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


Meet our Team:

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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.

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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.

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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. 


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


CPG’s Guide to Walmart Luminate: Enhancing Results Through AI.

Are you getting the most out of your Walmart Luminate data? The platform offers a goldmine of shopper insights, but making the data actionable can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve created the CPG’s Guide to Walmart Luminate: Enhancing Results Through AI.

This comprehensive guide provides a deep dive into Walmart Luminate, exploring its unique benefits and how to apply predictive analytics to unlock its full potential.

In this guide:

  • The key differences between the Basic and Charter versions of Luminate.
  • How AI-powered solutions can harmonize Luminate data with other sources.
  • Real-world examples of how brands are using shopper insights to optimize strategies.

Download Guide


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


How AI Will Revolutionize Annual Business Planning

Annual business planning is one of those constants, like taxes and change, that nearly every organization can count on each year. It is enormously important to consumer goods organizations, and is a complex and ongoing process throughout a fiscal year where brands continuously shift priorities and strategies to meet performance gaps and adjust to fluctuating business conditions.

And this is all still largely done on spreadsheets.

Planning tool evolution (or lack thereof) aside, CPG organizations typically inform their annual planning decisions with historical sales trends and year-over-year performance data to paint a predictive view of how the year ahead might play out.

It is a strategy built on looking backward to go forward. This model has been reliable; learning from history has always been a competency, rather than a liability, and the consumer goods industry has typically been one of stability and predictability. However, history also tells us what worked before is not always going to be what works going forward (just ask Blockbuster Video).

CPGs (as most of us do) often miss black swan events, those rare sea changes in the market, because they are repeating what was done before. In our current environment of ever-advancing artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, we can now more accurately look ahead, better preparing brands for what may seem unpredictable. Further, the benefit of AI is continuous learning and an ongoing, realistic view of the direction in which a brand’s portfolio is heading, providing predictive outcomes against which to work and to plan.

The application of AI to annual business planning is a tipping point in organizations’ operations, resourcing, and capabilities. With smarter, evolved predictive market analytics, CPGs can lead the market in making the annual business planning process more manageable, and more importantly, more accurate.

It All Begins With Reliable and Relevant Data

The last few years may have produced some of the most historically unreliable data on consumer behavior. The COVID-19 pandemic, inflation and record-high costs resulted in brands facing highly unpredictable situations. Across the board, supply, labor, health, and macroeconomic trends created one hurdle after another for the production and delivery of goods of any kind.

When it comes to annual business planning, brands working backward to look forward aren’t fully armed to make the best decisions about what part of history will repeat itself. AI-powered predictive analytics integrate multiple sources of data, stabilizing volatility and creating a continuous learning model, enabling it to constantly import new data, test, learn and readjust to only deliver the most relevant information.

Produce Actual Insights on Category Futures

AI capabilities, when applied to annual planning, shift mindsets on portfolio investments. With predictive analytics at its heart, the future performance of categories and product classes/packs informs the most appropriate growth targets and levels of investment, optimizing profitability and effort. Imagine the efficiencies that could be attained through knowing, before hindsight is available, which categories are shifting in maturity? The cycle of growth and decline in any category (and the creation of new categories), based on consumer behavior and sentiment, is the moving target within which brands bet on growth investments and performance, all of which begins with the annual business planning process.

  • Emerging / Growth categories. These categories are where new entrants, or even evolving established products, begin defining new niches within an existing category. At one time, ‘energy’ was not a category, but is now one of the largest categories in any cold vault, with most trend data pointing to continued growth ahead. Winning in newly defined space is both potentially a higher risk and a bigger reward. This is a category that will see many new competitors enter the category, but there is a big growth potential, and AI can help brands identify where to invest and take advantage of the white space in the market.

  • Mature categories. These more developed categories face limited incremental space availability and more competition within existing space. But small amounts of growth in these categories can be worth more dollars in totality, since household penetration is likely higher in a mature category. Here, AI can enable brands to appropriately optimize strategic goals and investments to maximize potential.

  • Declining categories. In these categories, space is often shifted to emerging categories as a result of sustained declines overall. Which is not to say that a category will eventually be eliminated, but sized appropriately, it could eventually evolve into a growth category with new entrants and evolution of offerings. AI can help brands optimize portfolios, but the technology can also help identify how to disrupt a declining category to bring back growth trends.

Shifting from Setting Targets to Closing Gaps

Annual business planning is just getting started once the targets are set. This continuous cycle on which nearly all business routines are anchored is one of measuring progress and performance against targets and plans, closing gaps, adjusting strategies and solving challenges that arise. AI can quickly help teams optimize strategies to focus on the best opportunities to shift resources and priorities to achieve plan goals. Further, if teams are using AI continuously in this process throughout the year and make it an ongoing part of reporting and performance measurement, trends could be better predictive and prescriptive analytics can used to take the most efficient and effective action possible.

AI Is Annual Business Planning

It’s important to note that AI doesn’t remove the human in the middle of the data. AI helps find the most impactful needles in the haystack for teams to consider and around which to develop strategies.

AI/ML never stops learning, so organizations and teams can be prepared for fluctuations and changes in near real-time, removing inefficiency in guesswork, creating options for action, and ultimately, enabling plan achievement. At its core, AI technology is annual business planning. Customized solutions are designed to look at where a brand / organization is sitting relative to the category and market, identify where the consumer / trends will go, harmonize data streams to inform financial deliverables, and then manage to and against those targets in aggregate through continuous learning.

Put the Spreadsheets Away

Establish leadership in the industry by shifting the paradigm on annual business planning. Free up resources currently mired in planning and re-planning to get back to the business of thought leadership. Take advantage of what innovative technologies offer and evolve dynamically beyond the complexity of a static spreadsheet. Enabling the future means finding better ways to work smarter: the thoughtful application of AI in your data environment is the best way to do that now.

To learn more about how AI can create efficiencies in resources and accuracy in both macro and micro-trend planning, click here.

Be the Smartest CPG in the Room During Joint Business Planning (Featured on Consumer Goods Technology)

Guest article originally featured on Consumer Goods Technology. See full article.

Joint business planning is the lifeblood of a brand’s success at a retailer.  During these meetings, retailers are looking to CPGs to bring them deep insights and category stories.

Brands should come to retailers with truly powerful insights that more accurately predict how categories will perform in the future, assist retailer partners to make intelligent decisions and advance the outcomes of joint business planning meetings. Machine learning, AI and predictive analytics can help CPGs ultimately create advantage for themselves and the retailer.

About the Author: 
Brooke Hodierne currently serves as an EVP – strategy consulting at Insite AI, an AI and strategy partner for larger consumer brands. She joined the company following her time as SVP of merchandising for 7-Eleven. In the role, she drove category management teams that developed, implemented and communicated merchandising strategies for vault, packaged goods, tobacco and services.

Before joining 7-Eleven, Brooke held multiple positions at Giant Eagle, serving as VP of own brands, senior director of strategic sourcing and own brands, and director of prepared foods merchandising. She supported brand marketing at Del Monte Foods and held analytical roles with financial investment firms Wilshire Associates, Federated Investors and the Vanguard Group.

CPGs & Joint Business Planning: A Retailer’s POV

A former executive at 7-Eleven and Giant Eagle, Brooke Hodierne, EVP – Strategy Consulting, discusses where CPGs can evolve joint business planning and take more control

Joint business planning (JBP) is mission critical for retailers and their consumer goods partners. It’s a months-long process that runs from the starting line, through various checkpoints and past the checkered flag. JBP is when retailers address goals, category strategies and marketing initiatives, and CPGs bring insights, innovation and investment in the pursuit of growth.

After going through various stages of the process to see where the parties’ strategies align, they then settle on product assortment, pricing, promotions, shelf space, marketing and e-commerce decisions. The process is deliberate, but generally powered by old data and slide presentations. It needs a boost.

In my view as a former retailer, CPGs can light that fire and revamp JBP through new data and near real-time data and insights. CPGs can leverage more accurate and intelligent predictive analytics to chart a better course at the beginning of JBP, maintain their efforts throughout the year, collaboratively work to “gap close” and, frankly, drive more of the conversation. 

This is the type of intelligence that will keep CPGs at the top of a retailer’s list. 

Where CPGs Can Level Up During JBP

No matter the technology or industry advancements, a part of JBP will always be like playing three-dimensional chess. Both retailers and CPGs hold back just enough information for competitive reasons while being as transparent as necessary to drive win-win and mutual benefit.

It’s understandably complicated, but within that chess match, there are ways CPGs can help improve the process overall. Here are tips to gain a better standing in JBP: 

Be Insight Rich

You’ve heard the saying, “data rich but insight poor,” and this can pertain to many CPGs. The companies might be swimming in data but often they either don’t have access to it, can’t digest and harmonize it, or can’t synthesize it quickly enough to make it actionable. This often occurs during JBP and it can be obvious to a retailer when a CPG purchases data for the sake of saying yes but doesn’t shape it to a specific retailer’s customers or goals.

Honor the Deadline

A retailer’s internal planning deadlines need to be taken seriously. For years, retailers granted extensions to certain brands while negotiations continued, but in a world where teams are under-resourced or in the middle of reorganization, CPGs going into a JBP thinking there will be an exception will miss the boat. If a deadline isn’t met, the decision will be made for you. The retailer, with or without you, will make a final decision on the brand plan, space, pricing and promotional strategy. It can even come down to a retailer not including a brand’s new item introduction. Instead, they’ll choose the competitor’s new item because they followed the process.

Fair Share Isn’t Always Fair

Every category is different — especially when it relates to  allotted shelf space in stores. For CPGs entering a JBP with a retailer, they need to know their place in the category and be prepared to not always earn their “fair share” of space. From the retailer’s view, there always will need to be extra space reserved to make room for private brand introductions and innovations that excite a category from smaller, emergent, challenger brands. A CPG can’t merely expect to receive their fair share, so plan ahead and prioritize the brands and products that will deliver the most growth and differentiation.

Keep Stakeholders in the Know

Perhaps the single biggest issue to disrupt a JBP is when Sales teams don’t bring key decision makers along for the journey. In large, matrixed organizations, it’s especially important to expand discussions early and often with members of finance, revenue growth management and marketing.

CPGs that can improve processes around these tips can come to a JBP with better expectations and an understanding of a retailer’s priorities and constraints. But there are also ways CPGs can win over a JBP meeting.  

Where CPGs Can Shine During JBP

Lest we forget, retailers also have a lot of room to improve in how they handle JBP meetings. But, with technology like AI, CPGs are in a grand position to rewrite the game. They can change the tone of meetings with precise, accurate, forward-looking data. They can earn more control over how their products are received by bringing rich insights that help grow an overall category. Here’s where CPGs can win in JBP:

Bring Clear-Eyed Data

Retailers look to CPGs for data and insights. CPG organizations can leverage AI to run “what if” scenarios in real time that foster forward-thinking, collaborative conversations with retail buyers. The data accounts for all the ways retailers can play on their chessboard, which helps them develop rich category plans with more clarity. Using technology to detail the why, and share the explainability factor goes a long way with a buyer, and helps them also explain their decisions to their leadership teams.

Invest Toward Category Growth

Rich data that can present a predictive view of the entire category — not just how your brands sit within it — ultimately will win over a retailer. Data that highlights an investment in overall category growth and that arms a CPG to be the smartest person in the room when it comes to their product and the total category can be a massive game changer.

Forget the Rear View

For years, JBP relied on CPGs coming to the table with insights based on historical data. Brands looked backward, referencing what happened a year ago to predict what will happen in the year ahead. It’s simply not accurate. Do you behave the exact same you did last year? I know I don’t so why would we believe a customer would? There is so much change in shopper behavior and macroeconomic trends that it can’t be relied upon. The windshield is bigger than the rear view for a reason. Let’s all start looking down the road. 

AI Can Power Your JBP

Just as AI and machine learning can revolutionize how CPGs perform annual business planning, CPGs can leverage the technology to vastly improve how they meet with retailers and master JBP. 

To learn more about how AI can create smarter scenarios for an in-depth view of business planning, click here.

Navigating Economic Uncertainty: How Shifting Data is Revolutionizing the CPG Relationship

Data is Shifting the CPG-Retailer Relationship (featured on MarketScale podcast)

CPGs and retailers have always had strong ties. With consumer behavior shifts, more competition, and new technology tools, that relationship is evolving. In the center of the CPG-retailer relationship are AI and machine learning.

In this podcast, we explore the ways in which shifting economic trends are transforming the customer relationship between CPG companies and consumers. Join our host and expert guests as they share insights on how to leverage data to gain a competitive edge, foster innovation, and drive growth in uncertain times.

Through real-world stories and practical advice, you’ll discover new ways to think about data and learn how to use it to create meaningful connections with your customers. Whether you’re a seasoned industry veteran or just starting out, Navigating Economic Uncertainty offers valuable insights and actionable strategies to help you succeed in today’s challenging market.

First appeared here:

To learn more about how AI can create efficiencies in resources and accuracy in both macro and micro-trend planning, click here.

A harmonious tale: Strengthening the retailer-CPG relationship

First posted here:

Ryan Powell, SVP retail strategy and consulting at Insite AI, explains why the relationship between retailers and CPG brands goes beyond breaking silos of data and understanding each other’ strategies. Success is tied to collaborative planning processes as if they were a single entity.

For decades, the relationship between retailers and their CPG brands have been a critical, albeit complex one to navigate. Both share mirrored desires to remain competitive, capture consumer loyalty and spend, and drive greater market share.

At the same time, they both face very similar challenges from increasing cost pressures, defense against new entrants, the rise of direct to consumer marketing, and ever-evolving consumer demands.

But the two are often at odds with different business objectives and goals, especially when it comes to pricing, and they have historically remained distinct in their pricing strategies. According to a report by Bain & Company, relations between the two actually fell to their lowest level within the past five years in 2021, mainly driven by approaches that favored short-term sales.

The fact is, though, that there’s a huge opportunity for both parties to work more closely together, break down those detrimental silos, and ultimately increase profitability for all. With record numbers of new categories and brand extensions launched every week, pressures from online shopping, and ever-shrinking shelf space, making smarter choices for in-store together will be imperative for success moving forward.

Considering CPGs and retailers have monthly, quarterly, and annual revenue and profit targets to hit — plus shareholders and stakeholders to satisfy — it’s important to acknowledge that delivering a joint business plan wouldn’t necessarily be a simple, quick fix. It requires bold leaders from both sides prepared to invest time and energy in order to properly execute against this sort of strategy. For those willing to make this change though, the benefits could be significant. In fact, that same Bain report cited a more than 10% increase of incremental profit pool growth in just one year if retailers and CPGs build intelligent and well-devised, joint business plans.

So, where to start?

Establishing trust and transparency

The strongest relationships are built between people, and although written business plans and agreements are necessary, the most important investment is establishing the utmost trust, transparency, and rapport with all involved retail and CPG parties. This isn’t just limited to C-suite executives or VPs. In fact, it is even more important that the people who will actually deliver the day-to-day execution like category managers, buyers, and shopper marketing directors trust one another and recognize they are working collaboratively for a common business goal. This, in turn, requires conversations around, and deep understanding of, each other’s needs and goals: What does success look like? How are they being appraised? Aligning on these points up front is key to successful collaboration.

Another success factor is the use of data. Both retailers and CPGs have access to unique data sets that, if combined, could change course for their businesses. Retailers are typically armed with incredible intelligence and analyses around shopper behaviors and engagement through Electronic Point of Sale, loyalty card, and large amounts of consumer data.

On the flip side, CPGs have much more granular figures and expertise surrounding their specific brands and overall categories (i.e., factors like pricing, assortment, and space optimization). Many CPGs also have greater capabilities when it comes to AI, ML, and analytics that help improve forecasts, recommendations, and decision-making to provide enormous value for the retailers.

As part of this though, trusting CPGs data’s accuracy and value and demonstrating a willingness to use it will be the first step in driving paired success.

Those who plan together, stay together

Moving forward to satisfy the consumer goes beyond breaking siloes of data and understanding each other’s strategies, or even discussing mid- and long-term goals. For success it is critical for retailers and CPGs to actually conduct their planning processes together as if they were a single entity — particularly focused on category planning.

Sure, CPGs could very well grow specific brands and drive that short-term success for their retailers on their own, but true long-term success requires strategic initiatives and decision-making centered around entire category growth, building strategies that are right for the retailer’s DNA and for the consumers that shop there.

One way to achieve this is for CPGs and retailers to work cohesively in the same platforms to co-develop the numbers, projects, predictions and co-manage the data. Through greater collaboration at the planning stage and increased transparency the two can more effectively and efficiently ensure true optimization of assortment, pricing, and shelf space, and make sure consumers get the value they need.

Knowing your work isn’t done

Above all, one of the most important things for CPGs and retailers to keep in mind once they’ve implemented this connected approach is to remain continuously innovative. Considering how volatile the retail industry is and every variable involved, remaining stagnant or complacent in tactics is a recipe for disaster. Being inquisitive and consistently asking questions, analyzing data through different lenses, introducing new data sets into ecosystems, and having a real-time understanding of customer sentiment and trends will be essential in staying agile, smart, and one step ahead against other industry players.

While this collaborative approach appears a daunting task, one that will require unprecedented levels of cooperation and even change management, the potential for market success makes the effort well worth it. By working in true partnership, retailers and CPGs have the greater potential to strengthen profit margins, shopper relationships, and overall success. As the pandemic rages on across the globe and disrupts previous operations, alters consumer behaviors, and challenges retail and CPG execution more than ever before — taking the leap of collaboration could prove more beneficial not only now, but in the many years to come.

Ryan Powell is SVP retail strategy and consulting at Insite AI

First posted here: