When it comes to customer service, the success of a direct store delivery (DSD) operation is typically gauged by timeliness, order accuracy, and the DSD company’s ability to reduce both out-of-stocks and shrink/spoilage or returns.
But DSD companies may be missing an opportunity if they aren’t leveraging presales and merchandising solutions to boost performance with their customers.
Presales and merchandising aren’t just informal fishing expeditions. The presales process should be as well documented as the final sales transaction so that companies can get a better idea of what is and isn’t working in the field. On the merchandising side, data about promotions can help identify new sales opportunities and improve inventory accuracy.
More importantly, managers can glean valuable real-time data on customer purchasing patterns as well as promotions effectiveness through these efforts. Using presales and merchandising solutions can be an important tool to help improve customer relationships by offering more informed sales offerings.
Presales generally includes a number of activities, including a discovery process in which the sales rep learns more about the customer’s requirements or problems, developing tailored presentations about new products and coming up with prices or a formal sales proposal for the customer. In a retail store, all of these steps can happen in a matter of minutes after the sales rep spots an opportunity.
For example, a sales rep or delivery driver might notice that a customer is out of stock for a competing or ancillary product, or might take note that inventories related to an upcoming promotion are unusually low.
Presales and marketing solutions should include the ability for the DSD driver to capture pricing of competitive products, provide sales analytics for the customer that can be viewed right at the retail location, provide data that can better position your company to capture new sales through competitive service and pricing, and allow reps to generate dynamic sales proposals in the store.
Using a rugged mobile computer, sales reps can scan and capture competitive pricing information, manage shelf inventory, and take pictures of merchandising displays to ensure store compliance. With the right technology in hand, sales reps can easily access and share critical information about promotions, up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, and make sure inventory is aligned with marketing initiatives.
With an automated presales and merchandising solution, reps can access customer information and purchasing history to help guide add-on sales of products they may be running low on. If they see a competitive product on the shelf, they can find out if there are any promotions or discounts available to possibly get the customer to switch vendors.
All of this can create better overall service by helping the customer understand how they can boost sales in certain categories, get a better price on merchandise, and avoid being out of stock in fast-moving SKUs.
Your retail customers are thirsty for information that can help them increase their margins. By leveraging presales and merchandising solutions, you can help them make the right decisions about inventory and promotions and establish yourself as a trusted partner whose products will take priority on the shelf.