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How to Make Your Retail Execution Budget Pay Off

A retail employee works on a laptop in front of a merchandise display: retail execution solutions
Consumer goods companies must make sure their seasonal products stay stocked on retailers’ shelves at the right time and price. [MaaHoo Studio / Stocksy]

Keep your retailers happy and your margins high with these retail execution tips.

The consumer goods (CG) industry spends $200 billion each year to promote products in stores. But 90% of companies fail to deliver on their retail execution strategy! CG companies can’t afford to miss sales opportunities. Margins are tighter than ever as changing inflation and supply chain issues make it harder to price items affordably and keep them in stock. 

To bring in more foot traffic and boost overall sales, CG companies have traditionally relied on seasonal products. But to execute this strategy successfully, companies must ensure their goods stay stocked on retailers’ shelves at the right time and price. That’s a lot easier said than done — hence, the billions of dollars in lost sales and revenue. Want to improve your retail execution? Start by focusing on three areas: inventory visibility, strategy adherence, and always-on pricing access.

Improve execution with automation and data

Unlock productivity and empower your field teams with retail execution.

Keep tabs on your inventory to keep shelves stocked 

What’s scarier than a pumpkin-shaped candy shortage at Halloween? Inventory problems like out-of-stocks or delivery slowdowns that last all year long. That’s why 52% of CG leaders told us they want better visibility into their inventory. 

Supply chain challenges are only part of the story. Sometimes, products aren’t delivered where they’re most needed. Customers in some sales territories, for example, may be more interested in products for Easter than Valentine’s Day, and vice versa. Mastering those nuances is critical to retail success. Field reps who use the right retail execution solution can tell their company’s supply-and-demand planning teams where the real needs are and help them optimize the flow of goods. This is likely to win over retailers, who don’t like losing sales, either. 

To keep shelves stocked, your field reps need solutions to help them plan more efficient store visits. Mobile devices, such as tablets that work with and without connectivity, let reps access current inventory levels; plan routes intelligently; order products; and send reports, no matter where they are. For example, field reps can reorder inventory right at the store — and if the warehouse is out of stock, they can suggest alternatives on the spot. If connectivity is spotty, orders will execute as soon as those wireless bars return.  

Make sure in-store displays play by your rules

Store displays are critical if you want consumers to keep reaching for your products.  In grocery stores, for example, placing products on an endcap yields a 93% increase in exposure — a huge advantage since 62% of grocery store purchases are impulse buys.

And yet, only 48% of CG leaders say their merchandising and marketing plans are executed as intended at their retail locations. Give your field reps the information they need to carry out your carefully planned strategy. This is especially important during seasonal events, which have limited time to capture consumers’ attention.  

A lot of moving parts go into creating the perfect store for your target audience. At the heart of this task is education: Field reps need to understand your brand’s goals and express them clearly to retailers. Some of this education may help get retailers excited about product updates – like how that 5% elastane in a new line of swimsuits improves comfort and fit. Education can also be technical, like making sure displays meet trade promotion rules. 

Field reps are the connective tissue between your brand and retailers. Providing them with accurate information — and keeping that information up to date and accessible with smart retail execution strategies — plays a major role in how your brand presents to consumers. Ultimately, field reps are your eyes and ears, evaluating competing merchandise and sharing what’s happening in the shopping aisles. 

Give field reps access to always-on pricing 

It’s early February and your hottest products are champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. Your field reps are eager to keep shelves stocked before Valentine’s Day, but they’re missing order opportunities everywhere they go. Why? Without in-store access to pricing scales, per-unit cost, and manufacturer discount information, they can’t place orders easily or at the right moments. That harms your retailer relationships, especially when your competitor’s field rep can immediately place an order for their right-priced, heart-shaped balloons.  

Penny-perfect pricing is a must-have in the industry – and your field reps need it at their fingertips. Be sure your field reps can access accurate pricing, with or without connectivity, no matter where they are. With it, reps can answer product questions, quickly place seasonal orders while on site, and feel confident they’re priced competitively.

Retail execution strategies keep brands top of mind

Prices and inventory might look different every year, but seasonal products aren’t going away. How can you make sure your company keeps up with your retailers’ needs, from the Super Bowl to New Year’s Eve? With inventory visibility, well-executed displays, and penny-perfect pricing, your reps can keep driving business all year long.

Win at the shelf with perfect retail execution every time

Keep retailers stocked and shoppers happy with the right product at the right price at the right time.

HIlary Engert
Hilary Englert Senior Director, Product Marketing, Retail & Consumer Goods

Hilary is a senior director of marketing for the Retail and Consumer Goods Industries at Salesforce. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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