Profile: Natalie Mallone, Senior Manager, Merchandising and Display, Wet Shave, Edgewell Personal Care
In the past 16 years, Natalie Mallone has worked on every brand within the Edgewell portfolio, mostly in merchandising and display roles for categories such as sun care, feminine care and infant care, in addition to her current position in the wet shave category. She also did a rotation in sales planning to build her strong foundation in customer knowledge. “It really helped me to understand the different 4P tactics across all classes of trade,” she says. “Knowing the different go-to-market strategies of customers is critical in building strong and effective customer promotional plans.”
Today, she leads the merchandising and display team for the wet shave category and the newly created go-to-market center of excellence for the shave portfolio. In this role, she is responsible for the planning, development and execution of all wet shave off-shelf promotional plans across all U.S. customers. Her team is responsible for building brand equity and strategy and for bringing the brand strategy to life in store.
How does your merchandising team interact with shopper marketing and with insights at Edgewell?
Mallone: The merchandising and display teams and the shopper marketing team are housed under the same marketing director. This allows for consistent 360 surround-sound programs driven by annual brand priorities and platforms. Our in-store strategies are focused around key insights that drive commercial innovation.
How does your company define success for its in-store marketing programs?
Mallone: Success in-store is first measured by display compliance. No matter how strategic or impactful the promo vehicle is, if it is not executed in-store, sales will not be realized. Also, sell-through and ROI are key metrics that determine a program’s success and whether it should be anniversaried. Finally, there’s a motto I like to go by for any promotion: on strategy, on budget and on time.
How has the emergence of the omnichannel shopper influenced your overall approach to merchandising?
Mallone: Omnichannel is often used as a fact-finding or research destination for shoppers. Purchase decisions are increasing outside of the store environment. It’s important to create impactful merchandising to capture shoppers while in-store. It is also important that secondary placement builds the emotional connection with the shopper, separating your product from competition.
How have you seen merchandising change in recent years? What trends are you seeing now?
Mallone: In-store promos are moving toward a fewer, bigger, better philosophy. Retailers are looking for solution-based promotions to drive purchase across categories. This allows one-stop shopping for the shopper and helps navigate through the clutter in-store. In addition, in-line solutions are expanding to educate shoppers and provide easy navigation at shelf. In the shave category, we use touch-and-learns so consumers can get up close and personal with our products and look at our key benefits.
How has your approach to this at Edgewell changed versus several years ago?
Mallone: Many of our promotions are category-driven instead of product-line driven. For example, in the shave category, we will execute a men’s display – instead of simply a Hydro men’s display – where our disposables, our systems and our prep products can sit. It’s more solution-based, and having that approach is also yielding greater sell-through on our promotions.
What role do you foresee the physical store playing in the future?Mallone: I think the physical store will be used as a destination to experience the product. I picture store-within-a-store concepts for different categories. Shoppers will use their mobile devices to order from the retailer website while they’re in the store and then the product will shortly be delivered to their doorstep.
Mallone: The accomplishment I am most proud of was the 2016 Design of the Times Gold award for the Schick Walmart Barbershop 3 way. This was the only temporary/corrugate display that won a gold in the mass category. It was the first display I created for razor and blades in which the creative was driven more on emotional insight rather than technology claims.
The barbershop idea originated from the insight that men want masculine symbols of identity to maintain a sense of male self where gender roles are blurring. Two key things make the barbershop a clever, power-stopping display: 1) barbershop represents masculinity and experience, and 2) a perfect shave replicates a barbershop experience and the smoothness afterward.
Designed to appeal to men, the display utilized corrugate that resembled rich mahogany wood, marble and foil that replicated vintage galvanized mirrors. The showpiece was the vacuum-formed barber pole that sat in the middle of the structure.
Mallone: The January 2018 launch of the Schick Intuition F.a.b. (“forward and backward”) razor brought with it a strong in-store display presence. The Intuition F.a.b. is the first of its kind where every cartridge contains bi-directional blades that let consumers effortlessly shave in both directions. Fab yielded strong promotional support in-store across all classes of trade. All display vehicles contain a battery-operated razor moving up and down to reinforce to the shopper the main reason to believe. Retail partners are excited about this disruptive innovation in the women’s category and have supported F.a.b. with solid launch display plans. We have shipped more than 40,000 displays for our launch window.