Battling In-Store Merchandising Zombies

Battling The In-Store Merchandising Zombie

In a couple of weeks it will be Halloween, and here in the US scores of young children at our doors will shout “Trick or treat!”. Imagine if the response was “Hmmm, we don’t seem to have any candy here in the foyer, but let me check in the back”.

For many physical retailers this scenario happens every day due to poor merchandising execution. At RBM, we were curious about the details behind this issue, so we commissioned a study with RIS News, and found that only an estimated 65% of retail promotions were executed properly, and that number has actually DECLINED in the last 10 years.

Omni-channel consumers are as demanding, impatient, and powerful as a Halloween 8 year old after 10 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and if retailers are serious about improving the in-store experience to remain relevant in the omni-channel world, they need to improve merchandising execution. So why isn’t merchandising quality improving?

  1. ‘Omni-channel’ retailing has massively increased merchandising velocity – In the last 10 years, retailers have significantly increased the number of promotions and SKU counts to align with online efforts.

  2. Sophisticated assortment planning significantly has increased field execution complexity – In the last 10 years, retailers have invested significantly in store clustering and optimized merchandising and assortments to improve inventory turnover.

  3. Technology transformation in the “last mile” of retail execution has been light – 62% of respondents in the current study still identify email and Excel spreadsheets as their execution tool for in-store merchandising initiatives.

Simply put, consumers are demanding more, the in-store environment has become significantly more complex, and yet many retailers have yet to put world-class digital tools in place to help retail teams cope. Over the next few years this will need to change, and the report provides great insight regarding the places retailers need to focus. Give it a read, and get your candy ready!

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