“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
As this ancient proverb suggests, a common enemy is the basis for a common friendship. We agree.
For over five years we’ve been making our client's enemy our enemy. And, in the process, we’ve established and enjoyed many meaningful friendships—from Fortune 500 corporations right down to family-owned businesses on Main Street U.S.A.
But who or what is this enemy we share in common?
It’s an ugly, two-headed monster called limited vision—more specifically, limited in-store vision. And there’s nothing we like better than slaying this monster.
We call it a two-headed monster because, really, this enemy is two enemies in one. Often businesses realize the presence of the first enemy, while overlooking the second—which is easily the more dangerous and costly of the two.
So let us quickly describe both of the monster’s ugly heads as well as our weapon of choice for defeating the beast.
Ugly Head #1: Lack of In-Store Knowledge
Whoever said “ignorance is bliss” obviously didn’t serve the retail sector.
In retail especially, what you don’t know will most certainly hurt you. This is something most businesses realize and readily accept.
Over the years, lack of in-store knowledge has plagued many vendors and their retail execution. They simply don’t know what their partners, customers, and competitors are up to. They don’t know, for instance, that their:
- In-store displays and signage are missing in some stores and improperly positioned in others
- Inventory is periodically out-of-stock and consistently low
- SKUs in some stores are incorrectly positioned on store shelves
- Competitors are aggressively lowering prices or staging point-of-purchase promotional campaigns
They just don't know these things.
That's the first head of the ugly monster we call limited in-store vision. But there’s another ugly head on this monster—and it’s even more dangerous simply because fewer companies are aware of its menacing presence.
Ugly Head #2: Illusion of
A question for you: Through history up to the present day, what primarily has prevented mankind from making important, paradigm-shifting discoveries more quickly than we have?
Was it man’s lack of knowledge? Not necessarily. According to historian Daniel Boorstin, man’s progress has been inhibited more frequently by the illusion of knowledge than the lack of knowledge.
As Boorstin wrote, “The great obstacle to discovering the shape of the Earth, the continents, and the oceans was not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge” (emphasis added).
Mark Twain said much the same, but in his own patented folksy, humorous way: “What gets us in trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”
Apply this to retail.
So often vendors and other companies think they know their inventory levels; they think their displays and signage are in stores; they think their products are properly placed on shelves. They think they know…
But the distance between vendor headquarters and store shelves is often great—and sometimes what vendors think they know, to use Twain’s words, “just ain’t so.”
That’s the second head of the monster we call limited in-store vision. And it’s the uglier and scarier of the two.
Slaying the Monster: The Weapon of Choice
Let’s face it, our common enemy is only as dangerous as his ability to hide. As vendors get closer to their products and in-store promotions, they begin to rob this ugly two-headed monster of his power. He can no longer hurt them because their in-store vision is no longer limited.
But how do you do this?
What is the weapon of choice for defeating this monster?