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.