Whilst researching this blog I read through some of the previous blogs written on retail execution. I also thought about my time working with merchandisers at an own label food factory in my early days of IT support. I recall stories of them taking low quality photos on digital cameras, printing these in A3 colour and comparing display layouts for errors before being able to correct them. Technology has improved dramatically since then, however the same challenges remain today.
Working with a large retailer provides brands with a great opportunity to make their products available to new markets – and most importantly increase revenue. Multimillion pound deals for product placement are common but these agreements don’t come without risk, especially if you fail to deliver. Here’s what can happen when you don’t:
- An inability to implement best practice business processes
- Retail outlets that are non-compliant
- An inability to monitor compliance of product distribution, plan-o-grams, trade promotions
- Reduced ROI on marketing spend
- Inconsistent reporting
- Reduced insight into customer buying trends
- Lost revenue and customer loyalty
Can we fix this?
In a word, yes. Our recent global implementation of SAP’s Retail Execution functionality has shown us it is possible. Retail Execution is available as part of SAP Sales Cloud solution and provides companies with the tools they need to prevent the above-mentioned scenarios from becoming reality. This functionality is explained in greater detail below.
The Retail Execution processes are centered on visits. You can plan your store visits in advance and review the route between customers being visited. The system can manage repeat visit frequencies. For example you can be reminded that a certain store is due a visit as it’s approaching 90 days since the last visit. Various calendar views (similar to and integrated with Microsoft Outlook) provide a clear picture so you know which visits are upcoming.
The format of customer visits and the actions taken by the employee while with the customer can be guided by using the Perfect Store capability provided in by SAP Sales Cloud. Depending on the information captured whilst for example reviewing product placements or checking pricing and promotion compliance at the customer site, the results can be scored, and this will allow further assessment via store and visit KPIs.
The main aim of the “Perfect Store” is to heighten a customer’s shopping experience, increase your brand presence and maximise your sales opportunities. Many consumer goods companies operate on a one size fits all strategy but because there are differences between region, market, channel and retailer treating all stores the same does not work. A better way to create the “Perfect Store” is to acknowledge that stores are different and break your business down to the retail chain or even store level and then define in-store objectives accordingly.
A 2013 study by IRI into Perfect In-Store Execution found that better field team targeting and store visit objectives drive a 15% - 35% increase in productivity. This is based on adjusting store visit patterns, providing focused in-store tasks and reducing time spent compiling multiple data resources. They also concluded that Perfect Store Execution could increase same store sales by 10-20%.
Perfect Store visit functionality within SAP Sales Cloud helps sales reps to make the best use of their time in store. Each Perfect Store visit can be unique and tailored to fit the requirements. Throughout a store, there are possible multiple locations where your products are on display for sale. Engagement maps for individual stores and specific points of engagement clearly show where the user should focus their time.
Source - SAP
The points of engagement can have pre-set questions such as “is the promotional material displayed on the aisle” where the user enters a yes or no answer. Tasks can be added for example reminding the user to agree the next visit. Surveys that can include questions related to product availability, facings, stock availability and product price questions can also be assigned to them. This allows real time assessment of store performance and provides the ability to immediately rectify issues. Image intelligence functionality allows you to validate product presentation, visibility, and availability.
The information captured is used to calculate the Perfect Store Score which allows standardisation across brand/retailer and provides the ability to track the store/product performance over time.
Whilst in store, the user can create and agree sales quotes and sales orders which allows upselling and cross selling or to replenish low stock levels. Service tickets can also be raised providing the ability to rectify issues straight away. As the software is fully mobile ready (on phones and tablets) and has offline capability all this can be utilised in the remotest of locations.
Utilising the home screen, you can gain a real-time insight into the KPI’s that matter the most to your company and sales people, all in an intuitive dashboard-based interface.
Source - SAP
Finally, the advanced analytics that are provided out of the box can help you transform the way your sales people engage with retailers and give you more insight when making pricing, promotion, and placement decisions. The real-time data provides instant visibility even on mobile devices such as iPads of how individual stores are performing; understand consumer buying patterns; evaluate product pricing, sales volume and stock inventory.
If you would like to talk to us about Retail Execution in SAP Sales Cloud, arrange for a demo of the functionality, or learn from our experience of a recent global SAP Sales Cloud Retail Execution roll out then please contact us.
Read to know more:
- Making a splash with SAP Sales Cloud: ABPmer’s rapid 7-week deployment
- What have we learned from rolling out SAP Sales & Service Cloud (C4C) globally?