[Webinar] Retail Post-Pandemic: 6 Store Conditions Consumer Brands Need to Monitor to Win at the Register

Do have questions around how to improve in-store execution? How to get better visibility into retailers? What can be done to optimize shelf conditions such as availability, planogram compliance, display compliance, and more?

We have answers in this webinar, held on September 25th, 2020, and hosted by the Category Management Association. Listen in to hear from Tom Vieira, Wiser’s Director of Product, In-Store, and Casey Berns, Associate Director Shopper Insights and Category Advisory Services at The Clorox Company, as they cover six store conditions consumer brands need to monitor to win at the register.

We have a recording of the webinar below. Or, keep reading for a written transcript of the entire conversation between Tom and Casey. As always, contact us if you have any questions related to the topics covered in this webinar.

Wiser Solutions and The Clorox Company Webinar

Phil McGrath: Hey, good morning, everyone. Welcome on a Friday morning, to listen in on a really outstanding webinar that we have being hosted by the Category Management Shopper Insights Association. I’m Phil McGrath, the vice president of business development. I’ll be emceeing today’s event. We have the presentation, “Retail Post-Pandemic: 6 Store Conditions Consumer Brands Need to Monitor to Win at the Register”. We’ve got two outstanding companies that have joined forces for this webinar, Wiser Solutions and Clorox. Both are members of the association. We’re thrilled to have them here.

A little bit about the webinar today. COVID-19 has changed how the entire retail industry operates from brands to retailers and especially consumers. Today we’re going to hear from Wiser Solutions and the Clorox company on how to best approach in-store retail. After the global pandemic, Tom Vieira of Wiser Solutions, director of product in-store, and Casey Berns, associate director of shopper insights and category advisory services at The Clorox Company, will discuss six conditions consumer brands need to monitor to increase sales, especially considering COVID-19. This is all very relevant for all of us in the business that we’re operating in today.

Wiser Solutions is a new member to the association. They came to our conference and were a sponsor at our conference in February. We’re thrilled to have them on board. They are a trusted source of online and in-store retail analytics with configurable solutions to extract and act on both e-commerce and brick and mortar data for a wide range of brands and retailers, the Clorox Company. Also, a member of the association is a global company, which we all know has leading brands, including their namesake bleach and cleaning products and Kingsford Charcoal, which we’ll hear quite a bit about today among others. Clorox manufacturers products, and more than two dozen countries and markets them in more than 100 countries.

Today’s presentation is bound to generate a lot of questions. We’ve got a large audience out here today. For questions, we’re going to have a Q&A period at the conclusion of the presentation. All of you can participate in the Q&A period. That way you’ll remain on mute. What you’ll do is when you have a question go into the chat room, the chatbox, enter your question in the chatbox, and then at the conclusion of the presentation, I’ll relay the questions to the presenter. Once again, go into the chat box enter your question, and you can do that at any time during the presentation we will assimilate the questions, and they will do it in the Q&A period at the end.

Casey Berns, as I said, is the associate director of shopper insights and category advisory services at the Clorox company. Casey is one of the presenters today and he currently leads the shopper insights organization for strategic and national accounts at Clorox. Has roughly two decades of experience with Clorox and Procter & Gamble.

Tom Vieira is the director of product in-store at Wiser Solutions. Tom joined the startup Mobee in 2012 as its first employee prior to its acquisition by Wiser and has experienced leading product and engineering teams in the retail space. Tom is going to lead off the presentation today and then Casey will be the second presenter. With that Tom, I’m going to turn it over to you and you’ve got the floor.

Tom Vieira: Awesome. Thanks, Phil. First off, good morning, everybody. Thanks for joining, and Casey, thanks for taking the time to join. Really excited to have a conversation with you here this morning.

Casey Berns: Yes, thanks, Tom. Happy to be here.

Retail in 2020

Tom: Nice. All right. Just to level-set a little bit, I figured we could start to share some of the things that we’re seeing as a company, working with folks in the retail space, in the manufacturing space, retail in 2020. I think if we all went back to January 1st and looked at our new year resolutions or how we envisioned this year going, it’s safe to say it’s a lot different than we probably expected.
What are some of the things that we’re seeing? First off store closures. Apologies for the shorts that’s going on here, but this is one of the pictures from out in the field of what’s happening. You know, Coresight Research has identified there could be up to 25K store closers this year. eMarketer has seen a 10 percent decline in retail sales and of course, different sectors in different categories are affected in different ways.

I think this is a result of less socializing. A lot of consumers, especially those that are still employed, have found themselves spending less money. Things like non-essential expenses around dining and traveling, and just the world is changing. How people are shopping is changing and how that affects brick and mortar still remains to be seen a bit.

While some retail locations are shutting down, others are surviving. Others are thriving. Think about this, in the home improvement space, big box areas where that have seen growth, people picking up home projects, and other things. There are different dynamics at play that we need to be aware of when we think about brick and mortar retail as a whole, and how that might be affecting different segments in different categories across the industry.

How do shoppers go to the store? How do they have that experiential type of shopping activity and how that might be changing? One of the things that we’ve seen and observed in the wider marketplace is that shopper trips to the store are becoming more mission-oriented. Hey, I’ve got a goal. I’m going to go to the grocery store. I’m going to knock off the items on my list. I’m going to get in and get out. There’s a little bit less browsing that we’re seeing, or a little bit less of that experiential nature, for the time being.

It also underlines one thing around who is getting let in the stores, right? A lot of retailers have put restrictions on how many folks can be in the store at once. Of course, all things being equal, having a shopper that’s ready to spend money in the store is more advantageous in some ways for the retailers then having field teams or third-party merchandisers in the store. Again, all these headwinds are swirling and I think it’s important for us to recognize that yes, 2020, isn’t going the way that us, or our customers and partners or anyone expected it. What can we do about that?

What we’re seeing the most successful folks do that are weathering the storm and proactively looking towards the future, focus on what you can control. It’s easy to let your vision expand to all the things that are going wrong and all the things outside of your control. We’re seeing the folks that are being successful keep that wide vision but really narrow down what they’re focusing on and what they’re taking action on.

Critically, hey, mod and/or fix what you can before footfall really starts to pick up as it is starting to, as things start to open up globally here and there in different pockets. Focus on what you can control and focus on getting your store conditions, shelf conditions, merchandising conditions, up to the level of execution and excellence that you expect before the shopping before we returned to whatever the new normal is going to be.

Where to Spend Your Time and Money—And Why

Tom (continued): A little bit of a level set. I wanted to move on to share a little bit about where we’re seeing folks spend their time and money and some of the store conditions that are really top of mind for retailers and brands today in terms of this pandemic world which we are living in. I’m going to walk through about half a dozen of these, and then in the second half, Casey’s going to go ahead and go deeper on a couple of them that we’ve worked together in the past and found some success together with the Clorox company.

No. 1: Availability

Tom (continued): All right, so number one is availability. If the product’s not available at the shelf at the point of purchase in the store, when a consumer goes in to make that purchase, the purchase is not going to happen. It sounds obvious, but this is why we have it. Number one, this is foundational. Thinking about on-shelf availability out of stocks it’s interesting, you might see from a supply chain or an inventory view, it’s a certain percentage, but then the consumer in the store might see something really different because again if the product is not where they can find it easily and an expected to be available, that sale’s not going to happen often.

Getting to the ground truth about what is the on-shelf availability of my key SKUs or of my competitors is really something that is critical with that shopper perspective. Casey, if you could talk a little bit about how maybe availability and then the flexibility of this work, and I know we talked a little bit about the wipes category. That might be an interesting thing.

Casey: Yes, it’s true. I think everybody on this call probably has been a little bit frustrated trying to find cleaning products of late. Unfortunately, I don’t have a secret code or anything that I can give you to help you find it. I will say you do have to get a little bit lucky. I did this week at both the Family Dollar and a Walgreens. I was able to find wipes. That was great. We’ve taken our focus. We know that situation on the wipes side of things. We have been leaning in on the bleach side of things.

Bleach is a very versatile product, we’ve seen people using it for cleaning much more often now, because of the disinfecting benefit that it provides. We’ve been using these capabilities to understand what does bleach look like in the market for us. We’ve been squeezed over the years in terms of spacing, and we’re using this information to really go after it, in a world where disinfecting is so much more important. Availability is king for that category if it’s not there, obviously, like Tom said, they’re not going to buy it.

Bleach has a history of being out of stock because inventory levels just aren’t where we’d like them to be as a manufacturer. We’ve been really trying to use some of this data from the market to understand what the consumer really is experiencing. Not what’s on paper, not within the warehouse, but what the consumer sees that shelf, and using that data to go back and influence our merchants to make different decisions.

Tom: Yes, I think we’re going to return to that a couple of times this morning about what the shopper sees. It’s important to keep that in mind because that’s ultimately who we want to optimize for when we’re thinking about availability.

One more concern here, and we’ll move on is that often, hey, if something is not available, I don’t want to use the word fickle, but maybe that is the right term, if a shopper can’t find something where they used to buy it, and then they find something which is convenient, where they can quickly buy it, candidly, often it is Amazon.com. That’s a hidden cost that affects the future negatively, when a shopper can’t find something at their typical purchasing, store or chain, in brick and mortar. Just something to keep in mind as well.

No. 2: Planogram Compliance

Tom (continued): The next one is planogram compliance. Thinking about the shelf still and staying on this thread, compliance, this is something we talked about a lot thinking about where compliance rate might be. Again, I mentioned this a little bit earlier, store visit restrictions make it harder for brands to get quality service time, again, either by their field teams, or third party brokers or other types of labor partnerships, to get consistent results from what they’re gathering from the store.

“Hey, are my channel partners, meeting our POG expectations? Are things being set up the way that they’ve been agreed upon with the correct blocking and the right number of facings and that adjacency that I want, or maybe that I don’t want?” Those types of things.

Understanding how the planogram is being executed and how that changes over time, maybe positively for a brand, maybe negatively for a brand, this is an opportunity to get that visibility. To understand again, in this pandemic world, how might a better-executed planogram strategy across key channels and key accounts affect your situation positively.

No. 3: Display Compliance

Tom (continued): We talked about a couple of these around availability, I think, importantly, is also visibility. When we talk about display compliance, how we think about it with our partners, is your product visible? It might be available, but is the correct display in the correct location in the correct number of stores that’s been agreed upon? Is the right signage up? There’s a big seasonality component to a lot of the brands that we work with, and different across different categories and such, particularly in the fast-moving spaces.

Thinking about how my product is visible, at the right time with the right message that trade and other groups have spent so much time dialing in and getting right. We’ll see 50 percent compliance or less often. Casey, share a little bit maybe about how you think about this and the importance of displays being well executed at stores.

Casey: Yes, I think this is one that I’m sure everybody can be a little bit frustrated with at times, as you go into the market and you see the fruits of your labor, the fruits of the effort that you’re funding, that you’re putting against these things, and then not seeing the compliance really play out in the marketplace. We have a category that we’re going to talk about later in Charcoal that nearly 100 percent of the distance is executed on display.

We’ve really put intentional efforts around that, to try to impact the outcome and try to impact what we can control with our retailers, which is where that display is, how much inventory is on it, what time of the year it’s actually out in stores and really, really focusing in on that. To Tom’s point, with trips being consolidated, with trips going down in many cases, we have to maximize every time we have a chance for that consumer to be in front of our products.

This has become a really, really big focus for us in just getting those fundamentals right and making sure that it’s visible when the shoppers in that mindset and for us. Kingsford in particular is a very seasonal category and we’ll talk about that and just really trying to manage that timeline.

Tom: Nice. It’s important and thinking about those timelines, for certain things, you’ve got a large amount of time in your key drive period for other things, getting this and being able to quickly take corrective action and fix problems as they arise during the drive period itself inside that power period can be really powerful as well. Cool. All right, we talked about availability, is other products available when they should be in the right place? We talked about visibility.

No: 4: Store Associations and Rate of Recommendation

Tom (continued): Let’s think a little bit about maybe on the higher consideration purchase end of things, although certainly a lot of CPG products have this aspect as well. It’s that advocacy piece, it’s that product recommendation piece. Oftentimes, the POP or merchandising collateral has to do the selling for our brand manufacturer, of course, because they don’t have folks in the store all the time. When they do have the opportunity to train up the store associates that work for the retailer, it’s a great opportunity to have a secondary sales force or sales energy in the store that can help out shoppers.

As footfall continues to come back up, making sure that associates respond to the product trainings, testing how the different trainings do, have the right, whether facts, or calls to action or key differentiator points between a brand and their main competitive brands, product recommendations are a huge ROI driver in terms of sales for many, many categories.

This is, I think, traditionally been a difficult area to get visibility in if you think about, it has to be real shoppers, it can’t be somebody on the field team or a broker that’s able to measure this. Having a shopper to be able to go in and understand how a product or a line of products is being represented, and hopefully advocated for is a really powerful thing for brands to be able to get that insight in terms of their retail execution.

No. 5: Competitive Landscape

Tom (continued): Let’s keep cooking here, broadening what we think about its understanding that competitive landscape. All the things we’ve just talked about and more, it’s not just about what my brand is doing, if I’m a manufacturer, but what are other brands doing and how is the category shaping up?

Understanding things like pricing, of course, we talked about blocking and all that a bit and then promotions and discounts all those types of things. How are the competitors? How are the competitors doing those things? Share shelf, how does this look? How does it change over time? Am I getting the share of shelf that I expect and the right channels, and in the right areas, the right aisles in stores for maybe some of those products that can be stocked and merchandised in multiple areas?

Then understanding sentiment again. The fact that it’s possible to take shoppers, and to have them go in and capture some of this information at the shelf and at the point of purchase, it’s also possible to use them as they’re out in a shopping trip to understand, how is my brand perceived? This gets into that moment of truth and those types of concepts when a shopper is having an experience in front of a shelf or seeing some collateral or messaging for the first time. Some interesting insights can be aligned here from both a product SKU level and also a category-wide level in terms of how things fit together more holistically. Then, who doesn’t remember the yogurt wars here as the caption calls out?

No. 6: Consumer Sentiment

Tom (continued): Then lastly, just to segue into this piece, over the half dozen that we’re going to talk about today, it’s that sentiment idea. A lot of things are changing, we’re seeing with our shoppers, a lot of shopping behaviors are changing. Looking at how they might be, keeping certain things maybe in the mass and grocery and drug channel. Very still brick and mortar focused, different categories are shifting in different ways to eCommerce.

How are you understanding how shoppers think about these things like availability, what products are visible? Of course, the convenience and the value that maybe if I’m somebody that is struggling to get full employment, how are my dollars being- how far are they going? How am I divvying up my share of wallet between all the different brands and categories and things that are vying for those dollars? Then how does this change post-purchase? When a shopper becomes a true consumer and is using a product at home or on the go, how does that all tie together?

Putting this story together about the shopper’s perspective and how the shopper experience is perceived all the way from the first interaction with a brand or with a retailer and then all the way. through towards them using the product, hopefully having a successful experience with the product and coming back to be a repeat purchaser, that sort of thing.

Those are some things that we’re thinking about for key store conditions that we have at top of mind that our customers and partners have at top of mind in this retail world in which we’re all living and trying to understand and build frankly the new normal together. That being said, why don’t we see this in action? I’ll kick it over to Casey and you can talk through a little bit of the Kingsford story here.

Kingsford Charcoal: Let’s See This in Action

Casey: That’s great. Thanks, Tom. Again, hopefully, people aren’t disappointed that we’re not going to talk about the secret code of where to find wipes or where to find cleaning products. Again, you got to get a little bit lucky, but be persistent and things are definitely getting better.

I’d also be curious what percent of people knew that Kingsford was one of Clorox’s brands. It’s actually a really fun brand. It’s a really historic brand that’s been around for a really long time. What’s been interesting for us is the pandemic and its impact on everybody’s category and what we’ll talk about is this one, in particular, it’s also seen a tremendous impact.

Our grilling household penetration is up 30 percent versus a year ago. Not only are we getting new people into the business, but we’re also getting people to grill more often do more grilling during the week, so there are more occasions. Charcoal grilling has a renaissance in the category because of the pandemic. Hopefully, all of you on the phone have recently or are planning to grill out soon as we get towards the end of the season. There’s nothing better than your favorite meat or non-meat product on a charcoal grill. It just tastes delicious. Let’s go through the story. Go ahead.

Tom: Now, you’re getting me fired up for this weekend. We have a little bit of autumn left in the New England area so going to get some charcoal.

Casey: Burgers on a charcoal grill, there really is nothing better. Tom, if you would’ve asked me a year ago, “Casey, what drives the charcoal business?” I would have literally said one thing and that one thing would be weather. Weather has historically been the number one driver of our business. You can see on this slide why that is. On the left-hand side, if it’s pouring down rain, the weather’s crappy. You’re not going to charcoal grill.

It’s an experience that takes a little bit longer. You got to get the bag out, you got to fill the charcoal grill. You got to let it light. You got to let it heat up and warm. It takes a little bit of time and you’re not going to do it if the weather is bad or you’re much less likely to do it if the weather is bad. You’re going to do it when the weather is nice, like this picture on the right-hand side, that’s when you’re going to grill out.

We spend a lot of time really understanding whether as a company, predicting it, looking at the Farmer’s Almanac, understanding how the South warms up versus the North. Then how do we flow our inventory from a South to North flow? Then how do we take advantage of markets that don’t really have the cold weather? We spend a lot of time really working through this weather piece, but at the end of the day, it is not in our control.

Last year we had a pretty junky spring and so people didn’t grill as much. This year we had a great spring, so people have been grilling a lot more. If you go to the next slide, this has really been the impact of COVID. COVID has accelerated the business tremendously. Like I said, household penetration is up 30 percent and it’s for these three reasons, people are at home more than ever. They’re spending more time at home. I’m sure all of you on the phone are, I know I am. Charcoal grilling takes a lot of time and that barrier of time has been eliminated with COVID because your home and you have more time to actually do the charcoal grilling.

The second thing is there’s a lot of restaurants that are closing. You’re seeing articles that it could be up to a third of restaurants may never return. You may also just not feel comfortable going to a restaurant quite yet. I know where I live in Kentucky. We’re still only at 25 percent capacity. It just doesn’t feel right for me right now to really go to a restaurant. You’re seeing charcoal grilling is a way to bring a little bit of that restaurant experience at home.

Then lastly, we’re in a recession. There’s no denying that. We know that there are more and more consumers that are cash-strapped, and charcoal grilling is a very inexpensive way to serve a great meal. You can buy a charcoal grill at Family Dollar from less than 30 bucks. You can get a bag of Kingsford Charcoal for less than 10 bucks, and you’re on your way. It’s a very inexpensive way to provide for your family and we’re seeing that more often with these weekday grilling occasions spiking through COVID. That has happened, but again, that’s not in our control either. Weather drives the business, not in our control. COVID has driven the business, also not in our control.

What we can control is the shopper experience and when and where we deliver it. Location and inventory first and foremost. For us in the dollar channel, in particular at Family Dollar, we execute the category on a moveable rack. This rack is four by five feet tall and you can see on the top of the screen, there are several shelves, it’s on wheels, it’s mobile. The intent has always been bringing the rack out when the weather’s nice, bring the rack out as the season kicks off, and have the inventory at a level when the season kicks off, where the consumers are ready to grow, they can actually buy the product. We can control to some extent location and inventory. We have some work to do there and I’ll talk about how we did that.

The second is really time of year in location. This business in charcoal has a tendency to go dormant in the winter. People don’t grill in the winter like I mentioned. As spring comes and as the weather starts to warm up the retailers that are getting this category out in front of people to rediscover it or discover it for the first time are the ones that tend to do well in the season.

We call this the first bag effect where you buy your first bag of charcoal in the season and at what retailer you buy that bag of charcoal has a very high correlation with where you’re going to buy your next couple bags throughout the season. Getting the charcoal front and center at the right time of year when the weather is nice is really been a central strategy to the Kingsford business. This is something that we can, again, to some extent control when I’ll talk about some of the ways that we did that.

If you go to the next slide, one of the challenges that we face is that really we’re blind to it to a large degree. All of us are out in stores all the time. All of us are checking conditions as insights and category management professionals, we all do this weekly probably hopefully it’s a little bit harder right now to do that, and so we’re getting anecdotes. We’re seeing like, “Hey, this rack to look really good and this one random store while I was on vacation in South Carolina.” Then somebody else is in some other state and they have the same experience. The challenge is we needed to do this at a much bigger scale and this is really where our friends at Wiser came in.

At Family Dollar, there are over 8,000 stores and then they’re building by the day, there were about 6,000 stores where we have a rack in the store where we’ve actually as a manufacturer funded that. We have it in-store. What we don’t know is where is it what does the inventory look like and how do we quantify some of those things to really have a tight story with a retailer to go off and change some of those?

This is really how Wiser helped us. Over the past two years, we’ve been doing this audit, same time of year, essentially the same store. Last we’re hitting about 200 stores a year. Our objective is to really find out what’s going on with the rack. Where is it? What’s the inventory situation look like? What else is maybe on it? What else is maybe next to it? What does the consumer think about it? How are they thinking about the season because you can ask some of those sentiment questions as well.

This has really been a platform for us to understand at a much broader scale what the experience looks like and then we’re quantifying those conditions to then drive an outcome that we want to drive. For us is we want inventory at the right level, in the right store at the right time and we want that rack as close to the front of the store as possible. We’ve always known that those two things drove the business, but we’ve never been able to really put the math behind it, to showcase to the customer what the value is and why they should maybe push this a little bit harder for us.

I’ll talk through a little bit of how we got there through this process. If you go to the next slide, you obviously heard Tom talk about availability, and the next slide has some of the pictures of what we were able to capture. With the Wiser capability, we’re obviously getting the pictures, which is super helpful, because you can see what the data actually looks like get a little bit more context, but then they also have in their platform a way for us to drill down to this at a much bigger quantitative scale and code the stores based on what they look like.

The example on the left. That is a store that has a very full or full inventory. The one on the right is half full or empty stores and unfortunately, this is just a reality of retail. We know that there are stores that look like this, but if you go to the next slide, what we were able to do is quantify the value of those. We know that when the inventory is at least 75 percent full, the category is growing at double digits compared to stores that are 25 percent or less. It’s a huge gain for us and a huge gain for the category if we can get inventory levels at the right place again at the right time.

Tom: I would add this not to sound overly positive, but it’s a win, win, win in this case, I think, because you mentioned category growth certainly benefits your brand here. The shopper benefits too. They can buy a great bag of charcoal at the right time when they’re ready to have that grilling experience and the retailer benefits of course too.

Casey: Exactly. That’s what this work has been set out to do is, as Tom mentioned earlier, like what’s the outcome that you want to influence or drive? What do you know is going to have a big impact on their business, even in a COVID world, all those things that we can’t control, what are the one or two things that you can control and just go after those.

That’s really what we tried to do with this work and this has really helped us build our partnership and our relationship with the merchants at Family Dollar by doing this work, showing them the visibility, showing them the value, and helping the buyers in particular really push hard with their management, getting some of these things actioned upon it within the store.

Tom: Nice.

Casey: The second one is planogram compliance and this, at the end of the day, is where is the rack? We know it’s supposed to be in 6,000 stores, but what does it really look like? How can we get sort of a good broad quantitative view of what the situation is with the rack? Basically, what we were able to do with the Wiser capability was to find out where the rack was.

We could ask the shoppers to go in and locate the rack and then tell us where it was. Was it outside? Was it at the front of the store, the middle of the store, or the back of the store?

The interesting thing about outside is Dollar General does this well where they get weather alerts pretty much every day and if the weather is good the associates are encouraged to put the rack outside. Family Dollar is trying to get to that place, but again, that’s more as an outcome that we’re trying to now think about and drive through this work because we were pleasantly surprised at the number of stores that had it outside and then again, we were able to quantify the value of that to go out and push for them to maybe think about that change.

It’s not going to work in all stores. There are 8,000 stores, some better than others in terms of the ability to do that but at least again, it’s a category growth opportunity. It’s a brand opportunity that we can partner on together.

Tom: I like the focus on outcomes. How you mentioned that a couple of times and, you know, I’d encourage everybody to think what if we had this visibility? Or, what if it was possible to do this—what’s the outcome we could drive? Being realistic, we’re not going to get it outside 100 percent of stores on 100 percent of sunny days but how would improving that affect business positively? I like to focus on outcomes.

Casey: Exactly. I think that’s just something that we’re really trying really hard to do in insights and category management space at Clorox is get to those outcomes because that’s really where we can help drive that category growth that’s ultimately going to benefit all of our brands.

One of the things that’s interesting about this is that we’re going to build into for next year’s tracking effort is there’s the value being in the front, there’s the value being in the middle, there’s not as much being in the back, but the front also it’s good but there could also be something in the way. I just went to my Family Dollar store yesterday just to do a quick check they have the rack, which is great, they have the rack at the front of the store, but it’s right at the front as you enter in on the left-hand side.

You really are only going to see that rack if you’re leaving the store, which is when I saw it and then I asked the associate questions about how the category was performing and she was saying, “We actually haven’t sold that much charcoal of late.” I was like, “Well, have you thought about moving the rack to a more visible location?” When you walk into a Family Dollar store, your sort of you’re on autopilot, you’re on blinders the first 10, 15 feet of your trip as you’re thinking about your mission and where you want to go in the store and you could miss it.

What we’re going to build into our tracking program for this year is how do we make sure that the visibility is there for the rack, not just location? That’s something that would we’ll also talk about in a second in terms of how that visibility impacts consumer perception.

The next slide, of course, location drives sales. We also saw double-digit growth in the stores where we had the rack towards the front of the store, and actually, I’m being a little modest on some of these, middle of store was more than positive but really the back of the store and of course, unable to find—we were a little I guess surprised that the percent of stores that were unable to find, but again we were able to use that information to go back to our sales team to say, “Hey, you guys might want to go check these stores.” We have the store list, we know when they were supposed to be there, and they can start to work on that as they build out plans for future execution of the rack.

Tom: Yes, one of the things I’ve seen before is that this example if I could go back a slide—the top left. If I’m a retail expert, I’d go in there and be like, “Check. It’s at the front of the store, I did my job we’re good” but if a shopper ain’t seeing that at the front of the store it might as well not be at the front of the store.

Casey: Exactly.

Tom: Getting that list of stores out to the sales team, the merch team, and others that can affect that change but with that view of “Hey, this might be in the front of the store, but it’s not visible,” powerful.

Casey: Absolutely. Then the competitive landscape piece was, to be honest, not something that we were really set out to do. The rack is not planogrammed necessarily, it just says Kingsford on it and it’s sort of, unfortunately, a hope strategy that when the store gets inventory, they put it, they put the Kingsford inventory on the shelf. The reality is, as we all know, especially if you work in the dollar channel, they’re getting a truck a week that associate’s busy doing lots of things in that store and if the inventory is a little bit backed up, they’re probably going to put the other brand on it. That’s what happened, that’s what we were able to find out through this work was how prevalent this is.

These are those examples that your GM is all frustrated about, you get the flaming emails about the display, doesn’t have the right brands on it, that stuff. This really allowed us to see how prevalent that was, and again, feed that information into the sales team, so they can go work on the plans moving forward, and figuring out how to minimize this as much as possible. It’s not going to be perfect ever to Tom’s point, but if we can improve even this by 30 percent, and get the competitive brand not on the shelf, we’re going to win that because then we’re 100 percent share of shelf, which is what we’re paying for, we just don’t always get it.

Tom: Yes. We see this too with some of the consumer electronics, or more durable-type manufacturers that we work with. Often, there’s very complex displays let’s say, they do a lot of great things to get that visibility high, to get eyeballs, and to get shopper interest in that fixture whether it’s lighting, interactive demos, or product trials, all those types of things.

It’s challenging if some of that merchandising functionality isn’t working. Also, it’s almost worse if you attracted a shopper over, and then the wrong product is stocked next to your fancy display, that’s getting all the attention. Important to be able to get this, we do see this, and understand.

Casey: Yes. It’s understanding the breadth of that issue. I used to work on the Oral-B Power Brush business, we spent a lot of money building out these displays that we put into retail, within a week they were all broken because people were trying to go in and break that brush right off the plastic because they thought they were going to be able to get a free brush.

We had to rethink that whole thing on how we execute that in a way that still gets the attention, and still gives the right information to the shopper when they’re trying to make that purchase, especially, on an expensive category like that, but we had to rethink it completely. This capability for us, even in this example, it’s helped us understand the prevalence of some of those challenges.

Tom: Yes. You alluded to it earlier, I know we’ve chatted in the past, but it’s what to focus on and what to prioritize. With some of the displays that we’re going in with our shoppers and taking a look at, there could be a dozen or more dimensions of what does compliance mean.

I think it gets really powerful when you take those lag metrics of sales, the things that you’re trying to influence, and then line those up with the lead metrics like, “Hey, how is this display functioning?” and start to understand, “Of the 10 things that we could focus our field teams on, these one or two are driving the most performance. We should focus on fixing these, and maintaining excellent compliance on a certain couple of things,” because it’s that prioritization in that, what do you focus on in a chaotic world where there are too many things to focus on always?

Casey: Yes. I think that’s 100 percent right. For us, through our partnership with Family Dollar now, getting them really engaged in this work it’s been location and inventory. Those are really the only two things that we’re trying to go after and drive. As we think about next season, maybe we are in a more of a shelter in place environment next spring still because there’s not a vaccine yet. Maybe we’re not, we don’t necessarily know, but we have to start planning for what that inventory curve needs to look like at Family Dollar, specifically, next year.

I 100 percent agree, but if we would have went in and said, “Here are 15 things that you guys need to fix,” it wouldn’t have gone anywhere. We went in with a really tight story, with exhibits from the market at a very broad scale. One out of six stores, basically, we were able to quantify. We went in with the data that said, “This is the value of change.” I think that’s been a really powerful connection for us, is the focus on the one or two things, but also, the data to show them the value of change.

Tom: Nice. Yes, love it. I heard it referred to his ammo before, but that ammunition to have a data—

Casey: Ammo, absolutely. Yes, absolutely.

Tom: Nice.

Casey: Coming from a Shopper Insights background, and really a market research background, this is my favorite part of the capability. I probably wear Wiser out a little bit with the amount of questions I try to cram into every Mission that the shopper is going to make. You can learn some really interesting things about what the shopper is experiencing in the store if you just ask them. There are lots of different ways to do that.

One of the things that we’ve done in this work, and we’re going to continue to evolve it, is to understand the grilling occasion that they’re about to do for that season. Now, they’re not all grillers, they’re not all charcoal grill owners, but we can ask that question. If we have 1,200 stores, we’re going to get a good enough baseline to be able to do some of that backend analysis. One of the things that we also learn through this work is Family Dollar wants to be more of a destination for outdoor entertainment. If you can’t find the rack, you’re not setting yourself up to be that.

We had some really, really good data to show that people that were unable to find the rack or people that thought that the rack was difficult to find rated Family Dollar much lower on some of those things. Which is like a “no duh,” like we know. Like, if you don’t have outdoor entertainment items, you’re not going to be rated highly in outdoor entertainment.

This again, kind of gave us some of that information in those insights, to be able to have just have a different conversation with them. As they think about partnerships for outdoor entertainment, they’re not just going to think about Coleman, they’re not just going to think about the folding chair folks. They’re also going to think about Clorox and Kingsford to kind of bring into that conversation, and this data really helped us do that.

Tom: Nice, kind of elevating that conversation. There’s the tactical side of focus on the top priority and fix what’s wrong but also get involved in that strategic conversation around outdoor innovation and how Family Dollar thinks about that going forward.

Casey: Exactly. We’re doing good on time, too. Just a few final thoughts and then Tom and I are going to open up for questions. Hopefully, you guys have some hopefully, you’ve been thinking of some, and if it’s where to find wipes, I’m sorry, I don’t have that answer but hopefully, you guys have some good questions for us.

Just just a few final thoughts, delivering the shopper experience matters in charcoal. We know that it matters in all categories, to be honest, but what this work has really enabled us to do is understand what we should focus on in that experience, what can we impact, and then building that story and building that data set, and that tracking around it to go off and really chase down those opportunities.

What’s not on here that I should have had as bullet number one is obviously the strong partnership with a retailer. We engage them two years ago on this journey, and kind of got them excited about this idea and this capability and this partnership that we have with Wiser, to be able to kind of help them advance their objectives in this category. To me, without that partnership, this stuff is a lot harder. Of course, that’s first and foremost.

Gaining access to that experience can be a little bit of a challenge. I mean, all of us are professionals, we’re sitting in front of our computers, we know what the experience should be, we’re working on a planogram, we’re working on a shelving test. We know what it should look like, but the reality is, are we doing enough to understand what the shopper is actually experiencing in market and identifying ways that we can make that better based on what our business situation is? Again, it’s that outcome and how can you go after those outcomes to try to drive change and drive more category growth, brand growth, for you specifically.

Then for us, of course, this has been great for our business, has been great for the category. It’s been great for Family Dollar because again, they’re kind of elevating their position in this first bag effect. If they can get more of that shopper into the business and into this category, early in the season, they’re much likely to get those bags purchased kind of over the course of the year. It’s been a good journey for us and that’s pretty much all I had, Tom. I don’t know if you have any other questions for me, or if we want to open it up?

Tom: Yes, probably kick it over to Phil in a moment here. I’ve heard that we have a record-breaking attendance this AM for a Category Management Association webinar. That’s exciting. Hopefully, we get to the bottom of all questions.

I just love the underscore of the shopper experience and what the shopper sees and how these things, how we can bring kind of data and quantitative rigor to decision making and correcting conditions and really maintaining and achieving that excellence. Thanks again, Casey, for this walkthrough. I think I learned a lot and it’s great to be able to share this with folks that are also interested.

Casey: Yes, absolutely.

Tom: All right. Phil, I’ll kick it over to you. Do we have any questions from the audience?

Closing Q&A

Phil: Oh, yes, we’ve got a couple. Thanks, Tom and Casey, a great presentation and really an eye-opener. It actually dovetails in a presentation, I think a little bit, that came out earlier in the summer. Ace Hardware was on the line and they talked about how the whole gardening sections and the charcoal sections were just exploding at their stores at the time and you confirmed that with a 30 percent increase. That’s amazing. That sounds really nice.

Hey, here’s a question that came in and it was really talked about regional shipping patterns and things like that and getting stock out to the stores, especially during this period of time. Do stores like Walmart have regional warehousing, or do you ship a set number of pallets per store to those stores individually during the high demand periods?

Casey: Yes, it’s a good question. I’m honestly not how Walmart executes the charcoal business, I know we go through distribution at Family Dollar. They, because they have many stores that have distribution centers everywhere. We can really hone in on distribution centers that flow based on weather. We’re going to hit the southern DCs sooner, we’re going to hit the, maybe the western DC’s that are a little bit warmer longer, they’re going to have more inventory in them kind of throughout the course of the season, and then we’re going to sort of flow up to the northern DCs.

We definitely the kind of understand what that pattern looks like, pretty intimately on the Family Dollar side and I’m positive—I can’t speak for my Walmart team and my counterparts there, but I’m positive that they’re doing that same thing. To the question, my hunch is that it’s probably more pallet-based and shipping, maybe not direct to Walmart, but definitely more pallet-based.

Phil: Okay, great. Hey, for the audience. If you have questions, please go to the chat room and enter your questions and I’ll be able to share those both with Tom and with Casey here. If you enter your question in the chat room, that would be good. We’ve got a few minutes here, where we can do some Q&A period. Folks had asked if the presentation materials will be available, and they will be and we’ll make those available to the folks that have attended here today on the presentation.

This was a question that came in a little bit earlier in the presentation and I want to say it was around—I jotted down the slide number when it came in—around slide number 13. It was back early on. Do how much of the retail out of stocks were manufacture-related versus retail execution or improper shelving management? A way to quantify those types of criteria?

Casey: That is a really good one, sort of an elephant in the room kind of conversation, I would say, yes, our PS folks have a pretty good handle, I would say a very good handle on sort of the balance between the two and it’s sort of when this, again, we approach this from a category management standpoint, as we feed the data into the sales team, their partnerships, and the capabilities and the things and that they look at are going to be a little bit different.

Again, I’m hypothesizing, but our product supply organization is incredibly sharp, and they have really great tools. I’m sure they’re able to kind of see where the bottlenecks are occurring in the supply chain and if it’s a store bottleneck or if it’s a DC bottleneck, and what those look like. In charcoal, honestly, it’s a little bit easier to do that. It’s going to be harder in a business like wipes that has hundreds of SKUs to pull from. It kind of depends on your category a little bit, but for sure. There’s a good handle on where you’re going to go after opportunities—if it’s us or if it’s a retail opportunity.

Tom: Casey, the only thing I’d add to what you said to build on that is that understanding the reality, and not just what’s on paper, in terms of shelf-level availability is part of telling that story and part of getting that elephant in the room answered, to your point.

Casey: Yes, and honestly, sometimes you’re not going to be the popular person when you go in and bring this information because they’re going to look at things like well, it’s 99 percent or 97 percent in stock. Well, what I’m seeing and what the consumer sees, which is the only thing that matters, is that’s not happening and it can put you in a bit of a difficult spot at times. I’ve been in that spot a few times but we’re that’s our role, right? We have to fight for the shopper, we have to fight for the category, and now we have the data to do that.

Tom: Yes, it’s a lot easier to have that tough conversation when you have the data versus have a couple of hunches.

Phil: Good and hopefully the data helps you with this next question. As a retailer, what should we do when inventory is just not available because we have customers upset and we’re trying to come up with a solution?

Casey: Tom, I’ll let you maybe take a first crack at that one while I think of a good answer.

Tom: Yes, it’s a great question and I can imagine it’s a difficult spot to be in as I empathize with that. I think, importantly, focusing on building that relationship with the shopper and having associates with the frame of mind that hey, if a shopper comes in, is looking for a product, and it’s not here. How might I answer that? I could say “No”, end of conversation. Or, I could take a little bit more of an opportunity to build a relationship with that shopper, and to empathize with their needs, and to try and see, “Hey, is there a way that myself as an associate, or even a GM, is there a way that I can meet the need of the shopper here in some other way that helps them accomplish their, I hate to go back to it again, but outcome?”

People aren’t necessarily buying a bag of charcoal, they’re buying that experience that comes with it and what they might grill with their family and friends. Is there a way that the retailer could work with their regional folks, the district folks, and the GMs all the way down to that associate or assistant GM to basically set a frame of reference that builds a relationship with the shopper to try and salvage any dollars from that trip around that specific item, and also to build that relationship for a future shopping trip that would potentially have that product back in stock?

That would be my first thought as I get that question. Once you go, “How might I actually fix that problem and prevent it from happening?” I don’t have anything great off the top of my head. I don’t know if you do, Casey.

Casey: I think the only thing that I would add is why does the shopper go to your store to begin with? If you were a food retailer, they’re coming to you for food, that’s still—especially now with COVID, first and foremost, why people are going to the store because there are more meal occasions at home.

Understanding why they’re going to your store and making sure that that experience is something they can’t live without while we’re still working on some of the other issues and challenges that we might have from a supply standpoint in other categories, I think that’s a big one.

Even some of the executions, like I said, at a Family Dollar yesterday, and the cleaning set was, of course, pretty empty, but then there were some cleaning products on display throughout the store. It’s like, “Well, what do you have that’s maybe similar enough that could get the consumer through this situation and have that on the shelves?” Just making sure that, again, you’re as present as you can be when they have the money to spend.

Phil: We’ve actually got quite a few questions that have come in here. Let me run through them with you here. This is good. “Do these retail insights help you at all for online retailing?”

Casey: That is a good one. I spend most of my time in the dollar channel from a day-to-day standpoint. I think their point of view collectively really has been that they right now want to make sure that they have the product in-store, at a good price, when she’s there with the need and with the money to spend on it. They both serve an underserved consumer, a lower-income consumer, but their advantage is in the physical store space.

If you go Google either one of these retailers, you’ll see that they are really starting to get into a few more things and spaces for digital, but they’re really going after the in-store experience. Then, Tom, I’ll let you maybe speak to some of the online stuff that you guys have done.

Tom: Yes, totally. I can speak to that at a high level. If you think about the way that the world’s going, and omnichannel has been this focused initiative for a number of years now, and the way that shoppers expect a consistent, and standard, and very high-bar experience, whether I’m going into a store, whether I’m interacting with an email from a retailer or a brand, or I’m going to an eCommerce site to find it.

Some of the things that we do with folks around would be understanding competitive intelligence and how my products and competitors are being priced across the eCommerce landscape. Whether that’s an independent-type website or one of the large online marketplaces, areas around minimum advertised price, so MAP compliance and things there, and definitely understanding how the brand is being represented or the retailers are pricing and helping with those areas. That is an area that we do have some deep expertise in on the eCommerce side.

Part of what we’re looking to do as we go forward is how is the world changing when you take eCommerce and you take brick-and-mortar and you add that together and where there might be synergies so that we can really help retailers and brands out-execute the competition and win that mind share and that share of wallet in any arena that they might be competing in.

Phil: Another question that came in. I think this is really for both of you. “Have you done cross-merchandising surveys with Wiser to quantify the most effective categories to partner by category?”

Tom: Yes. If I understand the question, it’s basically looking across categories and across merchandising partners to see the most effective areas to invest in, where the most ROI might be found, and where the biggest opportunities are?

Phil: Yes, I would go with that.

Tom: Okay. Yes, certainly. The fact that the ability is there to get visibility into all channels that may be serviced by different teams, or different regions, or through different periods, or different initiatives, through different account management teams, and things like that. I think the ability to collect and to get that visibility, really, at scale then can be sliced and diced all different ways to understand, “Hey, let’s add in some of those lag metrics that we’re trying to drive here with excellent retail execution like sales and see where’s the biggest opportunities to come up, or where’s the biggest opportunities to double down on a strength and really pull away from the competition.”

I think it’s important to be able to, first off, get the visibility at scale in a timely fashion, and then, of course, to be able to analyze that, and to drill down, and to understand what’s driving it, and who are the partnerships, what are the key relationships, what are the key areas or things to focus on store, like all those different dimensions of a display, for example. That’s important and that’s something that we do work with folks on in terms of driving excellent retail results.

Casey: Yes, I haven’t, but I love that idea. I love it because I think we spend too much time testing and developing things out of context, and exactly what Tom just described, you’re going to put them in context. I think that’s where you’re going to really understand what works and what doesn’t.

Phil: Okay. We’re almost at the top of the hour. I’ve got quite a few questions here. I guess we’ve got quite a few folks still out in the audience. Casey and Tom, do you want to continue on a little past the top of the hour or would you rather follow up in writing afterwards?

Casey: No, let’s do it. If there’s questions, let’s see what we can get through.

Tom: Yes, I can go longer. I’ll send you my bill too, Phil, it’s all good.

Phil: No problem. “Hey, I work for a new small brand in the grocery category. How would I approach our buyer with this kind of information without risking harming our relationship?”

Casey: I’ll take maybe a first crack at this one, Tom, and then, yes, please jump in. My mind immediately went to, what are they trying to drive in their category or in their business? I’m totally making this up, but maybe one of their big strategies is to improve adjacencies, and you’re the fruit salesperson, and they want to get your particular fruit next to something else that’s similar to it. Again, making that up.

I would try to peel that back a little bit to understand what are they trying to drive with their category in the next two, three, four, five years. Really getting clear on, again, outcome-focused, where do you want this thing to be in a few years. Then, I think through that conversation, you’ll start to realize there’s building blocks to get there. Of course, everybody wants the self-driving car, but right now we’re starting with lane assist. That’s our path in order to get to the self-driving cars, we have to have that done right first.

I know this is difficult because sometimes persons don’t think out this far, because depending on the situation and the level that they might be at and the pressures that they’re under. If you can get them talking, that I always have found it’s a good strategy to then put the building blocks in place to get there. Then, it becomes more of a partnership on you helping them get there versus you coming in and saying, “This part of your business sucks,” which is I think what you’re trying to get at, and that’s what we can’t do, of course.

Tom: Getting out of the world of opinions and into the world of cold, hard facts, although those, of course, need to be translated and interpreted as well. It takes some of the emotion out of it, and instead, we’re working from the same data set that we’ve objectively observed with a measure of impartiality through the perspective of the shopper. That, to me, helps to make that conversation have a lot different tone. Of course, that’s my perspective.

Casey: Good one too.

Phil: Another question. “Based on footfall being down and consumers being mission-driven with less browsing, should we be spending our trade and marketing dollars differently, for example, less than towards brick-and-mortar and maybe more towards eCommerce?”

Tom: Go ahead.

Casey: Yes, I think if everybody’s not asking themselves that question right now, I think you should be asking yourself that question right now. I think every retailer’s going to be in a slightly different spot, every category is going to be in a slightly different spot. Deeply understanding your shoppers in these categories and how they approach them, what they’re thinking about, what their barriers are will definitely lead to conversations around how should I spend more efficiently? I think that’s a good question to be asking yourself.

Tom: To build on that, no question should be off the table, if it’s a question that you’re questioning whether or not you should be asking, it’s probably something to consider. I think understanding exactly what you mentioned, Casey. The shopper’s motivation, understanding them inside and out, and how they think about the category, how they think about if you’re a retailer, the relationship that brings them into the store, or brings them onto the eCommerce site, or if you’re a brand manufacturer, what’s the relationship that my shopper or consumer has with my brand? What’s the why behind them purchasing? How might we be able to deploy that trade spend most effectively whether it’s in eCommerce or in brick-and-mortar?

I had a stat earlier that I was using before the pandemic. What is it? 96 percent plus of all commerce still happens in brick-and-mortar in the United States. Now, that was a stat that I was using up until January, February. Things are changing, but we’re seeing robust growth in some categories in brick-and-mortar. Of course, we’re seeing robust growth in some categories in eCommerce. I think it really comes down to your situation and understanding how we might strategize together the most effective way to deploy those trade dollars to again get the best outcome for what you’re trying to achieve.

Casey: That’s a great point. If you just think about the Clorox portfolio, Kingsford, you can’t buy it online, but some of our cleaning stuff you can. It’s going to vary even by category quite a bit.

Phil: Tom, here’s a question for you. Does Wiser just collect and provide the data, or can it help smaller businesses without research teams interpret it?

Tom: That’s a great question. We’ve worked with brands from the smallest emerging thing where somebody’s wearing 10 different hats to the largest brands in the world that have very focused specialist teams in each area. I think over the years, I’d hope to think we’ve been able to develop the expertise to be able to meet those different needs.

On one side, our business analytics team can do a lot of things that can help break down raw data into analytics, and eventually into insights and impact and actions. Then, there’s other folks we work with that have a big team of DAs and have a very well developed and rigorous data analysis muscle in house. We maybe provide them more or less of that and more of the raw data at scale and other things that work for their particular outcome that they’re trying to achieve.

The short answer is yes, and then the longer answer, as I said, it depends. Over the years, working with very different looking brands and retailers at different stages in their journeys, I think we’ve developed the ability to meet needs across that portfolio of maybe call it data sophistication, or really just the resources to be sophisticated and how we might best structure our relationship going forward.

Casey: Just one quick plug based on my experience with Wiser is they have a really, really cool and very easy to use dashboard that they put all this information in for you, and they build it custom for you. You don’t have to be a researcher necessarily to get what you need from this dashboard. It’s just thinking through what information do I want to see, and then these guys do a phenomenal job of building that out for you, so you can see it on the back end.

Phil: Here’s another question here. First of all, before the question, I thank you both for giving such a great presentation here today. It’s from the head of a regional operations for an apparel retailer out of India. He finds that his team is not able to travel physically to their network of stores, and I think you’ll find that’s probably the case around here in some instances. There is only so much we can do virtually to maintain and track the SLPs at stores. The question really is raised, can artificial intelligence or machine learning help in tracking some of these instances?

Tom: Phil, that’s a great question. I can speak to that broadly. Thinking about this particular use case, apparel manufacturer in India, if I heard it correctly, having difficulty getting that visibility and understanding things and then how might AI or ML help. I can tell you from us, from a technology and capability investment standpoint, we’re putting a lot of R&D time and money and energy into those spaces because we really see a lot of opportunity over the next five to 10 years to really take some of the technology and the best in breed from a machine learning perspective, modeling, and being proactive and predictive with the data that we collect.

That’s a big area of investment for us. I see tons of opportunities across our eCommerce product suite, across our brick-and-mortar product suite as they come together to apply those technologies to ultimately save our customers time and money. If it’s something that a human can do, time-consumingly or error-prone, that a machine or a machine-learning model can do efficiently and less error-prone, well, that’s an investment that we want to make for our partners so that we can all reap the benefits of some of the technology innovations that we’re all living through this incredible pace of change.

I’d definitely be happy to discuss more of this particular use case if that sounded too generic. I’d encourage the audience member that has to, just hit me up at tom@wiser.com, happy to have a conversation.

Phil: Great, that’s excellent and a good point. Everybody, please look on your screen, because we’ve got the contact information up there for both Tom and for Casey. If your question doesn’t get asked, you’ll be able to address it with them. Tom, a question came in, and maybe you can just articulate on it is about expanding to other countries. Where does Wiser operate today?

Tom: If I can take our eCommerce business globally, understanding that, and then our brick-and-mortar business, North America, Western Europe, we have coverage in those areas. We can get information, visibility, at shelf quickly. U.S., Canada, and in many of most of the Western European nations. We’re looking to be opportunistic here also. Again, if there are specific needs, or that might fall in those regions or outside them, just hit me up tom@wiser.com.

I’ll save you all some pontificating about the globalization of the world and all those types of things. We all see it and we all know that the future of retail is global. If Wiser wants to be part of that conversation, we need to have our purview be that same global purview that our brand and retail customers do have.

Phil: Very good. Let’s see. There was one other question that came in here. Casey, I think is related to you. They were curious as to how you’re able to measure effectiveness when there is such a high level of out of stocks with the displays?

Casey: What we did is, we took each store and coded it based on the conditions. Again, we focused in on store location and inventory. We bucketed stores based on where they were, location-wise, and where they were from an inventory standpoint. Now, is it perfect? No. Did we maybe miss a few things here and there? Yes. Rationally, does the results show growth if these conditions are better? Absolutely it does.

There is for sure that element, but we try to isolate the two. For example, if there was a rack at the front of the store that had no inventory on it, we threw that out as an exhibit. You can get granular as you’re looking through the dashboard that Wiser helps create based on what you have the shopper evaluate or check the box on to then cluster the stores however you want. Then, we just use sales data at a store level to try to quantify those conditions. Honestly, wasn’t like rocket science, it was just what’s the condition that you want to measure, find those stores that have it, bring them all together, and then look at the data and have a comparison point for reference in terms of if it’s up or down.

Phil: Okay, we’re at 10 minutes after, I think we’ve gotten through almost every question that was out there. I would ask the audience, which is still quite large, to please make sure you reach out to Casey or to Tom directly with additional questions, they would be more than willing to respond to your emails if you connect with them. Tom and Casey, thank you very much. It was an extremely insightful presentation, you really grabbed the attention, as was evidenced by all the questions that have been coming in. Do either of you have any closing thoughts you’d like to make?

Tom: Yes, if I just echo that back to you, Phil, thanks for the opportunity here, have started to build a great relationship with CMA and enjoyed meeting folks this past February. Definitely, huge shout out to Casey for spending the time and riffing together here this morning. Thanks to all the participants for joining in, hopefully learning a couple of things and having an enjoyable morning. Hey, have a great weekend everybody.

Casey: Yes, thanks, everybody. The only thing that I would just build really really quickly, is the CMA relationship is what you put into it. The more I’ve invested my time participating in these, listening into these, the more I get out of it. Definitely encourage everybody to keep joining and volunteer to help as much as you can, because we make the work better together.

Tom: Well said.

Phil: Casey, you couldn’t have said it better. We really, really appreciate the support we’ve received from yourselves, from Clorox, and from Wiser. To everybody in the audience, thank you so much for joining us today and participating.

Please, check your calendars. We have another webinar next Thursday at 10 o’clock. As Casey said, we enjoyed the participation because that’s what makes the association great. With that, I’m going to close down the webinar and again, thanks to everybody.

Matt Ellsworth

Matt is the Sr. Manager, Marketing & Demand at Wiser, the leading provider of actionable data for better decisions.

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