A fast start to sales in 2021 requires excellent execution in retail

7 December 2020
Author: Linzi McGuire

It’s well known that one of the biggest challenges in FMCG retail following the festive period is delivering great execution in the New Year. Execution standards tend to fall during this time as retailers recover from delivering the biggest selling season of the year, leading to an execution hangover in January. Our own tracker of retailer execution data tells us that Q2 is the point when execution standards start to hit their peak again.

During a time where most brands are starting their financial year, execution isn’t as strong as it could be. Where most brands are seeking a fast start, the opposite of this may be true, which leads to a slow start to the financial year if corrective action isn’t taken promptly.

So, how can brands close this gap during Q1?

The New Year fast start vs the January execution hangover… what can brands do to tackle this challenge?

Our data and insight tell us that the biggest opportunities lie in quickly raising fixture standards, where availability is impacted, and off fixture execution, where compliance can be impacted by the clearance of overstocks.

The challenge for brands lies is raising execution standards quickly and efficiently, ensuring the fast start is delivered without wasting budget on a quick fix with no longevity at the start of the year.

Deloitte estimates that 90% of companies fail to execute on their strategy. Execution is difficult for retailers when they are also contending with internal pressures, so what’s the solution?

When consumer demand in store and online creates pressure at the fixture, brands can’t rely on dwindling retail resource to execute their products with perfection. Field marketing teams can however give brands the edge at the point of purchase to ensure fixtures are stocked and well presented. Here are 4 solutions to give your brand the best start in Q1…

1. Use tactical activation for an immediate boost

Whether you need to sort issues in specific locations or gather information in a tight time frame, a tactical activation team may be the answer.

If you’ve identified an issue, we can get resource to specific stores to take prompt corrective action. This means you can target specific stores quickly and efficiently and get a fast start without incurring significant costs.

Or if you need to find out where the opportunities are and fix them on the spot, we can deploy skilled resource into store to find the opportunity and act on it.

Again, this is a quick and efficient way to achieve a fast start to your year.

By offering a combination of skilled people and retail expertise we can deliver a solution that uses a pool of skilled resource who know exactly how to act on opportunities and take corrective action across the retail estate, and this is all available on tap ready to be deployed ASAP.

2. Use smart data to spend less time auditing and more time merchandising

Although brands have become more sophisticated in their retail execution initiatives in recent years, we’ve found that many still use outdated and often manual data collection methods. In 2021 brands need to think about using smart data solutions to take a smart approach to merchandising.

Products like DART have helped brands increase the value of corrections by 88% per visit, unlock more opportunities in store and increase coverage by as much as 20% while reducing overall cost.

The ROI lies in saving time on wasted visits, telling sales reps where to focus on more value-adding activities like merchandising, giving them the opportunity to visit more stores or carry out more tasks in one day, and affording them more time to strengthen their retailer relationships.

3. Use technology to engage with retails remotely

Put your brand in the hands of more retailers with technology like MyStore+.  This app provides easy access and real time communication between brand and retailer, with brands able to directly influence retailers by supplying them with advice, offers and rewards - at any time. 

Retailers can get all their category and brand advice in one place, saving them time, whilst getting offers from brands and being able to communicate directly with them. 

MyStore+ is a brand's efficient tool to directly improve in-store sales and execution across thousands of UK convenience retailers.

4. Start 2021 right with an agile approach to field marketing:

Looking for something longer term? Talk to us and we'll recommend the optimum mix of teams and services to deliver your brand strategy in the field.

We leverage sales, brand and customer expertise, combined with outstanding relationships, to build your brand presence and execute flawlessly. This is unlocked through a tailored service, built to deliver your strategy and goals through multiple touch points, whether that’s face to face, on the phone or digitally – on an ongoing, short term or seasonal basis. All of our solutions can be tailored to your needs.

Brands need to prepare to ensure their products are available and visible on the shelf through the peak season and into January to avoid the Christmas hangover that typically happens in the New Year, year-on-year. With more people staying home and local lockdowns set to continue into the early part of 2021 it’s likely the demand on retail - and pressure at the fixture - will remain high through Q1.

Getting retail execution right can be complex and expensive, but efficient and flexible service is only one conversation away, enabling brands to have the fastest start possible in 2021. 



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