3 ways in-store execution has changed in the age of Covid-19

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As retail begins to readjust to the new way of life, the impact of the pandemic for in-store execution is becoming increasingly evident. While trends come and go, the past 6 months have prompted Sales Teams to radically rethink their perfect store strategies, adapting to restrictions and limitations in inventive ways.
covid 19 in store execution change

With news that Covid-19 numbers are on the rise in many countries, restrictions are again being tightened. Thinking about how to navigate in-store execution during these uncertain times, BeMyEye has put together 3 ways in which the perfect store landscape has changed forever. Take a look at our insights below.

1. Monitoring in-store consumer trends: fewer trips, changing channels

With shopper behaviours at the heart of retail execution, keeping track of how people are shopping today is all-important. 

Consumers across Europe are balancing the needs of safety and convenience, as many continue to avoid crowded public places. When we surveyed our “Eyes” in 16 European countries, a significant proportion reported taking fewer trips per week for groceries than before the outbreak of Covid-19. This has a significant effect on the time shoppers spend selecting a brand and placing it in their basket, shaving precious time off that “moment of truth”.

Recent months have not only impacted how often people are shopping, but also where people are shopping. More and more shoppers are opting to visit smaller stores, speeding up an existing shift away from hypermarkets. 

For those in charge of perfect store strategies and in-store execution monitoring, these emerging behaviours must be addressed head-on. With time of the essence, capturing consumer attention and ensuring products are easy to find are top priorities. As channel preferences move towards convenience over size of store, sales teams should weigh up how to allocate resources to have the greatest impact with each sales visit.

2. Aiming for safety and efficiency at the same time

Amidst a range of social distancing guidelines, government regulations and retailer policies, it can seem like a difficult time for sales teams to execute perfect store strategies.

With safety the first priority across the board, sales teams are redesigning their approaches to in-store execution. In order to ensure the safety of shoppers, supermarket staff and sales teams, a variety of solutions are being discussed by retailers and brands alike, including appropriate Personal Protective Equipment and the possibility of clearly labelling field reps in stores. Individual retailers’ guidelines will also have an impact on the numbers of stores an individual field rep can visit. Yet a safe approach is one that also thrives under a simple and clear strategy that takes into account the various rules and guidances. 

When we interviewed industry experts in June, our respondents reported that, during the earlier stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, simplicity was key to keeping on top of availability and other KPIs in stores. It is also vital for safety: as sales teams are welcomed back into stores, a simple approach that respects public health measures will help to ensure each sales visit is safe, time-efficient and productive. The best way to do this is to focus on the fundamentals – a clear plan, well executed and with KPIs that are measurable and actionable.

3. Embracing a data-driven approach beyond Covid-19

As brands begin to implement new approaches to their in-store execution, monitoring their performance requires a significant amount of data.

Though a strategy that embraces data may seem more complex, in fact, the opposite is true. Indeed, panelists participating in our webinar emphasised the importance of getting to grips with the data and learning fast during this pandemic. Understanding which metrics offer the most valuable observations is critical, and focusing on a few KPIS will create more effective systems now and in the post-Covid-19 world. By honing in on those KPIs that really move the needle, and collecting extensive data on them, brands can draw upon actionable insights to transform their in-store execution, not only during a time of crisis but also in the years to come.

While fewer companies are asking sales teams to collect data, or are facing difficulties to do so in such conditions, alternatives such as crowdsourcing are becoming more popular. By harnessing analytics and AI, data-driven insights fuelled by live data can help Heads of Sales understand what needs to be improved and where, in real time.

 

With everyone gradually adapting to the new normal, sales teams are seizing the opportunity to reevaluate their perfect store strategy. The seismic shift in consumer behaviours in-store, the immediate need to simplify processes and the move towards data-derived insights and strategies will shape the ways sales teams operate in the future.

If you would like to learn more about the transformation in retail execution, you can read the full outlook in our white paper “Why In-Store Execution Has Changed Forever” here.

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