BrainTrust Query: Are we ready to cure performance anxiety?
By James Tenser, Director, In-Store Implementation
Sure, you can plan alright, but how well can
I imagine this question keeps truly conscious
merchants and consumer product marketers awake nights with what amounts
to performance anxiety.
Those of you who follow the work of the In-Store
Implementation Network may be well aware that members
regard the pursuit of retail compliance as nothing less than an industry
imperative. Our latest work on merchandising performance management (MPM)
drives the point further. Our not-so-hidden agenda: Shift the dialog from
hand-wringing about our challenges to identifying and implementing practical
You see, we are standing at the threshold
of the next (maybe the last) great opportunity for retail financial performance
gains – the stores themselves.
Shopper Insights let us design offers tailored
to specific shopper groups.
Automated planogram tools let us tailor merchandising
plans for each category in each store. We can layer on store-specific pricing,
using the latest optimization technologies, and before long we’ve defined
thousands of store-specific matrices of space, mix, price points and deals.
Yes, we make some impressively intricate plans,
but can we implement them? Well,
there’s a dizzying amount of detail to cover, but realistic solutions may
finally be at hand.
Now we are seeing a new class of MPM solutions
reach the market. They are distinct from legacy workforce management and
store execution management solutions in several important ways. First,
they are engineered to manage outcomes,
not just tasks or people. Because they incorporate a two-way platform for
feedback and reporting, they support capture of performance metrics in
Second, they are inter-organizational
by design. That is, they support interaction from all the parties who plan
merchandising and who touch the merchandise in stores – retailers, manufacturers,
MSOs, brokers. This is most commonly accomplished through establishment
of a secure, web-based portal that is accessible as an online service.
As a result, all parties in the merchandising ecosystem view relevant performance
data and contribute required feedback to the greater information flow.
Intricacy is the enemy. Most of what we try
to do is not that hard. But there is so much detail to cover and those
details are so… relentless.
Performance anxiety must inevitably follow.
MPM solutions hold out the promise of a practical,
every-day, plan-do-measure store compliance discipline that can gain a
grasp on merchandising performance and find hidden profit in the stores
– where it all started.
Questions: Can retailers truly perform against intricate plans derived
from shopper insights and planogram automation? Is it time for them
to step up and adopt merchandising performance management (MPM) solutions
or should manufacturers take the lead? What impact would a true inter-organizational
MPM solution have on collaboration?
- Curing Performance Anxiety – Tenser’s
- Inter-Organizational Solutions for
Merchandising Performance Management – In-Store Implementation