Home Retail Execution What is Retail Activity Optimization?

What is Retail Activity Optimization?


Retail Activity Optimization is basically is the optimization of standard retail execution processes done every day. From call planning to the activities performed in stores, it leverages data we already have in order to generate better outcomes through improved workflows and advanced analytics.

Retail Execution lays the foundation for Retail Activity Optimization by enabling store-level field sales personnel or third-party agents in the delivery of the perfect shelf through promotional execution, merchandising, asset management, surveys, audits, and overall performance management. From a field perspective, it is mobility-enabled, native to any mobile device, and runs across multiple operating systems.

The goal, AFS CEO Richard Nicholas says, is to improve sales performance, driving revenue and margin per square foot while also reducing our cost-to-serve. We must identify a set of improved outcomes that we would like to achieve beyond the compliance and efficiency expectations we have today.

And he reports that regardless of which customers offer the highest potential, ensuring that products are placed according to the planogram for all customers is critical.

“We need to ensure that products are positioned appropriately. Using image recognition and analyzing it with KPIs from the planograms enables an organization to measure compliance for their trade activity and ensure they are getting maximum value from the event,” Nicholas adds. “And, of course, we need to present the results of these checks in an intuitive way that empowers the rep to execute the strategy which is right for the store.”

It’s also important to know that the optimization process is driven by the analysis of data captured in the field, he shares. The CEO explains that large amounts of data are captured by field users in-store as we just discussed in measuring trade compliance.

“With the vast quantities of information available, we either need to filter the information into actionable insights–surfaced through KPIs which readily allow manual intervention and rectification of exceptions–or automatically schedule corrective actions such as additional visits or objectives to complete within current or future visits,” Nicholas says. “The key is to enable field personnel to spend more time with the customers who offer the highest potential.”

Manufacturers are now stepping up to take responsibility for the optimal presentation of their own products in retail outlets. A vital move in this competitive space, Nicholas says.

“The term “Perfect Store” describes the combination of measurements and KPIs used to determine the overall success of the retail execution strategy within a store or segment,” he explains. “Creating the “Perfect Store” definition from the perspective of our own brands can be challenging. It is an ongoing task due to the nature of the competitive industry and the ever-changing products, promotions and retail outlets. We therefore need to ensure that the Perfect Store KPIs and targets are continuously defined, monitored and adjusted based on sales impact.”

Nicholas determines a perfect store through analysis of:

• Suggested product assortment vs. actual ranged products
• Out of stocks
• Compliance with trade promotion terms
• Compliance of what I call the “realogram” vs. planogram
• Price vs. recommended/agreed price
• Share of shelf vs. competition and segment targets
• And, finally, orders (for traditional markets).

Effective Retail Activity Optimization reduces costs by optimizing our call coverage, focusing on customers who drive growth. We will also increase sales by enabling sales teams to spend more time on brand-building and business-building activities.

“We know that manufacturers spend heavily on trade promotion activities,” he reminds. “So ensuring that the promotions are correctly implemented and are compliant with the defined mechanics is critical to bringing value to the promotions. Monitoring out-of-stocks and looking for trends in out-of-stock can help avoid lost sales. Analyzing store stocks for compliance with the appropriate product ranges based on store size, location and demand in the local area will also have a large impact.”

The key to succeeding at Retail Activity Optimization is delivering actionable insights, Nicholas concludes. “Our sales intelligence tools allow us to gain insight into the performance of the sales team, key brands and promotional activities,” he adds. “The insights we can gain allow us to plan and manage the field teams with ever-increasing accuracy and ensure compliance with corporate objectives and the Perfect Store strategy.”

How can a purpose-built Retail Execution Solution impact your business? Let Ian Michelson at Ian.Michelson@afsi.com, or 1 972-715-4044 show you today.