Thursday, June 20, 2024

Five minutes with Saleslink Australasia MD Taoe Hutchins

Can you tell me about the company and what you do?

Saleslink Australasia has been servicing the grocery industry for more than 20 years. We provide account-management and field merchandising services that connect brands with retailers and consumers.


What sort of services do you supply?

Saleslink uses its own in-house developed app, which was created seven years ago and has been continually updated and improved to provide the most efficient tool for our team to use in-store. It has been specifically built for the Australian FMCG marketplace and is flexible enough to provide ‘bespoke’ services.

The Saleslink app gives our reps and merchandisers all the information they need to complete their sales calls, including journey plans, store-specific ranging and aisle-flow information plus relevant product and promotional information to drive sales.

All data collected is real time, with reporting that creates actionable and value-added insights.

Saleslink invests in the training and development of its team, which is essential to ensure our people are the best resource we have for delivering value to our client and retail partners.

High retention rates and having a highly knowledgeable and experienced team with solid instore relationships drive value for all parties.


Are there any trends emerging that more retailers/suppliers are looking for in their in-store services?

Wages and costs are tight for stores, so any value-added in-store activity and support from a field team is always welcomed by store managers and their teams.

Being in the stores when they need us the most, such as afternoon services when out-of-stock (OOS) levels are at their highest, adds significant value when the shelves or displays can be replenished to minimise OOSs and drive maximum sales.

Suppliers are continually being squeezed by the retailers for improved profitability and, unfortunately, they then need to also find ways of reducing their CODB (cost of doing business). One area they generally look to is their spend on marketing and brand support, including their field teams. Saleslink is a ‘shared model’ and is structured to provide brand support at a lower cost than suppliers having their own dedicated teams.

There is an ongoing trend of consolidation among suppliers, and I would suggest the same thing will happen in the area of field-merchandising services as the industry landscape changes and everyone struggles to find cost savings and smarter ways of doing business. This will include compliance auditing, shelf merchandising, mystery shopping, and the like. I think there will be a growing trend that taps into crowd sourcing to complete this work at a reduced cost.


What kinds of technology/ products are available that are helping retailers/suppliers make themselves more attractive to their customers?

Advances in app technology, better use of and sharing of available information, and improved reporting that delivers actionable insights.


What kinds of products/services do you expect to see (or would like to see) in the future?

Photo-recognition software, the use of wearable devices to improve productivity and training, late-night and weekend field merchandising, and a potential crowd- sourcing model for compliance and ad-hoc work.

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