Taking Retail Execution to the Next Level

April 20, 2009 by  Filed under: Sales 

In today’s complex retail environment, bottom-line growth depends on more than product innovation, sophisticated supply chains and analytical marketing.

It requires excellence on the front lines – in the stores where, after many months of planning, the critical difference between success and failure can often come down to retail execution. And, with increasing pressure to control costs within the retail environment outlets are demanding suppliers take more responsibility for getting it right at point-of-purchase. Take a long, hard look at your company’s retail execution strategy and ask yourself:

  • Does it support an environment where the right products reach the right place at the right time?
  • Does it ensure that your well-crafted promotions and objectives are realized?
  • Does it increase shelf space and brand awareness?
  • Or, is much of the effort ending up in the clutter of a retailer’s stock room?

Closing the Loop

The aforementioned questions can beg another: Is it possible to connect head office planning with retail-execution – to know exactly what’s happening in the field? Let’s consider what that might look like.

Imagine a world where the field sales organization uses the marketing plan to simulate, enhance and optimize trade plans to be used by account teams. Individual account plans are created and agreed to, and the appropriate field-related activities including promotions, tasks, objectives and surveys are ready for deployment to the field.

The next time the representative synchronizes, instructions are automatically transmitted to their handheld computer. They also receive relevant sales and competitive data, graphical images of in-store promotions, multimedia files of associated TV ads, up-to-date planograms, and store-specific details of the company’s relationship with that individual customer.

In the retail outlet, field workers can leverage the information and functionality available to them on their handheld device to influence the retailer’s buying decisions. All activities including distribution checks, promotional compliance, surveys, audits and competitor activity are processed and captured at the point of activity. The data feeds back into the field operations, account planning and marketing systems for analysis and in time for review. This process of checking and updating happens in real time.

Achieving Maximum ROI

In a perfect retail execution world, this cycle continuously repeats itself. Workflow becomes fluid and integrated, leading to maximum effectiveness and efficiency throughout the entire process and, ultimately, maximum ROI. Forecasts are improved and trade funds optimized because planning and feedback from the field is better. Perhaps most important, positive in-store results reach record levels because field activities are executed correctly, at the right time.

Think this is a dream? Think again. The tools to make ideal retail execution a reality are available today.

From Planning to Reality

A major factor that determines the success of any consumer goods company is how well the carefully created plans are actually executed at retail. By optimizing execution, companies can ensure that the effort they put into brand planning, trade promotion and account management is worthwhile and is implemented to achieve optimum results.

By making improvements to business processes in the field and the way that field operations are managed from the office, a business is able to gain a competitive market advantage and strengthen its bottom line. Field Operations Solutions help companies achieve their strategic goals by empowering field management to increase the efficiency of their field force and the effectiveness of their organization’s field execution.

In today’s consumer goods world where driving bottom-line growth is king, make sure your retail execution strategy can carry products and company plans to market in a timely, cohesive and cost-efficient manner. Re-visiting your company’s field operations is a critical first step in turning retail execution dreams into reality.

(c) Copyright – O4 Corporation. All Rights Reserved Worldwide

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