In 2016, Food Lover’s Market decided that they needed to move their Somerset West store to different premises. The reasons were numerous: their floor space was too small, their layout was impractical, and they wanted to offer a bigger (and better) range of products so that they could better cater to the high LSM market that lived in the area.
The new store, which has since been unveiled as their flagship store, officially opened on 23 November 2017 in Somerset West to great success. And DotActiv played an important part in helping them get there.
In the beginning ...
As mentioned in a previous piece on what you need to do to ensure a successful store opening, choosing the right store location is crucial to the success of your store. And there are so many different factors to consider like cost, your target market and your competition to name just a few.
In this instance, the retailer wasn’t looking for a brand new location in a new area. As already noted, they simply needed bigger floor space. They ended their lease for their former premises and moved to bigger premises within the Somerset Value Mart Centre, which is situated beside Somerset Mall.
In moving to their new store, they were able to alleviate space constraints, which enabled an improved store layout and better overall flow of their categories.
How DotActiv helps its customers
Food Lover’s Market has been a customer of DotActiv’s for the last four years. During this time, we’ve provided them with category management services. Our ability to make good on the work we do for them comes down to our unique combination of the right skills, software, processes, and data. We offer this to all of our other customers too.
For example, at the heart of our solution is our data platform. That’s because all of our outputs are data-driven and so our data integration service is critical. We also have the right skills because we hire only the best talent who undergo continuous training. This includes a thorough well-developed business process value chain (BPVC) for both space planners and account managers. Meanwhile, our software is built on the idea that each element of the category management process is interdependent.
In the case of Food Lover’s Market, we built data-driven planograms for them to implement in all of their stores across South Africa as well as in Namibia. We were again asked to help them create data-driven planograms for this, their flagship store.
As for the size of this particular project, it was momentous.
Consider this: Food Lover’s Market is an FMCG retailer and covers 56 categories in total. Of those 56 categories, DotActiv built planograms for around 50 of them. Besides that, we were effectively responsible for how every product in each category is presented to their customers.
So how did we manage to complete this mammoth project?
For one, it needs to be pointed out that this was a collaborative effort. Any project that we undertake needs to be so, since we always need to consider the retailer’s overall strategy. From our side, this project was split between three of our retail space planners (two in Cape Town, one in Johannesburg) who all worked in tandem.
Their product assortment was built on their core range with the aim of giving their customers the best opening deals possible. They also tackled a new category - Personal Care - which they’ve never done before.
Our retail space planners and account managers work with a detailed and well-defined BPVC document, which we developed in-house to allow us to meet and understand the specific needs of our customers. It’s a formal process that includes a customer scoping session where we determine your high-level needs, request any necessary retail data from you and design a preliminary category plan.
We also perform a cross-category analysis once the raw data has been processed to discover any specific trends within your category data and complete a shelf space performance analysis to determine the space allocation and position of your categories. Beyond that, our space planners can help you to identify any slow movers and opportunity gaps within your product assortment. And if you already have an assortment, you can simply send it to us so that we can optimise the space allocations.
Beyond that, our team will also propose tactical plans, which can be worked into your planograms designs to build traffic and increase both your revenue and profitability. Once you’ve approved our suggested tactical plans, we’ll create any plano guides, floor plans and planograms, after which you can then set about implementing in-store.
Of course, we don’t only conduct formal scoping meetings. We meet up with buyers at their offices, be that in Cape Town or Johannesburg, and speak to them telephonically too wherever necessary. Running up to an official store opening such as this one, we also work with a retailer in-store. As already mentioned, we take a very hands-on approach.
That said, we did face a few challenges. But nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a little creativity and out of the box thinking.
For example, for the Baking category, on the planogram we built using our software, everything looked perfect. But, once in-store, and looking at how the products presented on the shelf, we found that the shelving used meant that one product was completely hidden from view. We thus had to move the product to allow it to get a better viewing while ensuring that all the other products still received their fair share of space.
The reaction to the new store opening
The difference between the new store and the old one is chalk and cheese.
For one, the branding that the retailer employed is different. Food Lover’s Market was initially known as Fruit and Veg City but because they have branched out to offer more categories and products, they needed a brand identity that would match this.
Of course, it’s not just the branding that is different. They have differentiated themselves with in-store animatronics. You can expect to see a cow above the dairy section that moos when you walk past it. A waving scarecrow sits above the vegetables as does a tractor with spinning wheels. And then seagulls can be heard when you walk past their own in-store fish and chips section.
As for how the planograms translated from the page to the shelf, you only have to walk into the store to see for yourself. Or speak to any one of the four buyers that we deal with in Cape Town. The buyers were all extremely happy with their planograms and how they turned out in-store.
This is ultimately what DotActiv’s business comes down to. What you see when you walk into and shop the store is the end product. And it’s also something to be proud of. A year in the making, we have made a contribution towards their journey in becoming more than just another FMCG retailer.
Of course, the work doesn’t stop there. It’s now a case of maintenance and upkeep. As new products arrive in-store, planograms need to be updated accordingly. New data needs to be continuously flushed through these planograms so that every product within any given category gets the space allocation it deserves.