When Does a New Product or Promotion Launch Actually Start at Retail — And Why You Should Care



Increasing new product and promotion speed-to-shelf measures and consumer sales volume are key goals for CPG manufacturers. For those clients who have made successful strides in these areas, forecasting how quickly products ship to retail is vital. Depending on the inventory levels already present in distributors’ warehouses, and the incentive programs underway among wholesalers and their customers, retailer shelf availability and consumer awareness of a new item or promotion can vary wildly from what many think it should be.

Speed-to-Shelf Impacts Retail Sales Execution Plans

Through analysis of distributor shipment data, you can gain a much better idea of when your promotional items or new products will be available at retail for consumer purchase, and therefore, plan your in-store sales execution and trade promotion activities more effectively. Distributors’ shipment data yields insight to their pipeline conditions. Through tracking wholesaler inventory levels, you can better anticipate when:
• A new product launch or promotion will begin shipping to retailers
• Product inventory will actually reach the shelf
• Consumer purchases and sales volumes will begin to trend up

With the advantage of actual distributor shipment data, calculating a more precise speed-to-shelf metric is possible!

Sharper Sales Forecasts Lead to More Effective Trade Promotion Strategy and Execution

Additionally, by tracking actual retailer deliveries, item velocity/turns, and resulting SKU, brand or category share by account and individual stores – all possible with distributor shipment data – forecasting sales with greater accuracy is easier to accomplish. Seeing the sales growth impact of your new product launch or sales promotion offer at work – by trading partner, channel, and sales territory – will guide and improve your overall trade promotion planning, budgeting and in-store execution, so you can reach your consumer sales volume goals as quickly as possible.

With over 20 years’ experience collecting, harmonizing, and analyzing weekly shipment files from thousands of consumer packaged goods distributors covering over a million SKUs and half-a-million stores, MSA has helped CPG firms improve consumer sales volume performance through marketplace intelligence gained from the broad and deep data set that distributor shipments provides. Through data mining and analytics of shipment data by SKU and promotion, at the chain and store-level, CPG firms get vital information to better align retail shelf product availability with trade promotion programs, and further adjust sales team resource allocation and in-store execution activities to drive incremental revenue growth.


What do you think of this blog topic? Are you satisfied with your new products or promotional items speed-to-shelf metrics or could they be improved? Contact me at PGrubbs@MSA.com for a no obligation conversation to explore what areas of your Trade Program Management process can yield greater return on investment.

by Paul Grubbs, Client Relationship Vice President