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Market Trends

New Retail: How does digital innovation strengthen the performance of your merchandising levers?

” The best thing about digital is what you can’t see. “

Breaking News (or not): Retail and e-commerce are in transition! Challenged in recent months by the health crisis, it is time for the New Retail: Innovation and reinvention to shape a future under the sign of a hybrid, personalised and powerful customer experience.

To address the New Retail, market participants have developed numerous solutions. The best retailers have doubled down on agility to offer new shopping experiences, roll out click-and-collect en masse and install contactless payments across all outlets. Even e-commerce has made its transformation by reinventing online sales! We consider this the visible side of the iceberg. These initiatives, experienced directly by the end consumer, when done well, provide a 100% frictionless experience for the consumer.

Here we would like to focus on the hidden side of New Retail. These strategic background jobs for brands that equally help to ensure a quality consumer experience. As the health crisis has changed consumer habits and shopper behaviour, these professions have naturally been shaken as well. Merchandising, a historical and traditional retail profession, has had to adapt: the choice of assortments, their implementation in points of sale and the emergence of new, more hybrid concepts are forcing brands to look at their in-store visibility differently in order to adapt to the new expectations of shoppers and therefore retailers.

With a big challenge for the brands: the battle for visibility in the shop.

One observation that has accelerated in the context of the health crisis is the steady decline of brands on the shelves. According to Nielsen, there has been a 10% loss in viewability since the lockdown began. There are two possible explanations for this.

On the one hand, because own brands (MDD) are taking up more and more space on the shelves. Their presence has doubled in 2019 compared to national brands. Retailers see this as an opportunity to get closer to consumers by offering products that revolve around better consumption: Organic, local and healthy. And this strategy is working: 62% of shoppers said in 2020 that they had turned to own brands.

On the other hand, because it is becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to discover products on the shelf. In fact, 47% of shoppers said they had difficulty discovering new products during the lockdown. The physical presence in the points of sale thus becomes a real competitive advantage ā€¦

The challenge for brands is to capture the attention of consumers at the shelf! Many of them are increasingly carrying out commando merchandising campaigns to effectively and quickly improve their visibility at the point of sale. In this context, Baron has noticed a significant increase in commando merchandising campaigns, mainly targeting the following needs:

  • Regularly refresh their visibility and adapt to a changing offer to meet consumer expectations;
  • Use innovative and experience-oriented measures to surprise the customer in the shop;
  • Highlight promotions increasingly aimed at catering to the purchasing power of the French;
  • Or even send a strong environmentally conscious message to consumers looking for positive change for the planet. (Source)

This profession has gained enormous importance in this struggle for visibility.

Command operations: handling a large volume of operations in record time

Baron, an expert in B2B and B2C salespeople and merchandising for over 16 years, knows this leverage very well. The agency is known precisely for its command actions, which require fine and millimetric organisation to deliver 100% of the results expected by its client partners. Brands with high utility value and a very high level of aspiration.

A command requires the selective and intensive deployment of a merchandising team: in a large volume of outlets, in a very large radius (often nationwide) and within very short deadlines. These large-scale operations are a response to major challenges for the brands:

  • Product launch: This is the most illustrative example. It is about ensuring the listing of new products at all retailers and in the positions negotiated by the brand in record time;
  • Maintenance: Maintaining the quality of the brand’s merchandising equipment. A team intervenes to solve technical problems, damage to the furniture, an element that needs to be replaced… ;
  • Refresh/re-placement: Updating the brand’s merchandising system as part of a one-off advertising campaign or changing product references.

In any case, a commando sales operation requires significant human resources for a short duration. The success of these missions relies on various know-how that Baron holds dear: first, selective recruitment of speakers; then, dense training on the brand’s products and their expectations; then, effective point-of-sale actions that are measured and reported on daily; and finally, valuable loyalty from our speakers to maintain our pool and create a guarantee a very low turn over (18% in 2020).

As a victim of his success and against the background we have explained, Baron had to quickly absorb new, larger command projects! In order not to lose efficiency and productivity, the question of optimising processes and improving customer satisfaction quickly arose:

how to deploy more and more while maintaining an exemplary level of quality and impeccable operational excellence?

Data: Key to our transformation

2020 was the ideal year to break the codes and innovate the traditional processes of this historic business sector. All the talents of the GLOBE GROUPE came together for a real innovation sprint. GLOBE’s expertise in shopper and business transformation and BARON’s merchandising know-how resulted in the GLOBE Inventory application. A unique technology on the market, 100% internalised and developed within the Group to respond to three major challenges :

  • Overcome the time-consuming barriers for back-office teams and simplify the traditional processes of merchandising provision;
  • Reduce the carbon footprint of merchandisers and improve their well-being at work;
  • They can service larger volumes of outlets over a wider radius in record time without compromising the quality standards expected by brands;

The exchange of data between the databases of GLOBE, Baron and those of our client partners was crucial. Combined with home-grown artificial intelligence, GLOBE Inventory sorts and updates its own data in real time to save merchandisers significant time in every decision-making process.

Merchandising use is optimised and simplified:

  • Access to information in real time: Merchandisers access the outlets to be visited in their area in real time. GLOBE Inventory geolocates each operation and allows merchandisers to distribute their teams to strategically selected outlets. Journeys are optimised, CO2 emissions and time spent on the road are significantly reduced.
  • Monitoring: To ensure central monitoring of the action, the app allows merchandise staff to certify their presence and department managers to confirm the passage of teams. Our back office teams are notified in real time of the passes and can report accurately to their customers.
  • Inventory: By loading data in real time, the application can centralise and replay information in record time and provide an inventory of all shops on day+1.
GLOBE Inventory App

Digital innovation: a virtuous cycle

The development of the GLOBE Inventory App has made it possible to meet the challenges of our three key target groups:

  • For the brand, the digitalisation of merchandising enables real-time visibility of inventory status as well as process tracking;
  • For retailers, it is the guarantee of a competent team that delivers an efficient and seamless service. The use of the GLOBE Inventory application increases the autonomy of the stakeholders. The result: fewer overworked department managers and optimised throughput times in the branches.
  • For staff, smart data means less travel to focus on the business in their area. This is a reduction in their carbon footprint and an improvement in their well-being at work.

After an initial successful experience with our client L’OrĆ©al, GLOBE Inventory has now become a mandatory for all merchandising programmes. This has given rise to a firm commitment to continue the Group’s digital investments to accompany the transformation of the traditional marketing and sales professions and to anticipate the needs of the New Retail

Affaire To be continued…