We’re always thinking, sharing, and debating.

Oct

8

When our reps are hard at work in retail stores across the nation, they come across what seems like hundreds of terms and acronyms. Think you know the ins and outs of retail jargon? Check out our glossary of commonly used retail lingo below.

1. Audit: A way to ensure compliance and performance of a merchandising display. Tasks of completing an audit include ensuring products are in the right place, the display is set to POG and correct labels/signage are used. Premium completes 985K+ audit visits per year.

2. Backstock: Inventory that is kept palletized in boxes in the back room until it is needed to replenish displays on the sales floor.

Clip strip in Walmart Health & Beauty aisle.

3. Clip strip: A retail product display, so named because it is a length of either plastic or metal with clips or hooks at regular intervals, upon which merchandise is hung. These can be found in the aisle, on an endcap or at the registers and is often an impulse purchase. It depends on the retailer for the rules.

4. CPG (Consumer-Packaged Goods): Merchandise that customers use and need to replace on a frequent basis. CPG examples include food, beverages, cosmetics and cleaning products.

5. Cut-in: Shifting or removing merchandise to make space on the retail shelf for new or promotional products. Cut-ins typically occur between major merchandising resets to introduce items more quickly. Also known as NPI (New Product Introduction) or EOL (Product End of Life).

6. DC (Distribution Center): Where products are stored prior to arriving at a retail store. The velocity of products moving through a distribution center is based on the sales volume occurring in the retail store. The more products people buy, the faster the store will need to replenish with additional inventory from the DC. Premium’s National Logistics and Distribution Center (NLDC) is 130K+ square feet. Last year, we shipped 470K packages to stores such as Best Buy and Walmart.

The Honest Company endcap in Walgreens.

7. Endcap: A display at the end of an aisle. Endcaps provide a competitive advantage for brands to call special attention to new or seasonal products, or to capitalize on impulse purchases from customers who would otherwise walk by. Premium builds endcaps in stores such as Walgreens and Walmart.

8. Facing: A way to describe how many “rows” or items should be front-facing on the shelf. This is the typical language used in a planogram. For example, a product may have 2 facings on the 2nd shelf up from the floor. It’s also the process of pulling products forward to be flush with the front of the shelf. Also known as blocking, zoning, straightening or fronting.

9. Islander: An independent display positioned on the floor in a store’s main aisleway or racetrack. It generally has merchandise on all sides and features a distinct category of products. Premium ensures battery islanders near the registers are merchandised with multiple battery brands. Also known as a quad.

10. MOD (Modular): Different retailers utilize the term MOD in a variety of ways. MOD is yet another word for planogram (POG) and is sometimes used to refer to one 4-foot section of an aisle where a category of goods, like laundry detergent, is on display. For example, the laundry detergent is on MOD 4 in aisle 12.

11. MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price): The price that the manufacturer of the product believes the item should sell for in stores.

12. Mystery shopping: When a decoy shopper is sent into a retail store to evaluate the product merchandising or the customer experience. The mystery shopper behaves like a regular customer but then provides feedback to the store, the brand or the employee to help improve its performance.

13. OOS (Out of Stock): When a product sells out, it leaves an empty slot on the shelf. At Premium, we ensure our clients’ product is not OOS.

14. OSA (On-Shelf Availability): Walmart uses the acronym OSCA, meaning On-Shelf Customer Availability. Check out our OSA case study here.

Cereal packed out in Walmart.

15. Pack out: The total number of packages of an item for the shelf to be at capacity or fully stocked. Packing out refers to the process of filling the store shelves with replenishment products from the store’s backroom supply. Premium packed out 1MM+ unique products in 2018.

16. Pallet: A wooden structure used to support goods while they’re being moved.

17. POG (Planogram): Visual diagrams that show exactly where to place specific products on shelves within an aisle in order to maximize sales. Think of a POG as a blueprint to follow as you build a section of facings for several products. Also known as plan-o-grams or schematics.

18. POP (Point of Purchase): Promotional collateral or signage that is not part of the regular store but is placed next to the product it’s promoting. POP may call customer attention to a discounted price, new packaging, coupons or special offers. Also known as shelf talkers or IRCs (Instant Redeemable Coupons)

19. PSP (Preferred Service Provider): Premium is 1 of only 5 approved PSPs who are allowed to merchandise products in the world’s largest retailer, Walmart. We are also a preferred partner for Walgreens, Target, Best Buy and several others. To join our PSP team, click here. To learn more about what our PSP team does click here.

20. RSA (Retail Sales Associate) or RSP (Retail Salesperson): An employee who works directly for the retailer. At Premium, we work in tandem with these folks on behalf of our clients. In 2018, Premium trained 475K+ Retail Sales Associates.

Premium Retail Specialist with battery sidekick.

21. Sidekick: Refers to a display that requires little to no assembly in store. These displays are generally made from corrugated cardboard and are pre-packed when they arrive in stores. Different from POP, sidekicks contain merchandise within the display whereas POP is simply promotional collateral. Also known as shippers or PDQs (Predetermined Display Quantity).

22. SKU (Stock-Keeping Unit): A unique number (usually eight alphanumeric digits) assigned to an item by a retailer for the purpose of tracking their inventory. The category of chips can easily have 40 SKUs, in various combinations of brands, sizes and flavors. Pronounced ‘skew.’

23. Top stock: Additional inventory that is stored on top of store shelves for quick re-stocking to the products’ home location.

24. UPC (Universal Product Code): SKUs and UPCs are commonly confused. The difference is that SKUs are unique to a single retailer whereas a UPC is placed on the product by the manufacturer and applies to that product no matter what store is selling it. If two stores are selling the same product, that item will have different SKUs, but the same UPC.

25. Quantity on hand: This describes the physical inventory that a retailer has in possession at the store. Also known as on hand or OH for short.

Haven’t applied yet? Search for retail merchandising jobs here

Aug

22

As a data-driven business, Premium constantly works to uncover opportunity for our clients. One of the biggest opportunities we see in the retail industry is increased productivity. Truly leveraging your data to identify opportunities and glean actionable insights ensures you don’t miss out on the results your business deserves. 

 

 

Premium’s business intelligence platform Premium BI is central to this data-driven approach which delivers interactive, customizable dashboards to our clients. With access to interact with multiple sources of data in real time and produce powerful visualizations, you gain more than just analytics – you know exactly how to capitalize on the opportunity.  

By collaborating with clients to identify their dashboard needs, Premium has used Premium BI to: 

  • Provide interactive mapping visualizations giving detailed store-level visibility to execution results in real time.  
  • Demonstrate the impact of robust training strategy on in-store sales. 
  • Design dashboards to meet specific program objectives. 
  • Help programs become truly data driven. 
  • Move beyond data collection by combining data sources to uncover true insights.  

 

Powerful visualizations providing real-time visibility.

At 1:21 pm CST, Premium started the clock, beginning field execution for an iconic smartphone launch. Over 4,000 service orders were deployed to 1,400 reps in the field. Back at HQ, Premium’s war room of 70+ on-call personnel monitored execution and actively analyzed data to take real-time action thanks to Premium BI’s live dashboard.  

 

 

Premium’s operations, analytics, IT and client services teams partnered with the client to identify key focus areas and build an interactive map showcasing where reps were, which stores were complete and which stores had issues.   

Kimberly Gaddis, Director of Client Operations said,

“There was a lot of anticipation knowing [that] when our client said go, we’d begin to see the map light up with reps in-store and locations successfully completed.”

Because Premium was given only 48 hours to reach 100% completion, the custom map dashboard was an integral part in ensuring challenges were identified and addressed as quickly as possible. Gaddis confirmed, “The visualizations allowed us to digest field trends at a glance. Having access to continuously updating data, we were able activate the team and resolve issues before they became more widespread.” 

 

Reinforcing training’s impact.

When your team is focused on heightening brand awareness and increasing sales, you’ll most likely want to measure the impact of your training strategy on those goals. By overlaying sales and training metrics in a single dashboard, Premium enabled a team focused on retail associate product knowledge to understand regional trends and plan future training content based on what topics drove the most engagement or needed additional reinforcement. By performing a regression analysis, we were able to illustrate how the training strategy resulted in a 26% increase in sales at covered stores vs. uncovered stores.  

 

 

 

Delivering dashboards on specific program objectives.

For a category program where action used to be based on anecdotal theories, we created a multi-retailer inventory and display dashboard. Clients can now monitor out-of-stock percentages for all key SKUs in every grocery retailer in the country, as well as drill down at the store level. After an audit of each store’s home and checkout lane location, along with quantifying external factors that hindered compliance, we uncovered a category exclusivity issue that was suspected, but not previously proven. 

In the consumer electronics space, Premium BI is an essential tool to track retail performance. More than 150 team members examine results through more than 40 dashboards customized for a single program. Our consistent monitoring ensures we optimize inventory and staffing levels for efficient sales operations and a quality customer experience. Sales Managers have visibility to recognize top performers and provide gratification and motivation for the Sales Specialists in each store. Additionally, program leaders use compliance dashboards to identify areas of improvement, triggering strategy planning sessions or coaching. 

 

Becoming truly data-driven.

We’ve also supported new clients arriving at Premium without having had prior access to basic reporting. Without a true understanding of store visit compliance or performance, clients had no insight to guide changes in strategy. In these cases, we’ve implemented dashboards to establish a baseline for performance and evaluate areas of opportunity and success to continue optimizing coverage and execution. We’re also able to identify and address macro trends and market opportunities to increase focused efforts at certain retailers and markets to achieve stronger business growth.  

 

 

Premium’s VP of Consumer Insights and Analytics Kathy Risch said, 

“I always recommend clients incorporate business intelligence into their daytoday operations and strategies. This simply means understanding the reality of what’s happening today so your actions tomorrow and next quarter provide even greater ROI.” 

 

Combining data sources for true insights.

The ideal business partnership between Premium and our clients involves collaboration to answer key business questions – turning data into insights into recommended actions. This type of partnership often requires new methods of analysis and new sources of data which could be syndicated third-party data or primary qualitative and/or quantitative research. It’s only when we combine all of these data sources together that we have a full understanding of shopper needs and purchase drivers, alongside retail and product dynamics. Having a more complete picture enables us to drive growth for our clients and retailers.  

 

 

Methodologies, tools and data sources vary depending on the business situation, but the common thread is that we are using data to uncover new insights. The insights drive us to action, and the action ultimately creates growth. 

 

What our clients say.

While the examples above illustrate a variety of ways we’ve improved productivity and program ROI for our clients, we think you should hear it from them directly: 

  • This is great. Now we have access to information and can really see what’s going on.”Walmart PSP client on an executive summary dashboard 
  • “That’s what I want. You have the best scorecard in CPG that I’ve ever seen.” Client partner on OOS/display dashboard
  • “Oh man, this is awesome. Much more convenient than the spreadsheet I was using.” Walmart Operations Senior Manager on a program sales card

Think your brand or retail program might benefit from adopting Premium BI? Let us know!

 

Jun

25

For the second year in a row, Premium has been honored as a Top Workplace by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Top Workplaces award is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture including alignment, execution, and connection.

We recently asked some of our team members to explain what it means to be Premium.

“Being Premium means being proud of where you work” – Kathy Risch, VP of Consumer Insights and Analytics

The two-time win validates the emphasis Premium places on employee engagement. Our Culture Team was established in December 2016 to foster a sense of community and encourage transparency throughout the organization.

The retail services industry is unique in that the majority of our team members work remotely, often as the sole Premium employee within a retail store. The Culture Team strives to embody diverse perspectives and opinions. Its members are peer-nominated, rotate annually and represent varied Premium functions and geographies.

To ensure our field team members feel seen and heard, the Culture Team seeks to continually engage the workforce with contests, fundraisers and activities. We’ve also launched an intranet community and solicit anonymous feedback to drive communication, visibility and trust throughout the organization.

 “I really do look forward to [seeing] my co-workers. The comradery, the laughter – it’s something that you just can’t get everywhere.” – Eric Matthews, Human Resources Generalist

As a family-owned company, Brian and Kevin Travers are thankful to see Premium team members emulate the core beliefs established by their father Ron Travers every day.

We love to celebrate holidays and other activities that encourage employees to refresh and connect with one another. We also work together to raise money or donate time to non-profit and charitable organizations.

Each year, Premium supports over 20 non-profit and charitable organizations across North America. Our philanthropic strategy includes organized volunteer opportunities locally, as well as coordinated drives to raise monetary and clothing or food contributions for organizations throughout North America.

Most recently, Premium executed our first international food drive. In partnership with Feeding America and The Mississauga Food Bank, employees provided 22,900 meals to families in need across North America by donating nearly 600 items and raising $2,290 in just two weeks. Additionally, one of Premium’s generous clients matched our monetary donation, making our total donation $4,580 and total meals provided 44,580.

 

Premium Minneapolis office with their food bank donations.

 

In February 2019, Premium partnered with Best Buy, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, PGA Reach and Bellerive Country Club to open the first-ever Teen Tech Center at the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club in north St. Louis. See photos inside the Teen Tech Center here and check out a small sample of the organizations we support on our culture page.

 “Being Premium means being a part of a family that is working together and collaborating toward success.” – Ubair Aslam, Manager, Field Operations

Recognizing hard work and passion helps us cultivate a strong group of talented team members who we are proud to call family. That’s why Premium honors high achievers with numerous field and corporate awards.

Premium employees at the 2019 Top Workplaces Event. Pictured: Karis Kruep, Eric Matthews, Melanie Thelen, David Yenzer, Grayson Nelson, Kyle Love, Bill Campbell, Kaytlynn Wethington, Katherine Brimager, Emily Novak, Sarah Wolfersberger and Adam Castle.

 

Research shows that organizations with the Top Workplace designation are known to attract better talent, experience lower turnover, and are more equipped to deliver profitable results.

Thanks to all of our employees for making Premium a Top Workplace for the second year in a row. Cheers to continued family, partnership, creativity, integrity and eclipsing expectations!

 

 

We’d love for you to join the Premium family! Apply today! #WeArePremium