How customer insights drive Dairy Foods retail sales

Category & Shopper Solutions Team partner with sales teams and retailers to drive mutual growth

There’s more to sales than selling a product. You have to know your product, the customer and the category dynamics. Knowing all this is where Randy Rutzick and his Category & Shopper Solutions Team excel and add value.

“We work with retailers in a way that is good for them and for Land O’Lakes, Inc.,” says Randy. “And we don’t ask field sales staff to do that on their own—we do it centrally as part of our ‘Prepare to Sell’ capability. My team supports field sales with insights and selling presentations to help them when they’re meeting with retailers.”

Among the resources Randy’s team provides are national selling presentations. Remember the LAND O LAKES® Pumpkin Pie Spice Butter Spread we rolled out last year? Randy and Mark Schoess, senior customer category manager, crafted a selling story to help the sales team sell it to retailers. The selling story touched on these core areas:

  • Spreadable Butter is an important and growing product category.

  • Flavors are on-trend and are driving excitement with shoppers.

  • Pumpkin-flavored items are a growing trend across the store, especially within the refrigerated products category.

Getting on the shelf: What where and why

Another way Randy’s team adds value is by working with retailers on product assortment and shelf placement. Randy and his team work to determine optimal assortment and space planning for product categories. In other words, recommending what products should be in a retailer’s assortment and where to put them on store shelves to maximize sales and profits.

“We’re able to provide input on optimal product assortment for the Butter & Spreads category,” explains Randy. “We’re able to specify some key parameters—for example, the number of total items in the category, the split between Butter and Spreads items and other key parameters. Then recommend the optimal assortment.”

Once the product assortment is determined, the team works on space planning.
There are a number of factors at play including shoppers’ behavior, a product’s sales volume, the retailer’s strategy and the influence of competitors.

“Many times, our competitors have different points of view on what they want and they are actively influencing retailers as well,” says Randy. “Our goal is to ensure that both the retailer and Land O’Lakes win in the category.”

Keeping up with the retailers

The next time you are in a grocery store and your eye falls on a shelf of LAND O LAKES® Butter, think about what it takes to get it there. You know now that it doesn’t just happen—there’s an entire process behind it. And as we look ahead, that process is increasingly becoming more prescriptive.

That means that Randy and his team will continue to up their game by leveraging new and emerging data sources and tools to enhance their selling presentations, assortment optimization and space planning.

 “Our customers are operating on a more sophisticated level,” says Randy. “And we need to stay aligned with how retailers are running their businesses.”