When Products Fly Off the Shelves: That’s Shelf Velocity

Cheers and high fives are common when a company gets their product listed with a retail chain, and onto store shelves. But, what many don’t realize is getting listed is only the beginning.

[Updated 2024]

  • Strategy
by Braden Douglas
April 27, 2017

You spent all that time and effort getting your products ONTO retail store shelves...

Now, how do you get your products OFF them?

With Velocity.

Maximizing Retail Shelf Success

That retail buyer who just listed your product is taking a huge risk betting that the addition of your brand will be more profitable – per square foot of retail space – than what they’re achieving with the current product mix.

In other words, that new product must come off the shelf faster than everyone else’s. It must gain traction with shoppers in that chain of retail stores as soon as possible.

No pressure, right?

Measuring Shelf Adoption

To help companies gauge how well a product is adopted at the shelf level, Crew recommends focusing on a metric called SPPD.

What does SSPD Mean?

SSPD, means "Sales Per Point of Distribution" and it is a way to see how well a product sells in each store it’s available in.

It helps companies figure out if their product is doing well where it’s being sold. So, if you want to know if a new snack is popular, you check its SPPD to see if it’s flying off the shelves in the stores that carry it.

This is a fundamental metric that every marketing department should be measured by.

How Does Somebody Increase SPPD?

To answer this for our clients, we’ve developed an approach called a “Shelf Velocity Strategy.”

The foundation of our Velocity strategy is driving cost effective awareness and trial activity.

Awareness is the number of consumers who are aware of your brand and product offering.

Trial is the number of consumers who become aware of your product, try it, and purchase it for the first time; a metric also referred to as “household penetration.”

If your product meets or exceeds a need the consumer has, they will repeat that purchase in future shopping trips. This is why a great product is truly the most important ingredient in a sustainable and successful marketing strategy.

Shelf Velocity Starts with Awareness

A Shelf Velocity Strategy starts with awareness at store level, and can be achieved through displays, shelf-talkers, staff education, and product packaging, to name a few. Once in-store awareness activity is underway, out-of-store support can start with digital tactics like social media and mobile ads using localized geo-targeting.

If there is enough distribution (for example: All-Channel Volume (ACV) exceeds 60 percent in a specific region), you are now able to use mass media channels with a greater confidence that it will drive incremental sales.

Trial: a Key Ingredient in Shelf Velocity

The trial portion of a Shelf Velocity Strategy occurs through temporary price discounts, deals and promotions, as well as demo programs. Demos are a popular choice because they create awareness and trial on their own, considering a key benefit of most food brands is taste. Coupon programs are also used at this level, and can be traced back to specific campaigns, regions and stores.

Key Considerations for a Successful Shelf Velocity Strategy

A couple of things to keep in mind when undertaking this approach:

Determining the messaging, timing, integration and costs for related activities can be challenging which is why execution and alignment between sales, operations and marketing is imperative.

The final budget for any strategy must take into consideration the expected ROI. You can’t invest more money than your expected reasonable rate of return, especially if profit margins are thin and your product doesn’t have a frequent repurchasing cycle.

Need Help Driving Shelf Velocity?

At Crew, our mission is to help consumer goods companies succeed with consumers, and in retail environments.

If you’d like to know more about Crew’s Shelf Velocity Strategy and how to grow your SPPD, please send us an email at info@crewmp.com and we’ll walk you through it. 

Our team would be happy to chat with you, and work to find the right strategy to help you succeed.

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