Kevin Stambaugh – EVP & Chief Product Officer
You can't improve what you can't measure.
One of the challenges that retailers and CPG's have had is there are parts of the business that are notoriously hard to measure. Merchandising effectiveness is one of those.
What happens, because you don't have accurate data, you invent a lot of proxies and work-arounds to try to give yourself some sense that you're making good decisions.
If you've been doing that for a long time, like a lot of our customers have,
then you start to believe those proxies more than are really warranted.
People are pretty surprised by the data that we show them and they are really learning what's actually going on with their merchandising programs.
You know the truth is, if you're making decisions without data, you're just guessing. That's just the reality of it.
Overtime you can believe that those guesses are pretty good but really everyone would agree that data driven decisions making is where things are at. Everyone would want more data to make decisions. The important thing, the proxies that people have used traditionally are industry studies which may give you an overall feeling for what display execution is, for example.
Or you might do some sampling, small snippets of sampling to try to figure out for your particular program what's going on. These are both highly inaccurate, but it's better than nothing, has been the feeling in the industry.
The problem is, even if you get that right, you're really missing the opportunity for
improvement because that data is such a high-level. Even if the industry standard is, pick whichever number you'd like to believe, if you believe the standard industry is 65% and you do a measurement, some sampling of your program and believe you got 70%, that's really not actionable data.
It doesn't tell you anything that you can take action on. But the real value in any measurement program is, you want to put a continuous improvement program in place so that every program you run is better the next time then it was the last time.
It doesn't matter whether you beat the industry average or you lagged the industry average.
You want every program to improve. The only way you can do that is to have really detailed data of what truly happened with your program. Ideally what you want, is industry information about what's happening with every program. Even if you don't have the insight, you can't see necessarily what's happening with your competitors program.
What you want, just like all of the great data companies have today, Google and Facebook, you're getting the advantage when you use those tools of all those things those companies have learned by looking at all of the searches that were being done and all of the social content that was being viewed.
That's what we do here at Shelfbucks. We have real value in improvement program that is getting to the level where when you plan a program for next fall, for example, you get all of the insights that we learned about what went well the last time.
Again it won't be as simple as should I do that program again or shouldn't I do that program again.It will be what are the three things that I can change so that I have a better program this time than I did last time.
That's the kind of continuous improvement that you really need to put in place as a business. That's how you're going to get that better next year and the year after and the year after.