Velocity Merchandising: Challenges and Opportunities in Merchandising

Velocity Merchandising In-Store Gift Card Programs

Having the right product on the right peg at the right time is critical to program performance. Yet merchants often face a number of in-store execution challenges that can hurt customer experience as well as sales. Taking a look at the data reveals a lot of gaps that exist—gaps that are costing merchants dearly.

Consumer preferences are growing increasingly sophisticated and many retailers are missing opportunities to connect their branded gift cards with consumers where consumers want to buy. This is a fact for both first-party and third-party gift card programs, which both ultimately strive to enable seamless gift card purchasing experiences for customers. CashStar has become intimately knowledgeable on some of the challenges that first-party retailers face. Since it’s inclusion in the Blackhawk Network, it has been able to extend third party merchandising services to those in the first party market, helping to surmount some of these challenges.

In this blog, we look at some of these challenges as well as how working with a partner can begin to fill gaps, increase sales, and provide a more positive customer experience. We also explain how leveraging cloud-based technology, a superior in-store approach and comprehensive reporting helps drive double-digit growth.

Challenges in Merchandising

Merchandising presents a real challenge for many merchants. According to RSR Research, improving in-store execution while reducing spend is the second biggest challenge retailers face. How a product is displayed has a significant impact on the product’s success, especially when it comes to gift cards. Gift cards represent ease and convenience in gifting for consumers; however, when gift cards are out-of-stock, in the wrong location, or otherwise imperfect, the gifting experience becomes a bad one for customers.

Optimal customer experiences require a healthy budget, a streamlined supply chain, domain expertise, and an experienced staff that can execute on point. Pressures on merchants for continual cost efficiencies place strain on merchandising budgets leading to—in some cases— supply chain disconnects and sub-par experience all around. These challenges lead to out-of-stock products, promotional materials stuck in the back room, and lack of insights. More importantly, these challenges equate to lost sales.

While lack of inventory may seem like the obvious challenge, many times it is not the most pressing issue. Recent analysis shows that more than 50% of the inventory needed to fill gift card pegs is already in the store. In some cases, this number reaches as high as 70-80%. When it comes to promotions, we often see an average compliance of 30-50% for materials and displays that are shipped without a merchandising program in place. The reality is that retailers simply do not have the man hours or training to execute.

CashStar’s Velocity Merchandising Refines Retail Execution

Working with a trusted merchandising partner is the obvious answer to these woes. A seasoned team of merchandising experts can relieve the time and training burdens retailers face while streamlining execution. Velocity Merchandising helps merchants meet the challenges of execution.

With more than a decade of experience in retail merchandising excellence, our team possesses the trifecta for success: people, process, and technology. We help merchants identify and close any gaps in their merchandising and inventory management processes. Whether through one-off or continuity programs, we help merchants supplement (not replace) in-store labor. Taking it a step further, our technology provides real-time insights for instant visibility into execution, so you have oversight and access to what is happening in-store. Experience shows that investment in merchandising can yield 35% growth—multiplying sales up to nine times for every $1 spent on a merchandising program.

Velocity Merchandising Capabilities

Velocity Merchandising capabilities are comprehensive, including:

  • Continuity, maintenance, display resets
  • Fixture installations
  • Promotion execution
  • Training and certification on regulatory and compliance requirements
  • Data and photo capture including inventory reporting
  • Customized reporting and analytics

We work hand-in-hand with a merchant’s team to create a custom merchandising program strategy that caters to each program’s specifications and that allows for client oversight and approval. We offer dedicated program execution to ensure optimal compliance and maximized sales.

Operating at Scale

CashStar has the ability to operate at scale for you. We have covered 110,000 stores in the US and 3,000 stores in Canada, conducted 305,000 annual store visits, and completed more than 1,700,000 photos captures. We understand that strategy and execution is not a cookie-cutter undertaking and have the ability to tailor and scale performance for different locations, based on the specifications of each store.

Conclusion

Whether a merchant is struggling with compliance, employee training, or any other in-store execution issues, Velocity Merchandising can augment and tailor a program to meet and exceed expectations. We work as a resource to our clients and provide valuable insight to help merchants make the best, most lucrative decisions. We offer competitive data and help streamline communications from corporate to the store level, ensuring that nothing gets lost in translation. Our extensive experience in merchandising enables us to simplify and optimize merchandising programs to achieve maximum sales results.

About the Author

Steve Silverstein, Vice President of Velocity Merchandising
Steve has over 25 years of experience in consumer products in-store execution. Steve currently leads in-store execution for Blackhawk Network. Steve’s team oversees the servicing of over 13,000 stores in the US to ensure best in class store execution.

Prior to Blackhawk, Steve was responsible for global in-store execution for Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. Steve also has a well-rounded background in third-party labor working for companies such as Mosaic Sales Solutions and SPAR Group, Disney and Mattel. He also ran his own merchandising company and uses all of this experience to build and run world class retail execution programs.

Uber Eats

Find food you love from local restaurants and chain favorites. Tap to place your order and pay with your Uber account. Track your food in real time from the restaurant to you.

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse

The ultimate steakhouse destination for food and wine lovers seeking a stylish, lively and memorable dining experience. Offering nationally renowned Prime beef and steakhouse fare, as well as an award-winning wine program, we believe that a steakhouse can be sophisticated yet comfortable and not overpriced.

Carrabba's Italian Grill

Offering authentic Italian cuisine passed down from the founders' family recipes, Carrabba's uses only the best ingredients to prepare fresh and handmade dishes cooked to order in a lively exhibition kitchen.

Atom Tickets

Atom Tickets gift cards make the perfect gift for every occasion and for every movie lover! Atom Tickets is a movie ticketing app and website that allows you to buy movie tickets in advance, invite friends and skip the box office lines at thousands of theaters nationwide. Use Atom Tickets gift cards to purchase tickets for theaters including AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas, Harkins Theatres, National Amusement’s Showcase Cinemas, Southern Theatres, Landmark Theatres, Bow Tie Cinemas, ArcLight Cinemas, Studio Movie Grill, Emagine, Megaplex Theatres, Silverspot Cinema and many others!

WaySpa

Relax. Rejuvinate. Reward. Whether you already have a corporate incentive plan in place, or you are looking to introduce one, WaySpa can help make it a success. Reward your team members with the gift of relaxation and rejuvenation. Want to chat about a great corporate incentive program that can change the way people feel? No matter how big or small your next initiative might be, we’d love to help make life more relaxing.

Baskin-Robbins

Atom Tickets gift cards make the perfect gift for every occasion and for every movie lover! Atom Tickets is a movie ticketing app and website that allows you to buy movie tickets in advance, invite friends and skip the box office lines at thousands of theaters nationwide. Use Atom Tickets gift cards to purchase tickets for theaters including AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas, Harkins Theatres, National Amusement’s Showcase Cinemas, Southern Theatres, Landmark Theatres, Bow Tie Cinemas, ArcLight Cinemas, Studio Movie Grill, Emagine, Megaplex Theatres, Silverspot Cinema and many others!

Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond® offers one of one of the largest selections of products for your home anywhere, at everyday low prices. The tremendous selection of merchandise includes bed linens, bath accessories, kitchen electrics, cookware, window treatments, storage items and much more! You'll always find brand names you know and trust such as Wamsutta®, Cuisinart®, Croscill®, Braun, J.A. Henckels, Oneida®, Krups, Mikasa, and All-Clad. Bed Bath & Beyond's Nationwide Bridal & Gift Registry is also available to customers online.

Bloomin' Brands

Bloomin' Brands gift cards are the freshest way to see for yourself how one card can offer so many appetizing choices. From steak, seafood to classic Italian, Bloomin' Brands restaurants satisfy every craving. Our card can be redeemed at any of the following restaurants: Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.

eBay

One Card. So Many Options. That's exactly what eBay Gift Cards offer the recipient. Whether it's new, unique, or something in-between, eBay has you covered for any gift, any occasion, every time! Shop from millions of items in Electronics, Toys, Motors, Fashion, Home & Garden, Art, Collectible, and many more categories! Best yet, eBay Gift Cards never expire and have no fees. Use it to shop now.

Famous Footwear

Famous Footwear is your place for athletic and casual shoes for the whole family from hundreds of name brands. You'll find styles for women, men and kids from brands like Nike, Converse, Vans, Sperry, Madden Girl, Skechers, ASICS and more! With over 1,000 stores nationwide and even more selection online at Famous.com, Famous Footwear is a leading family footwear destination for the famous brands you know and love.

Paint Nite

Discover a different nite out with Paint Nite! The social painting phenomenon that's entertained more than three million people, hosts thousands of events each month in more than 3,800+ bars across the globe. With its library of more than 13,000 paintings, all being original pieces of art specifically created for Paint Nite events, there's truly something for everyone! Worried about not being a good painter? Don't be! There’s no experience necessary—one of Paint Nite's 1,100+ artists will guide you step-by-step through the process.

Sephora

Sephora is the fastest growing and largest online prestige beauty retailer with over 2,000 stores worldwide in 30 countries. In the US, Sephora has nearly 400 standalone stores and almost 500 Sephora Inside JCPenney locations. Consumers can shop for over 13,000 products from more than 200 skincare, makeup and fragrance brands like Urban Decay, Clinique, Dior, Benefit, Shiseido, Tarte and more.

Spafinder

The Spafinder partner network is comprised of world-renowned retreats that pioneered the concept of Spa globally. Partners like Ananda in the Himalayas known for their Ayurvedic treatments which have been around for over 40 years. In addition, we have thousands of day spa and fitness partners who provide treatments throughout the United States. From week-long weight loss retreats to specialized day spa treatments such as massages, manicures, pedicures to haircuts and more.

STARZ

Designed to be the ultimate fan experience, the STARZ App lets you stream or download full movies and shows on your smartphone or tablet and watch them off-line, anytime, anywhere. That's premium entertainment you can take with you. Plus, STARZ is the home of ObsessableSM original series and hit movies. With over 7,000 titles to choose from each month, STARZ has you covered.

Topgolf

Topgolf offers an upscale and playful experience, featuring an impressive food and beverage menu, music, games, complimentary club rentals and HDTVs. Whether it's a date night, girls' night, happy hour, work breakfast, lunch hour or any other kind of hour, Topgolf makes socializing a sport—literally. Players hit golf balls containing computer microchips that track each shot's accuracy and distance while awarding points for hitting targets on the outfield. You can challenge your friends and family to several different point-scoring golf games that anyone—from beginner to the golf pro—can play. Plus, with climate-controlled hitting bays, Topgolf can be enjoyed in all seasons.

Uber

Good things happen when people can move, whether across town or towards their dreams. Opportunities appear, open up, become reality. What started as a way to tap a button to get a ride has led to billions of moments of human connection as people around the world go all kinds of places in all kinds of ways with the help of our technology.

Happy Cards

Happy Cards are the perfect reward or incentive for your customers and partners that can be used multiple times across the participating brands. Happy Cards provide the opportunity to add new brands not currently in your B2B program with competitive discounts and an easy online ordering portal. Go to Happycards.com to view all the options including: Happy Lady, Happy Guy, Happy Teen, Happy Kids, Happy Eats, Happy Dining.

JOANN

For nearly 75 years, JOANN has inspired creativity in the hearts, hands and minds of its customers. From a single storefront in Cleveland, Ohio, the nation’s leading fabric and craft retailer has grown to include more than 865 stores across 49 states and an industry-leading e-commerce business. With the goal of helping every customer find their creative Happy Place, JOANN serves as a convenient single stop for all of the supplies, guidance and inspiration needed to achieve any project or passion.

Baskin-Robbins

Baskin-Robbins creates innovative, premium hard scoop ice cream, a full range of beverages, and a delicious lineup of desserts including custom ice cream cakes, the Polar Pizza® Ice Cream Treat and take-home ice cream quarts and pints, providing quality and value to consumers. The Baskin-Robbins Gift Card is a convenient way to pay every day and can be redeemed at any participating Baskin-Robbins shop.

Dunkin'

Dunkin' is the world's leading baked goods and coffee chain, serving more than 3 million customers each and every day. We offer 50+ varieties of donuts, but you can also enjoy dozens of premium beverages, bagels, breakfast sandwiches and other baked goods.

Jamba Juice®

Introducing the Jamba Juice® gift card, the perfect way to share and enjoy a wide variety of premium blended smoothies, juices, bowls and juice shots. A Jamba Juice® gift card is the ideal low-denomination health and wellness offering with average product cost of less than $7 and redeemable in over 650 Jamba Juice® locations in the US.

Kroger

The Kroger Co. is one of the world's largest retail companies. It spans many states, many formats, and operates under nearly two dozen banners.

buybuy BABY

buybuy BABY® offers a huge selection of merchandise for newborns and toddlers, from all the best brands at everyday low prices.

Cost Plus World Market

Our everyday low prices and high-quality, original items are a great value. Choose from eye-catching, trend-setting home accents, an awe-inspiring array of international foods and wines, and much more.

Christmas Tree Shoppes

At Christmas Tree Shops andThat!, we know what you are looking for: stylish home decor for every day, every season and every holiday; patio and garden essentials to create your own great outdoor space; the best party supplies, decorations and favors for your next celebration.

One Kings Lane

One Kings Lane helps their customer make their home an expression of their personal style. Content she loves that encourages her to create a beautiful home. One destination for high-quality furnishings across a range of brands, categories, price points, and aesthetics.

Outback Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse, an Australian-inspired restaurant is internationally known for award-winning steaks, the Bloomin' Onion and a wide variety of chicken, ribs and seafood. The warm, inviting and casual environment is perfect for coming together to enjoy a good, wholesome meal.

Bed Bath & Beyond multi-card

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc offers a wide selection of domestic merchandise and home furnishings, at competitive prices, across multiple brands: Bed Bath & Beyond, buybuy Baby, Christmas Tree Shops andThat!, Cost Plus World Market, Harmon Face Values, and One Kings Lane. Bed Bath & Beyond brands are the trusted experts for home and "heart related" events such as getting married, moving to a new home, having a baby, going to college, and decorating a room. All of which is supported with wedding and baby registries, new mover and student life programs, as well as design consultation services.

Bonefish Grill

Known as the "fresh fish experts," Bonefish Grill specializes in market-fresh fish from all over the world. They offer an innovative, seasonal menu and specials that feature the highest-quality, freshest ingredients. Expect a polished, casual experience with a big-city bar that offers bar fresh cocktails and an affordable, interesting wine list that are designed to indulge your senses, regardless of the occasion.