Brand Protection: Navigating the Minimum Wage Increase

As of January 1, 2018, Ontario’s minimum wage increase took effect, going up to $14 an hour. The number is expected to reach $15 an hour by 2019. Similarly, in Alberta, the minimum wage increased to $13.60 per hour in September of 2017 and is expected to reach $15 per hour by October of 2018. Other provinces could be following suit.

Already, we’ve heard of retailers making changes, citing the minimum wage increase as reason. Reduced staff, cut benefits, or not hiring seasonal employees have been some of the ways retailers have been handling the hikes. We’re not here to debate whether the minimum wage increase was the right or wrong decision, or what is the best way to handle it. Instead, we want to focus on how suppliers and manufacturers can navigate the changes.

When your brand goes to retail, you want to make sure it’s positioned in the best way possible: kept in stock, labelled properly, and accessible for customers. But with the minimum wage increase in effect, it could mean less staff doing the same amount of work, which may mean your brand isn’t necessarily getting the same amount of attention.

So, how can you make sure your brand protection is in place and your product is positioned best for in-store merchandising? We have three steps you can take.

  1. Take empowerment in store

When your brand is delivered to a retailer, make your voice heard. Find out where it is being positioned, how it will be displayed, and check that it’s acceptable to you. This your brand and your product and it’s in your best interest to make sure that your brand management is on point, in store and out.

  1. Data capture & analysis

You can learn a lot from retail analytics that will tell you how your brand is doing, even if you can’t be there to physically watch it. If the sales reports consistently show your product is selling out, perhaps you should talk to the retailer about increasing the stock and selling similar products, if you have them. On the other hand, if your product isn’t selling, you may want to look at identifying the problem, be it display, price, signage, etc.

  1. Auditing services

The other piece of the puzzle is knowing how your brand is faring both in store when you’re not there and compared to the competition. The easiest way to find out both is with a retail audit. A retail auditing service can analyze how your brand is positioned in store and perform a competitive price analysis, promotional audits, quality assurance, and more.

Your brand is your lifeblood. If it’s not being displayed the way you need it to be, that’s money lost to your bottom line. As retailers adjust to the new minimum wage increase, make sure to be even more diligent about your brand protection in store. You can’t control retailers’ reactions to the minimum wage increase, but you can make sure your brand is positioned as it should be.

You don’t have to go it alone. Storesupport Canada offers in-store merchandising and retail audit services for brand support. Our team of experienced retail professionals can make sure your brand is getting the attention it deserves — reducing your costs while increasing your profits! Want to learn more? Visit or call 1-877-421-5081.

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