Post Categories: February 2016

Expert Viewpoints: Consumer Centrism Drives Changes in Retail Merchandising

Michael Bellman President SAS Retail Services

Michael Bellman
President SAS Retail Services

By Michael Bellman, President SAS Retail Services

There’s a fundamental shift underway in the retail merchandising world as more retailers take back greater control of their in-store conditions. We’re seeing this through a variety of trends that are becoming increasingly commonplace, including the dedicated in-store execution (ISE) model that has become a mainstay of SAS Retail Services’ offerings.

For those who may not be familiar, the basic idea of a dedicated ISE program is that a merchandising company, like SAS Retail Services, partners with a retailer to execute all of the new item cut-ins, category updates and remodels across all of its stores. This is a major change from years past, when it could take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks for an entire chain of stores to be stocked with a new item. That meant consumers could be searching for weeks before actually finding new products in some stores. Or more likely, they went searching elsewhere.

The dedicated ISE model is all about putting control back in the hands of the retailer and preventing or recapturing those lost sales. Instead of having brokers focus on getting the work done at the retailer, suppliers partner with retailers directly, who then work with a single merchandising provider like SAS Retail Services. Through our ISE programs, we’ve managed to reduce new item cut-ins to 1 week. Products are getting onto the shelves and into consumers’ hands faster than ever.

That’s really the driving force behind this. The retail world has been becoming more consumer-centric over the past several years. By taking back control of their store shelves, retailers are able to give consumers a better, more targeted shopping experience.

Emboldened by the success of dedicated ISE models, retailers are now looking to focus this success to other areas of execution. For example, some of our retailer partners are now looking at the planogram writing—again, taking control over what goes where on the shelf. Many are also undertaking remodels to expand their fresh departments and create shopping experiences that keep consumers coming into the store, instead of turning to the many online options they now have.

We’ll continue to see more of these types of shifts in the coming years as retailers try to connect more with their customers. Because ultimately, when the retailer has more involvement and control over store conditions, the consumer wins.