It’s no surprise that the retail industry is going through massive changes. Online retailers are taking share, mobile integration with the consumer experience is on the rise, and consumers expect the experience to meet their needs – not just in the products they buy, but in the experience they have with your brand. Amid this dynamic environment, the branding needs of the brick and mortar environment will continue to be a major expense for most organizations – whether they are expanding, contracting, optimizing, or innovating in the store network. Those retailers who know where to look may be able to free up significant cash to fund innovation and growth initiatives.
So where is the money hiding in the brick and mortar branding process?
We have found that there are five distinct processes that comprise the end to end development and maintenance of the store experience. They are:
- Concept and creation– Creative teams and advertising agencies are continuing to innovate. Without tight coordination across teams, retail organizations often create an experience that requires specialized or unique in store branding materials – often at a significantly higher expense than is necessary.
- Approval and ordering of branded store materials – Retail store marketing operations teams are spread thin already, resulting in inadequate resources to conduct the specification reviews necessary to ensure that store signage, displays, promotional materials, apparel, etc. are optimized for today’s super efficient manufacturing processes. These inefficiencies cause even more money to be left on the table.
- Procurement and staging of in-store materials – This is where most retail organizations inadvertently spend extra money. Consolidating suppliers in the production and staging of store branding materials can drive cost savings that often exceed 20%.
- Distribution and installation – although this is a specialized process element, distribution and installation (if fragmented) can potentially exceed the actual cost of the branded materials themselves.
- Ongoing warehousing, fulfillment & replenishment of branded materials – there is nothing worse than spending $ 50,000 on a piece of branded material, only to throw away 30% of it because it becomes obsolete in the next campaign cycle. Careful management of warehousing costs v. obsolescence is a skill set worth investigating.
The Money is Real
Few retailers look at branded store materials category from a “Total Cost of Ownership” perspective. But when they do, they are often surprised at the amount of money being spent and how much waste there is in the (sometimes overlapping) processes associated with creating the in-store experience.
It is common for retailers, regardless of their current business cycle, to be able to cut 15%, 20%, even 30% out of the brick and mortar branding process by optimizing the process mechanisms described here. Knowing where to look is the trick – a skill that the Impressio division of Drummond Press has developed over the last two decades.
What You Should Do
A detailed assessment of the overall store environment involves:
- A series of interviews
- Sifting through accounts payable information
- Poring through samples and branded material specifications
- Applying the practiced eye of experts who understand the brick and mortar branding process.
Using this approach, no stone is left unturned, and areas such as consumption models, production specifications, and obsolescence are evaluated.
When retailers get an aggregated view of the end-to-end process across the dozens, or even hundreds of branded materials that are used in the brick and mortar retail environment, the results can be eye opening.