Finding Excellence From Within
Guest Post by
Anil Venkat, Marketing, Infosys
"It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit."
Who knew that the 19th-century writer Henry David Thoreau could be a 21st-century retail management expert? I say this because retailers and the Consumer Packaged Goods companies (CPGs) that supply them would do well to simplify their mission. When they strip away all of the complexities and minutia of big box retailing, their customers face a fairly simple proposition: Either they find the product they're looking for ... or they don't.
Think of the outlets that pour enormous amounts of time, energy, and money into creating stores that offer thousands of products and are backed up by the latest retail technologies. If the end result isn't the ability to ensure that popular products remain in stock at all times, it's time to conduct a self-assessment. Chances are your store has all of the excellence and talent it needs within its four walls. You simply need to know how to find it.
The new State of the Store survey by Infosys reveals that nearly 70 percent of customers experience an out-of-stock-out product at least once every three months. Half of these consumers are quick to change to another brand. Consumers aren't the only ones dissatisfied with the out-of-stock experience. The survey shows that 72 percent of retailers readily acknowledge the need for help in improving their on-shelf availability levels. Two-thirds of retailers believe that an effective in-store execution strategy is what makes a successful CPG company.
I'm astounded by the fact that many retailers remain reluctant to share point-of-sale data with CPG companies. These enterprises struggle to attain return-on-investment and increased profitability because of poor on-shelf-availability. The lack of real-time access to information about the consumer, product, promotion, and competitor can adversely affect timely in-store decision-making, which leads to loss of both revenues and loyalty.
The way to improving a shopper's experience is to drive in-store excellence. Give consumers what they want, when they want it. CPG companies need to improve collaboration with retailers to ensure the timely flow of information. Doing so ensures better on-shelf availability and improves shopper insights.
When creating an ideal store, keep things simple. Focus on scale and flexibility and everything else will fall into place. Sounds too good to be true? Well, consider this: Many CPGs have achieved 97 percent on-shelf availability by streamlining distribution and minimizing out-of-stock scenarios. Real-time knowledge of store conditions helps sales representatives identify and prioritize high impact retail execution activities.
Adopting a mobile solution for the field force will not succeed unless the interface is intuitive and fosters productivity. Similarly, applying a one-size-fits-all approach will not work. Every store, sales representative, and store activity is unique and requires a flexible solution that you can tailor to meet individual requirements and achieve true value.
A comprehensive solution that delivers actionable shopper insights, intuitive sales force automation, and holistic retail execution planning is the key to a winning formula. CPG enterprises that are implementing flexible and simple enterprise solutions are witnessing impressive supply chain efficiencies.
By combining a strategic retail execution plan with strategic insights and the right sales force automation solutions, enterprises can create their ideal retail stores and sharpen their competitive edge. They need to cut through the clutter and focus on the simple things. Ensuring that customers have the best in-store experience possible will keep them coming back for more.