On the shelf

The Bailey Group UK’s Julia Collis explains how field marketing can have a significant impact on ROI and help to ensure that a brand’s retail marketing spend is not wasted.

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Retail marketing is gaining momentum as brands move their attention away from traditional above the line, and instead focus on shoppers and creating products and campaigns that really grab consumers’ attention in store. However, while this may be rightly demonstrating the power and importance of the in-store environment as a marketing channel, many of these same brands still need to make sure that the basics are in place if their campaigns are to really be a success.

The reality is that however clever your shopper marketing is, and however well it taps into the needs of your consumer, if the building blocks aren’t in place and the physical product is not on the shelves, then it is ultimately doomed to failure. Indeed, one of the biggest barriers to the potential growth of retail marketing is compliance, which can range from 42% to 85% across the industry. And as recent IGD research highlights, products on promotion not being available in store is the biggest single concern for today’s shoppers.

This is also something that is likely to fall under the jurisdiction of the Government-proposed Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA), which will be able to receive complaints about the way supermarkets interact with their primary suppliers. It will also have the power to levy financial penalties against retailers should they be deemed at fault, so failure to comply with promotions could become an expensive business.

On top of this, the level of out of stocks are currently running at around 8% across the UK, and most of these lead to lost sales for the brand, and an equally large proportion to lost sales to the retailer. Put simply, if the product isn’t available, brands and retailers are undermining their own potential profits. Not only that, but getting it wrong in terms of promotional availability can cause significant negative emotions in the shopper and lead to long-lasting damage to a brand’s image.

Thankfully, for both brands and retailers, this is where field marketing can be at its most effective. Many of these issues are often caused by systemic problems ranging from stock control and in-store placement to supply and compliance, which field staff can locate, report on and help solve. Beyond this, sophisticated measurement and analysis tools now exist that enable field marketing agencies to help brands target the areas where the biggest gains are likely to be made – this can be targeted right down to the individual store where campaigns are not reaching targets. This allows brands to direct their budgets accordingly to generate the highest possible return on investment.

Many brands are still not getting what they’ve paid for in terms of compliance in the retail environment, and employing field marketing teams to work in store is a simple way of ensuring retailers execute promotions correctly and on time. Having the right space and visibility can make a big difference to any promotion, and this in turn can make a real difference to the bottom line for both the brands and retailers involved. However, this requires a joined up thorough planning process and field marketing should be viewed as the glue that binds this together.

Getting your campaign basics right is the journey not the destination, and it’s a journey worth investing in to ensure that your retail marketing spend is not wasted.

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