While many brands have a decent amount of success with their retail merchandising efforts, they often struggle finding that advanced level that they crave.
So how do you turn “good enough” into “great?”
There’s three key questions that should be in the front of your reps’ minds during each of their store visits, and being data-driven in answering them can be the difference between adequate and advanced retail merchandising.
In this post, we’ll walk you through how to take your retail merchandising to the next level by using mobile data to answer these three questions:
- Where in the buyer’s journey are our customers?
- What is preventing customers from buying our product?
- Can we secure a better shelf position?
First, good retail merchandising comes from good audits. Let's breakdown both and discuss where data collections enter the picture.
Better Merchandising Through Retail Audits
The goal of retail merchandising is to present your products to consumers in the most attractive or convincing way possible.
It is used by both brands and retailers, but we’re mainly going to focus on the brand’s perspective. Brands use retail merchandising within their retail accounts in order to set themselves apart from the many competitors that also exist in each store.
Studies show that the growth of online shopping has caused the number of store visits to decrease significantly, but the value of each store visit has nearly tripled. This means it's critical to make your products attract customer attention. Ask the right questions to get the right answers.
The Three Types of Data in Store Auditing
Brands are using data more than ever to guide their retail merchandising strategies. Here are the three types of data informing merchandising best practices in today’s highest-performing field teams.
- Activity Data: The record of the visits, demos, promotions, or any other activities that your reps in the field perform in a given day.
- Observed Data: Store-level data that your team observes and records about your product in retail locations, such as the state of your displays or position on the shelf.
- Sales Data: Quantitative numbers about your products’ performance and sales across your retail accounts.
The Retail Auditing Checklist
Using these three types of data, your merchandising reps should try answering these three questions at every store visit.
1. Who is Buying?
It’s important to consider why buyers are choosing to go into the store and actually interact with products firsthand, especially with the decreasing number of visits that consumers are making. There are many reasons why customers are still willing to make in-person visits to brick and mortar stores, depending on their stage in the buyer’s journey. If they’re new to your brand, they’ll want to try products hands-on before making a purchase. If they’re repeat buyers, they’ll want to be able to find your product quickly and easily. You should tailor your brand’s in store strategy to these preferences.
Collect Activity Data
Use Activities Data to make sure that you’re putting your brand in the best position to take advantage of these customer motivators. See what actions your team is taking at each store, so you can ensure that the right actions are building the right engagement for the buyer’s journey. For example, actively demoing or promoting your product is a great way to appeal to store-goers who are early on in the buyer’s journey, while having your reps arrange your displays to be easily noticed or found is great for repeat customers. Schedule and monitor these activities to appeal to your target buyers.
2. What Is Stopping Sales?
While it’s important to know the reasons behind a purchase, it can be just as valuable -- if not more -- to know why a consumer chose not to purchase your product. By knowing the underlying reasons for a lack of success, you can course correct and address the issues that are holding you back.
Collect Observational Data
Sales data will help you to initially notice a drop in sales. By comparing your sales quantitatively across you retail accounts, you get a new level of insight into the areas or locations where your brand struggles and needs improvement.
Next, use organized observed data to see the underlying issues clearly from the store level. When your reps make their visits to retail accounts, they’re able to dive in and find the problems that are holding back your sales. These commonly include things like:
- Poor retail shelf placement hurts your brand’s visibility
- Out of stocks that are preventing purchases (link to stock replenishment blog)
- Poorly executed or outdated point of purchase displays
Once your reps are able to find the root cause of the problem, your team can collaborate to fix the issue. Having a streamlined process of identifying, relaying, and fixing issues at the store level will help your brand to boost those numbers back up.
3. Can We Secure a Better Shelf Position?
Like we just talked about, your product’s positioning on the shelf can have a strong correlation with visibility and therefore sales. Everyone is vying for that prime real estate at eye level, so how can you convince retailers to put your brand there over others? The answer is by using quantitative sales data to prove the value that your brand brings.
Collect Sales Data
POS sales data shows the exact numbers behind the sales of your product in each store. Instead of simply saying, “our product will increase your sales,” show them how much. Cold, hard numbers are always far more convincing than simple promises and reassurances.
If your product has has more success at other stores that gave it premium shelf space, show your retail partners those numbers and promote data-driven conversations about why your brand deserves that prime location.
Implement Smarter Retail Merchandising Strategies
Your brand may already know the importance of these retail merchandising practices, but by thinking about these key questions and using data to answer them, you’ll be able to reach new levels of success. Taking this approach to your retail merchandising will make your team more agile, effective, and efficient.
Consider using a mobile CRM tool to get clear, accurate, store-level data and take your retail merchandising to new heights!
To find even more tips, strategies, and insights about retail merchandising, check out this podcast featuring Repsly CEO Mat Brogie!
Dan MacDonald is a Content Marketing Journalist for Repsly, who enjoys writing and using creativity to solve problems. He is studying Economics at Tufts University, and is an offensive lineman on the Tufts Football team. In his free time, Dan enjoys playing the guitar and the piano, hiking, and watching sports.