While we often focus on retail shelf management, it’s a promising idea to start the New Year looking at the broader FMCG landscape of where your shelves live. We’re talking about their place in the store, shopping center, and mall, as well as the new types of interactions and demands that trending for 2018.

Here are four of the biggest game-changers for CPG and FMCG we see coming early in the new year.

Malls Are Changing with More Space for Your FMCG

The mall is shifting to become more of an experience, calling back to its original concept of enjoying a stroll with some shopping mixed in as well. The biggest trends expected for the year include a variety of new spaces or brands using existing space differently.

The Platform shopping center is the big headline-grabber because it requires each store to provide a demonstrable, unique shopping experience to customers. Other moves include department stores creation regional options that highlight local designers and smaller offshoots like Nordstrom Local that is providing personal styling and clothes ordering instead of direct purchases.

For FMCG, it’s important to look at these trends and how they’re shaping consumption. Food courts are adopting a greater number of kiosk-like convenience locations — as well as a general growth in grocery stores being attached or in the same complex.

There are more shelves open to you, but if experiences at the mall are focused on reaching new demographics, your focus should too.

Wellness Is Coming from the Retailer Directly

What happens when your FMCG don’t match a retailer’s new themes? Are they targeting different customers in 2018? Could a product shift raise your brand awareness as well as sales?

These are just three of many questions it’s time to ask yourself when looking at the 2018 landscape. This shift is present everywhere from the growing clinics in CVS and Walgreens locations to the fact that Lululemon has rolled out yoga and running classes.

At the heart of this is a new approach to the consumer on a mindfulness angle, promoting human-to-human connections. If your shelves are in these changing stores, or they’re next door, you might want to consider a shift to reach these new groups.

If your story matches the wellness or wholeness approach of your partners, share that story. It’ll help consumers connect with you and is an easy way to showcase how you fit with your partner’s new focus.

Shelves and Ecommerce Are Extensions of Each Other

Traditional retailers are trying their best to get customers into their stores because impulse buying happens more often and is more lucrative at a physical location than it is online. Brands like Target are now providing greater options or even discounts on in-store pickup of online orders — partially because it’s easier to fill an order with local inventory and they save on shipping.

In your discussions with brands large and small, 2018 will be the year you need to start blending online and on-the-shelf discussions. The greater your presence in either one, the better entrance you’ll be able to make into the other.

Focus on the multiple kinds of value you already bring to your partners, not just a pure sale.

For example, brick-and-mortar stores have a return rate of about 10%, while online stores are closer to 30%. You can not only highlight metrics that are directly comparable — say you have a 3% return rate — but also note the larger patterns that occur.

If you have high success as an impulse buy located near registers, it’s a smart thing to highlight for locations that allow in-store returns of online orders because they may pick up a sale to replace some of that lost revenue.

Amazon’s FMCG Role

We can’t look at the convergence of the digital and real-world shelf without discussing Amazon. It’s a perfect place for you to grow your core customers and start generating interest. A few good things about getting your brand on Amazon is that you get plenty of generalized customer details that you can bring to real-world partners.

Take this information to build out customer profiles. Look at sales by region and volume levels. Share this with physical retail partners to help create a more compelling pitch for them to carry your goods or to place them in a more prominent location.

The best news is that there are a variety of fulfillment options available to you when you sell through Amazon. You can use your internal warehousing, seek out a third-party fulfillment provider, or use Amazon’s service. This can create a strong revenue stream for you that you can automate as you see fit.

As sales grow, your overall business grows too. Building out both physical and digital retail channels gives you the best chance for long-term success in a variety of markets.

People Are Headed Back to Small, Local Stores

And perhaps the best news that we’ve come across lately are multiple predictions that customers are going to shop local more often. The chief reason is believed to be a desire for personal service that specialty retailers can offer. This can mean anything from local goods to a smaller selection, or even just having sales teams that are more willing to talk with visitors about what they need.

You can help play a role in making this a success for your partners by providing them with data on your sales and customers, especially as they change throughout 2018.

Managing Independents Doesn’t Have to Be a Headache

We know. You read those last two paragraphs and thought of a time where your small, independent partners caused frustration. They’re a great outlet, especially for trying something new, but they can also be a lot of work.

Our customers have found that having their own field team is the most effective way to excel in relationships with independents. Shelvspace customers tell us they see an immediate and significant increase in overall sales performance, especially in the Independent channel when that team is in place and supported.

That’s the reason much of our development and tools are designed to give visibility to managers and executives around team performance. They see how effective each team is, while we also provide data to make it easier for field teams to open new accounts and sell more with each existing account.

Winning with independents gets easier when you integrate distributor data with their data. Part of that is the inclusion of photos from your most winning accounts. Use these to show what other independents are doing and what could happen if your new partner gave you the same space or carried your products as well.

Always Come Back to Customers

Customers are still fickle, so they won’t want anything that makes shopping feel like work. Shelvspace is designed to make it simple to capture this data and act on it, whether on a large scale or down to the individual store level.

We’ll be your logistics support tool to make sure that customers are happy, and you can deliver a more enjoyable, efficient experience.

Ready to be a rock star on the shelf and logistics leader for your partners? Schedule a free Shelvspace demo to see how we’ll help you respond to 2018’s trends and deliver insight that makes you valuable to every channel.