Albertsons strengthens marketing and merchandising team
BOISE, Idaho — Albertsons on Friday announced two key executive appointments to its marketing and merchandising team. Dennis Clark has been promoted to SVP merchandising, and Pat Brown, most recently CEO of Natural Markets Food Group, has been named group VP merchandising, leading Deli & Prepared Foods and Business Initiatives.
“The most powerful asset we have is our incredible team of talented people who day in and day out do what is needed to run great stores and take care of our customers,” stated Shane Sampson, chief marketing and merchandising officer. “Together, Dennis and Pat bring decades of proven experience to their roles that will only strengthen our service to vendors and stores alike as we continue our work to be the Favorite Local Supermarket.”
Clark started his career in Utah with Safeway and joined Albertsons in 1988. He held the role of VP marketing and merchandising for ACME under both Supervalu's and New Albertson’s ownership. In 2015, he was named to the company’s integration team to help develop the go-forward company’s operating strategy following the merger close. Eighteen months ago, he assumed additional responsibility as group VP marketing and merchandising support.
Brown joined Albertsons in May 2017 as VP merchandising strategic initiatives from Natural Markets Food Group, where he was the CEO for 2 and a half years. His prior roles include COO of New Seasons Market and director retail operations for H-E-B, where he was instrumental in developing their Central Market format.
Report: Consumer data can guide retailers to actionable insights
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Retailers can gain huge competitive advantages in an increasingly digital marketplace by leveraging consumer insights.
That's according to “The JDA Voice of the Category Manager.” The report, from JDA Software Group, tapped nearly 100 professionals responsible for category management and merchandising activity in North America.
Among this group, their top investment priority in the next five years is big data and predictive analytics (4%), followed by investments in customer-driven data science (37%). This is promising, as the study also revealed that most companies currently lack the ability to mine and leverage important customer data, therefore failing to meet evolving shopping demands.
Currently, companies have access to volumes of essential data about their customers’ shopping preferences and behaviors. Where companies fall short is in their ability to derive actionable insights from this mountain of consumer data. While respondents on average stated that they are “somewhat” successful in mining consumer data to generate usable insights (82%), less than one-fifth (17%) feel they are “highly” successful in their ability to leverage the data to derive actionable insights.
When asked to identify which processes they lacked the most proficiency in, nearly 70% of participants indicated that they are most behind on leveraging predictive analytics for improved pricing and merchandising — two capabilities that are of paramount importance for sustained success in today’s customer-centric world. Additionally, nearly 60% of respondents claimed that they are also behind in leveraging geographic and socio-economic data for targeted promotions and offers.
The modern shopper has transformed the ways retailers and manufacturers operate and maintain profitability, and shoppers expect merchandise assortments to meet their needs from the first attempt. That said, participants cited personalization and localization (68%) and increased development of digital technologies (62%) as the top two priorities they plan to implement within the next year to reach modern shoppers. Omnichannel retailing also remains a high priority. In fact, it is among the top two among nearly 60% of respondents.
Effective assortment localization is dependent on a company’s ability to identify the key product attributes that drive local preferences and demand in each category. Companies are best able to evaluate the success of their localization efforts by measuring an increase in sales (37%), increased visibility into stores (21%) and improved inventory levels (21%).
With increased focus on localized assortments, technology investments are top of mind for both manufacturers and retailers. The top two priorities driving the need for new technology solutions are automation as a means to do more with less, and consumer insights as a tool to support increased localization, dynamic pricing and improved merchandising.
“Retailers and manufacturers that want to stay on top will need to be able to implement personalized localization at scale and with speed,” said Todd McCourtie, senior director, solution strategy at JDA. “While this will require some organization-wide changes to policies and procedures, as well as the adoption of technology solutions to help automate processes, it is a necessary evolution for those responsible for merchandising decisions.”
When it comes to adopting mobile technologies to engage shoppers, respondents differ on what is most beneficial to their business:
• 26% indicated augmented reality technology that provides shoppers with personalized information while shopping;
• 25% deemed the ability for customers to leverage beacon technology (Internet of Things) via mobile device for increased self-education on products;
• 21% identified in-store mapping for easy self-navigation around stores; and
• 19% believe location-based mobile coupons would be most beneficial.
Retail shrink grew to almost $50 billion in 2016, NRF says
WASHINGTON – Thefts from retailers and other inventory “shrink” grew to $48.9 billion in 2016 from $45.2 billion the year before even as budget constraints left retail security budgets flat or declining, according to the annual National Retail Security survey released Thursday by the National Retail Federation and the University of Florida. The thefts amounted to 1.44% of sales, up from 1.38%.
“Retailers are proactive in combatting criminal activity in their stores but acknowledge that they still have a lot of work left to do,” stated Bob Moraca VP loss prevention NRF. “The job is made much more difficult when loss prevention experts can’t get the money they need to beef up their staffs and resources. Retail executives need to realize that money spent on preventing losses is money that improves the bottom line.”
According to the report, 48.8% of retailers surveyed reported increases in inventory shrink, while only 16.7% said it remained flat. Shrink was divided into shoplifting and organized retail crime (36.5%), employee theft/internal (30%), administrative paperwork error (21.3%) and vendor fraud or error (5.4%).
Shoplifting continued to account for the greatest losses with an average of $798.48 per incident, up from $377 in 2015. Part of the increase came because some states have raised the threshold for crimes to be considered a felony, meaning that only larger thefts are reported. But the rise was also attributed to retailers allocating smaller budgets for loss prevention, leaving them with fewer security staff to fight the thefts.
Shoplifting was followed by an average loss of $1,922.80 from employee theft, up from $1,233.77 in 2015. The average cost of retail robberies dropped to $5,309.72 from $8,170.17 in 2015 but remained at more than double the $2,464.50 seen in 2014.
For the first time in the survey, retailers were asked about return fraud, reporting an average loss of $1,766.27.
“The seriousness of retail theft is much greater than most customers realize,” said Richard Hollinger, a veteran University of Florida criminology professor and the lead author of the report. “When criminals steal from retailers, consumers pay higher prices, the safety of innocent employees can be compromised and shoppers looking for popular merchandise often cannot find it. Retailers need to continue to invest in new technologies to prevent and prosecute these crimes.”
The survey of 83 loss prevention executives from a variety of retail sectors was conducted March 29 to May 1. The study is a partnership between Hollinger and NRF and is sponsored by The Retail Equation.