One Blog |October 14, 2016 | Point-of-Sale Marketing Software

Increasing Beverage Alcohol’s Brand Awareness with Point-of-Sale Marketing

Mark Fullerton

You May Need Software Technology To Do That!

Historical Perspective

Not too many years ago, beverage alcohol distributors had barely “discovered” let alone adopted much information technology, beyond order processing and accounting – the technology, in fact, was called a route accounting system or RAS. 

The reasons for distributors being “late adopters” were pretty simple. These distributors enjoyed a virtually recession proof business with annual growth practically a given and with “comfortable” margins. Some might say that being a distributor was almost like having a license to print money. 

Territories were protected and the number of individual products distributors had to keep track of were relatively few. On top of these reasons, the three-tier system pretty much guaranteed the importance of a distributor’s place in the supply-chain was high and unwavering.

One last reason for the distributor’s reluctance to adopt new technologies was that many distributor principals who had been personally running their operations with only incremental changes since the repeal of prohibition, were only just beginning to give up control to their sons or daughters, and were often still active in the operations.

The post-prohibition distributors – some having little experience with technology – saw little need to spend money on information technology that they believed they didn’t need and sometimes didn’t bother to understand.

And Then “Everything” Changed.

In the past twenty five years we’ve been through incredible changes. The market had changed, and the “license to print money” might still be valid in some cases. However, instead of a license to print $100 bills, the distributor at the turn of the century could only print $50’s.

Guaranteed annual growth gave way to headlines like “beverage alcohol sales are flat again this year,” and the number of wholesale distributors, especially beer wholesalers, began to shrink as a new phenomenon came to be: Consolidation.

Adopting Technology

By the time consolidation had become almost commonplace, distributors had already started adopting technologies, first to automate, and then to add efficiencies to the business of being a 21st Century distributor.

In the past decade, we’ve seen the addition of new ordering technology and improvements in inventory management and purchasing systems that increase inventory turns while virtually eliminating out-of-stock situations. 

Distributors have also adopted transportation management software, maintenance minding systems for the fleets of trucks now favored by larger wholesalers, and warehouse automation systems to squeez cents-per-case efficiencies from every corner of the operation of a modern distributor. 

Many distributors, in recent years, have even adopted business analytics or business intelligence applications – systems that enable and support the use of data created by distributor’s back office systems to detect patterns and guide decision making, often improving both the effectiveness and efficiency of the distributor’s operations.

So Why Not POS Tracking Technology

You’d think there’s practically no area remaining in 2016 where a distributor who has embraced 21st century technology can find additional cost savings with technology. 

Well we’ve managed to find, for now, at least one more area where costs can be significantly reduced: Point-of-Sale (POS) Marketing

Most distributors when asked to list their top-3 expenses will say payroll is their #1 expense, followed by POS, then fuel. During the past couple of years, we’ve enjoyed low fuel prices which have kept “Signs, displays, menus, samples, permanent, and other promotional items displayed at the point-of-sale as our number two expense right behind payroll,” according to beverage alcohol distributors from all over the US.

Listen To One of Our Customers

Since 2005, Chas Seligman has been our customer. Seligman is a medium-size Anheuser-Busch distributor. They told us earlier this year that POS tracking management was a technology that generated one of the quickest efficiencies of any of the “advanced technologies” they adopted in the 21st century. 

In fact, according to Seligman’s general manager, Jennifer Doering, “SignTrak and PermaTrak once again proved their value as we began expanding our craft program over the past year or two. The reason – most craft suppliers, even the more established brands, only have the kind budgets available to support local, POS, initiatives. We’ve been able to keep track of our craft POS spending in order to participate in the Craft’s marketing co-op programs. Without OnTrak’s products we’d basically be funding craft entirely on our own.”

Take Action

Considering the fact that the market has nearly 5,000 breweries, I would imagine tracking, measuring and managing POS marketing promotions will be close to impossible without one of OnTrak Software Digital POS Tracking tools.

The best way to see the value of all of the OnTrak POS Tracking Solutions is to view a live, online demonstration.

Click the following link to: Request a Demo, or call one of our product experts at 513-936-4041.

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