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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.


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.

Early Bird Registration for RMMC Still Available

December 20, 2012 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, RMMC2012, What's in store


As the calendar year winds down, the collective emphasis and focus of NARMS turns to putting the finishing touches on The 2013 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC). The agenda is filling out with educational, networking and motivational events with each passing day. This is your opportunity to join in the conversation and have your voice heard. The event will be held on April 27-30 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. If you are interested in saving a little money, register by December 31st to save $100 on each registration. You will also want to check out the group discount rates so you can bring your whole team.

In addition to registration, you can also check the official conference website daily to see a value-packed agenda under construction. One recent addition is the Interactive Panel Discussion on Tuesday, April 30. Lisa Calhoun, CEO of Write2Market, will moderate the panel which includes Florian Vollmer, Partner and SVP Design at Info Retail; Eric Holtzclaw, CEO of Laddering Works; Sean Cook, CEO of ShopVisible; Dave McMullen, CEO of redpepper and Jennifer Kwiatkowski, Director of Circulation and Analytics at Plow and Hearth. This panel discussion is a great way to summarize and centralize all the key takeaways from RMMC as you prepare to head home.

Another feature that becomes clear while looking at the agenda is the extent to which the trade show floor is the central focal point for the entire event. It is the perfect environment for you to showcase your services and products to over 300 retail marketing decision-makers. If you are interested in being an exhibitor you will want to act soon, space is going fast.

Exhibitors are vitally important to a conference like this, and so are the generous companies who take advantage of the many sponsorship opportunities. There are some great slots still available including banner ads on the RMMC Mobile App. You heard that right, RMMC is going mobile and you can be a part of the excitement.

The early bird gets the worm, and from all of the recent developments, it looks like you will want to jump in now and save some money in the process. And did we tell you about the group rates? Visit the official RMMC website now for everything you need.

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.

No Twinkies, Ding Dongs or Ho Hos for You

November 20, 2012 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf


OK, it is a pretty good bet that we have not seen the end of the iconic brands produced by Hostess, even though the baker is closing its doors and liquidating its assets. Food companies are bound to aggressively bid to bring Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread and Ho Hos back to store shelves soon. It is a cautionary tale that no CPG brand is completely insulated from outside economic forces and inside management decisions. For the members of NARMS, helping your customers to enhance sales and grow market share, even incrementally, can make the difference between success and failure.

Hostess is placing most of the blame on a nationwide strike by its largest labor union. Labor cost has been an ongoing battle. The company filed for bankruptcy last January and had already gone through reorganization driven by bankruptcy proceedings in 2004.

Although national bakeries like Hostess usually rely on a direct store delivery model for their sales and merchandising services, the example is still relevant. All manufacturers and their retail partners are being pinched by thin margins, high material costs and difficulty managing production costs.

As members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service community, it is up to us to demonstrate to our trading partner customers that flawless, seamless execution of store and shelf level sales, marketing and distribution initiatives can be just the means to find the margin in sales and market share. Many manufacturers and retailers have found that partnering with a member of NARMS has helped them to enhance the efficiency of their go-to-market system and protect the marketing and product development investment, while still seeing a nice return.

These and many more retail issues and industry trends will be discussed at The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) presented by NARMS. The event is scheduled for April 27-30 at the Scottsdale Plaza resort. Visit the conference website for more information and to register. And who knows, maybe we can even figure out a way to save Twinkie the Kid.


Sponsorship Prospectus Outlines RMMC Promotions

November 15, 2012 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, RMMC2012, What's in store


As you can probably tell, momentum is building for the Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) presented by NARMS slated for April 27-30 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. The official conference website is on-line and registration is now open. And by the way, did you know we have group rates and early bird registration deals? The event is a gathering point for current and prospective members of NARMS, retailers, manufacturers and other companies who provide goods and services to the at-retail merchandising industry. This highly engaged group of trading partners presents an exciting opportunity for you to reach out by partaking in the many RMMC sponsorship and promotional programs.

Supporting RMMC promotes brand identity and visibility of your company to more than 300 attendees specific to the retail services industry. Whatever your objectives are, or your budget, the NARMS International team can develop creative opportunities for you to reach your target audience. Here is your chance to connect with new businesses, increase brand and product exposure, enhance relationships with your customers, elevate your company profile within the industry and cultivate relationships through networking.

Click here see the RMMC Sponsorship and Promotional Prospectus or visit the official website. There is something for everyone including sponsorships of networking lunches, receptions and dinners. Support of programming is also available through General Session, Seminar and Breakout opportunities. And do not forget about the chance to display in the exhibit hall or sponsor the NARMS Annual Golf Tournament with proceeds benefiting Enactus. You are going to want to act early as several sponsorships, including the RMMC Mobile App, are already spoken for.

Your support of sponsorships and promotions make the RMMC possible. Visit the site, download the prospectus and contact the NARMS International team to find out how you can take a leadership position and enable the theme of Learn, Change, Grow.


SymphonyIRI: National Brands Strike Back

November 13, 2012 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2013, Top Shelf


We all know that the recession and a slow economic recovery have given rise to a strengthened effort on the part of private label merchandise and store brands. In the November issue of Times & Trends, SymphonyIRI revisits how the private label explosion is playing out, and how national brands are digging in and protecting their turf. There are strong at-retail merchandising and marketing implications on both sides of this battle for market share.

The overall finding is that the lines are solidifying. Both sides are finding areas to score some impressive gains, but it is not a winner take all contest. SymphonyIRI says that national brands and private labels must complement each other and put the needs of the consumer first. There is room for both to succeed in-store around the globe. Here are some key findings from Times & Trends:

-Although dollar share continues to grow, private label unit share of CPG products has slipped. Meanwhile, national brands are gaining volume share in 40 of the top 100 CPG categories.

-Consumers are continuing to see value in terms of cost and benefits of store brands. There is growing feeling of acceptance helped by innovation and improved quality.

-Private label continues to score big points in the grocery sector in terms of growing share. However, share has slipped within the important drug and c-store sectors over the last year.

-In spite of the impressive gains, even the most ardent private label buyer only spends one out of every four CPG dollars on store brands.

-Store brands receive below-average levels of merchandising support and there is evidence to suggest that the level of support has been declining during the past several years.

As is the case with every issue of Times & Trends, there is way more valuable information than can be represented in this column and you should visit SymphonyIRI and download your free copy today.

Keeping you up to speed on the trends shaping the retail marketplace is an important function and value of your trade association. That commitment will be on full display at The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) presented by NARMS. The event is scheduled for April 27-30 at the Scottsdale Plaza resort. Visit the conference website for more information and to register.

RMMC Website and Registration Now Available


Learn, Change, Grow. Those are three powerful words and they accurately describe what awaits the attendees of the 2013 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC). The annual NARMS event is slated for April 27-30 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. A big and exciting milestone took place yesterday as registration went live on the official RMMC website. The 2013 RMMC will offer retailers, retail service providers, manufacturers, members of NARMS and non-members the opportunity to learn, collaborate, network and gain insight into the future of retail.

You can visit the official conference website by clicking here or following the tabs on The website features everything you need to plan your trip to Scottsdale in April. You will find a welcome from Conference Chair Ron Apel, general RMMC information, conference registration, hotel reservations, sponsorship opportunities and how your company can participate as an exhibitor at the trade show.

The site also features the conference agenda tab already filled with engaging keynote speakers, networking opportunities and informative educational breakout sessions. The breakout sessions offer four tracks discussing trends and important issues relating to Operations, Sales and Marketing, Human Resources and The Changing World.

All retailers, manufacturers, retail service providers, support service companies and anyone whose company has an interest in expanding their knowledge about retail services are encouraged to bring their departmental staff and executives and take advantage of this opportunity to learn and network with well-established industry leaders.

It is time to mark the date and register. Although the site and registration is an exciting development, the real magic happens when you attend and bring your voice, viewpoint and energy to our annual at-retail merchandising and marketing forum.

Association Welcomes New Board Members

May 15, 2012 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2012, Top Shelf

One more piece of Association business to tell you about today that comes out of the 2012 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC). At its annual business meeting, NARMS announced four new directors to the board and thanked departing members for their years of service. This new slate of directors will join the existing board in shaping a new direction for NARMS and providing leadership during a transition that will see a new headquarters staff and a change of location to Broomfield, Colorado.

The gathering recognized the outstanding contributions of departing Board Chair Mary Jo Bastuba of Nintendo, departing Vice Chair Ethan Charas of Stratmar Retail Services and Phil Karl of Performance Sales & Marketing Associates. The current Executive Committee of the Board of Directors will feature new Chair Steve Donzelli of Chuck Latham Associates, new Vice Chair Ed Martin of The Beam Team, new Secretary Jim Hall of Riteway Sales & Marketing and new Treasurer Gregg Morrison of TouchPoint 360.

New members elected to their first term on the board include John Gillis of Action Retail Services, Stefan Midford of Natural Insight and Julie Nichols of Nichols and Associates. Jerry O’Brien, of the University of Wisconsin Kohl’s Department Store Center for Retailing Excellence was elected to his second term.

Jim Fulk of RMSe will fill the vacant seat of Kelly Hampton, who recently resigned from the board. He received the next highest amount of votes and fills the opening based on provisions in NARMS By-Laws. Fulk will fill the last year of the term and will have the opportunity to be elected for a second term. Meeting attendees also took some time to thank Hampton for her service and leadership.

The NARMS Board of Directors will next meet in Broomfield on June 19-20. In the meantime, please contact them or the NARMS staff with any concerns, questions or ideas that you may have for the very exciting weeks, months and years ahead. The next election will take place via ballot just prior to the 2013 RMMC and the results will be announced at the annual business meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona on April 27-20, 2013.


RMMC Seeks Input

April 24, 2012 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under RMMC2012, Top Shelf


With the 2012 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) in the rear view mirror, the event was held last week in Tampa, the time to gather fresh perspectives of what NARMS members want out of their conference is now. Conference attendees are being asked to fill out a brief on-line questionnaire available by clicking here.

Prior to conference, a call was made for members to actively engage, be challenged, and sit face to face with peers as we build and re-organize NARMS while they attended the at-retail merchandising and marketing industry showcase event. NARMS leadership and 2013 Conference Chair, Ron Apel of Ex-Sell Sales & Merchandising, are now asking that you take a few minutes to add your comments, suggestions and ideas on how NARMS can improve upon your experience. The information that you provide will be invaluable as we begin preparing for the 2013 event. The 2013 RMMC will be held in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The early reviews from the 2012 RMMC are encouraging, but the association needs a voice from every member company to continue to improve the experience and the value of the event. Your voice, ideas, input, point-of-view, experiences and opinions are crucial to the vitality of the conference and The Association.

The challenge for the balance of 2012 will be to clearly define what it means to be a member of NARMS and further validate the value of your membership, participation and leadership to your customers and clients. When you participate in the process, you can proudly display the NARMS logo on your website and sales material knowing that the brand stands for the highest possible standards. Please take the five minutes to fill out the post-RMMC questionnaire today and strike while the iron is hot.

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