Greg Seminara, Export Solutions

Retail stores serve as showrooms for our products, the destination where supply chain inventory is translated to a sale. Leading multinationals such as Unilever,Coca Cola, Mondelez, and Con Agra are placing renewed emphasis on in -store execution through “Perfect Store” initiatives. Basically, perfect store programs seek to optimize supplier and store sales through improved brand visibility and an enhanced consumer shopping experience. The concept of a Perfect Store or improved in store presence applies to manufacturers of all sizes.

Cultural Shift
Successful execution of Perfect Store programs mandates a cultural shift .Today, most companies exhibit laser focus on volume and headquarter based product listings. This same attitude and determination must be applied to key performance indicators (KPI’s)
on store presence for your brand. This shift requires an organizational realignment around roles and responsibilities, time allocation, and performance measures and incentives.

Define Your Perfect Store
The first step is to insure that each member of your sales team is “crystal clear” on your brands in-store objectives. Create a store conditions resource guide, including photos that can be distributed or shared online. I’ll always remember a store visit in Cordoba, Argentina when I was a sales manager for Clorox. Thedistributor representative proudly brought me to his “best” store.The store was not bad, but below objective because our brand only commanded 50% of shelf space versus our 65% market share. When I mentioned my disappointment, the representative accurately claimed that “no one had ever shared” this shelf objective before.

Focused & Fact Based
Perfect store programs should concentrate on your highest volume and profit items, not every product in your range. Establishment of perfect store criteria should be logical and demonstrate that successful execution translates to increased sales and profits for the retailer. Normally, manufacturers share test data based upon similar store sizes or formats.

The Right Stuff
Mondelez speaks of four components to retail execution:
Right Assortment
Right Pricing and Promotion
Right Location
Right Displays
What attributes form the “Right Stuff” for your brand ?

Secondary Placement
A recent project revealed that my clients category was found in seven distinct store locations.  Sales grow exponentially through placement in multiple store sections. Examples include off-shelf displays, secondary shelf placement, or cross merchandising with related products. Capture secondary placement in your Perfect Store vision.

What’s Measured is Treasured
In  Store KPI’s can be measured via mobile devices. Normal tracking creates objectives that can be counted by a numerical response or a yes or no answer. Core measures focus on items available ( assortment),retail pricing, share of shelf space, and incremental displays. Distributors and Export managers must create systems to evaluate results and track progress just as we do shipment performance.

Incentives & Excitement
Perfect Store programs require the same energy and excitement as other strategic initiatives. Leaders have aligned compensation bonuses to attainment of goals. Others have supported the initiatives with contests and media support. Google “Perfect Store” to see instructional videos from multinationals.

Emerging Market Weapon
Many emerging markets are transitioning from small urban shops to modern retail. These countries offer greater flexibility to make changes at store level than tightly controlled Western markets.  These new markets often serve as lead markets for Perfect Store rollouts due to acceptance of point of sale materials and ability to establish a firm foundation for the future.

Future – Amazon and Online Retailers
Amazon’s web pages represent a change in dynamics where new brand visibility strategies may revolve around web placement and cross promotions. What is the perfect store for an online environment ?
The future is today.

Achievement of our sales targets requires a new attitude towards in-store execution. Every member of your distributor network should maintain a clear understanding of whether each store is an A, B, C, or D or a Perfect store and Why ? Export Solutions works with brand owners on a program called Next Level Sales Management which creates specific measures for improving your in store performance.