Category: Optimize

Jul

13

Premium grew category brand sales in covered stores by 35% while delivering personalized recommendations to Best Buy shoppers.

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! 

                 

Jan

14

 

As we continue to absorb all of the content coming out of our virtual CES experience, a few key topics stood out to us from yesterday’s lineup.

 

1) Retailers continue to focus on tech to drive overall customer satisfaction.

As a Preferred Service Provider at Walmart, of course we’re incredibly enthusiastic about all things Walmart to come out of CES. During the company’s keynote, we were excited to learn about the focus on robotic and AI technology to drive further price and time savings for customers – specifically how the ecosystem of technologies works together to drive customer experience. It’s always exciting to hear about a new piece of flashy retail tech, but true value and ROI is only realized when that tech fits into the larger strategic vision.

For 3PLs like Premium, helping our retailer and supplier partners seamlessly integrate our solutions into that overarching customer-driven puzzle is critical.

 

2) In-store tech may soon eclipse apps in the eyes of shoppers.

One segment in particular, “Retailers New Look: Shoppers Little Helpers,” shined light on this very topic. Speakers talked about robotics solutions in retail environments to support basic customer needs and shopping experience with tasks like Q&A and cleaning. This would likely only supplement the tasks that require more personal connection – something we believe still adds value for many product categories. We’re also seeing an influx of payment technologies that allow for touchless checkout. This app-less experience is influenced by the demand from customers who are shopping in-store today.

The key takeaway: The data tells us that customers no longer want to utilize apps for everything. Customers are growing more frustrated with app-based retail strategies and many want a more frictionless experience. Because in today’s world, even taking out your phone and finding or installing the app you need is a barrier to the engagement.

That’s not to say that in-store tech can’t incorporate or drive to digital experiences and content, but the transition and overall experience needs to be as seamless as possible – and, of course, it needs to add value. Brands must be careful not to overinvest in app development that customers perceive to be a seldom-used property. When the situation warrants, consumers prefer to utilize technologies like NFC, geofencing or QR codes, the resurging darling of a contactless 2020.

 

3) The new normal is here, and it’s here to stay.

It’s simply the norm – and retailers like Walmart, Best Buy and more are very aware of that.

The safety of retail workers and customers alike has always been a priority, but the shifts to align with safety protocols and guidelines continue to force us to think differently. And those shifts have influenced customer expectations – expectations that won’t just go away with the eventual dissipation of the pandemic. Customers are going to expect the supply chain to continue to keep up with their demands. That also means increased pressure on retail associates and 3PL partners to maintain on-shelf availability just as quickly – thus the industry’s surge in hiring efforts. No more fighting for toilet paper and diapers – or expect a loss of customers.

In other words, when we’re on the other side of this pandemic (or we can officially call it over – whenever that may be), retail trends that have accelerated like surges in supply chain, BOPIS and grocery delivery aren’t going to decelerate any time soon. Customers’ expectations have shifted, and they’ll stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Did you miss our highlights from day one of CES? Check them out here.