consumer data, big data

Consumer data and privacy concerns

Are consumers getting more comfortable with exchanging personal information for more individualized online shopping experiences? RetailWire, a leading online discussion forum for the retail industry, recently asked this consumer data question, and I, as a RetailWire BrainTrust member, gave it some thought.

Changes in consumer data collection

During my 40+ years in the retail industry, I’ve seen much evolution in consumers’ shopping experiences. One of the biggest changes has been the incredible impact made by the internet and online shopping. It’s become very easy to collect data on consumers through online searching and shopping. With this data, marketers can make informed decisions that benefit our brands and create personal experiences for our customers. But what do consumers think about the collection and use of consumer data?

Are consumers comfortable sharing personal data online?

I am confident that most self-actualized and stable-minded consumers have adapted to the brave new world of data sharing with retailers. I think resistance today is more two-fold:

  1. I’m in a hurry, and I just want to make this purchase quickly. And I don’t have time to be bothered with sharing my personal information. I’m buying groceries, not a new home or car.
  2. I don’t want to give you all of my personal data because I don’t want your junk mail. And I don’t want you selling out my personal data to other firms that will send me mail I do not want.

If retailers and their data partners can give assurance to consumers about how the data will be used, and not used, I think there will be less resistance. What do you think? Leave a comment below!

For more insights on this topic from other RetailWire BrainTrust members, be sure to check out the original post, “Are data sharing concerns still holding back true personalization?” If you want to stay on top of what’s going on in the retail world, and you’re not regularly reading RetailWire, you should be. Click here to sign up for their informative newsletter.

Basic needs for a New Consumer Goods Brand

Basic needs for a New Consumer Goods Brand: 

David Biernbaum 

Funding in place including for:

  1. Retail fees and cost to do business with retailers.
  2. Basic Marketing, Promotion, and Advertising.
  3. Manufacturing, Inventory, Warehousing, Distribution
  4. Cash flow 

Most Common Reasons for Disaster in the first Year:

  • Lack of adequate and proper funding
  • Presenting the retail market pre-maturely
  • Lack of business/marketing plan
  • Lack of marketing energy (funding/plans/execution) after product makes it to the shelves.
  • Inability to ship on time /out of stocks
  • Entering into unfavorable deals and terms with retailers.
  • Pre-mature hiring of reps and brokers
  • Not having finished goods, live samples, lack of complete sales presentations, lack of proper materials and incomplete information to do business.
  • Inexperience working with chain drug, mass, and supermarkets retailers
  • Improperly managing reps and brokers and their activities.

Most basic needs before hiring and deploying reps and brokers and going to market at retail: 

  • Finalized package design with exactly the right information and graphics.
  • All display vehicles in place with live samples of open stock and individual samples and ready to ship.
  • High and low resolution images in place for all products, all sizes, and all displays.
  • Complete PowerPoint Presentation that includes every retailer interest and discussion point.
  • Completely finished goods ready to ship “now.”
  • Plan of action (on paper and ready to explain) for ramping up demand for retail customers
  • All sales materials ready for use: (Sell sheets, pricing, complete specifications, images, etc.)
  • Web site in place and up and running – fully functional for consumers, retailers, and reps.
  • Complete “office” staffing (or systems) in place ready to do business 24/7.
    • Ready to work with brokers
    • Customer Service for retailers
    • Customer Service for consumers
    • Warehouse, shipping, transportation, information systems, etc.
  • Broker Territories completely planned and laid out. (Do NOT let it simply evolve broker by broker!)
  • Broker contacts ready to use.
  • POG/placement suggestions/deletions/POA with information and illustrations or photos.
  • Complete broker selling kits ready to dispense for use! (Including all sales materials, samples, sell sheets, fact sheets, company data and instructions to do business, etc.)
  • Any commercial, ad, or brand promotion needs to be ready to “show and tell.” Any links, print advertising, viral, video, etc.  (You might get only one chance to show your “energy” and this is of paramount interest to buyers.
  • Marketing Research Data / Visual – Metrics and stats information to build our case!
  • Consumer Research and testimony (visual and ready to explain.)
  • Category information Data / Visual – Building our case for category expansion.
  • All “how to do business” written and printed details need to be clearly outlined for reps. (Terms, shipping points, shipping information, returns, retail ad budget parameters, and company contact information, commission’s administration, etc. etc. etc.)

Trade Shows planning:  Sign up and be completely prepared and ready!

  • ECRM
  • GMDC
  • NACDS Marketplace
  • Other

Trade Advertising planning:

  • Chain Drug review
  • MMR
  • Drug Store News
  • Other

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Prescription for Success in the CPG Retail Business

The Product

In this age of SKU-rationalization, it’s critical your product has a defined market need, point of differentiation and good timing.

The Right People

The CPG retail industry is complex and unforgiving, with hundreds of hidden details and nuances.  Experience PAYS!

The Right Appointments

Retailers operate with specific category planning calendars.  It’s critical to know the proper timing for all the people in the room—on both sides of the table.

The Right Presentation

Making a comprehensive proposal, with all the key retail elements, is essential to get the desired results.

The Right Package/Design

This is not merely a graphic artist’s function. Consumer package design will make or break your results on the retail shelves.  Poor velocity of sales is often attributed to the most “subtle” and minute detail.

The Right Marketing/Promotions and Ongoing Brand Management

Your product’s survival needs thoughtful planning, detailed attention and expert consultation.  This is vital from day one.  Slow movers are short lived in retail stores.

12 “DB” Tips For NACDS Total Store Expo

  1. If your broker can be at a meeting with an account he or she has a relationship with, take him or her with you!
  2. Don’t ask buyers, “Where are you located and how many stores do you have?”  This indicates you have not done your homework and don’t know the industry.  You lose credibility at the very start and buyers will have no confidence in you.   Do your homework or check with me to know and understand who you’ll be meeting at the show.
  3. Be prepared for short 10-minute meetings and don’t be late.  Waste no time with meaningless small talk.  Introduce yourself, make a brief elevator pitch about your company and get right to your presentation.  Be sure to include some visuals to show your understanding about the product category and business model. Know your costs, SRP’s, and all the basics.  Retailers hate when new suppliers are not prepared for a meaningful discussion.
  4. Carry samples, but don’t be clumsy with too many.  Walk the room with a few samples (for show and tell) and bring a simple, user-friendly, presentation.  Discuss with me if you need suggestions.
  5. Take plenty of notes.  Buyers appreciate you taking what they say seriously. When they offer criticism or suggestions, DO NOT interrupt them and become defensive!  You can always offer more information when they are not talking! Listen carefully and actively!
  6. Most buyers do NOT want samples with them at Meet the Market.  Get their business cards and offer to send samples after the show.  People don’t like to travel with too many things.
  7. Have a productive meeting and ask the buyer to visit your booth.  Write down your booth number on the back of your business card!  (Do this before the event!)
  8. Don’t waste time during the meeting looking up prices or searching for details.  Have it all on a nice summary you can refer to and leave behind.  The summary should be professionally prepared.
  9. Sell your product, but be sure to also sell your company, team, capacity, capabilities and PLAN!  (Sell your team!  Buyers need to know it’s not just YOU! Buyers like to buy from companies not individuals.)  Be cognizant not to say “I, me, my, etc.—say “We!”
  10. If you’re using a laptop, make sure you have plenty of battery power.  There are no plugs in the middle of the floor.
  11. When your 10 minutes are over, be prepared to leave the table.  Don’t hold up their next meeting and don’t be late to YOUR next meeting!
  12. Know the difference between wholesalers and retailers!  Don’t talk to wholesalers about stores; they don’t have stores! Talk to them about their retail chain customers and know which ones they sell.  If they sell independents, know they do not control the POG’s.  In other words, know the business of the company you are talking to!  Most will not do business with someone who doesn’t! It’s NOT their job to teach you!

10 Rules for Retailers on Store Brand Marketing

    1. Your brand must sustain the company’s or store’s image. Store brands should be viewed as more than margin boosters and serve as reinstatement of the store’s identification. It’s important to note that true value-oriented brands build customer loyalty, even through economic downturns and recoveries. The quality of the merchandise should be communicated effectively—not understated nor overstated!
    2. Top management must be committed to supporting the brand’s strategy. Private label branding should not be a function of individual buyers within a category that are autonomous from each other. Top management needs to synergistically work with a skilled marketing team, inside and outside of the retailer infrastructure. Branding needs to be broader than any individual item or single category.
    3. Create your store brand cohesively. It’s not usually a good practice to blatantly imitate other brands; at least not if your purpose is to build store brand or company name equity. Don’t create category stand-alones that ignore the need to achieve a cohesive brand franchise.
    4. Define the company’s or store’s point of difference. Retailers need to know and understand their target consumers, and store brands should reflect the store-branding philosophy and image of the store.
    5. Be unique to generate curiosity. Invest in innovation to maintain the leading edge and reinforce brand equity. Refrain from “look-alike” marketing. Doing so will only breed confusion and fail to build brand equity. You need to build consumer confidence that your brand is either equal or better.
    6. Design and implement brand packaging continually. Always be aware of the quality-perception across an array of products and packages. Analyze each category, probing how best to present the products to the consumer and avoid the rubber-stamp approach. You want an overall consistent look that consolidates store brand imaging. The consumer visualizes the product through packaging, shapes, colors, symbols and words. Then he or she forms an opinion about value and performance. Every detail in your marketing, merchandising and planning needs to be thought through carefully and purposefully.
    7. Position the brand effectively in each product category. Niche designs are most effective. Retain your stylistic relationship to the overall private brand program.
    8. Reflect the price, quality and value strategy of the store. In other words, market from the position you’re in. Resist the temptation to make packages as alluring as possible. That always backfires! There is such a thing as over doing it and it will cost you consumer-credibility. If it looks expensive and it’s not, it’s misrepresenting the promise. Your products should not look cheap or inferior, but they should also not oversell. It must deliver the right promise or it will not be purchased again.
    9. Renew excitement with each new product line. New products deserve attention and fanfare. Retailers own the shelves and the ability to create and stimulate interest. Use media advertising, packaging, ads, promotions, shelf displays, points-of-purchase displays and signs to create the right attention.
    10. Monitor your brands constantly! Monitor packages that represent the store brand and use data to analyze consumer shopping habits and performance. Never become complacent. You should make modifications about once every 18 months. Keep it fresh!

12 Most Common Mistakes

  1. Failing to do proper due diligence on the viability of your business idea.
  2. Miscalculating market size, timing, ease of entry and potential market share.
  3. Underestimating financial requirements and timing.
  4. Hiring for convenience, rather than skill requirements. Caution: Friends and relatives might be less expensive, but they probably do not have the right expertise to help you in a very complex CPG environment.
  5. Hiring random brokers for accounts without a national plan. Use a master broker, hands-on consultant or experienced VP of Sales in the CPG industry.
  6. Over-projecting sales volume and timing.
  7. Starting out on your own, without a CPG retail expert. Relying strictly on your product knowledge and your other business experience is not going to work out well for most. This is a specialized field.
  8. Approaching the retailer without the ability to explain your research, marketing plan and business proposal. To do so is just asking for trouble (e.g., pay with scan.)
  9. Seeking confirmation of your actions, rather than seeking the truth.
  10. Underestimating (or not knowing) the true cost of doing business with chain retailers.
  11. Making your initial sales call without taking a retail expert or someone with extensive accounts knowledge with you.
  12. Lacking simplicity in your vision. What’s in it for the retailer and consumer? How is this new or different from existing products?

Tips for Hiring the Right Broker for Your Company. Ask good questions!

While these tips are great, this list is NOT exhaustive. Before using these tips call us for a consultation, which will provide the full picture and scope.

Special Note:  It’s usually not a good practice to hire the first broker you meet. The interviewing process itself is a valuable learning experience for you and your business.  Interview several and hone your skills.[/box]

The following questions and tips are a great starting point:

  • Who will actually be making the sales calls on my behalf at the appointments?
    • Important to get a bio and resume for each account representative, for each retailer to be covered.  The proper follow up questions are crucial. Make sure you know what they are – let’s discuss.
  • How do you go about setting up the appointments?
  • What are your procedures and what should be my expectations?
  • How much lead time will I typically receive if I need to attend?
    • Keep in mind that in most cases, you will want to ensure you attend the appointment.
  • What is your plan for introducing my products to retail accounts?
    • Please explain the steps and procedures you will recommend and follow.
  • What is your follow through strategy if my products are not accepted at the first meeting?
    • Please give me examples of other real world scenarios when and where that happened.
  • What are your philosophies about each of your retail chains, in regards to the infrastructure, systems, politics, decision-making process, etc?   
  • What other product lines do you currently represent, in which categories, and how will this impact the commitment, availability and time allotment to my product and brand? 
    • Will there be a conflict of interest in product lines, resources and time commitment?
  • Do you have established relationships with category managers who buy my type of product line and brands?
  • How large is your organization and who are the key players I will interact with during and after the process has begun?  
  • How do you communicate with your top clients, and how often?
    • Do you prioritize by mid-size and small clients, and if so, what is that priority?
    • Do you have any systems in place for rapid response?
    • What is your turn-around time on responses to inquiries via telephone and e-mail?
  • Do you do most of the retailer forms and paperwork for your clients, or do you ask the client to fill out the paperwork and send it all back to you, completed?  
  • What is your procedure to secure ads and promotions at retail accounts and how will I know that I’m never missing out on timely opportunities?
  • What roles do you see your company performing, for which you are responsible?
    • Which roles do you perceive we should be held responsible?
  • What types of management and processes do you need from me and my company?
  • What examples will you share with me and your other principals of partnerships that work well for you and your manufacturer?
    • Can you give me examples of situations that do not work quite as well and explain why?

As I said – these are just the tips of the iceberg – let’s discuss!

Best Practices for Broker Management

True or false?

  1. The best way to identify the right broker is to ask the buyer for a recommendation.
  2. Hire the “hungriest” broker you can find that is in need of more lines to carry.
  3. Show your presentation to several brokers in the market before hiring one.
  4.  Only hire a broker that aggressively asked to represent your product.
  5. Let the broker go on the first call without you to “feel out” the buyer.
  6. Negotiate the commission rate on a broker-by-broker basis.
  7. Ask the buyer if (s)he would rather have a broker or a deeper discount instead?
  8. It’s always best to hire a broker that is “best friends” with the buyer.
  9. If you have brokers, then you don’t need a company sales person or manager.
  10. It’s always best to have a broker for every account in the country.

The answer to all of the above questions is “false.” Let’s discuss why. Call David Biernbaum at 314-434-6008.

 

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES IN HIRING BROKERS AND GOING TO RETAIL?

1.Failing to do proper research on the viability of your business idea.

2.Miscalculating market size, timing, ease of entry and potential market share.

3.Underestimating financial requirements and timing.

4.Hiring for convenience, rather than skill requirements. Friends and relatives might be less expensive, but they probably do not have the right expertise in a very complex CPG environment.

5.Hiring random brokers for accounts without a national plan.  Not using a master broker, or “hands-on” consultant in  the CPG industry to help you do it the best way.

6.Starting out on your own, without a CPG retail expert. Relying strictly on your product knowledge and your other business experience is not going to work out well.  This is a specialized field.

7.Approaching the retailer without the ability to explain your research, marketing plan and business proposal. To do so is just asking for trouble (e.g., pay on scan.)

8.Seeking confirmation of your actions, rather than seeking the truth.

9.Underestimating (or not knowing) the true cost of doing business with chain retailers.

10.Making your initial sales call without taking a retail expert or someone with extensive accounts knowledge with you.