Retail Supply Chain Software: A Comprehensive Guide to Streamlining Your Operations

Retail Supply Chain Software: A Comprehensive Guide to Streamlining Your Operations

As the retail industry continues to evolve and become more complex, supply chain management has become a critical factor in the success of any retail business. The use of retail supply chain software has become increasingly important. It is vital in managing the various moving parts of the supply chain, from sourcing and manufacturing to distribution and inventory management.

 

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what retail supply chain software is and why it’s important. Additionally, we will discuss the key features you should look for when selecting a solution for your business. We’ll also provide tips for implementation and adoption.

 

What is Retail Supply Chain Software?

Retail supply chain software is a type of software that helps retailers manage and optimize their supply chain operations. It provides tools and features that enable businesses to streamline various processes. This includes sourcing and manufacturing to distribution and inventory management.

 

Why is Retail Supply Chain Software Important?

In today’s fast-paced and highly competitive retail industry, supply chain management has become a critical factor in the success of any business. Retail supply chain software helps businesses stay on top of their operations. This is by providing real-time visibility into inventory levels, order status, and other critical metrics. This enables businesses to make informed decisions, improve efficiency, and reduce costs.

 

Key Features of Retail Supply Chain Software

When evaluating, there are several key features to look for. Here are some of the most important ones:

 

Demand Forecasting and Planning

Demand forecasting and planning is the process of predicting future demand for a product or service. This allows for planning production and inventory accordingly. Retail supply chain software should provide tools and features that enable businesses to accurately forecast demand and plan production and inventory levels to meet that demand.

 

Order Management

Order management involves the process of receiving, processing, and fulfilling customer orders. The software should provide tools and features that enable businesses to manage customer orders efficiently and effectively.

Male business owner analyzing supply chain and logistics to work on retail selling

Inventory Management

Inventory management involves the process of managing inventory levels and ensuring that the right products are available at the right time. The software should provide tools and features that enable businesses to manage inventory levels, track inventory movements, and optimize inventory levels to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

 

Warehouse Management

Warehouse management involves the process of managing the movement and storage of inventory in a warehouse or distribution center. The software should provide tools and features that enable businesses to manage warehouse operations efficiently and effectively.

 

Transportation Management

Transportation management involves the process of managing the movement of goods from one location to another. The software should provide tools and features that enable businesses to manage transportation operations, including carrier selection, routing, and tracking.

 

Supplier Management

Supplier management involves the process of managing relationships with suppliers and ensuring that they meet the business’s requirements for quality, delivery, and cost. The software should provide tools and features that enable businesses to manage supplier relationships, track supplier performance, and optimize supplier selection.

 

Analytics and Reporting

Analytics and reporting involve the process of analyzing data to identify trends, patterns, and insights that can be used to improve supply chain operations. The software should provide tools and features that enable businesses to collect, analyze, and report on data from across the supply chain, including inventory levels, order status, and transportation performance.

 

Tips for Implementing Retail Supply Chain Software

Implementing can be a complex and challenging process. Here are some tips for making the process as smooth and successful as possible:

 

Assess Your Business Needs

Before selecting a retail supply chain software solution, it’s important to assess your business needs and identify the features and functionality that are most important to your operations.

 

Choose the Right Software Provider

Choosing the right software provider is critical to the success of your implementation. Look for a provider with a track record of successful implementations and a strong commitment to customer support.

 

Train Your Employees

Training your employees is essential to ensuring that they can effectively use the new software. Make sure to provide comprehensive training and ongoing support.

Team of asian people checking stock supplies on tablet

Integrate Your Systems

Integrating your new retail supply chain software with your existing systems and processes is critical to achieving maximum benefit from the solution. Work closely with your software provider to ensure a smooth integration.

 

Monitor and Evaluate Performance

After implementation, it’s important to monitor and evaluate the performance of your new system to ensure that it’s delivering the expected benefits. Continuously evaluate and optimize your operations to achieve maximum efficiency and cost savings.

 

Conclusion

Retail supply chain software has become a critical tool for businesses looking to streamline their operations and achieve maximum efficiency and cost savings. By selecting the right software solution and implementing it effectively, retailers can gain real-time visibility into their supply chain operations, optimize inventory levels, and improve order fulfillment. Discover how OptimMerchandising App can be very beneficial for your retail business.

5 Best Benefits of Implementing a Barcode Inventory System

5 Best Benefits of Implementing a Barcode Inventory System

7 Key Steps for Supply Chain Transformation in Retail

7 Key Steps for Supply Chain Transformation in Retail

As retail organizations strive to remain competitive in today’s rapidly evolving market, the need for supply chain transformation has become more crucial than ever. A well-planned and executed supply chain transformation can help retailers reduce costs, improve efficiency, increase agility, enhance the customer experience, and gain a competitive advantage. Here are some key steps that retailers can follow to achieve successful supply chain transformation.

 

Defining Goals and Objectives of Supply Chain Transformation

The first step in any plan is to clearly define the goals and objectives of the transformation. Retailers must identify the specific outcomes they hope to achieve through the transformation, such as reducing costs, improving efficiency, or enhancing the customer experience. These goals and objectives must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) to guide the transformation process effectively.

 

Assessing the Current Supply Chain

Before embarking on any changes, retailers must assess the current state of their supply chain thoroughly. This involves analyzing existing processes, systems, and technologies, as well as key performance metrics. This assessment will help retailers identify areas of their supply chain that require improvement to achieve the desired goals and objectives of the transformation.

 

Identifying Areas for Improvement Before Supply Chain Transformation

Based on the assessment, retailers can identify the areas of their supply chain that require improvement to achieve the desired goals and objectives. This could include inventory management, logistics, supplier relationships, or other areas. It is crucial to prioritize these areas and address them in a systematic and phased manner.

warehouse-industrial-supply-chain-and-logistics

Developing a Roadmap

Once the areas for improvement have been identified, retailers must develop a roadmap that outlines the specific initiatives and projects that will be undertaken to transform the supply chain. This roadmap should include timelines, milestones, and performance metrics to measure progress effectively. It must also be flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances and evolving needs.

 

Investing in Technology

Technology plays a critical role in supply chain transformation, and retailers must invest in advanced technologies such as automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to optimize their supply chain processes. These technologies can help retailers improve the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of their supply chain operations, reduce costs, and enhance the customer experience.

 

Collaborating with Suppliers and Logistics Partners

Retailers must collaborate closely with their suppliers and logistics partners to improve the overall efficiency of the supply chain. This involves sharing data and insights, adopting common standards and best practices, and developing mutually beneficial relationships. Collaborative efforts can help retailers achieve greater transparency, flexibility, and agility in their supply chain operations.

 

Monitoring and Evaluating Progress

Finally, retailers must continuously monitor and evaluate the progress of their supply chain transformation initiative. This will allow them to make course corrections as needed and ensure that the initiative is delivering the desired results. Retailers must measure performance against the established metrics and adjust the transformation plan accordingly.

 

In conclusion, a comprehensive, flexible, and well-executed plan for supply chain transformation in retail can help organizations achieve significant improvements in efficiency, cost reduction, and customer experience. By following these key steps, retailers can transform their supply chain and gain a competitive advantage in the market. To learn more about how to optimize your retail execution, watch a demo of OptimMerchandising, and sign up for a free trial with no credit card required.

How a Stock Take App Can Help You in Retail

How a Stock Take App Can Help You in Retail

3 Effective Ways Retail Merchandising Software to Boost Sales

3 Effective Ways Retail Merchandising Software to Boost Sales

Retail businesses today are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to stay ahead of the competition and increase sales. Retail merchandising software is one such tool that can significantly improve a retailer’s operations and ultimately boost its sales. In this article, we’ll explore three effective ways in which retail merchandising software can help you increase your sales and grow your business.

 

Optimize Inventory Management for Better Sales with Retail Merchandising Software

Effective inventory management is crucial for retail businesses. Overstocking can lead to wastage, while understocking can result in lost sales. Retail merchandising software such as Optim Merchandising can help you optimize your inventory by providing real-time data on sales, inventory levels, and customer demand. With this data, you can make informed decisions about which products to stock, when to reorder, and how much to order. Optimizing inventory management ensures you always have the right products in stock, which can help increase sales and improve customer satisfaction.

 

Streamline Your Supply Chain to Boost Sales

Streamlining your supply chain is another benefit of using retail merchandising software. With the software, you can automate your ordering process, track your shipments, and manage your vendors more efficiently. By reducing lead times, minimizing stockouts, and improving operational efficiency, you can always have the products your customers want when they want them. Streamlining your supply chain can help increase sales and keep your customers happy.

 

Improve Customer Experience to Drive Sales Growth

Customer experience is an essential aspect of retail business operations. Retail merchandising software can help you improve the customer experience by providing real-time data on customer buying patterns, allowing you to better understand their needs and preferences. This data can help you personalize your marketing messages, tailor your product offerings, and create a more engaging shopping experience. By improving the customer experience, you can increase customer loyalty, generate more repeat business, and ultimately boost your sales.

 

In conclusion, retail merchandising software can be a powerful tool for retailers looking to increase their sales. Additionally, by optimizing inventory management, streamlining your supply chain, and improving the customer experience, you can create a more efficient and effective retail operation. If you’re looking to grow your business and stay ahead of the competition, sign up for a demo of Optim Merchandising and start your free trial today – no credit card required. With Optim Merchandising, you can take the first step towards achieving your business growth goals.

retail shelves in grocery

How Merchandising Apps Help Australian Brands Ace Their Retail Execution

Coming up with the best retail execution plans should be one of the main priorities for all Australian brands that work with retail stores.

Placing an emphasis on great retail execution is important as it helps make the products of certain brands stand out over their competitors on the shelves.

Retail execution in Australia

Retail execution is the term used to describe all of the activities that brands perform at point of sales which are aimed at increasing purchases and conversions.

Having a successful retail execution strategy will have a significant contribution to the success of your retail sales which you will need since you will be competing with more than 140,000 retail businesses in Australia.

When planning out your retail execution, you are making sure that you are placing the right product on the right shelf at the right time, for the convenience of your customers.

Some activities that cover retail execution include order replenishment, shelf merchandising, trade promotions, store audits, and more.

You will be able to maximize your productivity when doing these activities when you use a merchandising app especially when you have to address potential problems like losing a significant amount of sales due to stockout issues.

What are merchandising apps?

A merchandising app is a software that specializes in retail and merchandising activities. It allows merchandisers, brands, and field reps to perform retail inspections and audits for visual merchandising in a remote manner through a smartphone or tablet.

These apps are made to simplify and optimize task management, especially those that are crucial to your retail execution plans.

Along with this, they can create better communication for field reps, and improve the rate of reporting and transparency.

Merchandising apps also help brands recognize how impactful their retail decisions are so that they can plan out and optimize better retail execution plans in the future.

Challenges Faced By Australian Brands Which Can Be Addressed With Great Retail Execution

Here are the 2 main reasons why it is important for Australian brands to have great retail execution plans:

1. Great retail execution can help with solidifying their brand in Australian retail stores.

Australian brands should see retail stores as another additional opportunity to tell their story to their customers and provide them with a positive experience with their brand and their products.

Having a great retail execution strategy will help push consumers to react positively when they see their products in a store.

Luckily for these Australian brands, there are merchandising software and apps that have a lot of features to aid their field reps in checking all the retail shelves and making sure that their retail execution is going well in all stores.

Checking the retail execution in all of your different store locations is vital for your business as it gives you a better idea of your performance in both urban areas like Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth and the smaller cities as well.

Australia offers unique challenges because of how large the country’s area is. There are a lot of cities and areas for you to cover in Australia and you will need to keep track of each store and how often you will need to visit it. However, this process can be a lot easier when using a merchandising app which can organise all of your store visits.

Tasks like monitoring store shelves in real-time with photos, taking stock of merchandise, and comparing shelves to planograms are not just important for tracking your inventory, but they also help brands check if their retail execution is being followed.

The displays and promotions help convey the brand image of Australian brands, so it is important that these are perfectly executed inside stores.

Mobile merchandising apps can guide field reps to optimize their work so that the retail execution goals of brands can be achieved in each retail store.

2. Australian brands can gain actionable sales insights with great retail execution.

All of the merchandising activities that come from the retail execution plans of Australian brands will provide them with up to date reporting on the status of some of the most important factors to note.

These factors include the status of their product’s inventory, information about the competitive landscape, sell-through data, and a lot more.

This data is crucial as it can provide these brands with tangible and actionable insights which will help them improve upon their previous retail execution strategy so that they can have more successful strategies in the future.

 

retail shelves in grocery

 

7 Ways Merchandising Apps Help Australian Brands Ace Their Retail Execution

1. Merchandising apps provide field reps with detailed work instructions and checklists.

With merchandising apps, brands can set regular visit schedules, track executions, and optimise their workforce and field reps when they are doing on-ground work.

These schedules can contain detailed work instructions which will inform reps on what activities need to be done for each store. Whether your stores are in Perth, Melbourne, or Sydney, merchandising apps help you cover all of  your store locations.

With these apps, it can be a lot easier to update, change, or remove work instructions and instantly distribute them to all of the reps in the field.

These instructions also come with checklists for all of their tasks which they can tick off once they have completed them.

2. You will expand your coverage analysis with merchandising apps.

When field reps are using these merchandising apps for their on-ground work, you are able to track and analyse much more than the data that is being reported.

This is because merchandising apps can also collect information like time and locations along with what stores are getting visits, how long the visits take, and what activities are being done in the store.

All of this can help provide Australian brands with valuable insights on how well their outlets are being covered, and can enable them to make informed decisions on how to realign and assign tasks to reps in the field.

3. Field reps can track how well your retail execution is in-store through photos which can be sent with merchandising apps.

The best merchandising apps will include a built-in camera function which allows field reps to take photos of the shelves and stocks within the app interface. The app can also have a photo gallery which saves and lets reps view all of the photos that have been taken.

Field reps should leverage this resource as this can give brands real time updates on what their retail execution currently looks like and how many products are on the shelves.

4. Australian brands can have better communication with their field reps through these apps.

Since field reps will use smartphones or tablets to access merchandising apps, these will already be an effective way of communicating between field reps and management.

The best merchandising apps are able to integrate all the important communication channels into their app so that it will be the only application that field reps will use for all types of communication.

This can include direct messaging, broadcast messaging, and important company-wide announcements that will keep reps informed of policies and tasks.

5. It is easier to take and request stocks to avoid out of stock problems with merchandising apps.

Merchandising apps contain a clean and user-friendly interface which make it easier for field reps to take inventory of stocks.

They can also easily create stock requests by ordering through the app in real time which will minimise lost sales because of stockout problems. Your retail execution plan will continue to be successful as long as you will have the right amount of stock on shelves.

6. Merchandising apps provide brands an easy way to track their sales performance.

Great merchandising apps provide field reps and brands with a sales transaction dashboard. This dashboard helps brands and reps with tracking their sales performance.

The sales transaction dashboard can easily measure the daily or monthly sales performance of a brand and can also record new transactions at the point of sale.

7. Merchandising apps can generate reports to easily view important data.

Australian brands will also have access to reports and analytics with merchandising apps. These can help them make better decisions and retail execution strategies with the data that they have gathered.

These reports can help brands track their overall operations and can measure success while saving time with automated reports on retail execution, sales results, and a lot more.

All of these reasons have made it clear that merchandising apps are a crucial part of an Australian brand’s retail execution strategy. Merchandising apps make tasks more efficient and can gather data in an organized way which will make it easier to analyse it.

If you are looking for a merchandising app that will maximize the success of your retail execution in Australia, then you should take a look at the Optim Merchandising app.

Click here to watch a demo and experience a free trial now.

retail execution in store

8 Retail Execution Tips Every Brand Should Know

Brands are aware that they should place an emphasis on strong retail execution so that their products can stand out on the shelf.

It is no longer enough to simply sell your products. The retail sector of today requires brands and merchandisers to have an in-depth knowledge of customer profiles, their wants and needs, and their shopping habits.

Learning all of this should be used to create a great retail experience for them. This means you have to make sure you plan out your retail execution as organised and as efficiently as possible so that you can achieve great results from your products.

What is Retail Execution?

Retail execution describes all of the activities that have to be performed by brands at point of sales which are aimed at increasing conversions. Your retail execution strategy is directly linked to your sales success.

Retail execution aims to place the right product on the right shelf at the right time. Some activities that cover this include shelf merchandising, order replenishment, store audits, trade promotions, and more.

Why is Retail Execution Important?

Here are 2 important reasons that show why retail execution is important:

They help strengthen your brand in retail locations.

In an environment where consumers love to seek experiences, retail stores can provide brands with another crucial opportunity to tell their story to a customer and to give them an experience with their brand.

This places an emphasis on how you should plan out your retail execution in stores. It is important for brands to have a great execution plan so that consumers will react favorably when they see your product and  your brand in a store.

Luckily for brands, there are merchandising apps that have a lot of features to support field reps in monitoring your retail shelves and making sure that your retail execution is on point in all stores. (Check out 7 Reasons Why Brands and Distributors Should Use A Merchandising App)

Monitoring your store shelves in real-time by taking photos of the shelves, comparing them to your planograms, taking stock of merchandise, and making sure retailers never run low on your products is not just good for inventory tracking, but also helps you check if your retail execution is being followed.

Your displays and promotions convey your brand image, so it is crucial that those ideas and values are perfectly executed in-store. Mobile merchandising apps can guide your field reps to follow best practices in store so that your retail execution goals can be achieved in each outlet.

They help you gain actionable sales insights.

Merchandising activities that stem from your retail execution plans provide brands with updated reporting on the status of your product’s inventory, sell-through data, competitive information, and many more.

This data is valuable as it can provide you with actionable and tangible insights that can help you improve your retail execution.

8 Retail Execution Tips Every Brand and Merchandiser Should Know

1. Create a strong relationship with your retailers.

Creating a strong relationship with retailers is a key component of successful retail execution. Strong relationships will help you negotiate for more and better shelf space with retailers.

Since retailers are charging brands based on the amount of space they want on a shelf, it is important that you should be trustworthy and reliable so that they can be assured that your products will bring in high returns for them.

2. Build clear support plans.

Building clear plans for how to create a high demand for your products is an effective way to show retailers that they will not be wasting their time and budget on your brand’s products. These support plans include how you will avoid stocking problems like product returns and shortages.

Preparing a plan and having a system in place to regularly check on your product displays and stocking helps reassure retailers and lets them know that you are fully committed to their store.

Related: How Brands and Merchandisers Can Prevent Lost Sales due to Stockout

3. Create packaging that can immediately grab the attention of consumers.

The packaging of your product can often be underestimated in terms of its importance in retail execution. However, every brand should have in-depth discussions and considerations on how you want your packaging to look like.

When thinking about packaging, it will heavily depend on what type of product it is and what would be most appealing to your target audience.

Packaging is not just important for attracting potential customers, but it can also be crucial for retailers as well. Retailers will be more confident placing your products on their shelves if they come in creative and eye-catching packaging because more people will be interested in it.

4. Compete for a good position for your products.

It is important for you to nail down the details of your retail execution once you have a solid relationship with a retailer, like thinking about the position of your products in their store.

Fighting for great shelf placement is a crucial part of your retail execution and should be one of the first points of negotiation. Shelf placement is so important that it can make or break your product.

retail execution in store

5. Make sure to have solid store displays and avoid out-of-stocks.

Preventing empty shelves and unavailable products is crucial to making sure that your customers are satisfied with your products.

If they see that your products are not on the shelf, they may leave and find something else even if you may still have additional stock in the back.

This is why it is important that your inventory is always updated and that there are no holes left on your shelves. Your displays and signages have to be clear, consistent, and accurate for customers and employees.

When you can create and organise a great shelf display as part of your retail execution plan, the customer, the retailer, and your brand all win.

6. Use and capitalize on the use of in-store promotions.

While your shelf placement and product packaging are extremely important, one effective way of optimizing your retail execution is by having in-store promotions for your products.

Floor stickers, hanging signs, and window posters are great examples of effective in-store promotions that can attract consumers that are already engaged.

7. Monitor your promotions by using different kinds of data.

Just as previously mentioned, promotions are an important part of a brand and store’s success. However, it is not a sure thing to get great returns for every promotion.

A high return can only come if these promotions are correctly executed. To better analyse the effectiveness of these promotional campaigns, it is important for you to use and review different types of crucial data.

While point of sale information can be useful, brands, retailers, and sales associates should focus on qualitative and experiential data to take full advantage of promotions and learn about what works well for customers.

You should take note of things like how visible your display was when customers entered the store, if people were stopping to look at your displays, and if they were asking questions about it.

Once you have monitored different kinds of data from your promotion efforts, you will be in a much better position to make your future promotions even better.

8. Use the best tools for you and your field reps.

To make sure that your field reps can efficiently do their jobs and make your retail execution as great as it can be, they have to use the best retail tools.

Mobile merchandising apps can make the entire retail audit process smoother because of the various features that are included in it. Great merchandising apps can provide these main features to its users:

  • Workforce Tracking – this helps managers see where field reps are at all times when they are on duty. This helps them monitor all employee interactions and create team accountability for all members.
  • Mobile Forms – merchandising apps provide field reps with a way to track their interactions with customers and manage their communications between them and the office. Having customised forms can make it easier for field reps as they can quickly complete unique jobs. 
  • Communication and Team Collaboration – These apps can also be an information hub because it allows reps to message anyone in the team instantly and to post important announcements. 

If you are looking for a mobile merchandising app that can help you with your retail execution, then you should have a look at the Optim Merchandising app.

Optim Merchandising has a lot of different features that can help you and your field reps gather important information and data which you will need to plan out an organised and effective retail execution plan.

Click here to watch a demo and experience a free trial now.

shelf space in retail stores

Share of Shelf: Why You Should Measure It & What Tools Can You Use

It is important for all brands to discover the different kinds of metrics that will give them a better understanding of how well their products are performing in retail stores. One of the most important things that you should always keep an eye out for as brands will be the amount of shelf space your products get. Finding out your share of shelf is important because it lets you find out if you are in the best position for maximum sales, if your products are stocked, and whether you are actually getting the share of shelf you agreed on with retailers.

So, what is Share of Shelf?

Share of shelf is a metric that is used to compare the facings of a specific brand to the total number of facing positions available in a store.

Using this metric helps brands quantify the display prominence of their products on shelves. Share of shelf is something similar to market share but it is based on the allocation of shelf space instead of retail sales performance.

4 Reasons Why Brands and Merchandisers Should Measure Share of Shelf

1. Measuring your share of shelf lets you track how hard your products are working on their shelves.

Measuring your share of shelf data along with your sales data allows you to discover whether your brand and your competitor brands are getting their fair share of shelf space compared to how much of a contribution they make to category sales.

This gives you a look at other specific products and brands that are either over-spaced or under-spaced which may be drainers or drivers of the category growth of your products.

If your products are over-performing vs. their sales contributions, they may be able to deliver increased sales if they receive more space at shelf. Also, if the products of your competitors are underperforming, this also presents an important opportunity to grow your share of shelf at their expense.

2. You will be fully prepared for new launches based on your data.

Sometimes, it may be difficult for your brand to introduce new products as you face the risk of cannibalizing your other products which are older.

However, when you can measure the share of shelf data of other competitors, you can have access to relevant data which can help you prepare and optimize for new launches.

This data can help you make a compelling argument for taking space from a competitor and using it for your new product launch instead of sacrificing your own space for your other products.

Related article: How to Use a Merchandising App to Simplify Retail Reporting

3. You will be able to identify new growth opportunities for your products.

When you are able to measure your share of shelf data along with your sales data, you can verify the success of any new product launches based on its execution and sales contribution.

These new product launches and the data and results that you have gathered for them is a great way for you to identify and improve new growth opportunities for your products.

This information allows you to engage in meaningful conversations with your retail partners at a strategic level like negotiating your shelf spaces and proposing other product launches.

4. You can use the share of shelf information of your competitors as a competitive benchmark.

While measuring your own share of shelf is vital for learning about how you can improve your bottom line, looking into the metrics of your competitors can also provide valuable insights for you.

Learning about the share of shelf of your competitors will show you which verticals and which brands they are most invested in.

Measuring this metric can be an effective competitive benchmark because it can demonstrate you and your competitor’s market position. This is because having more SKU’s (stock-keeping units) than your competitors in the most important categories will show that you are winning over those segments.

Tracking the share of shelf metric will help you gain a better understanding of how your products are in key categories over time. This can indicate potential threats from competitors and help you address these early on.

Related article: Retail Planograms: What Are They & Why You Should Use Them (+ Tips)

shelf space in retail stores

3 Methods You Can Use to Measure Your Share of Shelf

Understanding why you should be measuring your shelf space is important, but what is more crucial is learning the actual methods you can use to measure it. Here are 3 most common methods for measuring them:

1. Measuring the physical shelves where your products are

One method you can use is using a tape measure and then calculating the percentage of the actual length of the physical shelves that is occupied by your products.

This is one of the most accurate ways to measure as it allows you to account for the various packaging sizes and can give you accurate and reliable data for a better share of the shelves. However, this method is also the most time consuming.

2. Estimating all of the SKUs visually

The SKU or stock-keeping unit is a number that is assigned to a specific product in order to determine its options, manufacturer, and price. A SKU is something that is used to track a product’s inventory in a store.

A fast and easy method of measuring your share of shelf is by simply eyeballing or estimating all of your SKUs visually on shelves. If you are using this simple method, make sure that you use consistent increments like 25, 50, 75 or 15, 30, 45, etc.

This method can be quick and convenient for you but it can also be more prone to errors.

3. Calculating the facings

Probably the most precise method of measuring your share of shelf will be calculating the total SKUs on your shelves and your competitors and then dividing them by the number of  your SKU’s.

Measuring all of these facings will be very time consuming for sales reps but this will give you the most accurate results.

If you are looking for a mobile merchandising app that can help you measure your share of shelf data, then you should check out the Optim Merchandising app.

Optim Merchandising has a lot of different features that can help you and your field reps gather important information and data about your share of shelf and shelf space.

Click here to watch a demo and experience a free trial now.

retail clothes

5 Distribution Strategies Every Brand Should Try

A crucial factor for every business is figuring out what will be the best way to distribute your products to your customers. Coming up with a product distribution strategy is an important step that should not be overlooked. Some brands will just opt for the easiest or cheapest option available instead of coming up with an effective distribution strategy. However, there will not be just one true or correct distribution strategy that will work for everyone. Check out our recommendations below!

What is a distribution strategy?

A distribution strategy is a plan to make your product or service available to the customers you want to target through a supply chain.

Distribution strategies cover the entire approach for the availability of your offerings starting from gathering inputs about what your company communicated in your marketing materials to what type of target audience you want to serve.

Companies can decide whether they would want to distribute their products through their own channels or partner and collaborate with other companies to use their distribution channels to do the same.

Some of these companies may like to use their own exclusive stores for their own products while others will use other available retail chains to sell their products. A lot of companies also do a combination of both.

Why are distribution strategies important for brands and merchandisers?

Coming up with a good distribution strategy is important as it is what your company will deploy to make sure that your product offerings can reach the maximum number of potential customers at optimal or minimal distribution costs.

A good distribution strategy will be able to maximize your profits and revenue but a bad distribution strategy can lead not only to losses but may also help your competitors gain an advantage through the opportunity in the market that you created.

5 Merchandising Distribution Strategies You Should Try

Now that you have learned about why distribution strategies are important for brands, here are 5 distribution strategies that you should consider trying:

1. Intensive Distribution

A company that has a mass marketing product will more likely use an intensive distribution strategy. These mass marketing products will be put into as many retail locations as possible.

Intensive distribution tries to cover as much of the market as possible. This strategy hinges on making a large number of products available in several different locations.

These items do not typically necessitate an involved purchase decision where the customer might think about doing some research before buying it. They are times which are routine purchases which means that they involve only a minimal effort to sell.

The best examples of products that use the intensive distribution strategy are FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods like soda, milk, gum, toilet paper).

2. Exclusive Distribution

When brands want to use an exclusive distribution strategy, they make a deal with a retailer to sell their products through that specific storefront only.

An example of exclusive distribution is when businesses sell their goods directly through their own branded stores. This strategy is used by the most exclusive and prestigious brands.

When using an exclusive distribution strategy, the seller will grant selling rights to just a single retailer. The major advantage with this is that they can focus all of their efforts on that concentrated area and store which can help them get better results.

3. Direct Distribution

A company is using a direct distribution strategy when they directly sell and send their products to their customers. A modern approach to direct distribution is when companies use their own eCommerce website to sell products to their customers.

This can be an effective option for those companies that have a client base which is moderately knowledgeable about using the internet, requests a specific solution to meet needs, or is devoted to their brand.

Before companies should consider implementing a direct distribution strategy, they should remember that there is a large amount of investment required for it.

Manufacturers will need to add warehouses, vehicles, and other necessary staff so that they can effectively distribute goods on their own.

4. Indirect Distribution

Indirect distribution is when a company’s products go through different numerous channels before reaching the end customer.

These channels are intermediaries that assist in the logistics and placement of products so that they can reach customers swiftly and in a great location based on their preferences and habits.

Products that fall under the low commitment or routine purchases category like toothpaste are best suited for indirect distribution as this method places a large number of items in multiple retail locations.

5. Selective Distribution

Selective distribution is a middle-ground option between an intensive distribution and an exclusive distribution. It is one of the most popular strategies used by high-end brands.

With this strategy, products are distributed in more than one location, but they will only just have a few limited outlets. While this may seem like these companies are limiting their sales by only having a few stores, it can actually help them target the best performing outlets.

This strategy allows companies to spend more time and effort towards training facilities and improving the overall quality of their products and stores. This can also create a more personalised shopping experience for customers.

retail clothes

Which Distribution Strategy Is Best for Your Business?

These 3 important factors play a significant role in determining what type of distribution strategy will work best for a brand:

1. The type of products you are selling

The recommended distribution strategy for a brand can largely depend on the type of product and the type of purchase decision customers make when deciding to buy it. There are three major types of purchase decisions which are routine, limited, and extensive.

A routine purchase is when a customer will spend relatively little time selecting products that are generally low priced like paper towels or hand soaps.

For these product types, an extensive distribution strategy may be the most appropriate as customers will not usually be devoted to specific brands and expect these products to be available in a lot of different locations. Having a high number of these products available for customers can lead to higher sales.

Limited purchase decisions cover items that are generally moderately priced and often require more time when selecting it compared to a routine purchase. Some examples of limited purchase products are small appliances and clothing.

Most customers will put some thought into the purchase of these items because of their price and usability, but still not as much compared to extensive purchases like a car or house. A selective or intensive distribution strategy is most suitable for these products.

An extensive purchase decision involves big-ticket items like cars, apartments, and houses. An exclusive distribution strategy can work well with these items because it may also be more lucrative to have fewer of these costly products because of its high production price.

2. Who your target customers are

Some companies would utilize multiple distribution strategies to cater to different consumer bases. For example, if your target customers for a certain product are people aged 50 and above, you might consider directly selling products through a catalog.

However, if another product is targeting a younger customer base, you should think about indirectly selling this product by working with a retailer.

Your target customers play a crucial role in determining what distribution strategy to use. You have to think about all the ways you can make their purchasing process easier.

3. Your warehouse capabilities and logistics

Whether your brand uses distribution strategies like direct or indirect will also depend on whether you are capable or willing to invest in your logistics.

This includes having a transportation fleet, shipping personnel, and a warehouse for storing and sorting goods. If companies want to have these, they should remember that it involves a considerable upfront investment.

Your brand will need to consider all the pros and cons of holding your own distribution versus using an intermediary when deciding on what distribution strategy to use.

If you are looking for a mobile merchandising app that will provide you with valuable information and data for whatever distribution strategy you will use, then you should take a look at the Optim Merchandising app.

Click here to watch a demo and experience a free trial now.

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