Today’s Greatest Challenge for Global Product Brands

Dan Blechner  |  
December 1, 2019

Think of any product brand -- maybe a watch brand, or a high-end audio equipment brand.

What do you think is their ultimate business goal?

Converting prospects into customers?

Closing a sale?

No doubt. But the ultimate goal for a brand is to lead their market, to be the go-to brand that consumers buy in that specific product category.

In order for a brand to get ahead of the pack, its many different business areas must be characterized by consistent, flawless execution. Such execution involves many moving parts, multiplied by the number of regions where business is conducted, including:

- Production: Which SKUs should be manufactured and by what volumes. Given the lead time between manufacturing orders and receipt of goods, there is an inherent need for prediction.

- Distribution / Retail Selection and Development: Which distribution channels a brand should activate and develop so it becomes a leader in its category. 

- Sell-in / retail stock: What is the appropriate product mix and stock levels, as dictated by a particular region and replenishment policy. 

- Pricing per region, including targeted promotions and discounts.

- Marketing: Defining the message (this should vary depending on the location, the product or the targeted customer), selecting the right channels, defining campaigns, and allocating appropriate budgets. This should also include ongoing evaluation and adaptation, so that effective campaigns are continued and ineffective campaigns are stopped.

- Customer service and loyalty programs: Any programs that provide value to customers post-purchase and that seek to maintain a productive relationship with customers, leaving them fans who write happy reviews and drive positive word-of-mouth. 

But flawless execution is still not enough.

if you’re an executive in a global brand, you know all too well that if you want to win more market share and come out ahead of your competitors, you need to ensure that each of the above business areas, which may seem disparate and unconnected, are strongly aligned toward the same common goals. 

In order for this to happen, all business areas must have access to the same information. Access to the same information, for example, allows the departments responsible for production, for retail stock, and for customer service to focus only on the products that customers want to buy.

That’s easier said than done. Unsold and excess inventory are perennial problems for global product brands and for the retail world more broadly. 

But there is one thing that can prevent these problems, the one thing that ties all of these disparate business areas together. And it is changing the game in retail.

Data. Specifically, sell-through data. (Also known as sell-out data or retail data.)

Obtaining a complete picture of sell-through data quickly and seamlessly is today’s greatest challenge for global product brands. 

In order to operate globally, brands tend to rely heavily on multi-brand distributors and retailers to reach sales targets for different regions, even if they have their own stores in different cities. As a result, sell-through data from purchases is collected incrementally, with varying degrees of accuracy, at different times, over the span of many weeks, and then combined into a summary report at brand headquarters. Even then, what is collected is minimal: brands have only a fraction of the data about what type of customer is purchasing their products, where, and when. This lack of information creates a series of challenges, including overproduction, unsold stock, the need to sometimes liquidate products at steep discounts, a non-optimized product mix, and marketing budget allocation inefficiencies.

Beyond generating inefficiencies, the lack of accurate sell-through data prevents brand executives from making bold, accurate, and data-driven decisions that are necessary to conquer new market share.

So what happens when brands can’t access this data? The gap between the data-haves and the data have-nots widens.

Unless there’s a way to close it.

Volleto’s Connected Commerce solution addresses this exact problem through its innovative product warranty. To learn more, click here.