. The Board is currently compiling a list of requirements in order to craft a job description to use in the search process.

The final, major topic of discussion revolves around the future strategic direction of NARMS. The Board will provide members with updates on a 60-day cycle, and more frequently if needed, to make sure that all members understand and support the direction and strategy of the Association. In doing so, the Board is seeking a greater level of transparency in initiatives such as RORI, Accreditation, and development of a project in collaboration with University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Perhaps the biggest observation from the annual get together is that the NARMS Board of Directors and leadership have been listening to the members and that the members have been heard. If you attended the conference, we are seeking your input on the event. Please click here to participate in a brief survey. #NARMSCON451

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Shopper Insights: Actionable or Academic?

March 3, 2011 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, What's in store

maclainOn April 12th, the members of NARMS will learn more about the value of shopper insights in at-retail merchandising and marketing processes when Al McClain of RetailWire and Nadine Hernandez of DemandTec, Inc. present - Shopper Insights: Actionable or Academic? The presentation will be the second MSO Division Workshop to take place at the 16th Annual NARMS Spring Conference and Exposition held this year at the Portola Plaza Hotel on Monterey Bay in Monterey, California.

The breakout session will showcase original quantitative research conducted by DemandTec in conjunction with RetailWire. MSO members and all conference attendees can hear key findings of the research and learn how shopper insights are important for both actionable insights and customer alignment in retail merchandising and marketing processes. The survey polled nearly 600 RetailWire community respondents in September of 2010, spanning across both retailers and manufacturers, from executive management to category managers.

The presentation also will highlight industry perspective from McClain, CEO of RetailWire, and Hernandez, Global Marketing Director of Shopper Insights at DemandTec, about the value of shopper insights and how these insights can be applied within merchandising, marketing, pricing, trade, product development, and other retail disciplines. Shopper-centric planning is becoming the norm for retailers and their trading partners. As a result, manufacturers and retailers must integrate shopper analytics at the point of decision into their merchandising, marketing, and trade planning processes.

The NARMS annual showcase event is right around the corner. If you have not already done so, visit the Conference Center at www.narms.com to view the value-packed agenda, register for conference and make your hotel arrangements. #NARMSCON482

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ICC/Decision Services Partners with STELLAService to Launch E-Shops

January 10, 2011 by WorldAlliance Editor  
Filed under News from Members

Will Provide a Customer Service Benchmarking and Competitive Intelligence Program for Online Retailers

New York, NY (PRWEB) January 10, 2011 — ICC/Decision Services is proud to announce a new partnership with STELLAService, the authority for measuring and benchmarking online customer service performance. David Rich, President & CEO of ICC/Decision Services, explains: “STELLAService is the most trusted provider of customer service evaluation programs for Internet retailers. The opportunity to team up with STELLAService to deploy the E-Shops business solution, in conjunction with the brick and mortar analysis we already provide to some of the world’s most recognized brands, will allow us to offer a genuine 360 degree view of the customer experience to our current and future client base.”

Read the full release on iccds.com

Merger and Acquisition Activity Rebound

December 30, 2010 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, What's in store

fiIn the latest edition of The Lempert Report, food industry observer Phil Lempert reports on The Food Institute and its annual report on Food Industry Mergers and Acquisitions for 2010. While the final report will not be available until February, Lempert shares some early numbers released by the Institute. The findings are good news for members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing services industry, who often act as change agents to execute the at-retail results of merger and acquisition activity among retailers and brand marketers.

According to the story, merger and acquisition activity has tracked slightly over 300 deals in 2010 which is an increase of around 20% over 2009. Although that is a strong indication of a rebound, it is still well shy of the 422 deals recorded in 2008. In particular, the third quarter alone saw over 100 deals announced. The timing of those deals should be of interest to NARMS members.

Being at the ready is a hallmark of NARMS members. On the retailer side, our PIC members are experts at converting stores in all channels to a new banner. While some stores close down for a brief period to remodel, there are also many other instances where the store stays open. Either way, this group of change experts is adept at getting stores changed over on-time and on-budget.

Brand acquisitions often are accompanied by a shift in go-to-market strategy as the new owner attempts to grow or expand its new property with an enhanced at-retail marketing presence. MSOs and Event Marketers can quickly put programs into place with their expert decentralized workforce of trained retail representatives to help brand marketers realize the expected sales lift sooner. The independent food brokers of the IFBA are regional experts at expanding the distribution of brands into new markets.

Increased mergers and acquisitions almost always mean new at-retail marketing activity. You can stay in touch with this activity by reading the weekly merger and acquisition column in the weekly Food Institute Report.

Consumer confidence in November hits 5-month high

December 1, 2010 by Editor  
Filed under News Finds

NEW YORK — Americans’ confidence rose to a five-month high in November.
The report should offer some comfort to the nation’s retailers during the holiday shopping season, but shoppers still remain downbeat as they grapple with a high unemployment rate.

Read the story at USA Today

2011 Spring Conference Harvest Looking Bountiful

November 23, 2010 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf

thanksgivingThanksgiving means many things to many people. For some, it is a time to give thanks for the bountiful harvest of crops that help to sustain their families and the food supply of a nation. At NARMS, it is only appropriate to use a retail term and take an inventory of the many items that we plan to harvest in the coming months. Today we take a look in particular at the progress being made toward the 16th Annual NARMS Meeting, Spring Conference and Exposition to be held on April 9-12 in Monterey, California. We are truly blessed to have so many outstanding speakers, presenters and sponsors already committed to the event.

The Manufacturer-Retailer Connection Forum looks to be even bigger and better than the debut last year. An all-star line-up of trading partners await to address members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing industry including Spin Master, Walgreen’s, Starbucks, Ghirardelli, Save Mart, Just Born, Vann’s and Pep Boy’s. Harold Lloyd, a frequent spring conference contributor, has signed on to moderate the event. We are grateful to the many members and associates who have provided potential contacts and introductions in putting this exciting program together. Although this is a robust line-up, we are still seeking more manufacturers and retailers to add to the program. Please contact NARMS HQ with any additional leads, thoughts or ideas.

Spring Conference has always been an educational event and 2011 is no exception. You can view the agenda by visiting the conference center on www.narms.com, but here are a few recently added sessions: The second MSO Division session will feature Al McClain of RetailWire as he presents - Shopper Insights: Actionable or Academic: RetailWire and DemandTec’s new collaborative shopper insights research findings. The PIC Division has also announced the content of its second session as Mark Hunter presents- Emerging Retail Trends 2011- with an emphasis on PIC activities. Russell Hollrah is on tap to provide a Labor Update for the initial Event Marketing Division session. Hollrah will also be on hand for 30 minute consults with interested members. Stay tuned for further developments as the conference agenda fills out.

Spring Conference is enjoying tremendous support via sponsorships. With four months to go, we are only about $6,000 from the total last year and look to be on target to get back to 2008 and 2009 levels. The sponsorship campaign has been energized by not only the generosity of past contributors, but also an influx of new sponsors. There are still some exciting opportunities left, so if you are interested, consult the Sponsorship Opportunity brochure available on-line at www.narms com.

And finally, our association is nothing if not for our wonderful members. We encourage all of you to renew your membership and also register for the 2011 Spring Conference to take advantage of the learning and business building opportunities. At this time of giving thanks, we at NARMS express our gratitude for the opportunity to be of service to you, the members of NARMS. Have a happy Thanksgiving Holiday with family and friends.

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Collaboration Agents

November 18, 2010 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, What's in store

sn_orgelbigIn a column on November 15, David Orgel, Editor-in-Chief of Supermarket News, reported on the recent Category Management Conference in Atlanta. The conference was sponsored by the Category Management Association. In the column, Orgel asks what drives a retailer to collaborate with a supplier. The answer, he says, is remarkably simple. The supplier needs to offer expertise that the retailer cannot get on their own.

As providers of at-retail merchandising and marketing support services, NARMS members have been operating in this arena since the beginning. In fact, you could say that trading partner collaboration is a core competency of in-store service companies. When an MSO, Event Marketer, PIC or IFBA member takes on business, it generally originates from either a manufacturer or a retailer. However, regardless of who is paying the bill, NARMS members know that they serve several stake holders in the process. This often puts the service company in a position to be a valuable conduit toward the ultimate goal of trading partner collaboration.

One senior retail manager told Orgel that vendor studies performed though testing and consumer research are particularly valuable and can lead to direct change in retail strategy. NARMS members take shelf-level execution problems out of the variables and help both parties bring clean and actionable observations to any long term partnerships. And beyond execution, NARMS members can help to gather and quickly report data to trading partners using trained and certified field associates and leading edge field reporting technology.

In most cases, manufacturers are embedded in certain categories while retailers have hundreds of categories to analyze with limited resources. Because of this dynamic, a growing number of retailers are establishing formal collaboration programs with their suppliers. The members of NARMS are uniquely positioned to provide the expertise, activities and information needed to close the transaction.

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Webinar to Answer Question: Whose Store Is It, Anyway?

October 21, 2010 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, What's in store

tenserMerchandising Services Organizations and Sales & Marketing Agencies have invested wisely in Store Execution Management solutions. The software, often implemented with mobile devices, is invaluable for remote direction of field organizations and capture of performance information. Join James (Jamie) Tenser as he takes a closer look at these practices during the next NARMS Webinar –Whose Store Is It Anyway? - taking place next week on Thursday, Oct 28 at 01:00 PM CDT. The NARMS Webinar Series is sponsored by Natural Insight and brought to you through the technology of ReadyTalk.

Currently some larger MSOs and SMAs are offering proprietary SEM software to retailers as a value-add. The implications are complex, and have the potential to affect core business practices. Accepting the offered SEM software may be a de facto means for the retailer to appoint a store execution captain who provides information of value, but also could gain significant competitive leverage.

Should retailers accept the free offering? An exciting feature of this particular webinar is that you have a chance to be an active part of the content. As part of the registration process, you have a chance to answer some brief questions that will gage your opinion on the matter and drive the discussion. As with all NARMS webinars, you will also have a chance to participate in the discussion via the live chat function as we examine the implications of this practice and how it will affect our industry.

Tenser is Director of the In-Store Implementation Network, an industry group dedicated to the collaborative advancement of merchandising compliance and performance monitoring at retail. A career analyst covering the Retail & Consumer Products industry, he writes extensively on topics related to the merchandising, sales and marketing of consumer goods. His consulting practice, VSN Strategies, works with solution providers and brands to refine and communicate their thought leadership.

Make sure you block out some time in your schedule to attend this exciting event. The session is complimentary to NARMS members as a membership service but is also made available to other interested persons at a non-member rate of $99.95. NARMS is also inviting members of the ISI Network to register for the discounted rate of $29.95. We encourage you to share this invitation with other co-workers and anyone else who might gain value from this information-sharing opportunity. You can register for the webinar by clicking here.

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MSO Division to Explore New Tech

April 6, 2010 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under News Finds

Hosted by the MSO group, this year’s technology session, “New Enabling Technologies To Meet Retail Service Industry Trends”, promises to be eye-opening. The session will take place on Monday, April 19th at NARMS Spring Conference at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Florida. With Vickie Alarie as moderator, panel participants will include Mark Broussard, Metaworks; Stefan Midford, Natural Insights; Harris Fogel, Quofore; and Bill Lecznar, Synergy Systems.

This group of retail service technology providers will share research and learnings gleaned over the past year on topics as diverse as new applications for Smart Phones and Handhelds; burgeoning security requirements; and what all the talk about Cloud Computing can mean to you. Bring coffee and a curious mind. The session runs from 7:30 – 8:45 AM and will end with what should be an interesting Q&A segment.

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