How to Identify Voids and Improve Store Distribution with Store Level Data

October 14, 2020
by David


Jim Koppenhaver is the Director of Enterprise Solutions and Product Manager for SPINS Store-Level Data.

In our first installment of an ongoing Expert Lens series, we take a closer look at ways Store Level Data helps brands understand their distribution voids and identify opportunities for improving store distribution to trigger growth.


Identify Store Distribution Voids

You know that point of sale data is a powerful tool to see where your strengths lieit can also give richer insights into your distribution landscape: Which shelves are your products on? How long do your products sit on those shelves? Are they moving at a uniform pace or varying by location? 

SPINS offers Store Level Data (SLD) that lets you dive into sales at each retail location your products are carried in. While you should be looking at your successes, you need to dig into some of the abnormalities and the worrisome figures. You could end up discovering more ways to get your products in more shopping carts.  

Thanks to interactive grids, SLD makes spotting product voids easy. If you do have a product void, here’s what that might mean and how you can course correct.  

Spot Irregularities in Store Distribution

You likely have an idea of what your top-performing products are—the reliable sellers that need to be restocked on a regular basis. If you’re reviewing your SLD for a retailer, you will quickly see any locations where you have zero sales. In theory, you could have just had a bad sales period, but that’s unlikely if it involves products that move units consistently. In all likelihood, this means your product is out of stock at that particular location and you’ll want to replenish their supply as soon as possible. It’s a win for you and for them because now you both have your sales back. 

You can have a conversation with the retailer or your sales team to see what caused this problem and find a solution to ensure it’s only a one-time occurrence. 

Examine Recurring Problems

If, however, you spot an irregularity—such as zero sales—that keeps occurring over time, becoming less of a regularity and more of a new normal, you likely have a systemic problem to address. Perhaps there was simply a shift in buying patterns and you need to update your approach for that location to find a better store/product combination. However, the more likely explanation is that you need to fix a problem in your order systems.  

Is the store ordering too little inventory? Is the order cadence wrong? Is your shelf space too small for the customer demand? Whatever is causing this sales disruption needs more attention than a single restock

Have Better Conversations

Store Level Data equips you and your team to have better conversations with your retailers. If it’s a problem you can easily identify by looking at the data and you know what solution you’re bringing to the meeting, you’re saving both you and the retailer time.

However, if it’s a larger conversation to learn what the root of the problem is, you will have the SLD to discuss and guide you. You can speak to not only the problem at hand but also the negative effects it’s having on the retailer’s business. They want to know you care about their bottom line and are speaking the same language, and SLD enables that.  

About Jim Koppenhaver

Jim has 30+ years of CPG industry experience beginning on the client-side (Kraft Foods, Marketing/Sales/Category Management) before crossing over to the “dark side” of information services (Spectra, IBM, IRI, Acxiom).  His specific expertise in store-level data spans Spectra (store trade areas, profiling & targeting) to most recent sales and offering development at store-product-day provider RSi (now part of IRI).

Working with the SPINS retailer relationships team, Jim is building the next generation of applications across an expanded channels/network capability and working with existing clients to further harness the power of SLD for the benefit of manufacturers and retailers alike.