In the September issue of National Liquor News, Stephen Wilson, Category & Insights Manager, Strikeforce, discussed the balancing act of maintaining an acceptable margin in-store.

Soaring costs associated with maintaining and building brand presence can be a massive drag on resource and profitability for suppliers and manufacturers across FMCG channels.

The balancing act of making an acceptable margin and keeping your brand priced within the reach of core consumers is a difficult one.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the liquor industry where the seemingly never-ending cycle of excise increases is passed onto drinkers inflating retail price points.

So, how can suppliers and manufacturers negate some of these costs?

One option is to engage with an expert service provider who can perform specific tasks and services that were traditionally handled in-house, taking advantage of specialised expertise, at the same time tapping into lower labour costs.

Service providers specialise in scheduled and tactical merchandising activations and can be a valuable resource for clients who may not have the same level of knowledge or expertise.

Activations can be ‘dialled up and down’ depending on client needs, taking advantage of an agile field model that can perform strategic and tactical activity.

Scalability is a significant reason for engaging a service provider, accommodating changing needs without incurring the ongoing costs associated with maintaining an in-house resource that, at times, can be dormant between activities.

Engaging a service provider to manage and maintain brand presence, on shelf and in the fridge or cooler, can free up resource for clients to focus on their core activities.

Service providers often have access to advanced technology, tools and resources that may not be as affordable or practical for individual clients. Access to these technologies should enable advanced reporting to inform and guide the client, review activations, and drive a ‘data-driven, data-led’ approach to a cycle of continuous improvement.

Reputable and experienced service providers can mitigate costly risks associated with tactically difficult activities or tasks. Leading providers have an abundance of expertise and knowledge dealing with potential challenges and can offer solutions.

Cultural alignment is a key component of partnering with an effective and efficient service partner. Cultural alignment forms the ‘bedrock’ of the relationship and sets the direction for ways of working and achieving common goals and objectives.

Regular check-ins and offering a truly consultative approach aligns reputable service providers with clients’ objectives and enhances results through effective communication and ongoing coordination.

Reputable and experienced service providers should, in addition to their core service, be able to offer clients an end-to-end solution encompassing supply chain, experiential services, space planning, insights, reporting as well as being exceptional at delivering a core fielding merchandising service.

In summary, you would be hard pressed to find a more cost effective tactical and agile solution to maintain and build your brand presence in the liquor trade.

The September issue of National Liquor News is available online now.

Deborah Jackson

Deb joined Intermedia in 2015 as Editor of National Liquor News and Deputy Editor of The Shout. Since then, she has also worked as the Editor of Beer & Brewer and the New Zealand title, World of Wine....

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