Sell-through Data for Strategic Planning

One of the more common portals to cash register data for retail sales is the SPINS Satori portal. SPINS will sell you data on your brand through Satori, account by account. The original intent was to support your sales team by giving you competitive intelligence at each account that would assist you in annual buyer meetings/resets. How quaint. As if the horrendous user interface.

The problem with this approach to using cash register data is that the data you purchase does NOT offer a comprehensive view of your brand in its total, all-outlet national context. In other words, just because you’re crushing your competition at NCGA retailers, it doesn’t say anything about your competitive fortunes at Kroger. This is especially true if you have a bunch of fast-growing peers in your category NOT selling at your current accounts but only at other ones you didn’t purchase from Satori. Oops. Now, hopefully, you see the issue. 

Proper strategic planning in Phases 2-4 requires access to all-outlet Nielsen/IRI/SPINS data on your category so that you can see ALL the players and how they’re doing nationally, regardless of which accounts they are in. If you want to pay more, you can even buy account-level data on retailers at which you’re NOT even selling just to ‘spy’ on your competition’s performance. It’s been done. 

Once you are about $1M in retail sales, it’s time to invest in this kind of national, all-outlet data to understand your competition’s performance in the entire national landscape. It’s critical to do this BEFORE you leave your home retail turf. Otherwise, you have no idea which national chain retailers are pitting you against in terms of shelf-space, price, assortment, etc.

It doesn’t cost a fortune, but it’s usually an incremental charge, and all you need is a snapshot initially, not rolling access to all-outlet data. Watch out. The latter is MUCH more costly than a snapshot. 

Dr. James Richardson

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