Showing posts with label store-level assortment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label store-level assortment. Show all posts

Friday 19 September 2014

The Scottish Referendum - an indicator of increasing localisation, a global trend towards 1:1 offerings?

Whilst today’s narrow 55/45 ‘No’ result indicates the degree of feelings-mix north of the border, the size of the 85% turnout is a massive signal that consumers want more attention given to their needs at local level…

In other words, voters were echoing a trend already happening in shopping behaviour…

Given the emergence of the savvy consumer, a survivor of the global financial crisis, and their unwillingness to outsource their consumption decision-making-process to retailers and marketers in their quest for demonstrable value-for-money, sellers have had to increasingly make their offering accessible and tailor-made to individual need in order to secure initial and especially repeat purchase.

For instance, assume that a superstore/hypermarket offering is currently made up of 70% national and a token 30% locally-focused product-mix based on very obvious and traditional tastes. As the savvy consumer becomes more accustomed to shopping around - physically and virtually - then retailers that closely match their needs at the right price will sell more…

Retailers have to find a way of implementing store-level assortment, with all the skill and application normally applied at national level, whilst suppliers need to accommodate the resulting store-level purchasing decision-making via additional KAM manpower…

In other words, think Superstore with a national/local assortment-mix of 30/70 i.e. 70% locally required brands, in order to compete with genuinely local retailers, using genuinely local offerings, to meet genuinely local needs…  

A possible answer to the increasing space-redundancy of ‘squeezed middle’ retailers?

For brand marketers, this means moving away from the idea of 100% national coverage for brands, and instead settling for regional ‘patchwork’ distribution that matches local need. In addition, it means a shift in emphasis away from national fragmented TV to optimise the local advantages of 1:1 social media…

An untidy, but pragmatic response to the real world.

NB. NamNews subscribers will already have found this idea and its implementation developed in the September issue of NamNews - Free trial available here

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Coca-Cola fine-tunes demand-supply, by outlet...

Coca-Cola GB is revamping how it gathers data from retailers to pinpoint which areas of the country hold the greatest potential for marketing and selling its brands to shoppers.

The customer insight initiative will see the business create a network of outlets over the next three years that either currently sell or have the potential sell its brands. The platform, developed in partnership with customer insight agency Serendipity2 Marketing Group, garners sales and volume data which Coke will combine with its own before mapping it against external consumer, workplace, competitor and retail geo-demographics.

In effect, Coca-Cola is making each shop a major customer…and treating them appropriately.

Think about it!

Substituting ‘major customer’ for ‘outlet’ in the above description of their customer insight initiative produces a strategy that hopefully describes the level of tailor-making many suppliers can just about afford to give their major customers, as follows:

The customer insight initiative will see the business create a network of major customers over the next three years that either currently sell or have the potential sell its brands. The platform, developed in partnership with customer insight agency Serendipity2 Marketing Group, garners sales and volume data which Coke will combine with its own before mapping it against external consumer, workplace, competitor and retail geo-demographics

Scale obviously helps, but if successful, the Coca-Cola initiative will not only set new standards in optimising store-based assortment, but will also produce reductions in ‘over-lap’ wastage and buffering. In addition, any current sales losses arising from low availability will be minimised.

However, the real issue for all other suppliers will be the extent to which Coke are raising the game in major customer management, and the risk one runs in not anticipating the move…

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Retailers hampered by lack of innovation?

If the test of innovation is a consumer’s willingness to pay, then it could be said that retailers have it all their own way. 
Whilst a brand owner can take nine months from initial idea until appropriate shelf-space is secured in a major multiple, for a retailer the source of a new idea can be a presentation by a supplier that morning, a hyper-efficient supply chain can have it on a shelf by noon, and by close of play that same day, the retailer is in a position to delist the brand or double the order…
Exaggerated, but you get the picture…  
Recent press reports suggest that retailers need to be more innovative.
In fact, the two types of innovation, products and channels, present different challenges for retailers in these unprecedented times.
The innovation challenge for retailers: products vs. channels
Product /service Innovation can be so easy for retailers
-       ‘Suppliers taking all upfront risk’
-       ‘Put it on shelf and let the market decide’
How private label can make a difference
In fact, with the right supplier-partners private label can be a means of making exceptional products available exclusively in a retailer’s outlets, with consumers having to return for any repeat purchases, willingly…
Traditionally, suppliers kept the best ideas for the brand and offered second-tier ideas to the retailer. However, one exception was a client I worked with many years ago, a leading yogurt brand. They took a more innovative approach to brand development: when the ‘Lab’ had produced six new flavours, the company would first offer all six to their own-label customer. Then, following  a month’s sales in Tesco/JS, the relative popularity of each flavour allowed the company to select the best three flavours for inclusion in the brand extension programme….(Tesco/JS were ok with this, given their innovator’s advantage and their different agendas)   
Different when innovating channels or changing channel emphasis
Retailing can be a zero-sum game, in that in general a retailer’s routes-to-consumer can be sub-sets of a fixed demand. In other words, the success of a ‘new’ channel can be at a cost to their main channel in terms of sales, for instance where online siphons off sales of many non-food categories from a superstore…    
Large outlet 'redundancy'
Although pop-up shops can make some outlet diversification easy, re-engineering a 100,000 sq. ft. outlet can take a little more effort…
Large outlet ‘redundancy’ was a natural consequence of increased shopper insight combined with improvement in supply-chain efficiencies, in that two facings and minimal stock levels can now do the work of ten facings and a week’s back-up stock.
Rescuing a superstore 
In fact, for the major multiples, the next moves are crucial, in that £50m investments in superstores cannot easily be reversed, without massive dilution of ROCE, and sell-off is not an alternative, in that a superstore’s traditional retail hyper-efficiency means that any alternative use of the building cannot match a superstore’s  financials…i.e. no one can afford to pay what the retailer needs...
Restoring its viability 
A more practical solution might be a combination of store-level assortment, extending the range of goods/services to include anything that can be legally sold to the public, and sub-letting some space to shop-within-a-shop specialist retailers.
How to attract, select and retain the right specialists?
Charge a minimal rent, and a percentage of sales, collaborate on purchasing, share insights on retail productivity, and earn some good press in the process…
This has to be an opportunity for suppliers willing to help a retailer to really innovate…
Seemple, right?    (i.e. seems simple....)

Monday 5 March 2012

A Scandinavian Scotland – simply an export-opp for other major mults?

                                                                                                               map: The Copenhagen Post
To be or not to be Scandinavian, that might be the question soon enough for Scotland, if it decides to become independent. In which case, JS, Asda, Morrisons and the Co-op would join Tesco in having to factor in a balance of UK and overseas presence into their business strategies.

What they have in common
Scotland and its northern neighbours have geographic proximity, shared access to the same body of water, and the resultant multitude of historical links between Scotland on the one side, and Iceland, Norway and Denmark on the other. (More on social,political & religious similarities)

Advantages for Scotland

One final, crucial advantage of a Scandinavian over a British Scotland: it would no longer be in the Far North of the UK, but in the Southwest of the Scandinavia. The place would not have to move an inch, not even a centimetre, but it would sound less cold, dark and at the end of everything. Scotland’s new orientation could finally allow it to ditch some of the negative stereotypes that have been dogging it for far too long. It would no longer be colder, emptier and darker than England.
Key learnings for UK mults
Indeed, this new perspective might then begin to influence the multiples’ approach to the UK consumer-shopper. Think of all the ethnic food and non-food enjoying a new appeal down south… The multiples’ management would surely benefit from a foreign tour of duty, with no disruption of the family, competing with Tesco from a totally new geographical perspective. Management would no longer have to fight for recognition of local need in UK policy, and store-based assortment would surely become a natural output of the new thinking…
Supplier benefits
Meanwhile, UK NAMs, apart from adding ‘foreign’ experience to their CVs, would surely benefit from having to conduct periodic store visits to deal with their newly vocal ‘scandinavian’ customers, until eventually their companies see the wisdom of appointing a dedicated team to operate at local level…

Monday 27 February 2012

Store of the future: 80:20 towards 20:80 in store-level assortment?

Last week’s article on the IGD-Coca Cola research into the store of the future was the item most passed on to friends and colleagues by NamNews readers.
Key findings:
The report raised a number of issues in terms of the convergence of different trends such as shopper demand for more personalisation, with communication, promotions and deals tailored to their individual values and needs, pre-purchase advice from social media and online forums, in-store use of smartphones and ‘intelligent trolleys’, fully transparent supply chains in  terms of provenance and traceability, and environmental and social impact, with all of this information communicated on-shelf, on-pack and online through smartphones. The report also predicts that online generally will grow in prominence not only because it will continue to grow faster than the consumer goods market as a whole, but it will also form part of the wider store experience with some shoppers purchasing online and picking up in store..
Store-level assortment, the ultimate need
Essentially, we see all of this resulting in increased use of store-level assortment to satisfy savvy consumers unwilling to compromise on demonstrable value-for-money, with important knock-on impacts for suppliers and retailers.
If we assume that large stores currently offer a range comprising say 80% must-stock brands available nationally, and 20% available locally in response to historical demand, this one-size-fits-all approach will become increasingly out-of-step with market need as the above trends develop. 
How retailers will adapt their buying approach
Pragmatic retailers will want to restore the consumer-appeal of their large stores by stocking products more in tune with local need, to avoid shoppers voting with their feet in the search for satisfaction.
Superstores (say sales of £150m p.a., 450 employees with a CEO and organigram to match) will demand more autonomy, becoming increasingly unwilling to simply accept head-office response to a demand demonstrated daily in their stores by live shoppers, speaking with local accents…. They will want to optimise  increased buying expertise at branch level. 
How suppliers will have to re-organise...
In practice this means that suppliers will no longer see national distribution as a prerequisite for success in the launching of new brands, while their focus on existing  brands will concentrate on those parts of the country where brand-appeal is worth the effort. 
Equally, when successful retailers inevitably find ways of devolving increased decision-making power to local level, suppliers will need to extend their influence to branch level or risk being left out of local assortment. This does not mean a return to the days of large scale national salesforces, but rather what is required are small teams of high grade but possibly junior NAMs/KAMs operating at regional/local level, each capable of distilling corporate trade strategies, category management and marketing /promotional initiatives to local level…while their senior NAM colleagues fight for inclusion in the national 20% at retailer's head office...
For those of you taken with the idea, think one KAM business-managing 25 superstores, working 24/7, and work up the numbers…on in-house vs.outsourcing...   
Unless we all change locally in response to new local insight provided by increasingly articulate and demanding consumers, we are bound to sacrifice share to those who are already working in a ‘20:80  assortment’ mind-set, capitalising on local-niche brands, already comfortable with a mere 20% of brands having profitable national distribution