One common problem brands face during their growth cycles is managing the fragmentation that occurs as their products start hitting more than 1,000 points of distribution. The complexity in solving this problem occurs largely because it becomes a people, process and technology problem.

Managing these points of distribution requires people to oversee both headquarter and distributor relationships as well as store level execution. An effective communication process must be in place to ensure the right planning, execution and course corrections are occurring. Lastly, data and technology solutions must be in place to collect information, track activity and manage performance. 

If these three things do not come together efficiently and effectively, the impact can be significant. Not only do brands risk their product getting pulled from  the shelf or being outsold by the competition, but they may miss low hanging opportunities to further promote and increase sales

If your brand is in more than 1,000 locations, here’s a checklist of things you should have in place to avoid suffering the consequences of poor retail execution.

  • Implement an Effective Tracking Solution: If you’re still using spreadsheets to track store level data, promotional programming, authorizations and in-store information then you are likely to have a visibility issue. Visibility requires not just tracking, but also the ability to easily boil up issues in an actionable format for sales leaders. Today’s modern retail execution platforms (not CRMs) and retail analytics solutions can provide the necessary tracking and data access
  • Effectively Utilize Store Level Data Sources: If you think store data is too expensive or it’s too big of a hassle to manage, then you’re probably ignoring the real problem. The cost of poor retail execution far outweighs the cost involved with effectively measuring and monitoring it. Leveraging data such as scan and shipment data, as well as in-store data including photos and audits should be an essential part of your solution.
  • Use a Best of Breed Resourcing Strategy: Many brands are either all in with using brokers exclusively or otherwise an internal team to manage retail sales and execution. However, with emerging alternatives now available including on demand resources, hybrid strategies can be implemented to ensure the most efficient coverage and team are in place.  
  • Align Trade Spend to Execution– Once you are in 1,000 locations it’s likely you will begin to offer promotions or other trade incentives to increase sales. Far too often brands are spending the money on trade, but not allocating any resources to the back end of retail execution to ensure the spend was activated, and the opportunity was fully resourced and realized. As a rule, designate 10% of your trade spend budget for additional retail sales and execution support to ensure sufficient allocation to execution is in place.
  • Make Things Fast and Simple: The above list may seem complicated and difficult. However, it can be simplified.  Sales leaders are easing more complex business processes with automated technology and tools to support and streamline their efforts. In addition, on demand resources are allowing them to scale coverage up and down to meet variable needs with minimal staffing headaches.

If you are already in the range of 1000 stores or approaching that level, it’s a good time to ensure you have your bases covered. Laying the foundation for success and scale is recommended in the early stages of these growth cycles.  

If you are a more established brand in more than 10,000 stores, you’re already very familiar with these challenges, and it’s important to mitigate these breakpoints that are likely already impacting topline sales as well as profitability. The good news is that implementation of these tactics has become faster and easier than ever before. So retooling your process and technology or plugging in alternative resources can be achieved without major disruption to your current business model.

For more information on solutions to  address these and similar challenges, Shelvspace can offer a complimentary diagnostic and recommend an approach that will best meet your needs.  

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