A lot has been written about the Perfect Store strategy and how it can enhance your revenue. It’s true. It can. However, it can also be ineffective.
The difference between success and failure comes down to two specific things: data and execution. With the right data and analysis, you can make data-driven decisions that reflect consumer behavior and leverage insights to improve performance. Then, execution is key, and a real-time view of how the strategy unfolds in the field ensures consistency.
In this article, we’ll define what a Perfect Store strategy is, how you create it, explain how to build and measure your execution, and provide two case strategies so you can see how it all comes together.
What is the Perfect Store?
The Perfect Store is a concept that describes maximizing product sales by creating the ideal in-store shopping experience. This involves coordinating physical displays, marketing, and promotional events within a retail environment to ensure customers find your product and decide to buy it. Marketing typically captures this in a Picture of Success based on in-depth research of customer needs.
How do you create a Perfect Store?
Executing perfect stores focuses on getting every point of sale (POS) as close as possible to the defined Picture of Success. This can vary depending on the characteristics of the store, e.g., what “good” looks like is different in a big box supermarket vs. a small convenience store.
Availability & visibility
The Perfect Store requires you to manage availability. You can’t drive customers to purchase products only to find that they’re out of stock. Products must be available. That’s why tracking inventory and point of sale data is essential for successful execution.
Products must be visible, but not just the number of facings is relevant. It’s essential to look at the overall selling situation within the retail context is essential. This includes display layout, shelf level, the share of shelf, and compliance with brand planograms that sometimes go as far as assuming the typical direction of customer flows within a store.
Display and value
Your Perfect Store execution also needs to manage store locations, share of display, promotional pricing, and promo stock levels. If you have a new product introduction, your launch plan has to include which execution components would be needed to drive success and a clearly defined plan from concept to in-store.
Creating the Perfect Store experience means pricing that’s in line with a customer’s perceived value of the product. You’re also facing a constantly changing landscape where consumer shopping habits change, as well as competitor strategies and promotions. This means being able to adapt and roll out new promotions quickly.
It can be a challenge working in the physical store since you’re likely working within store and space constraints. With slotting fees on top of that, you simply cannot afford to make mistakes.
The why: Benefits to executing the Perfect Store strategy
When you get it right, your Perfect Store strategy can inspire dramatic growth in sales. Some of the most common benefits companies cite include:
- Improvement in presence and execution
- Alignment of marketing, demand, and in-store strategies
- Increased sales for products and retailers
- Increased revenue for target SKUs and categories
- Measurable growth in KPIs
- Increased market share
- Enhanced profitability for target channels/verticals
Implementing a comprehensive Perfect Store strategy that begins with your marketing can create more powerful brand activation and customer engagement from start to finish.
How to build the Perfect Store strategy
In the past two years, ecommerce has accelerated at a staggering pace. Global ecommerce grew from $4.2 trillion in 2020 to $4.9 trillion in 2021, according to data collected by Statista. It’s forecast to grow again to $5.5 trillion in 2022 and hit $7.4 trillion by 2025. When you’re selling products in-store, you’re also competing with products sold online.
Building the Perfect Store strategy requires data, insight, content, and a platform for real-time analysis so you can stay on top of these trends. To create the Perfect Store, use the following strategies:
- Align your promotion planning and execution.
Coca-Cola FEMSA, the largest bottling company in the world per volume, used this strategy due to recent changes in consumer and shopping behavior; it had to rethink its approach to go beyond share of shelf space. Coca-Cola FEMSA wanted to evolve the customer experience and how its field reps operated.
It’s a big challenge when you have multiple products in different cities and locations. By working with Pitcher and bringing all of its data together in real-time to respond more quickly to marketplace changes, Coca-Cola FEMSA has been able to equip its team with the data analysis it needs. In-store teams have transformed into business advisors rather than salespeople.
This helped create Perfect Store environments across their portfolio. If competitors were rolling out a promotion, for example, they were able to change in-store promotions for their products on the spot.
- Combine everything into a single platform to consolidate your efforts.
Molkerei Alois Müller GmbH & Co. KG used this strategy, transitioning from paper and disparate systems using Pitcher to consolidate efforts to support its daily workforce. Using Salesforce and Pitcher, Molkerei increased monitoring, automation, performance, and efficiency.
- Segment customers to differentiate promotional guidelines.
- Use relevant, impactful, and tailored content.
- Integrate retail execution data with key account management and trade promotion systems.
Pitcher helps drive cross-team value by combining planning, content automation, retail execution, order management, and coaching in a single platform. Marketing teams also get a unified consumer view that produces deep insights into customer engagement and behavior.
This provides full visibility into the entire field execution strategy with real-time reporting. The company reports a 100% improvement in customer engagement.
How to measure Perfect Store strategy
Sales reps and store managers are never standing still. There are always new products, new promotions, and changing consumer buying habits. Success depends on being agile at the right time.
Measuring the right KPIs can help you position your product more effectively and measure your return on investment. Your Perfect Store scorecard will measure your compliance score across your KPIs, including:
- Shelf position
- Shelving Flow
- Brand adjacency
- Brand blocking
- Product availability
- Pricing execution
While you need to aggregate the data across retail locations, one thing you’ll realize quickly is that every store is different. This makes a one-size-fits-all solution difficult. So, you need the ability within your data to drill down to individual retailers, groups, or stores to see what’s working and where.
Often, you can find other variables that affect your Perfect Store execution and gain deeper insights that can be applied in other cases.
Of course, all of this data and segmentation has one goal: optimize your merchandising and presence to grow sales. So, measurement is just one aspect of your Perfect Store strategy. You also have to be able to execute at every phase of your marketing funnel, from awareness to demand generation. At the store level, you need to execute your strategy relentlessly and constantly measure performance against baselines to determine optimal positioning.
To make it all happen, you’ll need a commitment from the highest levels to individual field service reps across your organization. Too often, there’s a disconnect between planning and execution. It takes an end-to-end measurement solution to pull it all together.
Even with near real-time point of sale data, few consumer goods companies are creating a closed-loop marketing approach to bring that insight back to those managing trade promotion, planning, and optimization. For example, when promotions are launched, success or failure is judged primarily on whether sales grew during the promotional period.
Yet there’s so much more that goes into it.
You’ve likely encountered the situation where you launch a promotion, and it’s a big success. But when you replicate it, it doesn’t move the needle. That’s why measuring all factors that go into purchasing decisions to build the Perfect Store is essential.
Book a meeting today to learn more about how Pitcher can power retail activity optimization, retail execution, sales enablement, improve customer engagement, and accelerate growth for your business.