For 40 years, Doug Tinney had built Alliance Sales and Marketing through relationships with suppliers and hundreds of retailers in his area around Birmingham, Alabama. He had added some technology along the way, but he was old-school, handling things with a mix of paper and early generation software that had long served both his business and his customers. When he died suddenly in July of 2018, his two sons, Brad and Matt, quit their jobs and worked with their mother to figure out how to keep their father’s legacy alive. While they could never replace the depth of connection their father had forged over all those years, they realized that with technology they could offer a new level of value to his loyal customers.
Doug Tinney had worked with wholesale grocers and 500 retailers in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, and Tennesee. He had focused on independent grocers, most of whom operated without a planogram. Hands-on retail execution was crucial to their businesses. Brad and Matt saw a chance to automate workflows, improve retail execution, and increase sales. But they would need a partner. That’s where RW3 came in.
Two weeks to launch
As soon as we signed the contract, we began to create a custom digitalization plan, converted their data to modern software, tested their new system, fixed the bugs, and launched it. It took two weeks.
All the price lists, spec sheets, account codes, and store lists were on paper. They had to code them all into one database that could be shared by headquarters and by store reps. They also knew they could create the capacity to dramatically improve on-shelf visibility which would improve profits both for suppliers and retailers. They could perform magic on retail distribution voids and merchandising with RW3’s Smart Call field sales application which gives a 360 view of what’s going on at the shelf in real time.
RW3 worked with them to create a custom solution that would address their specific needs and the needs of their customers. Two weeks after the contract was signed, they handed sales reps each an Apple iPad, equipped with all the data they needed about the products they represented and the stores they’d partnered with. The first few runs operated in a protected, test environment so they could collect feedback and make any necessary adjustments without impacting suppliers or retailers. Once they had it working perfectly, they launched.
Production, profits, up
The results have been amazing. Alliance has increased product line distribution by an average of 40 percent, expanded coverage by 50 percent to 750 stores, and added five new stores. The agency’s reps are calling on more stores every week, they’re up to more than 120 a week.
Kamal Constantine, owner of a Piggly Wiggly in Mobile, Alabama said in a Shelby Report article. “The team from Alliance has always supported our store like it was their own. With the reps now using iPads they’re bringing us several new marketing and merchandising capabilities that are making the store more competitive.”
RW3 always takes a lot of pride in helping our customers’ numbers skyrocket and helping them reach their goals. But with the challenge and the motivation of Alliance, was a special project.
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