Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Some Stats About This Blog

We are still in January, which means we still have a bit of time to discuss about 2015. I don't really discuss much about my blog. I don't really advertize it to my peers and friends, nor I do communicate much about what my blog is about. 

Nevertheless, I believed it would be interesting for me to share some data about my blogs, in order for you to understand better how it works. 

This blog was never really meant to be a top audience one, as the topics I discuss about are very specifics. Moreover, I am not a journalist, nor I get any money from this activity (nor I am eager to get benefits from it). So I will keep on with this activity that I highly appreciate, but I know that the stats could be much bigger with a bit more efforts.

So here are the stats:
  • In 2015, there were 74 719 visits on my website.
  • The higher month was December with 8094, the weaker, February with 4 913
  • The first country visiting this blog is the United States, then France not that far, then Russia
  • Most of you come from the blog URL directly or Google. There are actually very few visits coming from Twitter or LinkedIn, which is kind of deceiving. I believe there is a lot of room for growth on that aspect.
  • All Time, I have reach 480K views. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Leadership: Gregg Popovich's Vision

There are a lot of sport coaches that are leadership icons, as they are able to lift a group of people toward a common goal. Obviously, some coaches really stand out, and have been able to achieve extroardinary restults over a certain period of time.
One of them is for example Claude Onesta, coach of the French national handball team, that have one most of the major championships in the world for over 20 years now. He has been able to manage the different generations of player, and always been able to put them in the best position to win.

But one of them that we never discuss about is NBA San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. But if someday he decides to write a book, I'd be the first one to buy it. He had outstanding achievement over the past 2 decades that he has been coaching.
  •  He has been able to change the style of play of its team to adapt to its players. From a defensive team focused on their front court, it went to a passing fast team with a lot of 3 points shooters.
  • There are very few players that have not been able to success.
  • He has always been able to find great player from nowhere: Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, now Khawi Leonard...
  • He has also been able to switch from an autoritary leadership style, to a delegating one once its best players Duncan, Ginobili and Parker have been able to stand up as great team leaders.
You should have a look at this interview I found on the interview about him: he is discussing about what kind of character he is looking for in a player, and how important it is. Indeed, having a compatible character is a security to fit in the group.

Therefore Gregg Popovich takes a lot of time evaluating a player personnality, and his interests in order to see if he is compatible with his vision of a team.

I am eager to get more stuffs, if available, about this fantastic leadership guru.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Some feedback on the IFM Days 2015

It has been a while I talked to you about my feedback of IFM days. I wanted to share you extra thoughts on those days, whic were interesting.

Some stats about retailing in France:
  • There are 7 800 hypermarkets and supermarkets in France
  • To feed 28 M households
  • Between 1997 and 2014, the number of products distributed has skyrocketed by 72%
  • A shopper spend 48 minutes by week in store, 57 seconds per sections
  • The average stockout rate in store is 6,8%
  • The average genorisity rate for a promotions is 32%
  • 80% of the time, an extra product generate extra sales
Couple of thoughts about it:
  • About Stock outs: It is directly linked to the rise of the number of skus available in store. It brings complexity at each level of the chain, which makes it more difficult to follow the sales, and therefore can generate in the end stock outs. For sure it will be a key element to take into accounts in order to generate extra sales.
  • About the growing number of skus: The number of skus available has exploded, far faster than the square meters available to retail those new products. If an extra skus generate extra sales, it also generates more operational costs, and you could be sure you will not be more efficient, which could results in stock out on top of it. As we have already discussed on this blog, you may see more and more lean marketing efforts in order to ease operations, but also the shopper decision making process, in order to be more efficient in the sales effort.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pricing Strategies

Pricing is one of the hypest job in the business right now. By mastering this art, you are supposed to be able to raise profits while appearing cheaper to customers. Obviously, mastering pricing and taking it seriously is a real leverage to profitability growth.

  • Take pricing more seriously: this is exactly what is going on in retailing right now. Pricing positions are blossoming, with senior profiles, in order to have a clear strategy, rather than leaving it to junior positions or local management. Pricing strategies are complex enough to have clear experts in charge.
  • Price upon added value, not based on production costs: customers purchase one product for the value it will carry out, not for how much it costed to produce. Therefore, you may under charge as an effort to stick to real operational costs, which is not efficient.
  • Unbundle prices: As airlines do by charging seperately insurance, luggages, aircraft seats..., you may unbundle your products, to make it cheaper for your customers price perception, or compared to your competition. Rather than selling a product with warranty, battery included, etc.. By the raw product with extra extensions. You may even be able to charge more in the end.
  • And most importantly STICK TO YOUR PRICE STRATEGY. I know new tools allow you to change your prices in a glance, depending on your competition, your financial results or the change in top managements, but a consistent strategy will be the best way to generate results. For customers to understand your pricing strategy it will require time, especially for him to trust in your prices. Don't change it over night. And evaluate on long term the results.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

#bigdata and #retail : Still A Lot of Work Ahead

Big data has for sure a lot of opportunities ahead when it comes from retailing. Retailers own massive data but are still not using it properly. i wanted to share with you two clear examples.

Yves Rocher
I went Christmas shopping to health & beauty retailer Yves Rocher, as one of my relatives go quite often to the store. The salesperson ask me for the information of my relative as she could benefit from extra loyalty points. I give her the info. The salesperson then tells me she is a very good customer, one of the best of the chain. I then ask if she could give me information about the kind of products she buys in order to customize a bit more my gift. The salesperson tells me she does not have information as my relative goes to another store...

I used to go to Intermarché Noisy le Grand as it is nearby the train station of Bry sur Marne. I opened a loyalty card, in order to benefit from the promotions. Eventually, a closer to home location opened, at Bry sur Marne, 5 min from home. I went there, and I wanted to use the money I got on my card there. They told me it was not possible. Same thing when I went on vacation (Intermarché is every where. The network is so big they have a store each 17 km in France), and wanted to use my points there. They explained me I could get money in every store I shop in, but I can use the cash only in the store I opened my card.

As you can see in 2 examples, retailers are still using old information system that do not allow them to use the best of their loyalty reward initiatives. Big data is eager to narrow the gap, but considered how old the systems are, it's gonna be a while brick & mortar retailers will be able to switch to those new systems.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Category Management Series: Promotions: Another Trend To Follow in 2016

Promotions are a key elements to lift sales. They boost volumes, stock customers, get market shares up, a great way to push inovations and make customers test your products. Nevertheless, too much promotions could be something devastating.

  • It alters the price perception of one product. I am the first one to say it. When I used to purchase Pampers Diapers to my son full price without promotions I used to feel ripped off, and stupid not to have bought an extra one in a previous promotion. Over 50% of the diapers sales are under promotions. And there are no inovations either to try out... 
  • It kills your product range: The customer don't choose between a first price, private label, leading brand, organic brand or premium brand: It choose the best price. Most of the time leading brands under promotions are way cheaper than private labels... So it makes it more difficult to work on your category strategy in terms of product range.
  • It higher operationnal costs for both suppliers & retailers: You need to print brochures, plan promotions, finance discounts, most of the time be more aggressive in pricing to make sure you are the cheaper during the promotion. 
  • You don't create loyal customers you transform them in promotion hunter: you have professional customers that only buy on sales. They know that in Jannuary they buy their clothing soap, in february their Nutella, in April their cosmetic products, in March their Italian products... They know each retailers anniversary events. They collect coupons everywhere. They only buy the cheaper products under promotions, most of the time the goods you sale with negative margins. Do you really need those customers? When you see what I am picturing, maybe not. But if you don't have them, you are sure your sales are going to plummet.
I have already discussed the topic. But the trend is not yet to change. Olivier Dauvers shared with us the last information about the trend. 
That's a +4% increase... In 2016 the trend will be the same. So it will important to see the strategy retailers will have in order to limit this rise and control it, because trust me, it is not controlled yet.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Customer Relationship Management & Retailing: The Customer Centricity Index

Very few consulting groups are able to match customer relationship management, loyalty reward program and retail sales performance effectively. Dunnhumby is one of them. They designed a while ago the loyalty reward program of Tesco in the UK, which has been considered for the longest time as an example in the retail business.

Dunnhumby has developped a new approach named Customer Centricity Index, which is designed to give clear data on how retailers perform in their market in terms of customer relationship.

The approach has been designed on a spectrum of 25 banners, on a 5000 people sample. 

This is hence a good tool for a marketer to analyze how to improve its customer relationship strategy, but also to see how those improvements impact sales.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Category Management Series: New Merchandizing Tool To Boost Category Planning

High Tech company Dassault Systèmes has been working for a long time now on a new merchandizing tool addressed to retailer. The purpose is to propose the most updated technologies in the merchandizing plan process. As you can clearly see in the video, the new tool developped by Dassault allow both the suppliers and retailers to have a great vision on what a merchandizing plan will look like in the real life, thanks to 3D.

I also know that Unilever has been working in different countries with such a tool, but I wanted to share with you this video to clearly show you what the future of merchandizing will be.

I have also seen a great tool at Les Journées de L'IFM, allowing someone to use its mobile phone to take pictures of each elements of a store, than to process it to have extensive data of the product range in one store. I have seen also some tools allowing someone to create a merchandizing plan in minutes simply by giving information on the merchandizing tactics to use (raise sales, profit, limit stock outs...).

Those initiatives are great, because I still believe that the operationnal process of merchandizing is still too slow to have a good strategy about it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Amazon Is Aquiring Former Local Post Offices To Develop Its Amazon Prime Services

This is indeed an information that went under the radar. I found out about it thanks to this article, discussing about Amazon's strategy. According to the article, "Amazon has been quietly buying up old and abandonned postal facilities in major and suburban markets". This is a key information for two reasons

1 It Empowers Amazon Prime Services
The goal of Amazon is to develop new categories, especially groceries, in order to multiply the frequency of purchases on its website. But there is an issue: small amount purchases are a bargain in terms of supply chain:
  • They are pricy, as the prices of the goods is relatively high compared to the cost of delivery
  • It also implies to find a solution to the "last mile", the most difficult one.
By buying such small facilities, in local area, it helps Amazon to have a more flexible supply chain.

2 Post Offices Are Struggling
Due to the lower amount of mails, post offices' business modells need to change. The operational costs are very high, which explains the reason why post offices tend to sell some of its offices. Therefore it is a clear opportunity for Amazon, as they can get the space for not much money...
Moreover, the fact to be able to have high value delivery (compared to simple mails) allow them to be more cost efficient than the postal offices. Which gives even more power to this news.

New innovative ways to deliver goods in urban cities
I also wanted to share with you a linked article I found out. It explains how a Swedish town has developped new delivery systems adapted to the complexity of "the last mile delivery" in a urban context. Those kind of tests are in my opinion more relevant than the "drone projects" of Amazon. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see how the supply chain adapts also itself to these new retail needs.

Now Amazon is still struggling to boost its presence in the grocery market, but it invests massive amounts in order to have the proper offer, the proper supply chain, in order to make a deep impact soon. For sure a trend to follow in 2016.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Savings Catcher Application: The Revolutionary App of Walmart

Creating an application that secures a high number of downloads, but furthermore a high frequency of usage is key. But it is actually not the case of a lot of retailers' applications.

The application is simple but crazily interesting for Walmart's customers:
  • They scan their store receipt
  • The application scan through local competition promotions and give a detailed comparison 
  • They provide the difference in coupons for a next visit

By doing so, Walmart is developping 3 important attributes creating loyalty in the retail business:
  1. It secures its image of the cheaper store
  2. It gets a clear database of how competitive they are compared to other retailers
  3. They get a good image for the loyal customers that are sure to make the right choice to have picked Walmart
Moreover it is very simple to use.

This application is for sure a  child of big data. Soon to come in France?

Friday, January 08, 2016

How To Set Up Goals

A good method you should have a look found on the Harvard Business review. This is what they call the "if then planning". That means that it also take into consideration the high possibility that you may fell at some point in your path to achieve the goal.

But what I also like about the tool, it is it forces you to think through your goal in order to have concrete steps to follow in order to achieve it. 
Moreover, you may print out your goal sheet, which is great as it will force you to constantly watch it, and it will then empower you to stick with your plan.

You shall try it out! Especially during those times of good resolutions.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Category Management Stories: Good Execution Of In Store Marketing

With the holidays season, we had a lot of display of in store marketing to promote products. For three main reasons, that turns those initiatives highly profitable:
  1. They are based on pricy items, like Champagne, perfumes, foie gras, among others
  2. There is a high traffic in store at this time of the year, which multiply the number of contacts with the marketing supports
  3. The holliday season and the mythology around it ease the creativity of marketers.
I just wanted to share with you a good example I found out during this period. It was in the Whiskey section, with this touchable screen display.

I remember there was a lot of hype during the web 2.0 phenomenom about the usage of such electronic devices to interract with customers in store. As a matter of fact a lot of initiatives cooled off everyone:
  • The screens are expensive, lowering the return on investment
  • Most of the time the content proposed a low added value to customers, which are now for most of them carrying smartphones with enriched content.

But as I have said above, it is Christmas time, so I believe that this was actually pretty accurate. Especially for a complex product like Whiskey, that for the majority of customers require information to get the proper product. The display could be found on a specific furniture at the Whiskey section.

It was proposing 3 kind of information:
  1. How to choose a Single Malt
  2. To discover what were the Single Malts about
  3. To get samples to try out the products.
Good initiative nicely executed.

So to sum up, the key factors of success of such an initiative:
  1. Relevant traffic (so place) and period of time to maximize return on investment
  2. Select a product category needing a lot of education
  3. Relevant content to create real added value and trigger the sales
  4. Complete it with specific merchandizing to stand the merchandise out, and boost the sales.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

6 Trends for 2016

It is the time of the forecast for next year. Obviously, a lot has gone on last previous years, and it will be hard to know exactly what stands out. Nevertheless, I wanted to share with you 5 trends I believe will be interesting to follow next years.

The French global retailer has experienced much trouble at the end of 2015. Its stock price collapsed after rumors about financial issues, especially linked with the crisis in Brazil, where the company is particularly exposed. Moreover, in France, Casino has spent major amonts of money in order to lower its pricing in order to get back some competitiveness. Casino is earning market shares at the end of the year, but so far you may question if the effort has been good enough compared to the investment.

The Ecommerce channel, which has been launched on the stock exchange market, remains fast growing, but profitability is still not there, and as they other business units are struggling, it is difficult to sustain. 

Casino had to sell some assets in order to boost its stock market. The champion of the financial markets is struggling, and it will be interesting to see what kind of move Casino can accomplish, whereas its high debt and struggling results makes it weak.

The technology has popped up in 2015, a lot of tests have been undertaken, but so far, not a lot of concrete usage have been found out. I don't think we will see beacons for advertizing purposes. Nevertheless, its usage to understand better the shopping path and experience will be key to use in order to create the stores of the future.

Lean Retailing 
We have discussed about it, but from a supplier prospective, they try to lower their brand portfolio, and their product range. The number of products available has skyrocketed the past few years, and too much choice is a bargain in terms of operation costs, both for suppliers and retailers. We will therefore probably see the shrinkage of the number of skus in retail in 2016. 

Hard Discount
Hard discount in 2016? More than ever! People thought their market share would shrink, but it does not stop growing. You may check my previous posts but Lidl plans on investing about 4billions € in the next few years in France only, settle in the US. Aldi is pursuing its growth worldwide, and is still hurting big time Tesco in the UK. 
Hard discount maybe a part of the commerce of the future, especially as it is constantly innovating to find new customers.

Beside the "price war", service will become a key factor of differenciation. You can clearly see services such as Amazon Prime, or home delivery constantly growing. Customers start to see the added value of such services.  Its even more true for the grocery ecommerce business. Due to the high operational costs, they won't be able to be competitive unless the customer understand the real cost of going in store and/or the benefits to be home delivered. A real challenge. But when you see Amazon's initiative or Cdiscount in France, I believe that other competitors may get in the competition.

In France, it is the second year of the purchasing alliances. And the stakes are high. The goal is to indeed see a clear uplift of the purchasing terms in order to help raising the margins of retailers.
On a European stand point, we see more and more alliances coming up: Metro with Auchan, Dia with Casino, Cora with Carrefour, Fnac with Darty...

Those negotiations will become more and more essential, and we will probably have a lot of headlines about it in 2016.

And you, what are your trends to follow in 2016?

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

My New Year Resolutions

As I have previously explained, I committed myself in 4 different fields. All of them are important, and all of them required different skills or type of focus, which will make it easier to accomplish them all 4 at once.

Finish up my book
Indeed, I am writting a book. This is a totally new adventure, as it is the first time I am actually writting one. Always something that interested me, since I started blogging. So far I have a topic, an intro, and about 50 pages already. But I am really at the beginning of the book (I consider I have accomplished not more than 20% of the work).

I will give you further details in this blog about the topic, how things advance. I will also force me to be consistent throughout the year, as it is a long term goal.

Lose Weight
Over the time, I gained a lot of weight. Even though I still practice basketball and now soccer on a weekly basis, and I believe I am pretty good at running up and down the court, I believe I could do better. And I need to lose weight for good. I am right now at a 95 kgs mark, my goal is to reach 80 kgs, which is actually a very ambitious goal... I'll probably feed you with infos on my twitter account, as I need to check it out at least on a weekly basis. It will mostly go through controlling my quantities, rather than the type of food (I eat pretty healthy, no candies, soft drinks, alcohols, not so much pastries either).

Set Up Systematic GTD
I have been a Getting Things Done for quite a while now. Nevertheless, I have not been able to process it on a consistent basis for a long period of time. Once I feel good about my achievement, I tend to let it go a bit, which I believe is counter productive. I love the mobile app GTD, which is so great to use it (the best tool I have ever used for GTD). So my goal is to consistently feeding the app, to use it all year around. I'll give you feedback on this blog on how it goes, and how it helped my productivity.

Dedicate My Sunday To My Child
I have been working a lot and my child is soon to be 3. He is a lot of fun. But I believe that I have not been paying attention enough to his well being with him. Most of the time, he follows us, but not really enjoying his week ends, at least I believe. So I'll dedicate my sundays to specific events for him. Go to the zoo, see some of his friends, specifi playtime, or just going to the around the corner playground.

I will as I have said keep you updated about how things go on with my projects.

Monday, January 04, 2016

My New Year Resolutions

I am not discussing much about myself on this blog as I try to focus as much as possible on what is going on in the marketing, strategy and retail world, nor I like to discuss about personnal concern either, as it is a professionnal blog. Neither am I a big fan of new year resolutions, as they don't last that long most of the time, and they are hard to keep on.

Nevertheless, sometimes it works. I already experienced it, and sometimes it works. And today I want to talk about New Year Resolutions for 2 main reasons:

1-Because sometimes you need a ritual to change things
This is something I learned from listening to Tony Robbins, the famous life coach. For some it is the time of the baptism to become a man, or sometimes it is to get your graduate diploma, your "Bac" in France, in some tribes you have also specific ritual that marks a change, more than an accomplishment. So the new year, even though it happens every year, could somehow work as a kind of ritual.

2-Because it will keep me accountable
I am the kind of person that when it says it, it does it, and by publicly announcing my goals, I am accountable for them. I had a friend of mine that decided to quit smoking, and started to say to all its friends he will  quit on a specific day, and the technique he will use. And it worked! I believe it was a key factor of success for him. 

Not To Over Achieve
I believe this is something key in order to keep consistent results. If you start with a long list of things to change, it is more likely you will be overwhelmed. That is the reason why I am going to keep a very short list of things, in different fields, in order to keep my focus on. I will let you know through my blog also how I progress on things, and let you know if that really works or not.

Do you have new year resolutions? My new year resolutions in the next post.