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Comprehensive Approach to Driving Retail Sales Velocity
in Consumer-Packaged Goods (CPG)

Executive Summary

The CPG industry is highly competitive, and driving retail sales velocity is paramount for sustained success. This whitepaper explores five key areas of execution that can significantly impact sales performance in the retail environment. By focusing on in-store relationships with local managers, planogram compliance, managing Out-of-Stocks (OOS) and voids, consumer engagement, and driving secondary placements & off-shelf displays, CPG brands can enhance their presence and boost sales in a dynamic retail landscape.

Here at the Field Marketing Agency, we leverage all the strategies above to drive sustainable velocity within retailers nationally for the brands we represent. In the following page(s) we share some insights into the strategies and their impact.

1. In-Store Relationships with Local Managers

Most brands do not have enough “boots on the ground” to visit even a fraction of the stores that carry their products. Relying on distributors and brokers to carry your flag into the store and beat the drum for your products is hopeless, because in most cases, these 3rd party representatives have hundreds of products and dozens of stops to make on their route. These vendors are not wearing your uniforms and they’re marginally educated on your products. There is no face, no name and no true representative of your brand within the store.

Nonetheless, building strong relationships with local store managers is a foundational element of retail success and cannot be overlooked. Fostering these relationships involves key activities.


Communication and Collaboration with retailers:

  • Find low-cost, high-touch ways to visit your retailers.

  • Use 3rd party representatives that are well trained on your brand and product messaging roadmaps and ensure they can articulate the goals you have set for the store and the chain.

  • At minimum, you MUST visit your high value stores.

  • Establish open lines of communication with local managers to gain insights into store dynamics, customer preferences, and regional trends.

  • Collaborate on tailored promotions and displays that align with the store's unique characteristics.


Training and Education:

  • Provide training for store staff, make it fun, casual and brief. The point is to share your excitement, shopper feedback on your products, the unique fit for the market and provide some context for where your products fit into the competitive landscape.

  • Foster a sense of partnership by offering support in merchandising and promotional activities.


Deliver Happiness via Retailer Goodwill Gestures

  • Provide samples to the stores. Set up “Employee Appreciation” baskets in the stores’ break rooms; with coupons and samples your products, accompanied by branded signage.



2. Planogram Compliance

It may take months or years to break through to the key buyers within the conventional or natural channel. Once through the door, brands work hard to negotiate facings, placement, and minimum orders, only to find out that over time, various stores within a chain have adopted their own opinions (or bad habits) when it comes to shelf placement and policies for their products. Planogram compliance ensures that products are positioned correctly and optimally placed within the store and guarantees your place on the shelf. Key strategies to ensure conformity include:

Regular Audits:

  • Conduct regular audits to ensure that planograms are implemented correctly.

  • Monitor compliance with spacing, facing, and product assortment guidelines.

  • Use these audits to identify growth opportunities. If your category has lesser performing products that are competing with your products’ shelf space, identify any OOS or Voids that may be nearby and suggest increasing your brands facings to fill the gaps. 



  • Leverage your local relationships to ensure cooperation and compliance.

  • Provide tools and support to retailers for seamless planogram execution.


3. Managing Out-of-Stocks (OOS) and Voids

Effective inventory management is crucial for minimizing OOS instances and avoiding empty spaces on the shelves. OOS and Voids can be early warning indicators of your products getting discontinued.  Real-Time Inventory Monitoring is unrealistic for most CPG companies, as the technology cannot be cost justified. However, leveraging human assets (field reps) can allow you to compare movement reports with real, manually captured shelf data. Any discrepancies can be addressed in real-time with real people at the store. In our field work, we have found that team members can uncover store-level challenges with supply-chains, consumer adoption or store-level confidence, simply by discussing OOS and Voids with store management. These local conversations can lead to circumventing systemic issues that could impede the success of your products chain-wide.


Key initiatives include:

  • Collaboration with Retailers

  • Work closely with retailers to establish efficient replenishment processes.

  • Implement automated reorder systems to minimize manual intervention.


4. Consumer Engagement

Engaging consumers both in-store and beyond creates a loyal customer base and drives repeat business. Leveraging digital platforms is essential for launching personalized promotions and loyalty programs; coupled with social media and online channels to connect with consumers and gather feedback. However, digital and social mechanisms stop short of creating visceral experiences with the consumer.  In the case of food and beverage, the shopper cannot taste the product. In the case of consumer durables, Hardware and Home goods, the shopper cannot hold or test-drive the product.  In-store engagements are the only vehicle to create these experiential events.

Keys to effective consumer engagement programs include:

  • Identify high traffic stores that are receptive to hosting your consumer-focused events.

  • Create interactive in-store experiences through product demonstrations, sampling, and immersive displays.

  • Focus on ROI: sales should be the success metric. Impressions are great for online traffic, however, in-store, in front of shoppers, your representatives should wholly focus on converting new customers.

  • Representatives must be well trained in the nuances of your brand and the unique value of your product(s).

  • Implement mobile apps or loyalty programs that offer exclusive discounts and rewards.


5. Secondary Placements & Off-Shelf Displays

Strategic secondary placements and off-shelf displays can capture additional attention and drive impulse purchases. Most brands work through traditional channels to amplify their in-store presence: buying promotional periods, signing slotting deals and working with overpriced brokers to place displays, shippers and secondary placements. There’s a better way. If you have invested the time and energy into building local relationships, managed your shelves well and taken the steps to run consumer engagement in your high value stores, the doors are wide open to request additional placements for your products at a local level.


Tactics involve:

  • “The Ask”. Engage the category or store manager. Leverage your relationship and make the ask.

  • Remind your stores of your commitment and double-down on your efforts by offering a carrot (i.e. continued support, consumer-facing demos to drive sales of the additional product, etc.

  • Make it fun and rewarding: Offer incentives for stores that agree to minimum orders.

Examples: 20 cases = Pizza party for all the staff; 50 cases = raffle for NBA/NFL/NCAA tickets for the staff, etc.

  • Identify high-traffic areas within the store for secondary displays.

  • Implement eye-catching off-shelf displays that highlight promotions and complementary product pairings.

  • Test and refine secondary placement strategies based on performance metrics.



By focusing on in-store relationships, planogram compliance, inventory management, consumer engagement, and strategic placements, CPG brands can enhance their retail sales velocity. Embracing these key areas of execution empowers brands to navigate the challenges of the retail landscape while fostering long-term success and customer loyalty.

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