In my article last August 23, 2010, I discussed the availability of weekly scandata from the leading supermarket chain. Scandata is the data that is generated whenever an item is sold at the checkouts, as its bar code is read by the scanner and as the SKU and quantity sold is recorded. “SKU” means stock-keeping unit, meaning a very specific version of a particular brand’s pack-size. Over the course of a year, a single pack-size such as a 100g bottle of Sunsilk might include several different versions of the same size, including several different scents or formulae, some promotional packs, or several new formulae, or new versions of the package designs. Each of those versions would be a separate SKU.

For years, the scanning of a barcode at the checkouts provided nothing more than pricing information for the cash register to total up the value of the sale.  But that has changed for many retailers. Today,retailers routinely link the checkout scanner to inventory records to automatically identify the re-order quantity, which helps day to day buying decisions tremendously.

And some retailers have gone even further. Sales data can be compiled to show SKU, brand or category growth or the lack thereof.  Obviously, if you are the manufacturer-supplier, having ineffective support can result to a lot of unhappiness, not to mention loss of further support from the retailer, perhaps combined with demands for increased financial incentives to the retailer to keep stocking your brand.
Now,the availability of weekly sales scandata from Shoemart Supermarket, also known as SVI, has the potential to make the benefits and consequences even more visible and more immediate. This can be good or bad for the retail chain, the brand and their respective handlers depending on the effectiveness of their efforts.

At the retail level, the age of information driven marketing is here.

Since early this year, SVI in conjunction with Nielsen has been making available weekly scandata for a range of categories where sales can be shown at the SKU level or totalled upward not only to the brand level but to the category level. And just as important, a subscriber to the data can see not only his or her own brand but every competitor as well.

Sales can then be reviewed to assess not only the effect of one’s own activities, but also the impact of a competitor’s activities on other brands including your own.

This tool will help you understand your brand’s users’ behavior much more than looking at your sales information because you will see the weekly changes that result from the implementation of your plans, including any corrective actions that you are in a position to implement. That is something that is not easily appreciated if you only look at your sell-in numbers, which will be clouded by lack of information on inventory as well as shifts in time versus offtake.

You also will be in a position to better understand any differences your users may have versus users of other brands with implications on what you should continue doing or stop doing or change.

I recall seeing some early analyses done on chocolate for two different peak consumer-buying periods where two brands turned out to be prime beneficiaries of increased buying. What was interesting and potentially actionable was that, although both brands actively promoted during both peak buying periods, a different brand became market leader at each of those two peak periods. Although each brand spiked during both periods, albeit to a very different degree, it was clear that consumers saw each brand as fulfilling a different need.

From a retailer’s standpoint, it seems that each brand could be prioritized for its own best occasion. And the retailer could get more sales out of the whole category that way as it competes more effectively against other channels and chains.

The retailer could then work with each of the two manufacturers to ensure that their promotions were most appropriate to their respective priority periods, learning from both local and global experience, and while also working with other brands in the category, to make sure that their promotions enhanced category and retailer growth, in addition to brand growth.


Benedicto “Poch” Cid is the Chief Brand Adviser of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. (www.mansmith.net), the leading marketing and sales training company in the Philippines. For inquiries, please email info@mansmith.net call (+63-2) 584-5858 /412-0034 or text (63) 918-81-168-88.  Please also send your marketing, sales and strategy questions to mentors@mansmith.net.