Actionable Insights From APT's Retail Practice

APT Index: March Same-Store Retail Sales Increase [+1.8%]

April 13th, 2015 | Posted by MHarper in Apparel | APT Index | Retail - (Comments Off on APT Index: March Same-Store Retail Sales Increase [+1.8%])

APT today announced that the APT Index of in-store retail sales for March 2015 increased [+1.8%] compared with March of last year, as Americans’ view of the economy reached an 8-year high. APT Index general merchandise sales increased [+1.8%], and APT Index apparel sales increased [+0.4%]. Click here to read the full report.

What Role Should Testing Play in Change Management?

April 2nd, 2015 | Posted by Katheryn McKee in Retail - (Comments Off on What Role Should Testing Play in Change Management?)

In a recently published article in Retail TouchPoints, APT SVP Jonathan Marek explains the importance of testing ideas on a smaller scale and focusing on their incremental impact to more accurately determine which innovative ideas work well, which need to be refined, and which should be abandoned.

Marek comments, “Retailers should be measuring change in sales, profit, customer satisfaction, inventory levels, and more, in the short-term, as well as changes in long-term metrics that gauge the customer relationship benefits that manifest as a result of the program. For each of these metrics, retailers must be laser-focused on uncovering the incremental impact, or what would have happened in lieu of launching the initiative, while accounting for external factors, such as socioeconomic conditions and competitor actions, that can skew program assessments.”

Read the full article here.

APT Index: Harsh Weather Dampens February Same-Store Retail Sales [-0.9%]

March 10th, 2015 | Posted by MHarper in Apparel | APT Index | General Insights | Retail - (Comments Off on APT Index: Harsh Weather Dampens February Same-Store Retail Sales [-0.9%])

APT today announced that the APT Index of in-store retail sales for February 2015 decreased [-0.9%] compared with February of last year. The decrease was driven by a decrease in the number of transactions [-1.8%], as poor weather deterred shoppers. The APT Index of General Merchandise sales decreased [-2.1%] and the APT Index of Apparel sales was down [-0.6%]. Click here to read the full report.

8 Tips for Improving Your Testing Process

February 13th, 2015 | Posted by Haley Jackson in Apparel | Grocery/Convenience | Retail - (Comments Off on 8 Tips for Improving Your Testing Process)

Most retailers use in-market tests to help inform decisions. But just running tests isn’t enough. Based on our work with dozens of retail brands, here are eight tips for improving your testing process.

  1. Grow your innovation funnel. You should never be left with just one idea to try – if it doesn’t work, what’s left? Ideas for testing should span marketing, merchandising, operations, pricing, and capital investments. Many retailers generate these ideas from a broad range of sources, including talking to customers and managers in the field, competitor actions, and importantly, analyzing their own transaction and customer data more deeply. Often ideas are filtered through taste panels, focus groups, surveys, and the like, which can help weed out a fraction of the ideas that may not work. Ultimately, however, all of the resulting ideas are unproven until they are tested in the real world. For example, new promotions could give away money to customers who would have paid full price for the promoted item, targeting Millennials could alienate other customer segments, etc. It’s easy to make any idea sound good and support it with customer feedback, management anecdotes, executive intuition, or survey data, but the reality is that many innovative ideas don’t work. Organizations need to have enough ideas in the funnel so that they can throw away the ones that don’t work and refine and target the ones that do.


CPGs leverage digital channels to connect with customers

February 11th, 2015 | Posted by Haley Jackson in Manufacturing - (Comments Off on CPGs leverage digital channels to connect with customers)

While the majority of consumer packaged goods sales are still derived from brick and mortar retail, the evolution of new distribution channels has increased the feasibility of manufacturers distributing and marketing products directly. As previously discussed, CPGs are leveraging these to explore new strategies (e.g., loyalty initiatives, direct shipping services) to more closely interact with consumers. Bolstering online and mobile capabilities can increase access to customer data and enable manufacturers to keep up with consumer trends, such as the growing shift towards shopping in digital channels. Traditionally, digital platforms have primarily served to educate consumers about products, but by enabling online or mobile purchases, manufacturers can collect shopping behavior data directly to learn more about their customers’ preferences. Other potential upsides to leveraging a digital DTC channel include strengthened brand loyalty and engagement and more control over product assortment and pricing. (more…)

APT Space Planning Optimizer

February 6th, 2015 | Posted by Katheryn McKee in Space Planning - (Comments Off on APT Space Planning Optimizer)

Determining the optimal space allocation for departments and categories across stores is a central responsibility for space planners seeking to achieve space performance goals. This video shows how innovative retailers are moving beyond the traditional approaches of large spreadsheets, complex queries, and “gut instinct” to solve this challenge with APT’s Space Planning Optimizer, which generates localized space recommendations.

The Data Culture Balancing Act

February 5th, 2015 | Posted by Joel Read in General Insights - (Comments Off on The Data Culture Balancing Act)

McKinsey & Company recently posted an excellent article, “Getting big impact from big data,” and addressed a proverbial elephant in the room: while most executives believe big data analytics is a critical tool for success, fewer companies have been able to successfully use analytics to drive major business decisions.

So what is preventing organizations from unlocking the value of their data? According to McKinsey a major barrier has been internal organizational cultures that are not familiar with analytical practices and therefore unwilling to take ownership of a new system with unproven results. This keeps organizations from being able to operate data driven initiatives at scale. So while software solutions can help, there is also a significant cultural challenge that needs to be overcome for organizations to realize the full value of big data. (more…)

APT Category Management Insights

February 5th, 2015 | Posted by Katheryn McKee in General Insights | Retail - (Comments Off on APT Category Management Insights)


All category managers want to grow their categories, but identifying profitable opportunities among the massive quantities of data is exceedingly challenging. This illustrative video shows how life can be different for category managers – Leah and Amber – when one starts to use APT’s Category Management Insights, while the other has to conduct manual analysis to try to make the same decisions.

Should CPGs increase focus on consumer data?

January 13th, 2015 | Posted by Evan Newkirk in Manufacturing - (Comments Off on Should CPGs increase focus on consumer data?)

Historically, consumer goods companies have been limited in the ways they can interact with their end consumers and collect data about them.  Retail partners, with their direct contact with the end consumer, have owned the lion’s share of the data, leaving CPGs with access only to data that is shared or can be purchased.  However, in recent years, the evolution of additional channels has allowed CPGs to expand beyond traditional data sources and begin to create their own customer-focused databases. (more…)

What’s on the Shelf in Grocery for 2015?

January 8th, 2015 | Posted by Katheryn McKee in Grocery/Convenience - (Comments Off on What’s on the Shelf in Grocery for 2015?)

In a recent Progressive Grocer article, APT Vice President Jeff Campbell elaborates on five emerging trends within food retail that grocers should watch in 2015. Jeff outlines the following trends:

  1. Personalized Promotions
  2. Turning the Store into a Destination Spot
  3. Catering to Convenience-Focused Consumers
  4. Enhanced Fuel Rewards
  5. Delivery Services

Jeff writes, “As deep-pocketed online players, big box retailers, and convenience and drug stores ramp up their efforts to steal share of wallet from grocery stores, the most successful grocers will be those that can anticipate impending changes and capitalize on the opportunities they create.”

Click here to read the full article.