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Our Development Director, Gordon Neil talks to us about the inconsistent nature of FMCG retail execution and why he thinks data is so important, particularly when you are trying to affect change.
There’s a truth about retail execution that the most consistent thing about it, is its inconsistency. We did a recent analysis in McCurrach on multiple retailers, looking at planogram consistency, which told us that only 4% of multiple stores actually shared the same shelf profile and space allocation in one of the largest retail categories. Given that startling fact, I thought it would be useful to explore the topic further.
We’ve been running an analysis for over 5 years now, which combines all of the execution data we collect on over 30 categories for over 100 brands. Given the millions of data points that go into that analysis, I’d like to think it’s a fair reflection of retail execution. So what does it tell us about the inconsistency in retail execution?
Well, when we look at the bottom 10% of stores for execution, only 1% of stores remain in that bracket for 4 quarters in a row. Flipping that and looking at the top 10% of stores tells us that only 0.2% remain in that bracket for 4 quarters in a row. In summary, retail execution is significantly inconsistent. Accepted wisdom would tell you that a well-executed store, remains well-executed for long periods of time and vice versa; the reality is that’s just not true.
This creates the big challenge for field sales of directing our capacity at the stores who are least likely to execute (i.e. the ones where the opportunity it largest), when the actual stores shift regularly. Our data analytics helps us significantly in doing that, especially in getting to the right stores in advance of the execution landing to ensure it has the best chance of landing. Our data tells us that over 80% of closing the potential execution gap happens in advance, especially on promotions; after the event has started is often too late to make the change.
The positive in all this? The ability to influence at store level remains significant if we combine smart data and expert people.
If you'd like more insight or support in finding the solution to sell more in this sector please contact me through my LinkedIn page.