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Insights and Studies, CPG Team Management, Technology

4 Main Retail Execution Problems That Innovation Will Solve in the 2020s

The 2010s brought a new age of technology to the forefront of retail. Manufacturers started collecting data about their execution at the point of sale, and retailers started using sales data to build relationships with their vendors. But despite the advances that were made in the past ten years, many brands are still struggling to gain an advantage and dominate in their category. 

In this blog post, we discuss the four main problems in retail execution that the tech of the last decade couldn’t solve. In the accompanying eBook, we provide you with the four innovations to expect in the 2020s that will alleviate these pain points and propel teams into an upper echelon of performance at retail. 


Point-of-Sale Data Doesn’t Provide The Full Picture

For brands selling at retail, the increased availability of point of sale data (from retailers or syndicated sources) has provided teams with a snapshot of when and where their products are scanned for purchase. Still, as much as 92% of brand manufacturers believe they can do more with the POS data they collect from their retail partners. 

Today, while retail point-of-sale data is widely available, it only tells manufacturers part of the story. It can show the what — such as a certain retailer that is experiencing a spike in sales. What it can’t show is the why or how — why did sales spike in one store but not another? How have recent sales campaigns contributed to this lift in sales? Currently, only 28.5% of CPG companies believe that they have the tools they need to make appropriate decisions at the store level, despite the availability of POS data. 





Field Teams are Operating off of an Inefficient Blanket Coverage Model

In 2019, 68% of brands lacked the necessary technology to optimize their activities in the store, despite the fact that doing so shows an immediate ROI and drives efficiency and productivity. Given that as much of 25% of sales can be lost due to poor retail execution, uncovering opportunities to move the needle should be the top priority for every store visit. 

Teams that lack the ability to optimize their retail execution often operate on a blanket coverage model. Field managers set up routes for their reps, building a predetermined schedule for when they should visit a certain store, how long they spend there, and the activities they focus on while there. While this approach gives reps an equal shot of uncovering execution opportunities in each account, it’s not the most efficient way to use resources. Sales reps are lucky if their visit uncovers an opportunity to move the needle on sales. 


National Account Managers Have to Wait Weeks for  Promotion Performance Data

Success with your national accounts is essential to continuing to build momentum as a leader in your category. And while retail campaigns (TPRs, endcaps, etc.) can have a massive impact, you also take on a significant amount of risk when executing at the national scale. That’s why today, retail execution for promotions in national accounts are reviewed as often as they can be. Still, most promotion campaigns are underway for as long as 12 weeks before teams are able to analyze performance data.

As a result, manufacturers lose valuable weeks and months of potential impact before they’re even aware of execution gaps, never mind before they can correct them. Instead, opportunities for improvement go completely unnoticed, or account managers are ill-equipped to make a case for change to retail partners and field managers when they do notice them. With CPG companies spending between 11-27% of revenue on promotion, catching execution errors early on is critical to achieving a strong ROI.


Point Solutions Lack the Flexibility to Enable Instant Analysis and Reports

Over the past decade, manufacturer IT departments and software vendors set to work to make retail execution teams’ lives easier, building point solutions for everything from photo tagging to time and mileage tracking. But what these point solutions can’t do is provide the flexibility teams need to build reports on the fly, answering questions for tomorrow with data from today. 

As data and analytics take center stage in the 2020s, quarterly or monthly reports aren’t going to be enough to give high performing teams the competitive advantage they need. Teams don’t have time to wait for their IT department to compile data from multiple sources into a report for them. Without the agility to integrate this data together into accessible reports instantly, the value of these point solutions decreases significantly. 


The 4 Innovations That Will Solve These Problems in the 2020s

Now that we’ve gone over these four major retail execution pain points, it’s time to discuss how winning teams will address them by implementing innovative technology over the next decade.

In this eBook, we’ve reflected on the issues laid out above and broken down four main ways that tech innovations will help teams get to an advanced state of data-powered retail execution. You’ll learn which technologies are empowering teams to:

  • Discover the why behind sales trends in every store
  • Use targeted territory coverage to yield targeted results
  • Build data-driven relationships with national accounts
  • Democratize data through reporting agility and ease of access

Melissa Sonntag

Melissa is a recent graduate of Northeastern University and a content marketing specialist at Repsly, Inc. She is committed to applying her skills in order to bring value to Repsly readers and customers. Outside of work, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, making music, and anything dog-related.

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