What We Know About Beer Distributors’ Challenges
Regarding POS Marketing, Line Cleaning and Tap Handle Surveying
A Passion for Marketing and Operational Excellence
If you’re like most beer distributors, you are passionate about your products; and this is reflected in your deep commitment to delivering the best point-of-sale (POS) marketing promotions for your customers - the restaurants, bars and retail market.
Because of this commitment running your POS marketing operations as effectively and efficiently as possible is very important. But due to the rising costs of POS marketing and the ever increasing importance of POS to grow and keep market share, POS marketing operations is now, more than ever, critical to your success.
The same is true when it comes to the operational aspects of reporting on mandated draught line cleaning activities and of gathering market intelligence to maximize your presence at beverage taps. The better the beer tastes, the more you're able to sell, and increase your penetration at the taps.
Ask Yourself These Questions
POS - Printed Signs / Permanent Displays
- Are your POS operations – typically centered around your in-house graphics department and print shop – still run through a series of painstaking, slow and error prone manual methods?
- Are you able to instantly track POS workflows, costly reworks and speed to market?
- At the end of a marketing initiative are you able to determine how much you spent on POS, what brands you spent on and where your POS was placed (and for how long)?
- Are you able to correlate POS marketing campaigns with sales results to enable you to better understand what POS types, styles and messages generate the best ROI?
- Can you visually verify POS sign and display placements to satisfy suppliers’ requests for proof of compliance with their guidelines and to verify your POS placements in order to claim allowances?
- Are you able to take full advantage of your suppliers' marketing allowance and recovery programs by providing detailed reports pertaining to how much you spent, what you were promoting at retail and where, by customer, ethnicity or type of retailer and other data you spent it?
- Are you able to track and report on mandated draught line cleaning activities?
- Can you ensure compliance with draught line cleaning requirements at retail customer locations?
- Are you able to track both active and inactive taps in a customer establishment?
- Do you know which brands are on each customers tap position including your own as well as competitor brands?
- Can you accurately determine your tap handle market share to identify replacement opportunities for growth?
If you’re like far too many beleaguered beer distributors of all sizes today, the answer to some or most of these question is, unfortunately, “No” or “Not as much as we need to.”
We Know Beer Distributors
OnTrak Software helps beer distributors better track, measure and manage their investments in point-of-sale (POS) marketing and promotional materials, draught beer line cleaning and tap handle surveying.
POS Marketing - Custom, Temporary Printed Signs and Permanent POS
Each of the POS solutions in our portfolio provide capability in three key areas:
Tracking the POS workflow from order, through production and to installation offers several benefits including cost savings, speed to market and sales and market share growth and retention. Today, beer distributors of all sizes know that the cost of incorrectly produced POS is more than the cost of the paper, ink and labor involved in reworking signage – although the rework costs, averaging over $30 per sign are hardly insignificant; as you may have heard, according to many beer distributors, POS costs, especially for reworks, are “out of control”.
POS marketing materials delayed by even a day or two can take a bite out of your market share, especially if your competition gets their signs and displays to market a day or two ahead of yours. Many beer distributors now know that even getting their POS to the retailer one day sooner is a competitive advantage that can be seen in the daily sales totals. We understand that collecting POS data and correlating it to item sales data will improve the effectiveness of your sales and merchandising teams as they will be able to use POS marketing programs to generate greater returns simply because they will now know what POS promotions work best to boost sales.
Measuring the impact of POS is practically impossible using manual methods. Deploying on-line POS tracking (ordering, work-flow and placement) tools with easy-to-use interfaces helps your measuring efforts:
- By collecting consistent data from POS orders placed on sales reps laptops, tablets and smartphones;
- By compiling customer, brand, POS type, cost and retail message information during the production process and;
- By visually verifying (using smartphone or tablet cameras) the actual placement of POS at the retailer’s location, at-retail.
Once this data has been gathered, it becomes a relatively simple matter of correlating your POS data to your sales data by customer or product, thus providing you with actionable information for upcoming POS initiatives.
Managing your POS Marketing expenses and especially outcomes is another area that is all but impossible even using spreadsheets, dashboard and other graphical tools without an accurate, complete and consistent data base to feed into your analytical and graphical programs. And, even if you have, somehow, compiled such data, it typically will have to be reformatted to load into an Excel spreadsheet or BI tool. Without such reformatting, time-consuming manual data loading will be required. Only utilizing a digital tool will any POS data you may have collected be transformed into meaningful and usable information.
By first collecting, compiling and loading POS data fields into a reporting tool – even a basic Excel spreadsheet – distributors can transform their “nice to know” data into powerful “actionable” information that they can use to inform their decisions, or at an accountability level, produce POS spending reports that will become the basis for recovering POS marketing costs – that is, sourcing cash – from their suppliers’ available marketing allowance programs.
By running reports on a timely basis – on a monthly, quarterly or trimester basis – beer distributors can, over time, begin to see trends in POS spending by rep, market segment, customer and even individual label. Then, when correlating these POS trends with depletion trends, forecast accuracy can be improved.
Our line cleaning mobile app enables beer wholesalers to track and report on mandated draught line cleaning activity. The software integrates data with a web-based database to easily schedule cleanings and create an always-available history for any given retail customer they serve.
With the new app, beer wholesalers are armed with an easy-to-use tool to replace paper logs and greatly improve efficiency when tasked with ensuring compliance with draught line cleaning requirements at retail customer locations.
With a constant eye on efficiency and reporting, OnTrak provides beer wholesalers with a simple mobile solution for the millions of retail locations where they maintain draught lines. The app allows wholesalers and their customers to be confident they are consistently serving safe, great tasting beer.
The tap handle survey feature is included with our line cleaning app. This feature collects and tracks market data so that wholesalers can learn which products are flowing through active taps, and when a product is replaced by another product - A powerful tool to increase a wholesaler’s representation on the beer tap.
New surveying capabilities provide constant data on a beer wholesaler’s presence in any particular establishment, logging every beer brand and its position on the tap. Armed with this information, sales representatives are better positioned to recommend changes and replacements that further increase the wholesaler’s business.
The addition of this new and powerful feature delivers a dual role solution - Both as a vital operational tool and now a strategic intelligence system that dramatically increases a wholesaler’s chance of not only improving, but maximizing its presence on taps. The survey feature provides an excellent opportunity for wholesalers to affordably gain significant efficiencies for draught line cleaning while at the same time using it to gain an advantage over any competition on the same tap. It’s a new marketing intelligence feature that will most likely pay for itself, and then some.
The tap handle survey enables beer wholesaler representatives to track and report on:
- Active and inactive taps in an establishment
- Brands on each tap position including their own as well as competitor brands
- Market share analysis providing replacement opportunities for growth