How retail sales data can boost product success
Understanding retail sales data is an integral piece of information you need to operate a successful food and beverage manufacturing business. It helps you make decisions about product performance and the future based on what consumers tell you with their purchasing patterns at the cash register.
When you know your sales volumes and can compare it to the products being purchased by consumers, you have the total picture. You can assess what drives purchase and consumption, which provides the best opportunity to predict your business's future.
The more detail you have about what causes changes in sales, the better informed you can be about your products' performance.
It has been widely reported that in today’s environment, retail sales are up - and increases in sales are desirable. The more detail you have about what causes changes in sales, the better informed you can be about your products' performance. Factors like specific category, geographic region, store format and even execution within the format can impact sales. Understanding the details behind the changes in data allows you to assess what will happen in the next sales period.
The most accurate sales forecasting is built on the details surrounding changes (total increases or decreases) at the retail cash register. When you have the front-end sales data from each different factor, you should review the history and predict what will happen to your products within these. Some might be increases, and others might be decreases, but your result will be the most accurate prediction, developed specifically for your products.
For example, if your sales are above average and you're only selling into conventional stores, forecast that. When consumers begin to shop around more for deals in discount formats, a portion of your increase will be lost as fewer shoppers are in conventional stores.
Retailers are looking for suppliers who can grow a category. This happens when category sales outpace store sales. Suppliers (for retailers) that can achieve this will usually get even more opportunities in the future. When consumers demand changes and your business can respond and deliver enough products to satisfy consumers, review this with your retail customers and celebrate the success. It is your job to bring this information forward.
Consumer behaviour can change very quickly. Regular review of retail sales data ensures that you keep your forecasts current. When you do see changes happening, it is beneficial to communicate these to your customers. They are working to keep their stores stocked with the right amount of inventory. Forecasts developed using facts derived from consumer behavior are valuable to your customers. They will appreciate the insights, and this is another opportunity to deliver value.
An impartial assessment of your sales performance, relative to the total market is a valuable business practice. You can use this to determine what happened, why it happened and what will happen in the foreseeable future. A regular review of data is important. Those who use it to improve future performance are the real winners.
Article by: Peter Chapman
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