During the CGT Sales and Marketing Summit 2015 that took place in New York City on June 1-3, AFS’ Chris O’Connell presented the findings of a survey we conducted with Consumer Goods & Technology, called The Scope of Retail Execution. The purpose of the survey was to better understand how CGT readers are defining retail execution. We sponsored a similar survey 18 months ago and wanted to see if there was a change in some of the answers.
We found that the definition of retail execution still varies from competitive intelligence gathering to direct store delivery and from image recognition to digital merchandising. It still holds true that retail execution is about getting the right product to the right place at the right time.
It was also clear from comparing this survey to the one we conducted 18 months ago that retail execution has progressed beyond basic functionality. The needs now focus on increasing incremental lift in sales and ROI, in-store goods availability, promotional effectiveness and sales productivity. To help achieve these goals, there is a need for easily accessible information.
The report indicated size of company mattered in how the companies define retail execution. Companies with revenue of less than $500 million continue to focus on transactional capabilities, such as trade compliance, although we saw some companies of this size are experimenting with ways to sell more. In reviewing, we found that companies with revenue of more than $500 million have a more diversified view of retail execution due to their diverse routes to market on a global scale. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1: A comparison of company revenue size by how retail execution is defined.
We also reviewed the goals of using retail execution, and we saw that sales productivity is by far the greatest goal by 47% (Figure 2). If you break the goals down by industries, we find that most industries are focusing on driving efficiencies and effectiveness to increase incremental lift (Figure 3).
From each of the activities that support the goals listed, the outcome is data. Data can be used to drive further optimization into retail execution activities. For instance, when you collect promotion compliance and competitive intelligence, you can use that data to support a closed-loop approach to maximize promotional performance. Information obtained from order and route optimization will support retail activity optimization.
Figure 2: A breakdown of the retail execution goals from the survey.
Figure 3: A breakdown of retail execution goals by industry.
Although data and information is critical to help field sales to sell more and increase lift, we find that 44 percent of the respondents continue to use spreadsheets to analyze their data—on a weekly basis (Figure 4). We feel there is reduced visibility into their trade promotion while it is in-flight, which can limit the ability to take corrective actions to impact sales and incremental volume. A company can make a profound effect in sending consolidated important data to salespeople to help them be efficient and sell more. Additionally, having the right data at their fingertips enables them to adapt quickly with greater accuracy from route management to trade performance.