Bradley A. Zenger, Pivotal Tools
Independent Grocers are experiencing significant competition from sophisticated, technology-empowered competitors. Chain retailers, highly targeted brick and mortar formats, as well as on-line grocery retailers are competing effectively for shoppers and shopping trips historically bound for Independent Grocers. Independent Grocers, with their preferred locations, experienced teams, and long established customer relationships have inherent advantages. However, they must respond effectively to gain market share as the market evolves. Successful Independent Grocers are leveraging their inherent strengths by empowering their most valuable asset, their team. New business intelligence tools, purpose built for Independent Grocers, can empower teams to deliver amazing results.
Pivotal Tools was formed to provide tools to Independent Grocers to help them compete more effectively in this increasingly competitive environment. PivotalView, from Pivotal Tools, is the emerging leader in this new category of tools. Prior to PivotalView, the common Business Intelligence tools used by grocers included back office systems and category analysis tools. These tools, accessible only through a desktop computer, typically present lots of data frequently in printed, static reports. Such reports are often difficult to understand and are not responsive to the demanding needs of fast moving, experienced merchants; merchants who are not analysts. These merchants don’t need data; they need Actionable Insights delivered by tools that are available wherever and whenever merchants need them.
Actionable Insights, like those provided by PivotalView, are not presented in static reports. Actionable Insights is engaging, interactive, information generated through advanced analytics techniques, delivered in a way that is easy to understand, easy to implement and easy to evaluate. Actionable Insights deliver real results. For owners PivotalView is a solution that is extremely affordable, can be deployed easily and quickly without an IT team or traditional hardware or software resources.
PivotalView allows merchants to really understand their business, respond to changing customer trends and ultimately deliver better results for customers. Teams using PivotalView start with key business metrics, like sales, customer count, and basket size delivered automatically to their smartphone or other mobile device (or desktop computers) every morning by 5:30 a.m. These business metrics are color coded, based on the retailer’s own targets; so that department managers, store managers, buyers, category managers as well as executives can easily prioritize efforts. With PivotalView if a department is underperforming, its indicators are red! Easy. You can then “drill down” to see which sub-departments or items are driving the underperformance. If categories are implemented, you can easily look at sales, customer count and even basket by category and then drill down to see which items are driving performance within those categories.
If you want to evaluate a particular item or group of items; maybe items on ad, placed an endcap, or on a TPR, or some other promotion; there’s an easy search feature, using either the description or the UPC/PLU. It’s easy to find any item in the store. Then with just a click you can see a trend chart to quickly evaluate the effectiveness of any promotional effort for that item. Drill down to the item detail and you’ll see average selling price as well as item movement. Want to see a movement report for a department, category, a group of items, just one click – all on your smartphone.
For multiple store chains, PivotalView allows members of each store team to easily see how their department, category, or item is performing compared to other stores in the chain. Making this information easily available unleashes healthy competition, highlights best practices, and can even identify store voids or out of stock situations. For chains with more centralized planning, there’s the ability to see chain level roll-ups of department and categories allowing easy identification of the stores with the best performing departments or categories within the chain.
PivotalView has been deployed in independent grocery chains up and down the West Coast for nearly 3 years and has proven that Empowered Merchants, using
PivotalView, deliver outstanding results. Here are a few examples:
Deli Manager: Carol is the Deli manager for a store in a multi-store chain. While she quickly acknowledges that she’s not a “technology person”, she has embraced PivotalView quickly and uses it with great impact.
Carol’s results (for the last year):
Deli department sales up 6.9% vs. store sales growth of 1.9%.
Basket size growth of 5.2%.
Successful introduction of several new items and quick termination of items that didn’t work for her customers.
Carol’s Quote: “I’m competitive and this tool makes me even more competitive.”
Carol’s PivotalView Usage Profile: Carol is a daily user, always before arriving at the store. She aggressively uses PivotalView to monitor top selling items and track the performance of new items. She also compares the performance of items in her department to other deli departments in the chain to leverage best practices and identify store voids.
The Wine Steward: Joel is a first time wine steward for a single store Independent Grocer.
Joel’s results (for the last year):
Wine Department Sales: up 14% (store sales growth: 4.5%).
7% increase in customer count - compared to 1.6% customer growth for the store.
7% increase in wine basket size compared to store basket growth of 2.8%
Joel’s Quote: “I am obsessed with Pivotal Tools. I look at it in the early morning hours. I like seeing my daily, weekly, monthly sales. If sales are in the red, it motivates me to do more selling and merchandising.”
Joel’s PivotalView Usage Profile: Daily usage, often including days off, always before arriving at the store, also used throughout the day in the store. Joel recently integrated a category structure which, when used with PivotalView, provides more effective visibility for assortment and promotion monitoring.
The Grocery Manager: Larry is the Grocery Manager at a single store that is part of an Independent Grocery chain.
Frozen sales up 6.8%
Frozen Basket size growth of 3.6%
Increased customer count of 3.1%
Larry’s PivotalView Usage Profile: Larry is a daily user, always before arriving at the store. He uses PivotalView to aggressively pursue assortment optimization, through tracking top items and slow moving items. He performs extensive comparison to other stores in the chain to feed his competitive spirit and ensure that he’s the top performer in the chain.
Technology developments in cloud based computing, analytics techniques and smartphones now make it possible to provide team members of Independent Grocers easy access to highly relevant information, including at the item level, right on their smartphone. Deployment of tools like PivotalView unlock the competitive nature of grocers, resulting in better performance, without additional investments in supervisory personnel, merchandisers, reports, or audits. Actionable Insights available all the time through mobile devices, means merchants, such as department or store managers, spend more time in their departments with customers and less time in the office running reports; leading to higher levels of ownership and accountability.
For store managers and executives, PivotalView allows them to stay in touch with their stores, wherever they are, and engage with their teams, either celebrating victories or problem-solving challenges. Using mobile devices coupled with cloud based analytics and automation virtually eliminates the support burden on IT personnel or POS coordinators, while delivering a huge cost advantage to owners.
In summary, there’s never been a better time for Independent Grocers to leverage new business intelligence tools, like PivotalView from Pivotal Tools, to empower their teams to drive more shopper trips and sales in an increasingly competitive market.