Article written by Stephen Wilson, Category & Insights Manager at Strikeforce.

Right product, right place, right time.

Sounds simple enough, yet whether shopping for a bottle of wine, glass spirits or a slab of beer, there is nothing more disappointing than standing in front of an empty slot on the shelf or in the cool room that your favourite brand usually occupies.

The last thing a shopper wants to do is spend extra time and effort traveling to alternate retailers looking for that item, potentially resulting in a lost shopper.

While out of stocks and lost sales are not a problem that is exclusive to off-premise liquor, with peak season approaching, the impact on individual retailers can be profound.

In the run-up to Christmas, it is critically important that this scenario is avoided to maximise sales and increase shopper satisfaction.

The supply chain has, and still is, facing ongoing challenges with much-talked-about labour shortages stretching existing resources and potentially causing delays to delivery and shelf replenishment, resulting in out of stocks. This situation isn’t going to change any time soon with unemployment levels at historical lows.

This means that suppliers and retailers need to have a laser-like focus on forward planning, whether this is in human resources or logistics.

The unpredictability of demand this Christmas will challenge seasonal forecasting with households under increasing fiscal pressure. This will likely result in disruption to traditional purchase trends or at the very least, bring forward purchases based on price promotions, driving pantry filling earlier than in previous years.

So, what should retailers do? Engaging with a specialist who provides an end-to-end solution takes the complexity out of organising and coordinating every step of the product journey. From space management that optimises the allocation of available real estate, to vendor replenishment who specialises in forecasting, ordering and distribution of supply, to in-store execution teams focused on ensuring products make it on shelf in the right quantities in the right location, and shopper engagement specialists elevating brand awareness and driving incremental sales is a sound strategy.

There are joint benefits to suppliers and retailers alike to engage with an organisation that provides these services.

Services Integration delivers benefits including improved productivity by optimising human resources and effort, enhanced quality from executional excellence in-store by experienced and knowledgeable brand activators, increased customer satisfaction through product availability and presentation, elevated brand awareness through well-planned and executed promotional activations, efficiency and effectiveness gains from tried and tested coordination and connectivity across these functions.

In summary, to make the most out of this Christmas trading period, a coordinated approach, forward planning and engaging with an end-to-end specialist takes the complexity out of supply chain and allows retailers to focus on what they do best – selling.

This article originally appeared in the December 2022/January 2023 issue of National Liquor News.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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