Greg Seminara, Export Solutions

A great Clorox sales theologian named Tom Palmer introduced MITS “More in the Store” to me . The core philosophy was that if you focused on execution at store level that incremental volume would be pulled through the system. This concept represented a departure from the old adage that a “loaded customer (warehouse inventory) was a happy customer”.

Retail stores are showrooms for our products. Our distributor and broker teams should be motivated to create the most attractive brand in store “showcase” possible. This serves to entice the consumer to buy our brands during the 10 seconds she allocates to making a purchase decision.

MITS: Five Fundamental Components:

Retail Availability
Our brand must be available on the shelf, with a shelf tag and sufficient inventory to make it through the peak weekend sales period. All authorized sizes/variants must be placed on the shelf fixture.

A price tag must be up for all products as well as on all displays. Each country has different legal requirements that may limit a distributor’s ability to discuss pricing. In general, a fair principle is for distributors to seek a fair margin for your brand consistent with overall category margins.

Shelf Management
Brands should be allocated shelf space proportional to sales turnover. Each item should have a minimum of two shelf facings to insure that a complete case can fit on the shelf. Brands should be positioned next to the designated category competitor. Normally, manufacturers/retailers establish a preference for vertical or horizontal brand arrangements. Eye level shelf placement is desirable for most brands, with the bottom shelves to be avoided in most cases.

Incremental Merchandising
This includes off-shelf displays of any type: end cap, aisle, stacks, modular’s, shippers etc. It also includes secondary placement in front of an adjacent category or display. Point of Sale (POS) placement can also boost brand sales. Certain retailers allow local store management to designate brands for “in-store specials”.

Min-Max Compliance
Chain stores with multiple outlets dominate sales. Many of these chains design a central plan for retail assortment, shelf space allocation, pricing, and merchandising. The retail sales team is responsible to insure that these minimum levels of performance are executed. In most cases, individual stores have the flexibility to add shelf space to brands that that sell well locally, adjust prices to meet competition, and put up discretionary displays. Retail sales people should accept the challenge of obtaining the maximum possible presence for the brands they represent at store level.

Sales managers and distributor retail sales teams must organize their activities around tangible, measurable objectives on the five “causal” factors discussed above. Success at improving the in store showroom should result in incremental consumer purchases. This will pull inventory from retailer’s warehouses generating reorders for the distributor and manufacturer.