After a considerable hit to the economy during the financial crisis, wages began a steady climb for workers in 2019; average hourly earnings climbed 3.2%.

This is great news for the up-and-coming millennial and Gen Z workforce – but it still puts a crunch on employers.

Start scrolling to read our secrets to slashing costs in your merchandising execution efforts.

For the first time since the U.S. Department of Labor started tracking job turnover, the number of non-farm job openings outpaced the available workforce.

So much for adding staff members!

If it wasn’t clear before, it’s crystal clear now: Retailers, product companies and merchandisers will need to make every facet of their merchandising execution count – employees, hours, product choices and beyond.

See below for our secrets to slashing costs in your merchandising execution efforts.

  1. Stop the Drumbeat of Product Flops

Keeping the products you develop and merchandise flying off the rack is not a carefree journey. Every time you put money into those new product choices, money’s on the line. And, with only 15% of newly introduced products succeeding in the market, 85% of those competitive investments are on the line.

The path out of the expense graveyard is lit by data.

As your field merchandisers go about their day, you have a rare opportunity to gather invaluable competitive data that can shape a better ROI on product decisions. Combining the following data will help you take note of consumer needs and see which products best fit their unspoken or unknown wants.

Items to collect include:

  • Price – what are they willing to pay?
  • Volume sold – how fast are items x/y/z selling?
  • Shelf value – where are retailers, brands and CPGs positioning their items?
    • Pay close attention to which items take center stage, eye-level.
  • Store location – which products have made the cut for hot zones?

As your merchandising execution teams go about their work, capturing competitive data like the above will make their time and effort a priceless addition to your product choices.

  1. Get More Value from Merchandising Execution Staff

Data collection isn’t the only way to slash overall costs, however.

Consider participating in route planning to give employees more time in stores, visit more total stores and curtail number of employees or hours needed to complete a task or project. This will mean shift-work merchandising execution teams can get their visits checked off in the least amount of time.

Also, try assigning work to specific staff members based on job type or territory. Not only will you save them travel time and fuel, but those of you who employ gig workers for execution will build a reputation as a thoughtful, smart and considerate employer.

The final trick in the staff optimization bag is to distribute work opportunities based on skill set, certifications, and availability. Doing so means you won’t be sinking unnecessary overtime into critical projects due to poorly matched assignments. You can add to this strategy by scheduling multiple similar assignments that can be completed together to reduce setup and clean-up time, as well.

  1. Manage Priority Projects and Staff Development

This takes us directly into the last cost-savings hack.

Say “hello” to your buddy Data – again!

[Hi, Data!]

 

No, not that “Data” – real data. Tracking performance metrics such as activity and reliability empowers managers to train and develop employees for flawless field execution and efficient work.

Also, as you’re working to improve their efficiency and quality, ask yourself what kind of planograms you’re giving them: are they structured steps or a snapshot of the finished product?

Some employees will do well with a finished image, while others might need step-by-step instructions. Some displays are so complicated that a step-by-step planogram might be the only way to get them done.

 Close the Loop

Better instructions, workforce optimization, attention to knowledge gaps and better tools for the job will mean you can do more work on the same budget – as well as keep from picking the wrong products for the shelf.

Natural Insight’s retail execution and workforce management platform empowers you to collect data, assess field team strengths and individual talents and rapidly distribute and verify your merchandising execution.

For more information on how we take the chaos out of retail merchandising, download our infographic: Natural Insight: Creating Order from Chaos

 

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Mark is the Technical Writer for Natural Insight and Capango and is responsible for technical documentation, communications, and marketing efforts. Before Natural Insight and Capango, Mark worked as a government contracting reporter after graduating from James Madison University with a B.A. in English in 2012. When he's not bouncing around drafting emails and writing user manuals, Mark enjoys spending time at home with his wife as well as his two cats, Kevin and Cheese, both of whom have said, on the record, that Mark is a "cool dude."