The retail industry in the last two years has navigated through numerous obstacles, from panic buying and out of stocks due to supply chain pressures and labour challenges. These problems have impacted product on-shelf availability, inventory alignment, and general shelf and promotional compliance.
As stores get back on track and more brands start rolling out in-store promotions, an increasing number of outsourced field staff are assisting with merchandising activities to alleviate pressure on internal resources. Outsourced field teams not only make business sense through specialisation and cost efficiencies, businesses can also capitalise on a field agency’s level of expertise and data capabilities by closely monitoring campaigns and adopting a more flexible and tailored approach.
As the impact of inflation pressures start to bite consumer hip pockets, finding efficiencies can help to arrest often shrinking profit margins. Brands can use data insights from field specialists to understand the needs of different customer segments, respond to price changes, and determine a strategy moving forward.
For example, in the grocery sector, products must be readily available on supermarket shelves, ticketed correctly and in good condition to sell. If the product is part of a sales promotion, it’s critical that the entire promotional period is maximised each day of the campaign.
Having an outsourced sales and merchandising team can help reduce fixed costs for retailers and brands that need to scale periodically. This approach can also increase overall sales revenue in both the short and long term by taking advantage of an experienced teams’ insights, technology, and data interpretation. Internal sales team are then armed with insights to make informed decisions in real time.
To drive field marketing performance in store, CROSSMARK works with retailers to ensure their strategy covers five key factors.
Speed to Market
Quite simply, when brands have a product on supermarket shelves or are part of an in-store promotion, speed is of the essence. Checking and correcting product placement helps ensure customers can easily identify products and find what they need. Rollout in more stores means more sales which is why it’s critical that every sales day is maximised to its full potential. A good field marketing agency will have the ability to hit the ground running to ensure stock is on-shelf from day one across all locations to increase potential sales volumes and avoid missed sales opportunities.
Rather than deploying one strategy for all store locations, data and insights can help provide tailored measures that adapt to individual store needs. This data can help strategically identify a problem or capitalise on an opportunity, providing a bespoke approach that improves efficiency and optimises resources. For example, if a certain product suddenly drops in sales volume, a field marketing agency can get to the store quickly to identify the problem and rectify the situation. Alternatively, if a product is flying off the shelves during a peak summer period, field staff can be deployed to specific stores to replenish stocks as and when required. Having the ability to leverage data to deploy resourcing is essential in today’s competitive and pressured grocery environment.
While having access to data is one thing, it’s how that data is used that is critical to a brand’s success. Being agile and flexible is essential as there’s no point developing a strategy and then simply following it to the letter if a situation changes. Responding to changing or unexpected events in-store is key to maximising sales opportunities and minimising losses. Retailers and brands can adapt and respond quickly with dynamic scheduling, optimised routing, and staff alerts to ensure resources are where they are needed most.
Of course, data-driven deployment and flexibility requires access to nimble technology which is something that not all field teams can access. Choosing a field marketing agency that invests in field management technology allows brands to do more with less, and have the flexibility to target opportunities, and develop bespoke strategies for selected stores.
Outstanding field marketing results can be achieved when the agency is treated as an extension of the business, trusted to collaborate in the initial planning phase. This is where market movements can be predicted, experience can shape a more detailed strategy, and the campaign execution is engineered to achieve objectives.
Polly specialises in relationship-driven marketing and is responsible for driving innovation and service excellence in delivering retail solutions to her clients. “I empower my teams to deliver unprecedented results by inspiring excellence and providing an environment for them to thrive.”
Polly has developed her career after more than 15 years in the retail marketing industry, working with clients today as she did back then, seeing both CROSSMARK and the people that make up our business continuously evolve.