Category: Merchandise

May

18

Read the French version here

 

Premium provides tailored retail strategies and solutions to our clients across the US and Canada, including Quebec. When it comes to the unique needs of the Quebec market, we leverage hundreds of reliable and local retail experts. Our Quebec team members are at the core of our strong support for brands in the region because Quebec is their home – they live in and shop at retailers in the markets they serve. From Best Buy and Walmart to Videotron and Jean-Coutu, Premium is dedicated to the nuances of the Quebec market and to delivering for the brands we serve. Whether it’s merchandising, training, or selling, our team’s passion for supporting their local retailers and communities helps build connections with each store team.

To help demonstrate this passion, we spoke to one of our top Quebec merchandisers about his role with Premium and his dedication to consistently delivering top-notch service.

 

Meet Stephane St-Aubin. 

In 2017, Stephane joined Premium to take on new challenges. As a part-time team member, he worked a few hours a week in his free time.  He studied media technology at school and explains that while his studies were not directly related to retail, he found his learnings hugely beneficial when executing a more technical display installation. He is able to leverage his more technical skills to make installations function properly in-store. From complex technical installations to more straightforward displays in grocery and drug, Stephane excels at it all.

As a market expert in Quebec, Stephane shows up every day with a smile and takes great pride in seeing a job well done. Because his local retail stores are usually the hub of the bustling community, it’s crucial that Stephane quickly identifies key contacts in stores to allow him to execute quickly without being a disruption to the customer experience.

Store managers are busy with customers, as it’s their priority, so it’s up to Stephane to clearly and efficiently communicate the purpose of each visit when he arrives. Maximizing the little face time he does get with store managers, helps them maintain visibility of his important work in their store.

Premium Canada Director of Operations Rebecca Storie says, “Stephane consistently takes on work to support the team with great passion and perfectionism, never leaving the store until he and the store [personnel] are satisfied. He also executes merchandising projects with a strong sense of pride, and he truly respects the role his stores often play in his local community.”

Stephane explained that he loves the feeling of accomplishment that comes with every project, saying “No matter how complex the task, what I enjoy most is the feeling that I get when I execute well. It gives me great satisfaction.”

Stephane emulates the key characteristics of successful Premium team members in the Quebec market: enthusiasm, motivation, pride, and, most importantly, a deep level of passion for his local community and the businesses within it.

Jan

19

 

2020 was a record year for Premium, despite its significant challenges. We celebrated 35 years since our founding and six years since we expanded into Canada. As we reflect, we’re in awe of the continued accomplishments amongst incredible obstacles. 

 

COVID-19 Response 

The spotlight on the retail services Premium executes every day became more critical than ever after COVID-19 hit. As the pandemic spread in March and April, Premium answered retail’s changing demands. 

To ensure our Premium Heroes remained safe and healthy while working on the frontlines, we sourced and received protective supplies while implementing new health and safety protocols and training. In April, our National Logistics & Distribution Center (NLDC) safely deployed supply kits of face coverings and hand sanitizer to 4,300 field employees less than 24 hours after receiving the materials. 

 

Client Partnerships 

Premium became Rite Aid’s exclusive merchandising services provider in January 2020.  And, in a testament to our drug channel team, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS trusted us with additional projects and surge coverage as stores were hit harder than ever. 

We expanded grocery and mass coverage and product ordering for Lindt & Sprüngli, and added Foster Grant to our client roster. Expansive resets and revisions in retailers such as Ulta have enabled Premium to develop a specialized Transformation Team, increasing efficiency for clients. 

Additionally, Premium’s co-owners Brian and Kevin Travers announced a $1MM commitment to enriching teens’ lives in disinvested communities through technology in partnership with Best Buy. We will continue to work with Best Buy to open five additional Teen Tech Centers around the United States in 2021 and 2022.  

 

Digital Innovation 

With social distancing, stay-at-home orders and curbside pickup taking prominence, we accelerated the development of our digital brand advocacy solutions to assist our clients in adhering to the new world.  

In July, we introduced Premium On Demand, which facilitates video interactions between shoppers and product experts from their favorite brands. This fall, we supported Best Buy in developing the Health, Fitness & Wearables category via virtual consultations with shoppers and the rollout of an interactive game series to engage stores and train associates called BrandBuzz 

Premium On Demand

 

Retail Intelligence 

Government influence, consumer attitudes and behaviors, retailer protocols, and local COVID-19 case rates have greatly influenced the store environment this year. Our analytics team provided weekly updates and insights to our clients and leadership team, ensuring field actions and behaviors remained responsive, impactful and geographically appropriate.  

We developed nearly 100 new business intelligence dashboards and rolled out the Premium BI mobile app, enabling clients and field teams to interact with real-time KPI performance visualizations and delivering an in-depth view into new business opportunities.  

Smartcom, Premium’s predictive analytics engine built exclusively for Walmart suppliers, helped clients overcome out of stocks in a tumultuous year for product inventory. 

Our Operations Support Center (OSC) managed nearly 50,000 omnichannel interactions via phone, email, and text. Additionally, our specialists ensured quality by completing 6.6 million photo reviews. Greenlight, our real-time photo validation solution, prevented over 6,000 revisits by providing reps with near-instant corrective action or approval.

 

Employee Recognition & Development 

In our 2019 Town Hall, we asked our team what Premium could improve upon in 2020. Their answer was career development and performance incentives. 

We responded by launching Premium Proud, a new employee recognition program designed to recognize and reward top-performing field team members. In our continuing commitment to help our employees #GrowWithPremium, 18% of our field team members received promotions this year.  

Premium’s training team also developed the University of Premium (UP) this year for self-guided career and personal development. UP will contain several development paths ranging from Field to Executive-level leadership. All employees will be eligible to apply in 2021. 

Read More: 2020 Employee Awards  

We’re proud of the continued focus on culture and employee engagement at Premium. This year, we were certified as a Great Place to Work in Canada and awarded St. Louis’ Top Workplaces for the third year in a row. 

We’re thankful for our extended Premium family – team members, clients, and partners. As an organization, we deemed Q4 2020 as “Mission: Possible,” and your collaboration has undoubtedly contributed to the many missions completed in 2020. Here’s to a fantastic 2021! 

                 

Jul

1

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the upward trend of e-commerce and digital technology usage erupted as concerned shoppers looked to decrease their store visits.

Shopping apps experienced record downloads. Stay at home orders delivered an explosion of new search queries. And consumer engagement with brands through social media, multimedia platforms and e-commerce sites like Amazon skyrocketed.

Shoppers who were previously skeptical of the online shopping process for some categories will continue using BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) services and will begin future transactions on retail mobile apps. Some customers will adapt and learn to love the process of making an appointment to pick up their orders. Other shoppers will continue to prefer walking and browsing in a store.

The customer experience remains the key to success. Retailers must deliver convenient, contactless shopping and facilitate safe sensorial showroom experiences. Brick-and-mortar has updated its sanitation practices, but they’ll also need to be fluid in restructuring in-store roles, labor hours and how they allocate square footage.

Kathy Risch, Premium’s Vice President of Consumer Insights and Analytics recommends placing an emphasis on communicating with empathy and being helpful to the individual shopper by providing contextually relevant solutions, now more than ever.

 

“Are your customers balancing working from home with kids? Do they have less money to spend? Are they looking to escape or treat themselves? Success lies in the ability to make data-informed choices about what they need in the moment to tailor the right message in the store and online.”

Kathy Risch, VP of Consumer Insights and Analytics

 

And, as customers are forced to become more comfortable with technology to shop, it’s important to lean into digital solutions – both for customers and store associates. It’s vital that the efficiencies enabled by technology not be absent of personalized, human connection.

That’s why Premium’s digital engagement solutions are designed to meet the moment and facilitate interactions that provide the customer both with the tools they need to make an informed decision as well as the experience they want to remain comfortable given the current state of retail.

Online Brand Champions

Retailers and manufacturers can take control of their brand and ensure satisfaction by leveraging experts to engage with consumer reviews and answer product questions. Learn more here.

On-Demand Expertise

Instantly connect shoppers with virtual product experts via video, text, or chat through a variety of in-store and online triggers. Read the case study here.

Tailored Content

Grab attention and increase retention with engaging content strategically delivered to intercept and attract customers.

Gamification

Engage retail associates and win mindshare with a mobile product knowledge game created exclusively by Premium. Read more about BrandBuzz.

Livestreaming

Connect and interact with remote teams for town halls, national training events and more to ensure continuity despite the distance. See how we utilize livestreaming here.

 

“The adoption of virtual support will grow with shoppers, either through live video from the store or brand experts supporting customers when they’re unpacking their purchase. Retailers and manufacturers will need to accelerate targeted offers for shoppers both pre- and post-purchase.”

Bill Campbell, Chief Operating Officer 

 

In the midst of several remarkable and dynamic shifts, it’s impossible to predict our collective destination. What you can count on is the need to iterate strategy to drive growth.

Turns out, retail’s winning equation is actually quite simple.

 

 

Reach out if you’d like to discuss how Premium can help you rise after COVID and win at retail.