The Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC), presented by NARMS, has always been a terrific place to network with fellow at-retail merchandising and marketing industry trading partners and peers. The Association has added an event to the 2013 agenda to enhance this already rich tradition. The new Retail Service Exchange will take place on Tuesday, April 30 from 1:00- 4:00 pm. The RMMC will run from April 27-30 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort.
This unique event gives you the opportunity to conduct one-on-one meetings with retailers, manufacturers, members and services providers in a professional, speed-networking environment. This is a great chance for all our members to come together, discuss business opportunities and conduct reviews. Take advantage of this face-time with your most valued customers, suppliers and vendors.
There are a limited number of 11 tables available in the Retail Service Exchange. If you would like to reserve a table, email Fiona Lipscomb at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tables are on a first come, first serve basis. Once your company has reserved a table, you will be responsible to manage appointments and scheduling. A copy of the latest attendee list will be provided once your table is confirmed. If you would like someone to meet you at the conference, encourage them to register by forwarding this information.
A detailed list of companies, contact names and email addresses will be posted on the website, as the Retail Service Exchange begins to fill up.
But you cannot take advantage of this golden opportunity to Learn-Change-Grow if you are not going to RMMC. Visit our official conference website to get all the information you need to register and plan for your trip to the stunning Valley of the Sun in April. The agenda is building on a daily basis so stay tuned for many more updates and features of this value packed event.
The terms Shopper Marketing and Big Data have been around for a couple of years now and are beginning to find some traction among brand marketers as a daily method for success. In a recent blog on bricks meet clicks, Jan Davis, the former CEO of ShopperTrak, offered some vivid examples of how applying at-retail data to fulfill shopper needs can improve physical store performance.
Davis describes a direct benefit of using the technology of capturing pedestrian counts to re-set the store. In one case, a large store which had four entrances used automated door counters to get a better feel for where most consumers entered their store. They found out rather quickly that most of their shoppers used one of two entrances. The fresh insight allowed them to re-set merchandise and check-outs putting more of their resources in the flow of greater foot traffic.
Another example revolves around the concept of Power Hours. The same store used the foot traffic data to identify what days and what time the largest percentage of prospects visited their store. The information allowed the store to staff accordingly and also told them exactly when it was the right time to stock and re-stock shelves. Not surprisingly, these changes drove gains in shopper conversion rate and increased sales.
As more and more merchants use the power of Big Data and Shopper Marketing insights to better understand and meet the needs of consumers, more and more changes are going to be required to the physical space to meet the demand. The members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing community are uniquely positioned to execute those changes with years of experience, expertise, know-how, systems and technology.
It all speaks to the evolution of the industry and the ability of trading partners to Learn, Change and Grow. That is the theme of The 2013 Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC), presented by NARMS. The event will be held on April 27-30, 2013 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. Take advantage of the early registration fee which is available until December 31st 2012. There is also a group conference rate for those companies who wish to bring more than one person to the event. Register now to take advantage of the lower fee!
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.
As the members of NARMS execute highly targeted and specific at-retail merchandising and marketing programs in-store, it is sometimes easy to forget who the ultimate customer is in the transaction. After all, they are being hired by either a retailer or a manufacturer to carry out necessary promotional or operational shelf-level activities. The trading partners are certainly the clients and they pay the bills, but it is important to remember that none of it works without the shopper.
In the May issue of Times & Trends by SymphonyIRI, the author examines the fact that the shopper is in control at retail. The marketplace has changed from a product focused business to a shopper focused business driven by a couple of key developments. The availability of multi-channel options gives the consumer many more choices on where to go and that is enhanced by social and mobile communications platforms.
By understanding the way that our clients are starting to look at the consumer, we can better understand and meet those needs. The shopping experience is becoming a highly personalized and intimate relationship. SymphonyIRI has some advice for trading partners on how to approach this shift. These strategies revolve around Shopper Marketing, Product Marketing and In-Store Marketing.
The In-Store Marketing component depends heavily on an inventory management system that reflects best shopper trip missions and reducing out-of-stocks in those key areas. That is just one specific example of how just about every decision made in the board room directly impacts operations at the shelf, and ultimately the relationship with the consumer. Keeping the customer relationship out front in your conversations with trading partners can help you demonstrate why they need to work with you to carry their shopper marketing initiatives all the way to its intended target. You can download the SymphonyIRI report here.
Last week I made the four hour trip to Minneapolis and the Minnesota Business Reputations Event at Best Buy Headquarters. This was a great opportunity to hear from Chris Brogan, one of the premier voices and experts on social media today. From NARMS standpoint, the social media movement is important on several levels. First, the application has a far reaching effect on how we can even more effectively operate our trade association. Second, how it augments how our members can interact with their trading partners. And third, as experts in at-retail merchandising and marketing service execution, it is vital that our member companies understand how customers are using this medium and how it can be made operational. In fact, our members can be the instrument to bring social media programs to store level. Not to mention that this was also an opportunity to get in the front door of retailing superpower Best Buy.
Chris Brogan is an eleven year veteran of using social media and both web and mobile technologies to build digital relationships for businesses, organizations, and individuals. Brogan speaks, blogs, writes articles, and makes media of all kinds at chrisbrogan.com, a blog in the top 5 of the Advertising Age Power150, and in the top 100 on Technorati. He is co-author of the New York Times bestselling book Trust Agents.
Brogan’s keynote address was built on the theme of, “Listen, Connect and Publish.” Listening to your publics and determining what they need will help you craft the message. Brogan suggested that you take the next step and really “See” the people you are trying to connect with. To really connect, you have to go where they are and be a participant in the discussion, not just merely try to manage the discussion. Brogan really stressed that the basis of social media is humanity. In other words, just learning to be human and interact with others before trying to figure out how to market via the medium. Without the foundation of humanity, you could fail. However, really listening to and connecting with your publics on a human level opens the doorway to powerful publishing.
Your manufacturer and retailer customers are spending increasingly more time and money on social media. It is always our challenge to listen to their needs and help them find ways to extend the reach of this communication channel all the way to the store shelves. While trading partners are using social media to attract consumers to the product, NARMS members could act as an important link in the chain by making sure expectations are met when customers reach the store. Our members can also close the loop by using social media to bring the customer feedback around.
Speaking as someone who is just scratching the surface of social media, Brogan’s address, and the subsequent panel discussion were very thought provoking and valuable. I would encourage you to visit www.chrisbrogan.com and see for yourself. If you are interested in how to integrate social media with your NARMS.com presence, you can attend the Social Media workshop at NARMS Spring Conference on Sunday, April 18 from 1:00-2:00 P.M.
What if you could read the minds of decision makers at leading packaged goods vendors and retailers in regards to at-retail merchandising and marketing services? Well now you don’t have to! This week, NARMS distributed the findings of the Survey of At-Retail Marketing Services to its members via a broadcast email. In case you missed it, the document is also available in the members area of www.narms.com.
Every couple of years, NARMS contacts key leaders in the manufacturer and retailer community to gain their insights and perspectives on the marketplace in which we do business. These trading partners ultimately make up the customer base of NARMS members who perform at-retail merchandising and marketing support activities in stores around the world.
This attitudinal study collected data from manufacturers and retailer contacts doing business in multiple channels of trade. The participants took part in an on-line survey during the first half of 2009. Here are just a few of the key messages contained in the numbers:
*Vendors realize that at-retail companies can help them reach their shelf-support goals and improve their customer service perception with retailers. Surprisingly, trading partners use at-retail companies less in speed-to-shelf than for other tasks even though they identify this as an area that needs improvement and they rate at-retail companies as effective at speed-to-shelf.
*The percentage of spend on service is closely tracking with the percentage of sales in almost all channels. This may indicate a realization that a proportionate amount of support is necessary in all channels.
*A big opportunity exists in the execution of new item cut-ins and category resets.. Activities that fall into the core competency of NARMS members.
*A significant amount of trading partners believe that key shelf support activities help drive incremental sales growth between 5-20%. Among these include regular coverage at 20%, new item cut –ins at 15% and store set-up at 10%.
*While at-retail services have evangelists in the marketplace, there are still many trading partners that need to be sold on the long term, brand and sales building benefits of excellent in-store execution. In general, vendors view at-retail services as defensive action while retailers view at-retail services as an investment.
*NARMS members are seen as effective members of the go-to-market process. Their profile has risen in the past 4-5 years. Grades for at-retail companies in key areas are higher than in 2004 with the highest grades received in speed-to-shelf, regular coverage and store set-up.
From its very earliest days, NARMS has been committed to research and sharing gained knowledge with stake holders in the industry. The Survey of At-Retail Marketing Service Practices 2009 is an opportunity to view the battle field that is at-retail from a high vantage point. We encourage you to download this report and include the findings in your strategic plans and marketing efforts.
It has been awhile since we visited the pages of Willard Bishop’s Competitive Edge. In the September edition, Craig Rosenbloom writes about the proliferation of Shopper Marketing Practices and how shopper data is evolving as a force in the 21st century. Having this opportunity to intimately know the consumer is certainly a great tool for tailoring on-line and at-retail consumer promotion, but as Rosenbloom asks, “Why are we only using shopper data for such limited applications?”
As the eyes and ears, as well as the arms and legs, of CPG manufacturers and retailers around the country, NARMS members are uniquely positioned to play a vital role in both the gathering of shopper data and the execution of any resulting at-retail plans. Because of this, it’s important to know in which direction that these trading partners might be headed with the application of information.
Although Rosenbloom offers three additional ways that marketers can use shopper data beyond target marketing, there is one that jumps off the page in the eyes of at-retail merchandising and marketing companies. That is the application toward assortment and space. With the perimeter of the store growing with necessary offerings to service the customer, that space has to come from somewhere. In most cases, it means that the center of the store is shrinking. Having less space makes each facing and end cap that much more valuable to our customer. Competitive Edge says that trading partners would be wise to use shopper data to optimize assortment offered in the dwindling space.
The article also introduces a term called, “affinity score.” An affinity score helps you decide what additional items a shopper is likely to buy with the purchase of a given item. This all leads to the creation of unique product placement. He uses the example of a, “breakfast center,” where milk, eggs, bacon and cereal are all available in the same place.
Knowledge is power. Shopper marketing data is power for trading partners and knowing the application of the data is power for our group of service companies. A deep understanding of what is driving our customers is invaluable in the evolution our service offering into a valuable go-to-market partnerships.
It’s been said that, “Everyone loves a winner.” But beyond the jumping on the bandwagon aspect of that phrase is a very practical and necessary survival skill. Taking a good look at a successful effort or enterprise, no matter what the industry, can help us gain new perspectives on our businesses and industry. The flavor of day, month and year is Wal-Mart. The latest analysis of the retail giant comes from IRI in their report, “Wal-Mart Stores- Helping Consumers Navigate a Transforming Economy.” The fact that the Wal-Mart success story takes place in the retail sector adds additional relevance to our members who provide at-retail merchandising and marketing services.
The big lesson is that timing is everything. Wal-Mart started to grow so fast that they had reached a point of diminishing returns and cannibalization. The remedy was a pulling back on domestic expansion and putting a greater emphasis on growth in existing stores through better inventory systems, more competitive pricing and aggressive at-retail marketing efforts. Another old saying is that, “luck favors the prepared.” This growth strategy positioned the company perfectly for the recession that was about to hit and is still battering retail today. No doubt, driving costs out of inventory systems and offering lower prices to attract consumers has worked. But also notice the third point of emphasis. At-retail merchandising and marketing efforts are also playing a role.
If you have a few moments, read the IRI report. Manufacturers and retailers are bound to be looking for ways to either duplicate, or compete against the success of Wal-Mart. This in-turn is sure to affect the kinds of initiatives and services they are seeking from NARMS members. The analysis includes sections on drivers of growth such as the economic environment, pricing impact, store impact, category share and purchasing patterns. It also offers conclusions and action plans for trading partners.
The value of success stories and case studies are in the eye of the beholder. It’s up to each one of us to look for bits of information that are helpful to our unique enterprises. As your trade association, we are committed to finding and passing along the best information available.