Our emphasis is in the consumer goods industry and, in particular, in the non-food sector.
benchex is the European leader in retail barometers for non-food categories. We offer the benchex Retail Barometer© from a single source in the most important European markets and guarantee both high quality and compatibility in situations where coordination is low.
Currently, non-food categories work in a differentiated retail landscape. The internet is an important sales channel in non-food categories and has led to changes in the framework conditions in retail and for suppliers. The stationary and online sales channels need to be managed, requiring a suitable channel strategy.
Another aspect in the non-food sector is direct sales. In different categories – even in the low involvement / refill area – the brand industry has determined its own sales activities, either through its own online store or stationary shops. This activity leads to altered sales behaviour as actual turnover is seldom completely above the typical trade revenue. In addition, retail partners are very often irritated by the topics of pricing and discount policies in their own brand industry’s sales channels.
This makes the Retail Barometer© more than relevant in the non-food sector.
With the Retail Barometer, brands can achieve a much greater proximity to the market, discuss the most important points with retailers on an objective and documented basis and, therefore, send the right signal to the retail partners: only solidarity between the brand and the retailers – collaborative marketing alongside sensible management of the sales channels – leads to long-term success.
A leading outdoor brand in its sector is one of many in that field which use the benchex Retail Barometer©. The outdoor market has grown into the largest market sector due to high, double-digit growth rates, which has increased the enthusiasm of a range of different retailers (large multi-sport chains, small independent outdoor experts, purchasing cooperatives, aggressive online pure players etc.) to participate, even though growth has stagnated somewhat recently. benchex was able to determine these clients’ competitive strengths and potential. We also identified the retail sector that had the greatest potential and measures to capitalise on this were formalised in a joint workshop with the brand. Subsequently, the brand held internal discussions about this potential and developed an action plan, which was, then, implemented in retail. The result was that, in the next evaluation two years later, this brand had clearly improved according to the retailers’ overall appraisal, which can be directly attributed to the fact that these strategies were implemented and that potential was optimised.
The German subsidiary of a centrally organised firm in the small electrical appliances sector has used the findings of the benchex Retail Barometer© to improve cooperation with its retailers.
Its use internally was also important – only with the benchex findings could this subsidiary demonstrate to its contacts in the international headquarters that apparent difficulties in internal logistical processes were leading to dissatisfaction in retail and, with it, to serious competitive weaknesses. In discussions, the subsidiary was able to expand upon its own evaluation of the situation using market information gained by the Retail Barometer© and, therefore, achieve more success. The specific topic was recorded and optimised at headquarters – something that the retailers acknowledged in their next appraisal.
An international brand-name company in the stationery sector contracted benchex and its Retail Barometer© to evaluate one of its most influential national subsidiaries. The use of identical methods in all markets enabled market characteristics to be identified and, based on each market’s specific requirements, we were able to discern and compare the performance of the brand in each market.
The Retail Barometer’s© findings will be used locally by this national organisation to optimise its relationships with its retailers. Moreover, they constituted the most important management tool in this company’s international sales department – our findings have, meanwhile, become part of the ‘Balanced Score Card’ this brand uses to manage the national subsidiaries and to maintain growth and development.
Distributor performance is difficult to evaluate using partners in the brand industry. Whether profit potential is used in the best way and whether the market has more to offer is broadly independent of their assessment and local expertise.
This was the situation an international stationery firm was confronted with. The benchex Retail Barometer© implemented steps to better understand the local, distributor-supervised market and to identify the potential in the local competitive environment. The market results can be applied both locally by distributors, as well as by brand clients. This way, the brand can discuss potentials with the distributors and agree upon targets… all this was achieved based on market feedback provided by the benchex Retail Barometer©.
Normally, franchisees choose a sector (e.g.: catering) they want to become involved in and select one of many partners in this sector to work with.
This means franchisors often have to compete for the best and most suitable franchisees, yet the franchisor should also cooperate with existing partners in a market-focussed manner. Where is there potential in each system compared to those of your direct competitors? What is really important to your franchise partners and what do the concrete strategies for optimising cooperation with franchisees look like?
benchex used the Franchise Barometer© to ask these questions, surveying franchisees from a number of systems. The cross-comparison is made possible using just one questionnaire for all systems. Using data from the fieldwork phase, we show the system’s competitive strengths and weaknesses, identify potentials and suggest concrete strategic measures.
When it comes to changes in the framework conditions, the benchex Franchise Barometer© sends the right signal to the franchise partners in the markets. The franchisors invest in the cooperation and want to improve based on market feedback.
In our experience, the objective data basis and the comparison with the competition helps the benchex Franchise Barometer© to manage discussions with the franchisees make them more objective. Emotions are easily dealt with when it can be demonstrated that “in-house” points of criticism are performing better than those of the competition. This also true when it can be seen that franchisee satisfaction is steadily improving.
The mobile communications market experiences constant change that, in turn, has an influence on the way the franchisee works. Brands come and go, contracts are adapted, the carrier’s or the brand’s distribution policies change, the role of the direct sales channel increases etc.
This has led to more and more brands using the benchex Franchise Barometer© as, by comparing their own situations with those of their specific competitors, they were able to accomplish two things:
The focus of the on-site strategies are developed by benchex and don’t come from the round table in central headquarters, which clearly led to more motivation upon implementation in the market.