Category: North America

Jan

19

2021 was a year of continued resilience as supply chain, labor, and inflation challenges converged. As we near two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, we reflect on the achievements of our clients and team members.

 

New + Renewed Client Partnerships

Our direct-to-consumer Walmart Wireless sales program expanded by over 50% in early 2021. We were 99.6% on-schedule opening the new stores. Now operating in 14 states, the high-performing team continues to defy sales targets.

At Best Buy, our ten dedicated CE teams continued to grow sales and drive product knowledge, earning Premium a spot as a top sales provider. We helped exceed customer expectations with many of our teams providing end-to-end customer support by being POS certified and supporting the retailer’s national chat queue.

In August, Premium became Best Buy Canada’s exclusive preferred partner for sales services. Long-time U.S. client Lenovo tested a pilot expansion into Canada and experienced a 30% peak sales lift at covered stores within the first ten weeks. Additional market buildout is planned for 2022 as Lenovo’s PC business grows ahead of the category by nearly 24 points.

We were delighted to expand our support of Samsung, another long-time client. In addition to Samsung Home Electronics, we now oversee Samsung’s Home Appliance field sales organization. The teams ensure products are placed correctly in stores and train store associates on new product features. We expanded infrastructure on Samsung’s On Command platform with a new group of advisors providing inbound and outbound product expertise and support for stores. On Command support is offered to retail associates nationwide and provides the essential knowledge needed to close sales with customers.

Outside of traditional retail channels, we added Bell to our Canadian client roster with a Neighborhood Sales & Marketing field team that generates residential sales for Internet, TV, Home Phone, Smart Home Security & Wireless services. This team creates positive customer connections that build Bell’s brand, reputation and sales home by home.

 

Retail Intelligence + Technology Innovation

Premium’s technology-enabled solutions, combined with business intelligence, help drive sales and deliver the ultimate shopper experience in the modern retail marketplace.

We operate Premium On Demand across three retailers’ e-commerce sites and facilitated nearly 38,000 virtual engagements between shoppers and product experts in 2021. Product advisors convert one in four interactions into a purchase, providing shoppers with speedy consultation without the trip to a store.

Our Analytics and IT teams collaborated to implement a comprehensive sales dashboard offering a flagship field sales organization deeper insight and actionability. The result synthesizes store-level sales data for field reps and syncs with QTrax, our field management system. Field sales managers walk into each store visit with customized priorities directing their sales-building efforts to the optimal product categories and models.

For L’Oreal, we recognized tremendous revenue impact via our ongoing data automation process and analysis of over 8,000 products. With extensive insight from the data and leveraging the strong rapport and trust built at the store level through consistent weekly visits, Premium reps corrected over 300,000 phantom inventory items. We packed out over five million items at Walmart in 2021, further closing the gap on out of stocks and driving incremental L’Oreal volume.  

Smartcom, our predictive analytics engine, supported 89 Walmart suppliers with category management and supply chain recommendations. We piloted a new alert method for a CPG client that proved to be a notable success, helping them achieve a 10:1 return on their investment. Dynamic algorithms identified zero sales gaps weekly, allowing the retail team to steer inventory into the stores where their products had the highest likelihood of sales velocity. 

 

Leveling Up Operations

We’ve built close relationships across all retail channels, enabling our clients to have a consistent presence everywhere they sell.

Since 2019, Premium’s merchandising volume has increased by 111%, and display-related visits have increased by 51%. In December, we celebrated a new record number of Premium merchandisers. As of 2022, Premium is now the sole provider for Walgreens merchandising services across more than 8,600 Walgreens locations.

We leveled up field infrastructure and deployed mobile chat to QTrax to better support and empower the success of our field team members. In total, we provided omnichannel support for 73,000 inbound calls, emails, and chats.

Our Greenlight photo review provides reps with near-instant corrective action or approval of their work. Operations Support Specialists examined more than eight million photos, with 95% of merchandising earning approval. The protocol prevented 17,370 store revisits, saving clients hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Our National Logistics & Distribution Center team managed item inventory for more than 300 clients, fulfilled 30,000+ break-fix orders, and shipped more than 408,000 packages to support field merchandising and sales activities.

 

Culture of Excellence

We were thrilled to provide employees with more opportunities to #GrowWithPremium, experiencing an 11% year-over-year increase in new job roles created and a 24% increase from 2019. We were also certified as a Great Place to Work in Canada for the second year in a row. Surveyed employees rated Premium highest for camaraderie, fairness, and respect.

The University of Premium (UP) launched in 2021, providing team members with self-guided career and personal development resources. With support from a cross-functional panel of facilitators, we expanded field management training and piloted Zone Leader and Leadership Development training programs. In 2022, field team members may enroll in several development paths to guide them towards future leadership roles at Premium.   

Premium Proud, our flagship employee recognition program, rewarded 160 top-performing field team members with bonuses. We extend congratulations to the 1,099 team member nominations that qualified for Premium Proud honors in the program’s first full year.

Read more: 2021 Employee Awards

 

Our Next Chapter

Last but certainly not least, we’re excited to build on a banner 2021 as an Acosta company. After an exhaustive process throughout 2021, Premium selected Acosta as the ideal partner to strengthen our value proposition and continue to innovate everything we do. We are aligned in our commitment to delivering exceptional solutions with integrity. We’re ready to propel our clients ahead everywhere they sell.

Jan

12

We end each year by recognizing the achievements of outstanding team members through a handful of significant awards. Congratulations to these 2021 award recipients, along with each of the nominees. We admire your tenacity and thank you for your contributions!  

Maple Leaf Award and Culture Hero 2021

Sophia Nguyen, Client Account Manager 

The Maple Leaf Award recognizes an outstanding Canadian team member who demonstrates the continual pursuit of excellence in performance, leadership, and overall positive influence. 

Sophia started at Premium as a Google Experience Manager in 2017. She quickly advanced to a Team Lead role, then shifted to our Microsoft team as a Territory Manager. In 2021, Sophia was promoted to Client Account Manager and now manages several key accounts.  

In the first-ever sweep of two Premium awards, Sophia is also the 2021 Culture Hero, voted on by Premium’s Culture Team. In her two years on the Culture Team, Sophia has been a frequent contributor of fresh ideas. The Culture Team cultivates relationships among Premium’s remote and office-based teams, focusing on employee recognition, engagement, and fun. Sophia repeatedly volunteers to spearhead projects and shows genuine passion and care for her fellow team members at Premium. 


Field Excellence Award 2021

Whitney Ford, Zone Specialist 

Since 2017, the leadership team has submitted annual nominations for the Field Excellence Award to recognize one standout field team member for outstanding achievement, performance, personal interaction, and creativity. 

Whitney goes above and beyond to support her Retail Market Manager and fellow Zone Specialists, completing every job with a high level of excellence and honesty and routinely picking up additional work. She joined Premium in 2019, covering areas of Kentucky and rural Indiana. Whitney is known as a team leader, maintaining a star rating of over 4.9/5.0 while also balancing family life as the single mother of seven children. 

Earlier this year, Whitney was recognized with a Premium Proud award for her impeccable service at Schnucks stores on behalf of Lindt & Sprüngli North America. Her work in stores directly increased Lindt, Ghirardelli and Russel Stover sales and store managers often request Whitney by name.    


Employee of the Year – Canada 2021

Michael Beaudoin, Director, Business Development 

The Employee of the Year award recognizes outstanding corporate team members for unmatched hard work and dedication to Premium. 

Michael has provided outstanding support in several complex roles managing many critical accounts since joining Premium in 2016. Over the years, Premium Canada EVP, Sandy Clarke, has referred to Michael as “the best wingman in the industry” for his ability to maneuver any challenge.  

In addition to his core operations responsibilities, he has excelled in collaborating on finance, IT, analytics, and everything in between. This year, Michael took on additional responsibility leading recruitment for our Bell Neighborhood Marketing team and recently pivoted to a role driving new customer acquisition. 


Employee of the Year – U.S. 2021

Chad Cooper, Senior Director, Field Operations 

Chad has led Premium’s field sales operations for Walmart Wireless since 2018. In that time, the Walmart Wireless program has almost tripled in size while continually exceeding sales targets.  

With Chad’s leadership and drive, the team continued to deliver excellence in the latest expansion opening over 300 stores, hiring and training almost 800 new team members, and achieving a near-perfect 99.6% rate of opening on schedule. 

Chad is supremely dedicated to his team, holding himself and everyone around him to the highest standards, while relentlessly working to ensure each person has the tools and knowledge to succeed. His continuous improvement mindset is always looking for opportunities to strengthen and fuel the team’s growth. 

Upon learning of the Employee of the Year recognition, Chad insisted we celebrate it as a team award for all who share in the success of the Walmart Wireless program. With that in mind, congratulations to the 2,300+ Walmart Wireless sales professionals and management team on your exceptional performance! 


Premium Proud Awards 

Premium Proud recognizes field team members who go above and beyond. Any Premium field team member may be nominated, regardless of hours worked or assigned team. This year, we received 1,099 qualified nominations that showcased exceptional representation of Premium across North America.

We are thrilled to work with each of you and are thankful for your dedication during another year of growth and new challenges! 

Dec

2

 

Acosta, a leading integrated sales and marketing services provider, today closed its previously announced acquisition of Premium. With the acquisition complete, Premium has joined Acosta’s workforce for a combined 30,000 employees across North America. The combination introduces an unmatched suite of omnichannel retail service offerings for clients.  

Both companies will continue to provide clients with the high quality of service to which they are accustomed, but with the added benefit of expanded resources and expertise resulting from the acquisition. 

“We are pleased to complete this transaction and to formally mark the beginning of this exciting new phase for Acosta and Premium. At the core of both of our businesses is a commitment to serving our clients, and we are confident together we can blaze new trails in retail and deliver progressive solutions alongside exceptional service,” said Brian Wynne, CEO of Acosta. 

The Travers family owned Premium for more than 36 years and today marks the next chapter in Premium’s incredible growth story as an Acosta brand. Brian Travers and Kevin Travers, formerly Premium Co-CEOs, will now focus on integrating the businesses and accelerating Premium’s growth as Co-Presidents reporting to Brian Wynne.