Friday, 31 July 2015

"Unexpected Item in the Bagging-Area"

Dear Retailer, 
Why not keep our little mistakes secret by eliminating 'shout-over' and confining our dialogue to the check-out screen?

Have A User-friendly weekend from the NamNews Team!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

A step beyond GSCOP?

Whilst the issue of supplier-retailer trading relationships has become ‘Agenda: Upper Quartile’, and the Code of Practice, in practice, is now being seriously considered by key stakeholders, it could be that suppliers are not raising their sights and expectations to a place that was always the aim of GSCOP, in spirit rather than by the letter of the Code.

Whilst it is obviously important for all parties to understand the detail and practical application of GSCOP, it is important to keep in mind that focusing on the ‘letter’ of the code in legal terms will at best slow down the evolution of what could, and should, be a basis for improved day-to-day dealings between suppliers and retailers.

Meanwhile, there is little point in criticising retailers’ legal departments for helping buyers to avoid falling foul of the letter of the ‘legislation’, that is what corporate lawyers do….  And besides, retailers need, and can afford to employ the best talent available in finding a way forward, especially in unprecedented times…

In fact, should the GCA team ever find themselves in a position to levy a fine of 1% of a retailer’s turnover, they will find themselves opposite a/the best-in-class legal team, entirely focused on provable ‘letter-of-law’ breaches, with the spirit-of-law aspects playing little, if any, part in the process.

The answer for suppliers has to be a company-wide emphasis on evolving a sustainable offer that represents a demonstrable edge over available alternatives, an advantage that is not easily replicated by the competition. In practice, this could mean a supplier has to construct their own portfolio re-set, stripping out any brand/SKU that fails to reach this standard, and live with the consequences.., before Tesco does it on their behalf.

This should be followed by re-negotiation of your existing supplier-retailer relationship to a point beyond GSCOP, a fair-play arrangement where each party’s reward is proportional to relative risk, and the partners collaborate because they want to be in business together, in the full spirit of a mutually productive working relationship…

Over-idealistic, na├»ve even? 
Would you prefer having to refer to a lawyer’s ‘letter’ for every stroke, and a life where you best energies are wasted on second-guessing your ‘opponents’ on the other side of the buyer’s desk?
There is a better way...

Monday, 27 July 2015

Ikea has created the kitchen of 2025 — and there's no stove or refrigerator

Those of you putting the finishing touches to your 2025 trade strategies might benefit from a skim-through a recent Business Insider article that describes and illustrates Ikea's ideas on how the savvy consumer will manage food preparation in 10 years.

The article gives an overview and pics here, but if you really want to dig into the detail and methodology, best check the Concept Kitchen site.

This give details of
- Smart shelves with induction cooling replacing refrigerators
- Smart table with hidden induction coils to heat pots & pans, replacing the cooker
- Smart waste disposal to aid recycling

Over the top?
Perhaps, but what it could mean is more savvy buying and significantly less waste...
Add to this the increasing tendency for major grocery retailers to expand vertically into food processing to restore profitability, effectively withdrawing demand from the market.

In other words, branded food suppliers have ten years to anticipate and adapt to supply chain dreams that are fast becoming reality...

Why not try a what-if to explore how your encounters with the buyer will reflect the above developments in the coming years?  

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Indy Convenience upping the ante?

                                                                                                                    pic: Brian Moore, Edinburgh

Friday, 24 July 2015

Amazon's Profit - a rounding error for Apple but proof of potential for the Stock Market

Amazon’s surprise second quarter profit of $92m, on revenue of $23.19Bn, a net margin of only 0.39% clearly leads the stock market to believe that the company is beginning to flex its latent profit muscles, adding $40bn to their market capitalisation, making them bigger than Walmart…

Reports in the New York Times confirm Amazon’s unchanging formula: 
It is the leading e-commerce company, and e-commerce is going to be really big. Its dominant position will allow it to undercut competition and bring home large profits. In the most extreme case, it will control the delivery pipeline of goods into homes, kind of the way cable companies once controlled the flow of entertainment... 

The stock market have obviously bought into the Amazon profit story, allowing the company to provide steady but minimal profits, re-investing surplus in innovations and experiments that normal companies can only dream about…

…Allowing Starship Amazon to continue on its mission of selling anything to anyone, anywhere, anytime, in whatever way they want to buy, forever?

BTW, in case you ever need reminding of their scale, Amazon have just opened a new multi-million pound fashion photography studio in London's Shoreditch as its fashion business continues to grow, and will produce half a million fashion images a year.

At 46,000 square feet (Asda-size), it houses 22 individual photography bays, a large state of the art editorial suite, video editing facilities, a creative fashion library, and office space for Amazon’s growing team of fashion creatives.

Please continue to watch this space...

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

NASA-funded study envisages a permanent Moon base within 20 years

According to Science Alert, a new economic assessment into the feasibilities of an ‘Evolvable Lunar Architecture’ base suggests that humans would be able to return to the Moon for approximately 90 percent less cost than previous estimates, which ran up to US$100 billion.

The new low-cost strategy would be possible due to leveraging partnerships with the private sector, and predicts that the US could lead an ‘International Lunar Authority’ comprising both public and corporate interests.

Time to begin to factor a re-born Tesco into your trade strategies, while others await a possible turnaround?

Monday, 20 July 2015

'Moe Greene' February 29, 1936 - July 18, 2015 R.I.P.

Supermarket price wars fall-out: Food companies across the UK 'on brink'

A report by Begbies Traynor in NamNews says the number of food and drink manufacturers in ‘significant’ financial distress has risen by 54% in the past 12 months to 1,622, 89% of which are small or medium-sized suppliers and farmers dealing with the major supermarkets.

Given that branded goods suppliers need Net Margins of 5-10% to fund brand equity building, and - depending on category - stock rotation of 5-20 times per annum to meet availability KPIs, ROCE performances of 15 -25% to ensure an adequate reward for risk - and thus some local autonomy - it is fairly easy to assess the scale of the fall-out in your categories...  

The key issue for suppliers is their own performance vs other companies in their categories.

In other words, check your company's UK figures at Companies House, for 2007 and the latest available - usually 2014 for most companies - allowing for issues re Corporation Tax (i.e. your company tax domicile arrangements can colour the reported performance at local level) but in general the figures will be usable for most companies in your category, especially in food.

  • Check your own figures, 2007 & 2014
  • Check three competitors on the same basis
  • Assess relative strengths and weaknesses i.e. the relative damage done to date, the ability to continue funding price-cuts and especially the competitors' ability to compete in your category
  • ...keeping in mind that the buyer is equally capable of investing a £1 per set of results, from the same source...
This category-focus will provide a reality-check reflecting latest available data, a basis for optimising consumer strategies and especially a means of identifying and quantifying your walk-away points with the trade.

Unless of course you prefer to believe the politicians and fly blind?

Friday, 17 July 2015

Co-op convenience cashback for the weekend?

                                                                                                                             pic: Marisa Cashill
Midlands Co-operative Food shop, Duckmanton, this morning 0400hrs,
Police checking if they went north or south!

Amazon's Birthday Sales - 398 items/second, 34.4m for the day, every little helps...

Good job Walmart were holding them back!

Thursday, 16 July 2015

'Caveat emptor' has morphed into 'caveat venditor' - why ‘seller beware’ is the new mantra for savvy consumers..

Today’s news that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) plans to take action after its investigation into misleading supermarket promotions should not be news, except in that it signals a significant shift in responsibility from buying to selling…

In other words, for many years sellers have relied upon the ‘letter’ of the law in terms of leaving the responsibility for checking match with consumer need to the purchaser, rather than the ‘spirit’ of the law whereby a savvy consumer expects to receive what it says on the tin, at least…

•   The real issue is why retailers need to learn about consumer trust the hard way?
•   To say nothing of the basic Tell-a-friend formula in junior selling school:
            -  Exceed Consumers’ expectations and they will tell a friend..
            -  Short-change them and they will tell 10 friends…

In other words, in a world of savvy consumers, caveat emptor has truly morphed into caveat venditor…courtesy of the new Peoples' Champion - the government!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Asda Move Closer to Walmart - the two-pat approach to ‘Save Money, Live Better’

Further to NamNews' report on Asda's Overhauling Of Its Brand To Bring It More In Line With Walmart, NAMs might benefit from a deeper dig into where Walmart are headed in coping with Aldi/Lidl, and online competition like Amazon Fresh.

In fact, Walmart Food EVP Steve Bratspies' recent presentation to the Bentonville Bella Vista Chamber’s WalStreet (sic) supplier group gives considerable insight re Walmart's food plans, and by inference, a view of where Asda is headed.

Five building blocks that will remain
Bratspies outlined five customer promises that are foundational to Walmart’s strategy in the midst of these shifts.
  • EDLP – Price is still “the decider,” even as the bar is being raised across other customer criteria.
  • Quality you can trust – Customers are smart enough to expect one-dollar quality on a one-dollar item but won’t tolerate one-dollar quality on a five-dollar item. Quality is defined by the item being purchased.
  • Everything you need – Despite its forays into small formats, Walmart is still very much in the supercentre business and is invested in facilitating a one-stop-shopping experience for its customers.
  • Happy to help – Of Walmart’s three sub-promises (a fast, clean, and friendly shopping experience), friendliness makes the biggest difference at the end of the day.
  • Shop your way – Customers must be able to access Walmart online from any device and from multiple locations.
Walmart's Growth Game Plan
1. Win in fresh
2. Re-energize the centre of the store
3. Expand physical-to-digital integration
4. Win on the fundamentals

Above all, Bratspies encouraged global suppliers to bring great ideas from other markets, empowering Walmart-facing teams to make decisions and “come sell us stuff”, pointing out that that their buyers are there to buy.

In other words, make a point and back it up with the numbers...we are listening like never before...

Hat-tip to Carol Spieckerman via Pete Louree and Spencer Booz

Monday, 13 July 2015

Tesco £40 minimum delivery spend, an each-way bet on basket-size?

Their new £4 surcharge on orders below £40, in line with Asda and Sainsbury’s, means that Tesco are crossing fingers that a sufficient number of core £25-users will either pay the surcharge or raise their order-quantities to £40+…

In practice, they are taking the basket-size route to fulfillment-cost amortisation vs. the blanket-distribution approach of Amazon i.e. delivery density – try tracking your next Amazon parcel and be impressed by the number of local deliveries your driver makes en route to your door.

The Tesco numbers look like this:

Order size £25
Tesco gross margin say 25%, i.e.       £6.25
Delivery charge, say £4                      £4.00
Delivery surcharge - £4                       £4.00    
Approx. cost of order fulfillment say £20.00

An improvement, but Tesco still loses say £5.75 per order

Order size £40
Tesco gross margin say 25%, i.e.  £10.00
Delivery charge, say £4                 £4.00
Delivery surcharge - £4                   £0.00    
Approx. cost of order fulfillment say £20.00                                          

Tesco loses £6 per order (i.e. needs incremental sales of £24 to cover the loss)

In fact, apart from increasing the base delivery charge, Tesco’s only route to break-even is via its gross margin i.e. say 25% of goods sold. This means they would need to increase the minimum basket-size size to £64, to break even on a delivery.

If Aldi enter the home-delivery race, my bet would be on them taking the localised delivery-density route, if Amazon don’t beat them all to it….

Friday, 10 July 2015

Kingsmill is back on the shelves at Tesco - Life after Re-set?

News in This is Money that ABF has managed to persuade Tesco to take back its key Kingsmill 50/50 bread, a blend of white and wholemeal flour, indicates that in the right circumstances, some re-set moves can be reversed.

Given that Finance Director John Basson could only make minimal reference to the move: ‘The Kingsmill bread line was taken out of Tesco but we are not going to get into the detail because it was a sensitive commercial agreement’, it is reasonable for NAMs in other categories to assume that Kingsmill made a successful, demand-based case for re-instatement.

Given the scale of the initial cull, it was always obvious that a 30,000 SKU reduction would mainly focus on product overlap and duplication and miss some gems in the process. What is encouraging to discover is that there are ways back in, for products in genuine demand, 'packaged correctly'...

If you are still awaiting the re-set email from Tesco it might be wise to revisit your current Tesco listings, re-assess SKU appeal and prepare for a fast response.

Our guest-KamBlogger Wayne Robinson offers three ways forward:
  1. Lurch into analysis mode...deep diving in to category data...ranking ros...etc It's not only the market/consumer data that will be swaying decisions about products on the shelves; there will be a financial element to this too.
  2. Use your research and insight to bring products to market that are focused on consumers' needs and have a true usp that add value to the category...otherwise known as innovation. In other words, try to identify the 'gems' in your assortment
  3. Channel diversification. No manufacturer should be overly reliant on any one customer. In other words, anticipate the obvious and try to optimise other routes to consumer, for products that are worth it.
Finally, it is worth bearing in mind that whilst some shops will be casualties, Tesco are unlikely to close down aisles, meaning there will be new opportunities for real innovation, as Tesco attempts to optimise redundant space...

'packaged correctly'? It can be assumed that a key criterion for a brand's success in a financially driven demand-based Tesco, has to be an appropriate combination of shelf-price, margin, support and credit period. In other words genuine consumer appeal, in a suitable financial package....

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Retailers have yet to truly connect with mobile shoppers - traditional retail missing another trick?

An article by Samanta Edwards over at The Wallblog examines new research on mobile-shopper optimisation (Window on Connected Shoppers - a free 20 page report on converting connected shoppers into buyers).

With one in three of the 30% of smartphone owners that have used their smartphone to shop in the last month, only one in ten of them regularly use apps as part of the purchase process – suggesting that retailers are failing to provide the right content.

In fact, according to the research, in-store smartphone users utilised their devices for:
  • sharing ideas (47%)
  • comparing prices (29%)
  • product information (20%)
  • sharing photos, taking pictures as a reminder, store location and browsing (with no intention to purchase) were all cited by 17% of respondents
As always, the problem is not that most retailers are missing the mobile trick, but that a select few (Apple, Schuh) are setting and making new standards in customer-connection work, and have to grow at the expense of old-fashioned retail competition, especially in the case of in-store mobile purchasing...

In other words, these physical retailers have managed to get live mobile-consumers into their stores, and are failing to see that online completion of the mobile journey is still a retail sale....