Having access to expert Retail Advisory Services at the right time can mean the difference between setting plans and strategies in place - resulting in a sustained competitive advantage - or, on the other hand, a strategic blunder.
If you want to improve your retail business, investing in software and technology is a good starting point. However, it is critical to understand that a technology investment alone is not a solve-all solution. There is strategic intent, talent and resourcing, process, strategic planning, strategic implementation and control and much more to consider. This is where DotActiv’s Retail Advisory Consulting services will help you to crystalise your strategy and to align the organisation and prepare it to make the strategy happen.
DotActiv's consultants have deep technical and industry knowledge. We utilise our expertise in combination with our powerful software and proven methodology to conduct Retail Advisory Consulting services in the areas of your business where you require it the most. Our consultants work with you to learn all about your organisational challenges and goals to provide you with category management advice tailored to your unique environment.
Because DotActiv specialises in category management solutions, our Retail Advisory Consulting services and this blog is naturally slanted accordingly.
Why invest in Retail Advisory Consulting services?
At its heart, it’s about offering tailored advice to a company to solve a specific problem. For Retail Advisory Consulting services, its recommendations are based on a combination of academic study and years of experience working in the retail industry.
DotActiv’s Retail Advisory Consulting services are perfect for a business that needs guidance throughout the category management process and who wants a ‘go-to’ person to advise when and as needed.
If you’re a retailer, you should expect to get access to advice that enables you to make bold decisions that lead to the improvement of the performance of your categories. If you have decided to take a long-term approach, expect advice that will assist you in critically reviewing the purpose that your category plays in your business so that you can gain a sustained advantage over your competition.
DotActiv's Advisory Consulting service helps retailers to benchmark their progress against category management best practices and to identify areas for improvement and opportunity. In essence, we provide our retail clients with strategic category management advice tailored according to their retail environments.
As a supplier, you should expect access to category management advice that helps you to gain more exposure for your products on the shelf. Again, if you view this as a long-term investment, which we’d recommend, you can learn how to position your business as an indispensable asset to the retailers that you supply.
That said, when it comes to unpacking such services, it’s not only about answering questions about what it is and why you need it. It’s as critical to answer the ‘When’ question.
When is the right time for Retail Advisory Consulting services?
Here’s the short answer: it is a good time for Retail Advisory Consulting services if you or your team are not aligned around your short, medium or long-term category management vision. It goes without saying that this vision should be documented in detail.
Retail Advisory Consulting services are also right for you if you and your allocated team need guidance throughout the category management process to reach success.
By speaking to retail experts who have years of experience working with many retailers, suppliers and category management service providers from different sectors, you can gain fresh perspectives on your business and pinpoint category management advice on how and where to focus.
How does DotActiv deliver its Retail Advisory Consulting services?
We provide professional Retail Advisory Consulting services to retail clients across the globe. When it comes to DotActiv’s Retail Advisory Consulting service, you have two options available to you. The option you choose depends on your business requirements.
You can either get access to departmental experts who can provide tailored category management advice as and when you or specific members of your team need it. Or, you can receive a comprehensive category management best practices benchmark evaluation. The second option allows you to crystalise your category management vision.
It is also worth mentioning that we utilise our own Team Management Software, Activ8, to ensure that work is of the highest standard and delivered on time, every time. That means that we can easily deliver our services remotely.
1. You can receive expert category management advice when requested
If you are looking for expert advice on any aspect of category management, this option is for you. It doesn’t matter where you are in the category management journey.
Let’s say you’re new to category management and need help choosing a strategy for a category. We can help you. Or, if you still need to determine the consumer decision tree for your category, we can do that too. We consult internally with our industry experts to offer you the best advice in the areas that you require.
Because we base our recommendations on your unique circumstances, you can rest assured that you won’t receive blanket advice that can you can’t implement.
If, for example, you’re already a category management expert, then we’ll provide you with advice that fits your requirements and the stage of your retail business.
DotActiv’s Retail Advisory Consulting services can help you at every stage of the category management process. This advice covers assortment planning, floor planning, planogramming and data analysis. What’s more, any recommendations we offer will help you to approach the planning, technical foundation, methodology, change management and execution with confidence.
Let’s explore this in more detail:
- Data collection and processing: Data capture and processing is critical for a solid category management foundation. It is important that data is captured, cleaned and ready to convert into a readable format that can be understood and interpreted.
- Database management: Once your data has been captured and processed, it needs to be stored where it is easily accessible according to your data classifications. This is where database management plays a critical role. Not sure whether you should opt for an on-premise or fully cloud-hosted solution? We can help.
- Clustering optimisation: A clustering strategy is important to determine the product ranges to stock in your store that will ultimately meet the needs of your customers. DotActiv’s consultants can help you achieve this via category-based cluster optimisation and machine learning techniques.
- Assortment optimisation: Consumer demand is continuously changing as a result of various factors. This is where we can help you with data-driven assortment planning services and advice which helps you to respond to these changes to remain relevant by ensuring that you meet the demands of your customers at the right time and in the right quantities.
- Floor plan development: Floor planning is a critical part of the entire category management process as it brings all of the different elements of category management together. Our experts in this field can assist you to plan your store and to provide your customers with a satisfying shopping experience.
- Planogram development: Planograms play an important role to optimise store space, creating a positive shopping experience, and also improving the financial performance of the store. DotActiv’s consultants provide expert planogram advice to help retailers and suppliers create and maintain performance-enhancing planograms while saving time and resources.
- Data analysis: Data insight is viewed in the form of visual presentations and dashboards which enable you to gain an understanding of your business and to use this to make better decisions. We can assist you to make your retail data your biggest asset and analysing it to answer the questions about product categories and space allocations.
But how do we deliver this advice to you?
Similar to how we deliver our other category management services, we make our experts available to you.
All that you need to do is provide us with the focus area, problem statement or question that you want us to answer. From there, the expert assigned to your account will consult internally. That includes doing research of their own, looking at your data and uncovering any relevant insights, and packaging it into an easy to understand format.
Once ready, they’ll set up a meeting with you via your preferred video conferencing tool such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams, to discuss their findings. During this meeting, they’ll also explain their recommendations in the context of your environment to show you how you’ll benefit.
2. You can crystalise your category management vision
DotActiv has a rich history that dates back to 1991. In 1997, we became the first company to establish a formalised and collaborative management process between a retailer and a supplier. In 2001, we became the first company to create a data-driven category management system.
That all boils down to one thing: we have over 25 years of experience in the category management business. We have used that time to first establish a set of best practices. Then, we refined these best practices to ensure they are as comprehensive as possible.
These best practices cover a wide range of category management dimensions, including but not limited to questions about Talent, Process, Support and Technology. We provide you with the critical questions that you should be asking yourself about your category management vision.
It’s worth pointing out that the key to this side of our Retail Advisory Consulting service is trust.
You must be honest when answering these questions. We can’t provide you with the relevant advice if you are not willing to reveal the good, the bad or the ugly regarding each category management function.
Once the evaluation is completed, we will then compare the results to see how your organisation stacks up against our best practices. This isn’t so much about telling you that you are wrong. Instead, it’s about finding opportunities where we know you can improve and providing you with advice.
One of the most helpful parts of the evaluation is that it will help you to look at each element within your category management function and determine which specific things need to be worked on, and what actions should be taken in order to improve.
We will also put together a recommended short, medium and long-term category management vision that is suited to your business uniquely. You’ll receive a detailed document and supported co-branded presentation. We’ll also meet with you to unpack our recommendations along with the rationale.
DotActiv is not just a software vendor. We are also a team of category management experts who are ready to help you achieve your goals. You can learn more about our different category management services here.
If you are looking to achieve category management success with DotActiv’s Retail Advisory Consulting services, you can book a custom exploratory consultation here.
*Updated by Merida Kritzinger and Mariet Louw on 19 August 2020 for relevancy