Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Online clothing service for those that hate 'going shopping'...

Business Insider details a new online service that appears to eliminate one of the bugbears of a busy single-tasking (i.e. male) NAM's life - going shopping...

The Chapar, founded in 2012, is an online clothing-concierge service that offers its members "trunks" of curated items - including shirts, shoes, and knitwear - tailored to their taste and delivered next-day direct to their door.

Based on a combination of a short questionnaire, and phone consultation, a personal stylist sends a trunk of 12 items, of which 8 are usually returned...

For those who cannot wait, more details available on the Business Insider site...

A new way of shopping, but the issue for branded suppliers/retailers is how to factor a 66% return rate into an online business model...

Monday, 25 April 2016

Digital private label - your new competitor from Amazon

How its best-selling brands are driving AmazonBasics...

Bloomberg reports that the e-tailer is gleaning insights from it’s Amazonian product portfolio to produce own label equivalents of its best-sellers at up to 50% off.

It's AmazonBasics private label offering now includes more than 3,000 products based on their best-selling branded lines - from women’s blouses and men’s khakis to fire pits and camera tripods, all perfectly tailored to consumer demand.

Shoppers increasingly start on to search for products, bypassing Google and traditional chains’ websites.

So not only can Amazon track what shoppers are buying; it can also tell what merchandise they’re searching for but can’t find, allowing them to spec ideal products for their AmazonBasics offering.

The important issues for FMCG NAMs have to be how soon their turn will come, and what to do about it.
  • Amazon are obviously working down a ‘best-selling’ league table, cherry-picking based on a combination of their sales and consumer searches
  • They also have the luxury of trying single products, and discontinuing where necessary
  • Suppliers would be unwise to miss any selling opportunities by refusing to supply Amazon
  • Key for brand owners is to make their entire offering, access and fulfilment so attractive that they optimise direct purchase, without losing any potential via the Amazon route
  • The difficult part has to be optimising your own data to bond with your consumer-shopper base, using Amazon as a standard…   

BHS - A Pound Shop Fails when the numbers don't add up...

Following its sale last year by Philip Green for £1, BHS – with debts of more than £1.3bn, including a pension fund deficit of £571m – had limited options… Rents on top 77 stores unchanged, rents reduced to 'market levels' on next 47 stores and 10 months trial for the 40 least profitable outlets, all to no avail....
A detailed timeline is available on the BBC site 

The key issue for NAMs is the extent of knock-on impact on other retailers that are battling under similar pressures...

In other words, time to check out the latest financials of your customer, and anticipate the inevitable, while your competitors dismiss the BHS issue as ‘another trade sector, nothing to do with us…’

Thursday, 21 April 2016

The supermarket war heats up the multiples' approach to media, too

Whilst the multiples’ reductions in media spend could mean everything is going into price, in practice significant monies are still being invested in driving us to our favourite store…

Essentially, Media Week reports that during the recession of 2008-2009, traditional grocers were among the best advertisers as consumers continued to buy food while cutting back elsewhere. But that has changed in that Asda, Tesco and Morrisons have collectively cut spend on press, TV, outdoor, radio and cinema by nearly £100m, or about a third, since 2011, according to Nielsen – although some of that has gone into online.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s doing better financially, increased its spend by 2% to £59m (More details in the Media Week article)

All of this highlights the fact that the mults are competing with one another on price for a diminishing share of the action, and need to do so via differentiation - own label - and increasingly instore via the shopping experience.

This has to represent opportunities for suppliers that are capable of, and prepared to service regional and even store-based assortments, tailored to local need, and optimised via tailored shopper-marketing initiatives…

Finally, the main causes of it all, those ‘downmarket, common, limited-choice upstarts’ Aldi boosted ad expenditure by 160% to £69m from £26m and Lidl by 275% to £83m from £22m.

A message for your marketing colleagues?
Given that any growth is being driven by Multiples own label and Discounters’ surrogate brands, it is vital that your marketing colleagues increase brand alignment with retail offer-communication, while you find non-compromising ways into Aldi and Lidl…

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

KAMClinic Q22: Buyer wants to put us ‘on consignment’

Q22: Brian, a quickie: Buyer wants to put us ‘on consignment’ i.e. we invoice on sales out (Ian, St Albans 4th Feb 2016)

A:  Thanks Ian,
‘On consignment’ always seems like increased collaboration, but strictly speaking, unless you build in some conditions, it can end up diluting your account P&L.

As you know, most retailers have shrink levels of approx. 2%, meaning that for every 100 cases you deliver, 98 actually goes through the checkout. This means that by agreeing to invoice based on sales out, you are absorbing the shrinkage issue (and cost!).

If the buyer is acting in good faith, your condition that checkout sales be restored to 100% (volume sales out/98 x 100) for invoicing, should be accepted. If not, then not…

Hope this helps.

P.S. Despite your having to refuse ‘on consignment’ your buyer may be simply wanting more money.
Best to continue with ‘obviously we cannot agree to unconditional on consignment invoicing, but we may have other ways of increasing our trade investment, depending on getting equivalent value in return... Now what type of money are we talking about?’


Your Query?
For a KAMClinic reply, simply email me ( ) giving as much detail you are comfortable with... 

Auto-storecheck: Supermarket robot creates product maps as it takes stock

Pic: 4D Retail Technology Corp via Gismag        

A great article in Gizmag tells of the development of the stock-taking, store-mapping 4D Space Genius robot by Toronto's 4D Retail Technology Corp.

In less than an hour, the self-guiding Segway-based Space Genius can reportedly move along every aisle of a 40,000 sq. ft. supermarket or other large store, scanning all of the products and barcodes on display in HD and 3D. In the process, it produces a 3D map of the store, showing SKUs, OOS, pricing & placement anomalies.

(The Gizmag article gives more detail, including links to a Tally Robot).

Apart from the obvious advantages for mults and consumer-shoppers, NAMs - via an app - can conduct indepth storechecks 'from the comfort of their own homes'..., but we all know that nothing beats mingling with the aisle-travellers, live...

Meanwhile, spare a thought for what the Space Genius could do for instore compliance...

Monday, 18 April 2016

Buy Now, Pay Less Later

An article in this week’s Sunday Times details an unusual price promotion in a German Furniture chain: Who’s Perfect, which could provide UK NAMs with a way of understanding some of the consequences of Negative Interest Rates.

Essentially, its Frankfurt store offers a white Halma corner sofa – the company’s bestseller – for €2,700, buying and paying now at full price, or have a 1% discount if paid after two years… 

This is because the store gets charged negative interest rates on its bank deposits, so it is preferable to leave the cash with customers for two years at a cost of 0.5% per annum…!

Logical to a point, but the promotion ignores the risk-factor involved with credit extension.

For example, can you imagine if, after all these years of begging, or even paying for earlier payment, you were to offer your buyer a discount for taking even longer to pay, at increasing risk to you, in these Imperfect times…?

Tailoring your brand portfolio to new retail realities...

As the multiples struggle to adjust to the consumer's shift to smaller, cheaper, faster, closer, more convenient and online shopping by selling surplus outlets and trying to manage lower productivity caused by redundant space in their estates by culling SKUs, the consequences for brands are hopefully obvious.

In other words, with less shelf space available, only strong brands can maintain their facings, unless you can prove otherwise....

Moreover, brands are further threatened by the fact that much of the multiples' growth is via private label (if in any doubt, why not dig into your in-house Kantar data?), and discounters' via surrogate labels.., all adding to the need for new retail strategies..

In the face of these 'permanent' market changes, it follows that branded suppliers need to re-set what may be a pre-2008 approach by re-evaluating the relative appeal of their brand portfolios to suit current retail realities.

Essentially, this means fundamentally re-assessing consumer appeal, by brand, by retailer, vs. available competition to ensure each SKU of each brand has a defensible rationale to justify its on-shelf presence in each of the multiples.

In practice, this will mean you will have a different brand portfolio for each of the multiples, with possible regional variations to match local need.

Finally, any of your brands that do not meet these criteria should be diverted to other channels, before the multiples do it on your behalf...