A partnership with Imperial Logistics has delivered market share growth, an outstanding return on investment and valuable insights into consumers’ shopping habits for leading global consumer healthcare group GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

“Since implementing our solution for GSK, we have reduced the key value items (KVIs) out of stock on shelf by an exceptional 517%,” says Imperial Logistics chief strategy officer, Cobus Rossouw. This has helped GSK to secure sales on its fastest sellers. “Through real time reporting, Imperial passes on trade intelligence beyond the shelf space, and this has given GSK valuable insights and comprehensive breakdowns on all shoppers approached, including their buying behavior and perceptions,” he expands. Imperial also uses GSK criteria to measure a solid return on investment.

Rossouw explains that historically, manufacturers like GSK have used weekend promoters for their brand activation activities. “This results in a temporary spike in sales, but unfortunately, these weekend promoters often have little to no product knowledge. With Imperial, our brand education experts are in a class of their own. Specifically recruited for the oral care and wellness requirements of GSK’s Sensodyne, Aquafresh, Grandpa, Calpol, Med-Lemon, Scotts and Eno brands, they are permanently based in store, and boast exceptional brand knowledge.”

Imperial’s service to GSK initially consisted of 20 brand education experts based at 40 strategic stores in Gauteng, including Makro, Pick ‘n Pay Hypers, Pick ‘n Pay Family stores, Spar and Checkers / Shoprite. This has since doubled, from 20 to 40, with two managers overseeing activities.

Rossouw says that every Imperial brand education specialist working for GSK completes a rigorous training programme, to align their performance and activities with GSK’s global standard operating procedures. “They write a test and must achieve a pass rate of 90% or more before they may approach shoppers. Monthly product training, updates and tests are conducted thereafter, to ensure that Imperial’s brand education experts are always equipped to exceed clients’ expectations.

“Because we are permanently based in store, we not only defend GSK’s forward share and market share, we consistently drive brand awareness, larger basket purchases and a memorable shopping experience,” Rossouw stresses. “In addition, we offer GSK transparent and immediate visibility on issues, merchandising and competitor activity. Imperial constantly shares information with GSK on delivery and stock issues faced in stores. This allows immediate action from the relevant GSK managers, who can give feedback to their key account managers, who will in turn contact the distribution centre to resolve issues.”

Since the inception of this partnership, Imperial has brought a significant point of difference to the coal face in-store for GSK, Rossouw states. “The greatest benefit that we are delivering to GSK is dedicated, permanent experts who are trained and qualified to engage with shoppers and offer them oral care and wellness solutions from GSK’s brands. No competitor has this model in trade. In the stores that Imperial is in we have substantially out-grown other stores,” he concludes.