Snacks have always been a staple in convenience stores across the nation; they are highly sought after every year. The attitude of the consumer is changing at the moment, however. Snack foods are still in demand and still will be for the foreseeable future, but in this case, one theme is beginning to prevail: health. (more…)

The Industry’s new secret for increasing retail sales by 20% in 2017

The retail world has operated the same way for decades. Historical performance is measured by ACV, share of category or total dollars sold. Sales VPs are continually pressured to do more with less people and grow overall sales. Companies are continually playing the cat and mouse game of ongoing promotion cycles and incentives with distributors and retailers that create immediate sales but never really sure if they have ROI or grow the overall category.

What if we told you there was a simple way you could increase retail by up to 20% without adding any new product lines, changing your trade promotions, or hiring more sales people? Interested?

Well not only is it possible, but for those who don’t start adapting to the Industry’s new way of retail you are very likely to get left behind with eroding market share.

The secret is not really a secret, more of a movement. The 20% lost sales has been occurring for decades, but most companies feel helpless in doing anything about it. Missed promotions, wrong placements, out of stocks, out of compliance planograms. All the common retail execution challenges you have been fighting (or ignoring) for years are the answer to finding a quick 20% increase in sales.

The issue in the past is that due to fragmented data, communication, and time lags most companies have been helpless to impact this. By the time they realize execution of a promotion or new set is off, the window to fix it is already over. Or, if working through brokers or trying to get attention of retail buyers to help fix, they feel helpless and with little control to impact.

A movement in the Industry has begun to change this. This problem is not just a supplier problem, but brokers, distributors and retailers all benefit when these issues get resolved.

One reason for this problem not getting fixed in the past is that the measurement system has been very much outdated and underpowered to handle. Companies are solely relying on Scan or shipment data, which tell you what already happened, not what needs to get fixed. Sales and category managers have been stuck with archaic reporting systems. Companies collecting data from their field reps with apps are only getting a partial story with limited ability to impact broader retail opportunity.

The movement in CPG is to rethink the entire approach of data, mobile solution, crowdsourcing, and retail performance and make data actionable and real-time for sales teams. The movement is to look at not just data, but in-store pictures and activity in real-time. The movement relies on not just field teams, but on third party solutions and advanced automation to help ensure fixes occur.
In future blogs we will provide more examples of category leaders putting this into action.

Time to make 2017 the biggest growth year yet. You can do it by simply fixing what is broken!

For customized best practices, examples in your category, or a free audit in one of your key accounts click here.

In baseball, a .300 average is considered good hitting.
In school, 30 percent is a failing grade.

In marketing, 30 percent is … well, it depends.

This just goes to show that marketing isn’t about science. If it were, every single marketing initiative in every industry would have a single set number as a guidepost to determine success. But the reality is that marketing success is contextual – it depends a lot on the products being marketed, the audience and the environment in which the product is being marketed.And in the context of grocery and convenience stores, a 30-percent success rate (also known as a “compliance rate”) can be seen as more of a baseball result than a school report-card result.


color-emotion-guide_512d42458efc1_w1500-300x263Do you have a favorite color? Does it depend on your mood what color you lean more towards? Surprisingly enough studies have shown that color effects a person’s mood; red may feel more intense, yellow feels bright and cheery, blue is calming. So when preparing to chose a color for your company’s logo you want to think about what your product brings to the consumer. (more…)

Be different. This is something that is preached to us from a young age by some parents, who want to see their children to grow up and accomplish more than they did. How one stands out is how they make themselves marketable in the workforce, as well as other areas. The same rule of thumb applies to businesses. Being unique shows the consumer what type of product you have any why it is beneficial to them to choose that over someone else’s. (more…)

We all know that energy drinks have become a staple of our culture over recent years, especially with most Americans being constantly on the go. Sometimes, there isn’t enough time to wait for the coffee to brew, or for the difficult customer in front of you in line at the local Starbucks. A quick Monster will do, and is a much more efficient route to travel to enable one to arrive in time for their work shift. However, is it always before work or school that a consumer is purchasing this energy drink? The answer to this question is important to these organizations, among other things. (more…)

The location concept is something usually attributed to the real estate industry, with those who operate in that world constantly preaching its importance. The location of a property will be a large determining factor in its value. The same can be said of the convenience store industry as well, with the product placement determining the amount of attention it gets. Whether it’s the front end of the store or other shelves throughout, there are certain “hot spots” in which profitability can be maximized. (more…)

If you sell products into major US grocery, drug, club, c-store, or specialty channels there is a good chance you are heavily reliant on brokers.  Some companies we work with have 50+ different brokers covering various classes of trade or territories. Others rely heavily on one single national broker for driving their entire retail success.  The lions share of brands have a hybrid approach in mixing brokers and their own sales team together across different accounts and channels.

For some of these suppliers the perception of the relationships with brokers unfortunately often fall into the “necessary evil category” or “big pain in %$#” column.

Now I’ll be the first to say,  there are many outstanding brokers that do great work, however outsourcing retail sales is a beast of its own.

The reality is that your brand(s) are one of many in a large portfolio and you are no longer in direct control of your own sales force.

The result is CPG sales managers feeling loss of control, lack of visibility, and flat out helplessness in driving accountability to the outcome of sales efforts.

We have found the most successful relationships between suppliers and brokers follow these 3 key best practices:

Help your brokers focus on what matters


Many suppliers have reduced the percent of sales or budgets given to brokers – yet brokers are still expected to perform a variety of retail tasks, under this “all-in-one” fee.  Inevitably brands get disappointed when a broker is falling short on some retail execution activity as the perception is that, “they are focused on selling others brands”.

The truth is, brokers work extremely hard on very thin margins. As with any business they will focus on whatever is needed in order to see profits rise. It is the responsibility of the suppliers, not the brokers, to help ensure that there is the proper incentive to focus on what matters the most and will drive results.

Key – Giving brokers additional budgets for store level retail execution and helping create better measurement and reporting on retail activity will drive the right behaviors.

Improve Visibility For Everyone

No matter if your broker gives you good and timely information on accounts or not, you must increase your own visibility on store conditions.  If you think you can sit back and just manage the broker or manage from headquarters, you are missing a huge opportunity to increase your total sales.

Increasing store level knowledge through data, audits and activity metrics creates a better and more accountable conversation on both sides of the table. It also ensures you and the brokers are aligned on all the opportunities that can increase sales; and you are driving the right conversations necessary to win at the shelf.

Key – Ensure data, pictures and overall performance monitoring go beyond spot checks and you have established an ongoing and streamlined system of retail measurement.

Innovate and Win Together


We often have brands excited about one of our retail innovations, yet put up a roadblock before they even start. There is often a fear that the broker will never use a tool like Shelvspace, or will be hard to get on board.  The reality is brokers want to sell more and also want to continue to cut out the “waste” and work efficiently as well.  The real roadblocks are usually just a matter of positioning and perspective.

For a supplier to win, they must be cognizant to align their needs with the brokers to ensure a mutual increase in profitability and efficiency.  We have several brokers using Shelvspace that have implemented extremely innovative data, reporting, crowdsourcing and overall sales management solutions that help them sell more for their clients.

Key – Ensure alternative innovation like crowdsourcing, data solutions, and opportunity analysis are a shared conversation with you broker.   Not everything will be a clear path, but there are more collaboration opportunities today and you realize.

Learn more on implementing broker management best practices and reach out to our team at Shelvspace to learn more.

October 20, 2016

Brand Above All

Emerging brands and veterans alike strive to have their brand stick out above the rest. It is imperative that a brand differentiates itself from the field in order to survive. Your brand is your legacy; the stronger it is, the stronger your business will be. Speaking of veterans, perennial all-star Carmelo Anthony cited business being a large reason that he stayed in New York, in order to grow his own brand. He has spent a few seasons there, being able to develop not only basketball roots, but build a strong business foundation, which he hopes to continue to solidify before branching it out.