Meet the Insite AI Team at the CMA | SIMA Conference 2024

Meet the Insite AI Team at the CMA | SIMA Conference 2024

CMA | SIMA Conference | February 26-28, 2024 | Hyatt Regency, Dallas, TX

Innovation Wins: Retailers Prefer CPG Innovators, Embrace AI Now or Risk Falling Behind

In today’s rapidly evolving retail landscape, the tides are turning towards those who embrace innovation. Retailers are increasingly favoring forward-thinking brands, placing a premium on companies that leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics. In this era where data-driven insights and automation are reshaping the industry, CPGs are compelled to integrate AI into their strategies to not only meet current retail standards but also to secure their relevance and competitiveness in the future.

The message is clear: innovation wins, and the time is now for CPGs to align with the evolving retail landscape or risk losing ground in the competitive race for consumer attention and market share. Connect at CMA with Insite AI’s team who have walked in your shoes, sat across the desk from you and understand how to solve your unique challenges. We are former category leaders and executives from Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Mars, Walmart, 7-Eleven, and Target (and many others). 

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How can we help?

  • Demand Forecasting – Withstand disruption on the horizon. Predict where demand is going.
  • Localized Assortments – Seamlessly create a hyperlocal shopping experience with precisely tailored product assortments.
  • Optimal Price & Trade Promotions – Make the best pricing and promo decisions to capture maximum share.
  • Master Joint Business Planning – Improve collaboration with your retail partners and master your next JBP session.
  • Grow Space – Strategically grow and optimize shelf space.

Meet our Team:

View on LinkedIn

Brooke Hodierne

EVP, Strategy Consulting

Former SVP of Merchandising at 7-Eleven, Brooke brings nearly 20 years of grocery and convenience retail experience to Insite AI. She understands what it takes to build valuable partnerships with retailers, and in her role as EVP of Strategy Consulting, she advises consumer brands on ways to elevate strategic business planning, achieve category leadership, and create optimal shopping experiences for their consumers.

View on LinkedIn

Capri Brixey

EVP, Strategy Consulting

Former leader at Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper Snapple, and Delhaize, Capri brings extensive strategic leadership experience from both retail and supplier roles in the consumer goods industry. She was recognized as a Senior-Level Top Woman in Convenience in 2022 and has also received recognition for her leadership in collaborative/joint business planning with top retailers across multiple channels and formats.

View on LinkedIn

Kristine Joji

EVP, Strategy Consulting

Kristine is a highly accomplished retail executive and former VP of Merchandising at Walmart.  Kristine led strategic initiatives that resulted in substantial revenue growth for the company across Grocery and prior to that Personal Care.  Widely recognized as a visionary leader, she played a pivotal role in optimizing Walmart’s merchandising with large CPGs.

An End-to-End AI-Powered Prediction and Optimization Engine

All running within your cloud environment so you can continually learn and optimize in real time, based on actual data and events, to drive meaningful growth.

Hosted Within Your Cloud Environment

Everything is done within your cloud environment, which allows you to remain in charge. You can review and use the outputs in whichever system, tool, or format you prefer.

Deeply Tailored to Meet Your Goals

Our fully customizable solutions are built to solve your unique challenges, enabling you to adapt quickly to changing market conditions and outperform their competition.

Most Mature, CPG-Proven Capabilities

Unlike legacy retail tech companies that build solutions for retailers, our solutions are are uniquely tailored for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs).

A Consultative Approach

Our team becomes an extension of your team. Our Strategic Advisors are consumer brand and retail veterans from PepsiCo, Mars, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Walmart, Target, 7-Eleven, Kroger, among dozens of others. Our top priority is ensuring you have the guidance and support you need to achieve your goals and maximize the value of your investment.

Optimization

Business rules can be built, reused, or modified at any time to keep up with changing demands and meet evolving challenges. Or, let Insite AI take everything into consideration and then make autonomous decisions

Decisions Over Insights

Other providers give you predictions or suggestions, forcing you to determine which actions to take. Insite AI simulates every scenario, then serves you the best decisions with which actions to take so you can act more quickly with confidence.

Decoding Walmart Luminate: Leveraging Predictive Analytics for Success

Anything new takes some getting used to, and a new data engine is no different — especially one as robust as Walmart Luminate.

On March 1, 2024, Walmart will officially transition consumer goods partners into its tiered Walmart Luminate data platform, and supplier partners will need to adjust to this next-generation program. As I wrote earlier, Walmart Luminate is truly game-changing, providing an unprecedented look into the shopping behaviors of more than 140 million households, plus never-before-shared online pickup and delivery data. With Walmart Luminate, brands have access to a level of reporting to grow their businesses in ways they never could before.

Of course, managing and understanding data as complex and revolutionary as what’s inside Walmart Luminate takes time to grasp. AI and predictive analytics can support brands by harmonizing the data and turning findings into actionable outcomes.

Here’s a look at how predictive analytics and our CPG-tailored AI expertise can assist brands using Walmart Luminate.

Supporting brands using Walmart Luminate

Walmart began rolling out Walmart Luminate to brands this fall, providing some CPGs a trial in how they might to use the data, particularly the Charter version of the program (see below summary of the data plans).

Walmart Luminate Charter is the paid tier. It gives brands complete access to shopper behavior data from millions of households, including loyalty data and custom reports on brand-switching behaviors. The full package also debuts behavioral insights on pickup and delivery, and shares robust scoring and recommendations from the Supplier Quality Excellence Program (SQEP). As part of SQEP, all Walmart suppliers are scored based on the condition of packages, pallets and products shipped to their distribution centers, for example. Charter delivers in-depth metrics on how the supplier is performing in those areas. It also has historical data and custom reporting capabilities that’s not available in the basic versions.

Brands that pay for the full service receive an exhaustive and extraordinary set of data that can seem overwhelming at first. For that reason, some CPGs will need assistance sorting it out. Insite AI’s services range from data integration and harmonization all the way to predictive analytics and scenario modeling meant to support each supplier given where you are on your individual AI journey.

Here are four ways predictive analytics and our team of engineers can help simplify the data and get more out of it:

Linking Walmart Luminate to other data-management programs.

Some CPGs may want to integrate Walmart Luminate into other data tools that they’re already comfortable working with, and our engineers can help connect the solutions. For example, a brand may want to continue using Power BI, the data visualization platform from Microsoft, but not know how to integrate Walmart Luminate into the solution. Our team can export the data and insights from Walmart Luminate and link it to a program like Power BI. Brands can get the most out of Walmart Luminate without needing to upend their data analysis habits.

Harmonizing Walmart Luminate insights with additional data sources.

Walmart Luminate provides unprecedented access to customer segmentation data and e-commerce insights, but brands still want to leverage findings from other sources such as third-party panel data, programs like 84.51, macroeconomic data and other external sources. Insite AI’s AI modeling can take the data and harmonize it into one single version of the truth. No matter the source, it’s all big data that feeds into the AI, and our solution harmonizes the information and delivers insights in a format that’s meaningful and easy to understand.

Recommending strategic actions based on the Walmart Luminate insights.

With Large Language Models (LLMS) steeped in retail knowledge, our CPG-focused AI-powered solutions and services can help explain the data. Predictive analytics and AI models can take Walmart Luminate data, create accurate forecasts on a product’s demand and explain why sales may spike or decline in the coming months. Perhaps a rise in gas prices will increase online sales of a product? AI can add a layer of “explainability” to the robust Walmart Luminate data stream. By uncovering the in-depth meaning behind the insights, you can see the trajectory of your business and discover talking points for sales and merchant teams to help drive the business forward.

Enterprise solutions tools that solve business needs within revenue growth management, assortment planning/modular planning, macro/micro space optimization, pricing, pack architecture, forecasting and strategic business planning. By leveraging AI/ML powered solutions, brands can set and visualize multiple goals and obtain proactive and prescriptive recommendations with data explainability. These solutions are embedded within your cloud so your data never leaves the safety of your environment.  Let’s say you are wanting to run TPAs (Temporary Price Adjustments) across a few brands or items to see if it will generate a lift in volume and revenue and if that lift will be maintained if you decide to make that your new retail. Our enterprise pricing tool integrates Luminate data alongside other internal and external disparate data sources and utilizes our price elasticities model, using forecasted vs historical data, generating the ideal retail price points to drive the goals of increased volume and revenue.

Walmart Luminate will be a force in 2024 as brands take advantage of the data to learn more about their shoppers and product performance online and in stores. Leveraging AI and predictive analytics, consumer goods companies can harmonize the data and get insights explained.

Whether it’s bringing expertise to sync Walmart Luminate to other internal data solutions or tailoring predictive analytics models to meet backend technical needs, we can craft custom solutions that meet a brand’s specific business goals.


The Candy Aisle Renaissance: From Impulse Buys to Strategic Category Growth

Insights help arm a brand with the knowledge that can lift an entire category for a retailer, earning them category advisor roles at coveted retailers. 

The candy category is much more than the Halloween season and the impulse rack at the checkout lane. It’s an innovative $43 billion business, increasing sales annually, partly due to inflation, but also due to consumers seeking an affordable way to treat themselves. Retailers too are developing a larger in-store presence for the category.

I know this from my days as SVP of merchandising at 7-Eleven, where we frequently leaned on candy to deliver innovative opportunities for sales growth inside the stores.

For candy brands, however, navigating the shifts in consumer behavior can be difficult, knowing that the products are largely bought on impulse. How do you effectively target a consumer who may not know they want that sweet treat yet?

On top of that, brands need to understand behavior shifts at a wide range of retailers such as mass merchants, club stores, traditional grocers, c-stores, drugstores, dollar stores and hard discounters — and even sporting goods and apparel are in the game.

Factor in consumer trends such as seeking smaller pack sizes and using social media for inspiration, and predictive analytics and machine learning can become major tools to help craft a winning candy strategy.

Uncover candy trends

According to a report this year from the National Confectioners Association (NCA), annual sales in both non-chocolate candies and the gum/mints categories increased by nearly 14%, comparing 2022 annual sales to 2021.

At 7-Eleven, I saw my fair share of wild flavors in novelty non-chocolate candies, sour chewy offerings and hard candies driving these sales and reaching a growing interest among millennial and Gen Z markets. But there are other behavioral trends and product trends to take note of, too:

  • Portion control. According to the NCA report, eight in 10 consumers seek smaller pack sizes to help curb how much they eat. The report also noted that consumers are seeking guidance from brands on appropriate portion sizes, factoring in calories, sugar and the impact of natural ingredients.
  • Healthier and functional candy. Consumers are increasingly looking for candies that offer health benefits, such as low-sugar, sugar-free, organic and fortified options. Functional candies with added vitamins, probiotics or other health-promoting ingredients are gaining popularity.
  • Nostalgia brands. Nostalgic or retro brand candies from the past continue to make a comeback, appealing to consumers who want to relive childhood memories through their favorite sweets.
  • Multi-channel purchases. The NCA report found nearly 60% of consumers said they buy candy at checkout in the impulse section, but they’re also buying in three to four different channels. Less than 10% of consumers exclusively buy candy online, but a third said they buy in-store and online.
  • Social presence. Candy consumers are active on social media, with nearly 60% of consumers surveyed in the NCA study saying they access their networks for inspiration on products to buy or use with recipes, and to simply engage with the brand. Candy brands are increasingly leveraging social media platforms and partnering with influencers to expand reach and engage with their target audiences.

Considering these trends, candy brands have a lot of shifting behaviors to wade through. However, this is where predictive analytics, AI, and machine learning can help them figure out which trends to pursue, at which retailers and in what ways. Brands can develop smarter strategies around pricing, promotions, and where to put products at checkout and in the candy aisle.

Brands can feed AI-powered engines a mountain of varying data: social listening, POS, shipment data, third-party global trend forecasts, loyalty information and more. The AI model reads the data and directives from the brand teams on price elasticity, promotions strategies, assortment optimization and other inputs to recommend decisions for their brand goals and category growth overall.

Let’s repeat that last part: the insights help arm a brand with the knowledge that can lift an entire category for a retailer, earning them category advisor roles at coveted retailers. 

Sweeten sales for retail partners

As noted from the NCA data earlier, most consumers still rely on the checkout lanes for their impulse candy purchases. However, the data also states nearly 80% frequent the candy aisle, where retailers have been expanding assortments to bring more excitement to the category.

Major players like Walmart and Kroger have constructed expansive in-aisle sets for candy that push the retailers to become candy destinations, perhaps challenging c-stores and drugstores that have been often associated as a primary purchase destination for the category.

Part of this pivot from large format retailers is also to compete with value chains and general merchandise retailers also carrying candy. What’s more, the consumer behaviors around candy are much more than the impulse buy at checkout. Consumers are adding candy to their shopping lists as more wholesome ingredients make it a more acceptable indulgent treat.

Candy brands can help retailers make sense of consumer behavior changes by bringing AI-powered, robust data-driven insights such as:

  • Should chocolate continue to receive the amount of space it’s getting based on its space elasticity?
  • Is there room for expandable consumption inside stores, meaning can the store offer more candy even when they don’t need it, lifting a retailer’s bottom line?
  • How much play should mini-size packages get, and should they be in bulk packages for consumers buying for extended at-home consumption?

Fine-tuned predictive analytics can answer these questions, helping brands develop the right products for their company’s success and sweeten sales for their retailer partners.

AI-powered platforms can change how candy brands work with retail partners, elevating a category from checkout lane to major players with grand merchandising sets and powerful growth strategies.

Dig deep with data

In today’s dynamic and highly competitive market, candy brands are constantly seeking innovative ways to stay ahead. With predictive data, brands can accurately forecast consumer demand, anticipate market trends and tailor their assortments accordingly. Not only does this enhance profitability but it fosters a more personalized and satisfying experience for candy enthusiasts.

AI-powered platforms can change how candy brands work with retail partners, elevating a category from checkout lane to major players with grand merchandising sets and powerful growth strategies.

Sweeten your brand’s success and elevate your brand with AI-powered insights, contact us to learn how.


Connect at Groceryshop

Connect at Groceryshop

Accelerate Your Sales, Revenue Growth, and Category Management Initiatives

Groceryshop | September 19-21, 2023 | Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Connect with Insite AI at Groceryshop and find out how our revolutionary approach can accelerate your top initiatives. Our team of AI and strategic consulting teams have walked in your shoes, giving them unparalleled insights into your industry-specific hurdles. Our Strategic Advisors are consumer brand and retail veterans from Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Mars, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Walmart, Target, 7-Eleven, Kroger, among dozens of others.

Let us guide you in tackling your organization’s distinct challenges head-on. Through our collaborative approach, we craft a tailored solution to elevate your product assortment, pricing strategies, trade promotions, and demand forecasting.

Don’t miss this opportunity to expedite your success and lead your organization toward a more efficient and profitable future.

The Leading Partner for Large Consumer Brands

Know the precise impact of your decisions.

We’re the only partner that lets you dial in multiple scenarios, and confidently predict how they would perform on a forward looking basis against multiple KPIs, with details down to the most granular level, regardless of complexity. Make confident decisions at either the big-picture strategic or tactical level involving commercial aspects such as assortment, pricing, trade, space, and planning. In one click, foresee the results of exactly what will happen in any given scenario. Our unique capabilities take in multiple conditions and assumptions; alternatively, decision makers can rely on us to leverage the technology on their behalf. Act with extreme certainty, speed, save significant time, and ensure your actions will achieve commercial results.

Define your specific objectives, and receive new and creative ways to reach them.

Are you seeking to grow volume? Maximize prices? Grow shelf space? Improve trade effectiveness? Outperform a competitor? Rationalize spend? Our capabilities “goal seek” the exact new strategies or tactical outputs to achieve this, taking into account all of your business dynamics, beliefs, and nuances. Get multiple novel strategies that are truly implementable and actionable. Fuse your vision with our technological levers that incorporate an incredible number of factors. See the forward looking and granular articulation on the recommendation’s performance. This is something any large team of experts aren’t capable of.

Explainable assortment, space, pricing, and trade promotion decisions.

Harmonizing data and searching it for insights is old news, and few companies see value from it. We provide internal and external narratives that are defensible and truly differentiated. In one click, our capabilities explain and decompose the “why” on a forward-looking basis; and the data is presented in a powerful, immediately understandable manner. Incrementality, demand transference, price elasticities, cross elasticities, attributions, shifts, patterns, and factors affecting your existing or recommended actions are clearly articulated.


Connect at Groceryshop

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Meet our Team:

View on LinkedIn

Brooke Hodierne

EVP, Strategy Consulting

Former SVP of Merchandising at 7-Eleven, Brooke brings nearly 20 years of grocery and convenience retail experience to Insite AI. She understands what it takes to build valuable partnerships with retailers, and in her role as EVP of Strategy Consulting, she advises consumer brands on ways to elevate strategic business planning, achieve category leadership, and create optimal shopping experiences for their consumers.

View on LinkedIn

Capri Brixey

EVP, Strategy Consulting

Former leader at Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper Snapple, and Delhaize, Capri brings extensive strategic leadership experience from both retail and supplier roles in the consumer goods industry. She was recognized as a Senior-Level Top Woman in Convenience in 2022 and has also received recognition for her leadership in collaborative/joint business planning with top retailers across multiple channels and formats.

View on LinkedIn

Kristine Joji

EVP, Strategy Consulting

Kristine is a highly accomplished retail executive and former VP of Merchandising at Walmart.  Kristine led strategic initiatives that resulted in substantial revenue growth for the company across Grocery and prior to that Personal Care.  Widely recognized as a visionary leader, she played a pivotal role in optimizing Walmart’s merchandising with large CPGs.

Why Insite AI?

A Consultative Approach

Our team becomes an extension of your team. Our Strategic Advisors are consumer brand and retail veterans from PepsiCo, Mars, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Walmart, Target, 7-Eleven, Kroger, among dozens of others. Our top priority is ensuring you have the guidance and support you need to achieve your goals and maximize the value of your investment.

Most Mature, CPG-Proven Capabilities

Everyone else starts from scratch, yet Insite AI has already invested over eight figures of capital and several years into building leading edge technology; creating unmatched advantages for tackling your top initiatives.

Deeply Tailored to Meet Your Goals

We deeply tailor our engagements and fully configure our solutions to meet the unique needs of your brand. Insite AI is a true innovation partner providing CPGs with fully customizable solutions built to solve their unique challenges, enabling them to adapt quickly to changing market conditions and outperform their competition.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Joint Business Planning

Do not report the news. Simply reporting out category performance as up or down in volume and dollars vs year ago is ‘news,’ not insights.

In the dynamic world of retail, collaboration is key to success. During a recent panel discussion, Mastering Joint Business Planning: An Insider’s Guide, we sat down with a former VP of Sales at Coca-Cola, Capri Brixey, and a former VP of Merchandising at Walmart, Kristine Joji, to share their experience and insights into what makes a successful JBP. 

Below are some key “do’s” and “don’ts”—both practical and technical—that they shared, which can help CPGs master JBP scenarios, improve your retail partnerships, and grow your mutual profitability:

1. Understand the retailer’s plan

Entering a planning session with just the CPG’s agenda can quickly derail a conversation and lead to an unproductive meeting. Bringing a true desire to understand both parties’ needs (and being equipped for effective discovery to that end), CPGs can ensure that their own plans align with the retailer’s strategy and priorities. 

2. Use credible insights

Do not report the news. Simply reporting out category performance as up or down in volume and dollars vs year ago is ‘news,’ not insights. Data is just data. Retailers need to understand the why and the what. Indicate what happened, why it happened and what should be done next. Anyone can pull a report. The beauty is in taking numbers, overlaying and integrating insights, trends, data and analytics and helping people understand what happened and what is happening so they can create meaningful action for the future. Insights should be foundational to every phase of the planning process, from the beginning when both organizations are trying to understand priorities, to the end when tactics and solutions are being created to drive business.

3. Don’t always paint a rosy picture

Insights may reveal, for example, that while a product was projected to perform well and provide incrementality, instead performance was below expectations and demand transferred to another product or was cannibalizing existing items. Bringing objective, robust data and facts helps build trust and transparency. Being willing to collaboratively find mutual wins through data elevates partnership and strategic thought leadership. It shows that a CPG is data led and insights driven, that it understands the customer, environment and what is happening now.

4. Offer potential solutions

Use of AI tools allows CPGs to stitch together myriad pieces of data in real time, aligning them with trends and insights. This lets CPGs accurately tell retailers: 

  • What their theory was.
  • What the data is.
  • What they know is really happening.
  • What can be done about it.
  • What the CPG’s recommendation is so the partners can mutually grow their business and the category.

5. Build a specific, tactical plan to deliver on what was committed

This aligned plan  should be the foundation of the partnership. It should involve everything that was agreed upon, as tactical as shelf placement, pricing and promotions, or as strategic as broad expectations for overall contribution/performance and how the organizations will engage. Then, regular checkpoints should be set to ensure the strategy remains on track, with flexibility and agility to respond to events and trends in the market. Disruptions can be small or on the scale of  the war in the Ukraine or Covid-19. In these types of cases, both organizations must ask—and answer—“Where are we now and how do we pivot to ensure we can still deliver our plan together?” 

6. Leverage AI to run “what if” scenarios

CPGs can leverage AI to run “what if” scenarios in real time. This can foster forward thinking, collaborative conversations with retailers. Data accounts for the many moves retailers can make on their chessboard. This gives them more clarity, so they can develop rich category plans. Using technology to detail the “why” and sharing explanations also helps buyers explain decisions to their leadership teams.

7. Drive collaboration

The goal of JBP is to drive collaboration. If CPGs are not weighing mutual growth, mutual priorities and planning ahead, they can be derailed by many unforeseen events. They need to be agile. Working through the process and knowing where the finish line should be and planning towards it are key components of success.

8. Deliver a better shopping experience for consumers

Retailers want to know how their CPG partners will be more consumer centric. CPGs can create a more personalized consumer experience by leveraging advanced AI capabilities. These AI-driven assortments, pricing, and promotions empower CPGs to craft shopping experiences that not only satisfy customers but also foster long-term loyalty. 

Conclusion

Thoroughly analyzing data reveals a predictive view of entire product categories, going beyond just looking at individual brands. A supplier that is driven by insights and data, promoting its own growth as well as that of the category and the entire industry, stands out as a clear trailblazer. These carefully obtained insights not only have weight but also solidify the supplier’s image as a strategic thought leader. Retailers will naturally lean toward their most developed partners,  elevated by trust and true transparency in insights and data.

The insights shared in this article were presented at a recent panel discussion featuring Kristine Joji and Capri Brixey, EVPs of strategy consulting at Insite AI. The event was moderated by Jackie Lewis, VP of content at the Category Management Association. To view the full presentation, click here

 

The CPG’s Guide to AI

Empowering Consumer Brands with Clear and Actionable AI Insights

Research confirms leading consumer brands who harness the value of consumer insights and artificial intelligence (AI) better predict the needs of their customers, improve category performance, accelerate growth, and outpace the competition.

72% of executives consider AI as a business advantage

But how can you get started? With data overload, an abundance of options and unclear direction, many companies opt to do nothing. This is no longer an option. You will be left behind. Armed with the right data, AI-driven CPG brands are working hand in hand with their retail partners to better meet consumer demand. By turning mounds of overwhelming data into actionable intelligence, these CPGs are scoring big with retailers and end consumers alike.

In this guide:

  • Demystifying AI
  • How consumer brands can leverage AI today.
  • Top 5 AI/ML Use Cases in CPG
  • Going beyond Power BI and advanced analytics
  • Making the case for AI in your organization
  • Top questions to ask for a fruitful AI journey

Harness the power of AI to ensure you have the right products on the right shelves at the right time. Download this guide to begin your AI journey toward becoming an AI-driven, category-leading consumer brand.

Download Guide

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Winning the Retail Space War with Predictive Modeling

40% improvement in assortment trade-off accuracy

What we did

One of the largest brands in the consumables sector wanted to understand how to utilize its store space within Target for optimal results. Applying innovative AI components to develop space elasticity models, we refined the brand’s planning process with calculations and forecasting that identified how space affects profit- ability and sales demand to arrive at their ideal strategy. Insite AI become an extension of their team, providing the support and resources they needed to ensure they achieved their goals through data, adoption, and guidance.

2%
increase in profit
with the same amount of shelf space

Analytics

We empowered the Category, Assortment, and Space planning and analytics leaders with critical insights to rapidly simulate multiple scenarios and accurately forecast effects on sales, margins, volume, and demand. Leveraging predictive modeling, our platform delivered insights for maximizing productivity and profitability so the team could determine the ideal plan for each store layout.

Reduced planning cycle time from months to days

Results

With Insite AI, this major consumer brand quickly identified the best use of in-store space. The brand can now swiftly hone its on-shelf facings, arrangements, and structures at the planogram level and defend its plan within Target. Even with competing priorities, limited budget, and resource constraints, the company priori- tized working with Insite AI. This technology has been identified as mission-critical at the executive level and the team members involved have received recognition internally for their efforts.

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One of the Largest Consumer Brands Achieves Category Leadership at Walmart

Became category leader at the world’s largest retailer

What we did

One of the world’s largest brands in the consumables area wanted to elevate its
category advisement at Walmart. Applying powerful predictive and AI components
across multiple data sources, we enriched and accelerated the brand’s planning
and decision-making processes to present Walmart with the best assortments at a
planogram level for all 4,600 stores.

Reduced planning cycle time from months to days

Analytics

We deployed assortment capabilities in the brand’s cloud environment to ensure
data never left. Merging multiple data sources, our platform delivered insights on
demand transference so the team could understand the incrementality associated
with product additions, deletions, and resulting effects on demand.

5-15% sales improvement

Results

With Insite AI, this major consumer brand developed very clear forecasts on how
their category—and others in the category—are performing at a planogram level
within Walmart. The brand can now create multiple assortments within seconds and
recommend the best one.
As a result of their adoption of AI, they have delivered a better shopping experi-
ence for their consumers, growing their joint profit pool, and achieving category
leadership. They are now expanding into other retailers.

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Tough Questions to Answer If You Want Category Captaincy

Retailers expect more than ever from their CPG partners as they face growing shopping challenges, keeping up with consumer demand, and adjusting to ever-evolving trends. If you want the ever-valuable category captaincy, be prepared to answer these questions.

If You Want Category Captaincy, Prepare to Answer These Tough Questions from Retailers

As retailers face growing challenges, keeping up with demand, and adjusting with ever-evolving trends, they’re starting to question the role of their category captains. These people or teams have traditionally assisted retail buying departments, acting as unbiased analysts who worked to deliver the retailer’s goal for the category. Mike Gervasio, President of Category Leadership at PepsiCo and Chairman of the Category Management Association, was quoted in Retail Wire as saying, “It took the pandemic to really shake the behavior of the CPG industry; there’s entirely new problems to be solved.” He said that the industry has been accelerated by 5 years in just a matter of months and that companies have to acquire new sets of data and tools in order to deal with new challenges.

Against the shifting backdrop of consumer behavior, retailers have a real need for a different kind of category captaincy from their CPGs in order to keep them onside. CPG leaders need to prepare for these tough questions from retailers.

Is Your CPG Prepared for These Retailer Questions?

Funding Incremental Growth With AI

Selecting the right AI solutions to for your category, pricing, and assortment decisions can reduce inventory costs, improve forecast accuracy, and enhance the customer experience. By leveraging these solutions, CPGs can fund incremental growth and achieve their business objectives.

How to Choose an AI Solution for Pricing and Assortment Optimization

Choosing the right solution for critical assortment and pricing decisions means a CPG must practice a lot of due diligence to find the right fit. Having worked across CPGs and teams at all levels, from the c-suite to VPs and category managers, here are some of the questions you should be asking as you evaluate a data science, analytics, or AI-based solution:

  1. Protect the IP that is the heart of your CPG’s strategic competitive advantage

    There is nothing more precious than the capabilities, knowledge, and unique intellectual property that’s been crafted over decades (or even hundreds of years in some cases). You want to be sure that any analytics, data-science, or AI-powered solution is going to protect the integrity of these hard-won trade secrets. Therefore, choose a solution that sits within your own private cloud, where no data, learnings, or proprietary information is ever going to leave the organization.

  2. Choose a solution built for CPGs and Consumer Brands

    AI is often misunderstood. Some of the world’s largest software companies have promised it as being the remedy to an endless number of business challenges. While some of that might be true, they haven’t always done a good job of explaining what AI or data science actually means for specific business functions in a tangible, applied way. Some promote an AI or data science platform that ends up being completely generic – these solutions are often sold as solving any type of business problem. But, we’re often shown that being all things to everyone makes a master of none. Software and technology without consulting is just a tool, and that tool often ends up being challenging to use and without the promised results. Rather, it’s important to look for a purpose-built solution that’s able to be customized for each unique business case, that serves specific needs, and is able to be intentionally constructed to solve CPG-focused assortment, pricing, demand, and category management challenges.

    • Think about the importance of solving specific problems instead buying a piece of technology

      Start with your specific business problems and translate those into a custom solution that works for stakeholders across your enterprise. This allows for a bespoke solution to be built for individual needs, rather than trying to solve individual problems with a broad solution. CPGs may operate in the same industry, but their IP, modes of operation, and go-to-market strategies vary wildly. Solving big, unique problems is never going to be about buying a piece of technology or a solution that works right out of the box. Instead, look for an AI company whose domain experts will get to know your CPG’s business, its unique challenges, and how best to solve them. Then, get those experts to build a custom solution to do the job by producing desired outcomes.