The first few months of any year are awash with end-of-the-year reviews and trend predictions for the next. These are helpful exercises in that they help us pause, reflect and plan for the challenges that lie ahead. The January edition of Competitive Edge by Willard Bishop is one such report that identifies 10 trends for the retail food industry in 2013. In this case, Author Jon Hauptman takes an interesting approach weaving in past and present pop culture references to make this report a fun read.
The references are too many to spend time on here, and we would not want to steal the thunder from Competitive Edge. We will focus on the trends themselves that all players of the go-to-market process need to understand so they can deal with them successfully.
-Costs and prices are rising. Retailers and manufacturers will have to help consumers stretch their grocery budget or lose them to a competitor.
-Showrooming is real and 37 percent say they do it in grocery stores, mostly to compare price.
-Price comparisons are becoming popular promotions for retailers.
- In-store communication such as signage and shelf-tags are helping to shine a light on strong price and value programs.
-Trading partners need to communicate their marketing message in 140 characters, the length of a Tweet.
-Mobile applications such as loyalty, time saving and geo-fencing programs are helping retailers communicate their value and gain/retain market share.
-Leveraging shopper data to create true personalization in pricing, promotion and services.
-Technology needs to be kept simple. Even with the depth of sophisticated analytics, retailers need to be able to parse it down to meaningful actions and be able to execute those actions.
- A seamless omni-channel approach in terms of pricing, promotion and assortment is becoming the norm.
- Retailers are adjusting store formats to fit the marketplace such as the urban formats put forth by Walmart, Target and Walgreens.
The World Alliance for Retail Excellence & Standards is committed to Learn, Change, Grow by keeping members informed of the industry trends that shape the way we provide merchandising and marketing services to retailers and manufacturers. The Association is getting together for the Retail Merchandising and Marketing Conference (RMMC) on April 27-30 in Scottsdale. Visit the official conference website and register by clicking here.
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.
In the September edition of Competitive Edge by Willard Bishop, author Jon Hauptman prepares retailers for the “Walmart Pricing Challenge.” The retail giant is challenging consumers to shop at their stores and then compare basket savings. But the bigger message is not how to combat Walmart, but how to distinguish the store without having to get into a price war. Many of the points are price strategy related, but there are some strong at-retail merchandising components that can help retailers and their manufacturer partners maintain sales and market share.
Competitive Edge tells us if a retailer wants to retain customers, they must find ways to romance them with unique and appealing special offers and services. Quality, customer service and loyalty programs are ways to target individual shoppers in an effort to distinguish between large and impersonal discount centers.
One specific area spelled out in the report is the use of endcaps. The author describes endcaps as the most valuable real estate in the store. The advice is to use these high impact spots to build large and impressive displays that highlight excitement and value.
Store layouts, signage, displays, adjacencies, category sets, sampling programs and in-stock levels all play a major role in how a retailer shines a light on itself and communicates quality, customer service and value to shoppers. Even self described value shoppers are saying that quality is still very important to them in regards to where they shop and what they buy.
In an era of strong price competition and shrinking margins, it can be difficult to stay focused on sales building at-retail initiatives with over-burdened and inexperienced store staff. More than ever, it makes sense to outsource these critical functions to the professional at-retail merchandising and marketing companies that make up NARMS. You can download a copy of Competitive Edge by clicking here.
A few years ago, talk of RFID technology was all the rage at retail. The radio frequency identification tags were mandated and implemented by several major retailers at the case and pallet level as a supply chain and warehousing tool. The promise was that it was just a matter of time before RFID tags found their way to the sales aisle to improve inventory practices, reduce slippage and lower out-of-stocks. But cost per unit, infrastructure cost and privacy concerns slowed the widespread use of the technology at the item level.
In a recent guest column in DSN Retailing Today, Mark Hill of Avery Dennison makes the case that wide-spread item level RFID implementation is not a matter of cost, but a matter of return. Hill says that the real ROI of RFID comes at the item level. Several large retailers such as Walmart, J.C. Penney and Macys have done the testing, fully understand the benefits and are moving quickly toward roll-out.
The benefits of item level RFID come in the areas of inventory accuracy, increased sales, improved loss prevention, reduced inventory levels and vendor fraud. The column says that a typical retail stock level that is 65 to 80 percent accurate at the SKU level, can be 99 percent accurate using RFID technology.
For members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry, widespread implementation of item level RFID technology can have major implications. An enhanced ability to know exactly where product is can make our services even that much more valuable and efficient in the store. First, there is the roll-out phase which certainly could require additional at-retail support. Next, while RFID can help to better understand out-of-stocks, it cannot physically merchandise shelves, cut-in new items or build displays. A working knowledge of RFID technology and its potential uses at store level could be a tremendous advantage for the NARMS member in the near future.
The members of NARMS apply their trade in every channel of retail. By visiting www.narms.com and using the Detail Search function, it just so happens that 88 members of NARMS say they do business in the Consumer Electronic Channel. Why is that relevant? Well, today is the first day of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. One of the primary functions of the website is to help prospective customers find and retain just the right professional, experienced and expert at-retail merchandising and marketing service company to fit their needs.
And speaking of Consumer Electronics, DSN Retailing Today just came out with a story that highlights a recent report by Market Research Solutions (MRS). The white paper reports on a survey of 272 CE department managers at Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Hhgregg and more. The full report is available for download at a fee, but DSN Retailing Today gives us a sneak peak with some top line insights into this very dynamic channel.
Just a few of the observations: The majority of the managers said that sales and store traffic were up during the Holidays compared to last year. Certain brands lead by Apple were in high demand. The tablet computer was the hottest product and managers expect that to continue into 2012. The supply chain did an overall good job of being ready for the high demand of certain items.
Executing in-store initiatives at specialty retailers such as the CE channel requires a high degree of performance and often involves hand-held technology and robust reporting systems. The NARMS brand means that prospective customers can come to us to find and hire service firms who have the highest standards for quality, innovation and business ethics. And the bar is getting higher. Membership in NARMS helps to constantly raise those levels so that our customers get the best service possible in whatever channel they do business.
Below is the list of articles you will find for the week ending 1/8/11 edition of Retail Industry News.
- One Year From Now, Fresh Meat Will Get Nutrition Labels
- Sansolo Speaks: “First, Count to 10”
- How Retailing Is Not A Zero Sum Game
- Scanning The Self-Checkout Phenomenon
- BJ’s Closes Stores, Restructures, Repositions Itself
- Sam’s Launches New Health Program
- Starbucks Changes Logo, A Reflection Of CPG Ambitions
- The MNB Wal-Mart Watch
- Executive Suite
As providers of world class at-retail merchandising and marketing services, NARMS members are experts at executing brand marketing initiatives by operating a mobile and decentralized workforce. This fact offers a unique and challenging training proposition to HR managers and field operations heads. On Tuesday, September 21 at 1:00 PM CDT, Scot Maurath of bds mktg will give an inside look at a tool that can be the answer during his NARMS Webinar presentation, “NARMScertifyU: How you can enhance your company’s ability to identify, hire, train and retain top talent in the industry.” The event, another in a series of member educational offerings by NARMS-U, is sponsored by Natural Insight and brought to you through the technology of ReadyTalk.
During the hour-long session, you will discover what this online learning center has to offer to field representatives and how your company can take advantage of the tools and best practices to identify, hire, train, and retain top talent. Explore the tools that are available to you and share your thoughts on future tools to help companies like yours recruit efficiently and effectively, using NARMScertifyU as a learning resource.
Scot Maurath is the Learning Services Manager for bds mktg. He is responsible for designing and executing learning and performance programs for retailers, manufactures, and associations in various industries. Maurath has led the entire development of the NARMScertifyU training platform in partnership with NARMS. Additionally, he has developed training programs for Walmart, Sam’s Club, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes Benz and Volvo. Maurath is a member of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) and currently working towards becoming a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP).
This 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. We encourage you to share this invitation with other co-workers and anyone else who might gain value from this information-sharing opportunity.
Imagine if all of your field personnel were considered in-store ambassadors for the brands they represent. Join us next Tuesday and see how that ideal can become a reality. Click here to register.
On a monthly basis, the Willard Bishop Consulting Competitive Edge newsletter provides key insight and thought leadership to brand marketers and retailers looking to gain a sustainable advantage on the competition. The August issue is no exception as author Jon Hauptman discusses, “Building a Winning Shopper Value Equation.” The Shopper Value equation is defined as a go-to-market-strategy that fills important shopper needs in a unique and appealing way.
Retailers are pulling back on some recent initiatives that were designed to enhance efficiency, but in the end pushed shoppers away. Hauptman uses Walmart as an example, citing temporary price reductions, Project Impact assortment reduction and reducing aisle displays as failed experiments that the retailer is now reversing. This recent Walmart experience is an example of a company reverting to a clear, appealing shopper value equation. In other words, they are getting back to the things that made them successful in the first place.
Why does this happen? Hauptman says many retailers try to be all things to all people rather than identifying what they are going to stand for and taking a leadership position. Another factor is not being able to keep up with the latest shopper needs. Success is some areas and categories have lulled some retailers to sleep as their own success made them blind to the fact that competitors had caught up and surpassed them. Still another factor is not being able to see new competition such as Dollar and Drug chains offering food items.
Competitive Edge says that building a successful shopper equation requires a retailer to define key elements of its value proposition and then establish and implement strategy that makes them the clear and undisputed market leader in at least two of the elements.
Of course, this is all easier said than done. Headquarter strategy often falls short at the point of at-retail execution. That is precisely where partnering with NARMS members can help retailers and suppliers balance the Shopper Value Equation. Again, we thank Willard Bishop Consulting for sharing their thought leadership and encourage our members to download and digest the August issue by clicking here.
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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