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The consumer goods industry has been facing many challenges in recent times – the Covid-19 Pandemic, ongoing supply chain issues, and now inflation. Brand owners cannot rely on traditional methods to grow revenue. These issues have transcended all facets of the industry, but beverage brands in particular are still recovering. How can these brands compete in such a volatile retail environment and still foster their sales performance? Digital Transformation tools like StayinFront’s leading retail optimization solutions can help brand owners maximize opportunities for value and sales growth.

In a recent leadership perspective interview with former Nestle Executive Pablo Rivera Rio, he states that the marketplace has changed over the past few years in three main areas. (Rivera Rio, 2023) Pablo found that:

  • Channel boundaries have blurred. Segmenting shoppers by where they are going to shop is no longer sufficient.
  • Retailers are becoming more advanced, more demanding, and are making commercial relationships more complex.
  • Increasing store fragmentation means getting your product into a store isn’t the final step. There are new Point of Sale (POS) selling opportunities everywhere.

Pablo encourages brand owners to transform the way they do business – this includes utilizing enhanced digital tools. He advises diversifying their revenue streams and looking for different routes to market when promoting their products. This will maximize the visibility of their products in the marketplace. For example, a customer should have a consistent experience when purchasing a ready-to-drink coffee whether it’s from a convenience store, supermarket, or train station.

Pablo’s insight aligns with Mel Anderson, Director of Research and Product at Five Growth, who evaluates consumers’ liquor buying habits in the January 2023 issue of Drinks Guide. Anderson’s analysis found that 80% of liquor purchase decisions are made before a shopper enters a store. Her findings also show that occasion is the number one driver of purchase choice. (Anderson, 2023) This clarifies that there is an opportunity to market to these consumers and they purchase from many unique routes to market.

Anderson identifies two distinct demographics. There is the ‘retiree demographic’ who prefer purchasing from big box stores, stocking up, and consuming at home. There is also the ‘family event demographic,’ who prefer to purchase liquor that can be shared and seldom stock up ahead of time. They also tend to purchase via other channels like restaurants. Their transactions seemed more reactionary to environmental and social circumstances rather than the personal routines of the ‘retiree’ group. This is evident as ‘Saturday’ was cited as a significant driver of purchase choice for the ‘family event’ group.

Given the distinction, sales teams will require two different strategies for visiting on–premise and off-premise locations. At the big box stores, ensuring your product is available is the highest priority. How can your brand take advantage of spontaneous purchases— especially when competitor products are Out of Stock (OOS)? Your brand needs to have the best location and largest share on the shelf.

How can your field team identify which position on the shelf will drive sales and attract new customers? It is impossible to gather this information merely through sales data alone. StayinFront Digital uses AI advance technology, Image Recognition, to improve your brand’s performance on the shelf. Innovative solutions like this make it easier than ever before to capture in-store data and analyze the results. StayinFront Digital enables field teams to take a photo of the shelf condition and automatically capture range, facings, OOS, competitor brands, promotions, and can determine your brand’s share of shelf with a high level of accuracy. This information is aggregated automatically in StayinFront’s Insights data warehouse feature. This enables managers to make better decisions.

At the on-premise locations, the main driver of purchase choices are occasions, specifically family gatherings. Consumers are also visiting restaurants and pubs more frequently again. Scott Elliot at CGA by NielsenIQ, mentioned that cocktails are starting to grow as consumers are looking for experience-led beverage options. (Elliot, 2023) This includes a trend for low to zero alcohol-type beverages. When looking for growth opportunities, sales teams at on-premise locations should review their territories for newly opened venues. They can also prioritize promotional events, create cocktail lists, and acquire first pour agreements.

Unfortunately, having a targeted strategy per channel or a clear route to market does not completely solve the problem. Which big box stores and on-premise locations should sales teams target, and when? The answer is in the data. StayinFront RDI can interpret sales, ranging, promotional, demographic, and location-based data to direct the reps to the right place at the right time.

From identifying OOS or navigating promotional compliance issues, StayinFront RDI delivers insights from the data that makes a difference. David Shukri, Australian Client Service Director at Shopper Intelligence ANZ, highlights that consumers are not loyal to a particular banner or category. (Shukri, 2023) Simply put, consumers just want their product. If their usual product is out of stock, they may travel to get it or choose a competitor’s product out of convenience. This deviation in loyalty affects the brand owner’s revenue. Unlike a traditional standard range by banner, StayinFront RDI can identify the best mix of SKUs per individual outlet providing the highest value opportunity.

StayinFront currently partners with the world’s largest and most successful consumer goods brands to help their sales teams adapt to the rapidly changing retail environment with one integrated Retail Optimization Platform (ROP). StayinFront is focused on driving growth and increasing sales with cutting-edge technology and AI to optimize their end-to-end retail sales process.


Anderson, Mel (2023), ‘Opening Up Pandora’s ‘Big’ Box of Liquor Retail Insights’, Drinks Guide 2023, January, pp. 28

Elliot, Scott (2023), ‘Research and Data’ Blog, Drinks Guide 2023, January, pp. 34

Shukri, David (2023), Research and Data blog, Drinks Guide 2023, January, pp 32


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