The Necessity of Showing Value – Part II
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Hopefully you’ve been asking yourself some tough questions when it comes to showing the value of the work you do. Proving and communicating your worth can be challenging, but it is necessary in today’s retail environment. We sought out some exceptional retail RDNs who have made it a mission to create compelling business cases for their work and wanted to share some of their best practice insights:
- Find ways to create revenue.
Highlight new revenue streams that may not have existed before dietitians were employed by your retailer. Whether it’s looking at current work or planning new programs, both areas should be examined as possible sources of income. For one key retailer, a substantial income stream was generated by expanding services to include individual consumer consultations. This source of revenue has been so positive that their team of RDNs was able to expand significantly. And while creating an extensive consulting program may not be feasible for you at this time, you can certainly look for other areas of income opportunities based on current capabilities. Identify ways to take action such as seeking sponsor support for media segments, including RD revenue-generating services to existing pharmacy programs, or by pilot testing a new RDN service. As an example, Coborn’s RDN team realized that they could help expand their reach on social media by partnering with vendors to provide funding support for digital media opportunities and they jumped at the chance. Four years later, their small team of two RDs reaches thousands of guests every week across social media, TV segments, e-commerce, circulars and in-store activations – expanding both their reach and their income.
- Driving Sales and Loyalty.
Translate your consumer interactions into value for the company. While we all agree consumer outreach is nice, you need to prove to leadership that the time you spend connecting with shoppers provides ROI. A few progressive retail dietitian teams have accomplished this by linking with their customer loyalty program. Together, with internal teams, they have created proprietary systems for showing that customers who interact with a dietitian, either in a group or individual setting, are actually spending more per year. Proof that an RDN connection is creating a more valuable customer! Growing basket size, increasing private brand purchases and increasing shopping trips can all be goals to measure. Creating such a system for your team may also be possible but will require ingenuity and perseverance as you engage with internal partners.
Make a plan now to move forward with showing your value as a top priority. As Emily Parent, MS RD LD, Coborn’s Health and Wellness Manager states, “While we’ve always had great support from our company, there was still an opportunity at hand to develop better internal relationships. Since creating and tracking ROI, we have been able to prove contributions to our company in a way that they understand—revenue. Not only have our positions been elevated, but other departments are now reaching out to partner with us!”