No two brands are alike just as no two shoppers are alike.  So why is it that so many brands, retailers, and experts offer a “one size fits all” approach to every aspect of their communications?  While the promise of the perfect turnkey canned solution sounds great, we are all skeptical of such claims.  It’s the same for our customers.

Shoppers today are smart. They want what they want when they want it. They don’t want to be sold.  They appreciate being listened to and talked to like real people. This simple truth is that this is frequently overlooked in much of the communicating between brands and retailers.

Retailers and brands want to meet the needs of their customers.  They all realize that they depend on new and repeat shoppers for their livelihood.  In the process of systemizing things, implementing policies and procedures, and becoming overwhelmed with the day-to-day distractions of running a business, brands and retailers tend to overlook the primary reason they got into the business in the first place.  I propose that we all take a deep breath, step back, and re-direct our efforts toward satisfying our customers throughout every step of the sales funnel.

Data is one resource that can be used to better measure brand and retailer performance.  Your success can be measured by what and how shoppers spend their money.  Data can include customer survey data, retailer point-of-sale data, consumer/shopper insights, etc.  While canned topline reports can help answer some of the basic generic questions brands and retailers have, they fall short when it comes to understanding what drives the decision making process for consumers.

This is because topline reports do not provide actionable insights capable of answering your most pressing business questions.  This is why it is imperative that you have the capability to go beyond topline reports to understand your business on a more intimate level.  This is also where brands and retailers should work closely together, leveraging their strengths to support each other and their customers.

How can data help and provide actionable insights?

Imagine reading a report that tells you that your business is healthy nationally but it fails to identify specific threats and markets where you are losing sales to a competitor. Wouldn’t it be more helpful to identify a potential threat before the competition takes sales away from you?

Listed below are some good questions to help brands and retailers re-focus on their primary mission and effectively grow your business.  They should all be answered through the eyes of the shopper, from the shoppers perspective.

  • Is the category well merchandised with an assortment that meets the shopper’s needs?
  • Is there enough variety (selection) to differentiate the retailer from their competition?
  • How well are you serving your shoppers?
  • How is your brand performing?
  • How healthy is your brand compared to the competition?
  • How is the category performing compared to the competition?
  • How is your brand performing at retail in each category?
  • Do you have full distribution where your customers shop?
  • Can you properly support promotions with enough inventory on-hand to avoid out-of-stocks?
  • Is your pricing strategy driving sustainable sales and how do your shoppers perceive it (fair/not fair)?
  • Are your promotions driving sales, growing your brand, and are they attracting new loyal shoppers?
  • How do your strategies meet the needs of your shoppers?
  • Can you identify three opportunities to reach more customers?

These questions should be answered during every internal business review and retailer category review.  Custom reports will help you to not only proactively manage your business, but to become the leader in your category and market.

The health of your business depends on your selling story. Learn how to maximize your selling story to get you brand on more retailers shelves and into the hands of more shoppers in my free course: Turnkey Sales Story Strategies

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