Actionable Insights From APT's Retail Practice

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)


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)

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)

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.

Top 5 Trends in Apparel Retail for 2015

January 1st, 2015 | Posted by Katheryn McKee in Apparel - (Comments Off)

In a recent Retail TouchPoints blog, APT Senior Vice President John Howard outlines trends in the apparel industry that will likely be top-of-mind in 2015. John discusses the following trends:

  1. Targeted Customer Outreach
  2. Promotional Right-Sizing
  3. Acceleration of Cross-Channel Purchasing Services
  4. Customized In-Store Experience Through Mobile Technologies
  5. Adoption of Inventory Management Technology

John writes, “In 2015, consumers will demand a shopping experience that provides appealing personalized offers, and is seamless, convenient, and consistent across channels. As apparel retailers innovate to drive customer engagement and attract new customers, organizations will benefit from using their data to measure the effectiveness of the new initiatives they introduce.”

Click here to read the full blog.

APT Index: Super Saturday Holiday Sales Down

December 31st, 2014 | Posted by Katheryn McKee in APT Index - (Comments Off)

In-store sales for Super Saturday Weekend were down [-1.7%] vs. the same time last year, according to data from the APT Index of U.S. same-store retail sales.  The Index also revealed that Super Saturday Weekend sales figures varied widely across the country.

Change in Unemployment

  • In areas where unemployment increased year-over-year, the APT Index of retail sales decreased [-2.1%]
  • In areas where unemployment decreased year-over-year, the APT Index of retail sales decreased [-1.3%]

Median Income

  • In areas with median income $75K or greater, the APT Index of retail sales decreased [-2.4%]
  • In areas with median income less than $75K, the APT Index of retail sales decreased [-1.0%]

Median Household Size

  • In areas with median household size 2.5 or greater, the APT Index of retail sales decreased [-2.6%]
  • In areas with median household size less than 2.5, the APT Index of retail sales decreased [-0.8%]

Click here for more information, including the top and bottom performing cities.